Exceptions Policy to International Travel Restriction for Faculty and Staff


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 domestic travel was lifted on June 12, though a recommendation was made to limit all but essential travel. The restriction against international travel has been extended, with the current termination now set for November 20, 2020.

Purpose for the Restriction

The restriction against international travel was put in place to reduce the likelihood that faculty and staff 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

This document describes the basis on which faculty or staff could receive an exception from the policy. In order to be considered for an exception, the faculty or staff 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, or supervisor.

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 faculty or staff is able to fulfill all destination country restrictions on travelers coming from the U.S.;
  2. The faculty or staff is able to fulfill the requirement for travelers 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 faculty or staff 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 faculty or staff requesting an exception to the policy must have support from their department chair, unit head or supervisor, which can be provided by email.

Duration of Exception Policy

This policy will be in force until the University lifts the international travel restriction.

Exceptions Process

Faculty or staff seeking an exception should complete the exception request form. Information needed to complete the request includes:

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

Submit an Exception Request