Important Travel Requirements and Reminders from ISSS

November 5, 2020

As we approach the Thanksgiving break and the transition of the University to fully remote instruction, we would like to provide information and reminders about travel outside of the United States. Due to the continued unpredictability of COVID-19’s impact on travel, we do not recommend international travel for those currently in the United States. Those who leave the US risk being unable to re-enter the country due to visa delays, COVID-19-related travel restrictions, and/or possible changes to immigration policy guidance related to in-person study requirements.

If you do plan to travel, please consider the following:

  • Do you have all documents required for re-entry into the US?

See all required documents under your immigration status at

  • Will your visa be valid upon re-entry?

If your visa has expired and you will need to apply for a new visa to return to the US, you should reconsider traveling at this time. Although visa services have resumed at many locations, continued processing is subject to change based on the implementation of safety measures at US consulates and embassies to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, we do NOT recommend international travel at this time if a new visa is required for re-entry.

  • For all F-1 and J-1 students and scholars: Do you have a valid travel signature from ISSS on your I-20 (page 2) or DS-2019?

You can request a travel signature by submitting the travel signature request form in iPenn. ISSS will email the signed document to you.

Updates on travel restrictions

  • Restrictions to entry into the US due to COVID-19

Travel restrictions are currently in place for travelers who were physically present within the following countries during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States: China, Iran, the European Schengen area, Ireland and the United Kingdom, and Brazil. This list is subject to change and additional countries could be added at any time. Additionally, while students traveling from the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, and Ireland may qualify for national interest exceptions to travel to the US, this could change at any time. Please refer to the following NAFSA resource page for COVID-related travel and visa updates, including national interest exceptions:

  • Restrictions to entry into the US due to existing travel bans

There are travel restrictions currently in effect for citizens of Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, Somalia, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Myanmar, Sudan, and Tanzania. The conditions of the restrictions imposed by Presidential Proclamation 9983 of January 31, 2020 (Travel Ban 4.0) and Proclamation 9645 of September 24, 2017 (Travel Ban 3.0) vary by country. Please reference the following link for specific travel and visa restrictions for each country subject to the ban:

  • Restrictions to international travel due to COVID-19

Before you make any travel plans, it is your responsibility to confirm that neither your destination nor any transit countries have put in place restrictions or quarantine requirements that could affect your itinerary. Please consult the "International Travel" section of Penn Global Support Services' Coronavirus (COVID-19) Travel Updates page for information about entry/exit and quarantine requirements for countries around the globe.

If you have any questions or concerns after reading the above information, please contact your ISSS advisor by email (see iPenn for your advisor’s name and contact information).