Travel Updates Concerning the COVID-19 Pandemic

12/6/2021

Important information for those planning to travel internationally during Winter Break.

  • Updated Travel Restrictions to the U.S. Due to COVID-19 and the Omicron Variant: The White House and U.S. Department of State released new restrictions impacting international travel due to Omicron, a new variant of COVID-19. Due to the likely spread of this new variant, we anticipate more countries will be added to the restriction list. We strongly encourage everyone review the current travel restrictions to determine travel plans for the upcoming winter break and holidays. Please note: if you travel abroad and a new travel restriction bars you from reentering the U.S., OISS and WashU will have little to no authority to request your return for the spring semester.
  • Vaccine and Negative COVID-19 Test Required for International Air Travel: Beginning November 8, 2021, all immigrants and non-immigrants traveling to the United States must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test. The test must be within 1 day of your flight departure, and you will need written documentation of your test results (or proof of having recovered from COVID-19). For the full policy review and list of exceptions, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Here is a link to a graphic outlining the new pre-departure testing and attestation requirements for those traveling to the US by air.
  • If you are travelling internationally, you need to get a travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019 from OISS.
    • F-1 students can submit a request using OISS’ Travel Signature Request form. SEVP now allows DSOs to electronically send I-20s to student with electronic travel signatures. After you submit the form, OISS will email you a new I-20 with a travel signature to your WashU email address. We recommend you print, sign, and date this I-20 so that you have a hard copy with you when you travel.
    • J-1 Students and Scholars must schedule an in-person advising appointment with their OISS Advisor and bring their DS-2019 to the office so that it can be signed in person. The U.S. Department of State prohibits OISS Advisors from using electronic signatures and emailing DS-2019s.

Returning to the United States

  1. To avoid complications when you are re-entering the U.S. please remember to bring your:

  2. Valid passport

  3. Valid F-1 or J-1 visa in your passport

  4. I-20 or DS-2019 (printed, with a travel signature within 30 days of the date you return to the US)

  5. SEVIS Fee Receipt (visit the ICE I-901 Fee website to access your receipt).

If you need to apply for an Entry Visa: Warnings and Tips

If your visa will not be valid on the day you return to the United States, schedule a visa application appointment at a U.S. Consulate overseas as soon as possible, as processing delays are common during this busy travel period. If you plan to apply for a visa in a country other than your country of citizenship, please be aware that some embassies and consulates may not issue visas to non-citizens. Also note that the U.S. Department of State implemented security checks, which may be very time-consuming, and may affect those who come from certain countries or who work or study in certain academic fields. For all the most current visa-application information, visit the website of the U.S. Consulate where you will apply, then consult your OISS advisor if you have further questions.

Transcripts may also be required for F-1 students. It can be costly to have official transcripts sent to you by FedEx in your home country. If you will apply for a visa during the break, we strongly recommend that you get an official transcript before you leave St. Louis. You can request your official transcripts from the Office of the Registrar.

OISS Holiday Schedule

The OISS will be closed in observance of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays on Friday, December 24; Monday, December 27; Friday, December 30; and Monday, January 3. We will remain open Monday-Friday during the rest of the winter break.

To meet with your OISS Advisorschedule a virtual or in-person appointment. Please note some OISS Advisors take vacation time during the winter break, so it is best to schedule an appointment in advance. For emergencies, please visit us at the DUC 330, call 314-935-5910 or email us.