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Travel Advisory

The United States Department of State (DOS) and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have increased the level of review that international visitors face at United States (U.S.) Embassies and Consulates abroad, at airports, and at border crossing posts with Canada and Mexico. Ultimately, each individual must decide for him- or herself whether or not to travel abroad.

Please visit the Office of International Affairs (OIA) with your passport and immigration documents at least 14 days before the date you plan to travel. We will review your documents, provide you with up to date travel advice, and sign your travel document (if necessary).

If you choose to travel:

  • Always consult with the OIA prior to travel (at least 14 days prior to your departure date).
  • Always carry your passport and valid immigration documents for domestic or international travel; passports should be valid for at least six months into the future.
  • Always carry proof of UTHSC employment or appointment such as an updated appointment letter or an invitation letter, and/or recent UT paycheck stubs.
  • Be honest, patient, and courteous with all government officials even if they are not so with you.

Entry Visa Stamp

When applying for your entry visa stamp, please consider the following:

  • You should consult the Department of State website for appointment scheduling and visa processing information for any U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. Be aware that Consulates usually require in-person interviews before issuing visas.
  • You may experience delays at U.S. Embassies and Consulates due to special processing requirements that have been imposed on non-immigrant visa applicants (particularly for certain nationalities and certain areas of study or research). This may lead to a delay from several weeks to several months in visa issuance.
  • For scholars conducting research in certain technologically sensitive fields, on the Technology Alert List, the Department of State is required to conduct a security clearance prior to issuing an initial U.S. entry visa or extension of visa through a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. Clearance may take one month to several months.
  • If you believe there is a possibility that a security clearance will be conducted, we recommend that you submit a letter from your faculty sponsor with your visa application. When in doubt, we suggest that you submit the letter. We recommend that the letter include the following information:
  1. A brief description of your research, in language a non-scientist can understand
  2. If applicable, the fact that you are conducting basic or unclassified research
  3. The fact that you are expected to return to UT to resume your research

Additional Travel Information

Be prepared when you travel for the following possibilities:

  • Delays in flights within the U.S. and returning to the U.S. from abroad due to heightened security measures at airports and delays along the Canadian border.
  • You will have your fingerprints scanned and a digital photograph taken upon entering the U.S. as part of the US-VISIT program. You may also be required to comply with new "check out" procedures when leaving the U.S.
  • Inquiries and increased review of documents at all ports of entry for non-U.S. citizens.
  • Multiple inspections by several Immigration and/or Customs Officials.
  • Possible photocopying of documents by ICE officials and possible videotaping of ICE, Customs, or FBI interviews.
  • Inspection of personal belongings, luggage, pockets, or other searches.
  • Unexpected temporary closures of U.S. Embassies or Consulates.
May 26, 2022