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Travel Restrictions and Guidance

Updated December 6, 2021

The most recent list of travelers from countries that are barred from entering the U.S. can be found here. Since November 27, 2021, this list includes South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe, among others, as the U.S. attempts to restrict newer, more contagious strains of COVID-19 from entering the country from abroad. 

International Travelers to the United States

Per the CDC, all international travelers coming to the U.S. must follow these guidelines:

  • Before you arrive in the U.S.:
    • All air passengers coming to the U.S., including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated* people, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 1 day before travel, or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months before they board a flight.
  • After travel:
    • Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel.
    • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
    • Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements after travel.

*People are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

If you are unvaccinated and travelling internationally into the U.S., the CDC recommendations are the following:

  • Before you travel:
    • Get tested with a viral test 1 day before your trip.
    • Make sure you understand and follow all airline and destination requirements related to travel, testing, or quarantine, which may differ from U.S. requirements. If you do not follow your destination’s requirements, you may be denied entry.
  • While you are traveling:
    • Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the U.S. and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs, such as airports and stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like on open deck areas of a ferry or the uncovered top deck of a bus). The CDC recommends that travelers who are not fully vaccinated continue to wear a mask and maintain physical distance when traveling.
    • Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who is not traveling with you.
    • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • After you travel:
    • Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel unless you have documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel.
    • Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.
    • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
    • If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
    • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
    • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
    • Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements.

Do NOT travel if you were exposed to COVID-19, you are sick, you test positive for COVID-19, or you are waiting for results of a COVID-19 test. Learn when it is safe for you to travel. Don’t travel with someone who is sick.

COVID-19 International Travel Recommendations and Requirements

Domestic Travelers in the U.S.

The CDC is encouraging all travelers who are traveling domestically to delay travel until they are fully vaccinated. If you are fully vaccinated and travel domestically, you do NOT need to get tested or self-quarantine. You should still follow all other travel recommendations. 

If you are unvaccinated and travel domestically, her are the steps that the CDC is recommending and requiring:

  • Before you travel:
    • Get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip.
  • While you are traveling: 
    • Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the U.S. and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like on open deck areas of a ferry or the uncovered top deck of a bus). The CDC recommends that travelers who are not fully vaccinated continue to wear a mask and maintain physical distance when traveling.
    • Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who is not traveling with you.
    • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • After you travel:
    • Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel.
    • Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.
    • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
    • If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
    • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
    • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
    • Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements.

COVID-19 Domestic Travel Recommendations and Requirements

California and Los Angeles Travel Guidance

Information about travel restrictions for the state of California can be found here

In addition, all persons traveling into Los Angeles County, whether by air, car, train, or any other means, directly or indirectly from a point of origin outside the Southern California Region, must follow guidelines issued for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers. More information about this can be found here.

Anyone who must travel is advised to regularly check the CDC Travelers’ Health website and the State Department website for the latest information and advice regarding their destination. Traveling to an area affected by the COVID-19 pandemic may also make it difficult to return to the U.S., or result in travelers having to self-quarantine upon their return.

Travel Study

International, out-of-state, and local travel study, including field trips, has been paused. Comprehensive travel study activity will remain under constant review as it relates to local, state, and national COVID-19 guidelines. No new international, out-of-state, and local travel study, including field trips, will be planned until further notice.

Factors contributing to the cancellation of travel study include:

  • Health and safety risk—the CDC has declared a large portion of the globe as a Level 4 (COVID-19 is very high) or Level 3 (COVID-19 is high).
  • Unstable travel conditions—the current rapidly-changing situation surrounding long-distance travel greatly complicates successful travel study activity, including but not limited to air travel portions.
  • Educational viability—courses’ educational objectives are thwarted substantially by current travel-related and venue-specific conditions.
  • Return-related complications—unpredictable but more likely than usual travel delays, possible medical needs outside the U.S., possible quarantine requirements upon return, etc., all of which are unknown and unpredictable at this time, semester schedule factors notwithstanding.
  • Similar decisions/best practices—many institutions of higher learning have also been obliged to cancel similarly planned international travel with students, faculty, and staff, including most Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) schools.

Otis College leadership is truly saddened that affected travel study plans must go unfulfilled this year, especially with so many years’ success behind the program. The current international and long-distance domestic travel environment is truly unique in the unprecedented challenges it poses for schools making such travel plans, and for the students who would have benefited from them in normal times.