NAFSA has assembled these resource links to help you navigate issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Proclamation 9994 of March 13, 2020, President Trump declared a national emergency concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. In Presidential Notice of February 18, 2022, published in the Federal Register at 87 FR 10289 (February 23, 2022), the President announced: "The COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause significant risk to the public health and safety of the Nation.  For this reason, the national emergency declared on March 13, 2020, and beginning March 1, 2020, must continue in effect beyond March 1, 2022. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing the national emergency declared in Proclamation 9994 concerning the COVID-19 pandemic." Under 50 USC 1622(d), national emergencies remain in effect for one year from the effective date anniversary unless terminated sooner, or again extended before that one-year anniversary date.

ICE and SEVP

Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) COVID-19 guidance and FAQs for F-1 and M-1 schools.

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DOS EVP

Department of State COVID-19 guidance and FAQs for J-1 Exchange Visitor Program sponsors and participants.

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Visas and Entry

NAFSA is actively tracking the U.S. visa and entry restrictions related to COVID-19.

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Latest COVID-19-Related Updates

      Looking for non-COVID-19-related immigration news? Go to the Adviser's Manual 360 Home Page.

  • CDC Rescinds Pre-Departure COVID Testing Requirement. As of 12:01AM ET on June 12, 2022, CDC will no longer require air passengers traveling from a foreign country to the United States to show a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board their flight. Nonimmigrants entering the United States will, however, still be subject to the requirement to be fully vaccinated with an acceptable COVID-19 vaccine.

  • SEVP "reissues" April 18, 2022 COVID guidance. In Broadcast Message 2205-03: ICE Clarifies Continuation of March 2020 Guidance for the 2022-23 Academic Year (May 31, 2022), SEVP "reissued" its April 18, 2022 guidance, but "clarified" that "Students who enrolled after March 9, 2020, must adhere to SEVP's existing regulations regarding online learning, found at 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(f)(6)." That statement seems to be internally inconsistent with other paragraphs regarding new and initial students and hybrid study that appear to remain unchanged following the May 31, 2022 reissuance of the April 18, 2022 guidance.

  • DOS Extends Exchange Visitor Program COVID FAQs but Limits Telework. In an April 22, 2022 update to its "Current Program" Exchange Visitor Program COVID-19 FAQs, BridgeUSA extended its general COVID-19 accommodations through June 30, 2023, still conditioned on the requirement that "new exchange visitors can participate in programs only if their host organizations (e.g., schools or businesses) have reinstated partial to full in-person activities." A new FAQ also continues to allow telework in the College/University Student (Academic Training and Student Intern), Research Scholar, Short Term Scholar, Intern, and Trainee categories, but institutes a limit "of one to two telework days per week."

  • SEVP Extends COVID-19 Guidance to 2022-2023 Academic Year. In an April 18, 2022 revision to its COVID-19 guidance, SEVP to the 2022-2023 academic year. SEVP states that it "will continue to abide by guidance originally issued in March 2020 for the 2022-23 academic year and did not make any changes to the March 2020 guidance. Stakeholders should continue to refer to existing resources at ICE.gov/Coronavirus for information about the original March 2020 guidance."

  • Reopening Statuses of Local Social Security Offices. A Social Security Administration (SSA) page shows the reopening statuses of in-person services at local SSA offices, stating: "Local Social Security offices are offering more in-person appointments and have resumed in-person service for people without an appointment. As we expand in-person service, we strongly encourage you to continue to go online, call us for help, and schedule appointments in advance. This webpage lists the small number of offices temporarily: may provide service only by appointment due to construction, inability to permit people to wait outside the office, or other reasons [or] may be closed to the public."

  • NAFSA Asks SEVP for Academic Year 2022-2023 COVID Guidance. In an April 4, 2022 letter to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), NAFSA CEO and Executive Director, Dr. Esther Brimmer, asked the agency to soon publish COVID-19 guidance for the coming 2022-2023 academic year. Noting the continued national emergency declaration, the letter states: "Schools and other institutions are in a state of transition towards greater normalcy as they balance multiple factors to adjust their curricula, polices, and procedures in this phase of the pandemic. An extension of SEVP’s COVID-19 accommodations policies for the upcoming academic year would allow the full spectrum of schools to focus on tailoring policies that make sense in the local context."

  • USCIS Extends COVID-19 RFE Response Flexibility until July 25, 2022. On March 30, 2022, USCIS extended until July 25, 2022 the COVID-19 flexibilities it established for responses to Requests for Evidence (RFEs) and other similar response-based notices and requests, and filing date requirements for filing Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion.

  • President Extends COVID-19 National Emergency Declaration. In Proclamation 9994 of March 13, 2020, President Trump declared a national emergency concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. In Presidential Notice of February 18, 2022, published in the Federal Register at 87 FR 10289 (February 23, 2022), the President announced: "The COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause significant risk to the public health and safety of the Nation.  For this reason, the national emergency declared on March 13, 2020, and beginning March 1, 2020, must continue in effect beyond March 1, 2022. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing the national emergency declared in Proclamation 9994 concerning the COVID-19 pandemic." Under 50 USC 1622(d), national emergencies remain in effect for one year from the effective date anniversary unless terminated sooner, or again extended before that one-year anniversary date.

  • Limited NIE for Certain Nonimmigrants Who Were Physically Present in Ukraine as of February 10, 2022. On February 15, 2022, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued a very limited National Interest Exception (NIE) to the Proclamation 10294 vaccination requirement, for  nonimmigrants who meet all of the following conditions: "(1) are traveling with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident; (2) were physically present in Ukraine as of February 10, 2022; and (3) possess valid travel documents allowing them to travel to the United States." They will be permitted to enter the United States without showing proof of COVID-19 vaccination prior to traveling to the United States, but will "need to attest to having made arrangements to receive a COVID-19 test within three to five days of arrival in the United States, to self-quarantine for seven days, to self-isolate in the event of a positive COVID-19 test or the development of COVID-19 symptoms, and to become fully vaccinated for COVID-19 within 60 days of arrival in the United States if intending to stay in the United States for more than 60 days." This NIE will remain in effect only until 11:59 P.M. EST, April 1, 2022.

  • DHS Extends Form I-9 Flexibilities until April 30, 2022. DHS extended its COVID-19 Form I-9 flexibilities until December 31, 2021, due to "continued precautions related to COVID-19." Starting May 1, 2022, however, employers must only accept unexpired List B documents.

  • Biden Proclamation Requires Nonimmigrants Traveling by Air to Be Fully Vaccinated with Approved COVID Vaccine. President Biden's October 25, 2021 proclamation lifted, effective November 8, 2021, the prior geographic travel ban restrictions, and replaced them with a global requirement that "noncitizens who are nonimmigrants" traveling to the United States by air from any part of the world establish that they are fully vaccinated, with some limited exceptions. All air travelers will also continue to have to show results of a negative coronavirus test performed on a specimen taken during the day preceding their flight's departure from a foreign country traveling to the United States, in addition to proof of vaccination.

  • Senators Ask DOS to Address Visa Backlog for International Students. On August 10, 2021, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) led a group of 23 Senators in calling on Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the State Department to address the backlog of visas for international students, which grew significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • NAFSA Meets With Department of State Regarding Consular Operations. On July 12, 2021, Esther Brimmer, DPhil, NAFSA’s executive director and CEO, met with U.S. State Department Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs, Edward Ramotowski, to discuss growing concerns regarding limited visa appointment availability and processing delays affecting international students and scholars planning to arrive on U.S. campuses this fall. NAFSA members can read a meeting summary.

  • Education Department Updates HEERF Policy To Allow Grants for Undocumented and International Students. On May 11, 2021, the Department of Education (DoEd) released an updated set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III) grants under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Notably, the FAQs reverse a narrow position that had been taken by DoEd under the former Trump administration, and the policy now allows "Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients, other DREAMers, and similar undocumented students" as well as "international students" to receive HREEF grants.

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NAFSA Statements and Resources