Traveling to Northeastern campuses located in the United States

UPDATED 09/12/2022 08:55 AM

As Northeastern responds to the global COVID-19 pandemic, our number one priority remains the health and well-being of our students and community. At each of our campus locations, our plans are guided by real-time COVID-19 updates and follow guidance from public health and government authorities.

This page contains up-to-date information on travel to the US, including and specifically related to COVID-19 protocol.  For information related to necessary paperwork, border crossing, and practical tips on airport transportation please see, Arriving in the US.

The information on this webpage is intended to help you make necessary arrangements for your travel to Northeastern. Please read carefully the below information and check back regularly to make informed travel plans. As always, we are available to answer your questions and to provide comprehensive advice and information on resources that may be helpful to you. For additional support or for assistance with travel documents, email us at [email protected].

  • If you need emergency assistance while traveling, please call one of the following numbers: 
  • If you are at a U.S. Port of Entry (ie. airport): +1.617.373.2121  
  • If you are departing for your Northeastern campus within 24 hours or are already in transit: +1.857.214.5332 

If you’re traveling to Northeastern campuses in Canada or the UK, please read our guides to Traveling to NU Campuses in Canada or Traveling to NU in the UK

Effective 3 December 2021, all international travelers to the United States, regardless of their vaccination status, are required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test issued no more than 1 calendar day prior to departure for the United States.

On 8 November 2021, the U.S. Government announced new protocols for foreign nationals attempting to enter the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. All foreign nationals are required to provide

In very limited cases, foreign nationals who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 may be eligible to enter the United States. Depending on the exception, travelers may have to adhere to additional requirements, including:

  • Proof of a negative COVID-19 test issued no more than 1 calendar day prior to departure, or proof of recovery from COVID-19
  • Receive a COVID-19 viral test 3-5 days after arrival in the United States
  • Self-quarantine for 7 days, even f the test result to the post-arrival test is negative
  • Self-isolate if the result of the post arrival test is positive or if the traveler develops COVID-19 symptoms
  • Agree to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and arrange to become fully vaccinated within 60 days of arriving in the United States

Exception eligibility criteria can be found on the CDC’s dedicated webpage.

If you have additional questions regarding the new requirements for entry to the United States or exceptions, please reach out to [email protected] and [email protected].

Required documents

 Travel documents required for entry into the United States

  • Valid entry visa for study in the U.S. (in most cases an F-1 visa or J-1 visa)
  • Apply for an Expedited Visa Appointment within 60 days of program start date: This option is limited only to students and exchange students who are within 60 days of their start date, and who have not been previously refused a visa within the last six months. For detailed information click here.
  • Visa supporting documents such as:

If you need assistance with your travel documents, please email [email protected].

Travel steps

1 Arrange your travel

2 Register your travel

  • Register your travel with the university via “MyTravelPlans” in the Student Hub or directly through the GardaWorld Travel Security Portal (sign in with your Northeastern email address). 
  • More information on the Travel Registry can be found here and  here. 
  • Contact [email protected] for travel registry assistance. 

3 Research possible restrictions for the duration of your travel

  • Determine what is needed for you to comply with the relevant regulations for your travel (e.g. departure, connections, customs) according to your citizenship(s) and immigration documentation at each checkpoint.
  • Adhere to airlines’ COVID-19 safety requirements.
  • Be aware of the specific exit requirements from your point of origin and the entry requirements at any transit points, as well as the point of entry in the United States.
  • Pay special attention to:
    • Possible required quarantine periods at each point of travel.
    • Any test requirements or the need for proof of a negative COVID-19 test before departure.

If in doubt about any information, contact the relevant immigration or government authority of the countries of the travel.

State Advisories

Most U.S. states no longer restrict travel or have significant COVID-19 restrictions in place. Before traveling to a Northeastern campus in the United States, review the below CDC guidance and individual state websites pertaining to COVID-19. 

Massachusetts (MA)

Review the following guidelines:

Students arriving in Boston NO LONGER NEED a COVID-19 test on arrival; review the UHCS website for informing about assessing testing in Boston.

North Carolina (NC)

Washington (WA)

Maine (ME)


California (CA)

Notice for first-time United States visa applicants

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. diplomatic missions worldwide are operating on a reduced schedule, which may create some challenges for those needing interviews to complete the visa application process. 

Certain U.S. diplomatic missions are currently processing non-emergency visa applications. Please check the U.S. non-immigrant visa appointment wait times to see which embassies and consulates are currently processing visas and the wait time for each location. Please note, the site is updated regularly, and information may change.  

Students requiring visas should check in with the closest U.S. embassy or consulate before looking at other locations. U.S. diplomatic missions might be unable to process non-emergency visas in your country of residence.   

If you attempt to travel to a third country for visa processing, please be mindful of the following: 

  • Make sure the U.S. embassy or consulate you are considering processes non-immigrant visas for non-resident foreign nationals.  
  • What is needed to enter the third country.  
  • How will you return to your primary residence country. 
  • How will you support yourself if you are required to wait for a visa or need to return to the third country to gather the visa at a future date.    

Traveling to Northeastern University for Commencement

International students, who graduated in a previous academic term, but who want to participate in graduate ceremonies at a later date (for example, a student who graduates at the end of the fall academic term wants to participate in graduation ceremonies at the end of the spring academic term), will have a Completed SEVIS record (Active SEVIS Record or I-20) if they did not apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) or continue in a new academic program.   

  • Do not request a travel signature since you are no longer eligible for this benefit.   
  • Utilize alternate visas for travel to the U.S. such as a Visitor Visa or the Visa Waiver Program if you are a citizen of a participating country. 


Kindly note that since you have completed your studies, your F-1 visa and I-20 are no longer valid for travel to the United States even if they have a future end date. Please do not request a travel signature. You should plan to travel to the U.S. on a visitor visa or the Visa Waiver program. You can request a visa/travel support letter by completing the appropriate e-form.   

Late Arrival Advice

Late Arrivals, U.S. campuses  

The arrival for your study must align with the academic calendar of the university.  When booking your flight, keep in mind that you may enter the U.S. no more than 30 days prior to the program start date listed on your Form I-20/DS-2019. 

Please consult the Academic Calendar for important dates of your program. Make sure you view the calendar that is specific for your level of study and academic college or school.  

OGS has identified the following dates for late arrival in Summer/Fall 2022 academic terms:

If you cannot arrive by the program start date indicated on your Form I-20you must request an approval to arrive late from your college 

  1. Once approved, the college will then submit a Late Arrival Request e-form to OGS on your behalf. 
  2. Students will then receive an email with a link to complete a Travel Support Letter Request which explains to Customs & Border Protection that your late arrival has been approved by your institution. 
  3. OGS will process the request and email the letter to the student. You may present the letter during Primary or Secondary inspection if needed. 

Please ensure that you have connected with your professors regarding your late arrival so that any necessary arrangements for the first few class sessions can be made. 

Undergraduate students must contact campus housing directly.  

OGS will assist with Orientation.  

Late Arrivals, Canadian campuses

Please refer to the FAQ information on the OGS Canada webpage:

If you are unable to arrive prior to the start of your classes, please email [email protected] for instructions and guidance.    

Late Arrivals, NCH London campus  

All students on NCH programs are expected to arrive in the U.K. by the latest acceptance date. 

Onesemester – Standard Visitor Visa 

  • The latest date students should arrive in London is the 5th September 2021.  
  • NCH provides students with a supporting visa letter that confirms program particulars, including program dates, to provide to the U.K. Border Control upon arrival. 
  • There should be no issues at Border Control for late arrivals. If you experience any issues at Border Control, please contact [email protected] 
  • Total stay cannot be more than 6 months, and cannot be extended. 

Twosemester  – Student Route Visa 

  • The latest date students should arrive in London is the 5th September. 
  • If the student is not arriving within the deadline, then the immigration officers at the port of entry may refuse entry to the U.K.  
  • If the student is unable to join the program by the latest acceptance date, then they must inform the GEO office at Northeastern University, who informs the NCH visa compliance office to commence withdrawal of the visa sponsorship with the UKVI. 
  • The earliest a student can arrive in the U.K. is a month prior to their course start date.  


The university understands that international travel during this time may be challenging due to restrictions and guidelines issued by individual countries.

Please be advised that requirements to enter any country, including the United States, are subject to change without notice. The university cannot confirm that you will be admitted into any specific country as entry into any country is at the sole discretion of the immigration/government authorities of that country, and the requirements may vary from country to country.

The following guidance is solely for informational purposes. It is your decision whether you chose to travel to campus. You should adhere to the health and travel guidance issued by your home country, and each country you intend to depart from, transit through (if applicable), and arrive to.

Any mention of a transit country or airline does not constitute an endorsement of the country or airline.

Wherever possible, we have provided the direct link to public resources and government-issued guidance. If the link is broken, please notify [email protected].