In this section, Fulbright Greece provides an update on how COVID-19 has affected its programs and presents resources for its U.S./Greek Fulbright Community and EducationUSA advisees.
Important notice about travel: from the U.S. to Greece and from Greece to the U.S
Due to the COVID-19 impact on international travel, regularly check updates regarding requirements for traveling to and entering Greece.
Important updates and information can be found on the U.S. Embassy in Athens and Hellenic Republic Ministry of Tourism websites:
Fulbright Scholarship Programs for U.S. and Greek Citizens
Despite global challenges presented by the current public health crisis, the Fulbright Foundation in Greece has moved forward with the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 Scholarship Programs for U.S. and Greek citizens.
Fulbright Greece continues to monitor COVID-19 in the United States and around the world and the status of U.S. and Greek higher education institutions, taking all necessary steps to protect the health and well-being of its grantees and staff. It is important that Fulbright grantees and candidates remain flexible and aware that this is an evolving situation. We will keep you posted on any developments that we deem may have an impact on your exchange experience in the U.S / Greece.
During these uncertain times, it may be helpful to remember that throughout its 75-year history, the Fulbright Program has persisted despite myriad challenges. In that spirit, the sponsors of the Fulbright Program, including the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FFSB), the Fulbright Foundation in Greece, the Hellenic Ministries of Education and Foreign Affairs, and our cooperating agencies in the United States are working together to ensure the Fulbright Program continues to operate successfully.
However, none of these organizations, namely the U. S. Department of State, the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FFSB), the Institute of International Education (IIE), the Fulbright Foundation Greece or U.S. Embassy will be liable for any claim or claims resulting from a grantee's failure to enter upon or to complete their exchange program, even though the failure may be beyond the grantee’s control.
U.S. to Greece: Preparing for your Fulbright Grant in Greece
Like the rest of the world, Greece was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic at the beginning of 2020. The country went into a national lockdown in March 2020, before slowly reopening over the summer. A second wave in the autumn led to a second lockdown in autumn 2020 and caused the deferral of the 2020-21 Fulbright U.S. Student and Scholar Program. Greece began vaccinating its population against COVID-19 in January 2021; rollout has been slower than in the United States but has picked up considerably in May and June. A number of restrictions, ranging from mask mandates to curfews, have eased off in Greece since late June 2021. Curfews have been lifted and face masks are now only required in stores, offices and generally in crowded areas.
The health and safety of U.S. Fulbright grantees and their dependents is a top priority for the Fulbright program. It is also our responsibility as a global community to curb the further spread of Covid-19 and to ensure public safety. U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to stay up-to-date on local and international guidelines and restrictions prior to traveling to Greece by visiting the U.S. Embassy in Athens website
Greece to the U.S.: Preparing for your Fulbright Grant in the U.S.
Greek grantees planning their 2021-2022 grant periods should keep in mind that U.S. COVID-19 related policies have not yet relaxed in regard to visa issuance and travel. It is important that you keep informed about federal, state and institutional directives and regulations. The U.S. Department of State shared these lastly updated guidelines: Message and Update.
A number of Greek grantees recently in the U.S. were eligible for Covid-19 vaccinations on their respective campuses. More and more U.S. universities now announce that they will require students to be vaccinated before arrival on campus for the fall 2021 semester.
NIE-National Interest Exception
What is the NIE - National Interest Exception? Certain travelers to the U.S., such as J-1 exchange holders, are granted NIE status as noted on their - valid - visas. The NIE, once approved, is valid for 12 months and for multiple entries (as long as they are used for the purpose under which they were granted), and is required by the U.S. immigration authorities. Any J-1 visa holder who's NIE has expired prior to departure or return to the U.S. has to contact the U.S. Consulate to update their NIE.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued an Order on January 12, 2021 requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 for all air passengers arriving from a foreign country to the US. This also applies to travelers who have been vaccinated. In addition, the White House under President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has published its first Executive Order on January 21, 2021 in regard to Covid-19 safety measures in domestic and international travel.
Studies in the U.S. EducationUSA
Fulbright Greece continues to support the public by offering many of its services virtually: Group Advising Sessions for students interested to study in the U.S.A., Pre-Departure Orientations in June and its annual U.S. University Fair in the fall. Phone support is also possible Tuesday through Thursday from 11:00 am - 2:30 pm and email communication is available on weekdays.
Fulbright Greece provides online services and assistance to scholarship candidates, students, parents and all interested parties.
Fulbright Greece is Open Online
Missed out on the first Virtual University Fair? You can still explore the 90 U.S. Colleges and Universities that participated and reach out to those that interest you!
The U.S. based Institute of International Education (IIE) closely follows the developments within the U.S. higher education community. It has published a series of COVID-19 Snapshot Surveys that gives detailed feedback on the changing academic landscape between the start of the pandemic and now.
Header Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash