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Non-U.S. Citizens Traveling Abroad

Northwestern strongly encourages all members of its community to participate in international travel opportunities sponsored by the University.

Informational updates during travel

Northwestern travelers who are not U.S. citizens may also enroll in the U.S. Department of State’s (U.S. DOS) Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive local security updates related to road closures, transportation strikes, civil unrest, and more. Follow directions on the STEP website to “create an account” and then “add a trip” to your profile. Note that many fields in the enrollment forms are optional. If you do not have a U.S. passport, leave the passport field blank. For more information, visit Security Information Resources.

Detention by customs and border protection

Non-U.S. citizens associated with Northwestern (students, faculty and staff) who travel abroad must comply with all overseas travel requirements outlined by the International Office or risk facing detention by the Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) upon re-entry to the United States. Northwestern University and/or the Office of Global Safety and Security (OGSS) have no authority over the CBP and cannot intervene on a traveler’s behalf.

Travel ban updates

On December 4, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to allow the latest version of the Trump administration’s travel ban to go into full effect while litigation continues in the lower courts.

Since the Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco and Richmond are working on the issue on an expedited basis, the U.S. Supreme Court will likely rule on the issue by June 2018.    

The ban applies to travel to the U.S. for citizens of Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia, North Korea and Venezuela. International students and faculty who have the proper visas to work or study in the U.S. are not expected to be affected by the Executive Order (EO) in the near-term. 

Northwestern students, staff and faculty who have questions about the EO and its impact on travel regulations are encouraged to contact the Office of International Student and Scholar Services. Travel emergencies that occur outside of normal business operations can be directed to the International Office’s after-hours contact number (at the bottom of the IO link). Moreover, the Council on American-Islamic-Relations Chicago (CAIR-Chicago) has a special Travelers Assistance Project (TAP) to provide free legal services to individuals at risk of detention or removal due to the EO. Concerned travelers are advised to register their itinerary in the CAIR-Chicago Traveler Alert system.

 Additional helpful resources analyzing the case can be found on SCOTUSblog, The Lawfare Institute and The Brookings Institution.