International Travel Restriction Exceptions Policy

Background

On March 10, 2020, the University announced a restriction on all University-purpose travel, both domestic and international, in direct response to the spread of COVID-19 and the instability of the travel industry, as well as insufficient knowledge of how the spread would manifest itself, how different countries would react to the spread, and the uncertainty of border closures. The restriction against international travel has been extended, with the current termination now set for April 30, 2021.

Purpose for the Restriction

The restriction against international travel was put in place to reduce the likelihood that faculty, staff, or students traveling for University purposes would a) suffer a health emergency outside of the U.S. and not be able to return home; b) return home with COVID-19 or a related health condition with the risk of contagion to others; or c) experience a travel or diplomatic disruption that would lead to a prolonged interruption of travel plans resulting in an extended and unplanned stay in another country that could not be resolved through insurance or other means.

Exceptions Policy

The following are eligible to apply for an exception:

  • faculty and staff
  • graduate students, residents, and fellows
  • undergraduate students (note: undergraduates can only request an exception for travel to locations designated by the U.S. State Department as Travel Advisory Level 1 or 2)

In order to be considered for an exception, the traveler must address the three criteria below: 1) the destination country requirements, 2) a valid and compelling justification for the travel, and 3) support of their department chair, unit head, supervisor, or academic adviser. This policy will be in force until the University lifts the international travel restriction.

Note regarding applications by undergraduate students: Any exception to the University's travel restriction granted to an undergraduate student will be based, in part, on the U.S. Department of State's travel advisory level for the student's destination. Should that travel advisory change to a Level 3 or 4 prior to the student's departure, the exception approval will be automatically rescinded. Should that travel advisory change to a Level 3 or 4 while the student is abroad, the University will expect the student to submit a full ITRAAC petition within one week of notification. The University will evaluate the cause of the escalated travel advisory, the potential impact on the student, and best courses of action to determine on a case by case basis whether a return to the U.S. is necessary.

1. Destination Country Requirements:

Critical to a decision allowing travel is the ability for the traveler to meet the requirements of the destination country and to be able to access assistance from the U.S. if necessary. All four of the following criteria must be met in order to qualify for an exception:

  1. The traveler is able to fulfill all destination country restrictions on travelers coming from the U.S.;
  2. The traveler is able to fulfill the requirement for those coming from the U.S. to quarantine upon arrival (if applicable);
  3. The destination country has U.S. embassy or consulate personnel available to provide U.S. citizen services; and
  4. The destination country airport(s) is/are open.

2. Justification for Travel:

A valid and compelling justification for travel must meet two or more of the following criteria to be considered eligible for an exception:

  • The reason for the travel is time-sensitive (i.e., cannot be completed at a later date).
  • The traveler risks a loss of funding and/or significant opportunity to advance a professional relationship if the travel is cancelled or postponed.
  • It is not possible to conduct the work remotely.
  • The travel to a particular site is required for access to people with a specific skill, to specialized equipment, or to a particular research context not found elsewhere.
  • The travel is related to research on, or a response to, COVID-19.

3. Support:

The traveler requesting an exception to the policy must have support from their department chair, unit head, supervisor, or academic adviser, which can be provided by email.


Apply for an Exception

Travelers seeking an exception should complete the appropriate exception request form below. Information needed to complete the request includes:

  • Timeline for departure and return to the U.S.
  • Description of the work or activity to be done
  • Proposal to fulfill destination country requirements
  • Justification for the request
  • Letter of support from department chair, unit head, supervisor, or academic adviser (can be submitted separately)

The Associate Vice President and Dean for International Programs shall consult with the Vice President for Research, the Executive Director of the Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility, and the Chair of the Faculty Consultative Committee as appropriate in making the decision. Questions should be sent to Kevin Dostal Dauer, Director of International Health, Safety, and Compliance in the GPS Alliance at dauer001@umn.edu.

Faculty and Staff        Graduate Students, Residents, and Fellows        Undergraduate Students