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A Division of the International Studies Office

COVID Considerations

Student international travel for university-related purposes remains restricted in response to the pandemic. As conditions improve, the University will revise the current University Restriction on All Student International Travel due to COVID19. This University Restriction affects all education abroad pursuits, including credit-bearing study abroad, research, internships, and student participation in non-UVA education abroad programs. 

All travel for University-related purposes is regulated by the University Policy on Student International Travel. Petitions for an exemption to the University Travel Restriction in order to participate in education abroad programs departing before May 31, 2021 are not accepted. For travel after May 31, please read the Policy and the following:

Information by Type of Travel

Education Abroad Programs

Summer 2021

UVA faculty-led programs have been cancelled. However, thanks to rapidly improving health and safety conditions in several countries, greatly expanded access to COVID-19 vaccines, and careful student planning, the University is this summer allowing a number of students to join an approved study abroad program with a start date after June 1, through Outside programs and the UVA in Valencia program, which is operated by an in-country provider. Approval to participate is contingent on a review of local health, safety, and security conditions and student plans. Decisions on a student’s study and travel plans will be issued no earlier than four weeks before the start date of the student’s program. See below for more information.

Fall 2021 & Academic Year 2021-2022

If health and safety conditions continue to improve, more students may travel abroad for university related purposes during the Fall 2021 semester and Academic Year 2021-2022. All student international travel, including travel by graduate students and GME residents and fellows, is subject to the University Policy on Student International Travel and will continue to require a favorable review of local health, safety, and security conditions and individual student plans. Decisions on a student’s study and travel plans will be issued no earlier than four weeks before the start date of the student’s program. See below for more information. 

What to Know

Students considering available study abroad programs in Summer 2021 (after May 31), Fall 2021, or Academic Year 2021-22, or later, should: 

  • Prepare for both their planned term abroad and for the possibility that academic plans will have to be revised if operating conditions in the destination country or region are deemed unsafe or their program is cancelled. This includes course planning, housing arrangements, and delaying the payment of non-refundable costs for expenses like airfare. Per the University Policy on Student International Travel, travel may be restricted past the current date and acceptance/approval could be rescinded. Students will not be permitted to request retroactive transfer credit for coursework completed internationally while the University Travel Restriction is in place.  

  • Read the Withdrawal, Cancellation, and Refund Policy (students on UVA, Exchange, Partner, or Outside programs). Please note especially:

    • UVA application fees will be refunded in the event that the University Travel Restriction is extended into the student's chosen term(s) of study.

    • UVA Programs: UVA is not responsible for and will not reimburse any non-billable costs incurred if a UVA program is cancelled.

    • Exchanges, Outside, and Partner Programs: UVA is not responsible for and will not reimburse any costs incurred if the University Travel Restriction is extended and students have already made non-refundable financial commitments. Students on Outside or Partner programs or those making independent arrangements for housing, etc. should also understand the corresponding policies of their program or service provider.

  • Note that acceptance/approval is being issued on a conditional basis only at this time. Students should complete applications by the stated deadline for their program of interest. Approval from UVA to participate in Summer, Fall, and Year programs will not be granted until at most four weeks before the program start date, based on current travel conditions and in adherence to the University Policy on Student International Travel. Students will be required to submit a petition to be considered for approval; instructions will be provided by their Education Abroad Advisor or in their applications.  Applicants will assume risk for lost deposits/travel expenses/academic credit in the event participation is not approved, approval is rescinded, or if the sponsor or host university cancels the program or host country restricts entry. 

  • Be aware that, given the fluid nature of COVID-related conditions, additional provisions may be implemented that would be required for education abroad participation. These could include new or amended application materials, additional actions to be taken prior to departure or while in-country, and/or limitations on independent travel or other activity while in-country. Failure to adhere to regulations may result in the rescinding of approval or admission, and dismissal from the program. On approval/admission, students will be required to complete both pre-existing and COVID-specific requirements. These include: 

    • The Code of Conduct, which includes the following statement: "Students traveling outside the U.S. for University related purposes are expected to behave responsibly at all times and must comply with the University of Virginia’s rules, standards, and instructions for student conduct and behavior, as well as any stated codes of conduct from the host institution/agency and local laws and are subject to U.S. law upon re-entry to the U.S. Students abroad continue to be responsible for conducting themselves consistently with the requirements of the Honor system."

    • Pre-departure modules: In addition to reading and completing assessments for existing pre-departure modules covering health & safety, culture & identity, daily life, and more, students must complete a COVID pre-departure module. Divided into three sections: Predeparture Preparations, While Abroad, and Preparing to Return, this module addresses COVID-specific considerations, including: pre-departure testing, special travel considerations, the potential for academic disruptions, the possible need to quarantine or isolate in-country, and suggested resources. Approval to study abroad will be rescinded for students who do not complete the module and corresponding assessment.

    • Petition and meeting: Students are required to submit a petition to study abroad, followed by a meeting with their Education Abroad Advisor, individually or in small groups, to review their petition responses.

Hoos Abroad & Darden Travel Registries

For essential international travel for University-related purposes, advanced Graduate Students and GME Trainees may request an exemption to the University Travel Restriction; email for further details if you intend to submit a request. Exemption requests for graduate student travel abroad for Summer, Fall, or Academic Year 2021-22 will be reviewed on a rolling basis, though decisions will not be made until at most four weeks before the scheduled departure date.

Student Projects Abroad

In light of continuing public health risks due to COVID-19, student international travel for Student Projects Abroad is on hold through summer 2021. No projects will be approved for Summer 2021.

Vaccination Requirements & Records: All Travelers

All students who live, learn, or work in person at the University of Virginia during the 2021-2022 academic year must be fully vaccinated. Additionally, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that international travelers be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). A number of countries are expected to limit entry to travelers who can provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2), and some education abroad programs and host organizations require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2).

In most cases, approved format(s) for proof of vaccination for entry into a given country remain unclear. However, either or both of the existing CDC-approved formats (the white COVID vaccination card provided on vaccination, and state-held electronic records) seem likely to be acceptable. Therefore, we recommend that travelers take steps now to obtain their electronic record while safeguarding their vaccine card.

Students granted an exception to the vaccination requirement on medical or religious grounds for study on-Grounds in Charlottesville should understand that it may not be possible to accommodate the exception in an overseas program. 

Electronic Records

The CDC maintains a list of state immunization record services, including the Virginia Department of Health’s Division of Immunization, which houses the Virginia Immunization Information System (VIIS).

  • Any student who is vaccinated in Virginia will, regardless of residency (Virginian or non-Virginian), have a record of the vaccination with VIIS.
  • Click the link on the Division of Immunization page to complete the record request.
  • Non-Virginians who did not receive their vaccines in Virginia should follow the instructions for their state’s record service to request their records.
  • Most doctors are able (and expected to) enter immunization records in their state database.  Any student who has trouble with their records can try contacting their primary care provider for help in getting a vaccination recorded in their state’s system. 

Paper Card

Treat your COVID vaccination card with care, as you would a driver’s license, passport, or credit card. 

Take a picture of your vaccination card and store it on your phone. Make paper copies just like for your passport: leave one copy at home, and keep one with you in a secure place away from the original while you travel. Here are some additional tips on keeping your vaccine card safe.

If you lose your COVID vaccination card, the CDC provides instructions for who to contact to try to secure a replacement (scroll down to, “If you have lost your vaccination card…”). If you were vaccinated by UVA, you can use this form to request a replacement.

Changes in Guidance

Guidance continues to change rapidly, so continue to refer back to this page, and to guidance from your program provider, host country, airline, the CDC, and other resources.


Students with questions, please contact your Education Abroad Advisor (education abroad programs) or (research or other non-program activity).

Last edited Tuesday, June 15, 2021.