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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

If you are traveling to a destination with a U.S. DOS Travel Advisory Level 3 or 4, and your destination is not included in the list of pre-approved countries provided on this website (see purple box), you will need to complete a Travel Permission Request that will be reviewed by the International Travel Risk Assessment Committee (ITRAC). If your plans involve travel to one or more destinations that meet these criteria, please reach out to OGSS so that we can advise you on your application.

After you have been advised, you will need to register your trip in the International Travel Registry. Once you input the itinerary of your proposed trip, you will be deployed several questionnaires, including the Travel Permission Request. Please answer these questions in as much detail as possible, as these will be reviewed by the committee and determine the approval of your trip.

Note: If you are traveling as a group, the trip leader must contact OGSS prior to logging the trip in the system, so that the trip leader can be given access to create a group trip.

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