Winter Break Travel Updates for International Graduate Students

Thursday, Dec 9, 2021
by Albert Rivera, Director

Dear International Graduate Students,

We understand that for many of you, these past several months have been your first time away from family and friends, and we know that you have been looking forward to being back home to take care of yourself, reconnect, and regroup. Some of you have been at Princeton for an extended amount of time, and this break was supposed to be your chance to finally make it back home. Therefore, we are writing you in regards to the developing Omicron variant and the significant uncertainty that has returned to international travel.

While this uncertainty is unwelcome and jarring, the Davis International Center is here to support you as you make your final plans for Winter Break. Regrettably, our team is unable to make predictions about an individual country or region and international students should be advised that there is an increased possibility that they may not be able to return to the U.S. for the spring semester. As the University has done in the past, we will continue to advocate for National Interest Exceptions for students and scholars, but it is not possible to know if and how the travel restrictions may evolve.

As a result, graduate students who are unable to return to campus in time to resume their academic and/or research activities for the spring semester will need to speak with their academic department and, as necessary, the Graduate School about the options of taking a leave of absence or – for post-generals Ph.D. students – being enrolled in absentia. As a reminder, spring-semester courses begin January 24.

You may be questioning why the University doesn’t plan to offer hybrid instruction for students who cannot return to campus. Residential teaching, research, and scholarship are the heart of Princeton’s educational mission.  A hybrid format would limit course choices; some of the courses needed for progress-to-degree might not be available; some faculty might be compelled to offer hybrid options in ways that would comprise their pedagogy and the experience of other students; and the structure of your education would suffer. As a result, the University has made a commitment to continue in-person, residential education at this point in the pandemic.

Please know that the Davis International Center is here to help. We continue to relay your concerns to University leadership, and are doing all that we can to support your ability to continue your studies with as little interruption as possible.

In the meantime, please email your questions regarding your immigration status and travel plans as it pertains to this message to or schedule an appointment with a Davis International Center advisor by visiting: https:/ or join us for our virtual drop-in hours to speak to an advisor.

Davis IC Team