Fall 2021 Vaccination Information for International Students

From Dr. Jean Morrison, University Provost and Chief Academic Officer
and Dr. Judy Platt, Director, Student Health Services

As President Brown announced earlier this month, in order to safely return to a residential, in-person experience in the fall, Boston University will require all students enrolled in classes on our campuses to be vaccinated for COVID-19 before the start of the fall 2021 semester. We know that many of you have questions about this requirement, and are writing today to share some additional details that may be particularly relevant to international students.

Which vaccines will BU accept?

At this time, all COVID-19 vaccines will satisfy the BU vaccine requirement. If the Commonwealth of Massachusetts imposes its own vaccine requirement for residents, we will need to abide by any restrictions it imposes. But at this time, BU plans to accept all vaccines, including those without US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization or approval being offered outside the United States. Please note that while BU will accept all vaccines, current Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance exempts only fully-vaccinated individuals who have received an FDA-authorized or approved vaccine from having to quarantine after travel or close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19. If this remains the case in the fall, students who arrive on campus with a vaccine from another country may still be subject to close contact quarantine, travel quarantine, or other requirements set by the Commonwealth.

I want to get vaccinated in Boston, but can’t get both doses before the end of the spring 2021 semester. What should I do?

Students who plan to leave the United States at the conclusion of the semester may be concerned about vaccine availability or the ability to travel internationally without full vaccination. Undergraduate international students currently residing in on-campus housing who plan to leave the country after the spring 2021 semester will have the option to remain in on-campus housing without further cost for up to 30 days to complete their vaccination process. This option will be available to both continuing students and students who are graduating in May 2021. To be eligible, students must have received or scheduled their first vaccine dose by Sunday, May 9.

In order to register for this housing extension, international students should visit the Housing website and complete the International Student Vaccine Housing Extension application. Please note that the deadline to complete this application is Sunday, May 9, 2021, at 5 pm.

What if I can’t get a vaccine before I arrive on campus for fall 2021?

BU hopes to reopen vaccine clinics in August so that we can offer on-campus vaccinations to students, faculty, and staff. In the event that we are unable to obtain the vaccines required to operate our own clinics, we will work with students to identify nearby public vaccination sites when they arrive. We anticipate that by the beginning of the fall semester, there will be enough vaccines available so that finding appointments will be relatively easy.

What about visa or travel delays?

In addition to concerns around vaccine availability, we know that some of you may be concerned about whether you will be able to obtain a visa or travel in time to be in Boston for the fall 2021 semester. Please know that we, in partnership with our peers from universities across the country, are doing everything in our power to ensure that incoming and continuing students are able to get visas and return to their studies in Boston. We remain hopeful that the federal government will move this effort along in the coming weeks. We are particularly encouraged by the recent US State Department decision that extends a National Interest Exception to COVID-19 related Presidential Proclamations and permits students from China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen area, UK, and Ireland with valid visas to travel to the United States.

If you have any questions, please contact one of the following offices:

Fall 2021 Vaccination Information for International Students – 4.28.21