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Infectious Disease Travel Considerations

Infectious diseases are caused by harmful organisms (pathogens) such as bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites that enter the body from the outside. Some infectious diseases are spread through contaminated food, water or bug bites. Other infectious diseases may be spread through casual or close contact with infected individuals.

The OGSS works closely with Northwestern Health Student Service to alert international travelers to infectious diseases relevant to travelers, such as:

We also provide information on preventing insect bites to reduce exposure to insect-borne diseases such as Chikungunya, Dengue Fever, Malaria, Yellow Fever and Zika.


Despite the lifting of recent reentry requirements for travel into the US and high vaccination rates within our community, travel will continue require careful planning and flexibility to adjust plans as conditions change, such as the emergent of new variants. 

All travelers should review the COVID Traveler Checklist when planning a trip. Faculty or staff planning short-term group travel should also consult the Faculty and Staff Checklist page for further instructions. 

Vaccines and Masks

The CDC does not recommend traveling internationally unless one is fully vaccinated. As a result, all members of the Northwestern community (students, faculty and staff) are expected to be fully vaccinated prior to commencing any university-affiliated international travel.

Moreover, some countries will not admit travelers without proof of an approved COVID-19 vaccination. It is up to the traveler to determine whether or not they can access their planned destination. Countries permitting travel by unvaccinated travelers may require pre- or post- negative COVID tests, quarantine upon arrival, mask-wearing, social distancing and periodic testing while abroad. Travelers unable to be vaccinated should re-consider traveling abroad. If travel is deemed necessary, such individuals should plan carefully in order to adhere to these requirements and expectations.

The CDC recommends wearing an KN95 / N95 mask during travel. Read more about Choosing a Mask on the CDC website. To obtain one from Northwestern, refer to the Access section on the Face Coverings and Face Masks page.

Informational Resources

The following COVID-related resources may be consulted when planning international travel

Outbound Travel Requirements

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and/or a negative test may be required for outbound international travel. Consult your airline and destination country to determine the type and timing of test required to board the aircraft and enter the destination country. Northwestern is offering COVID-19 testing (Abbott Navica rapid antigen testing) to students, faculty and staff in Evanston and Chicago. 

Inbound Travel Requirement

The CDC's website provides helpful information on international travel to and from the United States. While proof of a negative COVID-19 viral test is no longer required to enter the U.S, non-U.S. citizens and non-U.S. immigrant travelers arriving from a foreign country must have proof of an acceptable COVID-19 vaccination. Such travelers should also consult the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISS) Travel FAQs for more details about citizenship-based travel restrictions, and other travel guidance specific to this population. 

Monkeypox Virus 

On Aug. 9, Northwestern University sent a communication about the University’s approach to preparation and prevention of the monkeypox virus. As that message stated, there is no need to delay or defer international travel due to the spread of monkeypox, but we have worked with Northwestern Medicine and Student Health Service to develop some frequently asked questions about monkeypox and travel. Travelers who have additional questions or concerns about accessing medical care abroad can contact us at 

Fall update: Northwestern and Evanston to cohost community Monkeypox vaccine clinics