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International Travel Policy & Guidelines

International Travel and Programs Policy for CU-Boulder

Approved by the Provost - November, 2009

In order to better support international activities and to address risk management issues for the university and its faculty, staff, and students undertaking international travel, the University of Colorado Boulder establishes the following guidelines for traveling internationally on university-related business. Note that this policy specifically excludes all personal leisure or vacation travel.

The existing CU System policy regarding international travel remains in place. The system has developed a revised Travel Authorization form that will collect more information and provide greater reference material for international travelers. The following new CU-Boulder protocol will better inform faculty and staff regarding issues related to risk management, health and safety, and export controls and allow the campus to maintain better records of our international work.

Policy on International Travel and Programs
This CU-Boulder policy applies to the following two types of international travel and programs:

  1. International travel by students, staff or faculty related to their CU-Boulder positions
  2. International travel and programs offered by CU-Boulder for academic credit or international travel which has three or more students participating in the travel

Any faculty or staff members who are traveling with students internationally--for example to an international professional conference--need to provide their travel information to the Office of International Education to include names, dates, specific travel destinations and purpose.

If the travel includes three or more students or if academic credit will be awarded, the program leader will be required to meet with appropriate staff in of the Office of International Education as early as is feasible. For formal academic programs, nine months lead time may be needed. All study abroad programs must be operated through the Office of International Education and have the approval of the campus-wide Study Abroad Committee. This process aims to ensure that all our Study Abroad programs have appropriate planning, implementation and faculty.

Guidance on international travel from the Office of International Education

International travel by staff, students or faculty which is undertaken strictly for personal reasons does not encumber the university in any way to be responsible for assistance, responsibility, or liability in the event of any adverse consequences as part of that travel. International travel which has both a personal component and a university-related component needs to be reported to the CU-Boulder Office of International Education detailing the university-related component.

The Office of International Education (OIE) has developed a set of guidelines for all faculty, staff and students participating in activities abroad. The first set of guidelines below applies to all travelers and provides a checklist of essential points for you to think about as you prepare to go abroad.

The second set of guidelines applies specifically to student groups traveling abroad and faculty/staff traveling with students abroad. These are designed to set standards and to comply with best practices in international education which minimize risk to students, staff, and faculty participating in activities abroad.

Guidelines on Professional International Activities

____1. Follow university policies for travel (e.g. travel authorization, ticket purchase, etc.).

____2. Be aware of Export Controls: You can find more information on Export Controls and tips on traveling with laptops, research equipment and other high-tech items at:

____3. If you plan to conduct research abroad, consult the Human Research Committee website.

____4. Review U.S. Department of State Country Specific Information: The U.S. Department of State provides valuable information sheets for every country in the world. The information covers safety, crime, entrance and visa requirements, contacts for consulates and embassies, etc.

____5. Check to see if there is a travel warning or a travel alert in place for the country you will be visiting

____6. Register your trip on the online U.S. Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

____7. Be aware of required visas and travel documents: You may be required to obtain a visa or other travel documents in addition to a passport. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct visa type for the activities that you are undertaking in the host country. Failure to obtain the correct visa can lead to legal action by the host country. (For example, engaging in research without the proper permission in a foreign country can potentially lead to legal action and arrest by local authorities.)

Information on entry/exit requirements for U.S. citizens can be found on the appropriate U.S. Department of State Country Specific Information page (on the page, choose the country you are interested in).

Visa requirements may be different for citizens of countries other than the United States. We recommend that non-U.S. citizens review the host country’s embassy website to identify entry and exit requirements for the host country applicable to their nationality.

____8. Plan for international insurance coverage: The University provides an emergency assistance program, SOS, to help with emergency situations while traveling outside of the United States, for its employees and authorized travelers. For information on this program and how to access it while traveling, refer to the University Risk Management (URM) website or call 303- 860-5682.

For information regarding general and auto liability, and employee workers’ compensation insurance while traveling internationally, e-mail URM on at: or call the number above.

Although University employees traveling on university business are enrolled in the SOS Foreign Travel program, note that this does not provide supplemental health or medical coverage. Faculty/staff and students participating in CU-Boulder International Activities should have supplemental international health insurance for the period they are abroad. It is recommended that the international insurance include major medical coverage as well as coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation of remains.

Here are examples of just a few companies who provide such coverage. (There are many more, and OIE cannot recommend one company over another.)

Additional insurance information on US Department of State web site.

____9. Reference the travel safety webpage on the OIE website for health, safety and travel tips for an exhaustive list of websites that provide helpful information regarding health, safety, cultural adjustment and general travel tips.

Additional Guidelines for Faculty and Staff Traveling Abroad with Students and Student Groups Traveling Abroad

____1. Contact OIE: CU-Boulder student groups of three or more travellers and CU-Boulder faculty/staff traveling with 3 or more students (or with any number of students who will be earning CU-Boulder academic credit) should contact the Director of International Education (; 303-492-8058 or 303-492-6016) at least nine months before the travel/program begins. If it is determined that the program qualifies as a study abroad program, it must be operated through the Office of International Education and have the approval of the campus Study Abroad Committee. This quality control ensures that programs have appropriate planning, implementation and oversight. Faculty interested in proposing a study abroad program can reference the following website, which provides information about “Global Seminars” and guidelines on submitting proposals:

____2. Investigate and inform students of required visas and travel documents: Students may be required to obtain a visa or other travel documents in addition to a passport. Provide students with information on timeline and costs for visas and travel documents. Keep in mind that not all participants in the program may be U.S. citizens. Information on entry/exit requirements for U.S. citizens can be found on the appropriate country information page provided by the U.S. Department of State. Visa requirements for non-U.S. citizens may be found on the host country’s U.S. embassy website (or the website of the students’ embassy in the host country). Please note that it is each individual’s responsibility to ensure that s/he obtain the correct visa type for the activities that s/he is undertaking. Failure to obtain the correct visa can lead to legal action by the host country.

____3. Instruct students to register their travel itineraries with the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

____4. Review travel warnings and advisories for the host country: If there is a travel warning in place for the country you will be visiting, please consult with the Director of the Office of International Education. CU-Boulder strongly advises you to not take students to countries with Travel Warnings or areas within countries where the State Department advises against travel. You should also research if there will be any major events, such as elections, which could provoke civil unrest or instability, and develop contingency and emergency plans should local conditions merit a change of itinerary or evacuation.

____5. Consider logistical services support: Consider who will provide on-site support services, such as a travel agent, international program provider, or institution abroad. Check references given by other groups who have used their services. (Also see section below on financial guidelines.)

____6. Consider emergency support at the program site: Consider who will provide emergency support for you and/or your students while abroad. How will the you and/or your students receive information on local hospitals and doctors, local health and safety practices, and risk management issues associated with the program location? Handling emergencies and health and safety issues should be addressed during the on-site orientation you give to students.

____7. Consider the following financial guidelines for international activities:

In running an international activity, faculty or staff may not receive payments from students. All required expenses must be paid directly by students to the appropriate agency or to the appropriate academic department at CU-Boulder.

In certain cases, International Activities will take place as part of a course offered on the Boulder campus. In this case, arrangement for collection of payment as part of a course fee must be worked out with the academic department, with the support of the departmental chair. If the International Activity is canceled, the department assumes responsibility for all debts or expenditures that are incurred.

In most cases, payments made to vendors in the U.S. or abroad for International Activities may need to go through CU Procurement Services. Contracts with the vendors may need to be negotiated and signed before any payments can be made. Negotiating these contracts can be time-consuming, so this process should be started many months in advance. Please consult with Larry Bell in OIE for more information about this.

____8. Prepare back up plan: Consider who could take over the responsibilities of the faculty director or other staff in the event that they are unable to carry out their duties.

____9. Develop an arrival plan: Develop a plan for meeting the students at the beginning of the program. Students should have detailed information about how to get to the program meeting point from the airport as well as local contact information. An alternative meeting time and location should be established in case students or the faculty/staff have travel complications.

____10. Consider/arrange housing for students and faculty leaders at the program site: Make sure the housing and its location have been vetted for safety and minimal housing standards. Consider the following safety issues: fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and student security. If housing is not arranged for students, you should provide guidelines for them to use in finding safe housing.

____11. Consider local transportation needs: Will you arrange local transportation with on-site providers or bus companies? In addition to cost, consider the safety record and reliability of any contractors you will be using. Check references from other universities or groups who have used this company. Make sure that they do not travel at night, and that they use major highways.

____12. Estimate expenses: Estimate airfare, meals, transportation and other anticipated expenses and provide this information to students. Students should also be encouraged to plan for emergencies. For example, medical emergencies abroad may require that students pay medical expenses up front and submit them later to their insurance companies.

____13. Provide a pre-departure orientation: Provide students with a pre-departure orientation to prepare them for their international experiences. Ideally this would include written materials, as well as information given in a group meeting. OIE can provide examples of topics typically addressed in pre-departure materials and orientation.

____14. Provide an on-site orientation: Upon arrival in country, provide students with an on-site orientation to assist them in adjusting to being in the location abroad. OIE can provide examples of topics typically addressed during on-site orientations.