travel restrictions
Which country has suspended entry on international students? Source: Saul Loeb/AFP

International students longing to return to campus or step foot in a university abroad for the first time can look forward to sunnier days ahead.

Compared to a month ago, where many countries shut borders to non-citizens, entry restrictions are slowly being lifted across the world.

Not all countries are out of lockdown yet; some, like South Korea and China, have closed borders again after travellers caused new flare-ups of the coronavirus.

Other developments continue unfolding at a rapid pace. As a student bound to the travel guidelines of their home and host countries, it can be difficult to find out which countries are reopening and which aren’t.

Here’s what we know so far about the following countries:


International students may be able to enter the country as early as July this year. 

On May 8, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a national three-stage framework to reopen Australia after the COVID-19 crisis. Stage three of the plan will consider allowing international students to enter the country again.

“Issues of international students, you’ll note that it does come into the third step of the plan, that is a possibility,” said Morrison, as reported by SBS.

“We are open to that, and we would be working with institutions to see how that could be achieved. But it must be done according to those strict quarantine restrictions and how that’s done, and how those costs are met.”


Canada has granted travel exemption to international students.

The Canadian government website states: “If you’re an international student who has a valid study permit, or were approved for a study permit on or before March 18, 2020, you’re exempt from the travel restrictions.”

However, do note that any international student who shows symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter Canada by air.

Upon arrival, your health will be assessed before you leave the port of entry.

If you show no symptoms, you must still quarantine for 14 days from the day you arrive in Canada.

New Zealand

travel restrictions

The government is looking to enable international students to return to New Zealand. Source: MARK MITCHELL/POOL/AFP

At the time of writing, New Zealand’s borders remain closed, which means international students cannot enter the country in most circumstances. 

However, New Zealand education minister Chris Hipkins was quoted saying by NZ Herald that the government is looking allow international students to return to New Zealand if they can be quarantined safely.

Hipkins said international students were more likely than foreign tourists to want to come to New Zealand if there was still a need for a 14-day quarantine on arrival.


travel restrictions

The US travel restrictions are extensive.
Source: Chip Somodevilla/ Getty Images via AFP

Since January, US President Donald Trump have issued several presidential proclamations to limit travel into the US. To date, foreign nationals who had visited China, Iran and a group of European countries during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the US remain barred from entry. 

The ban applies to countries in the Schengen Area, which include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, as well as foreign nationals departing from the UK.

A Presidential Proclamation issued on April 22, 2020 suspends entry for 60 days of certain “new immigrants” who do not already have an approved immigrant visa. The proclamation does not currently impact applicants for adjustment of status to permanent residence, or nonimmigrants (such as students, exchange visitors, H-1B workers, visitors for business or pleasure, etc.).


UK’s borders are still open.

According to The Guardian, however, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on May 10 that it would “soon be the time” to impose quarantine on people coming into the UK. 

No specific details have been fleshed out at the time of writing, but the quarantine is expected to last for 14 days while Johnson said it would be in place for people arriving by air. 

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