COVID-19 Resource Guide for Students

Find out what is open, including essential services, during your time in Berkeley

This page is maintained by International Student Services (ISS) at Last updated July 20, 2021.


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.

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:

Fall 2021 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.

Travel to the U.S.

National Interest Exception for F-1 Students: On April 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of State updated its National Interest Exception (NIE) page to expand certain NIE eligibilities to all countries subject to a geographic COVID-19 entry ban. This includes those present in China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen area, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and India and means that:

  • Students with valid F-1 visas intending to begin or continue an academic program commencing August 1, 2021 can travel to the United Status no earlier than 30 days before the start of their academic studies. Students do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek an individual NIE to travel.
  • Students seeking to apply for new F-1 or visas should check the status of visa services at the nearest embassy or consulate; those applicants who are found to be otherwise qualified for an F-1 visa will automatically be considered for an NIE to travel.

Requirement for Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Recovery from COVID-19 for All Air Passengers Arriving in the United States

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

The University of California has announced that it will require students who are accessing campus facilities beginning this Fall 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 Fall 2021 program. Please review the Student FAQ for helpful information.

The UC vaccine mandate is scheduled to begin on August 4. Before you can take in-person classes and access campus facilities this fall, 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 Fall 2021 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.

Campus Reopenings


As of April 5, students will be able to reserve study spaces at Moffitt Library.

Beginning July 12, three campus libraries will open with limited services and the Free Speech Movement Cafe will reopen. Beginning August 25, patrons can return to UC Berkeley's libraries for access to collectons and study spaces, and borrowing and lending operations will resume as normal. Get all the details on the Library's reopening plans page.


Recreational Sports Facility

As of April 19, the Recreational Sports Facility (RSF) will be open for limited in-person operations. Advanced booking will be required. Students will need to show their Cal 1 Card.

Guidance for Returning, Moving, or Visiting Berkeley

Once you have arrived in Berkeley, for the first 2 weeks, you should self-quarantine to avoid potentially sharing the virus. Click here for more information and guidance for protecting yourself and others while traveling and after you arrive.

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.

Mandatory Flu Shot for everyone on campus

With the Berkeley Global Student Health Insurance plan, you can get a flu shot at any CVS or Walgreens pharmacy (see “Drugstores” below for more information) by visiting the pharmacy counter and presenting your health insurance ID card. If you have a different insurance plan and are unsure of where to go, refer to your health insurance provider for more information.

Face Covering

As of July 12, for fully vaccinated individuals, face coverings are optional both indoors and outdoors on the UC Berkeley campus. Individuals with an approved medical or religious exemption are still required to wear a face covering while indoors. 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.


What Is Open in Berkeley?

According to the City of Berkeley's COVID-19 webpage, the following businesses are currently open:

Grocery Stores


Many restaurants in Berkeley are open for take-out and indoor/outdoor dining!



Most branches are operating on reduced hours or by appointment. Check their website for updates.

Hardware Stores

Hardware stores sell tools and other equipment for home improvement.

United States Postal Service



Drugstores typically include a pharmacy and also sell products such as cosmetics, personal care products, snack foods, household products, stationery and seasonal items.

Essential Services

Public Transportation in the Bay Area

Image of BART train at a station

Your AC Transit Easypass can be used on AC Transit and other public transportation systems, such as BART. Click here for COVID-19 updates.

Find even more information in the 2020-2021 Student Transportation Handbook!