International Students

International Students and Scholars Office

ISSO Updates and Resources

Review this page for ISSO operations, FAQs, updates, and resources.

Visas and Travel

Resources for students, researchers, and faculty

Need Further Assistance?

The Office of International Students and Scholars stands ready to support our international students, faculty, and scholars.

Summer Health Guidelines

All Columbia affiliates must continue to wear masks at all times in indoor settings in Columbia facilities, regardless of vaccination status. Vaccinated individuals may remove masks and not physically distance only in outdoor settings on Columbia’s campuses. Unvaccinated individuals must continue to wear masks both indoors and outdoors. However, individuals may choose to continue to wear masks outdoors on Columbia’s campuses, thus, no assumptions should be made regarding why an individual chooses to mask outdoors.

Until September 8, only vaccinated individuals do not need to distance indoors. After September 9, when we are a fully vaccinated campus, there will be no distancing requirements, including for those with approved vaccine exemptions.

Required Protocol for Returning to Campus

You must follow all University Public Health Protocols, which include masking and distancing where appropriate.

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Get Vaccinated and Upload Documentation

Get vaccinated at a Columbia-operated location or use the New York Vaccine Finder. Find out which vaccines are accepted. Be sure to upload your documentation by August 2.

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Read and Sign the Compact

Read and sign the Columbia Community Health Compact, which can be found in the required online safety training.

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Take Safety Training

If you are returning to campus, you must take the COVID-19 safety course before you return to campus.

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Get Tested

To provide an additional layer of safety, Columbia will require an initial single COVID-19 PCR diagnostic test of all faculty, staff, and students returning to campus.

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Download the ReopenCU App

Use the app to generate a "green pass," which is needed to access campus buildings. Download it from the App Store or Google Play, or use the web version. If you don't want to change your app store location to the U.S., or live in a country where you can't get the app, use the web version.

Individuals unable to complete vaccination with FDA- or WHO-authorized vaccines before campus arrival will be offered a vaccine upon arrival. Read these guidelines for more details.

Other Checklist To-Do's

Prior to Arrival

  1. Review ISSO Getting Started information.
  2. Obtain your visa and travel to New York.

Upon Arrival to Campus

  1. Complete quarantine if unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
  2. Quarantine for 7 days after return from international travel is required for any Columbia affiliate who is not fully vaccinated with an FDA- or WHO-approved vaccine, in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendation. This will include a test at day 3-5 after return. International arrivals fully vaccinated with an FDA- or WHO-approved vaccine are required to test on day 3-5 after return but are not required to quarantine. Your day 3-5 travel test also serves as your gateway test, so you do not need to do this twice.
  3. Read these FAQs for help completing your checklist.

What to Do If You Failed to Meet the Vaccination Mandate Deadline

News and Events From Columbia Global Centers

News and Policy Updates

Columbia Urges Action From Administration to Help International Students Return to the U.S.

April 7, 2021—Bollinger joined 16 Presidents and Chancellors of New York State colleges and universities in a letter sent to the U.S. Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

CDC Requires Negative COVID-19 Test for All Air Passengers Entering the U.S.

Jan. 14, 2021—Effective Jan. 26, 2021, Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers or documentation of recovery before they board.

Bollinger Calls on Biden to End the Trump Administration's Assault on the International Exchange of Ideas

Dec. 2, 2020—In an open letter to the president-elect, Columbia’s president says that “costly and consequential” federal policies have damaged American universities’ ability to attract top academic talent from around the globe.

House Democrats and Republicans Weigh in on Homeland Security Visa Restrictions

Oct. 27, 2020—Congress members express concern about the Department's new proposed fixed term period of admission and extension of stay rules for international students and scholars.

Columbia Writes to Strongly Oppose Homeland Security's Proposed Rule

Oct. 26, 2020—Replacing the current Duration of Status policy for international students and scholars with a fixed two-to-four-year term and an uncertain extension of stay process hinders the University's ability to recruit and retain the most talented students. 

New York Universities Write to State Department and Homeland Security

Oct. 14, 2020—Presidents and chancellors of several major research institutions in New York State express alarm over difficulties students, faculty, and scholars are facing in trying to secure U.S.-entry visas.

U.S. Rep. Nadler Calls for Extending Comments on Student Visa Rule

Oct. 6, 2020—Letter requests that DHS and ICE extend the 30-day comment period for the Student Visa Rule v.6 and provide at least 60 days for public participation in the process.

Legislators Express Concern Over DHS Student Visa Proposal

Oct. 6, 2020—Letter states that the September 25, 2020, rule unfairly limits length of student visas and places arbitrary restrictions on students based on their country of origin.

Columbia Stories

12 headshots of young scientists, 10 women and two men. Nine of 12 are of Asian descent
Changing Minds About Masks

Wearing is Caring, a campaign breaks down the science behind how face coverings can combat coronavirus, has reached more than 1 million people via social media.

Four people in a Zoom-like grid.
GS Launches Series for Alumni and Students to Connect Virtually

This new series will facilitate conversations among students, alumni, and the wider Columbia community during the pandemic.

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Communing With Nature on the Australian Coast

A SIPA professor reflects on everything from watching the migration of humpback whales to online teaching for students whose locations span 15 time zones.

A man with white hair and wearing a jacket and tie sits in a chair with his head resting on his hand.
A Nobel Laureate on Individualism and Prosperity

Economist Edmund Phelps talks about the importance of individualism for a country’s vitality.

Travel Info

New York State Travel Advisory

All affiliates arriving from abroad or from states with high prevalence of COVID-19 will quarantine for 14 days as required by New York. See the current list of restricted states.

Travel Restrictions

All international Columbia-related travel is suspended for all affiliates until further notice.

Columbia Global Travel

Global Travel is dedicated to supporting the health, safety, and security of University travelers engaged in Columbia Travel abroad.