This page addresses frequently asked questions and provides resources for U-M travelers during the COVID-19 pandemic. New resources will be added during the coming weeks.
Visit Warnings & Restrictions to determine current travel policies/guidelines.
Frequently Asked Questions
Following President Schlissel’s April 20th COVID-19 update, all non-essential expenditures, including travel, remain suspended until further notice.
To travel for essential business reasons, faculty and staff should:
- Request approval from their school/college/unit
- Register travel in the U-M Travel Registry
- Ensure that the activity follows relevant state and local regulations, including those related to human gatherings/in-person interactions.
Details are available on the Global Michigan Travel Warning & Restriction page.
All countries outside the U.S. are currently under a U-M Travel Warning or Travel Restriction. See the Global Michigan Travel Warning & Restriction page for country details and travel requirements for undergraduate and graduate students.
Students should review this document to determine if a trip University of Michigan Related Travel (UMRT).
Faculty or Staff members who are traveling abroad within the context of their job responsibilities are considered to be on UMRT.
Non-UMRT travel is considered personal travel. See the International Travel Policy, SPG.601.31 for details.
The International Travel Oversight Committee reviews U-M Travel Warning and Restriction destinations on an iterative basis using a variety of sources, including: US Department of State Travel Advisories, CDC Travel Notices, other non-U.S. government advisories, and U-M’s assistance provider’s risk ratings. As countries move from U-M Travel Restriction status to U-M Travel Warning status, more student travel opportunities may become available.
Many study abroad applications are open in hopes that the COVID-19 pandemic will improve and that the U-M 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 Travel Restriction status to U-M Travel Warning status, more student travel opportunities may become available. See Global Michigan for the current listing of U-M Travel Restriction and Warning destinations. If there is a U-M Travel Restriction for your specific destination by the time financial commitments must be made, your program will not run.
Please do not make any financial commitments, including for housing, flights, program fees, and others while a U-M Travel Restriction remains in effect for your destination. For additional details, please contact the U-M office sponsoring your program.
Programs may open study abroad applications in hopes that the COVID-19 pandemic will improve. Please note that each U-M School/College considers a number of factors when deciding whether or not a study abroad program will proceed:
- 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.
- All U-M managed study abroad programs are subject to the U-M International Travel Policy (SPG 601.31). If there is a U-M Travel Restriction for your specific destination by the time financial commitments must be made, your program will not run. Travel warning/restriction details are available on Global Michigan and on the When can UMRT resume? chart.
- 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.
Arriving by plane, bus or train
All faculty, staff and students arriving from international or domestic locations via plane, bus or train are expected to follow the enhanced social distancing COVID-19 prevention measures (wear face covering, social distance, limit contact with others) outlined on the Campus Maize & Blueprint site. These individuals also are encouraged to stay home as much as possible for a period of 14 days following their travel. There is no restriction for attending class, work or going out for essentials (groceries, banking, ect) and they may use public transportation to get to their destination.
Additional guidance for international travelers:
The CDC has updated its travel guidance and is recommending that individuals arriving from international locations observe a 14-day period of quarantine upon their arrival to the U.S.. We continue to monitor for evolving guidance from public health experts and will modify our approach as appropriate.
See the International Center website for additional guidance for international students.
Before you travel, please participate in Enhanced Social Distancing during the 14 days prior to your travel, per U-M guidance, as much as possible.
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.
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 for an indefinite period of time because of airport closures or entry/exit restrictions.
Students who do choose to travel must follow any guidelines for returning to campus, such as practicing enhanced socially distancing before engaging in in-person activities on campus, if required. 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.
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.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, entry requirements for countries have changed regularly, including details about:
- Who is allowed to enter the country, including students.
- What immigration forms or COVID-19 tests need to be completed before departing.
- Quarantine 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, require negative COVID-19 tests upon arrival, require the traveler to follow specific health procedures, etc.
The best way to determine entry requirements is to contact the consulate or embassy of your host country.
Additional resources include:
- US Embassy COVID-19 Specific Information for your Destination, including entry and exit regulations and links to immigration requirements of the host country.
- United Nations World Food Programme Travel Restrictions Map
- IATA Travel Regulations Map
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 because of a COVID-19 outbreak. Similarly, U-M will not cover the cost of flight change fees or new return flights for travelers who choose to go abroad during COVID-19. Faculty, staff, and students willing to travel during COVID-19 must ensure that they are able to cover the costs of travel if they need to return to their home country earlier than expected. 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 return flights and costs associated with having to stay in-country for an indefinite period of time because of border closures.
GeoBlue benefits will cover most medical issues, including 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. Details are on the UHS Travel Abroad Health Insurance page.
University of Michigan Related Travel (UMRT) , including study abroad, is prohibited when there is a U-M travel restriction in place. The U-M will not approve or endorse any undergraduate study abroad programs while a U-M travel restriction is in place. Students pursuing independent study abroad programs (not UMRT) may obtain verification of enrollment from the Registrar’s Office: https://ro.umich.edu/records-registration/enrollment-verification, 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/.
Sponsored Student Organizations, and any student traveling 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. For U.S. Off-Campus Engaged Learning Guidance for U-M Students during COVID-19, see Engaged Michigan for updates.
Sponsored Student Organizations are also prohibited from travel outside of Michigan and overnight travel, and they are encouraged to connect with the Center for Campus Involvement before conducting any activities during COVID-19 to determine if there are additional requirements.
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.
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:
- CDC Travel Health Notices
- Returning from International Travel
- Travel FAQS – Frequently asked questions about travel are answered
- Using Transportation – Public transit, rideshares and taxis, micro-mobility devices, and personal vehicles.
- Email/Text Message Updates – receive emails and/or text message updates about COVID-19
Additional COVID-19 Health Resources
- Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
- Harvard Global Health Institute Risk Level Dashboard
- Worldometer COVID-19 Data for your Country
Additional Entry and Exit Requirement Resources
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have additional questions about your destination or would like additional resources.
U-M ranked 4th in the nation in the number of students studying abroad for the 2017-2018 academic year
U-M hosted students from 130 countries last year.