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COVID-19 International Travel FAQ

Last modified October 5, 2022

Given the dyanmic nature of the COVID-19 response, information on this webpage may update frequently. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available. If you have questions, please contact vtglobalsafety@vt.edu.

 

As of October 3, 2022, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has suspended its country-specific COVID-19 travel advisories. According to the CDC, a COVID-19 notice will be posted for a country only if there is a concerning variant or other situation that would merit concern.

This means that the vast majority of university-supported travelers will no longer be classified as high-risk travelers and will not need to request an exemption to the university’s policy on global travel.

Virginia Tech Policy 1070: Global Travel Policy does not authorize university-supported global travel to locations where the CDC has issued a Travel Health Notice Level 3 or higher. Amid the pandemic, most countries were considered Level 3, with a “high level of COVID-19.” That meant students and other university travelers had to petition the Global Travel Oversight Committee for an exception to the policy.

The CDC still recommends that all travelers stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines before traveling.

Policy 1070 also does not authorize student university-supported international travel to locations where the U.S. Department of State has issued a Travel Advisory Level 3 or higher. Travelers to destinations still deemed “high risk” can continue to request an exception by following the Procedure to Request an Exception to Policy – International Travel.

Please contact Global Travel Safety at vtglobalsafety@vt.edu or 540-231-2867 with any questions.

Please refer to Virginia Tech's Public Health website for more information related to COVID-19. Reach out to vtglobalsafety@vt.edu international travel safety questions.

Planning International Travel

While travel may not be restricted based on the COVID-19 pandemic, travelers may continue to experience impacts of the pandemic on their experience abroad in different ways. We recommend reviewing the following resources before departure:

Previous Notices

As of Oct. 3, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has suspended its country-specific COVID-19 travel advisories. According to the CDC, a COVID-19 notice will be posted for a country only if there is a concerning variant or other situation that would merit concern.

This means that the vast majority of university-supported travelers will no longer be classified as high-risk travelers and will not need to request an exemption to the university’s policy on global travel.

Virginia Tech Policy 1070: Global Travel Policy does not authorize university-supported global travel to locations where the CDC has issued a Travel Health Notice Level 3 or higher. Amid the pandemic, most countries were considered Level 3, with a “high level of COVID-19.” That meant students and other university travelers had to petition the Global Travel Oversight Committee for an exception to the policy.

Policy 1070 also does not authorize student university-supported international travel to locations where the U.S. Department of State has issued a Travel Advisory Level 3 or higher. Travelers to destinations still deemed “high risk” can continue to request an exception by following the Procedure to Request an Exception to Policy – International Travel.

The CDC still recommends that all travelers stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines before traveling.

Please contact Global Travel Safety at vtglobalsafety@vt.edu or 540-231-2867 with any questions.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has lifted the requirement for travelers to test negative for COVID-19 before entering the U.S. This change was effective Sunday, June 12, 2022.

The CDC will reassess its decision in 90 days as to whether the testing requirement will need to be reinstated.

All travelers should follow CDC guidance for before, during, and after travel abroad, specific to their vaccination status and citizenship.

Other countries may still have entry requirements such as proof of vaccination, testing, and/or quarantine. Stay up to date with those requirements as you prepare for upcoming travel.

For questions related to university-supported global travel:

Planning a travel abroad? There is a new process to better engage and provide travelers with information related to travel safety during the pandemic. Travel may be for university activities such as research, meetings, study abroad, conferences, recruiting, competitions, field work, etc. 

Policy 1070

Virginia Tech Policy 1070: Global Travel Policy  does not authorize any university-supported international travel to or from locations where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Travel Health Notice Level 3 or higher. Also, Policy 1070 does not authorize student university-supported international travel to locations where the U.S. Department of State has issued a Travel Advisory Level 3 or higher.

Travelers can petition the Global Travel Oversight Committee (GTOC) for an exception to Policy 1070 for high risk travel. Exceptions are not automatically approved and can be revoked at any time. Travel to a high-risk location without a waiver from the GTOC constitutes personal travel. For students, credit transfer will not be accepted by Virginia Tech for unauthorized global travel. Only students that receive a waiver from the GTOC will be authorized credit transfer from studying abroad.

New process

If your destination is high risk due to COVID-19, the request process is now a Canvas course that must be completed by the below deadlines, based on the traveler’s affiliation to Virginia Tech and vaccination status. This course includes 9 modules. We recommend setting aside 45 minutes to an hour to complete the course and submit your request for travel.

COVID-19 Vaccination Status

Affiliation to Virginia Tech

Deadline

Fully Vaccinated

Undergraduate students

 

Faculty, staff, and graduate students

At least 30 days prior to departure

At least 14 days prior to departure

Not Fully Vaccinated

Faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students

At least 45 days prior to departure


If a destination is high risk for reasons other than COVID-19, the standard process for a request for an exception to university policy for high risk travel must be followed.

Dependents and guests are not required to complete this course, but are welcome to if they are interested in the provided information.

For any questions related to Policy 1070 or petitioning for an exception to the policy, please contact vtglobalsafety@vt.edu. For general information related to COVID-19, please see the VT Ready site.

Executive Vice President and Provost Cyril Clarke has approved a recommendation by the Global Travel Oversight Committee to allow for the possibility of spring 2021 study abroad activities to proceed contingent upon program-specific reviews, public health and safety guidelines, and alignment with the university’s academic planning strategies for the spring semester.

The committee, chaired by Don Hempson, associate vice president for international affairs, will evaluate each program on its own merits, the risks inherent to the destination, and any mitigation policies and protocols in place.

Read the full campus notice.

As a global land grant university, Virginia Tech is committed to improving the human condition worldwide and educating students who will understand their connection to fellow humans everywhere and excel at working collaboratively on solutions to global problems. For this reason, we believe deeply in the value of international education experiences for our students, opportunities for them to connect with and learn from cultures beyond our own boundaries.

The pandemic has brought home to us the vital importance of this work. In these difficult, uncertain times, one question facing us has been the feasibility of study abroad programming in the immediate future.

After careful deliberation, the Global Travel Oversight Committee made its recommendations to university leadership and the following decisions were rendered by the provost:

  1. All 2020-21 Winter Session study abroad opportunities are canceled.
  2. Students, faculty, and departments should proceed with planning for all Spring 2021 study abroad opportunities.

While current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of State, and host country restrictions make almost all study abroad impossible, we are hopeful that these restrictions will ease in the coming months. The university’s decision to encourage continued planning for spring programs is a clear statement of our commitment to returning to full study abroad engagement as soon as the world’s public health circumstances allow.

In our current circumstances, we urge you to consider carefully the financial implications of committing funds to a study abroad program. Further communication related to your specific program will be sent in the days to come.

We know that you will certainly have many questions about spring study abroad opportunities. Please refer to the Global Education Office FAQ page for more information, and reach out to vtabroad@vt.edu with questions.

All university community members who have traveled within the last 14 days domestically, internationally or from Northern Virginia, Eastern Virginia, or other identified COVID-19 hotspot areas in the Commonwealth of Virginia need to complete a health screening. A hotspot is defined as any geographic area or location that has had either a concentrated outbreak or a high risk of transmission.


Students should contact the Schiffert Health Center at 540-231-6444.

  • Employees and other Virginia Tech community members should contact the New River Health District COVID-19 website.


Upon completion of the travel-related health screening, please complete the Virginia Tech Post-Travel Registration Form. Again, the health screening and travel form are for those who have traveled within the last 14 days domestically, internationally, or from Northern Virginia, Eastern Virginia, or other identified COVID-19 hotspot areas in the Commonwealth of Virginia. While currently screening and reporting requirements do not include commuting from out-of-state daily for work, employees are encouraged to check the university COVID-19 page regularly for updates regarding travel and other health related information.

Any community members who have questions about COVID-19 and their health are encouraged to access the following resources.

Guidelines for self-quarantine from the CDC include:

  • Restriction of activities outside of your home except for visits to a medical professional for evaluation.
  • Limited contact with other members of the residence, including pets.
  • Frequent hand washing.
  • Consistent cleaning of all high-touch surfaces such as tables, countertops, doorknobs, keyboards, tablets, bathroom fixtures, television remotes, phones, and other areas.
  • Restricted sharing of such household items as drinking glasses, plates, utensils, bedding, towels, and clothing.
  • Regularly washing dishes, clothing, and bedding.

Steps for return

  1. Contact your travel agent or airline to request an itinerary change to the soonest possible flight.
  2. Notify your host program/institution of your departure plans. It is important to notify your host institution and program of your departure plans. Each will approach the coming events differently and will have different support available to you. We will work with you and your host program to find any possible options for you to complete your academic semester. This may be on-line coursework, alternate academic projects, or other learning opportunities.
  3. Contact Global Safety and Risk Management (VTGlobalSafety@vt.edu or 540-750-5747) immediately with your:
    • Current location
    • Wellness status
    • International cell phone number 
    • New flight itenerary
    • Where you plan to stay upon return.
  4. Until you depart, please follow guidance from your host institution and host nation. Avoid non-essential travel and take appropriate precautions, including:
    • Check the local news regularly
    • Have multiple means of communication available (cell phone, E-mail, etc.)
    • Wash hands frequently
    • Avoid touching your face
    • Be aware of what you touch, particularly in public spaces
    • Refrain from shaking hands
    • Minimize time in densely crowded spaces
    • Drink plenty of water, eat regular meals, and get a full night’s rest

Guidelines for self-quarantine

The Department of Homeland Security issued a Notice of Arrival Restrictions requiring American citizens, legal permanent residents, and their immediate families who are returning home to the U.S. to travel through one of 13 airports upon arrival to the U.S., submit to an enhanced entry screening and self-quarantine for 14 days once they reach their final destination.

U.S. citizens are advised to arrange for immediate return home or prepare to stay abroad for an indefinite period of time. This new travel advisory reflects a significant change in the global health and security environment. The unprecedented Global Level 4 Health Alert is going to result in US embassies and consulates suspending or significantly curtailing essentials services to U.S. citizens living abroad. In addition, airlines are limiting and increasingly suspending flights around the world. Furthermore, national borders are closing rapidly across all continents. These actions are going to limit your ability to return home in the coming days and weeks.  If you choose to shelter in place, there is a possibility that the prospect of your return home might be delayed by weeks/months beyond your program end date. At this time 230 of your peers out of a total of 260 studying abroad this semester are already home or on route home. Therefore, Virginia Tech encourages you to arrange for immediate return home.

Virginia Tech will assist students with academic progression for the spring 2020 semester with appropriate supervision from the academic department(s) without additional costs beyond what was paid for educational expenses for spring 2020. Also, students returning home by the time announced for their host country will be made financially whole (upon furnishing payment receipts) for ticket change fees, or a new economy-class return air ticket to their home. 

If have have changed your travel plans, please notify Virginia Tech Global Safety of your new plans at VTGlobalSafety@vt.edu.

Virginia Tech is suspending all international programs, both credit bearing and co-curricular, that depart May through the start of Fall 2020. For students of faculty-led programs, please contact your program leader for details concerning your program.

If a student should continue to pursue studies at an institution or on a program outside of the U.S. during Summer 2020, it is no longer considered university-supported travel and risks the loss of opportunity for academic credit transfer.