Undergraduate International Travel Policy
Northwestern University encourages its students to participate in a wide variety of educational experiences abroad. To minimize health and safety risks, the University has approved policies to govern undergraduate such opportunities based on the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In January 2018, the U.S. DOS created a new process to inform citizens of health and safety risks called Travel Advisories. The advisories provide clear, timely, and reliable safety and security information for every country. As the first step in planning a trip abroad, all students should read the Travel Advisory for their intended destination(s).
In general, Northwestern policy precludes travel to a country with a U.S. DOS rating Level 3 (Reconsider Travel, Level 4 (Do not Travel) or a CDC Warning Level 3; however, undergraduate students interested in traveling to these countries may submit a petition called a Travel Permission Request or TPR for an exception to this policy. Templates with instructions for drafting your request are found at the bottom of this page. For detailed information, review the new Undergraduate International Travel Policy approved by the International Travel Risk Management Committee and the Provost.
U.S. Department of State's Global Map
Before you travel internationally, click on your destination and review the Travel Advisory.
Travel Permission Request Process
To submit a petition for a Level 3 or Level 4 destination, you will need to draft a TPR at least one quarter before your departure. In this TPR, you must explain why the value of your experience warrants exposure to additional risks and that there are no suitable alternatives in another country. Your request should be linked to your academic or experiential goals and demonstrate a thorough grasp of health, safety and security concerns in your destination.
Depending on the level of the advisory and other factors, your proposal will be reviewed by either the Office of Global Safety and Security or International Travel Risk Assessment Committee (ITRAC). Approval decisions are made by the Provost after review and recommendation by ITRAC.
If you are a student traveling independently, use the Individual Travel fillable PDF to complete your request. Be sure to download and save a copy to your computer.
If you are a student team leader or faculty/staff member completing the request on behalf of a student group, use the Group Travel fillable PDF to complete your request. Be sure to download and save a copy to your computer.
If you are a faculty or staff member completing a request for an undergraduate learning abroad program, use these guidelines to complete your TPR:
There are two exceptions to the policy above:
- Students enrolling in an approved, for-credit Undergraduate Learning Abroad programs do not need to complete this process. These programs have already been reviewed and approved by Northwestern
- Likewise, students returning to their home countries do not need to petition for travel approval, but will need to show proof of citizenship and permanent residency and complete the pre-departure requirements associated with their travel experience