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COVID-19 Traveler Checklist

International travel continues to require advanced planning and flexibility. Review this checklist before you travel and refer to Infectious Disease Travel Considerations for additional links and resources.

1.  Determine Entry, Exit and Re-entry Requirements

  • Using tools available on the Travel Considerations page and your own research, determine the current airline and destination COVID entry and exit requirements for your destination(s). 
  • If your destination requires proof of vaccine, determine which types of vaccines and what forms of proof are acceptable. In accordance with Northwestern’s COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement, with limited exceptions, students, faculty, and staff are required to be vaccinated before traveling abroad. The CDC strongly recommends postponing international travel until fully vaccinated. Travelers should make a photocopy of their vaccine card and know how to replace the original, often possible by creating an account with your home state’s public health authority, in case it gets lost.
  • If you recently had COVID or become infected during travel, research destination-specific information for a “letter of recovery” to travel. In many cases the traveler needs a verified positive test (not a home test) to determine their recovery period. If unable to verify the recovery letter process through a local partner or online, email GeoBlue for assistance.

2.  Know What Your Medical Insurance Covers

  • GeoBlue health insurance is required for all travelers on NU-affilated travel. Review the GeoBlue COVID coverage flyer to confirm what is and what is not covered by the plan. If you get COVID and are required to stay longer, extend your GeoBlue coverage online.

3.  Plan for Complications Associated with a Positive Test or Illness 

  • While many countries are dropping testing requirements, if you become ill, it is likely that you will have to isolate until you are well or can test negative which may delay your return and require additional on-site expenses. Consider testing before you travel abroad to help avoid the disruption and expense of sickness and isolation abroad. If possible, bring a COVID home-test in case you develop COVID-19 symptoms. Develop a plan for where you will stay if you get sick and how you will obtain both food and medications ahead of time. For example, identify a local food delivery service (that accepts foreign credit cards) and download the App.

4.  Manage Additional Considerations for Group Travelers

  • If traveling as a group, the trip organizer or leader should create a plan for when a traveler becomes ill during the trip or upon departure. The plan should include logistical information such as where the traveler will stay, how they will obtain food and medications and who will provide regular check-ins. A trip leader or local contact should be available in the sick traveler’s destination, especially if the sick traveler is undergraduate. Consider working with a third-party provider or partner with staff living permanently in the host destination to give additional support to sick students who need to stay beyond the end of program.
  • As mentioned above, with limited exceptions, students, faculty, and staff are required to be vaccinated before traveling abroad. Northwestern students, faculty and staff cannot ask prospective or confirmed travelers about their vaccination status. Students granted vaccine exceptions by the university may not be able to participate fully in all activities.
  • The trip leader should know what financial resources are available (or not available) from the sponsoring school, unit, or department to cover a last-minute change-of-plans that impact the entire group.