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Graduate Student Travel Policies

Northwestern University cares about its graduate students, particularly when traveling internationally for university-sponsored activities. In order to provide the best service, graduate students are required to disclose their itinerary to the Office of Global Safety and Security (OGSS). This information will be used to share health and safety resources, and allow OGSS to reach out to travelers in an emergency abroad. The type of disclosure required depends on whether you are traveling independently or with a group.

Graduate Travel Options and Their Related Requirements

Graduate students who who are traveling independently for university purposes must disclose their international travel to the Office of Global Safety and Security. Independent travelers should discuss and receive approval for travel from your faculty supervisor as well as develop a communication plan for regular check-ins, particularly to locations of higher-risk.

Requirements and Recommendations

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 travel disclosure form. 

Requirements and Recommendations
  • All travelers must obtain Northwestern's GeoBlue health insurance. Refer to the FAQs if you are a citizen of the country to which you are traveling. However, before enrollment, check with your trip leader, as often the sponsoring unit or department will enroll all travelers at once. (Required)
  • The staff or faculty member organizing or leading the trip is responsible for completing a group travel disclosure form for your travel. Individual students on group trips do not need to submit a disclosure form. (Required)
  • For graduate student groups traveling to a country with a U.S. Department of State (DOS) Travel Advisory Level 3 or Level 4, or a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Warning Level 3, Avoid Non-Essential Travel, will be asked by their trip leader to submit a disclosure form (unless the destination is your country of citizenship). (Required) 
  • Provide your faculty supervisor (as well as your emergency contacts) with a detailed itinerary (flight schedule, on-site accommodations plans and a list of local contacts) as well as a copy of the photo page of your passport. (Recommended)
  • Register your travel at no cost with the U.S. Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) so you can receive security alerts from a nearby embassy or consulate during your time abroad and family and friends can reach you in an emergency. (Recommended)
  • Review any or all of our Pre-Departure PowToon modules for more advice on travel health, safety and security. The modules are between 2-6 minutes long. (Recommended)
  • Download the "Pre-Departure Health & Safety Checklist” and “Emergency Cut-Out Card(Recommended)