Going abroad for education, jobs? Check UK, US, Australia, Germany, New Zealand vaccine rules for entry

Check the list below to know which countries are demanding vaccination certificates and which universities are okay with vaccination on arrival.

Key Highlights

  • Whether you are travelling abroad for study or work, the pandemic has caused a few visa rules to be tweaked.
  • Some countries, airlines, and universities are demanding vaccination certificates apart from RT-PCR negative certificates.
  • Rules vary and the list below will give a clearer picture.

Given the pandemic scenario, students travelling abroad for studies must now also tackle vaccine-related norms, apart from the travel and visa matters. The reason for the additional formality is that many universities, especially those in the US, require students to be vaccinated. The students must have valid copies of the vaccination certificate attached before they apply for the visa.
Time is of the essence here, as universities abroad are opening up for international students and allowing in-person classes from fall 2021. Fall academic season begins in September, many universities, and students who have missed an entire year of in-person classes are eager to enter campus.

What Vaccine must the students have taken?
Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin is awaiting approval from the World Health Organization (WHO). Unless it is vetted by the WHO, the foreign universities will not be able to accept it. That means Indian students must have the Oxford AstraZeneca make Covishield as at the moment that is the only internationally accepted vaccine available in India that has been recognised by WHO. Sputnik V is just being deployed across India but as the rules of study abroad say “two” or “both” vaccines should have been administered with the prescribed gap.

What about India’s 12-16 week gap rule for Covishield?
It is true that as per the advice of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) a rule in force that the second dose is to be given at 12-16 weeks interval (i.e. after 84 days) of the first shot.

As per a report in the Hindu, such students can take Covishield second dose after 28 days. Students and those travelling abroad for jobs or as part of the Indian contingent for the Tokyo Olympic Games can take the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Covishield after 28 days, the Centre said on Monday. The CoWIN system would soon provide the facility for the administration of the second dose in such exceptional cases.
As per the revised rules, the facility will be available to those who need to undertake international travel for the specified purposes till August 31 this year, and the mention of the vaccine type as “Covishield” is sufficient and “no other qualifying entries are required,” the Health Ministry said in a statement.

“Wherever necessary, the competent authority may issue another certificate linking the vaccination certificate with the passport number of the beneficiary,” said the Ministry.

Apart from the COVID-19 vaccine, the old rule of the duly filled Yellow Card – the updated version of the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis, a WHO-approved booklet documenting your past inoculations – will continue to be in force in whichever countries that previously asked for it.

When should your last shot be taken?
According to CNBC.com, travellers almost always have to be fully vaccinated — which is commonly defined as two weeks following the last required dose. However, several places allow travel the same day as a second shot, says CNBC.

Country-wise rules for vaccine certification:

United Kingdom: As per the US CDC website, report dated May 19, 2021, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travelling to the United Kingdom. Unvaccinated travellers should avoid nonessential travel to the United Kingdom. The rule is applicable whether your destination is the United Kingdom, including England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

United States of America: The US CDC warns travellers that apart from your two-shot COVID vaccines, please make sure that your routine vaccines are also in order. They include adult pertussis booster Tdap, and some every year (like the flu vaccine) or every 10 years (like the tetanus booster for adults).

Germany: Make sure you are fully vaccinated before travelling to Germany. Unvaccinated travellers should avoid nonessential travel to Germany, says the CDC website.

Canada: Canada has not specified any vaccination requirements, but do not rule out a mandatory 15-day quarantine at a hotel, says  report.

Australia: According to Pie News, international students should be allowed to enter Australia as part of a ‘vaccination passport’ arrangement, according to stakeholders in the country’s education sector. Under the plan, 160 students will be brought in at a time and spend two weeks quarantining at Parafield Airport, in the north of the city of Salisbury. “There was a change in focus when the new education minister Alan Tudge came into the portfolio – the talk shifted from quarantine pathways to opening to students once vaccinations were rolled out across Australia (now delayed…) and checking if students had the ‘correct’ vaccines offshore before coming,” Robert Parsonson, executive officer of International Student Education Agents Association (ISEAA), told The PIE News. According to , the chief executive officer of Australian airline Qantas Airways Ltd., Alan Joyce, has said his company plans to require international travellers entering or leaving Australia to present proof of vaccination before boarding.

Some Universities are flexible:
According to The report, some universities are even offering on-campus vaccination service for international students. One Hyderabad-based student who is set to join the University of California told , “The UC has asked for USFDA or WHO-approved vaccines for students. However, if a student is unable to get one before arriving, they will still be allowed on campus, but with added restrictions. They will help students get vaccinated in the state.”

Quarantine rules on arrival:
Quarantine rules applicable on arrival: As per the report, many countries like England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland require international students travelling from non-Green countries to go for compulsory quarantine.

No change in RT-PCR rules:
But, one thing that is compulsory in all cases of travel abroad is a negative RT-PCR test certificate.

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