News

Message from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State

As the USA Study Abroad team, we wanted to share a message below from Ethan Rosenzweig, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Academic Programs of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State on COVID-19 Travel Advisory Updates and a media note. Please see below:

Throughout the pandemic, we are grateful for your continued support and feedback on facilitating global learning opportunities in a safe manner.  I am pleased to share news from our colleagues in the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) of an important change in how the location-specific Travel Advisory for U.S. citizens will be determined moving forward.  Specifically, Travel Advisory levels will no longer be automatically correlated with the CDC COVID-19 Travel Health Notice levels - a shift that should reduce the number of locations at a Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory from currently more than half of all locations worldwide to approximately 10% of locations.  As described in the media notice below, these changes to the advisories should begin this week.

Although conditions have recently improved, the COVID-19 pandemic is not over.  We encourage you to follow CA's social media for the latest international travel safety information and consider sharing their recent post about this change on both Facebook and Twitter.  As always, we continue to encourage American study abroad students to monitor Covid conditions in their destination country and visit U.S. embassies' covid webpages.

We at the State Department appreciate the input and feedback from the higher education and study abroad communities regarding the Travel Advisory system.  Our approach to international education and study abroad reflects the goals of the Joint Statement of Principles in Support of International Education that was issued in July 2021 by the State Department and the Department of Education, with the support of the Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security and subsequent endorsement by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

We hope this news will have a welcome impact on American student mobility. We remain dedicated to increasing and diversifying U.S. study abroad through our programs and initiatives, including the Fulbright Program, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, the Critical Language Scholarship Program, and the IDEAS (Increase and Diversify Education Abroad for U.S. Students) Program.

Thank you for your continued partnership and support, and please share this news with your networks.  I am honored to work with you.

My best,

Ethan

Ethan Rosenzweig

Deputy Assistant Secretary

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs U.S. Department of State

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Office of the Spokesperson

For Immediate Release

MEDIA NOTE

April 14, 2022

 

COVID-19 Travel Advisory Updates

The Department of State has no greater responsibility than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas.  We are committed to providing U.S. citizens with up-to-date and timely information, so they are informed as they make international travel plans and when they are abroad.

Given the increases in international travel, the availability of effective COVID-19 mitigation measures, and recently announced changes to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) COVID-19 Travel Health Notice (THN) process, we have reassessed how COVID-19 considerations factor into our Travel Advisory levels for U.S. citizens.

Starting next week, the State Department Travel Advisory levels will no longer automatically correlate with the CDC COVID-19 THN level.  However, if the CDC raises a country's COVID-19 THN to a Level 4, the State Department's Travel Advisory for that country will also be raised to a Level 4: Do Not Travel due to COVID-19.

This update will leave approximately 10% of all Travel Advisories at Level 4: Do Not Travel.  This 10% includes Level 4 Travel Advisories for all risk indicators, not just COVID-19.  We believe the updated framework will help U.S. citizens make better informed decisions about the safety of international travel. 

Although conditions have recently improved, the COVID-19 pandemic is not over.  We continue to advise travelers to consider COVID-19 conditions and restrictions at their destinations when considering international travel.  Our embassies and consulates around the world will continue to provide the latest country-specific COVID-19-related information on their websites.  To see the latest State Department Travel Advisories for any country in the world, visit travel.state.gov.  We encourage U.S. citizens who are considering international travel this summer to check their passport expiration date and act now to renew or apply for the first time.  Keep in mind many countries require passports to have at least six months' remaining validity for entry.  Routine passport processing can take eight to eleven weeks. For information on U.S. passports, please visit travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports.html.

Best Regards,

USA Study Abroad

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs U.S. Department of State studyabroad@state.gov

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