COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

The Fulbright Program Team is closely monitoring the progression of COVID-19 (also known as the Coronavirus) in the United States and around the world, and taking all necessary steps to protect the health and well-being of our participants and staff. We are 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 exchange participants.

U.S. Students

March 15, 2021 - In planning for and implementing the resumption of in-person exchanges for U.S. participants, the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Program continue to prioritize the health, safety, and well-being of participants and host communities. Fulbright is a global program and has tailored its plans on a country-by-country basis to resume in-person exchanges for U.S. participants beginning January 1, 2021. The only exception to the January 1 or later start date for new awards was American students who were enrolled in degree programs at foreign universities, who were able to begin their academic programs in person in the fall if local campus and in-country conditions allowed, or online if the host institutions was only operating online. No new research or ETA awards will be permitted to begin before January 1, 2021. The decision to allow in-person exchanges to resume is based on the operating status of the host institutions, the administrative resources in place at the U.S. Embassy or Fulbright Commission to support participants while on their program, the availability of international travel and visa services, and the capacity of local facilities to protect public health.

Many countries have begun to welcome U.S. Student Fulbright participants, and we are working closely with those traveling abroad to ensure their safety. For those countries that are unable to resume in person exchanges this spring, 2020-2021 participants are able to pursue their Fulbright programs at a later date, including in the following (2021-2022) academic year.


2020-21 U.S. Student Finalists

Those selected for a 2020-2021 award received communication from the Institute of International Education (IIE) or the Fulbright Commission about the plans for resuming in-person exchanges in their host country. Any selectee who has additional questions about the status of their country’s reopening plans should contact their program advisor.

2021-22 U.S. Student Finalists

Those selected for 2021-2022 award will receive information from IIE and Fulbright Commissions about plans for the 2021-2022 year. Please note that per Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board policy, grants may not be postponed or deferred to a subsequent academic year. If selected candidates are unable to accept or begin their grants in the 2021-2022 academic year, they may reapply the following academic year without prejudice.

Fulbright Alumni

Please contact your regional program advisor with specific questions.

General FAQ

2021-2022 U.S. Applicants

  • What does this mean for 2021-22 recommended applicants?
    • 2021-2022 Application Cycle: The 2021-2022 Fulbright U.S. Student selection process is moving forward as normal. It is not possible to predict the competitiveness of future application cycles. Regrettably, far more applications are received every year than the number of awards available.  

2020-2021 U.S. Student Finalists

  • If my program goes forward in January 2021 or is delayed to later in spring/summer 2021, will I still have the option of deferring to next year if I am uncomfortable going abroad in the current academic year?
    • Individual participants cannot choose to postpone their Fulbright grants if in-person opportunities are offered this academic year. Postponements will only be allowed if it is determined that in-person participation is not possible in the host country. Requests for deferral based on medical necessity will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Will requests for country reassignments be considered if I’m uncomfortable traveling to the country that I originally applied to?
    • We are unable to accommodate requests for country reassignments.
  • Are candidates who withdrew prior to this announcement eligible to postpone their participation?
    • Candidates who withdrew from the 2020-2021 cohort may not be reinstated and elect to delay their start date. If you are interested in pursuing a Fulbright opportunity, we strongly encourage you to reapply to the Fulbright Program at a future date.
  • Am I still considered an alumnus of the Program if my award is moving forward but I choose not to participate?
    • Participants who decide that they are unable to participate in the Fulbright Program due to personal or professional circumstances may elect to withdraw from the program. They will still be considered Fulbright finalists, but will not receive any grant benefits and will not be considered program alumni. They will be able to re-apply for future Fulbright opportunities without prejudice.

Fulbright Alumni

  • Do the Fulbright Program’s plans for reopening affect my 2019-2020 grant?
    • In the interest of participant safety in the face of an emerging global pandemic, the Fulbright Program was suspended worldwide in March 2020. All U.S. Fulbright participants who were on their programs at that time were provided with travel assistance to quickly and safely return to the United States, funding equivalent to at least three months of stipend payments, an additional $1,000 transition allowance to help cover health insurance and other unanticipated needs, Fulbright alumni status, and the ability to re-apply for future Fulbright opportunities without prejudice. 2019-2020 participants who had not yet begun their grants at the time of the program suspension have been offered the opportunity to reschedule or defer their grants.
    • 2019-2020 Fulbright participants will not be held at a competitive disadvantage due to their alumni status.

Foreign Students

2020-21 Fulbright Foreign Program Participants

The health, safety, and security of our Fulbright participants is our highest priority. Visiting Fulbright Students in graduate degree programs, as well as Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (FLTAs), were able to travel to begin their programs in academic year 2020-21 as host institution operating statuses allowed.

The Program's approach also includes new online flexibilities for Visiting Fulbright participants, and reflects developments on U.S. campuses. Please contact your IIE Advisor for guidance and assistance; they have the most up-to-date and relevant information for your situation.

2021-22 Fulbright Foreign Student Program Applicants

Thank you for your interest in the Fulbright Foreign Student Program. U.S. Embassies and Fulbright Commissions are nominating candidates for the 2021-2022 academic year and recruiting applicants for the 2022-23 academic year according to their respective timelines. To learn about Fulbright Program opportunities in your home country, please reach out to your home country's contact.