ISS COVID-19 Updates


Travel Updates

New Travel Restrictions from India to the United States
April 30, 2021, President Biden's administration has announced its intentions to restrict travel from India on Tuesday, May 4, 2021.  The travel restriction is effective at 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on May 4, 2021.   

"Suspension and Limitation on Entry.  The entry into the United States, as nonimmigrants, of noncitizens who were physically present within the Republic of India during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation."

To read the Proclamation, click here.

Extension of Eligibility for the National Interest Exceptions (NIE)

April 30, 2021, the Department of State extended the qualification to the NIE for F-1 students from India.  Presidential Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus Disease 2019

"Students and certain academics covered by exchange visitor programs. Students subject to these geographic COVID proclamations due to their presence in India, China, Iran, Brazil, or South Africa, may qualify for a National Interest Exception only if their academic program begins August 1, 2021 or later. Students with valid F-1 and M-1 visas intending to begin or continue an academic program commencing August 1, 2021 or later do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek an individual National Interest Exception to travel. They may enter the United States no earlier than 30 days before the start of their academic studies. Students seeking to apply for new F-1 or M-1 visas should check the status of visa services at the nearest embassy or consulate; those applicants who are found to be otherwise qualified for an F-1 or M-1 visa will automatically be considered for a national interest exception to travel."



April 26, 2021, the Department of State stated that F-1 students located in Iran, Brazil, South Africa, Schengen Area, United Kingdom and Ireland are eligible for travel exceptions from the Presidential Proclamations.  The news release states "Students with valid F-1 and M-1 visas intending to begin or continue an academic program commencing August 1, 2021 or later do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek an individual NIE to travel.  They may enter the United States no earlier than 30 days before the start of their academic studies.  Students seeking to apply for new F-1 or M-1 visas should check the status of visa services at the nearest embassy or consulate; those applicants who are found to be otherwise qualified for an F-1 or M-1 visa will automatically be considered for an NIE to travel."

Fall 2021 Update

April 26, 2021, Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued guidance for the Fall 2021 semester.  ISS is reviewing and will be updating the FAQ to reflect the new information.

March 22, 2021, the University announced information about Fall 2021 Classes & Registration.

Spring 2021 Update

January 25, 2021: President Biden issued a presidential proclamation continuing the COVID-19 travel restrictions for the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, Ireland, and Brazil.  He also added South Africa to the list. 
  • Noncitizens "who were physically present within the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom (excluding overseas territories outside of Europe), the Republic of Ireland, and the Federative Republic of Brazil during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States, is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation.”   
  • “The entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of noncitizens who were physically present within the Republic of South Africa during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States, is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation.”
President Trump's presidential proclamations concerning COVID-19 travel restrictions for China and Iran are still in force as per a press release from the U.S. Department of State on January 26, 2021.

January 13, 2021: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is requiring all air passengers travelling to the United States have a documented COVID-19 test within 3 days of departure.   This will be effective January 26, 2021https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/s0112-negative-covid-19-air-passengers.html

Texas A&M University recommends persons who have recently  returned to the United States receive a COVID-19 test with in a few days upon arrival.
 

January 12, 2021: Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of State has stated through the media and SEVP representatives that the Fall 2020 COVID-19 guidance will apply for Spring 2021. It is likely that they will not publish revised guidance and we have adjusted the COVID-19 FAQ to reflect the Fall guidance. If more guidance is released, we will update the FAQ and email students.

December 9, 2020:  A news article stated, "Nonimmigrant students should continue to abide by SEVP guidance originally issued in March 2020," said the spokeswoman, Carissa Cutrell. "The guidance enables schools and students to engage in distance learning in excess of regulatory limits due to the public health emergency generated by COVID-19."  https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2020/12/09/federal-guidance-foreign-students-remains-same-spring

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of State have not yet published Spring 2021 guidance related to COVID-19 and F or J regulations.   ISS will be updating the ISS COVID-19 FAQ to reflect the recent statement from SEVP.

For the most updated version of the Frequently Asked Questions on the March 2020 SEVP COVID-19 Guidance, please check: www.ice.gov/doclib/coronavirus/covid19faq.pdf

November 24, 2020: A letter has been drafted by ISS for your use at the port-of-entry. This is to explain to the port-of-entry official that Texas A&M University will be having courses face-to-face and students will have the option to enroll in hybrid courses (face-to-face course with a remote option).  The letter explaining this is available at https://iss.tamu.edu/ISS/media/ISS-Files/ISS-PDF/ISS%20Information/Spring-2021-PDSO-Letter.pdf 

Beware of COVID-19 Scams!

Unfortunately, there have been numerous new scams that have developed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is a U.S. federal government agency aimed at protecting consumers and they have developed a comprehensive Coronavirus Advice for Consumers webpage: https://www.ftc.gov/coronavirus/scams-consumer-advice. ISS encourages all international students to review this information in order to learn about acceptable practices in the U.S. and how to identify potential coronavirus scams so they can be avoided – and reported.
 

COVID-19 Second Stimulus Relief Payment

Please navigate to these pages for more information on the COVID-19 Second Stimulus Relief Payment as an international student:

International Student Services Office Operations

International Student Services (ISS) stands with our international students and will provide support and adjust guidance as needed due to the fluid nature of this difficult situation. This webpage will be monitored and updated as frequently as possible. All answers are subject to change as the situation with the COVID-19 virus evolves.

 

Interacting with ISS


Frequently Asked Questions (updated 1/11/2021)

International Student Services has created three COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) webpages to help our new, current, and graduated international students understand the evolving issues regarding the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). As the situation evolves, we will regularly update you and this webpage. We strongly encourage you regularly monitor official Texas A&M University communications via email and the web as well as our website for updates.
You can view recordings of the COVID-19 FAQ Webinars hosted by ISS at http://iss.tamu.edu/Events/COVID-19-FAQ-Webinar-Recording.
COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for New International Students
 
COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Current International Students
 
COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Graduated International Students

Additional COVID-19 Resources

Texas A&M University is committed to keeping our community safe, healthy, and informed the University’s response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. Texas A&M University continues to closely monitor latest developments and take the appropriate actions.  The Texas A&M Coronavirus (COVID-19) information is located at https://www.tamu.edu/coronavirus/
To complete the Spring 2021 COVID-19 Training mandatory for on campus visitation please visit: https://studentlife.tamu.edu/covid19-training/ 
 
ISS understands that this situation may cause students extra stress and anxiety. We want to remind students that the following campus resources are still operating and available to you:  
ISS encourages all international students to monitor COVID-19 developments through various local, state, and federal agencies, including those listed below.