Travel Guidance

August 14, 2023

Federal Government Confirms End of COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

The White House announced the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency on May 11, 2023.  That same day, the COVID-19 vaccine requirements for international travelers are no longer in effect.  The U.S. Department of State announcement can be found here.

November 29, 2021


On November 26, 2021 the White House issued a Proclamation, effective November 29, 2021 that restricts travel to the U.S. for noncitizens who were physically present in the following countries within the 14-day period preceding travel to the U.S.:  Botswana; Eswatini; Lesotho; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia; South Africa; and, Zimbabwe.  The restrictions are in response to the new COVID-19 Omicron variant present in those countries.  While the Proclamation does reference an exception for a noncitizen whose entry "would be in the national interest," neither the State Department or the Department of Homeland Security have confirmed the criteria for National Interest Exceptions (NIEs). 

In a November 28, 2021 U.S. Customs & Border Protection bulletin the agency confirmed that NIEs issued under previous Proclamations are void with respect to the November 26, 2021 Proclamation. OVIS will continue to provide updates as they become available. 

Presidential Proclamations Suspending Entry to the U.S for Certain Visa Holders

Expiration of Proclamation banning visa issuance for H-1Bs - On March 31, 2021 Presidential Proclamation 10052, which temporarily suspended visa issuance to nonimmigrants seeking to enter the U.S. in H-1B and certain other nonimmigrant visa categories, expired.  Even with the expiration, the geographic COVID-19-related Presidential Proclamations suspending entry to the U.S. of foreign nationals who have been physically present in certain regions of the world in the 14-day period before traveling  remain in effect.  These bans apply to China, Iran, Brazil, the Schengen Area countries, the UK and Ireland, and South Africa. And many consular posts around the world are either closed, or operating at reduced capacity with limited services due to the pandemic.  Country-specific travel information can be found on the U.S. Department of State website.

China MCF Strategy - Presidential Proclamation 10043 suspending entry in F or J status of certain Chinese students and researchers with associations to entities in China that support the government's "military civil-fusion strategy" - This proclamation does not apply to undergraduate students.  F and J visa applicants should be notified by a consular officer at the visa interview if they are subject to the proclamation.  The U.S. Department of State also has the ability to revoke visas of current F and J visa holders.

Other Travel Considerations

SEVP Guidance for Fall 2021 – On April 26, 2021 the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) updated its COVID-19 guidance by adding an updated section clarifying questions for the 2021-22 academic year.  The updated guidance states that SEVP will extend the March 2020 guidance for the upcoming academic year.  The guidance enables schools and international students to engage in remote learning in excess of the regulatory limits due to continuing COVID-19 public health concerns.  According to the guidance, new or initial students coming to the U.S. cannot engage in a fully online course of study.  Schools may issue Forms I-20 to students seeking to enroll in a program of study that includes in-person and online components beyond the regulatory limits.  The guidance also states that once a school returns to "normal operations," if students cannot or will not return to the U.S. to study, their F-1 records should be terminated in the SEVIS system.  OVIS will continue to provide updates as we receive additional information and clarification on the SEVP guidance and announcements on Dartmouth's operations for Fall term 2021. 

DHS Proposed Rule to Eliminate D/S for F and J nonimmigrants – It does not appear that the proposed rule will move forward.  The proposed rule would have called for F and J nonimmigrants entering the U.S. to be issued an I-94 record of arrival with a fixed period of admission, rather than admission for D/S (duration of status). OVIS will provide any updates on the status of the proposed rule.

Document Checklist

Evidence of enrollment, appointment and/or employment at Dartmouth College

In addition to the required immigration documents listed below, we recommend that you carry evidence of your need to be on campus.  This can include evidence of enrollment on campus for students (course schedules, unofficial transcripts), an appointment letter for researchers and visiting faculty, and an updated letter of employment verification for faculty and staff which can be obtained from Dartmouth's Office of Human Resources. 

Valid passport

Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the expiration of your period of authorized stay in the U.S.

Valid visa stamp

Unless you are Canadian and visa-exempt, your visa stamp in your passport must be valid at the time of your planned reentry to the U.S. and must reflect your correct nonimmigrant visa status. If you have changed your immigration status since your last admission to the U.S., you will need to apply for a new visa stamp in order to reenter the country.

In August 2020, the U.S. Department of State announced that it would temporarily expand the ability of a consular officer to waive the in-person interview for visa renewal where the applicant was seeking a visa in the same visa classification and the prior stamp was not expired longer than 24 months. The policy is in effect until December 31, 2020.  

Most U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the world closed at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. While many posts have reopened, they may have limited access and long wait times.  To monitor post closings or limited hours of operation, please go to the U.S. Department of State website.

Valid Form I-20 (F-1 students) or Form DS-2019 (J-1 Exchange Visitors)

Check your form to make sure you will reenter before the program end date, and that you have a valid travel signature from OVIS. The travel signature for F-1 and J-1 visa holders is valid for 12 months, unless you are a graduated F-1 student on OPT, in which case your I-20 travel signature is valid for 6 months. To request a travel signature, see the instructions on the OVIS website.

Plan for possible visa issuance delays

The situation at the Embassies and Consulates is fluid. It is important to check the specific post where you plan to apply to see the status of current operations: Be sure to check the website of the U.S. consulate or embassy for hours of operation, specific application procedures including required documentation, and processing times. For students, bring a copy of your transcript as proof of enrollment. Dartmouth employees can bring an updated employment verification letter issued by Human Resources and copies of your two most recent pay statements. 

Security clearances

U.S. Consular Officers can require visa applications to undergo additional security clearances based on country of nationality, a name that is similar to a name on a government watch list, study, or works in a field involving sensitive technologies, or other reasons. If an application requires an additional clearance, it will be placed in "administrative processing" and the visa will not be issued until the process is complete, which can take several weeks or longer. For more information on administrative processing, visit

Admission at U.S. port of entry and automated Form I-94 record

For F-1 students with a previously terminated SEVIS record, expect to undergo additional screening at the Customs & Border Protection Agency's (CBP) secondary inspection so that your valid F-1 status can be verified in the SEVIS system.

If traveling by air, after you arrive in the U.S. with access to the internet and a printer, a copy of the I-94 record of arrival can be accessed on CBP's website. If there is an error in your I-94 record, contact OVIS for assistance in having it corrected.

If traveling by land crossing from Canada or Mexico, you must request a "new admission" if you want your entry recorded in the agency's electronic system. OVIS recommends the I-94 record be accessed and printed for every new arrival to the U.S. to ensure accuracy. If there is an error in your I-94 record, contact OVIS for assistance in having it corrected.

Visit the I-94 website at