The COVID-19 pandemic has abruptly transformed operations across IU, and has had particularly significant consequences for the international mobility of students, faculty, and staff.
COVID-19 and Global Mobility
These are challenging times for international affairs, but it has never been more important to stay globally engaged. As the outbreak has spread to every continent, we realize now more than ever how truly connected we are as global citizens.
While global mobility is put on pause, we strive to be responsive and continue meeting immediate needs and concerns across all areas of OVPIA. The information below addresses questions you may have regarding changes to university policy and practice as a result of COVID-19 response.
See Vice President Hannah Buxbaum's messages of support to all Hoosiers around the globe.
International Travel Policy for Fall 2020
In light of the U.S. Department of State’s travel advisories and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all university-affiliated international travel remains suspended for fall 2020. Requests from faculty, staff, or graduate students for an exception from this policy will be considered for travel for humanitarian purposes related to the pandemic or for essential international travel. Such requests should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org for committee review and must be accompanied by a statement of approval from the relevant dean or unit head.
International travel FAQ
Travel is university-affiliated if it is undertaken within the scope of the traveler’s role and responsibilities at IU, regardless of the source of funding for the trip. For faculty, examples include travel in order to conduct research, teach, or participate in a professional meeting; for graduate students, examples include travel in order to conduct research or study at a foreign institution.
No. The policy applies to all international travel undertaken within the scope of the traveler’s role and responsibilities at IU, even it is funded by a third party or by personal funds.
Travel will be considered essential if it is necessary in order for the traveler to fulfil their responsibilities—for instance, to advance relevant research, to fulfill course or program requirements toward a degree, or to discharge professional obligations. The review committee will consider whether the travel could be postponed, or whether alternatives (such as remote options) are available.
- Prevailing health conditions in the country of destination
- The absence of any entry bans or mandatory quarantines in the destination that would make the proposed travel impracticable
- The feasibility of the proposed travel (e.g., flight availability, ability to re-enter the U.S.)
- Access to necessary resources and facilities at the destination
All international travelers are advised to follow CDC guidance for returning from travel.
A statement issued by President Michael A. McRobbie announced the completion of a set of recommendations about the medical and public health measures that would permit IU to begin a phased reopening of research and teaching operations. Plans for the fall 2020 semester are now being developed in light of those recommendations.
Our offices continue to assist international students in maintaining their student visa status and to provide support services virtually. We are continuing to process admissions applications and you can find detailed resources and guidance on our websites.
Inbound undergraduate and graduate student exchanges may resume for the spring 2021 semester.
IU's suspension of incoming exchange programs has been lifted. However, due to the ongoing pandemic, academic units should be fully transparent with students and international exchange partners about the risks and uncertainties associated with visas, international travel, and the university’s health and safety plans. IU’s policy on international travel is based on current CDC guidance and presidential directives and is subject to change.
There should be open communication about current guidelines, policies, and the modified nature of IU’s classroom, campus, and community life experiences. Participants need to know what to expect before making plans to join one of our campuses in person, including the possibility that we may need to close all campus offices to in person visits and transition to a fully online mode of classroom instruction. Please email email@example.com for more information.
Based on advisories issued by the CDC and the State Department relating to the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak, IU suspended undergraduate study abroad programs for the fall 2020 semester. Given ongoing developments in the course of the pandemic in locations around the world, and the associated unpredictability of travel restrictions, we will defer decisions regarding spring program participation until early November. At that time we will consider the public health situation, information from our partners, travel restrictions, and other variables in determining whether programs can be resumed.
As part of IU’s research restart, the J-1 visiting scholar program will resume for scholars with arrival dates scheduled for August 1, 2020 and after. Exception requests for scholars seeking earlier arrival, with the support of the host unit’s dean, will be considered. Please contact OIS (Bloomington and regional campuses) or OIA (IUPUI) with any such requests.
On June 22, the U.S. president signed a proclamation suspending the issuance of H-1B visas through December 31, 2020. The proclamation does not directly impact current H-1B status holders, those applying to extend their H-1B status while remaining in the U.S., or those applying to change to H-1B status while in the U.S. Learn more about how this order will apply to your specific situation.
The Fulbright organization has announced the suspension of the U.S. Fulbright program worldwide. Many Fulbright scholars currently in the United States are continuing on with their programs where possible. U.S. scholars abroad are being encouraged to return to the United States, and the organization intends to increase travel allowances to cover extraordinary costs where necessary.
Global Gateway Network
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak in other countries, our Global Gateway offices in Bangkok, Beijing, Berlin, New Delhi, and Mexico City are unable to host events for the time being. The gateway directors are working from home and continue to support international student services teams in their efforts to provide students and their parents with timely information, advice, and reassurance.
Gateway staff are also ready to provide faculty and staff any assistance required to help with rescheduling events, visits, communicating with partners, etc.
Like IU, our partner universities around the world are suspending instruction, canceling events, prohibiting international travel, and otherwise taking necessary action to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. As a result, there is little inbound and outbound mobility of students, faculty, and staff at the moment. However, we continue to work with our partners remotely and are planning to reschedule visits of delegations and workshops. We are working actively with partners on a variety of collaborative activities for the coming year.
Internationalization at home
Updated June 5, 2020