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Introducing Harvard Travel Assist
The services are the same, but the name and number are new! As of April 1, 2013, assistance for international travelers, including medical referrals, emergency evacuation, and repatriation, as well as access to country-specific safety and medical information is now offered by Harvard Travel Assist, and the accompanying emergency phone number (+1 617-998-0000). This replaces the International SOS name and phone number.

Harvard Travel Assist provides medical and security advice and referrals and emergency evacuation services to eligible Harvard travelers abroad. To ensure access to these services, it is crucial that all international travel be registered in the Harvard Travel Registry. See below for a summary of benefits, eligibility details, and Frequently Asked Questions.

Through the Harvard Travel Assist Program, Harvard travelers also have access to country-specific information.

If there is an emergency while traveling abroad:

  1. Call the equivalent of ‘911’, if appropriate.
  2. Call Harvard Travel Assist at +1 617-998-0000 (worldwide, 24/7/365) for additional help, including non-emergency help. You may call collect.


These services are available for eligible travelers (see eligibility details below).

Medical Assistance Services

  • 24-hour access to physicians who provide emergency and routine medical advice
  • 24-hour access to Alarm Centers for medical information, referrals and emergency assistance
  • Emergency medical evacuation
  • Medically supervised repatriation
  • Assistance with documentation for insurance claims

The following medical assistance services may incur a charge to the traveler or their insurance if a third party is engaged to deliver services (health care providers, transportation, hotels, etc.).

  • Medical and dental referrals
  • Medical expenses guarantee and payment
  • Hotel arrangements for outpatient care
  • Arrangement of ground transportation and accommodation for accompanying family members
  • Dispatch of prescription medication and medical equipment

Security Assistance Services

  • Security evacuation assistance
  • Access to security crisis center

Travel Assistance Services

  • Legal referrals
  • Emergency message transmission
  • Lost document advice and assistance
  • Emergency translation services

Online Information

  • Country guidelines
  • Travel security reports
  • Email notifications

Eligibility Details

The following individuals are eligible for services from Harvard Travel Assist. Phone and online services are free to all eligible travelers.

Students traveling outside the U.S.

  • Harvard degree- or certificate-seeking students actively registered at one of the Harvard schools listed below, excluding travel of a purely leisure or personal nature.
    • Harvard Business School
    • Harvard College
    • Harvard Divinity School
    • Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
    • Harvard Graduate School of Design
    • Harvard Graduate School of Education
    • Harvard Kennedy School of Government
    • Harvard Law School
    • Harvard Medical School
    • Harvard School of Dental Medicine
    • Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
    • Harvard School of Public Health
    • ART Institute
  • Harvard Summer School and Extension School students traveling as part of their academic program

Employees and Fellows (including faculty, staff and other paid appointments) traveling outside the U.S. on University business

  • Paid employees and fellows (on the Harvard payroll)
  • NOTES:
    • Employees and fellows who are not U.S. residents may not be covered while traveling in their home country.
    • HMS off-quad appointed faculty employed by an affiliated institution (e.g. a hospital) are not normally considered eligible travelers.

Other individuals covered while traveling outside the U.S.
IMPORTANT: Given the nature of these individuals’ affiliation with the University, it is of the utmost importance that their information is entered in the Harvard Travel Registry. Contact Global Support Services for assistance entering travelers who do not have an active Harvard ID.

  • Paid employees of Harvard-controlled entities traveling on business
  • Spouses, domestic partners and dependent children traveling with a covered Harvard employee or student
  • Fellows and scholars with Harvard appointments, including those who are unpaid, traveling for a University project or program.
  • Non-Harvard students traveling with funding from Harvard or on a trip organized and/or led by Harvard
  • Certain other individuals traveling with Harvard-related programs, such as program volunteers and post-graduate fellows. Please consult GSS for guidance on eligibility.
  • NOTE: Those included in the groups listed above who are not U.S. residents may not be covered while traveling in their home country.

Exclusions to Coverage

The following exclusions apply to insured Harvard Travel Assist services. In cases when these exclusions apply, Harvard Travel Assist and the associated vendors will still facilitate services to the best of their ability, but they may be at the expense of the traveler. This is not an exhaustive list, but is intended to cover the most commonly applicable exclusions.

  • Personal travel (i.e. for students, trips that are exclusively leisure or family visits; for others, trips not on Harvard business)
  • Travel within 100 miles of the traveler’s primary residence
  • Travel within the U.S. by US-based travelers.
  • Continuous travel longer than 365 days
    Example: In order for a US national to remain eligible for coverage, he/she must return to the US at least once a year. For a detailed explanation of this exclusion (including how it applies to non-US national(s), please contact Global Support Services).
  • Suicide, attempted suicide, self-inflicted injury
  • Travel against advice of a physician
  • Travel to obtain medical treatment
  • Travel in violation of government sanctions
  • Certain non-commercial, specialized, or self-piloted aviation
  • Incarceration post-conviction
  • Service in armed forces
  • Evacuation or medical care not approved by Harvard Travel Assist service providers

Membership Card

If your trip activities fulfill the eligibility requirements mentioned above, please print a membership card to have with you in case of an emergency abroad.

pdfHarvard Travel Assist membership card
(PIN Protected)

You may also request a laminated card by contacting Global Support Services at

Frequently Asked Questions

What is "University business" or a "University-related activity?"

For this purpose, University business and University-related activities include any activity that can be broadly construed as part of academic or professional work at Harvard, including research, study abroad, attendance at a conference, travel with an officially recognized student organization, or even a summer or January job or internship if registered at Harvard the following term.

Personal travel, including vacations or travel home to visit family, is not covered.

Faculty traveling as part of an ongoing or long-term relationship with a non-Harvard organization should normally be covered under that organization’s evacuation and security procedures, services, and coverages. In general, travel by staff will be considered "University-business" if it is at the request of a supervisor. Please contact Global Support Services (617-495-1111 or if you have questions about your eligibility.

What should I do before traveling abroad?

Review and complete the steps outlined on the Before You Go tab of the Travel Tools webpage, including registering your itinerary in the Harvard Travel Registry and familiarizing yourself with Harvard Travel Assist’s services and resources. Be sure to visit the Harvard Travel Assist portal and review the country specific information available.

What happened to International SOS?

International SOS is the name of a vendor that provides emergency travel assistance services. In the spring of 2013, Global Support Services led an initiative to rename this suite of services “Harvard Travel Assist”. The services offered (described above) are not changing. For travelers, the only change is in the name of the service and the emergency phone number to call should assistance be needed overseas. Behind the scenes, Global Support Services will be engaging a new vendor, Anvil Group, to serve as the University’s primary provider of these services. International SOS will also be retained for a period of overlap during this transition to ensure the continuity of services.

Is the Harvard Travel Assist program an insurance policy?

Harvard Travel Assist is a program which provides emergency medical and security evacuations, as well as a source of information for travelers; it is not an insurance program. However, the services provided under the Harvard Travel Assist program are insured by Chubb Group of Insurance Companies. For eligible travelers (see details above), medical or security evacuations deemed necessary by Harvard Travel Assist will be covered by the Chubb insurance policy. This policy also provides coverage for costs associated with repatriation; proof of such coverage is required by some countries during the visa application process, see below.

Does Harvard Travel Assist replace health insurance?

No! Harvard Travel Assist is not health insurance. When necessary, Chubb, via Harvard Travel Assist (and the associated service providers), will pay a clinic or health care provider on the traveler’s behalf. However, these expenses will typically be billed to the traveler’s health insurance later; if uninsured, expenses may be billed to the traveler. Therefore, travelers should familiarize themselves with their insurance provider’s policies on overseas coverage.

I am required to show proof of coverage for repatriation in order to obtain a visa. How can I request such a letter?

If you are applying for a visa and required to document repatriation coverage, please click here.

Global Support Services will send you the required letter as a pdf, or contact you within one business day if further information is required. Please note that the letter will indicate insurance coverage from Chubb Group of Insurance Providers, and Anvil Group as the provider for these services. Both of these vendors are a part of the Harvard Travel Assist program.

Are there situations where I would be charged for these services?

In some cases, yes. Harvard Travel Assist may refer travelers to third-party providers who charge directly for services. If Anvil Group/Chubb Insurance paid for medical care, Chubb may bill the traveler or his/her insurance provider for the cost of services provided. Note that phone and online services are always free to eligible travelers so travelers are strongly encouraged to contact Harvard Travel Assist if they need medical or security advice or assistance.

How can I purchase an individual plan for personal or leisure travel or for a traveling companion?

Since Harvard is maintaining relationship with International SOS, you can still receive a 20% discount on International SOS services by calling 1-800-523-8662 or online by visiting the International SOS Harvard portal here.
Once you are on the International SOS website, click on the "Personal Travel" link on the right sidebar. Next, scroll to the middle of the page and click on "Get my quote now!" A new window will open, click "Get a Quote" on the right side bar below the Harvard membership number, and fill in all the required information. Following these prompts will give you a list of options regarding pricing and coverage, and allow you to purchase I-SOS directly from this screen.