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Graduate Student Travel Policies

Currently, all non-personal international travel is still restricted; however, the University recognizes that under certain rare circumstances, exceptions to this policy may be warranted and therefore developed a rigorous multi-step process for the review of graduate and professional student international travel. Exceptions will be considered for travel that is critical to the completion of the course of study, and the work cannot be postponed or conducted remotely.  

Northwestern University cares about its students, particularly when traveling internationally for university-sponsored activities. In order to provide the best service, all graduate and professional students are required to register their travel with the Office of Global Safety and Security (OGSS). The information in the travel registry will be used to share health and safety resources, and allow OGSS to reach out to travelers in an emergency abroad. 

Graduate Travel Options and Their Related Requirements

The current COVID-19 Travel Guidelines require all graduate and professional students who are planning to travel independently for university purposes submit a petition to travel internationally, including those currently residing:

  • in the U.S. who wish to travel to their country of citizenship or permanent residence
  • abroad in their country of citizenship or permanent residence but wish to travel to a third country

Graduate and professional students who are fully funded by external scholarships and will not receive any Northwestern financial support (such as a university fellowship or grant, stipend top-off or supplement) during their time abroad are not subject to the Travel Guidelines but are required to register their travel at travelregistry.northwestern.edu.

Graduate and professional students currently residing abroad in their country of citizenship or permanent residence are not subject to the Travel Guidelines for university-sponsored travel within the same country.

 Requirements

  • Complete this travel petition at least 4-6 weeks before preferred travel dates to present a compelling reason to travel to an international destination during the pandemic. To review the questions before working on your submission, open this sample petition . Once complete, the Office of Global Safety and Security will work with representatives from your home school, funding source (if different the home school), and the Provost’s Office to coordinate review of your petition. 
  • If your travel petition is approved, complete the travel registration process. Before logging in, take a photo or screenshot of the photo page of your passport. Go to travelregistry.northwestern.edu and click "Login with Northwestern SSO" to begin. If you have any problems, email globalsafety@northwestern.edu.

Recommendations

  • Independent travelers should discuss a communication plan with their faculty supervisor for regular check-ins, particularly for travel to locations of higher-risk.

Graduate student travel is considered group travel if a staff or faculty actively arranges, advises or accompanies student travelers on their trip abroad.  If a group consists of less than 3 students, each student can complete the independent traveler process. Due to challenges associated with social distancing and other COVID-19 mitigation strategies, NU-sponsored group travel abroad is not permitted at this time.