Global travel advisories and restrictions change frequently. Check U.S. Centers for Disease Control global travel advisories and your airline for updates. You must carry your important travel documents. Proof of in-person enrollment is required if you have an Initial Attendance I-20 with a summer or fall 2021 program start date. UW-Madison does not require students to have a COVID-19 vaccination to arrive to campus. More information is available on the COVID-19 Response page.
Geographic COVID-19 Travel Restrictions & National Interest Exception (NIE)
There are several COVID-19 related travel restrictions which restrict entry to the U.S. for travelers physically present in one of the following countries 14 days before travel to the U.S.:
- Brazil, (Proclamation 10143)
- China (Proclamation 10143)
- Iran (Proclamation 10143)
- Ireland (Proclamation 10143)
- Schengen area (Europe) (Proclamation 10143)
- United Kingdom (Proclamation 10143)
- South Africa (Proclamation 10143)
- India (April 30 Proclamation)
F-1 students with a valid F-1 visa who will resume their studies on/after August 1, 2021 qualify for a National Interest Exception (NIE) and do not need NIE approval from the U.S. embassy or consulate.
F-1 students who will resume their studies before August 1, 2021 must contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for NIE.
J-1 students must contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for NIE.
Your I-20 & Travel Signature
Travel with your most recent I-20 and check your travel signature expiration. Need an updated signature? Submit your I-20 Reprint Request in Terra Dotta!
Electronic I-20s are acceptable for visa applications and travel to the U.S., per Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) guidance.
Your DS-2019 & Travel Signature
Travel with your most recent I-20 and check your travel signature expiration. Need an updated signature? Submit your DS-2019 Reprint Request in Terra Dotta or send your assigned ISS Advisor a Terra Dotta Information Request to schedule a time for a travel signature. Electronic DS-2019s are not acceptable.
Your F-1 visa stamp must be valid at the time you enter the U.S. If your visa will be expired when you plan to enter the U.S., apply for your F-1 visa stamp, unless you are a citizen of Canada or Bermuda. Visa interviews are not required if you have an F-1 visa that expired in the last 48 months.
U.S. visa services have resumed in many countries. Each U.S. embassy and consulate will announce resumption of visa services on their website. We are closely monitoring updates and actively advocating for flexibility.
The earliest date a visa can be issued to an F-1 student with an Initial Attendance I-20 or DS-2019 is May 11, 2021 – 120 days before the Fall 2021 start date.
Entry to the U.S.
The earliest date an F-1 student with an Initial Attendance I-20 or DS-2019 can enter the U.S. is August 9, 2021. This is 30 days before the Fall 2021 start date. You must complete International Student Orientation (ISO) & ISS Check-in by September 8, 2021. You will receive our New Student Newsletter series beginning in June with more details.