Open Menu Close Menu Open Search Close Search

Updated: March 3, 2020. Note that the information below is provided by the Tufts International Center for the benefit of Tufts' international students, scholars, and their dependents. 

Current Status Summary

[March 3, 2020] As of early March 2020, the worldwide COVID-19 situation remains highly uncertain and fluid, with rapidly-changing conditions both within the US and in other countries. International students, scholars, and their dependents who are currently considering spring and/or summer travel and other plans should take into account the possibility that travel, study, and employment may be subject to change with little advance notice. Remember that in addition to the US government's evolving response, different countries - as well as airlines, cruise lines, and other carriers - are taking their own steps to address the COVID-19 crisis. While the International Center will make every effort to provide the most recent advice and information, students and scholars are responsible for keeping up on all relevant guidance by reading the University's community updates, as well as guidance from the US State Department, Centers for Disease Control, and World Health Organization. No travel guarantees can be offered, especially given the highly uncertain nature of the current worldwide situation.

[March 6, 2020] The University has issued a travel guidance in response to COVID-19 that applies to inbound and outbound travel by students, scholars, employees, and visitors. Please read the policy here. Important points affecting international students and scholars include:

  • temporary prohibitions on university-related travel to CDC Level 3 countries (currently China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy)
  • suspension of all outbound co-curricular activities such as school treks
  • university approval requirement for travel to CDC Level 2 countries (currently Japan)
  • mandatory 14 day self-quarantine and requirement to stay away from campus during this time for persons arriving from CDC Level 3 countries (currently China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are the current travel restrictions imposed by the US government?

As of March 2, 2020 the US government has suspended the entry of most foreign nationals who were physically present in either China (restriction effective February 5) except for Hong Kong / Macau SARs and Iran (restriction effective March 2). The suspensions apply to nonimmigrants and immigrants who were physically present in these countries within 14 days of attempting entry into the US. While there are exceptions for certain persons, most international students and scholars on nonimmigrant visas will likely be subject to these travel suspensions

Q. I am planning to travel over spring break to a country where there are significant coronavirus cases going on. Should I cancel?

[Update March 6, 2020] Under its updated travel guidance in response to COVID-19, the University is prohibiting University related travel to CDC Level 3 countries (currently China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy) and requiring university approval for travel to CDC Level 2 countries (currently Japan). In addition, there will be a mandatory requirement to self-quarantine and to remain away from campuses premises for those arriving from CDC Level 3 countries. For this reason, the International Center advises international students, scholars, employees and visitors against travel to CDC Level 3 countries until these restrictions are removed.

Q. I am traveling over spring break, but to a country where cases of coronavirus has been minimal or non-existence - will I be OK to return?

While travel to many parts of the world continues to operate under normal or near-normal conditions, you should still exercise considerable caution and be flexible in your plans. COVID-19 has emerged rapidly and spread in unpredictable ways, so it is possible that local conditions may change quite suddenly and without much notice. In addition, there may be significant disruptions to international travel regardless of destination as airlines and other carriers respond to changing conditions. You should check the travel policies and restrictions of the countries you are planning to visit, since they may choose to respond to COVID-19 in ways that can impact your travel / study plans.

If you are traveling this spring, be sure that you have valid travel documents for re-entry to the US. Consult our Travel Resources section of our web site for information about the documents you should carry, which will typically include (at minimum) your unexpired passport valid at least six months into the future, an unexpired F-1 or J-1 or H-1B visa, and a Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 with a valid travel signature. We also recommend you carry your health insurance information.

Q. I have heard concerns about taking cruises during spring vacation. Should I cancel my trip?

The International Center recommends that you exercise a high degree of caution and careful judgment. At present, there are no US immigration restrictions preventing persons from taking cruises for short vacations; however, note that in Asia, in particular, many cruise lines are canceling, rerouting, or limiting their sailings. Additionally, as recent events have indicated, anyone going on a cruise should be aware of the possibility of rapidly changing conditions due to situations such as unexpected cases of passenger illness, which may lead to ship-wide quarantines. Please consult with relevant guidance and your cruise operator. Also be sure to carry your travel documents (e.g., valid passport, visa, I-20 / DS-2019 with an updated travel signature) as well as your health insurance information. If your cruise will take you to the adjacent islands of the Caribbean, also print out and carry a copy of your Form I-94 from

Q. I am traveling during spring break, but only within the US. Will I be able to come back to Tufts?

There are no coronavirus-related travel restrictions regarding your ability to return to Tufts. However, exercise basic preventive measures and precautions; also keep up to date on local conditions as the number of cases in the United States has started to increase rapidly in particular cities and regions. If you start showing symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, you should stay away from campus and self-quarantine immediately, and contact a medical professional for assistance.

Q. I am planning to go abroad this summer / fall to do study abroad, an internship, or research abroad. Should I reconsider?

Unfortunately, at this time [March 3, 2020] we cannot offer clear, firm guidance about planned activities for summer and fall 2020, due to the still-evolving and changing nature of the COVID-19 crisis. However, here are some basic pointers:

    • If you are interested in a Tufts study abroad program for the fall, please contact the Office of Global Education for more information and updates about the status of Tufts programs in different countries.
    • For students who are planning to do a summer or fall internship or research program outside the US, please consult with the International Center advisor before making plans. We recommend that you consult with managers at your internship / research project sites, your academic advisors, and monitor travel advisories for your destination countries. You may be advised to change your plans depending on current and emerging local conditions and experiences with COVID-19.
    • In all cases, make flexible arrangements (such as purchasing refundable air fares) and consider purchasing travel insurance to supplement your regular insurance.
    • Careful planning is also needed if you will need a new visa to return, as it is possible that there will be ongoing disruptions throughout the summer and possibly fall to US visa services in countries experiencing high levels of COVID-19 cases.

Q. What are my options for staying in the US / at Tufts once the spring semester is over?

If you are a student currently enrolled for the spring semester, your options will depend on whether or not you are graduating in May. F-1 students who are finishing studies still have a 'grace period' of 60 days after May 17 to depart the US, and J-1 students and scholars have a period of 30 days. Consult with an International Center advisor about your options. For students who are continuing in the Fall 2020 semester, you are generally allowed to take the summer vacation as a 'free' period without having to study. However, the International Center is talking to university departments about possible work, study, and housing options for students who may decide to stay in the US instead of going home for the summer vacation. Look for more information in the near future.

Q. I am planning on withdrawing for the spring semester and going home. What do I need to do?

If you want to withdraw for the semester due to a family emergency or other personal considerations, talk to your academic advisor or school dean regarding your academic options. You must also call or meet with an International Center advisor. Depending on your destination country, there may be temporary or prolonged interruptions to visa services for returning to resume studies your studies at Tufts for the Fall 2020 or later semesters. Because individual circumstances may vary and current global immigration and travel requirements are highly fluid and unpredictable, our advice will be given on a case-by-case basis.