Travel restrictions and CDC guidance
If you travel internationally, you should become thoroughly aware of all travel restrictions and guidance that may impact your travel back to and from Madison. Global travel restrictions may change, so you are highly encouraged to monitor conditions and guidance both before and throughout any travel.
Each U.S. embassy website offers a COVID-19 page, and this is a good starting place to access updated information. Although the embassy’s webpages are specific to traveling U.S. citizens and permanent residents, it will provide good information for others as well. Reviewing the destination country’s foreign ministry website and reviewing its many COVID-19 related links is also highly advised.
International travel requirements
- All air passengers, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status, must show a negative viral COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 (within 90 days) before boarding a flight to the United States.
- If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before traveling into the U.S.
- Check your destination country for their entry requirements. Review the FAQs below for information on how to obtain COVID-19 vaccine and testing documentation.
Once back in the United States, we recommend a viral COVID-19 test three to five days after arrival – regardless of vaccination status.
Recommendations for travelling safely within the U.S.
- Delay travel until you are fully vaccinated. Get your COVID-19 vaccine if you have not already.
- Pay attention to COVID-19 safety requirements at your destination.
- Wear a mask while using indoor, public transit (airport terminals, airplanes, trains, buses, etc.)
- Do not travel if you have been exposed to COVID-19, you are sick, or if you test positive for COVID-19.
- If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, get tested both before and after your trip.
Frequently Asked Questions
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I am an international student traveling to Madison from outside the United States – do I need to test for COVID-19 before leaving?
Per the CDC International Travel guidelines, all passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result no more than three days before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past three months before they board a flight bound for the United States. After your test, you should reduce interactions with others until you travel to reduce risk of transmission after your test but prior to travel.
If you have children under the age of 5, you should contact your pediatrician to see if they should also be tested for COVID-19.
Am I eligible for a booster shot?
The COVID-19 vaccines authorized and approved in the United States remain highly effective, especially against severe illness and death. Booster shots help safely increase protection against infection and severe outcomes in fully vaccinated people.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says everyone age 18 and older vaccinated at least 2 months ago with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, or at least 5 months ago with Pfizer or Moderna should get a booster with any of the COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States.
If you received vaccines on the WHO’s Emergency Use Listing (EUL) and are at least 18 years old, you should receive a booster of the Pfizer vaccine 5 months after completing your initial dose series.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services recommend that certain people get a second booster shot four months after their first booster. Evidence shows that this second booster offers better protection for people who are at increased risk of severe outcomes. Second boosters should be an mRNA vaccine and are recommended for:
- People 50 and older;
- People 18 and older who received Johnson and Johnson as their first dose and their booster;
- People 12 and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised (for example, due to cancer treatment, HIV infection, organ transplant, or a medical condition like DiGeorge syndrome).
Learn more and schedule an appointment. Information about boosters and additional doses is changing quickly. Talk to your health care provider if you have questions. Note that boosters are different from the additional doses recommended for immunocompromised people. Learn the difference between a third dose and a booster.
Last updated 8:14 AM, April 5, 2022
I was vaccinated in another country with a vaccine not offered in the U.S. Can I get a booster of Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson and Johnson?
If you received vaccines on the WHO’s emergency use listing and are 18 or older, you should get a booster of the Pfizer vaccine 5 months after completing your initial dose series.
If you received vaccines on WHO’s emergency use listing, you are considered fully vaccinated by UW–Madison. If the vaccine you received is not on the WHO list, you can start an FDA-authorized or approved vaccine series with Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson and Johnson.Last updated 11:35 AM, February 23, 2022
I will be coming to UW–Madison from outside of the U.S. What are my requirements before traveling?
Beginning November 8, 2021, F-1 and J-1 nonimmigrant student visa holders are required to show proof of being fully vaccinated in accordance with CDC guidance before flying to the United States.
Individuals who completed a primary vaccine series outside the United States and received FDA-approved, FDA-authorized, or WHO-emergency use listing COVID-19 vaccines as a series or mixed dose regimen are considered fully vaccinated as per CDC guidance. An individual is considered fully vaccinated 14 days after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine or the first dose of the one-dose vaccine. If you are vaccinated and have not shared your record with University Health Services, upload your vaccine record in MyUHS.
A negative viral COVID-19 test result is also required before flying to the United States. All travelers, regardless of vaccination status, must have a negative test within one day of travel.Last updated 3:05 PM, March 15, 2022
If I was vaccinated for COVID-19 outside of the United States, do I need to get or can I get a U.S.-based vaccine?
This depends on the type of vaccination you received and whether you completed the series.
For recipients of FDA-authorized vaccines
- If you had two doses of Moderna or Pfizer or a single dose of Johnson and Johnson, you have completed the series.
- If it has been more than 2 months since you received a Johnson and Johnson dose, you should get a booster shot.
- If you are 18 or older and it has been more than 5 months since you completed your initial dose series of Pfizer or Moderna, you should get a booster shot. Learn more about booster shots.
- If you are immunocompromised, you should get an additional dose if you received Moderna or Pfizer. Anyone initially vaccinated with Johnson and Johnson at least two months ago should get a booster of either an mRNA vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer) or Johnson and Johnson.
- If you received just one dose of Moderna or Pfizer, you should seek a second dose as close to the recommended timeframe as possible (28 days for Moderna, 21 days for Pfizer)
For recipients of WHO-approved vaccines listed for emergency use
- If you completed a vaccine series, you are considered fully vaccinated.
- If it has been more than 5 months since you completed your initial dose series and you are 18 or older, you should get a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
- If you completed just part of a series, you should seek a complete, FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine series. You should wait until it’s been at least 28 days since your last dose to begin an FDA-authorized vaccine series.
For recipients of non–WHO-listed or FDA-authorized vaccine
- If you received all or part of a vaccine that is not currently authorized by the FDA or granted emergency use listing by the WHO, you should seek a complete, FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine series. You should wait until it’s been at least 28 days since your last dose to begin an FDA-authorized vaccine series.
You must receive all recommended doses of an FDA-authorized or WHO-listed COVID-19 initial vaccine series to be considered fully vaccinated. At this time, a booster shot is not required.Last updated 11:33 AM, February 23, 2022
Where and when can I be tested?
Campus PCR testing is available on weekdays by appointment only at the University Club, 803 State St. (intersection of State Street Mall and East Campus Mall). Appointments can be made through the MyUHS app or the MyUHS web portal. Check the testing website for more information, including test site hours, test site accessibility and a campus parking map. Designated parking at the test site is not available.
Campus is also offering antigen testing. More information can be found on our testing page.
Public Health Madison & Dane County maintains a listing of local testing locations open during weekend hours.Last updated 8:24 AM, April 4, 2022
I am immunocompromised. Can I get an extra dose of a COVID-19 vaccine? Should I get a booster?
If you are moderately or severely immunocompromised and initially received two doses of an mRNA series (Pfizer or Moderna), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services recommends you get:
- One additional mRNA dose at least 28 days after the second dose of your initial COVID-19 vaccine series.
- One booster dose at least six months after your additional mRNA dose.
If you are immunocompromised and initially received one dose of Johnson and Johnson, you should get:
- One booster shot (either Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson) at least two months after your initial Johnson & Johnson dose.
If you are immunocompromised and you were vaccinated internationally with a vaccine on WHO’s Emergency Use Listing (EUL), you may receive:
- One additional dose of the Pfizer vaccine at least 28 days after receiving the second vaccine dose of your primary series. This applies to everyone 12 and older.
- For people 18 and older, one booster dose at least six months after your additional Pfizer dose.
Additional doses are different from boosters. Learn more about the difference between booster shots and additional doses. Consult your health care provider with questions.Last updated 2:11 PM, December 3, 2021
Can my family member or friend who is traveling with me to Madison get tested for COVID-19 on campus?
No. UW–Madison is only able to offer COVID-19 testing on campus to current students and employees. Family members can find off-campus testing options through Public Health Madison and Dane County or by visiting the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website for a list of community and private providers, including pharmacies.
Find more information about off-campus testing options on our testing webpage.Last updated 12:58 PM, January 20, 2022
What kind of COVID-19 testing is being offered on campus?
Campus is offering a PCR nasal swab test for COVID-19. Results from campus testing can be used to satisfy most travel requirements. Campus is also offering at-home antigen tests to students and employees for spring semester. More information about this complementary testing strategy can be found on our testing webpage.Last updated 12:28 PM, January 20, 2022
Where can I find more details about my test results, including official documentation of my results for travel or other purposes?
To find more details about your PCR test, including information to help you interpret results, log into your MyUHS account and find “UHS Health Record” on the left-hand side of the web page, or in the drop-down menu on mobile. Navigate to “Laboratory results” to find your COVID-19 test with more details, including test date and a full interpretation of the results. Or, on the MyUHS homepage, after logging in, scroll down to “View lab results” to find a list of your COVID-19 test results and click on the result to get more information. You can print the report as documentation of your PCR test result.Last updated 12:24 PM, January 20, 2022
I was vaccinated outside the U.S. Does this mean I am fully vaccinated after 14 days?
An individual is considered fully vaccinated 14 days after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine or the first dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The 14 days is the standard used by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for vaccines with an Emergency Use Authorization or Emergency Use Listing. See the WHO’s COVID-19 Vaccine updates for more information on Emergency Use Listings.
Beginning November 8, 2021, F-1 and J-1 nonimmigrant student visa holders are required to show proof of being fully vaccinated in accordance with CDC guidance before flying to the United States. Learn more.Last updated 5:19 PM, February 24, 2022
How long does it take to get test results?
Individuals should expect to receive their campus PCR test results within 24 hours, although in some instances results may not be available for up to 72 hours. At-home antigen tests provide rapid results within 15 minutes.Last updated 12:25 PM, January 20, 2022
UHS monitors communicable diseases for the campus community while maintaining confidentiality of one's health record. Medical clearances are currently not mandated, but we encourage everyone to upload their current vaccination status via the MyUHS portal. UHS will recognize vaccines maintained on the World Health Organization’s emergency use listing. Check the website for details.
ISS provides the most current and complete information for international students traveling to the United States for attendance.
Learn more about visas, travel and re-entry requirements, basic needs, as well as up-to-date protocols from federal agencies and campus.