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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Foreign students from China, Iran, Brazil and South Africa will be exempt from pandemic travel bans and will be allowed back into the U.S. as long as they have proper visas, the State Department announced in a statement.

Why it matters: International students are a major source of revenue for U.S. universities and institutions saw their enrollments plunge last fall.

  • The number of foreign students on F-1 and M-1 visas fell by 18% and visa records for new students lowered by 72%, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Details: Students, journalists and academics will now qualify for a National Interest Exception (NIE), which is a designation given to people whose entry into the U.S. is determined to be in the country's best interest.

  • "Students and academics ... may qualify for an NIE only if their academic program begins August 1, 2021 or later," the State Department said.
  • The Trump administration had previously made similar exceptions for students from the U.K., Europe and Ireland, the WSJ notes.

The big picture: Travelers coming into the U.S. must show a negative test to be allowed entry. While they are not required to show a proof of vaccination, some universities are requiring that students be vaccinated to return to in-person instruction.

Flashback: The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement last July said international students could not enter the U.S. if their courses were online.

Go deeper

State university systems begin requiring COVID-19 vaccines for fall

The University of California, Berkeley campus. Photo: Gabrielle Lurie/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Several state university systems and public universities have announced in the past week that they will require students returning to campuses in the fall to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Why it matters: The expansion into state and public school systems will significantly boost the number of institutions requiring coronavirus vaccines.

CDC: Fully vaccinated people don't need to wear masks outside

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Amr Alfiky-Pool/Getty Images

Fully vaccinated people can venture outdoors without masks, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued Tuesday.

The big picture: The guidelines come as more than nearly 29% of people in the U.S. have been fully vaccinated and more than 42% have received at least one dose.

Dave Lawler, author of World
Apr 26, 2021 - World

Biden's move to share vaccine doses could be a global game changer

Data: Airfinity; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The Biden administration took its biggest step yet toward becoming a global supplier of coronavirus vaccines, announcing that it would export 60 million AstraZeneca doses over the next several weeks.

Why it matters: President Biden has been under intense global scrutiny for his "Americans first" approach. Alone among the four major producers, the U.S. has kept nearly its entire supply up to now.