International students have either been stuck in their home countries or in the United States for almost seven months. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and several borders around the world were closed, international students were not prepared to handle the effects of not being able to travel back home or come back to finish their courses. However, recently some countries have begun to open their borders for international travel. This has prompted some international students at the college to prepare to travel back home for winter break.
“There are several steps that international students need to follow in order to travel,” Dessa Crum, Coordinator for International and Immigrant Students, said. “First, they need to bring their I-20 two weeks prior to their trip so we can sign the permission for them to leave. Second, they need to have at least one credit face-to-face in the spring semester to not have any issues with the entrance to the country whenever they come back from winter break.”
International students need to follow the rules that the international office has in place in order to ensure their status as students at the college. Even though borders are open, travel restrictions to other countries require students to do certain other tasks.
“I am traveling this December to Brazil and I need to fille out a Check-MIG 24-hours prior to my trip,” student Marcus Vinicius said. “[It’s] a questionnaire that asks you [questions about your health]. Some of the questions ask how you have been feeling lately and if you have been exposed to COVID-19. I also need to take a PCR COVID test which is a more complex test that has a more accurate result 96 hours before my trip.”
Restrictions may vary depending on the country you are traveling to. Some countries may require the check-MIG or the PCR COVID-19 test and some other countries may not. In order to know what your country restrictions are you must visit the correspondent migration website.
“Students must check their countries requirements because they might not be allowed in, if they don’t follow them correctly,” Crum said. “A suggestion that I would give students would be if traveling they should ask for a letter from the international office that says their status is viable and they are cleared by the college to enter America after Winter break for the completion of the Spring semester. If by any means the student is not allowed back in the country, they can still attend the online college from home while keeping their status and visa active they just need to let the office know that they are wanting or have to stay back home.”
International students are encouraged to stay in the U.S. for the upcoming Winter break. In the case that borders are shut down and another quarantine is enforced, it is more convenient for students to remain here. However, for students who desire to return to their home country, rule-following and restrictions awareness is important to have a successful trip and ensure that they can return in the spring.
For more information visit the international services page.
By Mariana Figueroa