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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 travel based on advice from the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The U.S. DOS informs citizens of health and safety risks through its 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 Associate Provost for Global Affairs (APGA).

U.S. Department of State's Global Map

Before you travel internationally, click on your destination and review the Travel Advisory.

Travel Permission Request (TPR) 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 Associate Provost for Global Affairs (APGA) after review and recommendation by ITRAC.

Travel Permission Request Templates

 If you are a student traveling independently, use the Individual Travel template to complete your request. Be sure to download and save a copy to your computer.

Individual travel

If you are a student team leader or faculty/staff member completing the request on behalf of a student group, use the Group Travel template to complete your request. Be sure to download and save a copy to your computer.

Group Travel

If  you are a faculty or staff member completing a request for an undergraduate learning abroad program, use these guidelines to complete your TPR:

Program Guidelines

Policy Exceptions

There are two exceptions to the policy above:

  • Students enrolling in an approved, for-credit Global Learning 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