As the new covid-19 variant is causing the number of infections to rise in Brazil, the Brazilian International students face the brunt of it. Several Northwestern university students have to make pit stops in other countries to avoid the travel ban imposed by the US government. The students from Northwestern and all the students who belong from any countries under the travel ban need to follow their steps. Moreover, it is getting difficult for these international students to score F-1 visas in the US. Read on to know more about it.
What is the travel ban?
Trump lifted the travel ban right before Joe Biden came to power. However, the latter again restored the travel ban to restrict non-US citizens’ entry to the US. This ban is imposed on travellers travelling from parts of Europe, the UK, and Brazil – all of the places where new variants of covid-19 have emerged. Moreover, the US consulates are also closed in these regions, and hence, the international students cannot apply for an F-1 visa in their respective countries.
Most Brazilian Students need to travel to other countries and quarantine there for 14 days before visiting the US. Moreover, they go through with the visa process in that particular country. They can have a fair shot at getting an F-1 visa, allowing international students to work and study in the country. Some of the countries where the Brazilian students choose to quarantine are Mexico, Chile, Panama, and Switzerland.
How is it affecting the students?
All the extra traveling is making the Brazilian international students extremely frustrated. Apart from spending tons of money in other countries, they find it difficult to book an appointment with the US consulates in those countries to get their visa. Some of the students at Northwestern University even had second thoughts on coming back for the semester.
Moreover, as one will have to follow tons of restrictions to come back to the US, these students plan not to return home during the holidays.
Apart from adhering to the US travel ban restrictions, Brazilian students need to follow the imposed restrictions in the country where they are to quarantine. One such example is in Chile, where people are not supposed to step out of their houses on weekends.
The students are also anticipating more travel restrictions in the future. Some Brazilian students fear that the US government might ask for vaccination proof in exchange for a visa. However, it might be so that vaccines might not be readily available in the country around that time.
The decline of international students enrolment
The international student enrolment rate is rapidly declining as the days pass by. The University of Idaho has reported that the enrolments have gone down by at least 19% from last year.
The decline in the enrolment rate can be attributed to economic reasons, travel bans in the US, and the closure of overseas embassies. According to the ‘Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,’ several students could not come back to the country due to the Presidential Proclamation Travel Ban.
New updates regarding the travel ban
The travel restrictions are continually updated in the US, keeping the current situation regarding the pandemic in mind. In the US, it was declared that a negative covid test is mandatory for all international passengers. This indicates that apart from the hassle of following quarantine restrictions in another country, the Brazilian international students need to get a covid test done. On 26th January 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order that all passengers arriving in the US need to produce a negative covid test result on their arrival in the country. The test is to be taken at most three days before their flight to the country.
There are a few exceptions to this rule as well. If you have suffered from covid-19 before, then you can submit a recovery report on your arrival in the US. You have to produce documentation that assures that you have entirely recovered, and it has to be certified by a health care professional. Moreover, you can also submit the initial positive viral test result along with a letter that clears you to travel from your doctor.
This order is mandatory for all air passengers. Hence, both US, as well as non-US citizens need to follow this order. However, the travel ban is still not applicable to US citizens, even if they travel from Brazil, UK, or Europe.
Choosing Canada over the US
Previously, the US was the most preferred destination for international students. However, with the introduction of the travel ban, the focus is now shifting to Canada.
According to a recent survey by educations.com, Canada and the UK are more favorable options for international studies. The Canadian government has always been more benevolent than the US government when dealing with international students. Canada’s permanent residency policies and policies to protect international students’ future at Canadian Universities have made the country a better choice for international students.
However, as several countries are way ahead with their vaccination programs, things are not the same in Canada. The lag in vaccine distribution in the country is putting several Canadian Universities’ revenues at risk. Public universities are highly dependant on international students pay a lot more tuition than domestic students. Experts have warned that due to a lag in vaccination and the emergence of new covid-19 variants, there could be a decline in the number of international students enrolment till the next academic year.
Travis Shaw, a leading analyst at DBRS Morningstar, added that the increase in the number of international enrolments in Canada was due to the US’s unsuitable political environment. Shaw said that there would be more competition this year as Trump was no more in power.
All these are mere speculations as no one is certain about what will happen in the future. However, the strict travel restrictions in the US and the rise in infections make the lives of several Brazilian international students painful. While some choose not to come back home, others are considering discontinuing their education in the US.