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International Travel Updates

US State Department Traveler Information

Note: Updated 12/24/2021 (updates in bold italic)

Office of International Affairs (OIA) recommends limiting international travel due to the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic. All international faculty, students and staff should inform us of any international travel so we can advise on possible implications to study and employment.

If you do travel internationally:
Please be sure that your passport is valid for at least six months past the date of your reentry into the US, your visa is valid and allows for multiple entries (an ‘M’ under ‘Entries’), and your I-20 or DS-2019 has a travel signature dated within 12 months of your reentry date. If you need a new travel signature, stop by KL-101 Tuesdays and Wednesdays 10:00 am-4:00 pm, and Fridays 10:00 am-2:00 pm. If none of these times work, or you must travel before getting the signature, you may request and pay for a shipping label to send a reprinted and signed I-20 or DS-2019 here:

COVID-19 Pandemic Matter (subject to change):

Proof of Vaccination: Per the Center for Disease Control (CDC), all foreign national travelers (age 18 years or older) are required to prove that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19; only limited exceptions apply. For details, visit the CDC site and the US State Department's FAQ page.

COVID-19 Test: Per the CDC, all travelers ages 2 or older, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status, must show a negative result of a COVID-19 viral test taken no more than one day before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 90 days before boarding a flight the US. Note: test and documentation requirements are very specific.

Suspension of Entry due to the COVID-19 Omicron Variant: Per the Presidential Proclamation of 11/26/21, travel is restricted from the following countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. UPDATE: per the New York Times 12/24/2021, the White House has indicated that these restrictions will be lifted on January 31, 2021. However, as this has not been officially implimented, please confirm if this restriction has indeed been lifted before making travel plans.

High-Risk Countries: UC Merced asks that Faculty, Postdocs and Staff traveling to any countries on CDC’s LEVEL 4 list request approval from Risk Services before travel.

** No matter your destination, we encourage you to check circumstances of the country to which you are traveling, including entry and departure information (for instance, via the US State Department site) ** 

Note: given the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, travel-related information may change quickly and with short, or no, notice. Make sure you have the most up-to-date information before making travel decisions.

UC Merced Employment:
If you are employed by UC Merced (TA, GSR and other academic appointments), please note that the university does not support voluntary out-of-country telework for academic employees. Requests for telework abroad consideration should be sent to Kelly Anders in Academic Personnel ( In addition, you must also request approval from your department and academic advisor.

Travel Insurance:
Regardless of where you travel, make sure that you have sufficient insurance coverage. In addition to providing insurance for university employees on university business, the university also provides, for purchase, insurance for personal travel when the destination is not your home country or country of permanent residence.