Guidance on COVID-19 vaccine and test requirements for U.S. entry

UPDATE 12/3/2021: Effective December 6, 2021, all travelers entering the U.S. by air, regardless of vaccination status, must show a negative COVID test taken within one day of travel to the U.S. Relevant updates are bolded below.

Beginning November 8, 2021, F-1 and J-1 nonimmigrant student visa holders will be required to show proof of being fully vaccinated before flying to the United States. There are exceptions for citizens of some countries. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released guidance on who is considered fully vaccinated. People who completed a primary vaccine series outside the United States and received FDA-approved, FDA-authorized, or WHO-emergency use listing COVID-19 vaccines as a series or mixed dose regimen are considered fully vaccinated as per CDC guidanceAn individual is considered fully vaccinated 14 days after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine or the first dose of the one-dose vaccine.  

A negative viral COVID-19 test result is also required before flying to the United States. Fully vaccinated travelers must have a negative test within one day of travel to the U.S. Citizens exempted from the vaccine requirement must have a negative within one day of travel. Once in the United States, travelers are recommended to get a viral COVID-19 test three to five days after arrival – regardless of vaccination status.  

Previous travel restrictions for travelers from China, Iran, South Africa, the European Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Brazil, and India will be lifted on November 8, 2021. A presidential proclamation released on Oct. 25, 2021, announced these changes.  Effective November 29, 2021, nonimmigrant students on F-1 and J-1 visas who are physically present in Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, or Zimbabwe 14 days before entry to the U.S. cannot enter the U.S. under a new presidential proclamation.  

F-1 and J-1 visa holders and the entire campus community will continue to be subject to campus guidance regarding vaccination and testing. At UW-Madison, students who are unvaccinated are required to test weekly on campus. Campus recognizes vaccines approved and authorized by the FDA in addition to those maintained on the World Health Organization’s emergency use listing UW-Madison is looking to include mixed dose regimens for considering students fully vaccinated.  

If you are vaccinated and have not shared your record with University Health Services, upload your vaccine record in MyUHS. If you are starting at UW-Madison this spring semester, you will have access to MyUHS by November 12.  

Information on campus requirements for vaccination, testing, and other frequently asked questions are available at 

Frequently Asked Questions and Commonly Used Resources: