International Travel Policy

Applies to: Faculty, Staff, and Students

I.   Introduction

The mission of the University is to serve the people of Michigan and the world through preeminence in creating, communicating, preserving, and applying knowledge, art, and academic values, and in developing leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and enrich the future.  In support of this mission, the University respects the academic freedom of all students, faculty and staff to pursue international research, educational activities and service and recognizes that important work may sometimes take place in locations that pose unusual health and safety risks.

The University recognizes that travelers have significant responsibility for their own health, safety and security. The University also has an institutional interest in promoting this health, safety and security while pursuing its mission. This policy defines basic institutional requirements that will promote these joint interests.

Individual travelers are responsible for compliance with this international travel policy.  Units sponsoring University of Michigan Related Travel (defined below) are responsible for informing travelers of this international travel policy and for facilitating compliance for individuals where appropriate. 

This International Travel Policy outlines the University’s requirements for (A) University of Michigan Related Travel (UMRT); (B) the University Travel Registry; (C) travel abroad health insurance; (D) emergency evacuation insurance and support; (E) University Travel Warnings and Restrictions; and (F) travel abroad involving groups of students.

II.    Definitions

This section defines four terms used in this document: Travel Abroad, University of Michigan Related Travel (UMRT), U-M Managed or Organized travel, and Group Travel Abroad.

Travel Abroad refers to destinations outside the Fifty States of the United States of America and the District of Columbia. Travel to U.S. territories (including American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the United States Minor Outlying Islands) and journeys on the High Seas are also considered travel abroad.

An international experience is considered U-M Managed or Organized when a U-M unit, faculty or staff member is involved in creating, funding, or approving the experience, or coordinating the applications and selection of participants.

University of Michigan Related Travel (UMRT)is defined in terms of two traveler roles:

1.     U-M Faculty/Staff UMRT:

Faculty or Staff members who are traveling abroad within the context of their job responsibilities are considered to be on UMRT. If faculty or staff members receive U-M funds or U-M managed funds for travel, then they are on UMRT, but such funding is not necessary to identify a trip as UMRT (for example, a faculty member traveling to deliver an invited presentation in her field, supported by the international host, is considered to be on UMRT). While a trip might include personal activities outside of the traveler’s job responsibilities, if the primary purpose is work-related the trip is UMRT.

2.     Student UMRT:

Participants in Travel Abroad can include both individuals enrolled as students at the U-M but also individuals not enrolled as U-M students who participate in a U-M program; such persons are designated Students within this policy. A person traveling in a Student participant role who meets one or more of the following criteria is on UMRT:

  • Receives U-M in-residence credit for the experience.
  • Travels on a program or trip that is U-M Managed or Organized.
  • Participates in a travel abroad experience that is necessary to achieve a degree requirement. This could include experiences such as degree milestones, dissertation field research, practica, internships, etc.
  • Travels on a program or trip organized by a Sponsored Student Organization or a program or trip that is formally sanctioned by a U-M unit as a Sponsored Event.
  • Receives funding from a U-M unit or receives funds managed by the U-M for their travel.   As stewards of U-M resources, we do not give funds for purposes that are not U-M related.

Student participants can be engaged in an individual experience or a Group Travel Abroad experience. Group Travel Abroad refers to a cohort of UMRT Student participants with similar program experience dates, itinerary, related activities at the destination, and identical or related accommodations, for whom an organizer or leader is assuming some responsibility. There is significant interdependence of participants within the cohort. Group travel abroad may be for study, research, joint project work, athletic or other competitions, musical performances, or similar University activities.  

III.  Policy

A.     University Travel Registry

The University Travel Registry is a confidential and secure database for maintaining key travel information for Faculty, Staff and Students traveling off campus.  The Vice Provost designated as the Senior International Officer, on behalf of the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, is responsible for the overall management of the University Travel Registry.  The Registry supports both domestic travel and travel abroad, as well as registration for both UMRT and personal purposes.

The University Travel Registry is the official and authoritative source of traveler information for locating and communicating with travelers, responding to emergencies, and managing media and public relations during critical incidents abroad.  It also serves as the central source of travel abroad data for institutional reporting.

All Faculty, Staff, and Students traveling abroad for UMRT must register their travel in the University Travel Registry before the expected departure date. Whenever possible, travelers are expected to update the registration, including travel dates, destinations, and on-site contact information, if updated information becomes available.

Individual travelers are responsible for verifying their travel registration through either self-registration or coordination with their sponsoring units.  Units sponsoring UMRT are responsible for informing travelers of this travel registration requirement.

The travel registry can be accessed at http://global.umich.edu/travel-resources/register-your-travel/.

B.     Travel Abroad Health Insurance

Faculty and staff traveling abroad for UMRT are covered under the University’s blanket travel abroad health insurance policy.

All Students traveling abroad for UMRT are required to have travel abroad health insurance coverage from the University’s authorized vendor, regardless of whether the Student traveler has other health care coverage.  Student travelers are responsible for verifying travel abroad health insurance coverage either through self-enrollment or coordination with their sponsoring units.  Units sponsoring UMRT are responsible for informing travelers of this travel abroad health insurance requirement. 

Find full information about the University’s authorized vendor and coverage at: https://www.uhs.umich.edu/tai/.

C.      Emergency Evacuation Insurance and Support

All Students, Faculty and Staff traveling abroad for UMRT are covered under a blanket policy for emergency evacuation due to political unrest or natural disaster. The decision to activate this evacuation support is made by the evacuation insurance provider in coordination with the Vice Provost designated as the Senior International Officer and the Senior Advisor for International Health, Safety and Security on behalf of the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.  In making the decision to evacuate, the Office of the Provost consults with the units and seeks advice from the International Travel Oversight Committee (ITOC) as appropriate. 

Evacuation support relies on U-M Faculty, Staff, and Students to register their travel. This support is not available in some locations due to restrictions imposed by the insurance provider and international security contractors. Such locations will be designated with University Travel Restrictions (see section D below).

Students who remain in-country after being advised to evacuate will not be eligible for University funding or academic credit related to the travel experience and may be subject to disciplinary action.

D.     University Travel Warnings and University Travel Restrictions

The University will conduct ongoing reviews and designate locations that present particular risk as either University Travel Warning destinations or University Travel Restriction destinations. 

The Vice Provost designated as the Senior International Officer, on behalf of the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, is responsible for determining which destinations are under a University Travel Warning or University Travel Restriction.  This decision will be informed by recommendations from the International Travel Oversight Committee (ITOC).  ITOC recommendations will consider health, security and safety factors in that destination, as well as the availability of health and evacuation support under the University’s insurance policies.

The University may alert travelers and impose additional requirements for Faculty, Staff, or Students seeking to travel to destinations where health, safety, or security risks are determined to be significant and require unusual caution and risk mitigation strategies. For example, travel to destinations experiencing serious outbreaks of infectious disease, war or violent civil unrest may be temporarily prohibited.

The list of University Travel Warnings and Restrictions is published publically on http://global.umich.edu/travel-resources/warnings-restrictions/, along with instructions for the ITOC safety planning process referenced below.

1)     University Travel Warnings

These are destinations where there are significant levelsofhealth, safety or security risk.  The following guidelines apply to University Travel Warning locations:

  1. Students cannot be required to participate in any travel abroad experience in destinations subject to a University Travel Warning. If travel abroad is required for a student’s degree requirements, an alternative destination should be arranged.
  2. All Student UMRT to these destinations must occur under an ITOC approved safety plan, either submitted individually or as a group. Travelers will also sign a University Travel Warning/Restriction Destination Liability Waiver. These steps must be completed in M-Compass as described under each country’s Warning & Restriction page on Global Michigan: http://global.umich.edu/travel-resources/warnings-restrictions/
  3. Students, faculty, and staff may be evacuated from these destinations if deemed necessary.
  4. Faculty or staff managing or organizing Student group travel abroad are responsible for developing and seeking ITOC approval of safety plans.
  5. Units funding Student travel to Travel Warning destinations are responsible for verifying ITOC approval of safety plans before disbursing funds.

Note: Travelers should not invest non-refundable resources in their travel until the Safety Plan is approved. For example, travelers should not purchase non-refundable flights before Safety Plan approval in the event that the Safety Plan is denied.

2)     University Travel Restrictions

These are destinations where there are extreme health, safety or security risks.  UMRT will generally be prohibited.  The following guidelines apply to University Travel Restriction locations:

  1. Undergraduate students may nottravel for UMRT to destinations that are under a University Travel Restriction.
  2. Graduate students cannot be required to participate in any travel abroad experience in destinations subject to a University Travel Restriction.
  3. All Student UMRT to these destinations must occur under an ITOC approved safety plan, either submitted individually or as a group. Travelers will also sign a University Travel Warning / Restriction Destination Liability Waiver. These steps must be completed in M-Compass as described under each country’s Warning & Restriction page on Global Michigan: http://global.umich.edu/travel-resources/warnings-restrictions/
  4. Students, Faculty, and Staff may be evacuated from these destinations if deemed necessary.
  5. Faculty or staff managing or organizing graduate Student Group Travel abroad are responsible for developing and seeking ITOC approval of safety plans.
  6. Units funding Student travel to Travel Restriction destinations are responsible for verifying ITOC approval of safety plans before disbursing funds.
  7. Due to severe security concerns, the evacuation insurance provider may have limited or no capability in some regions of Travel Restriction destinations. Though faculty and staff are not required to complete a Safety Plan, they are encouraged to complete a safety plan, which ITOC may forward to the insurance provider to ensure that evacuation capabilities are available for each exact destination on the travel itinerary.

Note: Travelers should not invest non-refundable resources in their travel until the Safety Plan is approved. For example, travelers should not purchase non-refundable flights before Safety Plan approval in the event that the Safety Plan is denied.

E.      Group Travel Abroad

For group travel abroad, risk is magnified by the increasing numbers of participants, as well as the interdependence of participants within the cohort, and because an organizer or leader is assuming some responsibility for others within the cohort.

Note: The Safety Plan Worksheet, available at http://global.umich.edu/travel-resources/health-safety/,can be used to facilitate the planning process.  The Senior Advisor for International Health, Safety and Security is available for consultation.

University Organized or Managed Group Travel Abroad

Group travel abroad that is organized or managed by a U-M unit must be approved in advance by the Dean or designated administrator of each academic or business unit in which the program is based.  Sponsoring units or leaders are responsible for:

  • Obtaining approval from the Dean or designated administrator as specified by the sponsoring School / College / Unit.
  • Ensuring that all trip itinerary, lodging, and, where possible, overseas contact information is entered into the University Travel Registry for each participant and any accompanying faculty/staff.
  • Verifying that all participants have obtained travel abroad health insurance through the University’s authorized vendor.
  • Ensuring that all University guidance relative to travel abroad is followed, including requirements relative to University Travel Warnings and University Travel Restrictions.
  • Following best practices for: health, safety and security planning; pre-departure orientation; on-site activities; and post-trip review.
  • Following any additional unit-level guidance or requirements for Student travel.

Student group travel under the auspices of a Sponsored Student Organization (SSO), or Voluntary Student Organization (VSO) whose travel is formally sanctioned by a U-M unit as a Sponsored Event, are considered University organized and managed. The sponsoring unit is responsible for ensuring that the tasks listed above are completed.

NOTE: A Sponsored Student Organization is a recognized student organization that has a substantial and formal relationship with a sponsoring University unit and exists pursuant to the guidelines established by the appropriate campus division of student affairs.  An SSO must be sponsored by an executive officer, dean, or director of a major academic or operational unit and must have a mission that is consistent with the missions of the University and sponsoring unit.  A sponsorship agreement between the student organization and the sponsoring University unit must be on file with the appropriate campus student activities office.

A Voluntary Student Organization is a recognized student organization that exists pursuant to the guidelines established by the appropriate campus division of student affairs.  A VSO has access to certain University-controlled benefits and resources and is accountable to the University for legal compliance, fiscal responsibility, and adherence to established community standards.

NOTE 2:  This policy applies to the University of Michigan Flint and University of Michigan Dearborn equivalents of SSOs and VSOs.

AttachmentSize
Printable PDF of SPG 601.31, International Travel Policy3.53 MB
Details Column 1
SPG number: 
601.31
Date issued: 
March 6, 2012
Last updated: 
December 14, 2016
Next review date: 
December 14, 2021
Applies to: 
Faculty, Staff, and Students
Owner: 
Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Primary contact: 
Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs