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Tufts International Travel Policy:

Addressing Health and Safety Risks

Reason for development of policy
Scope of Policy
Registration of International Travel
International Travel Safety Review
Sudden Change of Condition
Financial Responsibilities
Waiver and Indemnification

Distribution of Policies and Procedures 

Reason for development of policy

The University supports and encourages International Travel by its faculty, students and staff while promoting safety and security measures that minimize risk to the traveler and the institution.


Faculty/ Staff:  All full- and part-time members of the faculty, including adjunct faculty, and staff employed by the University.

International Travel: Any travel outside of U.S. national borders.

Non-Travel Warning Country: A country that is not subject to a current Travel Warning issued by the U.S. Department of State.

Permissible Travel: International Travel is permitted, provided that the country and/or location in question is not subject to a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning.

Restricted Travel: International Travel may be restricted to countries and/or locations with a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning in place.
Students: Any undergraduate or graduate student who is enrolled in a degree program, credit bearing non-degree program, professional certificate or executive education program at the University.

Travel Warning:  A Travel warning that is issued by the U.S. Department of State when long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable lead the State Department to recommend that Americans re-consider the risk of travel to that country or consider avoiding the travel altogether. A Travel Warning is also issued when the U.S. Government's ability to assist American citizens is constrained due to the closure of an embassy or consulate or because of a drawdown of its staff.

Travel Warning Country: A country subject to a current Travel Warning issued by the U.S. Department of State

Tufts Affiliates: Faculty/Staff (as defined above) + Students (as defined above) + independent contractors and other individuals involved in Tufts business.

Tufts Travel Registry: The electronic registry travelers use to register their travel.  This includes information such as trip dates, destination and itinerary and sponsoring department on campus.

International Travel Review Committee (ITRC): The University established an International Travel Review Committee (“The Committee”) to evaluate the safety and security risks associated with International Travel. The Committee is responsible for reviewing all proposed student travel to Travel Warning Countries. When making this decision, the Committee will consider information from multiple sources including governmental reports (including the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Agriculture), the University’s travel assistance providers, the University’s insurance carriers and other expert sources in providing relevant operational, legal and risk management advice to travelers.
Unit: Department, institute, program, organization and/or school at Tufts facilitating International Travel.

Scope of Policy

The Tufts International Travel Policy applies to all university-supported(by funds and/or equipment) or university-related International Travel, including but not limited to International Travel for research, educational, co-curricular, or administrative purposes (with or without student participation), international study, exchange programs, and student group travel (of any duration and whether offered for credit or not). This policy applies regardless of whether the International Travel is undertaken by faculty, staff, or students, and regardless of whether organized by schools, departments, faculty, staff, student organizations, or students individually.

For purposes of this policy, International Travel is defined as university-related when the travel is undertaken because an individual is acting in an academic or professional capacity relevant to the person’s areas of responsibility, activities (including co-curricular and extracurricular), course of research, teaching, or study at Tufts or is undertaken with or organized by any Tufts organization, division, department, or office, even when that travel is not for an academic or professional purpose.

Registration of International Travel

The University’s Travel Registry is a confidential and secure database for maintaining key travel information for all Tufts Affiliates conducting International Travel. The Travel Registry is the official and authoritative source of traveler information that forms the basis for the University’s emergency response protocols and communications strategy (e.g., alerts, warnings, evacuation notices) when responding to an emergency or critical incident abroad.

To ensure proper safety procedures, all students participating in International Travel, as defined by this policy, must register their travel itinerary and emergency contact information utilizing the Tufts Travel Registry. Any travel changes prior to and/or during the travel must be updated as soon as reasonably possible.

All staff members traveling with one or more student(s) are required to register their travel itinerary and emergency contact information utilizing the Tufts Travel Registry. Any travel changes prior to and/or during the travel must be updated as soon as reasonably possible To ensure proper safety procedures, all staff members participating in International Travel, as defined by this policy, must register their travel itinerary and emergency contact information utilizing the Tufts Travel Registry.

All faculty members traveling with one or more student(s) are required to register their travel itinerary and emergency contact information utilizing the Tufts Travel Registry. Any travel changes prior to and/or during the travel must be updated as soon as reasonably possible. To ensure safety procedures, registration is strongly recommended for faculty traveling without students. Faculty members may book travel arrangements with a university preferred travel provider but should still utilize the Tufts Travel Registry to ensure their travel has been properly registered should an emergency occur.

Travel Review for Countries with a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning
The University requires that all proposed International Travel to Travel Warning Countries involving students is reviewed and approved by the University if the student is receiving credit or funding or the travel is organized through a Tufts-affiliated office. 

Students who are planning International Travel to a Travel Warning Country must request and obtain advance permission from the University through the University’s Committee for Travel Review. 

Unit Applications
In cases where a unit is organizing an activity, the unit or faculty/staff member in charge is responsible for ensuring all participants have prior approval from the International Travel Review Committee.  The faculty/staff member in charge may apply on behalf of all participants.

Faculty and staff who are planning to travel with students to a Travel Warning Country must request and obtain advance permission from the University’s International Safety Review Committee. Faculty and staff planning travel without students to a Travel Warning Country should follow their department guidelines. Units cannot require an unwilling employee to travel on University business to a country that is subject to a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning. Faculty members intending to travel internationally are responsible for checking their destinations for any Travel Warnings in advance of travel.

Travel Review Procedures
Students who are planning International Travel to a Travel Warning Country must request and obtain advance permission from the University. Students traveling on university-organized programs, such as “Tufts-in,” “Global Health Placement” at the Medical School or Global Service Learning Program at the Dental School should follow their program’s guidelines on complying with this policy. Students are required to contact the respective school contacts for these programs and submit necessary materials in accordance with their requirements and deadlines.

Students and units applying are required to submit materials to the University’s International Travel Review Committee no later than 4 weeks prior to scheduled departure and in accordance with published submission deadlines. Flights should not be booked prior to receiving travel approval. The Committee will announce meetings for travel review and the respective deadlines prior to the start of each semester.

Material for Travel Review
  • Purpose of Travel: Explain why travel to the particular location is essential to academic studies, research or work.
  • Proposed Travel Itinerary (including: lodging arrangements, transportation to and from the location within the region and day-to-day transportation).
  • Risk Mitigation Plan: Outline of risks as identified in the DOS Travel Warning and/or ISOS security information and mitigation procedures.
  • ISOS Briefing: Summary of a briefing with an ISOS security analysis for the destination – provide name and case number for verification.
  • Communication: Comprehensive list of emergency contacts, both US-based and in-country, local contacts.
  • Letter of endorsement : Signed off on by the sponsoring unit/department.
  • Signed Waiver and Indemnification.
  • Additional materials: 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.

Outcome of Review Process
Upon reviewing the submitted materials, the Committee may require applicants to take additional steps or alter their travel plans in order to obtain approval. Tufts may withdraw sponsorship should students fail to follow these recommendations. Should a travel review result in a denial of the travel request, a summary of reasons supporting the decision will be offered to the applicant or the applying unit.

Sudden Change of Condition

The University reserves the right to suspend an ongoing or previously approved international activity for student, staff or faculty member if a significant health, safety, or security concern is raised regarding that experience. In making the assessment, the University will consider the risk management plan for the students, staff, or faculty involved in the activity and the balance between the value of the academic or professional experience in that specific location versus the risks associated with that location/activity.

It is possible that a specific program, activity in a specific location (city, region, or country), or all activities abroad would need to be modified or suspended by the University due to a health or safety concern. This concern may arise if conditions at a location have changed significantly as determined by ISOS and/or U.S. Department of State. If conditions and accompanying risks of operating in a particular location change significantly, Global Operations will consult with relevant administrative units overseeing the activity, members of the Committee and other appropriate individuals to determine the best course of action. The final recommendation will be made by the Committee.

Typical recommendations may include, but are not limited to: no material program changes; modifications to program housing, activities, or schedule; or suspension and withdrawal/evacuation.

In cases where a new U.S. Department of State Travel Warning is issued after an activity has already been approved but prior to the starting date, every effort will be made to facilitate an emergency meeting of the Committee to conduct a thorough and timely review of the situation.  If emergency action is needed immediately, Global Operations or the department’s designated on-call representative will act to ensure that travelers’ safety is being protected and may advise or order postponement, suspension or evacuation, effective immediately.  If a Tufts-affiliated program or office is impacted, Global Operations would work with the Office of Emergency Management, following the procedures enumerated in the university’s current Emergency Operations Plan.

Financial Responsibilities

Tufts University does not assume responsibility for financial risks associated with participation in its education abroad opportunities. If the University cancels a program before departure or while the program is in progress for reasons beyond its control including, but not limited to, political unrest or danger to participant safety, changes in ISOS travel risk rating, or U.S. DOS Travel Warning, only those recoverable fees or tuition refunded to the University by service providers and/or institutions will be returned to participants. The University will make reasonable efforts to obtain refunds from applicable service providers and/or institutions, but no refunds are guaranteed. In addition to lost fees and tuition, participants may incur additional travel expenses in connection with program cancellation. Participants may or may not receive academic credit if a program is canceled. The University assumes no responsibility for the financial or other losses of program participants resulting from program cancellation.

Supplemental Insurance
Students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to consider supplemental insurance options to cover losses if programs or activities are canceled. Supplemental insurance is also helpful if a traveler needs to cancel an international trip or return early due to unforeseen personal emergencies. Such insurance is not required or arranged by the University and must be purchased on an individual basis.

Waiver and Indemnification

All Tufts students participating in International Travel must sign a travel waiver form with Tufts acknowledging that they understand the risks of travel, affirming that they have reviewed and understand relevant safety-related materials, and acknowledging that they assume the risks related to their International travel. Students may sign and submit this document electronically when registering their travel with Tufts Travel Registry or when submitting for travel review. Students under the age of 18 must obtain a parental signature on the form.

Distribution and Change of Policy and Procedures

This policy should be made available to every person participating in university-related International Travel as defined by this policy. Tufts University reserves the right to change this policy and procedures in light of changing circumstances affecting travel, safety, health, or other matters related to the best interest of the University.

Last modified 09/13/2017