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Study in USA Universities - Travel in 2021 Covid Update

October 2021

Among study destinations across the globe, the USA has cemented its position as one of the most sought after and top destinations for students. The USA is at the epicentre of advancement with the country being at the forefront. The USA is popular among students looking to study courses from Bachelor’s to Master’s and Diplomas. Being the ‘land of opportunity’, USA is home to a large number of immigrants and a multicultural environment. Each year, more than 100,000 students choose to study in USA because of its impeccable education system and employment opportunities.

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Covid 19 and study in USA

As the pandemic raged on, the U.S.A became one of the worst affected countries globally. To safeguard its citizens, the U.S.A, like other countries, closed its border to international travel and shifted their courses online. Towards the second half of 2020, as cases began to plateau, the U.S.A opened up its borders to students and gradually to other international travellers.

While the courses shifted online, admissions for future intakes were not hampered and continued. On Monday, 25th October, 2021, President Joe Biden announced that the USA will be lifting restrictions on international travel for nationals from China, India and much of Europe on November 8th, 2021. This is a great relief for international students who wish to pursue their education in USA or are already enrolled to programs in USA. This allows them to travel to USA and study on campus.

Based on this announcement, there were guidelines issued for international travellers. These guidelines are mentioned below:

  1. International travellers have to be fully vaccinated to travel to the United States by plane. The individual must be vaccinated with an FDA approved or authorized vaccine or those that have been authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO).
  2. Travellers are mandated to present a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board their flight to the USA. The test must be taken three days before travel.
  3. If the traveller is fully vaccinated, they have to present Proof of Vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test 3 days before travel as well.
  4. If the traveller is not vaccinated, they have to take and present a negative COVID-19 test taken 1 day before their travel.
  5. Along with the above mentioned guidelines, all passengers arriving in USA have to provide contact information to the respective before boarding their flights. This ensures that the travel process is safer and will help the government rapidly identify and contact people in case they have been exposed to the virus during their travel.
  6. Individuals will be considered to be fully vaccinated after 14 days have passed from the second dose of the vaccine.

If a traveller to the USA is not vaccinated, there are a set of guidelines that they need to follow:

  • The individual has to get tested within 3-5 days of arrival in the USA. They have to take a Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAATs), such as an RT-PCR test or any antigen test.
  • Individuals are required to self-quarantine upon arrival in the USA. They are free to do so either at home or in a hotel.
  • If they test positive or develop Covid 19 symptoms, at any stage after their arrival, they need to isolate immediately, till they test negative.

(Those who have recovered from Covid 19 in the past 90 days, before arrival, are exempted from the above guidelines.)

  • If the individual intends on staying in the USA for 60 days or longer, they must get vaccinated in the USA, unless they have a medical contraindication, which forbids them from receiving the vaccine, or are too young to be vaccinated.

During their stay in the USA, individuals are required to follow the nation-wide mandates released by the CDC. They are required to wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth in indoor areas of public transportation (including airplanes) while traveling into, within, or out of the United States and indoors in U.S. transportation hubs (including airports).

These relaxations are a big win for international students who are looking to study in USA from India. As the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is an approved vaccine in the USA, students that are fully vaccinated are eligible for travel to study at universities in USA.

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Also read: Questions You Must Ask a University at a Virtual Fair



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