Individual Process for ITRAAC Approval

University policy requires special permission from the University’s International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee (ITRAAC) prior to travel in specific circumstances for students and faculty/staff leading students abroad.

Application Process for Individual Students

Applicants are encouraged to apply early. A complete application must be submitted electronically at least six to eight weeks before proposed travel. The committee will not consider applications received less than two weeks prior to scheduled departure to ensure that a thorough review can be done to better assure student safety. Flights should not be booked prior to applying to the ITRAAC travel approval.

The application must generally show the academic value of the program and how the structure of the program and safety procedures in place mitigate the concerns of the travel advisory. Requests require substantial documentation. Students are responsible for working with their advisers and other appropriate individuals in their colleges/schools in preparing a written request.

Step One

Begin by contacting the education abroad office on your campus with any questions or to receive assistance in preparing your application.

If you are not working through one of the campus education abroad offices, contact

Step Two

Prepare the following documents (A-E) and submit them to your collegiate dean's office (or equivalent). The dean is asked to return the completed Dean's Endorsement Form to the student when complete. The dean may nominate an assistant or associate dean to complete the form on his/her behalf.

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A. Proposal

The proposal should be written in essay or letter form and should include:

1. A header that includes the following information:

  • Your name and student ID number
  • Your degree program or student status, department/major, and college
  • The date of your application
  • The proposed dates of travel
  • Country for which this petition seeks travel approval

2. Answers to the following questions:

  • What are the compelling academic reasons for the experience in the specific location?
  • What alternative sites were considered and why will they not meet academic needs?
  • Will the program count as credit toward the degree or toward meeting a general requirement for the degree?
  • How does the structure of the program (including housing, transportation, and safety procedures in place) mitigate the concerns of the travel advisory? You should specifically address the individual risks outlined in the travel advisory and state in detail how your travel plan will mitigate each risk while in-country. It is strongly recommend that you review ITRAAC Feedback and Application Tips from Returned Travelers to learn what factors affected success of the past ITRAAC applicants' projects abroad and their mitigation strategies.

3. If travel is for research, answers to the following questions:

  • Have you received or applied for University of Minnesota IRB, IBC, IACUC approval, where relevant?
  • What have you learned regarding local equivalent requirements? For example, see worldwide IRB equivalent requirement.

B. Program overview of syllabus

Students planning independent travel should include a detailed daily plan. Students participating in a organized program should include a program overview or syllabus provided by the program sponsor along with any personal specifics for arrival, departure, etc.

C. Safety, emergency, and evacuation plan

Work with program officials to obtain a copy of an existing plan or to develop documentation and procedures regarding safety, security, and evacuation. Review the Safety and Emergency Plan Template for items that must be addressed in the plan.

D. Letter of endorsement from department chair or academic adviser

Request a letter of endorsement from your department chair or academic adviser. The letter must indicate that you are in good academic standing and explain the academic fit and/or need of the activity. This letter must certify the academic value of the program but need not make any statement regarding the safety of the specific location. 

E. Dean's Endorsement Form

Students should fill out the shaded portion of the Dean's Endorsement Form, then route the form to your college dean's office (or equivalent)  for signature.

Step Three

Submit all materials (A-E above) along with any of the following items (F-G) that you may have to electronically at least six to eight weeks before scheduled departure. 

If electronic submission is not an option, submit hard copies to International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee at the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance.

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F. Letter of admission or support from program/activity sponsor (for students attending a non-UMN) program)

For students attending a non-UMN program only: Get a copy of your letter of admission from your program/activity sponsor or request a letter of support from on-site partners. It is important to show you have relationships with on-site contact(s).

G. Additional materials

You should submit any additional materials that would be useful for the committee as background in making a decision, such as any prior relationships that have been established with a site or host institution or maps of the region. If your experience abroad includes direct patient care, include a copy of the temporary medical license issued by the appropriate licensing authority in the ITRAAC country with the application.

Approval Criteria

Proposals are approved by the International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee.

The proposal must be strongly linked to the student’s academic goals. The concerns raised in the proposal section of the application must be adequately addressed and documented. In the absence of a compelling case and justification, it is unlikely that the committee will approve the request.

For an individual application, it is the student’s responsibility to prepare the documentation and work with the college or school in getting the necessary information.

Note: If a proposal is approved, it is approved under the conditions at the time of approval. If a travel advisory changes, the proposal may need to be reconsidered. If the program is ongoing and the location remains under a Level 3 or 4 Travel Advisory, the program must be re-approved each time an individual or group of students plans to participate.

Scope of Approval

This approval is specific to the location and dates outlined in the itinerary submitted to ITRAAC and does not authorize travel to any other Travel Advisory Level 3 or 4 countries or regions for either personal or University-purpose travel.