MIT | ISO | International Students Office
ISO Newsletter
NOVEMBER 19, 2021
Important Travel Reminders
We know that many students are making travel plans for the holiday season and winter break, and we understand the confusion that has been created by past travel restrictions and the recent Presidential Proclamation creating a vaccine and testing requirement.  The ISO has a number of resources posted on our website, and so we wanted to highlight a few key reminders for review before you finalize your travel plans.
Travel signatures on Form I-20/Form DS-2019
Request on iMIT
Please check your Form I-20 on Page 2 (F visa holders) or Form DS-2019 (J visa holders) on Page 1 to be sure you have a travel validation signature signed within 12 months of your planned date of return to the U.S.  If you do not yet have a travel validation signature, or it will be older than 12 months, you can request in iMIT a new Form I-20/DS-2019 with travel signature.  Instructions are available on the ISO “Visas and Travel” webpage
Presidential Proclamation Establishing Vaccine/Testing Requirement for Entry to U.S.
Effective November 8, 2021
All non-U.S. Citizens/Permanent Residents must show proof of full vaccination and have a negative COVID test before being allowed to board a flight to enter the U.S.  USDHS has also posted a vaccine requirement for entry at land/ferry ports of entry between the U.S.-Canada-Mexico. 
Please be sure to read the ISO summary of both announcements, and the links to additional government resource guidance, available here:
*Presidential Proclamation Lifts Travel Bans and Establishes Vaccine/Testing Requirements For Air Travel to U.S.
*USDHS Announces Fully Vaccinated Travelers Permitted to Enter U.S. at Land and Ferry Border Crossings
IMPORTANT NOTE:  The Presidential Proclamation does NOT provide a religious exemption, or exemption for all medical reasons, for entry to the U.S.  Therefore, international students currently on-campus and not vaccinated, with either a religious or medical exemption, are advised to meet with their ISO Advisor before planning travel abroad.  Under these terms, travel may not be recommended at this time.
For questions about accepted vaccines, please see the following list provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Eligibility for Entry to the U.S. from Countries with Limited COVID-19 Vaccine Availability
In the Presidential Proclamation, there is an attestation process available for individuals who are citizens of countries where there is a designated limited COVID-19 vaccine availability.  This attestation requires the individual to be fully vaccinated within 60 days of entry to the U.S. HOWEVER, the list of eligible countries with limited COVID-19 vaccine availability is VERY limited.  This attestation is not available for anyone who is not yet fully vaccinated, and not available to anyone that is vaccinated by a vaccine not recognized by the CDC or the World Health Organization (WHO).

To view a copy of the list of countries with Limited COVID-19 Vaccine Availability is posted here by the CDC:

For students who are currently at MIT with a religious or medical exemption, we recommend you review these resources above and contact your ISO Advisor with any questions. 
Applying for a New Entry Visa at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate
If your current entry visa has expired, and you are traveling outside the U.S., you will need to apply for a new entry visa at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate while abroad in order to return to the U.S.
We advise that students should request an updated Form I-20/Form DS-2019 in iMIT to have for your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate.
It is very important to review the guidance from the U.S. Embassy/Consulate ( on how to schedule a visa interview appointment and required documentation for the visa interview. 

Please note many U.S. Embassy/Consulates are still not back to full staffing or operations, so there may be delays in scheduling interviews or the processing of the visa. Students should take this timing into consideration before traveling, and consult with their academic program to have a plan in place in case they are not able to return to the U.S. as planned. 
If you have any questions, please contact your ISO Advisor
Traveling to a Country That is Not Your Home Country
Please note that immigration and travel rules to many countries around the world have changed and continue to change throughout the pandemic. If you are traveling to a country other than your home country, please check the Consulate General website for that country to confirm any required visas needed to enter the country, any necessary vaccine or testing documentation, and related travel guidance.  Please note some countries do not allow for visitors to apply for an entry visa upon arrival to the country. 
What Can I Do to Confirm the Travel Requirements for Return to the U.S.?
The ISO continues to monitor any updates provided by the federal government, and will be sure to notify students via email and the ISO website of any changes.  However, given the many changes already in place, we recommend that students also take the following steps prior to travel:
  1. Review the ISO “Visas and Travel” webpage
  2. Review the CDC guidance “Non-U.S. citizen, Non-U.S. immigrants: Air Travel to the United States
    Print out a copy of the CDC guidance to carry with you when traveling.
  3. Contact your Airline
    Be sure to contact your airline to verify procedures they will have to verify eligibility to board your flight.  Print out a cop of the airline’s guidance from their website to have to present at the airport in case there is any confusion.
  4. Print out the USDHS Guidance regarding Electronic Signatures on Form I-20 
    USDHS/SEVP recently announced the continued acceptance of electronic signatures on Form I-20 by USDHS and the U.S. Department of State.  Print out a copy of the USDHS guidance, dated October 12, 2021, here
  5. Review MIT Travel Policy
    Please be sure to consult the updated MIT Travel Policy available on MIT Now (, especially if you will be traveling outside of the New England states (Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Rhode Island). The policy discusses registering MIT-related travel and personal travel, as well as requirements for return to campus after travel abroad.
ISO Virtual Forums - Travel Guidance
The ISO will host a few Virtual Forums to provide an overview on the travel guidance, and be available for general questions from attendees.  The Forums will be held on the following dates, and a recording/presentation slides will be made available following the sessions:

Tuesday, November 23 – 12:00pm-1:00pm
Thursday, December 2 – 12:00pm-1:00pm
Thursday, December 9 – 7:00pm-8:00pm

Zoom Link:


Pre-submit questions: 


*Same recurring Zoom link and same link to

pre-submit questions each time. Kerberos required.

MIT Remote Appointment Guidance for Spring 2022
The Office of the Vice Chancellor announced that MIT guidance on in-person learning and remote appointments for Fall 2021 will continue for the Spring 2022 semester. Students are expected to be physically on-campus in Spring 2022 for in-person learning and conduct their U.S.-based appointments (including research and teaching assistantships from inside the U.S.

As in Fall 2021, there will be limited exceptions process for those who encounter “absolute barriers” preventing their return to the U.S. for the Spring 2022 semester due to the pandemic (e.g. visa delays, travel restrictions). Guidance on eligibility and how to request consideration for a remote appointment for Spring 2022 is provided in the announcement.

Students who will be traveling are also reminded about the MIT vaccination requirements as well as new U.S. federal government requirements on vaccination and testing in order to enter the U.S. from abroad, which is also referenced in the announcement. To view the full announcement, click here.  Students who have questions about how the new U.S. federal government vaccine/testing requirements for entry to the U.S. should review the resources above and then reach out to their ISO Advisor for any additional clarification.
Upcoming Live F-1 Employment Information Sessions
Next virtual session is December 3rd
The ISO will be offering live, online F-1 Employment Information Sessions, reviewing  the types of off-campus employment authorization, their eligibility requirements and application procedures, available to international students.
A separate session for J-1 visa holders will be announced soon. The remaining upcoming F-1 Employment Information Sessions during Fall 2021 are:

Friday, December 3:  10:00am-12:00pm
Friday, December 10:  10:00am-12:00pm

Students must sign-up for a session in iMIT.

Additional information about Employment for international students, including the off-campus employment authorization types, are available on the ISO website (
Navigating MIT Series - Fall 2021
Final session: Stress Management
Friday, December 3 at 12pm
Various topics to support international students with adjustment to MIT and the U.S. during the fall semester.

1.    Discover Boston- Tues, Oct 12 at 4pm (ISO)
2.    American Culture & Friendship- Tues, Oct 19 - 12noon (ISO)
3.    Motivation, Focus, & Productivity - Fri, Oct 29 at 12noon (Zan Barry, Community Wellness)
4.    Budgeting - Tues, Nov 9 - 4pm (Erica Aguiar, Student Financial Services)
5.    Hack your sleep - Fri, Nov 19 at 12noon (Zan Barry, Community Wellness)
6.    Stress Management - Fri, Dec 3 at 12noon (Dr. Xiaolu Hsi, Mental Health & Counseling)

Register for each workshop

Cooking With Antoinette - Thanksgiving theme
Monday, November 22 at 4 - 5pm 
Join ISO staff member Antoinette for her monthly cooking lessons.
You don't have to cook all the recipes, only what you are most interested in. Or just observe!
Open to international students and entire MIT community

This month, Antoinette will be teaching us how to cook some Thanksgiving-themed dishes!

*See recipe flyer by clicking flyers to enlarge

Sign up to receive reminders
Recurring Zoom link:
December "Holiday Drop-by"

Beginning December 2!

It's coooold outside! Take a break from your finals, papers, projects and thesis.
Stop by E19-202 to take some hot apple cider and treats to go.
  • Thurs, Dec 2 - 11am to 2pm
  • Thurs, Dec 9 - 12pm to 2pm
  • Wed, Dec 15 - 1pm to 3pm

With the very best end-of-term wishes,
ISO Staff
LCE: Conversation Groups
Join a small group for language practice and conversation exchange!

Our enthusiastic volunteers are leading small groups for Japanese, Chinese, Korean, French and Portuguese/Spanish!

Find dates and times in our LCE Community Slack Space and by subscribing to our newsletter.  Interested in starting a group for another language? Reach out to the LCE team at .

If you are interested in another language, please fill out the form. We are also looking for new group leaders.

Link to interest Form here
LCE: Find a Language Partner
Nothing beats one-on-one conversation for improving your language speaking and comprehension skills!

How to find a language partner with the LCE:
  1. Make an account on the website. Upload a photo and a descriptive bio!
  2. Send a custom message to potential partners. It helps to say why you reached out to them specifically and why you want to practice.
  3. Join the LCE Slack and come to events to talk to more language learners
More resources on our website:

Save TFP: Pumpkin Spice 4 Lyfe!

[Pumpkin Spice 4 Lyfe!]

We get it! You like eating pumpkins.
What: Everything pumpkin-spice-flavored from KitKats to ice cream, from donuts to the air itself! Also games (trivia!)
When: Friday, 11/19 from 9-11pm
Where: Coffeehouse (Stud 3rd Floor)

MIT Nritya Fall 2021 Showcase "Freedom"
Friday, 11/19 at 7pm
Kresge Little Theatre
Join MIT Nritya for our inaugural fall showcase, Freedom, a celebration of this concept through the lens of Indian classical dance.
Travel through decades and continents, enjoy classical and folk music, and ponder poetry from global writers, all through dance and movement!
The central piece is a classical adaptation of the recent award-winning film Hellaro: a story about using dance as an act of defiance and empowerment

Link to reserve a ticket
MIT attendees must be on COVID Pass, non-MIT attendees will receive Tim Tickets upon registration.
MIT Symphony Orchestra: Beethoven 9

Friday, November 19, 2021 at 8:00pm to 10:00pm
Building W16: Kresge Auditorium


Mayer: Faust Overture

Beethoven: Symphony no. 9

Featuring the MIT Symphony Orchestra, MIT Concert Choir and the New World Chorale

Link to reserve tickets
To watch this event on the LIVE STREAM click here.

MIT Concert Choir presents "Magnificat!"

Saturday, November 20, 2021 at 8:00pm to 10:00pm

Building W16: Kresge Auditorium

MIT Concert Choir presents works by J.S. Bach, Halsey Stevens, and Jennifer Higdon, featuring Assistant Professor Natalie Lin Douglas!


J.S. Bach: Magnificat

Halsey Stevens: Magnificat

Jennifer Higdon: The Singing Rooms

- featuring Assistant Professor Natalie Lin Douglas, violin

Link to reserve tickets

To watch via Livestream visit: 

Weekly Board Games Night!

Oct 8 – Dec 10 every Friday from 7:00 PM – 11:59 PM
Walker Memorial E50-316

The Strategic Games Society presents our flagship weekly board games night (In-Person)!

With 150+ games, we have a game for everybody!

No Prior experience required.

May the victory points be with you!

Link for RSVP

Logan Airport Shuttle Service For Thanksgiving Break
The Parking and Transportation office will once again provide shuttle service to Logan Airport for Thanksgiving break. Shuttles will be available on Monday, November 22nd, Tuesday, November 23rdand Wednesday, November 24th at the scheduled departure times.
Advanced reservations are required. All riders are required to wear a face covering.
Please visit the Parking and Transportation website reservations page to reserve a seat at a cost of $15.00. All reservations will be processed via the web site and the shuttle fee will be billed to the Student bursar accounts or via Employee payroll deductions.
Shuttles will depart from the turnaround next to the former Kresge parking lot at the scheduled times. Please make sure you arrive on time as the shuttles need to maintain the posted scheduled departures. The normal trip to Logan Airport is about a half-hour, however you should allow up to an hour as traffic, construction and Airport security delays should be expected.
Enjoy the Thanksgiving Break.
Writing Together Online: November Edition
Writing Together Online: November Edition
Join the Writing Together Online program organized by the Writing and Communication Center to finish your writing projects before the Thanksgiving break. Our daily 90-minute sessions create a community of writers who connect, set realistic goals, and write together to motivate each other. This program is open to graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, researchers, or all, who are actively writing their proposals, manuscripts, or thesis/dissertation chapters.
Feel free to register for any number of 90-minute sessions starting on Mon, Nov 1st through Tue, Nov 23rd. For more information and to register, go to this link or check the WCC website
Join a Peer-Review Working Group to help you with your MA Thesis or Capstone Project in the Humanities or Social Sciences
The Writing and Communication Center opens graduate student-led working groups for MA theses/capstone writers, designed for students in SHASS, SAP or Sloan. These small groups will help you go through the process of starting your project and support you through the process in an informal and peer-supported environment. During these meetings, you will learn from each other how to approach your project, gain feedback on your ideas and work, set weekly goals, and report about your progress. These groups are a great way to keep yourself on track and hold yourself accountable. The groups will meet every week through the rest of the semester; the first meeting will take place by Zoom on Tuesday, Nov 2nd at 5:30 PM EST for one hour in order to discuss the goals of the writing group and schedule the remaining sessions. The space is limited to 5-7 members per group. 
Please register through this link:
Writing and Communication Center- Free 1:1 Consultations
The Writing and Communication Center (WCC) has resumed its free one-on-one consultations on different types of written, spoken, and visual communication. You can receive support there at all stages of the writing and communication process, from brainstorming to the final version, on such projects as research papers, fellowship applications, cover letters, personal statements, dissertations, presentations, or posters. The WCC can also mentor you through writer’s blocks including procrastination, perfectionism, demoralization, and imposter stress. To learn more about the WCC, check their website and make an appointment through this link:

Don’t wait, schedule today!

Sign up for TA peer mentoring!
We are launching a new peer mentoring program to support non-native English speakers in their TAships. The program is open to past, current, and future TAs.

Link to sign up
MIT Career Advising & Professional Development - Home | Facebook
CAPD: Interview Rooms Available for Student & Postdoc Use
Available through reservation
Career Advising & Professional Development (E17-294) has private interview rooms which can be reserved if you need a space for a virtual employer interview. These rooms are available to current students and postdocs on weekdays from 10am – 4pm.
To reserve a room, please fill out the CAPD interview room reservation form and submit your room reservation request 24 hours prior to your requested start time.
If you need to use a private room when the CAPD office is closed, the MIT Library has rooms available to reserve through
A Roman Labyrinth
Labyrinth Drop-In Hours

Every Monday from 3:00 - 5:00 PM from November 22, 2021 through May 30, 2022

Building W15: MIT Chapel

A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that has been used for millennia, all over the world, to help people find peace and clarity, connect with themselves, and with their world.  It consists of a winding path from the outside to the center and back. Labyrinth walks are a great way to reduce stress and focus your mind as your body moves.


One of MIT's labyrinths will be available for anyone who wants to walk its path, every Monday from 3-5pm. Drop in whenever you want during open hours, and stay as long as you want. If it's your first time and/or you'd like to talk with a facilitator, email Natalie at and let her know when you're coming.

Wellness Events & Resources
  • Our full team of MedLinks volunteers are back in service this semester.
  • MedLinks can help you figure out how to connect with MIT resources and support you by serving as a sounding board.

  • They can also provide single doses of common over-the-counter medications and first-aid supplies to address minor medical concerns.

  • Visit to learn more about the program and find your local MedLinks volunteer(s) (MIT certificate required).



Know Your Resources!
We have launched a new course, Mental Health and Wellbeing for Graduate Students, in the Atlas Learning Center to help graduate students understand common challenges of the graduate student experience and how to navigate support and resources to prioritize their wellbeing. This course, which is also valuable to any faculty and staff who work with graduate students, was developed in partnership with the Division of Student Life, Office of the Vice Chancellor, and MIT Medical.
  You shouldn’t have to think about where to turn for help. Just ask. Leave a question and a Student Support and Wellbeing team member will get back to you within 1 business day.
  DoingWell was developed to empower students to prioritize their wellbeing. Prioritizing your wellbeing is a journey that looks different for everyone and what works for you one day might need to change another day. What’s most important is that it’s what YOU need. Sometimes, DoingWell means reaching out for support because you’re not feeling good or need help. Other times, DoingWell means going for your weekly run or writing in your journal. This website serves as a place for all MIT students – undergraduate and graduate – to access resources that help you prioritize your wellbeing and get support.
Fall Unwind Classes
Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:00pm/ 5pm
Fall Unwind
Noon Unwind – Tuesdays and Thursdays 12-12:15 pm starting September 7
5PM Unwind – Tuesdays and Thursday 5-5:20 pm starting September 7
These live, virtual classes combine simple stretches to release tension in the body and guided meditation to release tension in the mind. Register for free anytime this fall, attend as often as you wish, and feel free to invite others to register as a self-care routine.
You can find other upcoming courses from Community Wellness. Click here and go to the Mind – Live Classes menu to sign up for Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Koru Mindfulness 4-week course, a virtual mini-retreat, and more.
Yoga Poses A-Z: Search Yoga Journal's Extensive Pose Library
Online Yoga Classes With Aly
Sep 29 – Dec 22 every Wednesday from 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Westgate is offering Yoga classes for the MIT community. The classes are online and free of charge. We would like to thank the MIT GSC Funding Board for sponsoring this event. Wednesdays at 7:30 PM, starting on Sept. 29 and ending on Dec. 22, 2021. Please sign-up to receive the Zoom link.

Things to do around Boston
The Boston Calendar
Check the Boston Calendar for free and cheap events around the city!

37 things to do in Boston this weekend

7 Places to see fall foliage in/around Boston!
3,313 People In Movie Theater Illustrations & Clip Art - iStock
Movies at a Discount!
Get your discounted tickets for almost all theaters in the area through MITAC. Including Museum of Science Omni IMAX, Chunky's Cinema, Jordan's IMAX, Brattle Theater, AMC Yellow, Regal, Showcase Cinema, and Landmark Theatres.
  • $7 Tuesday Movies at Kendall Square
Watch with an even greater deal on $7 Tuesday at Landmark Theatres
MIT International Students Office
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
Office Hours:
9:00-16:00 (M-F)
Closed (W) 10:00-11:30
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