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Travel Guidelines


All travelers should familiarize themselves with and follow Centers for Disease Control guidance and protocols for domestic and international travel during the COVID -19 pandemic. These guidelines include recommendations to delay travel until travelers are fully vaccinated as well as protocols for travelers who are unvaccinated. The guidance below applies to all Northwestern community members regardless of whether they have received the COVID-19 vaccine. Additional resources can be found through the Office of Global Safety and Security (OGSS).

Updated June 2, 2021


International Travel

Undergraduate Students

  • Summer 2021: All Northwestern study abroad programs offered by the Global Learning Office during the Summer 2021 term (June-August 2021) as well as all other University-sponsored undergraduate, non-credit international travel are suspended through at least August 27, 2021.
  • Fall 2021: Study abroad programs are in review through July 1 for possible Fall enrollment. Students and advisers will be informed on a rolling basis as program reviews are completed. For more information, see the Global Learning Office’s FAQs.

Non-credit international travel for undergraduate students remains suspended; information on timelines for resuming such travel will be shared in the future.

Graduate Students

All eligible graduate and professional students traveling internationally for University purposes must enroll in GeoBlue, the University’s Global Health Insurance program. They also must adhere to the following requirements depending on their dates of travel:

  • Travel before July 1, 2021: Graduate and professional students who plan to travel internationally for University purposes before July 1 must:
  • Travel after July 1, 2021: Graduate and professional students who plan group or independent international travel for University purposes must:

Faculty and Staff

Faculty and staff international travel is permitted for University purposes, which are defined below. Travelers must:

  • Adhere to University travel policies as outlined on the OGSS website, including completing a one-time registration for Northwestern's business traveler insurance plan provided by GeoBlue.
  • Faculty or staff intending to lead or sponsor group travel must contact Beth Osterlund in OGSS to discuss risk mitigation efforts prior to registering a trip.
  • Book travel for Northwestern purposes through a preferred provider.

Domestic Travel

Faculty, staff and student – undergraduate and graduate – travel is permitted for University purposes, which are defined below. Travelers should adhere to CDC guidance for domestic travel.

University Purposes for Travel

Travel is permissible when it applies to research, teaching or other activities related to the University’s mission. Specifically:

  • For faculty and staff, this includes travel that is related to Northwestern employment, research or teaching responsibilities, recruitment, admissions testing, fundraising, or other purpose as identified by the unit director, dean or department chair, and which cannot be conducted virtually.
  • For students, this includes travel to engage in research that is related to the completion of one’s thesis or dissertation; to participate as a student (or instructor) in a Northwestern class or coursework; to participate in study abroad or exchanges; to engage in educational or experiential activities at other institutions as invited or arranged; or to participate in other educational or experiential activity important for degree completion that cannot be conducted virtually.

Additional Guidelines

  • Travel for Northwestern purposes should be booked through a preferred provider.
  • All travelers should review the appropriate resources available on the OGSS website.
  • GeoBlue for Employees, Northwestern’s international medical insurance / assistance program, does not apply to personal travel; where relevant, faculty, staff and graduate students should instead consider purchasing a policy that covers leisure travel.