Washington University is concerned with the health, safety, and security of all members of our community while traveling outside of the United States of America.

The Washington University International Travel Policy has been adopted to ensure a consistent set of travel standards to be followed by all units of the university. The policy applies to all international travel that is sponsored, is funded in any part, or involves the granting of degree credits by Washington University in St. Louis.

I. Definitions

A. International Travel Oversight Committee (ITOC)

The International Travel Oversight Committee (ITOC) is advisory to the Provost and makes policy recommendations on international travel conducted by students, faculty and staff of Washington University. The ITOC is chaired by the Provost’s designee, and includes key administrators from each WU school as well as representatives from the Chancellor’s office, Provost office, General Counsel, University Risk Management, Student Affairs, Emergency Management/Police and faculty. The ITOC convenes at least once during the fall and spring semesters to review and assess the implementation of the university’s travel policies and procedures. The ITOC Executive Body consists of a subset of the ITOC General Body (see Appendix A).   The Executive Body will meet when necessary to respond to international emergencies and to make determinations as to whether restrictions should be placed on travel to particular countries, or regions of countries due to circumstances described in this policy.

B. Sponsored or Supported International Travel

For the purposes of the International Travel Oversight Committee (ITOC) and this Policy, University-Sponsored or Supported International Travel will be defined as any travel that meets one or more of the following conditions:

  • Funded in full or in part by Washington University, this includes university stewarded funds such as government and foundation grants that are administered by the university
  • Academic credit awarded
  • Organized by a university-recognized student group or university department
  • Faculty/Staff member will be representing Washington University on site

C. Travel Suspension Condition

A Travel Suspension Condition is defined for any country or region for which one of the following conditions applies:

  • The U.S. State Department has issued an alert or a warning that orders departure of U.S. dependents and non-­‐emergency personnel; recommends that U.S. citizens depart the country; advises U.S. citizens against all travel to the country; or recommends that U.S. citizens defer non-­‐essential travel to the country;
  • The emergency travel assistance organization,  International SOS has rated the country as “High Risk” or “Extremely High Risk.”
  • The ITOC Executive Body has determined, in its sole discretion, based upon information from the State Department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, or other sources, (i) that the country or region is experiencing a serious and uncontrolled infectious disease outbreak or other serious health hazard or (ii) that other serious safety concerns exist in the country or region and that either of these warrant cancellation or suspension of University-Sponsored or Supported International Travel to that specific location or region.

D. International Travel Registry

A centralized, secure online database of WUSTL international travelers where travel itineraries are registered. A WUSTL Key is required to access the international travel registry.

E. International Proposal

A document for those who are creating, organizing, or overseeing a university sponsored or supported international travel program for international travel with students. Faculty and staff are encouraged, but not required, to submit proposals in the event that they are traveling to a high-risk destination but such travel is not part of a university-sponsored or supported program for and with students. The Travel Proposal should include information related to travel preparation and orientation, academic structure, travel logistics and accommodation, local contact information, and emergency, security and health safety plans, Travel Proposals are reviewed by the ITOC Executive Body (See Appendix B).

II. International Travel Policy

For student travel guidance, please see section A. For faculty and staff members traveling independently, please see section B1 and B2. For faculty and staff traveling with students, please see section B3.

A. Student International Travel

All students traveling abroad as part of a WU sponsored or supported international travel program are required to enter their travel information into the international travel registry before they depart. Required travel information includes, but is not limited to, travel dates and locations, flight information, local contact information, accommodations and if the travel is for credit. Failure to submit the required information may result in delays or forfeiture of reimbursement on travel from the university and/or holds that may affect the awarding of academic credit. Additionally, a failure to register may result in a delay in the ability for WU to give logistical support in the event of an emergency.

In addition to following procedures outlined by the student’s respective school or college, each student traveling alone or in a group, whether led by WUSTL faculty or staff or not, may be required to provide a signed acknowledgement and waiver form indicating that (s)he understands the potential risks of traveling abroad but is voluntarily choosing to travel despite those risks. Undergraduate students and any minors may also be required to provide a consent form signed by a parent or guardian.

2. Student Group Travel

If a student is traveling as part of a larger group, group leaders are also required to enter all itinerary, lodging, and overseas contact information in the International Travel Registry, and to provide a copy of this information to the designated department university administrator.

Other persons traveling in a group (i.e. spouse or dependent of the WUSTL traveler) are also required to register with the International Travel Registry as individuals, especially if they have separate travel arrangements or itineraries.

3. Travel Suspension Conditions

The university will not fund, award credit for, or otherwise sponsor or support travel by any student to or through any country or region for which a Travel Suspension Condition applies, unless approved by the ITOC Executive Body.

If a Travel Suspension Condition occurs while a student is in an affected country or region, the university reserves the right to end its sponsorship at that time, and to require the student to end the trip and leave the country. Such determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis by the ITOC Executive Body. If a student is permitted to travel to countries or regions for which a Travel Suspension Condition applies, the student will be required to sign an acknowledgement and waiver form, indicating in part that (s)he has read any applicable travel warnings and understands the potential associated risks of traveling abroad but is voluntarily choosing to travel despite those risks.

B. Faculty and Staff International Travel

1. Travel Registration

All faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to register their University-Sponsored or Supported International Travel in the WU International Travel Registry.

2. Travel Suspension Conditions

Faculty and staff are strongly cautioned against, but not prohibited from, traveling to or remaining in countries or regions for which a Travel Suspension Condition applies. However, no one may be required by a faculty member, advisor, or supervisor to travel to or through any country or region for which a Travel Suspension Condition applies prior to departure.

Faculty or staff traveling with university funding to pursue research, study or other university-related business in a country for which a Travel Suspension Condition applies are required to notify their Dean (or designate), Chair, or supervisor and to provide all travel, lodging and contact information by entering their travel into the International Travel Registry no less than 3 weeks prior to departure. The ITOC Executive Body will make a recommendation to the relevant dean and/or the University Provost whether to fund, award credit for, or otherwise sponsor or support travel of faculty and staff to countries or regions for which a Travel Suspension Condition exists, taking into account the distinct educational and research objectives of the employee.

Travel on university funds to countries or regions for which a mandatory evacuation has been issued prior to departure will be authorized by exception through the petition process.

3. Faculty and Staff Leading Student Trips

A faculty or staff member who is leading a group which includes any students is required to:

  • Submit a Travel Proposal to the ITOC Executive Body for approval at least 6 weeks prior to travel;
  • Enter all itinerary, lodging, and overseas contact information in the International Travel Registry;
  • Secure from all students a signed waiver acknowledging possible risks;
  • Secure from each minor student a signed parent/guardian consent form;

Failure to submit the required information may result in delays or forfeiture of reimbursement on travel from the university and/or holds that may affect the awarding of academic credit. Additionally, a failure to register may result in a delay in the ability for WU to give logistical support in the event of an emergency.

In the event that a Travel Suspension Condition is issued prior to departure, the faculty or staff member who is leading a group must provide the ITOC Executive Body and the applicable Deans or designated administrator of the school or college where the students are registered an outline of the proposed itinerary with the following information:

  • An explanation of the academic relevance of the program for the students and faculty despite the Travel Warning;
  • Discussion of the location and environment of the proposed travel, including any health/security/safety issues;
  • Description of the onsite health/security/safety support resources and services; and
  • Specific plans for group orientation prior to departure and on arrival to mitigate risk.

The following resources are available:

Appendix A: ITOC Executive Board Members

Dedric Carter, Chair
Associate Provost, Vice Chancellor for Operations & Technology Transfer

Ty Davisson
Director of Emergency Management & Business Continuity

Keith Klein
Director of Insurance & Risk Management

Teresa Sarai
Associate Director of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy

Deanna Wendler Modde,  Advisory to the ITOC Executive Board
Assistant Vice Chancellor, Associate General Counsel

Originally drafted in 2011. Reviewed and approved by the ITOC Executive Committee in August 2016.  Travel Policy, updated 8/17/2016 (PDF)