Digital health passports, advising international students, and resources
Digital health passports, advising international students, and resources
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Greetings from the Office of Global Engagement at the University of Mississippi!
Please have a look at important information related to advising and international travel below.
  • Digital Health Passports
  • Advising International Students for Fall 2021
  • International Travel Guidance and Resources

Blair McElroy
Senior International Officer & Director of Study Abroad
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Digital Health Passports
Associations, countries, and regions have been discussing health passports for individuals that will allow for more convenient travel.  The European Commission approved the “Digital Green Certificate” today (March 17, 2021), and the International Air Transport Association is in a trial run for a health passport called the travel pass initiative with certain airlines.  Countries such as Israel and the UK have been piloting similar programs.

The EU’s health passport, officially called the Digital Green Certificate, will be free of charge, bilingual, secure, non-discriminatory and available in digital and physical format via QR code.  Its goal will be to facilitate “safe and free movement” inside the EU during the pandemic.  It will be available to EU citizens and non-EU citizens who have the right to travel to other member states.  It was supported largely by member countries whose economies depend on summer tourism.  We will share more information about applying for the certificate when available.

The Digital Green Certificate will be able to verify three distinct statuses:
  • Vaccination certificates, stating brand of the vaccine used, data and place of inoculation and number of doses administered.
  • Negative test certificates (either a NAAT/RT-PCR test or a rapid antigen test). Self-tests will be excluded for the time being.
  • Medical certificates for people who have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 180 days.
These health passports will grant some freedoms and conveniences to travelers, such as no quarantine upon arrival.  Please note that health passports do not override the need for entry visas.  They only allow more mobility within a region or country.  COVID-free flights are also available from certain airports in the US to certain countries.  Flying on a COVID-free flight eliminates quarantine at the destination.  Travelers should check with the airline for information on COVID-free flights and travel requirements.
Please visit OGE's travel page for updates.
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Advising International Students for Fall 2021

With UM's plan for Fall 2021 to include a full resumption of in-person classes, international students who are physically present in the United States should be advised that only one 3-hour course in a remote/online format is allowed toward their full time course load.  That means that 9 hours for undergraduate students or 6 hours for graduate students must be designated as in-person in fall 2021.  This is a departure from the pandemic-related allowance of a full online course load afforded to international students physically present in the US.
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International Travel Guidance and Resources
Now that many individuals in our community are vaccinated, an increasingly popular question being asked is "Can I travel internationally now?"  Ultimately, the answer is: it depends.  It depends on the destination, your flexibility, personal risk tolerance, and vaccination status.  While a health passport, if deployed globally and recognized widely, will make travel more convenient, it will not prevent a foreign government from stopping all flights in and out, imposing stay-at-home orders to limit the spread of COVID-19, or change the course of a COVID-19 variant in another country, for example.

If desired, OGE can provide an analysis of a country, make a recommendation to you and to UM, and you can then make an informed decision on whether to travel.  We are here to help! 
We encourage travelers to check various sources for information on the spread of COVID-19 at the destination, entry/exit requirements, availability of COVID-19 PCR tests to return to the US, and the in-country limitations on mobility that will affect activities and the experience, such as curfews, limits on inter-city travel, museum and public building closures, etc.  Please note and be prepared for any changes: authorities could tighten, reimpose, extend, ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity.

  • Embassy websites in the destination country are helpful also, even if you are a non-US citizen.  US Embassy websites have COVID-19 information, including locations of clinics for the required PCR tests for a return to the US.  Here is an example of the COVID-19 resources from the US Embassy in Amman, Jordan.
Destination Country Ministries of Health 
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) - This program notifies the local embassy or consulate of US citizen presence abroad and provides automatic updates on news in the country/region and assistance if needed.  Non-US-citizens should check their home country’s Department of State equivalent for similar safety and registration programs.
International Health and Safety Insurance - The University of Mississippi highly recommends that any UM faculty, staff, or student enroll in UM’s international health and safety insurance when traveling outside of the United States unless automatically enrolled due to participation in study abroad programs.  To enroll, please email  The cost is $46 per month (minimum coverage period is 30 days).  Dependent coverage for spouses and children is also available at $98 per month.  The AY 2020/2021 insurance policy is available for review in Box.
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