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.

Visit U-M Travel Designations to determine current travel policies/guidelines. 

Frequently Asked Questions Topics:

FAQs for Students in the Early Stages of Planning International Travel


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.

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.

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 or by the departure date, the program will not run. 
    • Travel risk designations, such as U-M COVID-19 Medium Risk / High Risk and U-M Travel Warning / Restriction, 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.
  • Conditions for U-M Cancellation of a Study Abroad Program: If U-M makes a country a U-M Travel Restriction for health, safety, or security concerns, the study abroad programs in that country may be canceled. Increased case counts of COVID-19 alone are not a reason for cancellation since our travel population is vaccinated and are encouraged to get a booster before travel. Just as the U-M campus has on-campus activities and classes because vaccines have proven to protect our community against severe illness, students are able to travel to campuses abroad with the protection of vaccines and boosters. U-M continues to liaise with ITOC and the U-M COVID-19 Campus Health Response Committee, who consists of public health experts, and is relying on science and research in making determinations for in-person activities. 
  • Conditions for U-M Department Cancellation of a Study Abroad Program: U-M departments can cancel a study abroad program for many reasons. Some are outlined below. 
    • Countries may adapt entry requirements in response to the pandemic and entry requirements remain a fluid and important determining factor of whether a program is able to run. If a country no longer allows students to enter that country, the U-M unit may cancel the program. Unfortunately, U-M cannot predict if and when entry requirements will change, so students will need to plan accordingly in the event there are changes and students cannot enter a specific country. A useful resource to monitor for your programs’ locations is the COVID-19 Country Specific Information page for each U.S. Embassy/Consulate, which typically provides direct links to the host country’s requirements.  
    • It is also conceivable that some departments/units may choose to cancel their program for other logistics, academic, or other reasons. Countries may have new entry requirements (e.g. quarantine upon arrival) that cause a unit to cancel a program. Similarly prohibitive health regulations in a host country (e.g. work from home orders, shifting to online learning, closure of museums and other public spaces) may reduce the academic quality of the program that is not in line with a unit’s academic goals. Units may also cancel programs based on enrollment numbers or for any other reason. 
    • 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.
    • Because of the complexity involved with running programs according to the needs of a college or department, it is possible that one college or department cancels a program to a country while another college or department continues their program. 

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

HOW ARE U-M TRAVEL WARNING, U-M TRAVEL RESTRICTION, COVID-19 LOW, 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, U-M’s assistance provider’s risk ratings, vaccine rates, medical infrastructure capacity, and other resources when evaluating a location’s risk level.

Concerning COVID-19 specific risks, the Provost Office will continue to liaise with ITOC and the U-M COVID-19 Campus Health Response Committee, which consists of public health experts, and is relying on science and research when making determinations.

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

Countries designations only take into account health and safety conditions, not entry requirements. Travelers must verify their ability to enter a country before planning travel. 


I AM AN UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT AND HAVE APPLIED FOR A U-M STUDY ABROAD PROGRAM, BUT MY DESTINATION COUNTRY 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.

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.

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:  

I APPLIED TO A U-M STUDY ABROAD PROGRAM AND AM WORRIED THAT I MAY NOT BE ABLE TO ENTER MY HOST COUNTRY. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Students should be able to enter their host country if they follow all entry requirements (including visa requirements as well as COVID-19 requirements), and that country still allows foreigners to enter the country. To ensure that students meet all entry requirements, students should monitor the entry requirements and verify that they meet the entry requirements for each travel destination(s) the weeks leading up to departure and right before departure. Entry requirements can change at any time and may include showing a specific type of negative COVID-19 test result, showing proof of being fully vaccinated, completing passenger locator forms, downloading certain public health apps, and possibly quarantining upon arrival. Visit the U.S. Embassy COVID-19 Information page of your destination(s), which provides an overview requirements and links to the host country’s entry requirement websites.

Students who are traveling through a U-M study abroad office, a study abroad provider, or directly with a university abroad can also email their contact if they have questions. 

Travelers should also remain flexible with travel plans and purchase refundable flights in the event that you are unable to meet your destination country’s entry requirements and travel must be delayed or cancelled. See the Global Michigan Travel Planning page, the “Preparing for International Travel” page on Campus Blueprint, and the Considerations for International Travel During COVID-19 for more information. 

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.

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 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. 

I AM UNCOMFORTABLE WITH THE UNCERTAINTY OF TRAVEL AT THIS TIME, WHAT SHOULD I DO?

 

U-M’s goal is to offer education abroad experiences that provide students with the best opportunity to meet their personal goals and succeed according to the student’s own comfort level. Travel during the pandemic is not for everyone, and that is completely understandable and having reservations is a normal feeling. If you are not comfortable with travel at this time, the best course of action is to learn as much as you can about travel during the pandemic and especially at your intended destination, discuss any reservations with your U-M advisors and with your family, and make a decision based on your own comfort level.  If you decide that now is not the right time to travel, reach out to your U-M advisors and any non-U-M entities – such as a host institution, internship provider, study abroad provider, etc. – to determine options for cancellation.

FAQs for Students who are Traveling Abroad Soon or are Abroad


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. 

I tested positive for COVID-19 within 90 days of travel, what do I need to do to travel abroad?
Students who have had COVID-19 within the previous 90 days may receive a “False Positive” COVID-19 result if testing again before travel. For destinations with an entry requirement of a negative COVID-19 test result, students should:
  1.  Research if they may instead travel with documentation of recovery from COVID-19 (e.g. your positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before your travel date, a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official explaining your recovery, etc.). See the “What if I recently recovered from COVID-19” question on the CDC Requirement for Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Documentation of Recovery from COVID-19 page for details.
  2. Students should verify with the consulate of the destination country and research airline guidelines to determine if the documentation prepared meets entry requirements, learn if additional steps must be taken, or determine if travel must be delayed until entry requirements can be met. The COVID-19 Country Specific Information page of the U.S. embassy in your destination provides an overview of entry and exit requirements and typically provides direct links to the host destination’s entry requirement website. The CDC also provides guidance of how long to wait to travel after testing positive for COVID-19. As of May 1, 2022, the CDC suggest to NOT TRAVEL until a full 10 days after your symptoms started or the date of your positive test was taken if you had no symptoms.
  3. Schedule an appointment to obtain documentation of recovery: For students scheduling an appointment with UHS for a COVID-19 test, UHS may provide you with a letter stating that you have recently had COVID-19 and are unable to provide a negative COVID-19 test result. Students can also contact their preferred medical practitioner or Non-UM travel clinics to determine if they can provide documentation of recovery from COVID-19.
  4. Students returning to the U.S. should review CDC guidelines that outline requirements for those who tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days. Regardless of whether your destination country requires a documentation of recovery from COVID-19, you will likely need a documentation of recovery from COVID-19 if you are returning to the United States within 90 days of testing positive because of CDC requirements for entering the U.S. If this is the case, you should:
Please refer to the COVID-19 Testing through UHS webpage for the most up-to-date information.

 

I WAS NOT ABLE TO BOARD MY FLIGHT TO GO ABROAD OR ENTER MY DESTINATION COUNTRY BECAUSE I TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19, WHAT SHOULD I DO?

 

Most countries require travelers to test negative for a specific COVID-19 test before boarding a plane to travel to their country. Visit the U.S. Embassy COVID-19 Information page of your destination(s), which provides an overview requirements and links to the host country’s entry requirement websites.

If you test positive, you may not be able to board the flight. If this happens, you should:

  • Follow all local health regulations for testing positive for COVID-19. 
  • Postpone travel until able to meet the entry requirements of the host country. Steps may include:
    • Contact the airline to see if the flight can be cancelled or changed.
    • Contact any housing accommodations (hotels, AirBnb, apartment, etc) to see if the housing can be cancelled or the dates can be changed.
    • Contact any need-to-know people involved with your travel, which may include a study abroad or internship advisor and anyone who may be expecting you abroad. 
    • Make arrangements if you are unable to attend in-person activities abroad, such as class or an internship, to see what alternatives, if any, can be made. 
  • Prepare to meet entry requirements after recovering from COVID-19. As noted on the UHS COVID-19 Testing for International Travelers site, travelers who have had COVID-19 within the previous 90 days may receive a “false positive” COVID-19 result. In these instances, UHS will provide you with a letter stating that you have recently had COVID-19 and are unable to provide a negative COVID-19 test result. Students can share this letter with the consulate of the destination country to determine if this letter meets entry requirements, if additional steps must be taken, or if travel must be delayed until entry requirements can be met. 
  • See the FAQ “I tested positive for COVID-19 within 90 days of travel, what do I need to do to travel abroad?” for full details.

I WAS NOT ABLE TO BOARD MY FLIGHT OR ENTER THE DESTINATION COUNTRY BECAUSE I DID NOT COMPLETE ALL OF THE ENTRY REQUIREMENTS, WHAT SHOULD I DO?

 

Most countries have very specific entry requirements related to COVID-19 that each traveler must follow in order to be allowed into the destination country. If you do not meet the entry requirements, you may not be able to board your flight. If this happens, you should:

  1. Determine which entry requirements still need to be met. Entry requirements can change at any time and may include showing a specific type of negative COVID-19 test result, showing proof of being fully vaccinated, completing passenger locator forms, downloading certain public health apps, and possibly quarantining upon arrival. Visit the U.S. Embassy COVID-19 Information page of your destination(s), which provides an overview of requirements and links to the host country’s entry requirement websites.
  2. Complete the entry requirements. 
  3. If completing the entry requirements takes time, such as obtaining a specific type of negative COVID-19 test, the traveler may have to postpone travel until able to meet the entry requirements of the host country. In this instance, steps may include:
    1. Contact the airline to see if the flight can be cancelled or changed.
    2. Contact any housing accommodations (hotels, AirBnb, apartment, etc) to see if the housing can be cancelled or the dates can be changed.
    3. Contact any need-to-know people involved with your travel, which may include a study abroad or internship advisor and anyone who may be expecting you abroad. 
    4. Make arrangements if you are unable to attend in-person activities abroad, such as class or an internship, to see what alternatives, if any, can be made. 

I AM NOT ABLE TO ENTER A COUNTRY BECAUSE OF CHANGES IN THAT COUNTRY'S ENTRY REQUIREMENTS THAT RESTRICT TRAVELERS FROM MY COUNTRY FROM ENTERING, WHAT SHOULD I DO?

 

If a country restricts the entry of foreigners, you should: 

  1. Contact any need-to-know people involved with your travel, which may include a study abroad or internship advisor and any non-U-M person who is organizing or managing the experience. They may be able to provide insight into whether there are contingency plans to have remote learning options for the whole experience, or remote learning options in hopes that the country reopens its borders to international travelers and the in-person activities can resume.
  2. If there are no remote learning contingency plans, or the remote learning options are not satisfactory, explore other options such as enrolling in U-M classes (if you enrolled in on-campus courses as a backup option).
  3. Contact the airline to see if the flight can be cancelled or changed.
  4. Contact any housing accommodations (hotels, AirBnb, apartment, etc) to see if the housing can be cancelled or the dates can be changed.

SOMEONE ON MY STUDY ABROAD PROGRAM TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19, WHAT SHOULD I DO?

 

Just as classmates in Michigan have tested positive for COVID-19, it is also likely that someone on your study abroad program will test positive. Though there are specific protocols on U-M’s campus (see Campus Blueprint for details on quarantine and for classmates who test positive), the protocols may differ in another country. Because of this, you will need to follow local public health protocols which may or may not include:

  • Follow local testing guidelines, which may include getting tested 3-5 days after your exposure, even if you do not have symptoms, and following any masking or social distancing requirements if isolation is not mandatory for 14 days following exposure or until your test result is negative. 
  • Make arrangements with classes or other in-person obligations if isolation is needed
  • If you test positive for COVID-19 following the initial exposure, follow all local public health guidelines and use the GeoBlue Travel Abroad Health insurance if medical assistance is necessary. Note that GeoBlue includes a post-departure trip interruption benefit that may cover some costs. See GeoBlue & COVID-19: What To Know Before you Travel for details. Details are within the “I TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19 WHILE ABROAD, WHAT SHOULD I DO?” FAQ

MY ROOMMATE TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19, WHAT SHOULD I DO?

 

Just as roommates in Michigan have tested positive for COVID-19, it is also possible that a roommate abroad will test positive. Though there are specific protocols on U-M’s campus (see Campus Blueprint for details), the protocols may be different in another country. Because of this, you will need to follow local public health protocols which may or may not include:

  1. Contact the person abroad who is organizing housing, such as the local university contact or study abroad provider contact. They can provide you with an overview of options and protocols.  
  2. Students can learn more about isolation and quarantine by reviewing the guidelines from the CDC and reading the “Protect Yourself” section of the CDC advice for caring for someone sick at home.
  3. Follow local guidelines if you have had exposure to your roommate, which may include getting tested 5-7 days after your exposure, even if you do not have symptoms, and following any masking or social distancing requirements if isolation is not mandatory for 14 days following exposure or until your test result is negative.
  4. If you test positive for COVID-19 following the initial exposure, follow all local public health guidelines and use the GeoBlue Travel Abroad Health insurance if medical assistance is necessary. 

I TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19 WHILE ABROAD, WHAT SHOULD I DO?

 

Students who test positive for COVID-19 should contact the person abroad who is organizing housing, such as the local university contact or study abroad provider contact. They can provide you with an overview of local public health guidelines and next steps. Next steps may include:

  • Follow all local public health guidelines and directions of on-site staff.
  • Work with the on-site contacts to discuss isolation, food, and arrangements to receive daily necessities. There are factors that may determine what kind of support is available, such as whether you are living in dorms/university housing or a self-chosen apartment, whether you are studying directly with a university or with a study abroad provider, etc.
  • Note that GeoBlue includes a post-departure trip interruption benefit that may cover some costs. See GeoBlue & COVID-19: What To Know Before you Travel for details. 
  • Maintain contact with your loved ones back home so they are up-to-date on your well-being. 
  • Use the GeoBlue Travel Abroad Health Insurance if medical assistance is necessary. 
  • Isolation can be an understandably difficult experience. For emotional well-being support, there are several resources at your disposal: 
  • Contact U-M through emergency or non-emergency channels depending on the situation. Details are on the U-M Emergency Contact page on Global Michigan. 

THERE ARE INCREASED PUBLIC HEALTH GUIDELINES WHERE I AM STUDYING, WHAT SHOULD I DO?

 

It is unfortunate that we are still in the pandemic, and the coming and going of increased public health guidelines can be understandably frustrating. During these situations, the well-being of our travelers is of the utmost importance, and U-M asks that all travelers follow local public health guidelines for their own well-being and for the well-being of others. Public health guidelines abroad adapt as COVID-19 cases rise and fall, just as they do in the U.S. As cases increase, it is possible that additional public health guidelines will be implemented such as masking, social distancing, curfews, limits to people in enclosed spaces, and temporary closures of business or activities, such as classes or non-essential activities. With this in mind, it is possible that in-person activities and gatherings will be temporarily suspended. 

I WAS NOT ABLE TO BOARD MY RETURN FLIGHT THE UNITED STATES BECAUSE I TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19, WHAT SHOULD I DO?

 

If you tested positive for COVID-19 before returning to the United States, next steps may include:

  • Follow local public health guidelines for testing positive for COVID-19. 
  • Work with the on-site contacts to discuss isolation, food, and arrangements to receive daily necessities. There are factors that may determine what kind of support is available, such as whether you are living in dorms/university housing or a self-chosen apartment, whether you are studying directly with a university or with a study abroad provider, etc. Note that GeoBlue includes a post-departure trip interruption benefit that may cover some costs. See GeoBlue & COVID-19: What To Know Before you Travel for details. 
  • Contact the airline to see if the flight can be cancelled or changed.
  • Make arrangements with classes, work, or other in-person obligations that you may miss back in the U.S. (or your final destination). 
  • Maintain contact with your loved ones back home so they are up-to-date on your well-being and the timing of your return.
  • Use the GeoBlue Travel Abroad Health Insurance if medical assistance is necessary. 
  • Isolation can be an understandably difficult experience. For emotional well-being support, there are several resources at your disposal: 
  • Contact U-M through emergency or non-emergency channels depending on the situation. Details are on the U-M Emergency Contact page on Global Michigan.
  • Once your immediate well-being, housing, and food needs are taken care of, you will need to plan to return to the U.S. (or your final destination). This means you will need to follow the exit requirements of your departure country. These requirements supersede any United States entry requirements (which also need to be followed). To determine exit requirements of your host country, you can:
    • Contact the person abroad who is providing support, such as the local university contact or study abroad provider contact. They may be able to provide you with an overview of options and protocols.  
    • Visit the U.S. Embassy COVID-19 Information page of your destination(s), which provides an overview of exit requirements and may link to the host country’s exit requirement websites. Otherwise, you may need to search for your country’s exit requirements online. 
    • Contact your U-M contact, who may be able to assist and walk you through next steps. 
    • Exit requirements will likely involve obtaining medical documentation that you have recently had COVID-19 and have recovered, since those who have recently had COVID-19 will most likely not pass a negative COVID-19 test. Though your host government’s exit requirements should detail specific requirements of this medical documentation, it will likely be similar to the CDC requirements which are listed on Part 2 Option B of this document
  • Follow U.S. Entry Requirements by following CDC guidelines for returning to the U.S. from abroad. 

 

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 Designations 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 Designations 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-19 document.
  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 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 and U-M COVID-19 High Risk destination, but may travel to a U-M Travel Warning or U-M COVID-19 Medium Risk destination with ITOC approval. Graduate students may travel to  U-M COVID-19 Medium Risk, U-M COVID-19 High Risk,  U-M Travel Warning, or Travel Restriction destination with ITOC approval.
    2. Complete an Individual Safety Plan for International Travel or COVID-19 Travel Plan 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 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 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 U-M Travel Restriction and COVID-19 High Risk location remain prohibited.

Resources for Travel during COVID-19

U-M Resources

Travelers should visit the U-M Travel Designations 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.

U.S. Department of State

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)

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

COVID-19 Testing Sites

Resources to Locate COVID-19 Testing Sites Abroad:

U-M Predeparture COVID-19 Testing Resources

Entry / Re-Entry Requirements

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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