International Travel Guidance

Proclamations Pertaining to International Travel

As of November 8, all non-U.S. citizens who are non-immigrants and seeking to enter the United States by air will be required to:

  • Be fully vaccinated before boarding a flight to the United States; unless you meet the criteria for an exception.
  • Show a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19. The timing of this test depends on your vaccination status and age.

Please refer to the U.S. CDC website for further details and guidance on the new requirement.

International Travel Guidance

International students, faculty and staff who plan to travel overseas for the foreseeable future should carefully monitor health-related travel restrictions at your destination and for return to the United States. We strongly advise you to consider only urgent international travel and to defer any unnecessary departure from the United States, as you may not be able to obtain the necessary permission to return even if you have an unexpired visa.

Those who have an expired visa must make a visa appointment before departure and inform the Office of International Affairs, and obtain approval from their academic department/advisor (if a student) and their supervisor/administrator/Human Resources Business Partner (if an employee or volunteer).

If you must travel, review all general travel guidance as well as status-specific guidance below.

  • If you are on a Jefferson sponsored H-1b, F-1, J-1, E-3, O-1 or TN, contact OIA@jefferson.edu to report your travel destination, departure, and return dates, and if you require a travel signature.
  • If you are an employee of Jefferson you will need to discuss what will happen if you are gone for an extended period of time with both your supervisor and Human Resources. Working from abroad is NOT permitted.
  • Find out if there are visa requirements for your destination in advance.
  • Check Travel Advisories for your intended destination on travel.state.gov.
  • Check Travel Restrictions:
  • If traveling internationally, check for details about entry requirements and restrictions for arriving travelers. Follow all entry requirements for your destination and provide any required or requested health information.
  • If traveling by air, check with your airline for any information and documents required before travel. If traveling internationally, you must get a COVID-19 test no more than one day before your return by air to the United States. You are required to show a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the United States. Learn more about these requirements.
  • Upon return, check your I-94 record. If it is incorrect, call the PHL airport's Deferred Inspection Site at 215-863-4247.  Hours of operation are 12 pm- 8 pm, Monday to Friday. You can also email PhilaDeferredInspections@@cbp.dhs.gov with scanned copies of your passport biographic page, visa, admission stamp, boarding pass and description of the issue.

Incoming International Students

F-1 and J-1 students are permitted to arrive in the U.S. no earlier than 30 days before the program start date on their I-20.

Email OIA at OIA@jefferson.edu to report your scheduled flight and arrival to the U.S. if you are coming from abroad.

Fully-vaccinated, asymptomatic international travelers will not be required to quarantine upon their arrival to Jefferson. However, they must call the COVID-19 line at 215-951-0168 to report their arrival. They will have a COVID-19 test ordered for day 5 after arrival. If asymptomatic, students do not need to quarantine while awaiting the results of the test. Please review the full travel policy here, including instructions for students who have received an exemption from Jefferson’s Student COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.

Mask Wearing: Everyone must wear masks in university, corporate, and healthcare buildings. If eating or drinking in designated areas, use proper social distancing. Outdoor gatherings and events must utilize proper social distancing.

Please contact EF.COVID19@jefferson.edu if you have any questions.

Current International Students (F-1 & J-1)

International travel is not recommended at this time. If you travel, you understand the risks of sudden travel restrictions and delays in returning to the U.S.

Before you make arrangements, contact OIA@jefferson.edu to report your intended travel destination, your date of departure, and your arrival. Let us know if you require a travel signature on the second page of your I-20 or the first page of your DS-2019.

Notify your program and the Office of International Affairs if your return flight is delayed.

Documents to Travel with:

  • A valid Form I-20, or DS-2019 by an Office of International Affairs advisor (the signature must not be more than 12 months old at the time of re-entry to the U.S.).
  • Unexpired passport  - must be valid for at least six months
  • Unexpired F-1 or J-1 student visa in the passport (except for Canadian citizens).
  • SEVIS fee payment receipt (print a new receipt).
  • Proof of current enrollment

The list of documents above (minus proof of enrollment) also applies to your F-2 or J-2 dependents.

Travel After Your I-20 Program End Date & Pending Post-Completion OPT (F-1 only)

International travel is considered risky and is generally not recommended for you and any F-2 dependents, while Post-completion OPT is pending after your program end date.

Entry to the U.S. in any status other than F-1 OPT will invalidate your OPT work authorization.

If you must travel during this time, contact OIA@jefferson.edu.

Travel After I-20 Program End Date & OPT Approval (F-1 only)

You must have ALL documents listed below to travel and reenter the U.S. while on an approved period of OPT. In many cases, you may also need to apply for a new F-1 visa before you may return to the U.S.

Documents to Travel With:

  • Valid Form I-20, signed on page 2 by an Office of International Affairs advisor (the signature must not be more than six months old at the time of re-entry to the U.S.).
  • Unexpired passport  - must be valid for at least six months
  • Unexpired F-1 visa in the passport (except for Canadian citizens).
  • OPT EAD issued by USCIS. Printed on the EAD is the statement "Not valid for re-entry." This statement means that the EAD alone is not valid for re-entry.             
  • Evidence of a job offer or evidence of resumption of employment.
  • SEVIS fee payment receipt (print a new receipt).

Students who have the documents listed above may travel outside the United States and reenter even before the date their work permission begins. For example, an F-1 student who graduates in May with an OPT EAD that starts in July may travel and return to the United States any time after graduation.

Entry to the U.S. in any status other than F-1 OPT will invalidate your OPT work authorization.

Travel on Academic Training After Graduation (J-1 students only)

International travel is not recommended at this time. If you must travel, you understand the risks of sudden travel restrictions and delays in returning to the U.S.

Documents to Travel With:

  • Valid Academic Training DS-2019 signed once a year in the "travel validation" section by an Office of International Affairs advisor.
  • Valid J-1 visa in the passport (except for Canadian citizens).
  • Valid passport  - must be valid for at least six months
  • A letter from your employer as evidence of employment.

You must not use a tourist visa unless you are a true tourist and plan on abandoning your J-1 Academic Training.

If your J-1 visa is expired at your re-entry to the U.S., you must apply for a new J-1 visa to cover your AT time.

J-2 Dependents

  • Valid Form DS-2019 signed once a year in the "travel validation" section by a Responsible Officer of your spouse's Exchange Visitor Program.
  • Valid J-2 visa stamp in the passport (except for Canadian citizens).
  • Valid passport  - must be valid for at least six months

If your visa is expired and you must travel internationally, you must renew your visa before returning to the U.S. However, note U.S. embassies worldwide are experiencing limited availability in appointments due to COVID-19, and there are possible delays in returning to the U.S. because of this. You must receive approval from your supervisor and department before travel. You will need to discuss what happens if you are gone for an extended time with both your supervisor and Human Resources. Working from abroad is NOT permitted.

J-1 Scholars that travel outside of the U.S. for more 30 days require J-1 Out-of-Country to be approved by the Office of International Affairs. J-1 Out-Of-Country requires 1) travel is necessary for continuing the research or teaching activities listed in your J-1 program; 2) health insurance is maintained to meet the minimum J-1 health insurance; and 3) contact information and flight schedule are updated to the OIA, department, and HR.

Documents to Travel with:

  • J-1: DS-2019 with a travel signature from the Office of International Affairs - Please get in touch with OIA@jefferson.edu if you need a travel signature.
  • H-1B, O-1, E-3, TN: I-797 Approval Note: If you are on TN and only have a vaild entrance stamp that is ok.
  • Valid visa for re-entry (except Canadians).
  • Valid passport - Must be valid for at least six months.
  • Offer letter.
  • A copy of your SEVIS Fee receipt (J-1 only).
  • Proof of current employment such as the last three paystubs.

Passports

Passports should be valid at least six months into the future, while in the U.S. Passport validity is also required for international travel. Should you need to renew your passport, do so well in advance. You can renew your passport within the U.S. at your home country's embassy.

Visa Renewals

If your visa expires, you can stay in the U.S. as long as your immigration document is valid (H-1B, DS-2019, I-20, etc.).

If your visa is expired and you must travel internationally, you must renew your visa before returning to the U.S. However, note U.S. embassies worldwide are experiencing limited availability in appointments due to COVID-19, and there are possible delays in returning to the U.S. because of this.