Travel Restrictions and Visas


For questions not addressed in the FAQs, these resources contain a wealth of information on the subject(s):


What are the rules governing travel during the pandemic?

Updated June 21, 2021

Effective June 14, 2021, the guidelines are as follows:

Domestic Travel: The State of Georgia is no longer under a non-essential travel ban. Regular domestic travel may resume under normal travel policies.

International Travel: Essential international travel is permitted with managerial approval. Essential travel is defined as:

  1. Important to the mission of the Georgia Tech
  2. Involves activities that cannot be conducted virtually
  3. Is time sensitive due to work deadlines or other related considerations.

In all cases, travelers and their managers should review and adhere to current CDC guidelines on international travel: and


Where can I get tested after a period of international travel?

Updated June 18, 2021

You can find up-to-date testing information on the Stamps Health Services website here: Covid-19 Testing Locations and Hours.


What are the recommendations for individuals arriving to Georgia Tech after a period of international travel?

Updated Jan. 6, 2022 

Georgia Tech requests all individuals traveling to Atlanta from an international location to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

After Arrival in the United States 
You might have been exposed to Covid-19 on your travels, whether you traveled by air, land, or sea. You might feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can still be infected and spread the virus to others. For this reason, CDC recommends the following: 

What is the status of the Exchange Visitor Program?

Updated June 16, 2021

Effective March 1, 2021, OIE is accepting requests for unpaid J-1 visitors with start dates of July 15, 2021, or later. Program start dates are subject to any travel and health restrictions that may be placed on visitors at the federal, local, or campus levels. Program start dates may also need to be revised as public health guidance changes.

All Georgia Tech Faculty Hosts inviting new exchange visitors must be physically present on campus to supervise exchange experiences. New Exchange Visitors should be entering the U.S. to participate in on-campus exchange program activities, and not entering the U.S. for the purpose of remote experiences.  

Exchange Visitors visiting the U.S. at this time and host departments should be aware of the current challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and be prepared to make changes as needed. Some of the current challenges to be aware of are:  

  • Covid-19 cases remain active in Georgia. Please see the Georgia Department of Public Health Covid-19 Daily Status Report for current data.
  • U.S. entry restrictions remain in place for several countries. Please review the CDC’s U.S. entry restrictions for additional information, available here.
  • U.S. visa interview wait times may be significantly delayed. Please see the U.S. Department of State’s current estimated visa interview wait times available here.
  • Travel requirements vary by country and international travelers should perform research to determine if they will be subject to any entry restrictions or quarantines in their path of travel. For U.S. travel requirements, please review the CDC guidance available here

The Social Security Administration and the Georgia Department of Driver Services have reduced availability for appointments, leading to longer than wait times for Social Security cards and Georgia driver licenses.

We encourage you to contact with any questions regarding the information above. Please review the OIE Covid-19 Exchange Visitor FAQ for more information on Covid-19 and the Exchange Visitor Program.


What health documentation is required for international air passengers traveling to the United States?

According to the CDC, and effective Jan. 26, all air passengers traveling to the United States, including U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents ages 2 years and older, are required to get a viral test (a test for current infection) within 3 days before their flight to the U.S. departs, and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline.

If you have had a positive viral test in the past three months and you have met the criteria to end isolation, you may travel instead with documentation of your positive viral test results and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official stating you have been cleared for travel.

Airlines must confirm the negative test result or documentation of recovery for all passengers before they board. If a passenger does not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery, or chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger. Passengers must also attest, under penalty of law, to having received a negative qualifying test result or recovery from Covid-19 and medical clearance to travel.

We encourage everyone traveling to the U.S. to review the CDC guidance and consult your airline with any questions in advance of your flight.


I’m a current international student outside of the U.S. Do I have to return to keep my F-1 visa? What if I cannot return? Can I take online courses?

Updated June 16, 2021

Students who left the U.S. and plan to maintain their F-1 student visa status in the fall should plan to be in residence in Atlanta.

F-1 students unable to return to the U.S. within 30 days of the start of the term need to submit an iStart Intent to Depart e-form to notify OIE of their fall plans to remain outside the U.S. OIE will then review current guidance from SEVP to determine if the student’s SEVIS record can remain Active or will need to be terminated for Authorized Early Withdrawal.

  • The student may still elect to enroll in online or remote courses as no visa or Active SEVIS record is required for the purpose of online enrollment while outside the U.S. The opportunity for remote course options will depend on the availability of courses from a particular academic program and restrictions on Office of Foreign Assets Control-sanctioned countries. Students who plan to engage in online learning physically from any of the following countries need to first gain approval from the Office of General Counsel ( Cuba, Crimea Region of Ukraine, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.
  • If the student is not maintaining an Active SEVIS record, the student will not be automatically enrolled in health insurance coverage or assessed the international student fee for the semester. Nor will the student be required to enroll in a minimum number of credits to maintain their visa status.
  • If not approved by SEVP for the SEVIS record reactivation, the student will receive a new SEVIS record, a new I-20 form, and will be required to re-pay the I-901 fee. If the student still holds a valid F-1 visa, the student will not need to apply for a new visa. If the student’s F-1 visa is expired, they will need to apply for a new F-1 visa with the new SEVIS record before attempting to re-enter the U.S.
  • Additionally, in the scenario where a SEVIS record cannot be reactivated, the F-1 student visa holder’s academic time toward the one-year practical training clock will begin again upon re-entry to the U.S. The student will become eligible for practical training after 30 weeks of full-time instruction inside the U.S.


Is there guidance for field work during Fall 2021?

Updated June 21, 2021

Field travel has resumed.

  • Georgia Tech employees and students traveling in state for field work do not need a spend authorization.
  • Travel for field work out of state requires a spend authorization prior to travel.
  • International travel for essential business and research requires a travel spend authorization in advance. 


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