The U.S. Department of State is continuously monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and is working closely with partner governments, Fulbright Commissions, U.S. Embassies, Fulbright cooperating agencies, and U.S. and foreign host institutions to provide guidance and information to our Fulbright exchange participants. We share your concerns for everyone’s health, safety, and well-being, and are focused on supporting all Fulbrighters at this time.

On March 19, 2020, the U.S. Department of State issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory - Do Not Travel, which instructs all Americans abroad to either return to the United States or prepare to shelter in place. As a result of this advisory, the Fulbright Program is now suspended for all U.S. participants. This program suspension applies only to American citizens currently participating in the U.S. Fulbright Program abroad.

As circumstances are evolving, all Fulbrighters should remain in close contact with their Fulbright Program administrators, advisors, and/or their Fulbright binational commissions.

Fulbright Commissions, U.S. Embassies, and/or Fulbright Implementing partners like IIE, Amideast, and Laspau will make every effort to assist Fulbrighters during this time. Fulbrighters should direct specific questions about individual situations to Fulbright advisors, as they have the most relevant information for individual situations. Please know that Fulbright advisors and Fulbright Commission staff are working diligently to provide support to each participant.

Information for U.S Citizens:

Update as of April 3, 2020:

An email has been sent to U.S. Fulbright Program participants affected by the program suspension which provides information and resources that may be helpful during this period of transition. You will also find these resources under the “For U.S. Fulbright Students” and “For U.S. Fulbright Scholars” tabs at the bottom of this page.

Update as of March 20, 2020:

We urge all current U.S. Fulbright participants to make arrangements to return to the United States as soon as possible. In these unprecedented circumstances, we also recognize that due to conditions in specific countries, including the closing of borders and air space, the lack of available flights, or other safety considerations, not all U.S. Fulbright participants will be able to depart for the United States at this time. If you find yourself in this situation, please refer to a previous e-mail regarding the Global Level 4 Health Advisory, sent on or around March 20, for guidance and be in contact with your Fulbright administrators in your host country.

Information for Foreign/Non-U.S. Citizens:

The suspension of the U.S. Fulbright Program applies only to American citizens currently participating in the U.S. Fulbright Program abroad. Foreign Fulbrighters currently on programs in the United States, as part of the Visiting Scholar Program, Foreign Student Program, and Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) Program, should follow the guidance below and contact their advisor with any questions.

We want to assure you that you have the full support of the Fulbright Program in navigating the changing situation that has been presented by the pandemic. Per the guidance of your local host institutions, we hope you are able to adjust to online education in your host community in the United States.

If you have concerns about your safety and welfare and want to return to your home country, you are free to do so. If you expect to leave the United States and return in the summer or next fall to resume your academic studies, you should weigh several factors, including availability and cost of return airfare, travel delays, challenges in securing housing upon your return, and possible quarantine in your country or upon return to the United States, and changes to academic calendars as campuses return to full operational status Please contact your Fulbright Commission or advisor to discuss your individual situation.

Information for Applicants to the 2020-21 Fulbright Program:

U.S. Citizen Applicants: At this time, selection notifications for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program are moving forward in preparation for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Non-U.S. Citizen Applicants: In preparation for the 2020-21 program, please contact the binational Fulbright Commission or U.S. Embassy in your country to learn about the current status of the Fulbright Program.

For general information regarding COVID-19, please visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of State’s www.travel.state.gov page Current Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease. 

General Information
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FOR U.S. FULBRIGHT STUDENTS

Resources for U.S. Fulbright Students

We understand the disruption that the worldwide suspension of the program has caused to your professional and personal life, and we appreciate how much you have nonetheless contributed to the Fulbright Program’s goals of mutual understanding.

The e-mail that you received with the below resources also serves as confirmation that your Fulbright grant ended following the worldwide suspension of the U.S. Fulbright Program on March 19, 2020. This e-mail also confirms that you finished your program in good standing and are now considered an alumnus or alumna of the Fulbright Program. This e-mail may serve as proof of a qualifying life event for any entity requiring such confirmation. If you need a more formal notification of your status, please contact your IIE program manager.

Health Benefits

You should be aware that the Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE) coverage provided by the State Department through Seven Corners is a secondary coverage in effect only while you are in your country of assignment on an active Fulbright award. The ASPE benefit is not provided to you as Fulbright alumni.

Individuals returning to the United States without access to health insurance coverage may be eligible to seek coverage on the public exchanges at HealthCare.gov, under the Special Enrollment Period provision for a “Change of Primary Place of Living.” The Families First Coronavirus Response Act mandates that group health insurance policies will cover COVID-19 testing and related services. For your own state’s response to COVID-19, please see this page. You can also find assistance in researching your local options here.

The Act additionally gives U.S. states the option to expand Medicaid coverage to uninsured individuals in their state to provide coverage for COVID-19 testing and diagnosis with no patient cost-share required. We encourage you to contact your home state’s health department for additional information on local health insurance coverage options. More information specific to COVID and health coverage is available here.

Short-term limited duration medical policies are designed to provide coverage for a limited time between health insurance policies; for example, for students taking a semester off school or for individuals who are between jobs. These plans vary in terms of coverage and are not regulated by the Affordable Care Act. Current federal rules limit these policies to three months. For more information on how these plans differ from what is offered on the public exchanges, visit this page.

Depending on your state's eligibility requirements you may be eligible for Medicaid. The Department of Health and Human Services has general information about Medicaid and links to state-specific information here.

You may be eligible to join a family member’s insurance plan. The Affordable Care Act allows people who have lost insurance coverage to join their spouse’s plan, in some states domestic partners can also be covered. If you are under 26 years old, you may be eligible to join your parent’s insurance plan. If you plan to make this kind of change, you must act within 30 days of the date you lost coverage. If ASPE was your only coverage, the 30 day window would begin when you returned to the United States.

Employment and Unemployment Information

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) maintains information about employment resources available at the federal and state level, including COVID-19 related impacts, on its website.

Though the DOL oversees the program, individual states implement basic unemployment insurance and make determinations of benefits and eligibility. Unemployment benefits will vary by state; you can find information on your state’s benefits at the DOL-sponsored website.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides a $1,200 stimulus check to individual adults earning up to $75,000, or $150,000 per couple. For tax filers with incomes above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds. This is based on your 2019 adjusted gross income (or your 2018 AGI if you haven’t yet filed your 2019 tax return). Check IRS.gov for more information.

Through the temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, the CARES Act also expands coverage to more workers, including self-employed, contractors, and furloughed workers. This program increases Americans’ unemployment benefits by $600/week until July 31, 2020, and extends unemployment benefits for an additional 13 weeks. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program also waives the normal one-week waiting period.

Under Executive Order 13750, Fulbright U.S. Student Program alumni are eligible for 12 months of non-competitive eligibility (NCE) hiring status within the federal government, with the possibility of an extension if certain criteria are met. As a Fulbright U.S. Student, you may be eligible to take advantage of this hiring status. By April 6, information on non-competitive eligibility (NCE) for federal employment for Fulbright U.S. Student alumni will be available for download in the Fulbright Participant Portal. For further information and to assess if you are eligible, please review Executive Order 13750.

Fulbright Alumni Resources

We hope that you will be an active member of the alumni community around the world whose many accomplishments will continue to advance the Fulbright program’s mission. As Fulbright alumni, you have access to Fulbright’s diverse and dynamic network of scholars, alumni, and global partners. Since 1946, there have been 390,000 Fulbright Program alumni, including 60 Nobel Laureates, 86 Pulitzer Prize winners, 74 MacArthur Fellows, and thousands of leaders across the private, public and non-profit sectors.

Alumni have opportunities to connect with local and global Fulbright networks, which may be a source of information and support in your transition back to the United States. If you have not already done so, we recommend that you join the Fulbrighter online networking platform now at https://fulbrighternetwork.com. There is no fee, and joining will enable you to connect with your fellow Fulbright alumni who have developed virtual communities across cohort years, countries, geographic regions, disciplines, and professions. Many Fulbright Commissions have active alumni groups within the Fulbrighter platform, and will want you to remain involved as members of their networks. We encourage you to do so.

You can also connect with your local chapter of the Fulbright Association (FA) (https://fulbright.org/), which has 54 chapters nationwide. The Fulbright Association connects alumni and friends of the Fulbright Program through lifelong learning, collaborative networking, and service projects at home and abroad. The Association has waived its membership fee for the first year for all returning new alumni.

Fulbright alumni benefit from continued engagement with the alumni of all State Department exchange programs including more than 1,000,000 former exchange participants. You may register for free and explore the resources available on https://alumni.state.gov/ to further network with alumni in your community and around the world and tap into professional development resources. As an example, the International Exchange Alumni network offers online resources for alumni, including a MentorTalks archive, and databases for research and grant opportunities through EBSCO, Gale, and Candid.

Future Fulbright Opportunities

We look forward to the day when we can reopen the U.S. Fulbright Program around the world. If you are interested in reapplying to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, please note that for participants in the 2019-2020 cohort, the Program is waiving the policy that gave preference to those candidates who have not previously received a Fulbright student grant, due to the unique circumstances that occurred this spring. The application for the 2021-2022 academic year is open and we hope you will consider applying.

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FOR U.S. SCHOLARS

Resources for U.S. Fulbright Scholars

We understand the disruption that the worldwide suspension of the program has caused to your professional and personal life, and we appreciate how much you have nonetheless contributed to the Fulbright Program’s goals of mutual understanding.

The e-mail that you received with the below resources also serves as confirmation that your Fulbright grant ended following the worldwide suspension of the U.S. Fulbright Program on March 19, 2020.  This e-mail also confirms that you finished your program in good standing and are now considered an alumnus or alumna of the Fulbright Program. This e-mail may serve as proof of a qualifying life event for any entity requiring such confirmation.  If you need a more formal notification of your status, please contact your IIE program manager.

Health Benefits

You should be aware that the Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE) coverage provided by the State Department through Seven Corners is a secondary coverage in effect only while you are in your country of assignment on an active Fulbright award.  The ASPE benefit is not provided to you as Fulbright alumni.    

Individuals returning to the United States without access to health insurance coverage may be eligible to seek coverage on the public exchanges at HealthCare.gov, under the Special Enrollment Period provision for a “Change of Primary Place of Living.”  The Families First Coronavirus Response Act mandates that group health insurance policies will cover COVID-19 testing and related services. For your own state’s response to COVID-19, please see this page. You can also find assistance in researching your local options here.

The Act additionally gives U.S. states the option to expand Medicaid coverage to uninsured individuals in their state to provide coverage for COVID-19 testing and diagnosis with no patient cost-share required. We encourage you to contact your home state’s health department for additional information on local health insurance coverage options. More information specific to COVID and health coverage is available here.  

Short-term limited duration medical policies are designed to provide coverage for a limited time between health insurance policies; for example, for students taking a semester off school or for individuals who are between jobs.  These plans vary in terms of coverage and are not regulated by the Affordable Care Act. Current federal rules limit these policies to three months. For more information on how these plans differ from what is offered on the public exchanges, visit this page.  

Depending on your state's eligibility requirements you may be eligible for Medicaid. The Department of Health and Human Services has general information about Medicaid and links to state-specific information here.  

You may be eligible to join a family member’s insurance plan. The Affordable Care Act allows people who have lost insurance coverage to join their spouse’s plan, in some states domestic partners can also be covered. If you are under 26 years old, you may be eligible to join your parent’s insurance plan. If you plan to make this kind of change, you must act within 30 days of the date you lost coverage.  If ASPE was your only coverage, the 30 day window would begin when you returned to the United States.    

Employment and Unemployment Information

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) maintains information about employment resources available at the federal and state level, including COVID-19 related impacts, on its website.  

Though the DOL oversees the program, individual states implement basic unemployment insurance and make determinations of benefits and eligibility.  Unemployment benefits will vary by state; you can find information on your state’s benefits at the DOL-sponsored website.  

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides a $1,200 stimulus check to individual adults earning up to $75,000, or $150,000 per couple.  For tax filers with incomes above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds.  This is based on your 2019 adjusted gross income (or your 2018 AGI if you haven’t yet filed your 2019 tax return). Check IRS.gov for more information.    

Through the temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, the CARES Act also expands coverage to more workers, including self-employed, contractors, and furloughed workers.  This program increases Americans’ unemployment benefits by $600/week until July 31, 2020, and extends unemployment benefits for an additional 13 weeks.    

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program also waives the normal one-week waiting period.   

Fulbright Alumni Resources

We hope that you will be an active member of the alumni community around the world whose many accomplishments will continue to advance the Fulbright program’s mission.  As Fulbright alumni, you have access to Fulbright’s diverse and dynamic network of scholars, alumni, and global partners. Since 1946, there have been 390,000 Fulbright Program alumni, including 60 Nobel Laureates, 86 Pulitzer Prize winners, 74 MacArthur Fellows, and thousands of leaders across the private, public and non-profit sectors.     

Alumni have opportunities to connect with local and global Fulbright networks, which may be a source of information and support in your transition back to the United States.  If you have not already done so, we recommend that you join the Fulbrighter online networking platform now at https://fulbrighternetwork.com. There is no fee, and joining will enable you to connect with your fellow Fulbright alumni who have developed virtual communities across cohort years, countries, geographic regions, disciplines, and professions. Many Fulbright Commissions have active alumni groups within the Fulbrighter platform, and will want you to remain involved as members of their networks.  We encourage you to do so.    

You can also connect with your local chapter of the Fulbright Association (FA) (https://fulbright.org/), which has 54 chapters nationwide.  The Fulbright Association connects alumni and friends of the Fulbright Program through lifelong learning, collaborative networking, and service projects at home and abroad.  The Association has waived its membership fee for the first year for all returning new alumni.

Fulbright alumni benefit from continued engagement with the alumni of all State Department exchange programs including more than 1,000,000 former exchange participants.  You may register for free and explore the resources available on https://alumni.state.gov/ to further network with alumni in your community and around the world and tap into professional development resources.  As an example, the International Exchange Alumni network offers online resources for alumni, including a MentorTalks archive, and databases for research and grant opportunities through EBSCO, Gale, and Candid.  

Future Fulbright Opportunities

We look forward to the day when we can reopen the U.S. Fulbright Program around the world.  If you are interested in reapplying to the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, please note that the Program is waiving the two-year waiting period between scholar grants for the 2019-2020 cohort, due to the unique circumstances that occurred this spring.  The application for the 2021-2022 academic year is open and we hope you will consider applying.

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FOR FOREIGN FULBRIGHT STUDENTS AND FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHING ASSISTANTS

Please contact your Fulbright Program advisor at your implementing organization and/or your binational Fulbright commission for the most up-to-date and relevant information concerning your situation. For FLTAs, please contact your IIE program administrator.

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FOR VISITING SCHOLARS

Please contact your Fulbright Program advisor at your implementing organization and/or your binational Fulbright commission for the most up-to-date and relevant information concerning your situation. 

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FOR FULBRIGHT SPECIALISTS

Given the rapidly evolving nature of the current situation, all Fulbright Specialist projects that have not yet commenced are temporarily postponed. Please see this page on World Learning's website for more information.