COVID-19 Resource Guide for Students

Keep up-to-date on COVID-related rules and regulations during your time in Berkeley

This page is maintained by International Student Services (ISS) at Last updated January 7, 2022.


Disclaimer: This information is subject to change based on the evolving COVID-19 guidance from the City of Berkeley, Alameda County, and the State of California.  Please refer to the UC Berkeley Coronavirus site,  City of Berkeley website and COVID19.CA.GOV for up-to-date information.

Latest News

Jan 7, 2022: UC Berkeley announces remote start to Spring 2022 semester

The Chancellor announced that "After consultation with the UC Berkeley public health committee, input from students, staff and faculty, and much deliberation, we have decided to begin the semester with a two-stage process, with most courses being offered fully remote for the first two weeks (Jan. 18-28) and then moving to fully in-person instruction in the third week of the semester on Jan. 31." See the full message here (CalNet required).

The campus will remain open; students, staff and faculty are welcome to come to campus for all other research, administration and operational purposes. 


Dec 21, 2021: COVID-19 Boosters will be required by January 18 (if eligible)

The UC system announced that the current UC COVID-19 vaccination policy requires faculty, staff and students to obtain a booster shot as soon as they are eligible. Our campus expects all faculty, staff and students who are eligible to get their booster no later than the start of instruction on Jan. 18 (or the first day they are on campus if they are in a program that starts before Jan. 18).


Dec 2, 2021: Stricter Testing Requirement for International Travelers to the US

Stricter testing requirements for international travelers to the US  were announced by President Biden as part of a comprehensive strategy to fight COVID-19. Beginning on December 6, all air passengers, regardless of vaccination status, must show a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 1 day before travel to the United States. For detailed information please visit the CDC website.  The CDC has provided the following resources regarding requirements for international travelers entering the US:

Nov 8, 2021: Travel and Re-entry to the U.S.

Effective Nov 8, 2021, President Biden signed a Proclamation that allows all foreign nationals who are fully vaccinated to enter the United States. Full details about the announcement can be found on the CDC and Department of State websites.

Starting on November 8, non-citizen, non-immigrant air travelers to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination received within no fewer than 14 days prior to boarding an airplane to the United States.

The list of acceptable vaccines is as follows:

  • Single dose: Janssen / J&J
  • 2-dose series: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Covishield, BIBP/Sinopharm, Sinovac

Very limited exceptions from the vaccination requirement can be found on the CDC website.

Additionally, those traveling to the United States by air are required to show a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the U.S.

If you are not fully vaccinated and plan to leave and re-enter the US after November 8, please contact our office for further information at


October 8, 2021: Flu Shot Requirement

Effective October 8, 2021, a University of California Presidential Executive Order on a flu vaccine mandate for 2021-2022 requires all students, faculty, and staff to get vaccinated against influenza or opt out by November 19, 2021.  Flu vaccines are for the current flu season (August 1, 2021 or later).

To comply with the requirements students need to either:

  • Get a flu shot at a local pharmacy, such as CVS or Walgreens, and add your immunization information to the Medical Clearances section in eTang. Please note that the Berkeley Global Student Health Insurance Plan through Anthem does not cover flu shots administered at the Tang Center.
  • Decline getting a flu vaccine, by reading and acknowledging the influenza vaccination information web page and submitting a declination at

Students who do not get a flu vaccine or who have not met the requirement by the due date will be required to wear masks or face coverings at UC locations through the end of the influenza season (usually through April) even if COVID-19 masking requirements are loosened.

More information about this requirement can be found on the UHS website. Stay healthy this flu season!

Spring 2022 Semester

The Spring 2022 semester will open with a two-stage process, with most courses being offered fully remote for the first two weeks (Jan. 18-28) and then moving to fully in-person instruction in the third week of the semester on Jan. 31." See the full message here (CalNet required).

What does this mean for you?

For students enrolled in campus classes through concurrent enrollment, you will most likely begin your studies remotely. Please verify this with your program and your professor as there may be exceptions to this.

For students enrolled in Extension courses, instruction will most likely begin remotely as well, but please consult with your program and instructor.

We fully expect to return to in person instruction as soon as possible. 

What if I am currently unable to come to the U.S. due to COVID or travel restrictions?

We have heard from many students who are unable to travel to the U.S. at this time due to quarantine, shutdowns, etc. Please know that we will be as flexible as possible given your situation. We advise that you consult with your academic program about your situation and let International Student Services (ISS) know if you will arrive late or choose to cancel or to defer to the next term.

Can I begin my courses from my home country?

Given that most classes will begin remotely, you have the opportunity to start participating in your semester from home; however, keep in mind that instruction may be delivered on California time which may not align with your normal hours at home. instructors may not be able to make accomodations for time differences. Also, once we are able to return to the classroom, you will be expected to be present in person.

Can I arrive late? 

As courses are beginning remotely, you should be able to arrive in Berkeley later than the semester start date, but please verify this with your program. All F-1 late arrivals should notify ISS to determine whether an adjusted I-20 is needed or not. Please remember that once we are able to return to the classroom, you will be expected to be present in person.

Can I cancel? 

If you choose to cancel your participation in the Spring semester, please alert us as soon as possible. We will continue to be flexible with our cancellation policy when students are unable to arrive due to circumstances are beyond the student's control, however, students who do not communicate with our office will remain liable for all tuition and fees.

Can I talk to someone?

Yes! We would be happy to speak with you to answer your questions. Make an easy same-day appointment here or email us at We will also continue to update COVID-19 Resource Guide as things change.

Coming to Campus

If you are coming to campus for class or for study, there are many requirements and guidelines that you must adhere to, including vaccination, quarantine, regular testing, and more. Please see below for information, but your best and most comprehensive resources will be the University Health Services Coronavirus Information and the UC Berkeley Coronavirus website.

To come to campus, you must have a Green Campus Access Badge. This means that you have:

Spring 2022 COVID-19 Arrival Guidelines

Depending on your vaccination status, you will need to follow different campus arrival guidelines. Please refer to the "International Students,*** regardless of housing" section of the University Health Services (UHS) Fall 2021 COVID-19 Guidelines for specific information.


COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

The University of California has announced that it will require students who are accessing campus facilities to be immunized against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. You can find the published policy on the UC COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements page within the University Health Services website. This requirement applies to all students planning to attend an in-person program. Please review the Student FAQ for helpful information.

Before you can enroll in in-person classes and access campus facilities, you’ll need both to get the COVID-19 vaccine AND to take at least one campus COVID-19 test. To help you plan for your arrival to campus in the fall, check out University Health Services’ testing, vaccination, and self-sequester arrival guidelines for students. The guidelines pertain to all students, with specific details as well for those coming from abroad.

  • Vaccines authorized by the World Health Organization administered consistent with your country's implementation will be accepted as proof of vacination.
  • If you are not able to receive the vaccine prior to your arrival in the U.S., please be sure to abide by the Arrival guidelines from UHS, specifically listed under "International Students,*** regardless of housing."
  • If you would like to receive an Exception or Medical Exemption, you must submit a Declination Form. More information about this will be available on the UHS COVID-19 web page.

Vaccines are available for registered students through UC Berkeley UHS, or you can use VaccineFinder or to find available vaccination appointments.

Berkeley Mobile App

The Berkeley Mobile App is your go-to for navigating campus and tapping resources. It provides easy access to pandemic tools you need, like the Daily Symptom Screener, COVID-19 testing options, and other information to help you navigate the physical campus safely. Think of it as the on-the-go companion to the campus Coronavirus website. The app is continuously being improved to support a safe return to campus for students, faculty, and staff.

Be sure to also sign up for the California COVID Notify app, California's exposure notification system.

Guidance for Returning, Moving, or Visiting Berkeley

The State of California has has issued the following recommendations:

  • All travelers arriving in or returning to California from other states or countries should follow CDC travel guidance.
  • All travelers who test positive or develop symptoms of COVID-19 should isolate and follow public health recommendations.
  • Fully vaccinated travelers:
    • are less likely to get and spread COVID-19, and can travel safely within the United States and California
    • should follow CDC travel guidance, and are not required to test or quarantine before or after travel unless they have symptoms concerning for COVID-19 disease.

For more information about travel, refer to the UC Berkeley UHS website.

Mandatory COVID-19 testing

Anyone coming to campus to work or study will need to be vaccinated and will be required to test at least once. Testing compliance will be monitored using the color-coded badge system. A green badge will be required to enter any university building on or adjacent to the central campus. In order to have a green badge, you will need to be vaccinated, current with your testing regimen, and have completed the daily symptom screener. Information on Campus Surveillance testing locations, hours, and available appointments can be found on the UHS website.

Face Covering

Face coverings are required indoors on the UC Berkeley campus and are optional when outdoors. Find the latest information on the campus Coronavirus Face Coverings page.

Health Care Facilities and Using Your Health Insurance Plan

Health Insurance paper and pen

If you are enrolled in the Berkeley Global Student Health Insurance plan, you can refer to this helpful COVID-19 Resource Guide, which includes information on getting care, articles and general COVID-19 information. Bookmark this page so that you can easily refer back to it.

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, you can use the symptom self-assessment tool on Anthem's website. Answer five simple questions to find out what your symptoms may mean based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

If you would like to get personalized guidance about your health and connect with a doctor via text, chat or video, download Anthem's Sydney Care app. The app features, benefits and costs vary from plan to plan.

If you would like to be tested for COVID-19, please go to the test site finder on Anthem’s website and enter your address, or state, county and ZIP code to quickly locate testing centers near you.

If you are not enrolled in the Berkeley Global Student Health Insurance plan with Anthem, please contact your insurance company or primary-care provider to inquire about COVID-19 services. You can also look at the City of Berkeley COVID-19 testing website and call to ask about fees.

Staying Healthy

Stay Informed

Find updates on the number of COVID-19 cases in the City of Berkeley and at UC Berkeley.


Travel Outside of California

Photo of woman toting a suitcase at the airport

If you plan to travel outside of California or by airplane, please be cautious and consider all possible risks. Refer to the CDC for important information about travel, even if you will be traveling by car.


Take Care of Yourself!

Living with roommates can pose unique challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC has specific guidelines for those who are living in close quarters on how roommates living together can keep each other safe.


Quarantine Guidelines

The CDC makes a distinction between isolating when sick and self-quarantine if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19.

For those who are living in close quarters with other people, isolation and self-quarantine may be tricky. The CDC has specific guidelines for those who are living in close quarters. And remember—stay home if you are sick!


Don’t Forget to Take Care of Your Mental Health!

While you’re taking precautions to take care of your physical health, remember to take care of your mental health! This is a strange and isolating time, so make time for self-care throughout your day.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is a great resource for brief virtual counseling with a licensed counselor.

The Wellness Society has also created a Coronavirus Anxiety Workbook if you are looking for some helpful hands-on activities.