COVID-19 Student FAQs for International Travelers
As with all things relating to the Coronavirus, things change frequently. Additional updates and additional FAQs will be added on an ongoing basis. If something is not clear, please let us know! Please visit USF COVID-19 Updates, FAQ and Resources site for additional USF COVID-19 information.
Returning to Traveling
- I heard USF is not allowing travel during Phase I and II of our return to campus plan, what will I need to do to be allowed to travel?
- USF's phased return to campus does stipulate that while USF is in Phase I or II we cannot authorize travel. However, there is a petition process in place. For the programs USF organizes, the petition process is completed by the Education Abroad Office. If you are attending an affiliate or non-affiliate program you must complete the petition with the assistance of your program contact. Your Education Abroad Program Manager can provide the petition questions to you. You will need to highlight the academically compelling reason why travel during phase II is considered "essential" travel: This may include graduation requirement, upcoming graduation, funding, or other consideration that makes postponing to a future semester difficult. You will also need to explain how you will minimize your potential exposure to covid during travel and during your program -- your program contact can assist you with these details. While approval is not guaranteed, students have been able to submit plans and be approved for travel.
- I was supposed to go this summer and my program got cancelled. Will I be able to go on the same program next summer?
- Maybe! It will depend on the courses you need to take and if that program is able to run next summer. Click here to request a remote advising appointment with a study abroad advisor to discuss your options.
- I already took the classes I was going to take on my program this summer. Can someone help me find another program?
- Yes! Click here to request a remote advising appointment with a study abroad advisor.
- I found a program I like and see that it is open for applications online. Does that mean that program is ready to go?
- We’re so excited you’ve found a program to study abroad! The program will be accepting applications, so apply at no cost, but we are still working on implementing COVID mitigation strategies, contingency plans, and we will be reviewing travel advisories up until the trip leaves and while students are abroad. Let us know if you have any questions and we’re always happy to talk with you.
- How is USF monitoring COVID and other safety concerns abroad?
- USF International Risk and Security Office has several methods for monitoring the current pandemic. Our international health and evacuation insurance provider UHCG provides us with regular updates. We also track the data daily provided by the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Dashboard. There are also other governmental alerts and news that are at our disposal.
- What are the barriers to getting into a country (will other countries let me in)?
- Many countries are prohibiting visitors based on the caseload of COVID-19 cases from their departure country. This changes rapidly. You may check with US embassy or consular offices located in your destination country to read updates. Many countries may require a negative COVID-19 test just prior to your departure, testing upon arrival, and or mandatory self-isolation upon entry. You can look up country travel regulations here but be aware that they may quickly be out of date if a country needs to respond to an emerging situation.
- I do not have a passport, when can I get one?
- The State Department significantly reduced passport operations earlier this year and delays are expected if applying for or renewing your passport soon. More information can be found here.
- Where can I get a vaccine?
- Starting April 5th adults (age 18+) can seek out vaccines in the community – Publix, CVS, Walgreen’s, or the state site at Raymond James. You can register on this site, and should register NOW to avoid delays in obtaining a vaccine if you so choose: https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/vaccines/. Please start this process if you wish to get vaccinated prior to your trip (recommended, but not required). If you are currently residing outside of Florida, we encourage you to check with your local state, city, or county officials.
- When can I sign up?
- All adults (18+) will be eligible for vaccination starting April 05.
- Do I need a vaccine?
- Vaccination is not currently being required for international travel-- vaccinated individuals may encounter fewer obstacles and risks in traveling internationally. We encourage you to speak with your healthcare provider regarding their recommendations for your specific situation.
- Will I get all my money back if USF cancels a program?
- Our office is doing everything we can to get you abroad as soon as it’s safe to travel again! USF will refund as much as possible if a program is cancelled, but students in the committed status may be liable for program costs which USF is unable to recover if the program is cancelled.
- Is there insurance that I can purchase that will help me to recoup my investment in the program if the program is cancelled?
- USF and its insurance company (UHCG) has looked for cancellation insurance that would cover cancelations due the current COVID-19 pandemic, and unfortunately, we have not found a good alternative for students. If you find a policy, please read carefully before purchasing as the fine print may contain many exceptions.
- Flights are fairly cheap right now to some destinations. Should I just go ahead and buy my flight?
- No. Students should not purchase flights until told to do so by their USF program manager, and USF cannot reimburse students for these costs.
- What if the COVID situation gets worse when I’m abroad? Will USF cover costs for me to come home if needed?
- No. These costs will be the responsibility of the student.
- If I have to self-isolate who covers those costs?
- Countries may impose COVID-19 related requirements such as self-isolation, COVID-19 tests, quarantine for individuals who test positive, temperature checks and other procedures at any moment. Participants agree to comply with local government orders, understanding that this may mean up to two weeks of additional Isolation before and after the program at their own expense.
- If you were to get sick while abroad, students will have medical insurance from USF that will pay for hospitalization, doctor’s visits and the like. COVID-19 positive individuals will be required to self-isolate or quarantine if they test positive with COVID-19 and will have to comply with local regulations. USF will assist students in making self-isolation/quarantine arrangements for our faculty-led programs, but the costs of individual’s self-isolation (accommodation & food) will be borne by the student.
- If I have to get a COVID test upon arrival or while abroad, will I have to pay for this?
- You may have to get a COVID test upon arrival and throughout your time abroad, and students should prepare to budget extra for unknown expenses in case this occurs.
- Returning home
- USF will require all students to self-isolate, at their own cost, prior to returning to campus for the summer.
- Has the US Department of State changed its travel advisories?
- The week of April 19, the US State Department began to update its Tier System to align with the CDC COVID-19 advisory levels. Please be aware that 80% of the world, including the US, is in the highest tier for the spread of COVID-19. USF is not cancelling any of its programs due to the change in the State Department updates. The State Department has made clear that this change is not due to changing conditions or an elevation in risk within the specific countries, again it is an alignment with CDC advisories.
- Are there going to be COVID-test requirements?
- There may be COVID test requirements while abroad, and USF will continue to monitor entry requirements for countries where students are studying abroad. We also advise students to research entry requirements during the application process and before travel as these may change rapidly.
- Will I have to socially distance while abroad?
- Students may have to practice social distancing and other COVID mitigation strategies while abroad. Students should continue to stay informed on the condition of the country they plan to travel to, and will need to be open-minded to potential changes in program itineraries if needed.
- Will USF supply masks or PPE for us when we go abroad?
- No, at this time students should be prepared to bring masks, hand sanitizer, and any other PPE for normal day-to-day safety.
- My family is really scared about me getting COVID so far from home, what should I do?
- Our office is doing everything we can to get students abroad as soon as it’s safe to travel again. If students or families are concerned, we first encourage you to research the situation in the country and city you will be traveling to. Some countries are handling the situation much better than others and have differing health care infrastructures in place. If students and families still feel uncomfortable traveling during this time, they should consider travel during another semester or summer if possible. We would be happy to review program opportunities with you to see if a future term would be a better opportunity. We also have virtual internships and opportunities for you to consider as well.
- What if I get sick while abroad?
- Students will have medical insurance from USF while abroad that will pay for hospitalization, doctor’s visits and the like. COVID-19 positive individuals will be required to self-isolate if they test positive with COVID-19 and will have to comply with local regulations. USF will assist students in making self-isolation arrangements for our faculty-led programs, but the costs of individual’s self-isolation (accommodation & food) will be borne by the student.
- What if my roommate abroad or someone else on my trip gets COVID?
- Contact tracing will likely require that any student who came in contact with COVID-19-positive individual must self-isolate for two weeks. Students should be open-minded to potential changes in program itineraries if needed for the health and safety of each student on the program. More information will be available on a per-program basis as we continue to develop plans for each program.
- I am going on an affiliate program; can I still go even if USF does not want me to?
- No. USF Policy #10-507 requires that all international student-related travel must be registered and authorized by USF World. Our affiliate providers have been notified of our policy and will have to refuse your travel.
- What happens if USF cancels travel, but I already paid my affiliate provider? Will I get my money back?
- Students should review the affiliate’s terms and conditions before committing to a program. You will have to discuss this with your affiliate provider, as USF cannot reimburse you for these expenses.
- I have a global requirement to meet for my major. What can I do if I can’t study abroad?
- We are offering international virtual internships! These are guaranteed internship placements with a global organization. You can do this from home, and we can place most majors on an internship. For more information visit our website.
- Can I travel on my own during weekends or before and after my program?
- Weekend travel will be dependent on your program itinerary, and current COVID-19 conditions in the area. In general, it will be safer for you to travel after the study abroad experience.
Have other questions? Please feel free to contact us.