Travel Policy Updates

This page collects updates on U.S. Government policy changes regarding travel and visas. 

For the near future, Berkeley International Office recommends minimizing international travel due to the changing nature of the new administration's policies on visas and U.S. entry. Should you have concerns about immediate or essential international travel or visa renewal, contact BIO to consult an advisor. 

Fall 2021 Express Travel Signature Days for F-1 Students

Monday, November 1 & Tuesday, November 2, 2021
10am - 12pm & 1pm - 4pm Virtual drop-in format (no appointment needed)

Are you traveling internationally soon and require a travel signature? If so, please sign in virtually to obtain an electronic travel signature from Berkeley International Office

Note: the instructions on this page are only relevant for F-1 international students (enrolled students and students on OPT/STEM OPT) with I-20s sponsored by UC Berkeley. If you are a J-1 student, see...

Fall 2021 Express Travel Signature Days for J-1 Students

Thursday, November 4th & Friday, November 5th, 2021
10am - 12pm and 1pm - 4pm at Berkeley International Office
by appointment only

Are you a J-1 student traveling internationally soon and require a travel signature? If so, please make an appointment to obtain a travel signature from Berkeley International Office.

...

Update: Dept. of State Expansion of Visa Interview Waivers for F/J Applicants

September 15, 2021

As of Sept. 14, 2021 the U.S Department of State has announced a continuing expansion of waivers for in-person visa interviews for F and J visa applicants through the end of 2021. The announcement indicates: "Consular officers may, if they so choose, and pursuant to local conditions, now waive the visa interview requirement for F, M, and academic J visa applicants who were previously issued any type of visa, and who have never...

Suspension of travel from India

April 30, 2021

On April 30, 2021, President Biden signed a new proclamation suspending indefinitely the entry into the U.S. as nonimmigrants of noncitizens who pose a risk of transmitting the coronavirus disease. Except for immediate family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents and...

National Interest Exceptions for China, Iran, Brazil, the U.K., Ireland, and the European Schengen area

April 27, 2021

On April 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of State extended the National Interest Exceptions to include additional countries. The NIE list now includes China, Iran, Brazil, the U.K., Ireland, and the European Schengen area.

Students with valid F-1 visas intending to begin or continue their academic program commencing...

COVID Testing Requirements for Entry to the U.S. Effective January 26, 2021

January 28, 2021

On January 21, 2021 President Biden issued an Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel, which directs relevant agencies to assess a prior January 12, 2021 CDC order requiring a negative COVID-19 test result for airline passengers traveling into the United States, and, based on that...

COVID Travel Ban Updates for South Africa, UK, Ireland, Brazil, Schengen Area

January 25, 2021

On January 25, 2021, President Biden signed a new proclamation suspending indefinitely the entry into the U.S. of immigrants and non-immigrants who pose a risk of transmitting the coronavirus disease.

Except for immediate family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent...

Special Airline Boarding Requirements for Flights to China

November 12, 2020

Starting on November 6, 2020, all Chinese and foreign passengers bound for China will be required to take nucleic acid and IgM anti-body tests and apply for a green health code with the "HS" mark or a certified health declaration form before boarding the flight.Please review the Notice on Airline Boarding Requirements information carefully from the Chinese Embassy in the U.S., follow any necessary instructions, and check with your airline carrier if you need to...

Presidential Proclamation Affecting Chinese Nationals FAQ

collapse all expand all What does “military-civil fusion strategy” mean?

Under the proclamation, "the term “military-civil fusion strategy” means actions by or at the behest of the PRC to acquire and divert foreign technologies, specifically critical and emerging technologies, to incorporate into and advance the PRC’s military capabilities."

Who are entities in the PRC that...

Presidential Proclamation: Brazil Travel Suspension

May 24, 2020

Effective at 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on May 26, 2020, the entry into the United States of any foreign national (except immediate family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents and others excluded in section 2 of the Presidential Proclamation who was physically present within Brazil during the 14-day period preceding their entry or...

Presidential Proclamation Suspends Certain New Immigrant Entries- NO IMPACT to F/J Students & Scholars, Current Faculty/Staff

April 23, 2020

On Wednesday, April 22, 2020 the President issued a proclamation suspending the entry of certain new immigrants for 60 days.

Who is NOT impacted by the proclamation?Nonimmigrant visa holders including F-1 students, J-1 Exchange Visitors, H-1B, TN and O-1 workers are NOT impacted. The proclamation DOES NOT impact ...

U.S. Travel Restrictions Announced for Canada & Mexico

March 20, 2020

A Federal Register notice announces the decision to temporarily limit the travel of individuals from Canada into the United States at land ports of entry along the United States-Canada border to “essential travel.” “Essential travel” includes “Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions; Individuals traveling to work in...

Suspension of Routine Visa Services At U.S. Embassies and Consulates

March 20, 2020

In response to significant worldwide challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of State is temporarily suspending routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates. Embassies and consulates will cancel all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as of March 20, 2020. They will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this...

Presidential Proclamation: United Kingdom and Ireland Travel Suspension

March 14, 2020

Effective Monday, March 16, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time, the entry into the United States of any foreign national (except immediate family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents and others excluded in section 2 of the Presidential Proclamation) who was physically present within the the United Kingdom (excluding...

Presidential Proclamation: Europe Schengen Area Travel Suspension

March 12, 2020

Effective Friday, March 13 at 11:59 p.m. eastern standard time, the entry into the United States of any foreign national (except immediate family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents and others excluded in section 2 of the proclamation) who was physically present within the Schengen Area during the 14-day period preceding their entry or...

Presidential Proclamation: Iran Travel Suspension

March 2, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: Effective Monday, March 2nd at 5 p.m. eastern standard time, the U.S. government will deny the entry into the U.S. of any foreign national (except immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents) who were physically present within the Islamic Republic of Iran within the last 14 days. This proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 5:00 p.m. eastern standard time on March 2, 2020.

BIO is closely monitoring the current...

Presidential Proclamation: China Travel Suspension

January 31, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE:Effective Sunday, February 2nd at 5 p.m. eastern standard time, the U.S. government will deny the entry into the U.S. of any foreign national (except immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents) who has traveled in China within the last 14 days (excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau).

BIO is closely monitoring the current coronavirus outbreak and...

Jan 31, 2020 Presidential Proclamation "Travel Ban" Does Not Impact Student Visa Category

January 31, 2020
On January 31, 2020 President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation entitled Proclamation on Improving Enhanced Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry to take effect on February 21, 2020. This Presidential Proclamation restricts entry on immigrant visas for citizens and nationals of Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria and entry as Diversity Immigrants for citizens and nationals of Sudan and Tanzania. Note that this DOES NOT include F or J student or scholar visa categories.

4/10/2018- Chad Removed from Travel Ban List

April 16, 2018

A Presidential Proclamation on April 10, 2018 , has removed Chad from the Travel Ban list effective April 13, 2018 due to a Department of Homeland Security review which found that "that Chad has made marked improvements in its identity-management and information-sharing practices."

12/04/2017 - Travel Restrictions in Effect after Supreme Court Decision

December 4, 2017

On December 4, 2017 the Supreme Court of the United States issued stayson 2 previous preliminary injunctions impacting the September 24, 2017 ...

11/13/2017 - 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Issues Partial Stay of Travel Ban Injunction

November 16, 2017
On Nov 13, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a partial stay of the Hawaii preliminary injunction on travel ban Proclamation 9645. The partial stay continues to block the travel ban for citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia only if they can establish that they have "a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a...

Non-Immigrant Visa Processing Resumes in Turkey

November 8, 2017
US non-immigrant visa services have resumed at the U.S. embassy and consulates in Turkey,on a limited basis with a reduced number of available appointments. For the near future, Berkeley International Office recommends minimizing international travel due to the changing nature of the new administration's policies on visas and U.S. entry. Should you have essential travel that requires a visa application, please information available from from the U.S. Mission in Turkey:...

Continuing Litigation Upholds Blocks on Enforcement of Proclamation 9645

November 3, 2017

Preliminary injunctions from U.S. District Courts in Hawaii and Maryland continue to block enforcement of travel bans for nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia, but leaves in place the Proclamation's bars on Venezuela and North Korea. The U.S. government is expected to continue appeals. See NAFSA's Entry Ban Litigation Updates for more information.

10/17/2017 - U.S. District Court in Hawaii issues Temporary Restraining Order to Block Implementation of Proclamation 9645​

October 17, 2017
On Oct 17, 2017 the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii issued a Temporary Restraining Order prohibiting enforcement of sections 2(a), (b), (c), (e), (g), and (h) of the Sept 24, 2017 travel ban Proclamation 9645. This Temporary Restraining Order blocks...

10/9/2017 - Suspension of U.S. Non-Immigrant Visa Services in Turkey

October 9, 2017

This is to alert you of the suspension of visa services at the U.S. embassy and consulates in Turkey. Until further notice, it is not possible to apply for a non-immigrant visa in Turkey.

In a statement from the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, Ambassador John Bass indicates that this suspension of services is not a visa ban nor a travel ban for Turkish citizens. If you already have a valid visa, the visa remains valid: https://tr.usembassy.gov/...

Sept 24, 2017 - Proclamation: Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats

September 26, 2017
On September 24, 2017, President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation entitled Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats (click here for BIO's detailed summary) . This Proclamation partially or fully restricts entry into the United States for nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen and Somalia. The proclamation contains specific provisions for each impacted country, as summarized below. The new restrictions established by the proclamation take effect October 18, 2017.

8/21/17 DOS Suspends Nonimmigrant Visa Operations in Russia

August 21, 2017

The U.S. diplomatic mission to Russia announced on August 21, 2017, that "Due to the Russian government-imposed cap on U.S. diplomatic personnel in Russia, all nonimmigrant visa operations across Russia will be suspended on August 23. Operations will resume in Moscow on September 1; visa operations at the U.S. consulates will remain suspended indefinitely. Currently scheduled appointments will be cancelled and applicants will be provided instructions on how to...

7/14/17 - Hawaii District Court Exempts Grandparents and Other Family Members from Travel Ban, New DOS Cable Provides EO Compliance Timeline

July 14, 2017
On July 13, 2017 the U.S. Federal District Court in Hawaii issued a ruling exempting a new group of close family members from the EO 13780. The court rules that the State Departments interpretation of "close family relationship" was too narrow and orders to government to exclude from the travel ban "grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of persons in the United States " as well as...

6/28/17 - Department of State Clarifies Exemptions, DHS & CBP Issue FAQs for Travelers

June 29, 2017

A June 28 U.S. Department of State cable provides guidance for consular officers regarding implementation of Executive Order 13780 (E.O.) in visa issuance and exemptions from the suspension of entry. Notably, the cable seems to indicate that F-1, J-1, H1-B, TN, O-1, and Permanent Residents would appear to be exempt from the travel ban. Berkeley...

6/26/17 - Supreme Court Decision on Executive Order 13780 “Travel Ban.”

June 26, 2017
On June 26, 2017 The Supreme Court of the United States granted the U.S. government’s request for a stay of the previous lower court preliminary injunctions to the Executive Order 13780 “Travel Ban.” The Supreme Court will hear the final case in October 2017. The current Supreme Court decision upholds the travel ban for nationals or citizens of the 6 designated countries of Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen- but creates an important exception for “foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” which appears to include UC Berkeley students, scholars, and employees.

3/06/17 - Executive Order: Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States

March 6, 2017

On March 6, 2017 President Trump issued an Executive Order entitled Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States scheduled to take effect on March 16, 2017. This Executive Order replaces and revokes the prior Executive Order 13769 which had been issued on January 27, 2017. As with the prior Executive Order, this new Executive Order contains provisions that directly affect our student and scholar...

Travel Policy Updates

This page collects updates on U.S. Government policy changes regarding travel and visas.

For the near future, Berkeley International Office recommends minimizing international travel due to the changing nature of the new administration's policies on visas and U.S. entry. Should you have concerns about immediate or essential international travel or visa renewal, contact BIO to consult an advisor.

3/17/17 - Increased Screening of Visa Applicants

March 17, 2017
On March 17, 2017, the U.S. Dept. of State issued cables to all diplomatic and consular posts providing instructions for increased scrutiny for visa applicants. Individuals subject to these security clearances can expect extremely long visa processing times ranging from 2-6 months or more.

3/15/17 - Temporary Restraining Order & Preliminary Injunctions Issued for Executive Order Travel Ban

March 15, 2017

The U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii issued a nationwide Temporary Restraining Order on sections 2 and 6 of the new Executive Order 13780 which was to take effect March 16, 2017. Sections 2 and 6 of the new EO barred entry for 90 days individuals without valid visas from particular countries of origin (Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) and entry for 120 days for refugees. Enforcement of these sections of the EO is currently prohibited in the U...