Which COVID-19 vaccines will fulfill the Rutgers proof-of-COVID vaccination requirement?
The university will accept any COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use by the U.S. FDA and recommended by the CDC ACIP (currently, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson). Rutgers will also accept other COVID-19 vaccinations that receive a U.S. FDA authorization and CDC ACIP recommendation before the beginning of the fall 2021 semester.
For those international students who decide to get vaccinated after arrival in the US, Rutgers will provide whatever assistance possible that is consistent with NJ State public health guidelines.
New Jersey has been rolling out COVID-19 vaccines step-by-step to serve all adults who live, work, or study in the state. Starting Monday, April 19, 2021, all individuals in New Jersey aged 16 and older will be eligible for vaccination.
What if I was already vaccinated for COVID-19 in my home country but it is not on the U.S. FDA and CDC authorized list?
You will need to show proof of receipt of vaccination upon arrival at Rutgers. We will assist international students to comply with the university’s requirement, as appropriate. If you have questions about your specific vaccine, please contact the Director of the Student Wellness Center, Dr. Neuza Maria Serra, at email@example.com or the Associate Director of Medical Services, Dr. Patricia Prior at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If I am unable to obtain one of the U.S. FDA authorized vaccines prior to my arrival in the U.S., will I be able to obtain a U.S. FDA authorized vaccine upon arrival to campus?
Rutgers has received approval from the State of New Jersey to administer authorized COVID-19 vaccines at our three campus locations. As soon as an adequate supply is available, we will make vaccinations available to our students, staff, and faculty, consistent with public health guidelines. This should allow all international students to receive the vaccination at Rutgers once they arrive. More information about vaccination requirements and options will be provided to you directly in the coming months. Stay in communication with our office regarding your arrival date and we will communicate the process at that time.
Will there be a cost for the vaccine?
The New Jersey Department of Health has advised that there will be no charge for the vaccine.
Are there any exemptions to the vaccine requirement?
Students may request an exemption from showing proof of vaccination for medical or religious reasons. More information on exemptions can be found on the Rutgers Immunization Portal.
When should I arrive in order to start my semester on time?
Based on current guidance, international students with an F-1 or J-1 visa may enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the program start date indicated on their I-20 or DS-2019 forms. When making plans for arrival to the U.S., students are advised to factor in adequate time to receive the vaccine and quarantine. No student will be allowed to participate in campus events, reside in the residence halls, or attend classes without being fully vaccinated. The university is in the process of developing interim housing space for arriving international students to allow for vaccination wait times and quarantine. The university will be offering online programs and activities for international students during this period.
In advance of arriving to New Jersey, please review the Rutgers webpage on Updated Quarantine and Travel Guidance.
When is International Student Orientation?
All new undergraduate and graduate international students are required to attend our International Student Orientation (ISO). This mandatory program will be offered virtually in August for all incoming students for the Fall 2021 semester. More information about the ISO will be made available at a later date. Please consult our International Student Orientation webpage for updated information during the coming months.
New international graduate students are advised to contact their program director for information on school and program-specific orientation activities for graduate students.
How does current government policy affect my immigration status and ability to start in-person classes in the fall?
While the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has not provided updated guidance regarding online instruction beyond spring 2021, we are hopeful that the fall 2020 and the spring 2021 flexibilities will continue. Based on current guidance, continuing Rutgers students who are in active SEVIS status, whether inside the U.S. or abroad, will continue to maintain their legal status and enroll in 100% online coursework or any combination of in-person and online study to maintain their legal status. New international students, and students who started their programs in the fall 2020 or spring 2021 semesters from overseas, are eligible to apply for a visa and enter the U.S. to attend in-person classes. However, current regulations are that new international students may not enroll in 100% online courses if they will be in the U.S. for the fall 2021 semester. All students should continue to regularly monitor travel regulations between the country they are traveling from (including transit countries), and the United States, as these policies are subject to change.
What if I am unable to get a visa to start my Rutgers education in New Jersey?
Should travel to the U.S. not be possible due to visa issues, we will work with you to provide a virtual experience until we can welcome you to campus as soon as feasibly possible. Students should also contact their undergraduate academic advisor or graduate program director regarding available online options to progress in their degree program. The university will continue to process I-20 and DS-2019 documents as students request them to ensure that you are able to schedule a visa appointment should one become available for you.
We realize there are concerns with getting a visa and arriving on-campus in time for the fall term. Students should check with the embassies and consulates near them as they prepare their visa applications. We also recommend checking the U.S. Department of State website for the status of operations at the embassy or consulate where you intend to apply for a visa. Please be assured that Rutgers, along with other U.S.-based universities, are strongly lobbying the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and we are urging them to take immediate action and allow international students to enter the U.S. in time for the fall semester.
Will I be required to get a visa if all my classes are online?
The existing guidance states that new/initial students may only apply for a visa and enter the U.S. to enroll in a U.S. school only for a full course of study that is not 100% online. Please visit OIS website for regulatory guidance, resources, and information for international students. We will continue to update our websites as more information becomes available and notify you as changes occur.
Will this information change?
We expect both the COVID-related health regulations, as well as the U.S. immigration regulations and status, will continue to evolve over the next several months. Updates will be provided by email and on our websites as they occur. We are here to support you in any way we can, and we truly hope to welcome you to campus this Fall.
Should you have any questions about the vaccination program or Rutgers’ requirements, please see the FAQs https://coronavirus.rutgers.edu/covid-19-vaccine/#forStudents. For general questions about COVID-19 vaccines, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html and https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/vaccine.
We will also email you with updates and information as they become available.
Please note that as public health guidelines, federal immigration and travel policy, and Rutgers policies continue to evolve, additional information will be provided on changes/updates to this policy.