Exploring U-M’s Opportunities Around the World

 

COVID-19 & Travel

This page addresses frequently asked questions and provides resources for U-M travelers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Access the FAQs through the categories below or through the COVID-19 & Travel FAQs PDF version.

Visit Travel Designations to determine current travel policies/guidelines. 

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQS for Students

DO I NEED TO FOLLOW THE U-M VACCINATION POLICY TO TRAVEL ABROAD?

Yes, students need to follow the U-M Vaccine requirement as described on the Campus Blueprint site. Students seeking exemptions to the COVID-19 Vaccination Policy for medical or religious reasons must follow the process outline on the Campus Blueprint site.

U-M will verify that students follow the vaccine requirement before students travel abroad within the Safety Plan for International Travel review process and within the M-Compass program application for students who applying for a U-M managed program.

Read the U-M COVID-19 Vaccination Policy here.

CAN STUDENTS TRAVEL INTERNATIONALLY FOR UNIVERSITY-RELATED PURPOSES?

Yes, though there are specific requirements for all international travel and undergraduate travel is prohibted to U-M Travel Restriction destinations. See the Global Michigan Travel Designations for country details and travel requirements for undergraduate and graduate students.

HOW CAN I DETERMINE IF MY TRIP IS CONSIDERED U-M RELATED TRAVEL (UMRT)?

Students should review this document to determine if a trip University of Michigan Related Travel (UMRT)

Non-UMRT travel is considered personal travel. See the International Travel Policy, SPG.601.31 for details.

Note about taking classes remotely or traveling within one’s home country:

In general, working remotely and taking classes remotely from outside the United States are not considered University of Michigan Related Travel (UMRT). For example, a student living in their home country and taking U-M courses remotely is not considered to be on UMRT.

If students travel to a country outside the United States (including to U.S. Territories) for the primary purpose of engaging in location-specific U-M related work, internship, research, or study, then that travel is considered to be UMRT – even if it is in their home country. In these cases, the travel is an essential component of completing their U-M activity and they are subject to SPG 601.31 for international travel. Students already living in another country (e.g. international students living in their permanent address) and travel within their home country for U-M related purposes are not crossing international borders and therefore not on UMRT.

 

CAN STUDENTS TRAVEL INTERNATIONALLY FOR PERSONAL TRAVEL (NOT UMRT)?

Please note that there are restrictions in place for traveling abroad for University of Michigan Related Travel (UMRT). The University of Michigan does not prohibit personal travel, though any travel during COVID-19 should be carefully considered. To determine if your travel is University of Michigan Related Travel (UMRT). or personal travel, see the International Travel Policy, SPG.601.31 for details.

Students wishing to travel internationally for personal reasons that are not UMRT should consider the wide range of risks, including health risks, financial risks, academic risks, visa and entry restrictions, and the possibility of being stuck in-country longer than anticipated because of entry/exit restrictions or because they tested positive for COVID-19 before boarding their return flight.

Students who do choose to travel must follow any guidelines for returning to campus. See Campus Maize & Blueprint for updated guidance.

Students choosing to travel for personal reasons may still purchase U-M’s Travel Abroad Health Insurance and may register in the U-M Travel Registry, so U-M can contact you in the event of an emergency.

CAN STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS TRAVEL ABROAD AT THIS TIME?

Sponsored Student Organizations, and any student traveling abroad on University of Michigan Related Travel (UMRT), must follow U-M travel policies. Details for international travel are available on the Global Michigan Travel Warning & Restriction page. 

Sponsored Student Organizations are encouraged to connect with the Center for Campus Involvement before finalizing travel plans to determine if there are additional requirements.

HOW ARE U-M TRAVEL WARNING, U-M TRAVEL RESTRICTION, COVID-19 MEDIUM, and COVID-19 HIGH RISK DESTINATIONS DETERMINED?

The International Travel Oversight Committee reviews on an iterative basis using a variety of sources, including: US Department of State Travel Advisories, CDC Travel Notices, CDC COVID-19 risk levels, other non-U.S. government advisories, and U-M’s assistance provider’s risk ratings. 

Any updates to U-M Travel Warning & Restrictions will be posted on this Global Michigan page. 

Countries designated as U-M Travel Warning destinations only take into account health and safety conditions, not entry requirements. Travelers must verify their ability to enter a country before planning travel. 

HOW DOES U-M DETERMINE IF U-M STUDY ABROAD PROGRAMS WILL PROCEED?

Each U-M School/College considers a number of factors when deciding whether or not a study abroad program will proceed:  

  • U-M Requirements: All U-M managed study abroad programs are subject to the U-M International Travel Policy (SPG 601.31).  U-M requirements include: 
    • The program must be reviewed by the International Travel Oversight Committee (ITOC) before students financially commit to the program. Please note that each program has specific financial commitment dates. 
    • If the destination is under U-M Travel Restriction by the time financial commitments must be made, the program will not run. 
    • Travel warning/restriction details and student travel requirements are available on Global Michigan.
  • Planning: Significant planning goes into each study abroad program. Students often plan at least a year ahead to prepare their applications, map out their courses, make financial arrangements, and select housing that takes their time abroad into account. Similar planning is needed for Schools and Colleges, as they design the learning experiences, reserve sites, hire instructors, secure accommodations, etc. Contracts are signed and students make deposits several months in advance of departure. If there is significant uncertainty about conditions at the host location (including COVID-19), Schools and Colleges may cancel a program in time for students to avoid financial commitments and make alternate plans for the upcoming semester.
  • U-M Schools and Colleges may determine that certain providers or partner institutions do not have the capacity to meet certain COVID-19 health and safety measures for U-M students and/or the host community. There may also be cases where the provider or partner institution makes the decision not to run programs.
  • U-M Schools and Colleges may decide to run a smaller number of programs (or no programs) during COVID-19 due to academic concerns, the financial viability of a particular program, or other unit-specific reasons. 

For additional details, please contact the U-M office sponsoring your program.

I AM AN UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT AND HAVE APPLIED FOR A U-M STUDY ABROAD PROGRAM, BUT MY DESTINATION COUNTRY IS HAS A U-M COVID-19 HIGH OR U-M TRAVEL RESTRICTION DESIGNATION. CAN I STILL PARTICIPATE IN THIS U-M PROGRAM?

If there is a U-M COVID-High or U-M Travel Restriction for your specific destination by the time financial commitments must be made, your program may not run, unless it has been vetted and approved by the International Travel Advisory Committee (ITOC). See Global Michigan – Travel Designations for the current listing of U-M travel designations. This flowchart can also provide guidance.

Many study abroad applications are open in hopes that the COVID-19 pandemic will improve and that the U-M COVID-19 High OR Travel Restriction for that country will be removed before students need to make financial commitments and in time to make alternate academic arrangements. As countries move from U-M COVID-19 Hight OR U-M Travel Restriction status, more student travel opportunities may become available. 

Please do not make any financial commitments, including for housing, flights, program fees, and others while a U-M COVID-19 High or Travel Restriction remains in effect for your destination. For additional details, please contact the U-M office sponsoring your program.

WHAT WEBSITES CAN I REVIEW TO DETERMINE THE ENTRY REQUIREMENTS FOR TRAVELING TO ANOTHER COUNTRY?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, entry requirements for countries have changed regularly, including details about:

  • Who is allowed to enter the country, including requirements for travelers arriving from different countries, requirements based on traveler’s nationality, and/or vaccine requirements.
  • What immigration forms, health forms, or COVID-19 tests need to be completed before departing.
  • Health regulations upon arrival. Note some countries may require visitors to quarantine in their own residence or in specific hotels at the cost of the traveler and require the traveler to follow specific health procedures, such as testing at the traveler’s expense, downloading public health apps, etc.
  • Travelers who do not follow entry requirements may not be allowed to enter the country and are subject to the host country laws, rules, and regulations.

The best way to determine entry requirements is to contact the consulate or embassy of your host country.

Additional resources include:  

HOW DO I OBTAIN THE COVID-19 TESTING NEEDED TO ENTER ANOTHER COUNTRY?

Other countries may have entry requirements that include having a specific type of COVID test taken at a specific time before departure.   Visit the University Health Services COVID-19 Testing for International Travelers for steps.

If you are already abroad, the US Embassy COVID-19 Specific Information for your Destination contains information on COVID-19 testing sites within that country. 

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO WHEN I TRAVEL TO CAMPUS FROM ANOTHER U.S. STATE OR FROM ABROAD?

Visit the Campus Blueprint FAQ “What do I need to do when I travel to campus from abroad” for the most up to date guidance.

I WOULD LIKE TO PARTICIPATE IN A NON-UM EDUCATION ABROAD PROGRAM. CAN U-M SIGN MY PARTICIPATION FORM FOR THIS NON-UM PROGRAM?

U-M advisors can sign certain participation forms (as more fully described below) for a student unless there is a U-M COVID-19 High or U-M Travel Restriction designation in place for the travel destination at the time of signing. Undergraduate student University of Michigan Related Travel (UMRT) , including study abroad, is prohibited when there is a U-M COVID-19 High or U-M Travel Restriction in place for a specific country.  Advisors are able to verify the status of a student (ability to take classes, internship, etc. abroad; ability to accept transfer credit) by signing participation forms. Advisors should not sign participation forms that ask U-M to approve a program or approve travel.

Note 1 – Signing an allowable participation form does not make a travel experience University of Michigan Related Travel (UMRT) since the purpose of these forms is to verify a student’s enrollment and verify credit transfer. Signing the form does not imply U-M affiliation with the program or approval of the program. See SPG 601.31 for the definition of UMRT.

Students on UMRT  must complete U-M requirements before travel including completing a Travel Plan or Safety Plan to be reviewed by the International Travel Oversight Committee. Though U-M does not prohibit personal travel (non-UMRT), students not on UMRT are encouraged to carefully consider travel and cancel travel if the destination becomes a U-M COVID-19 High or Travel Restriction.  

Note 2 – For travel to a U-M COVID-19 High or U-M Travel Restriction destinations, students pursuing independent study abroad programs (not UMRT) may obtain verification of enrollment or transcripts from the Registrar’s Office: https://ro.umich.edu/records-registration/enrollment-verification. Students can offer this as documentation to external study abroad program providers, and explain that U-M advisors cannot sign approval forms while a U-M travel restriction is in place. For additional details about U-M travel policy and U-M Travel Designations, please see https://global.umich.edu/travel-resources/warnings-restrictions/.

Note 3 – U-M advisors can sign study abroad participation forms for U-M managed programs even if there is a U-M COVID-19 High or U-M Travel Restriction, though approval will be contingent on the location moving from a U-M COVID-19 High or Travel Restriction to a U-M COVID-19 Medium or U-M Travel Warning before the program begins. Undergraduate travel to a U-M Travel Restriction location remains prohibited.

I AM TAKING REMOTE CLASSES FROM MY HOME. DO I NEED TO REGISTER ANY TRAVEL?

No. Since you are taking classes from your home (even if your home is outside of the United States) and are not traveling, you are not required to register travel. 

CAN MY U-M TRAVEL ABROAD HEALTH INSURANCE (GEOBLUE) OR THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN COVER COVID-19 RELATED TRAVEL COSTS, SUCH AS TESTING, FLIGHTS, AND ISOLATION?

Students should familiarize themselves with the document GeoBlue & COVID-19: What To Know Before you Travel. Because COVID-19 pandemic is a well documented event and is considered a “known risk” by the insurance underwriters, GeoBlue does not cover the cost of a return flight or change flight fee because of a COVID-19 outbreak, non-medically necessary testing (such as testing to meet government requirements), or quarantine/isolation space. Similarly, U-M will not cover these costs for travelers who choose to go abroad. 

Faculty, staff, and students willing to travel during COVID-19 must ensure that they are able to cover unexpected costs related to traveling. Faculty, staff, and students who are not able, or not comfortable with, covering potential travel expenses due to COVID-19 should not travel. These possible expenses include but are not limited to: 

  • Pre-departure flight cancellations in the event the COVID-19 situation in the destination country deteriorates.
  • Early departure from the destination country in the event the COVID-19 situation in the destination country deteriorates. Please note that last minute flights or repatriation flights are expensive and may cost in excess of 3,000 USD.
  • Living costs, such as accommodations and meals, associated with being in-country longer than intended because the traveler tested positive for COVID-19 before departure, or because of border closures. 
  • COVID-19 related costs, including quarantine costs, COVID-19 testing, etc.

GeoBlue benefits will cover most medical issues, including medically necessary COVID-19 testing and treatment, visiting a hospital or clinic because of illness, and many other medical issues. GeoBlue also covers evacuations for certain political crises and natural disasters. GeoBlue does not cover COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic individuals, quarantine costs (housing, food, etc), or other costs unless listed under the GeoBlue coverage benefits that students receive after purchasing GeoBlue. Details are on the GeoBlue COVID-19 updates page and the UHS Travel Abroad Health Insurance page

ARE U-M EMERGENCY FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR UNANTICIPATED TRAVEL DISRUPTIONS?

U-M Office of Financial Aid and the Dean of Students Office have limited to no emergency funds at this time. 

Verify financial contingency plans, either with your U-M department or your own personal funds, in the event of unanticipated travel disruptions, which include but are not limited to:

      • Pre-departure flight cancellations in the event the COVID-19 situation in the destination country deteriorates.
      • Early departure from the destination country in the event the COVID-19 situation in the destination country deteriorates. Please note that last minute flights or repatriation flights are expensive and may cost in excess of 3,000 USD.
      • Living costs, such as accommodations and meals, associated with being in-country longer than intended because the traveler tested positive for COVID-19 before departure, or because of border closures. 
      • COVID-19 related costs, including quarantine costs, COVID-19 testing, etc.

Students must ensure that they have emergency funds while traveling during the pandemic, whether personal funds or verify that their U-M department has emergency funds that can be used for unexpected costs. The U-M Office of Financial Aid and the Dean of Students Office have limited to no emergency funds at this time. 

FAQS Specific to Faculty/Staff


CAN U-M FACULTY AND STAFF USE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN FUNDS FOR INTERNATIONAL OR DOMESTIC TRAVEL AT THIS TIME?

The U-M suspension of non-essential travel has been revoked, effective July 1 , 2021. Faculty and staff should follow school, college, unit specific travel approval steps, if any.

 Faculty and staff traveling internationally for U-M related purposes need to:

    • Register travel in the U-M Travel Registry
    • Ensure that the activity follows relevant health, security, and immigration regulations, including those related to COVID-19 health regulations and exit and entry requirements. To determine entry  requirements and detailed COVID-19 specific information, visit the COVID-19 Country Specific Information for your destination country.
    • For faculty and staff taking students abroad, see the “Additional Requirements for Group Travel Abroad” below.
    • Plan to follow CDC and U-M guidelines for returning to the U.S. from abroad. See CDC and U-M Campus Blueprint website for details.

Details are available on the Global Michigan Travel Warning & Restriction page. 

HOW CAN I DETERMINE IF MY TRIP IS CONSIDERED U-M RELATED TRAVEL (UMRT)?

Faculty or Staff members who travel abroad for the primary purpose of location-specific work (research, conferences, field-work, etc.) are considered to be on UMRT. 

Non-UMRT travel is considered personal travel. See the International Travel Policy, SPG.601.31 for details. 

Note about working remotely outside of the United States: In general, working remotely or taking classes remotely from outside the United States are not considered University of Michigan Related Travel (UMRT).

For example, if a faculty or staff member opts to work from another country for personal or other reasons (e.g. visa delays, travel constraints, living in their home country etc.), they are not considered to be on University of Michigan Related Travel and are not subject to SPG 601.31 for international travel. Similarly, a student living in their home country and taking U-M courses remotely is not considered to be on UMRT.

If faculty, staff, or students travel to a country outside the United States for the primary purpose of engaging in location-specific work, research, or study, then that travel is considered to be UMRT. In these cases, the travel is an essential component of completing their U-M activity and they are subject to SPG 601.31 for international travel.

 

I AM A U-M FACULTY OR STAFF MEMBER ADVISING STUDENTS INTERESTED IN INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL DURING COVID-19. WHAT GUIDANCE SHOULD I PROVIDE STUDENTS?

  1. Overview of Travel Approval Processes: U-M faculty or staff members advising students interested in international travel can view Global Michigan’s Travel Warning and Restriction page, view the COVID-19 Travel Plan and Safety plan Plan process flowchart for an overview of travel approval processes, or email umich-itoc@umich.edu with questions,.  Students can also email umich-itoc@umich.edu with questions.  
  2. Destination Country Requirements: Each country has its own entry requirements and students should familiarize themselves with travel safety resources, including entry requirements and public health guidelines (see bottom of COVID-19 & Travel page for resources). Feel free to share the Considerations for Planning International Travel During COVID-19document.
  3. U-M School/College/Unit Requirements: 
    1. Understand student’s financial contingency plans and their unit’s ability to financially support international travel in the event of a COVID-19 related travel disruption, especially considering the U-M Office of Financial Aid and the Dean of Students Office have limited to no emergency funds at this time. Travel during COVID-19 may incur unanticipated expenses, including living costs associated with being in-country longer than intended in the event of border closures or being unable to board their return flight because they tested positive for COVID-19. 
    2. For University of Michigan Related Travel (UMRT) – including to use U-M funds for International travel, students must complete a COVID-19 Travel Plan or Safety Plan and receive International Travel Oversight Committee (ITOC) approval in order for funding to be disbursed.
  4. U-M Travel Requirements:  Details of U-M international travel requirements are on Global Michigan and on the COVID-19 Travel Plan and Safety Plan approval process flowchart. A summary is below: 
    1. Undergraduate students are prohibited from traveling to a U-M Travel Restriction destination, but may travel to a U-M Travel Warning destination with ITOC approval. Graduate students may travel to either a U-M Travel Warning or Travel Restriction destination with ITOC approval.
    2. Complete an Individual Safety Plan for International Travel application to be reviewed by ITOC. See an example Safety Plan here.
    3. Students need to follow the U-M Vaccine requirement as described on the Campus Blueprint site.
    4. Register travel with the U-M and obtain U-M Travel Abroad Health Insurance: https://global.umich.edu/travel-resources/register-your-travel/
    5. Ensure that they are following entry guidelines and all laws/guidelines in their intended travel destination. 
    6. Verify financial contingency plans in the event they have unanticipated travel disruptions, such living costs associated with being in-country longer than intended, high flight costs/repatriation flights to the student’s home county, testing and quarantine costs, etc. Please note the U-M Office of Financial Aid and the Dean of Students Office have limited to no emergency funds at this time.

I AM AN ADVISOR AND HAVE STUDENTS WHO LIKE TO PARTICIPATE IN A NON-UM EDUCATION ABROAD PROGRAMS. CAN U-M SIGN THEIR PARTICIPATION FORM FOR NON-UM PROGRAMS?

U-M advisors can sign certain participation forms (as more fully described below) for a student unless there is a U-M Travel Restriction or U-M COVID-19 High Risk designation in place for the travel destination at the time of signing. Undergraduate student University of Michigan Related Travel (UMRT) , including study abroad, is prohibited when there is a U-M Travel Restriction or a U-M COVID-19 High Risk designation in place for a specific country.  Advisors are able to verify the status of a student (ability to take classes, internship, etc. abroad; ability to accept transfer credit) by signing participation forms. Advisors should not sign participation forms that ask U-M to approve a program or approve travel.

Note 1 – Signing an allowable participation form does not make a travel experience University of Michigan Related Travel (UMRT) since the purpose of these forms is to verify a student’s enrollment and verify credit transfer. Signing the form does not imply U-M affiliation with the program or approval of the program. See SPG 601.31 for the definition of UMRT.

Students on UMRT  must complete U-M requirements before travel including completing a Safety Plan to be reviewed by the International Travel Oversight Committee. Though U-M does not prohibit personal travel (non-UMRT), students not on UMRT are encouraged to carefully consider travel and cancel travel if the destination becomes a U-M Travel Restriction.  

Note 2 – For travel to a U-M Travel Restriction or to a COVID-19 High Risk destination, students pursuing independent study abroad programs (not UMRT) may obtain verification of enrollment or transcripts from the Registrar’s Office: https://ro.umich.edu/records-registration/enrollment-verification. Students can offer this as documentation to external study abroad program providers, and explain that U-M advisors cannot sign approval forms while a U-M travel restriction is in place. For additional details about U-M travel policy and U-M warnings/restrictions, please see https://global.umich.edu/travel-resources/warnings-restrictions/.

Note 3 – U-M advisors can sign study abroad participation forms for U-M managed programs even if there is a U-M Travel Restriction or a U-M COVID-19 High Risk designation in place, though approval will be contingent on the location moving from a U-M Travel Restriction to a U-M Travel Warning before the program begins. Undergraduate travel to U-M Travel Restriction and COVID-19 High Risk location remain prohibited.

Resources for Travel during COVID-19

 

The following resources will assist travelers as they learn about the risks of travel, determine viability of travel, and plan. Travelers should visit the U-M Travel Warning & Restriction page for U-M specific travel policies and guidance.

Considerations for Planning International Travel During COVID-19 – An overview of U-M requirements and host country requirements/conditions to to consider. Click on image to download, or watch the video panel presentation from April 16th, 2021.

U.S. Department of State – View travel advisories, country specific COVID-19 information, and enroll in STEP:

  • Travel Advisories and Country Information  – Learn about COVID-19, transportation, crime, and other risks in your destination. Also sign up for email advisories to specific destinations when they are posted
  • COVID-19 Country Specific Information – View entry and exit requirements and detailed COVID-19 specific information in your destination country.
  • Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) – a free service allowing U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate so that they may contact you in an emergency and help family and friends get in touch with you

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – See a COVID-19 situation summary, travel FAQs, or enroll in updates:

Resources to Locate COVID-19 Testing Sites Abroad:

U-M Predeparture COVID-19 Testing Resources

Additional COVID-19 Health Resources

Entry Requirement Resources for Countries Abroad

Requirements for Re-Entering the United States

Please contact umich-itoc@umich.edu if you have additional questions about your destination or would like additional resources.

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