International Travel Review Policy
To minimize health and safety risks in recent years, the University took the approach of reviewing all undergraduate international opportunities and experiences to only those locations with US Department of State Travel Warnings prior to travel. In January 2018, however, the US Department of State replaced the Travel Warning system with numerical rating system of US Department of State Travel Advisories to inform travelers of health and safety risks in every country. All countries now have a US Department of State Travel Advisory with an overall rating of Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions to Level 4: Do Not Travel. Some advisories contain nuanced ratings for specific regions or cities therein.
The following policy replaces the old process of reviewing undergraduate travel based on the US Department of State Travel Warnings, which are no longer in effect. It incorporates and leverages the expertise of Princeton’s international emergency assistance provider, International SOS, and embeds US Department of State Travel Advisory information into the planning and review process.
Revised: January 3, 2019
The health, safety, and security of Princeton travelers engaging in international research or study is paramount to the University. Princeton has made tremendous strides in internationalizing its research and teaching mission over the past decade and places growing emphasis on internationalization, increasing both the number and complexity of activities abroad. We recognize that these enriching experiences also entail some inherent risks. Accordingly, careful travel planning and well-informed travel participants are key considerations when engaging with regions that pose heightened risks to health, safety, and security, especially when considering undergraduate travel.
The University seeks to mitigate risk to travelers and the University by encouraging thorough preparation and common-sense practices while abroad. This policy provides a framework for pre-departure planning and oversight that promotes the health, safety, and security of Princeton travelers and initiatives abroad. It establishes a set of recommendations for faculty, staff, and graduate students planning international University-sponsored travel, as well as requirements for University-sponsored undergraduate student travel to areas of heightened risk.
This policy applies to all University-sponsored international travel. This includes:
- Travel organized on behalf of a registered University organization, including, but not limited to: student organizations, religious groups, sport clubs, varsity athletic teams, civic engagement organizations, residential colleges, academic or administrative departments;
- Travel funded through a University account;
- Student travel organized by a University faculty or staff member; and
- Travel resulting in work that will be considered for academic credit or is otherwise related to a student’s program of study.
This policy does not apply to travel that is non-University sponsored or otherwise unaffiliated with the University, such as leisure travel.
It is the responsibility of Princeton travelers to assess and mitigate health, safety, and security risks when engaging in University-sponsored international travel, with special consideration for travel with heightened levels of risk. Travelers should abide by all University guidelines related to international travel, as well as any relevant US and international laws governing international travel.
All faculty, staff, and students participating in University-sponsored international travel should closely review information, alerts, warnings, and other guidance issued by the University’s international emergency assistance and security intelligence provider International SOS; the US Department of State; health authorities; and other governmental and non-governmental entities.
Recommended Risk Assessment Resources
Princeton contracts with International SOS to provide 24/7 worldwide emergency medical and evacuation services for eligible individuals traveling internationally on University-sponsored travel. Their services include access to country-specific travel risk ratings and travel guidance that can be found at www.internationalsos.com using Princeton Membership # 11BSGC000022.
The US Department of State Travel Advisories are another resource, providing safety and security information for every country, including annual crime and safety reports, US Embassy details, and access to alerts through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Non-US citizens are eligible to access US Department of State online resources and enroll in STEP, however they should also follow guidance from their local Embassy.
For additional recommended resources or to discuss concerns about travel risks, Princeton travelers may contact the University’s Travel Oversight Group (TOG), the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs and Operations, or the Associate Director of International Travel & Safety.
Recommended Pre-Departure Safety Guidance
As a best practice, Princeton students, faculty, and staff participating in international University-sponsored travel to locations with International SOS travel risk ratings of Insignificant, Low, or Medium, should follow the basic security precautions and safety guidelines outlined by International SOS, as well as guidance provided in the US Department of State Travel Advisory for the destination.
For locations with International SOS travel risk ratings of High or Extreme, graduate students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to have their itinerary reviewed by an International SOS security expert to receive an individual risk briefing and safety guidance in advance of travel (for undergraduate students, this is required).
Particular care should be taken when planning travel to locations where there is a US Department of State Travel Advisory rated Level 3: Reconsider Travel or Level 4: Do Not Travel. In such cases, an International SOS risk briefing is highly recommended. Travelers should follow the security precautions and safety guidance outlined by International SOS, as well as guidance provided in the US Department of State Travel Advisory for the destination.
Participating in the University’s travel program by booking University-sponsored travel online in Concur or with the University’s travel agency ensures travelers are further supported by email or text notifications about travel risk and safety concerns at their destination and improves the University’s ability to support travelers when emergencies arise.
Mandatory Undergraduate Travel Review Process
Princeton undergraduate students planning travel to locations abroad with an International SOS travel risk rating of High or Extreme must participate in a travel review process overseen by the Travel Oversight Group (TOG) and obtain safety guidance prior to departure.
In addition to the undergraduate requirement to Submit a Travel Request in Concur, students must complete an application for “Travel Oversight Group—Additional Review” in the Global Programs System.
The TOG review process requires the undergraduate student to:
- Submit specific travel details regarding itinerary, safety preparedness, and risk mitigation measures to the TOG 4-6 weeks in advance of travel via the Global Programs System (GPS),
- As part of this application, student will submit an Addendum to the Travel Terms and Conditions, signed by them and a parent/guardian.
- Demonstrate departmental or faculty support of the trip by naming a faculty reference in the Global Programs System (GPS),
- Participate in an International SOS risk briefing to receive itinerary-specific safety guidance and address risks highlighted by the US Department of State Travel Advisory for the destination; and
- When necessary, participate in a one-on-one discussion with the Associate Director of International Travel & Safety to discuss recommendations for mitigating risk while abroad.
When warranted, the University may issue additional guidance, requirements, or restrictions regarding travel to specific destinations.
Change in Circumstances after Review
In some cases, travel plans may need to be modified due to a sudden change of condition. If there is a change in circumstances – in terms of the itinerary, the academic purpose of the trip, or the health, safety, or security climate of the region of interest – either prior to or after departure, the University retains the right to re-evaluate the travel, recommend modifications, and/or require return to the US or an alternate location.