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Travel Guidance for Current International Students and Scholars During COVID-19

The Provost and Chief Operating Officer of Tulane University have sent out communications about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) travel advisories, and FAQs

TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

Below are resources about current travel restrictions and Tulane guidance on travel:

For information on Tulane University’s travel restrictions, and response to the coronavirus and further guidance, please visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs webpage. On the right side of the page are links to different FAQs and informational pages.

For current U.S. travel and visa restrictions related to the coronavirus, please visit NAFSA’s webpage COVID-19 Restrictions on U.S. Visas and Entry*.

For a summary of current worldwide travel restrictions, please visit the webpage of international immigration law firm Fragomen*. On the page you can download a PDF with updated information on global entry and transit bans and quarantine information.

*These resources are updated regularly, but with the rapidly changing global response to the coronavirus they may not have all of the current travel restrictions and guidance. We encourage students who plan to travel to their home country to check the information from their home country government and media before making any travel plans. These resources are not monitored for accuracy by the OISS.

TRAVEL/DEPARTURE AS A RESULT OF ONLINE INSTRUCTION

At this time, we cannot predict how long the travel bans for China and Iran will last, whether new travel bans will be implemented, when US embassies will reopen, or where the virus will have spread. If you are planning on going home for the semester or traveling internationally anytime soon, please be sure you are aware of the risks of travel during this time. Below is a list of some of the risks (this is not a comprehensive list):

  1. If your visa stamp in your passport is expired, it it may be difficult to obtain a new visa due to US consulate and embassy closures and limited staffing if you are hoping to return in the summer or fall. The main risk is delays in getting a visa appointment and/or embassy closures due to the coronavirus.

  2. If you are graduating this semester and planning to apply for OPT, but you haven't applied for OPT yet, you may lose eligibility for OPT if you leave the US now. Current regulations require you to apply for OPT from within the US. The US government has temporarily adjusted some F-1 requirements, but we do not have information yet about how OPT will be handled for those students who return home now before applying.

  3. If you leave now, but you are planning to return to the US in the fall to continue at Tulane or start a new degree program in the US, you could face challenges in trying to return even if you have a valid visa stamp in your passport. Even a country not currently experiencing an outbreak could be declared a high-risk area at any time, and you could face difficulty with departure, immigration barriers in returning to the U.S., and possible quarantine or self-isolation upon arriving in the U.S. 

  4. Please know that it is not a risk to be outside the US for more than 5 months. The US government is making an exception to this rule. You can read more about this on our FAQs page.

We understand each person needs to make their own decision at this moment in time. If you DO decide to leave the US, below are a few important recommendations:

  1. Continually evaluate local conditions at your intended destination.

  2. Monitor your flight to ensure that it hasn’t been canceled – airlines are canceling flights due to health and safety concerns as well as lower demand from customers.

  3. Continue to review not only flights, but also travel rules for admission or transit through a country. It is important to note that all travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice.

  4. Bring additional documents to show that you are allowed to re-enter (more on that below).

The university is developing contingency plans for students who might be required to stay on campus this semester or this summer, including meaningful programming opportunities and housing. If you need to make a decision soon about travel and have questions or concerns, please contact the OISS at oiss@tulane.edu or 865-5208.

Non-U.S. citizens planning to study abroad in the fall should consult their study abroad advisor for information about restrictions that may impact their study abroad.

ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTATION FOR TRAVEL

In each list below, for items 1-3, you must carry the original versions, not copies. For items 4-6, we recommend that you print them on paper and carry the paper versions with you through Customs. Showing electronic copies of these documents on your smartphone or computer may cause Customs officials to search them. Keep your phone or computer in your bag when you go through Customs. Please review the list for your visa type:

F-1 Students

  1. Passport that will be valid for at least 6 months after the date you return to the U.S.
  2. Visa that is valid and unexpired*
  3. I-20 with a valid travel signature
  4. I-94 travel history that shows you have not been in China for the past 14 days: Go to i94.cbp.dhs.gov, click “Get Most Recent I-94” and enter your passport information. On the following page, click “Get This Traveler’s Travel History” and print your travel history.
  5. Proof of your stay at your travel destination, such as your hotel reservation and flight itinerary. Note: this is only necessary if you are from a country with a COVID-19 travel ban in place and you are seeking to re-enter the US from a third country. The proof that you need to provide is anything that shows you haven't been in your home country (or any other travel ban country) in the past two weeks.
  6. Proof of your attendance at Tulane University, such as your current class schedule, payment of fees, admission letter and/or scholarship letter.
If you are on OPT, you will also need:
 
  1. Proof of employment (letter from your employer and/or other documents).
  2. Your EAD work authorization card.

J-1 Students

  1. Passport that will be valid for at least 6 months after the date you return to the U.S.
  2. Visa that is valid and unexpired*
  3. DS-2019 with a valid travel signature
  4. I-94 travel history that shows you have not been in China for the past 14 days: Go to i94.cbp.dhs.gov, click “Get Most Recent I-94” and enter your passport information. On the following page, click “Get This Traveler’s Travel History” and print your travel history.
  5. Proof of your stay at your travel destination, such as your hotel reservation and flight itinerary. Note: this is only necessary if you are from a country with a COVID-19 travel ban in place and you are seeking to re-enter the US from a third country. The proof that you need to provide is anything that shows you haven't been in your home country (or any other travel ban country) in the past two weeks.
  6. Proof of your attendance at Tulane University, such as your current class schedule, payment of fees, admission letter and/or scholarship letter.

J-1 Scholars

  1. Passport that will be valid for at least 6 months after the date you return to the U.S.
  2. Visa that is valid and unexpired*
  3. DS-2019 with a valid travel signature
  4. I-94 travel history that shows you have not been in China for the past 14 days: Go to i94.cbp.dhs.gov, click “Get Most Recent I-94” and enter your passport information. On the following page, click “Get This Traveler’s Travel History” and print your travel history.
  5. Proof of your stay at your travel destination, such as your hotel reservation and flight itinerary. Note: this is only necessary if you are from a country with a COVID-19 travel ban in place and you are seeking to re-enter the US from a third country. The proof that you need to provide is anything that shows you haven't been in your home country (or any other travel ban country) in the past two weeks.
  6. Proof of your scholar position at Tulane, such as your invitation or offer letter.

H-1B Faculty and Staff

  1. Passport that will be valid for at least 6 months after the date you return to the U.S.
  2. Visa that is valid and unexpired*
  3.  I-797 Approval Notice
  4. I-94 travel history that shows you have not been in China for the past 14 days: Go to i94.cbp.dhs.gov, click “Get Most Recent I-94” and enter your passport information. On the following page, click “Get This Traveler’s Travel History” and print your travel history.
  5. Proof of your stay at your travel destination, such as your hotel reservation and flight itinerary. Note: this is only necessary if you are from a country with a COVID-19 travel ban in place and you are seeking to re-enter the US from a third country. The proof that you need to provide is anything that shows you haven't been in your home country (or any other travel ban country) in the past two weeks.
  6. Proof of your employment at Tulane, such as your last 3 pay statements.

TN Faculty and Staff

  1. Passport that will be valid for at least 6 months after the date you return to the U.S.
  2. Visa that is valid and unexpired* (only for Mexican citizens)
  3.  I-797 Approval Notice (if a change of status or extension was granted within the United States)
  4. I-94 travel history that shows you have not been in China for the past 14 days: Go to i94.cbp.dhs.gov, click “Get Most Recent I-94” and enter your passport information. On the following page, click “Get This Traveler’s Travel History” and print your travel history.
  5. Proof of your stay at your travel destination, such as your hotel reservation and flight itinerary. Note: this is only necessary if you are from a country with a COVID-19 travel ban in place and you are seeking to re-enter the US from a third country. The proof that you need to provide is anything that shows you haven't been in your home country (or any other travel ban country) in the past two weeks.
  6. Proof of your employment at Tulane, such as your last 3 pay statements.

*If your current visa has expired, please note that it may be risky to travel at this time. Please e-mail oiss@tulane.edu for assistance if your visa is not valid and you plan to travel.

GLOBAL RESCUE REGISTRATION

Please register any upcoming or planned international travel for university business or academic purposes with Global Rescue. Activities that should be registered include, but are not limited to study abroad, internships, academic work for credit, service, conferences or presentations, teaching, training, performances, recruiting or athletic competitions.

If you have not registered your upcoming travel with Global Rescue, please do so now as this is required to ensure that Tulane are able to locate travelers whenever necessary and offer appropriate support — including evacuation assistance. Please be aware of travel restrictions regardless of where you are based.

All OISS communications, University Response, and FAQ’s related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found here.

If you have questions about this travel advice, contact the OISS at oiss@tulane.edu.