Open Menu Close Menu Open Search Close Search

Updated October 26, 2021

This page contains status updates regarding countries that are currently subject to US entry restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For information about restrictions and recommendations regarding travel to other countries, review the US State Department's Travel Advisories as well as the Center for Disease Controls' COVID-19 information page for travelers.

COVID-19 Entry Suspensions

Update (October 25, 2021): By virtue of Presidential Proclamation issued on October 25, 2021, country-specific COVID-19 entry suspensions as described below will be revoked effective November 8, 2021. Instead, travelers to the US arriving on international flights will be required to show proof of completed COVID-19 vaccination as well as a negative COVID-19 test result prior to boarding their flights. Only limited exceptions may be granted, and any unvaccinated nonimmigrant visa holder may be required to agree to and arrange for COVID-19 vaccination upon arrival.

The United States currently has entry suspensions in place for persons arriving from the countries or regions listed below. These suspensions are based on Presidential executive order or proclamation and implemented by federal agencies.

What do the COVID-19 entry suspensions do? The COVID-19 entry suspensions prevent persons on most nonimmigrant visas from entering the US if they were physically present in the listed country or region at any time during the 14 days prior to traveling to the US. This may include persons who are transiting through these areas. For more details, read the notes below and click on the country/region listed, to read the exact text of the Presidential Proclamation or suspension order.

(as of 1/21/2021)

Country or Region Current Status & Notes
Brazil Active (as of 5/28/2020) - see the National Interest Exception section below - to be revoked 11/8/2021
China Active (as of 2/2/2020) - see the National Interest Exception section below - to be revoked 11/8/2021
India Active (as of 5/4/2021) - see the National Interest Exception section below - to be revoked 11/8/2021
Iran Active (as of 3/2/2020) - see the National Interest Exception section below - to be revoked 11/8/2021
Schengen Area, United Kingdom, & Republic of Ireland Active (as of 3/13/2020) - see the National Interest Exception section below - to be revoked 11/8/2021
South Africa Active (as of 1/21/2021) -  see the National Interest Exception section below - to be revoked 11/8/2021
Canada and Mexico Active (as of 3/20/2020 through 1/21/2022). Entry to the US for study and employment is permitted. Non-essential travel to US by ferry, passenger car, passenger rail, or pleasure boat not permitted except for fully vaccinated travelers. Non-essential travel to US by air travel permitted but travelers must be fully vaccinated travelers.

National Interest Exceptions (NIEs)

Persons who are physically present in one of the countries or regions subject to the COVID-19 entry suspensions may still qualify for direct travel to the US based on a national interest exception or NIE. A national interest exception may be granted to persons whose travel to the US is deemed in the national interest. In general, to obtain a national interest exception the traveler must contact the US consulate that issued their visa to request NIE approval. In certain cases, such as for F-1 students, NIE approval may be automatic and the traveler does not need to contact the consulate. The information below relates to NIE approval processes for F-1 students and other categories of visa holders coming to the US to participate in educational activities at Tufts.

(A) Automatic National Interest Exception for F-1 Students

F-1 students may be eligible for an automatic national interest exception depending on the current location, i.e., they are not required to contact the US consulate to request NIE approval before traveling. However, at present, only F-1 students coming to the US from the Schengen Area (and the United Kingdom and Ireland) are eligible to travel under an automatic NIE. For students coming from other countries and regions, NIE approvals will be automatically granted for F-1 students under the conditions listed below:

  • Schengen Area, United Kingdom and Ireland: automatic NIE for F-1 student visa holders in effect from July 2020 onward; see the April 26 2021 announcement for an update
  • China, Iran, Brazil, and South Africa: automatic NIE goes into effect for F-1 student visa holders coming from these countries to attend programs starting or resuming on or after August 1, 2021
  • India: automatic NIE goes into effect for F-1 student visa holders coming from India to attend programs starting or resuming on or after August 1, 2021

(B) National Interest Exception Process for Other Visa Types (J-1, H-1B and other Visas)

Other nonimmigrant visa holders such as J-1 exchange visitors and H-1B temporary workers must request a NIE directly from the US consulate or embassy that issued their visa (they may also ask for a NIE when applying for their visas). Go to the web site for the US consulate and search for NIE instructions. In most cases NIE requests are made by email directly to the US consulate following consulate guidelines and instructions. A NIE is required even if simply transiting through one of the areas listed above.

On July 7, 2021 the US State Department announced that NIEs granted through this process would be valid for up to 12 months and for multiple entries, as long as other conditions for entry to the US also remain valid.

Remember that even if granted a NIE, travelers must still have valid passports, visas, and supporting documents (such as a Form I-20 for F-1 students or DS-2019 for J-1 students and scholars) in order to travel to the US. NIE approval alone is not sufficient.

Inactive or Expired Visa Suspensions

On June 22, 2020, President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation ("Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak") that ordered restrictions on the ability of persons to enter the United States in certain types of visa classifications that allow US-based employment. These visa classifications include the H-1B and H-2B visas, certain categories of the J-1 exchange visitor visa, and L visas. The restrictions go into effect at 12:01am EDT on Thursday, June 24 and will last until December 31, 2020 unless otherwise terminated or extended.


  • On December 31, 2020 the President issued a Proclamation extending this suspension until March 31, 2021
  • On March 31, 2021 this Presidential Proclamation expired. The Biden Administration has not renewed it. 

For Tufts, the primary population affected are new H-1B employees who, on the effective date, were outside the US and who did not have a valid H-1B visa to come to the US to start employment at Tufts. H-1B employees already in the US with approved or pending H-1B petitions are not affected. However, current employees should consult with the International Center regarding future travel plans if they do not already have a valid H-1B visa.

J-1 exchange visitors in higher education contexts - including J-1 research scholars, short-term scholars, professors, specialists, and students - are not affected by this Proclamation. In addition, the Proclamation does not mention or include any restrictions impacting F-1 students. Read the International Center's announcement regarding this Proclamation.


On April 20, 2020 President Trump announced his intention to impose a temporary 60-day suspension on US immigration due to the economic impact of COVID-19. This suspension applies to the ability of certain persons to enter under immigrant visas issued after April 23, 2020 and does not apply to non-immigrant visas (e.g., F-1, J-1, H-1B and other visas). The extension may be extended at a later juncture if deemed necessary. Please read our current statement (April 22, 2020)  regarding the suspensionNOTE: On December 31, 2020 President Trump issued a Proclamation extending this suspension until March 31, 2021. On February 24, 2021, President Biden rescinded the original proclamation and the extension proclamation. This suspension is no longer in effect.