International Student/Scholar Travel FAQ

International Student/Scholar


Last updated: Monday, November 29, 2021 at 10:00 AM

Requirement for COVID-19 Vaccination for Non-US Citizens AND Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Recovery from COVID-19 for All Air Passengers Arriving in the United States

If you plan to travel internationally, you will need to get tested no more than 3 days before you travel by air into the United States (US) and show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight, or be prepared to show documentation of recovery (proof of a recent positive viral test and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel).

On January 12, 2021, CDC issued an Order requiring all air passengers arriving to the US from a foreign country to get tested no more than 3 days before their flight departs and to present the negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the flight. Air passengers will also be required to confirm that the information they present is true in the form of an attestation. This Order is effective as of 12:01am EST (5:01am GMT) on January 26, 2021.

As of January 26, 2021, this Order replaces a previous order signed by the CDC Director on December 25, 2020, requiring a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test result for all airline passengers arriving into the United States from the United Kingdom [PDF – 6 pages].

Effective November 8, 2021, all non-US citizens are required to show proof vaccination against COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the US.  The following vaccines are approved: : Moderna, J&J, Pfizer, Oxford-AstraZeneca/Covishield, Sinopharm or Sinovac


Should I go back to my home country or not?  What factors should I consider when making this decision?

The decision to stay or return to your home is yours. Please consult with your family and refer to any restrictions or advice from your home country when making a decision about whether to travel home or remain in the US. Some factors to consider include personal health and well-being, current and potential future travel restrictions, whether your local embassy is issuing visas, and academic commitments.

What travel restrictions are currently in place?

Travelers who have been present in the following countries for the 14 days prior to travel are not permitted to enter the US: the Republic of Botswana, the Kingdom of Eswatini, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Republic of Malawi, the Republic of Mozambique, the Republic of Namibia, the Republic of South Africa, and the Republic of Zimbabwe

All non-US citizens are requierd to show Proof of COVID-19 vaccination with one of the following vaccines: Moderna, J&J, Pfizer, Oxford-AstraZeneca/Covishield, Sinopharm or Sinovac.

What visa restrictions are currently in place?

While the U.S. Department of State announced that routine visa services have been suspended worldwide, some embassies are beginning to re-open. Please check your country’s embassy website for the most up to date information. 

If you are outside the US and currently have a valid F-1 or J-1 visa, you may use this to re-enter the US*. 

If you are outside the US and do not have a valid F-1 visa or J-1, you must wait until visa services resume in order to apply for a visa and enter the US.

If you are currently inside the US and considering traveling home, check that your visa will remain valid on the date you intend to re-enter the US. If your visa will expire before you intend to re-enter the US, you will need to apply for a new visa or reconsider travel.  Check with your local embassy to find out whether they are currently issuing visas and what the expected wait time may be for appointments.

Do I need a new travel signature on my I-20?  If so, how can I get one?

If you need a travel signature, please contact and let us know your name and your date of travel. If you are an F-1 student, we can now email you a new form I-20 with updated travel signature.  You only need a new travel signature on your I-20 if your most recent signature was before July 1, 2021 and you intend to return to the US to study with your current status.


On Friday, July 24, ICE issued new guidance for fall 2020, and those changes are reflected in the FAQ below. You can read the updated guidance here. On Monday, April 26, ICE confirmed that guidance for the 2021-2022 academic year would be the same as the guidance for Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 (see above).

I was a student in the US in March 2020 (either at Appalachian or another institution in the US). What does this mean for my Fall 2021 class registration?

As a continuing student in the US, you may be enrolled in all or some online classes for Fall 2021. However, Appalachian is planning to offer the majority of classes with in-person instruction so it may be difficult to register for a full course load entirely online. If you are taking all online classes, you may do so either from inside or outside the US and still maintain your F-1 status. 

How do I know the delivery method for my courses?

You can check the method of course instruction HERE.  Once you find the Fall 2021 class(es) you are searching for, look at the LOCATION column.  Online classes will list WEB.  In-person classes will list the abbreviation of a building (RSW for Rankin Science West, for example). 

Can I work remotely as a graduate assistant or student worker if I am outside the US?

No. Due to international tax implications, students who are located outside the US may not perform paid work remotely for the university.


What is my university insurance policy’s coverage of COVID-19?

If you have Student Blue insurance through Appalachian, please review the Student Blue website for more details regarding coverage and health care benefits and what to do if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

What are the best ways to contact ISSSO if I have questions or concerns about anything?

ISSSO staff members are working remotely and are available to set up a Zoom meeting or phone call with you. Please email with any questions or concerns.  You may also come to walk-in hours either virtually via Zoom or physically in PSU 321 - Tuesdays 1pm to 3pm and Fridays 10am to 12pm.