Visas and Travel

U.S. Updates Travel Requirements – Negative COVID-19 Test within 1 Day of Travel to U.S. (and fully vaccinated) – effective December 6, 2021

UPDATE 12/29/2021: Effective December 31, 2021, the travel restrictions to the U.S. from the 8 countries of Southern Africa will be revoked. ALL travelers to the U.S. must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and have a negative COVID-19 test no more than 1 day prior to air travel to the U.S. See guidance here.

11/26/2021: U.S. Announces Travel Restrictions from 8 Countries of Southern Africa – effective November 29, 2021

Please review ISO Travel Guidance for Fall/Winter Break 2021-2022, originally posted in the ISO e-newsletter on 11/19/2021 but will be continually updated.

ISO Virtual Forum: Travel Guidance presentation slides and recordings, from the sessions on November 23, December 2, and December 9, are available for review (Kerberos login required).

UPDATE 12/03/2021: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has posted an infographic “Traveling to the United States from a Foreign Country By Air”, that provides helpful guidance on vaccination and testing requirements needed to enter the U.S.: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/pdf/requirements-travel-to-us-by-air-quick-reference-p.pdf

This information is meant for MIT students and for general informational purposes only. If you are an MIT student and you have further questions about travel information and your visa status, please contact the International Students Office for consultation with an International Student Advisor.

NOTE: Processing times for visas at U.S. Embassies/Consulates abroad have been unpredictable, with extended Administrative Processing (security check procedures). There is no avenue to expedite applications under Administrative Processing, as the Embassy/Consulate also must wait for all security procedures to be completed before a visa can be issued. Please check the U.S. Embassy/Consulate website for details and have a plan in case your travel plans are delayed due to visa processing times.

REMINDER: If you are traveling to a country other than the U.S., where you are not a Citizen or Permanent Resident/Immigrant of that country, you must verify if you need a visa to enter that country. Please plan ahead and check the Consulate General website for that country for visa requirements and application procedures.

Requesting a Travel Signature for Form I-20 or Form DS-2019: With the ISO working remotely, it is NOT possible to drop off/pick up your Form I-20 or DS-2019 to request a travel signature. Students will need to request a new Form via iMIT. To request a new Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 with travel signature:
(1) Login to iMIT
(2) Click on the left-hand menu “(F-1 / J-1) Student Services”
(3) Click on and complete the eform “Request Replacement of Form I-20/DS-2019”, and select request reason “Travel Signature”.
Updated funding documentation for the current academic year (up to 12 months covered by the Form I-20/DS-2019) will need to be uploaded as part of the eform.
(4) Be sure to click “Submit” on the eform once you have completed all fields and document uploads to the eform.

Processing time for a new document is 10 business days from date the full and complete request in iMIT is submitted.

Once your new document is completed, ISO will notify you via email from iMIT.
NOTE: New Forms I-20 can be sent to students electronically to download, print, and sign to carry as the new original document as per USDHS and USDOS guidance.
New Forms DS-2019 cannot be sent electronically, and therefore must be express mailed to the student or picked-up in-person at the ISO during Walk-In Office Hours.

Be sure to print and sign your new document and carry with all your previous Forms I-20 or Forms DS-2019 issued to you.

If you want your new document express mailed, follow the instructions to request a shipping label.

USDHS Guidance Extends Use by Schools of Electronic Signatures on Form I-20
In a guidance statement dated October 12, 2021, USDHS/SEVP announced the continued acceptance of electronic signatures by schools on the Form I-20. A copy of the guidance is available here. Students are still required to download, print, and sign a Form I-20 sent to them by their college/university for use (students may not sign the document electronically).

Travel Requirements by Airlines to Enter the U.S.

Please consult the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) webpage “Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic” concerning travel into the U.S. and travel within the U.S. Students are also advised to check with your airline for your flight to the U.S. to see if any COVID-19 test results are needed to board the flight.

January 26, 2021: U.S. Requires Negative COVID-19 test for international travelers entering the U.S.

Travel Guidance from MIT Medical
Please also consult the travel guidance, including requirements to return to campus, provided by MIT Medical on MIT NOW (https://now.mit.edu/).

MIT Travel Policy – Please be sure to consult the updated MIT Travel Policy available on MIT Now (https://now.mit.edu/policies/mit-travel-policy/), especially if you will be traveling outside of the New England states (Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Rhode Island). The policy discusses registering MIT-related travel and personal travel, as well as requirements for return to campus after travel abroad.

Current Travel Restrictions
(NOTE: Travel restrictions can change at any time and with little notice. Before any travel, consult the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website referenced above as well as contact your airline to verify any restrictions to board flights or entry to a destination country; including even if only transiting through that country.)