COVID-19 FAQs

General/Travel Related

How do I stay informed by Davis IC?

Check your Princeton email, Davis IC announcements, and do not hesitate to join us virtually during our scheduled walk in hours and advising appointments. We will also host information sessions as necessary.

 

What Restrictions are there on entry to the U.S. due to COVID-19?

National Interest Exceptions

F-1 and J-1 students and academics are exempt to the travel restrictions below. You can read more about National Interest Exceptions and the procedures for your visa type in the next FAQ. 

Travel restrictions are often announced without much notice. Review the CDC before traveling to confirm that there are not changes to this list. This includes a short-stay or a layover that takes you to these countries.

 

What are National Interest Exceptions?

The Department of State updated their exception language to apply exceptions similarly in all locations. The May 27, 2021 exception details the process for seeking exception for academics.

Students with valid F-1 visas, who are subject to the geographic COVID-19 Presidential proclamations can travel to the United States with their typical travel documents without seeking an individual National Interest Exception from a U.S. Embassy or consulate.

J-1 Students and Scholars will be automatically reviewed for an exception at the time of their visa appointment. Those who already have a valid visa will need to seek an exception by emailing the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that issued their J-1 visa. 

H-1B and other non-immigrant visas will need to review the exception list to see if they qualify under any of the available exceptions, but do not have a blanket exception at this time. 

As always, we recommend that you carry documents with you in your carry-on luggage to confirm your student or employment status. New students should travel with their admission documents. Students returning from leave of absence should travel with their reinstatement letter. Continuing students should travel with proof of continuous enrollment (enrollment verification or transcript). Alumni on Post Completion and STEM OPT should carry a job offer letter with their dates of employment and their EAD.

I am traveling from a restricted country, but plan to spend two weeks in a non-travel restricted country. Can I enter the U.S.?

There are risks in planning to enter the U.S. this way. There will be country specific travel restrictions and health and safety protocols that you will want to be familiar with before traveling. Davis IC advisors cannot provide detailed information on other country’s travel restrictions and policies. Additionally, U.S. entry restrictions are subject to change with little or no notice. We recommend weighing these risks before traveling to the U.S. via a non-travel restricted country. We recommend that students and scholars evaluate their plans carefully and have contingency plans in place in the event they are in the non-restricted country longer than anticipated, or required to return home rather than proceeding to the U.S. Country specific information gathered by the U.S. Department of State can be found here.

I do not have a valid visa and I am outside the U.S. when can I get a visa to travel?

US embassies and consulates abroad continue to operate based on the conditions where they are located, and what travel restrictions are currently in place. Some locations have been offering emergency visa appointments for students and academics. Review the information about emergency appointments closely, as procedures and eligibility will vary. Links to consulate and embassy webpages can be found here. Please keep in mind that COVID-19 travel restrictions may remain in effect even for those holding valid U.S. visas.

What are the COVID-19 testing requirements before traveling to the U.S.?

The CDC announced  they will require all travelers arriving to the U.S. from abroad to obtain a negative viral test, or provide documentation of recovery before travel regardless of vaccination status. You can review the details of this requirement here. Do not hesitate to reach out to our colleagues in Global Safety and Security globalsaftey@princeton.edu for any questions about your travel plans and these requirements. 

What are Princeton's expectations for receiving COVID-19 vaccines for international students?

Princeton University will require all undergraduate and graduate students to demonstrate vaccination with an FDA-Approved or WHO EUL-Authorized vaccination. Please review the International Student COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ provided by UHS that also details which vaccines are currently being accepted by Princeton. If you have general questions about vaccinations please email covidvaccines@princeton.eduIf you will have difficulty receiving an FDA-Approved or WHO EUL-Authorized vaccine before returning to campus for Fall 2021, please email myuhs@princeton.edu to discuss your options with the Immunization Compliance Team. 

The University has decided to require faculty, staff, and others working or otherwise present on campus during the 2021-22 academic year to provide proof of having received an authorized vaccine.

 

Are there additional websites/offices I should check before I travel to/from Princeton?

The university is urging the university community to exercise caution when it comes to travel and abide by the current policies in place. For additional information, please visit the travel tool kit.

Students can review our travel guidance page to confirm what documents you need with you when you travel internationally. We recommend that you also confirm travel plans with your academic department or employer in case your return is delayed for any reason.

Graduate Students

I am a new graduate student or returning from a leave of absence how does the current guidance effect me?

The July 24, 2020 Guidance from SEVP and June 25, 2020 Guidance from Department of State require that students starting new programs in the U.S. have some in-person component to their study. The Graduate School continues to invite students to campus to work with professors, participate in laboratory assignments, access our libraries, use our study spaces, and participate in our academic culture. We recommend that students document in what ways they are participating in the in-person components of their Princeton education when possible.

I am a returning graduate student do I need any special documents to enter the U.S.?

No, returning graduate students are eligible to return to the U.S. using their typical documents. Please review any travel restrictions noted above. Students who need a new travel signature to re-enter the U.S. should go to TigerNav. Click “Login.” Use your university netid and password. In the left-hand column, click “Pre-Arrival” and then “"Travel Signature Request.” Click “Start a New Request” and complete/submit the form.

I am a graduate student with an approved remote start, how does this impact my documents?

The expectation from the Graduate School is that you will enter the U.S. by August 31, 2021 to begin your in-person Princeton education. 

To request your new document go to TigerNav. Click “Login.” Use your university netid and password. In the left-hand column, click “Student Admissions” and then “Graduate Student Remote Starts - Request for I-20/DS-2019.” Click “Start a New Request” and complete/submit the form. 

You will need to provide your updated funding information for Academic Year 21-22 when requesting your updated documents. 

I do not plan to come to Princeton for Fall 2021 is there something I need to do?

Please note that it is expected that all students will return/start in person study for Fall 2021. 

Graduate students, who are post-generals, should discuss their plans with their department and confirm that they are eligible for in absentia status. Please note, in absentia status can only be awarded to students who require access to educational resources outside of Princeton.  

Pre-generals graduate students and those who do not qualify for in absentia status, may need to take a leave of absence.  Students who require a leave of absence should speak with their departments and with Academic Affairs in the Graduate School.

Newly Admitted Graduate Students should email gsadmit@princeton.edu to discuss deferring your attendance.

When is the latest I can arrive to Princeton for Fall 2021 study?

New students are expected to arrive for required in person orientation on August 24, 2021. If you do not think you will meet this timeline please email gsadmit@princeton.edu to discuss when you plan to arrive. New students without a visa and definitive travel plans as of August 20, 2021 should discuss a deferral with your department and gsadmit@princeton.edu

Returning students are expected to arrive to Princeton by August 31, 2021. Late arrivals after this date will need to be confirmed with your department and the Graduate School. 

Undergraduate Students

I am an undergraduate entering for the first time or returning from a leave of absence when can I get updated documents?

Due to the July 24, 2020 ICE and June 25, 2020 Exchange Visitor Program guidance we are not able to issue new documents for students whose programs are 100% online. Princeton is currently planning for an in-person Fall 2021. Students who already have an unexpired visa in the same category (F-1 visa for F-1 status and J-1 visa for J-1 status) will not likely need a new visa for travel. You can confirm if your visa is still valid by contacting the consulate or embassy who issued the visa.  

Class of 2024 Students and '22, '23 students who Returned from a Leave of Absence in Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 Currently Studying Remotely

Students who are enrolled remotely for Spring 2021 with an initial SEVIS record can request an updated I-20/DS-2019 for Fall 2021 by going TigerNav. Click “Login.” Use your university netid and password. In the left-hand column, click “Student Admission” and then “Undergraduate Student Remote Starts - Request for Fall 2021 I-20/DS-2019.” Click “Start a New Request” and complete/submit the form. Please note that you will need to provide updated funding documentation for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Students returning from a Leave of Absence in Fall 2021

Students returning from a leave of absence for Fall 2021 should go to TigerNav. Click “Login.” Use your university netid and password. In the left-hand column, click “Student Admissions” and then “Application for Visa Certificate Undergraduate Return from LOA.” Click “Start a New Request” and complete/submit all forms. 

Class of 2025

Newly admitted students or students who deferred their admission to Fall 2021 should go to TigerNav. Click “Login.” Use your university netid and password. In the left-hand column, click “Student Admissions” and then “Application for Visa Certificate Undergraduate.” Click “Start a New Request” and complete/submit all forms. Additional information is available on our new students website here.

Previous SEVIS Transfer Students: If you had transferred your SEVIS record to us for Fall 2021, please note that per the SEVP guidance, it has been confirmed that any students who deferred their admission will need to obtain a new SEVIS record. You must submit an updated Application for Visa Certificate and we will issue a new SEVIS record for you.

If I decide to take a leave of absence how does that impact my status?

Because your F-1/J-1 student status is tied to your enrollment status, we will terminate your SEVIS record if you take a Leave of Absence. If you are currently in the U.S., you would need to depart the U.S. You would not be able to return to the U.S. on your F-1/J-1 visa until your leave of absence ends and enrollment resumes. If you are already outside of the U.S. and are concerned about the 5 month rule, your time outside the U.S. will begin to count from the day you last attend classes. Students are no longer eligible for employment in the U.S. with a terminated record. For more information, please visit our Leave of Absence page.

 

I am a continuing undergraduate student (rising sophomore, junior or senior) and am concerned I will not have my visa in time for the start of classes; can I arrive late?

If you are concerned that you will not receive your visa in time to arrive on campus for the start of classes on September 1, please contact your Davis IC adviser and your residential college dean immediately.

I am a first-year student and am concerned I will not have my visa in time to arrive for Orientation; what should I do?

Please contact your Davis IC adviser and your residential college dean right away. First-year students MUST arrive by August 28th.