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Update on Omicron and Winter Break Travel

Office of Global Learning

Dear international students and scholars,  

We hope this finds you well in the final weeks of the semester. We write regarding the recent news on the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 and the known and potential impacts this has on students and scholars hoping to travel internationally over winter break.

As of December 6, all air travelers, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status, will be required to show a negative pre-departure COVID-19 viral test taken the day before they board their flight to the United States. For example, a passenger whose flight to the U.S. is at any time on a Sunday would need to have a negative test taken at any time on Saturday. Further guidance and operational details are available on the CDC’s website. 

Cornell’s COVID-19 testing site will be closed on December 18 and 19. Please plan accordingly if you need test results in advance of travel. The Tompkins County testing site at the Shops at Ithaca Mall is open on Sundays. On-site, pre-departure testing is available at many airports. Cornell Tech students should refer to the Cornell Tech COVID-19 website for information about testing or contact

We recommend International SOS as a reliable source for the latest information on travel restrictions and entrance requirements (enter the Cornell membership number 11BSCA827281). Additionally, every country information page on the U.S. Department of State website provides a link to that country’s embassy COVID-19 page with helpful information regarding your destination. 

Ithaca campus’s Housing and Residential Life recognizes that recent and possible future Omicron travel restrictions could impact winter break plans for students living in the dorms. Consequently, the winter break application will remain open for students with a current on-campus housing assignment. Visit the Housing Portal for winter housing dates, rates, and to apply. If you have questions, please get in touch with the Housing office.

Limited funding support is available to international students experiencing certain types of emergencies. Visit our Get Advice page for more information.

We recognize the challenges and additional stress this may create for international students and scholars as we approach winter break. The Office of Global Learning will continue monitoring the situation and sharing updates as we receive them. We hope this situation calms over the coming weeks and disruptions subside.

Please continue to check the campus COVID site for updates on the Omicron variant. Let us know if you have any questions or needs related to the current situation by emailing us at


Laura Taylor, Senior Associate Director of International Services, Office of Global Learning
Brandon Lanners, Executive Director, Office of Global Learning
Gustavo Flores-Macías, Associate Vice Provost for International Affairs