The following sections provide guidance for U-M faculty, staff and students traveling outside the United States for University-related purposes. Schools, colleges and individual business units may have additional policies and procedures in place to support international travel.
SPG on International Travel
The University Standard Practice Guide #601.31 applies to faculty, staff and all students traveling outside of the United States for University-related purposes, which may include but are not limited to, study, research, internships, service, conferences/presentations, teaching, performances, or athletic competitions. The University reserves the right to prohibit or suspend travel for University-related purposes to any destination by faculty, staff, or students if significant health, safety or security concerns pose extreme risks that warrant such a decision.
As described on the Campus Blueprint Travel FAQ, faculty, staff, and students may travel for only essential purposes until further notice. Travel requirements are detailed on the Global Michigan Travel Warning and Travel Restriction page.
Examples of U-M Related Travel
Office of the Provost – February 24, 2015
Please refer to the full International Travel Policy SPG 601.31 for full definitions of University of Michigan Related Travel (UMRT). Some common examples of traveler situations and UMRT status are listed below:
- A faculty member traveling to a professional conference is on UMRT. She is traveling within the context of her job responsibilities.
- A faculty member leading a group of students to Kenya. The faculty member is on UMRT in a Faculty/Staff role, and the students are on UMRT in a participant role. The U-M has organized this travel.
- A history faculty member participating in an archeological dig. She is traveling within the context of her job responsibilities, and is on UMRT.
- A UM doctoral student in African studies doing research at the Paris library. This student is traveling in a Participant role on UMRT. She must register and must have GeoBlue insurance (either purchased herself under the U-M plan, or paid for by her academic unit).
- A U-M faculty member on a mission trip as part of their social or faith-based organization. This traveler is not on UMRT. They are not traveling within the context of their job. He should be encouraged to register his travel and to purchase the GeoBlue Personal/Leisure plan.
- An engineering faculty member participating on an paleontological dig for pleasure. This traveler is not on UMRT. They are not traveling within the context of their job. He should be encouraged to register his travel and to purchase the GeoBlue Personal/Leisure plan. Note: if their purpose for traveling to the dig were to explore a new research collaboration with the paleontologists, then this could become UMRT.
- A U-M student participates in an internship arranged by the LSA international internship coordinator. The U-M organizes and manages this program and selects participants. This is UMRT and the student is in a Participant role.
- A U-M student participates in an internship that was posted in the Career Center by BMW in Berlin. The U-M does not manage this program and has no role in selecting or matching the student to the internship. This is not UMRT. The student should be encouraged to register his travel and to purchase the GeoBlue Personal/Leisure plan.
- An LSA student on an intensive language program in Japan provided thru MSU but coordinated at the U-M by CGIS and found in M-Compass. The U-M is managing this program, accepting and reviewing applications, and selecting participants. This is UMRT.
- A CoE student on an IES program with Somewhere U as the university of record. This student is not on UMRT. (Unless the U-M is managing applications for IES or otherwise is involved in the management of the program.)
- A Law School alumnus on a post-graduate experience abroad with financial support from the Law School. This is UMRT because as good stewards of U-M resources we do not give U-M funds for non-U-M related purposes.
- A recent graduate on a Bonderman scholarship. This is UMRT. CGIS manages this program, including advertising, receiving applications, selecting applicants, providing pre-departure orientation, etc. Also as good stewards of U-M resources we do not give U-M managed funds for non-UM related purposes.
Note about working remotely and taking classes remotely:
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, 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.
What is a Dean’s designee?
It is important that U-M academic units are aware of student travel plans abroad – either as organized groups or as individuals traveling to higher risk destinations for U-M Related Travel. To facilitate information sharing, the Provost’s Office maintains a list of Dean’s designees for student travel abroad. These designees serve as our primary points of contact for verifying unit-level approval for student group travel abroad, unit-level approval for individual student travel to U-M Restriction destinations, and for ITOC review of student safety plans to U-M Warning and Restriction destinations.
Who are the current Dean’s designees? Coming soon.
Education Abroad Program Leaders and Staff Members: Guidance Regarding Companions and Dependents
Office of the Provost – October 2015
The University of Michigan provides the following guidance for program leaders and staff members of education abroad experiences that are organized by the University of Michigan. A program leader is a faculty, staff, or student (graduate or undergraduate) who travels with and has overall (even if not sole) responsibility for an education abroad experience organized or managed by the U-M. Programs may also have program staff members: faculty, staff or students traveling with the group who have more specific responsibilities for delivering particular elements of the experience (e.g. to instruct in a course). This document provides some guidance for cases where program leaders or staff members are accompanied by companions or dependents who do not have a role or responsibility in delivering the program.
Clarity of Responsibilities
As an institution we recognize that it is important:
- That offices organizing education abroad experiences provide all program leaders or program staff with a clear statement describing their role and responsibilities.
- That program leaders and program staff members disclose any concerns or impediments that might impact their ability to fulfill those roles and responsibilities.
- That program leaders and education abroad offices have clarity regarding liability related to the program leaders’ and program staff members’ participation in the program.
- That program leaders and education abroad offices have clarity regarding expenses related to the program leaders’ and program staff members’ participation in the program.
Program Leader Responsibility
The primary duty of a program leader is to appropriately manage the education abroad program. This includes assuming responsibility throughout the education abroad experience for both program quality and for the health and safety of all participants. Specific responsibilities might include: organizing coursework and related activities; arranging accommodations; coordinating travel arrangements; identifying and mitigating risks; accompanying program participants during program activities and excursions, or ensuring that appropriate arrangements are in place; and responding to emergencies. A program leader must be available to provide emergency support to participants on a 24/7 basis.
Program Staff Responsibility
The primary duty of a program staff member should be clearly defined as part of the process of selecting the staff member for the role. It is generally to deliver a specific part of the program while abroad (e.g. teach a specific course; manage logistics; provide translation, etc.). This is a role with specific responsibility over parts of a program, rather than over its entirety.
Special Considerations Related to Accompanying Dependents or Companions
Sometimes a program leader or program staff member has compelling reasons for a dependent or companion to accompany them on an education abroad experience. A program leader’s dependent is defined as their spouse, other qualifying adult, and/or child as defined by U-M Human Resources. A companion is another adult accompanying the program leader on the education abroad trip.
Because a program leader’s primary responsibility is to the quality, safety and success of the student experience, the presence of such dependents or companions should be carefully considered and disclosed to the education abroad office organizing the program. Likewise, the presence of dependents or companions should not affect a program staff member’s ability to carry their defined responsibilities. Some issues to consider relative to accompanying companions or dependents include:
- Consider how the presence of the dependent or companion impacts the program leader’s or staff member’s ability to meet their responsibilities.
- Consider how the presence of a dependent or companion impacts the student experience (e.g. are students unable to have open discussions because of the presence of minors?).
- Considerations that might be included when reviewing programmatic impact include: length and location of program; program content, topics and format; available accommodations; and modes of travel.
- There should be clarity and transparency for all involved about the role of any companions or accompanying dependents.
- In general such companions and dependents have no role in the program, do not represent the U-M, and should not engage in UM business (manage funds, instruct students, manage emergencies, etc.).
- If there is a formal role, the companion or dependent should be formally vetted and appointed as a program staff member.
- Insurance issues should be explored carefully in each case.
- General Liability Insurance and Auto Insurance: An accompanying dependent or companion of a U-M program leader or staff member is not covered by the University’s general liability insurance or auto insurance.
- Travel Abroad Health Insurance: An accompanying eligible dependent of a U-M program leader or staff member might be eligible for coverage by the University’s travel abroad health insurance. A companion is not eligible for coverage.
- Political and Natural Disaster Evacuation Support: An accompanying eligible dependent of a U-M program leader or staff member might be eligible for coverage by the University’s political and natural disaster evacuation support service. A companion is not eligible for coverage.
- The presence of minors may impose requirements for criminal background checks on both program leaders and program participants (see SPG 601.34).
Supervision of Minors or other Care:
- The program leader or staff member must make appropriate arrangements for child-care and supervision of minors at the program site.
- Similarly, when companions require special care, the program leader or staff member must make these arrangements.
- Program participants should not be asked to supervise minors on a program, or provide care for companions.
- The presence of accompanying companions or dependents should not impact the cost of the program.
- Education abroad offices should be fully informed and aware of accompanying dependents or companions to program staff and program leaders, and must be given sufficient time to address any issues that might be related to their presence.
Program leaders and program staff members must remain fully aware of their responsibilities to the program, and be able to manage those responsibilities while also addressing the needs of their companions or dependents. The University of Michigan recognizes that having family members or companions in-country may be desirable for a program leader or program staff member. This decision must be balanced against the challenges that can arise in managing a program abroad, sometimes in complex, challenging, or risky environments.
The unit leadership (deans or their designees) or education abroad offices must make final decisions regarding program leaders and staff members, and are responsible for assessing the impact of companions or dependents on education abroad programs. If this assessment indicates that the presence of companions or dependents is disruptive to the education abroad program, unit leadership may ask that the companions or dependents not accompany the program, or they may elect to send different program leaders or staff member.
University human resources provides information for U-M employees working outside the the United States, as well as details for non-U.S. citizens working outside the United States. Topics include benefits, personal tax liability, and travel documents.
Units should consult with the Office of General Counsel before hiring employees outside the United States. In some cases, referrals to outside counsel may be needed.
It is important to follow U-M financial policies and business processes while abroad on university-related travel. Some common topics and U-M resources related to international finances are listed below.
U-M ranked 4th in the nation in the number of U.S. students studying abroad for the 2018-2019 academic year
U-M hosted students from 130 countries last year.