Graduate Student Travel Policies
- Definition of Northwestern-sponsored graduate student international travel
- Disclose your Northwestern-affiliated travel
- Insurance requirement
- Preparing for global risks
- Higher-risk locations
- Requirements for international students and scholars
- Wilderness First Aid Training
Graduate students traveling internationally under university-sponsorship or support must abide by the health and safety requirements below. Additional steps apply if visiting a country with an overall 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. See section on higher-risk locations.
Note – Feinberg School of Medicine students and McGaw residents fall under different travel requirements, contact email@example.com.
The definition of Northwestern-sponsored graduate student international travel was developed by the Graduate Student International Travel Task Force in June 2018.
Registered graduate student international travel is considered Northwestern-sponsored if it meets at least one of the following criteria: The travel is:
- funded or reimbursed, in full or in part, by Northwestern and regardless of purpose (conference attendance/participation, research or reporting, field studies, practicums, language studies, performance, competition, service learning, etc.);
- in support of an academic assignment, work product or degree requirement supervised by Northwestern faculty or staff, including field-based or archival research, regardless of whether credit is involved or awarded;
- directly associated with dissertation research coupled with active TGS 500 or TGS 512 status; or
- accompanied by a Northwestern faculty or staff member in the capacity of his/her employment.
Note that an international student’s short-term trip to one’s home country (while a temporary resident of the U.S.) for research or other academic purposes may be considered university-sponsored.
Northwestern graduate student international travel is NOT considered university sponsored if:
- The individual has withdrawn or taken a leave of absence from the institution
- The individual has relocated to a foreign country, one’s home country or a third country to write one’s dissertation or participate in other non-Northwestern activities (such as employment)
Review GeoBlue employee eligibility requirements to determine benefits and limits for other categories of travelers, such as McGaw medical residents, post-doctoral scholars, independent contractors, volunteers, adjuncts, emeritus employees and visiting international scholars, who travel abroad on temporary assignment for Northwestern.
If questions remain about whether or not a graduate student’s travel is considered university-sponsored contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions about GeoBlue employee legibility, contact Pam Tackett in the Office of Risk Management.
Independent graduate travelers should submit travel details via the graduate student travel disclosure form at least 10 days before departure. This information will be stored in the OGSS international travel roster and used in the event of an emergency abroad.
Obtain Northwestern's GeoBlue health insurance (or obtain an exception from OGSS, but note that the AETNA/On-call plan does not provide comprehensive coverage for long-term international travel). Graduate students traveling with a Northwestern-sponsored group should check with their group sponsor, as sometime the department will enroll all travelers at once.
Review our Prezi Presentation, “International Risk Management for Graduate Students" and download the "Pre-Departure Health & Safety Checklist" and Emergency Cut-Out Card".
Also, register your travel 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.
If your destination is under a U.S. Department of State (DOS) Travel Advisory Level 3 – Reconsider Travel or Level 4 – Do Not Travel, or a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Warning Level 3, Avoid Non-Essential Travel. Read more about consular advisories.
- Provide a written description of your proposed travel activities, including faculty or staff approval, as well as your flight itinerary and accommodations bookings, to the primary department or unit sponsoring your travel.
- Obtain appropriate signatures for Graduate Student Travel Release and submit to email@example.com.
International students and scholars 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) officials upon return to the U.S. The Office of Global Safety and Security (OGSS) has no authority over the CBP and cannot intervene on a traveler’s behalf.
Complete an application for a reimbursement grant to participate in wilderness first aid training. Travel must support academic goals requiring remote or rural international travel. Award recipients may attend a training in any location, but reimbursement is limited to the course fee only. Many local options exist; filter the schedule by state to find Chicago-based options. The next round of reimbursement grants for wilderness first aid training will take place in 2019.