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Faculty/Staff Checklist

This checklist is designed to guide faculty and staff who are leading or organizing group trips abroad. It is considered "group travel" if faculty or staff travel on the same itinerary with three or more students. There are the four major responsibilities for each international trip:

  1. Assess the potential risks in the proposed destination(s)
  2. Enroll group members in Northwestern’s International Travel Registry (ITR)
  3. Purchase International Health Insurance
  4. Register trip leaders for Trip Leader Training

After reviewing this checklist, contact the appropriate Office of Global Safety and Security (OGSS) staff member  to engage in collaborative planning:

  • For group trips of Undergraduates students (or mixed student status): contact Andrea Mendoza
  • For group trips of Graduate or Professional students: contact Beth Osterlund

Risk Assessment

  • Read the applicable U.S. Department of State (DOS) Travel Advisories and consider the potential risks associated with your trip as well as reasonable mitigation strategies.
  • For higher risk locations or activities, we may wish to seek travel security advice from our intelligence assistance provider, Crisis24, during the planning stages. Contact the applicable OGSS staff member listed above.
  • If the trip involves undergraduates, and the destination is on the restricted travel list, the trip leader must apply for Travel Permission. Review the instructions at the end of the Undergraduate International Travel Policy page and contact Andrea Mendoza for assistance.
  • Develop a pre-departure orientation or handout to advise students on foreseeable risks, including those related to COVID (see the checklist at right) and how to get help in an emergency while abroad.

The International Travel Registry

  • Northwestern requires all university-sponsored student travel – graduate and undergraduate – to be registered with the University. With this information, Northwestern can provide timely information and support in case of an emergency abroad.
  • Group Trips: Review instructions for Enrolling a Group Trip. Group travel should be registered at least six weeks prior to departure. Trip leaders or trip organizers are responsible for ensuring their travelers’ registrations are complete.
  • Independent Travel: Students traveling independent of a group are expected to self-enroll in the Travel Registry. Instructions for undergraduates traveling abroad solo can be found under pre-departure requirements. Information for graduate students can be found under Graduate Student Travel Policies. Independent (non-group) travelers must complete all requirements at least two weeks before departure.

International Health Insurance

  • All students must be enrolled in GeoBlue for Students for the duration of the trip. The cost is less than $14 per week. To enroll students, the trip organizer can complete a GeoBlue roster with personal information on each student and enroll them using the GeoBlue website. In this scenario, the department or administrative unit pays for the insurance. Contact OGSS for assistance.
  • Benefits-eligible Northwestern employees are covered for the duration of the trip under the GeoBlue business traveler policy. Read about the plan eligibility, limitations and complete the one-time registration to access information on doctors, clinics and hospitals in the trip destination.

Trip Leader(s) Responsibilities

  • Regardless of the destination or duration of a university-sponsored trip abroad, faculty and staff trip leaders are required to participate in a one-hour emergency preparedness and response Trip Leader Training, remotely or in person. See OGSS Events for specific dates and times. 
  • Have at least one trip leader register the trip with the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive local safety updates from the nearest embassy or consulate.
  • Confirm your safe arrival with your departmental contact and encourage participants to check-in with their families.

Faculty and staff who travel internationally without students for Northwestern business can find additional guidance at Faculty / Staff Travel Policies.