POL-U2105.01 Traveling Outside the United States

Dates and Approval

Effective Date:

May 21, 2009

Revised Date:

March 1, 2016

Approved by:

President Sabah Randhawa

Who does this policy apply to?

The university recognizes the educational benefits of vibrant international programs. This policy applies to faculty, staff or registered volunteer travel leaders who guide or advise on group or individual student travel outside the U.S. on official university business and applies to students who participate in such travel. Travel to British Columbia of a short duration (two weeks or less) is exempt from provisions 3, 5 and 6 of this policy.


There is no overview for this policy.


Official University Business

Activities performed by faculty, staff or registered volunteers as directed in order to accomplish university programs or as required by the duties of their position or office. Included in this definition are credit and non-credit study abroad and exchange programs and any other travel abroad program that is required, sponsored, organized, funded, endorsed or contracted by the university. Examples may include:

  • Faculty-led study abroad programs
  • Study abroad programs at foreign institutions, study centers, outside contractors or affiliates
  • Student exchange programs with a foreign institution
  • Students doing independent study abroad, including internships

Travel Leader

A faculty, staff or registered volunteer who is:

  • Abroad with a group of students or an individual student and guiding the student(s) while traveling outside the U.S. on official university business or
  • On-campus and advising a group of students or an individual student traveling independently outside the U.S. on official university business

Registered volunteer

An individual who is registered with WWU’s Human Resources to perform assigned or authorized volunteer duties as determined by a department of the university.

Policy Statements

1. Travel Leaders and Students Make Health and Safety a Top Priority

Travel leaders and student(s) make health and safety a top priority during travel outside the U.S.

2. Travel Leaders and Students Comply with Regulations

Travel leaders and student(s) comply with state travel and university policies and procedures. All applicable policies and procedures should be followed, but the University reminds travel leaders and/or students who know or suspect that they have contracted a communicable disease while traveling outside the U.S. that they must notify the appropriate university administrator as stated in POL-U1000.12 Reporting Communicable Disease.

3. Travel Leaders and Students Consult with WWU’s Education Abroad

In preparation for international travel, all travel leaders and student(s) will consult with the Director of Education Abroad regarding:

  1. Safety, cultural or other information for the specific countries in which the traveler plans to study or visit
  2. Contingency plans for response to an emergency or crisis abroad
  3. University documentation and forms, and
  4. General guidelines for safe international travel.

4. Travel Leaders and Students Follow Official Travel Advice

Travel leaders and student(s) will follow official travel advice for each country outside the U.S. they plan to visit, thus:

  1. Comply with U.S. State Department Travel Advisories and Alerts that have been issued for entire countries and/or specific areas within countries,
  2. Consult U.S. State Department Country Information,
  3. Comply with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Travel Health Notices that have been issued, and
  4. Consult Centers for Disease Control Destination Information

Exception: Travel leaders may request an exception to items (a) or (c) for U.S. State Department “Do not travel” and “Reconsider travel” advisories and CDC “Avoid nonessential travel” warnings from the Provost or appropriate Vice President using procedure PROU2105.01B Requesting Exception to Official Travel Advisories and completing the corresponding e-sign form.

5. Travel Leaders and Students Register with U.S. State Department

Before departure, travel leaders and student(s) will register online with the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in order for the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to better assist them in an emergency. Travelers without internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate upon arrival.

6. Travel Leaders and Students Maintain Appropriate Health Insurance Coverage

Travel leaders should and student(s) will maintain appropriate health insurance coverage during travel outside the U.S. including, but not limited to, coverage for medical expenses, medical evacuation, repatriation, disaster and security evacuation, accidental death & dismemberment (AD&D), and emergency assistance services. Education Abroad and Risk Management determine recommended coverage and limits.

7. Emergencies Reported Immediately

Initial notification of an emergency may come to the University in various ways. It may come from a travel leader (e.g. faculty director, program director or faculty advisor), student participant or third-party program provider, and may be received by a variety of “University personnel” on campus including administration, faculty, staff, University Police dispatch or campus operator.

“University personnel” who receive notification of the following types of emergencies will report them immediately to the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services and Director of Education Abroad:

  1. Serious accident or illness
  2. Serious mental health emergency
  3. Crime against a participant (including assault, sexual or otherwise)
  4. Crime committed by a participant
  5. Missing participant
  6. Death of a participant

Political emergencies, natural disasters or infectious disease outbreaks that affect the study abroad program.

8. Senior Administrators May Terminate or Restrict Travel

Travel may be terminated or restricted at the discretion of the President, Provost, appropriate Vice President or appropriate Dean.