After a distressing 2020, the international education sector is on the road to recovery. But the stance on reopening universities for international students differs from country to country. While some still have their borders closed, others plan to lift restrictions and welcome students back for the fall session in 2021. The good news is that study abroad aspirants can hope to go ahead with their dreams this year, but there’s a catch.

You will need to get vaccinated and validate it with a vaccine passport when you land at your destination. A vaccine passport is digital proof to show that the bearer has been tested and vaccinated. It is already mandatory in Europe, and other counties expect to follow suit soon. The objective is to allow safe travel and resume cross-border movements for business, leisure, and study.

If you have your eyes set on international education this year, it makes sense to check the destination that will let you in. Moreover, you must also know the ones where you will need a vaccine for landing. Here is a comprehensive list that study-abroad aspirants can follow.


If you plan to seek admission to a UK university, it is vital to check their guidelines. Most of them have recommended vaccination as a norm for international students. You must have it well in time when you start preparing for admission. Those already in the country will get the vaccine on priority. Further, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales require mandatory quarantines for students flying in from non-Green countries. Green countries include countries in the EU, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, and South Korea. Students from these countries are allowed to enter without restrictions.


If you are vaccinated, you can cross the border into France, but you will have to show a negative antigenic test within the last two days or a negative PCR test within the last three days. Students and researchers can land two weeks after getting the second dose of their double-shot vaccines such as Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca. The period for single-shot vaccines like Johnson & Johnson is four weeks after the shot. Those with a history of Covid-19 require only one shot and can fly within two weeks after receiving it. Further, you will have to sign a declaration to certify that you do not have symptoms or have not been in contact with a COVID-19 patient in the past 14 days.


International students coming to Lithuania are free to enter with a vaccination certificate, and there is no need to isolate as well. But you will have to quarantine for two weeks if travelling from India. The vaccines approved by the country include Moderna, Janssen, Comirnaty, and Vaxzevria.


The US government is yet to present a clear stance on proof of vaccination for international students at the border. But American universities and colleges have already announced mandatory vaccinations for students returning to campus in the fall. These include leading names such as Stanford, Columbia, Yale, Cornell, Rutgers, Brown, and Duke. Approved vaccines include Astrazeneca-SK Bio, Pfizer/BioNTech, Janssen, Moderna, Serum Institute of India, and Sinopharm.


Like the US, Canada has not announced anything specific about international students needing vaccination to land in the country and get started their university programme. It will depend on the guidelines and regulations issued by individual universities. However, you will have to opt for mandatory 15-day quarantine on arrival in Canada.


If you choose China as your education destination, you must opt for Chinese or American vaccines to get easy visa approval. These include CoronaVac, Sinovac or Sinopharm (Chinese) and Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson (American). Additionally, the country will have a digital health certificate programme soon. It will display vaccination and testing history for people.


Leading universities in Hong Kong have come up with vaccination regulations ahead of reopening in the September term. The University of Hong Kong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Hong Kong Polytechnic University are prioritising vaccinated students. Students yet to be vaccinated must test regularly. Even as vaccination is not yet compulsory, it will definitely keep you safe and ease your study abroad experience in Hong Kong.

Right now, Australia and New Zealand aren’t the hottest favourites despite being among the most popular study abroad destinations for international students. It is most likely that border closures, visa unavailability, flight restrictions, and quarantine requirements will continue in the second half of 2021 and even into the beginning of 2022 for these countries. Australia is gradually planning to reopen, but it is still more of guesswork.

If you plan to travel abroad for education this fall, double-check the vaccine requirements for the country and university you choose. Taking relevant steps well in time can prevent last-minute hassles and problems and make your journey a smooth one.

If you are considering studying abroad why don’t you discuss your prospects and opportunities with experts at Lurnable’s dedicated study abroad counselling division LurnPathways?

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