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GSS Privacy Disclosures

The following privacy disclosures describe information gathering and use practices for the Harvard Global Support Services (GSS) website at and for the following third-party websites with respect to international travel-related services that they provide to Harvard users and travelers:

MyTrips, Travel Security Online, the Member Portal, the Destination Guides, the Training Hub, and the Assistance App are services provided by International SOS under a contract with Harvard.

The CIBTvisas Portal is a service provided by CIBTvisas under a contract with Harvard.

Your information may also be processed by other third-party vendors who provide tools to gather information, complete transactions, or perform services on our behalf or for your benefit. For example, we use webforms from Salesforce for our Travel Safety Questionnaire and to gather other travel-related data. As used in this Privacy Policy, the terms "we," "us" and "our" refer to Harvard, and the terms "you" and "your" refer to any Harvard user of the referenced sites.

Collection of Information

Information You Provide

When you visit certain pages of the sites, you will be asked to login with your HarvardKey. Your HarvardKey will not be accessible to us or to any provider.

Depending on what services you seek, you may be asked to provide some or all of the following information about yourself and your travel plans:

  • Name and contact information
  • HUID
  • Harvard status (student, faculty, staff, etc.) and School and program affiliations
  • Emergency contacts
  • Home country and current location
  • Travel plans and arrangements, such as schedule and itinerary, flights, accommodations, ground transport plans, means of communication
  • Travel goals and purposes and program-specific information
  • Other information that may be relevant to your travel risk, such as your language skills, familiarity with the destination and culture, health issues, gender identity
  • Information about your passport
  • In a specific emergency, information that may be needed to respond to the emergency

You will find that some information must be provided in order to obtain the requested services. Other information is optional; however, providing as much as possible improves our ability to help you prepare for your travel, respond to your inquiry, or help in an emergency. You may update information at any time by logging on to the relevant site.

When you email, call, or provide other communications to us or our providers, records of your communications may be retained in order to process your inquiries, respond to your requests, and improve our services.

Information from Other Parties

Harvard employees may add or update information about you and your travel. For example, if you participate in a Harvard program, the program leader may enter information about your trip for you; if you are a faculty member, your assistant or department administrator may enter information for you.

If you use one of Harvard’s preferred travel agencies to book your travel, information about your travel will automatically be provided to MyTrips on your behalf. Any subsequent changes to your itinerary made by the travel agent will also be provided as an update to MyTrips. Unlike information provided by you or another Harvard employee, you cannot edit this information. GSS may edit this information in order to better provide services to you in an emergency. For example, we may add information such as School affiliation to a traveler record so that designated Harvard staff can appropriately access your information and manage our emergency response.

Web Analytics

When you access the GSS website, in most cases your computer automatically sends information including your network address and how you reached the site, and records of your visits to the site will be retained.

The GSS website will also attempt to store a small piece of data known as a “cookie” on your computer, which will be read each time you visit the site. We may use cookies to establish continuity between related requests, to personalize the site to your preferences, to authenticate your login, and to analyze site traffic. Cookies do not themselves contain any personal information. You may choose to block cookies with your browser, but if you do, you may not be able to take advantage of all of the GSS site’s features.

Our providers may also use cookies when you visit their sites; their use of cookies will be explained in their privacy policies (see Third-Party Policies, below).

Use of Information

Emergency Response

Emergency response services are provided by International SOS in cooperation with GSS.

In the event of a travel emergency or escalated travel risk, or for emergency planning purposes, designated Harvard or International SOS staff may access or be provided with your information to (a) identify your location and whether you may be affected; (b) contact you or others who may have knowledge of your location, condition, and/or needs; (c) provide or arrange assistance; (d) contact you for information about others; and (e) take any other action that may help deal with such emergencies and risks.

Your information may also be provided to other third parties as reasonably needed to support the emergency response, such as security consultants, hospitals, physicians, insurance companies, and other providers, as well as U.S. and foreign government agencies. Personal health information will be shared, if necessary, in accordance with applicable legal restrictions.

Your emergency contacts may be contacted in cases that raise significant health and safety concerns, and especially when decisions may need to be made on your behalf. We may also respond to inquiries from your family and other listed contacts about your location and well-being.

Travel Alerts

You may request email or mobile app alerts with information about your destination, including medical and security risks, travel advice, advisories, and situation updates. Also, some alerts may be sent to you automatically based on your location or itinerary. Some alerts will be sent by International SOS on our behalf and at our request, and some will be sent directly by us. For these purposes, your contact information and itinerary will be accessed.

Responding to Requests for Services

We or our providers may use the information you provide to fulfill your request for a service, including online ordering of visas and other travel documents. The information may be sent as reasonably needed to third parties participating in providing the requested service, such as security consultants, U.S. and foreign government agencies, medical personnel, insurance companies, and other providers.

Should payments be made on your behalf by International SOS as a result of your receiving services, GSS will usually be required to provide your Social Security number (on file with Harvard) to our insurance partners in order to finalize an insurance or reimbursement claim.

Other Travel-Related Use

Your travel information will be made accessible to you on authentication of your identity.

We will use your information and other Harvard traveler information to produce general data on where Harvard travelers are or will be located worldwide. Providers may use your information to confirm that you are eligible for Harvard travel services.

Users can download the International SOS Assistance App in either the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. To access the App, users will login with their Harvard email or the Harvard International SOS membership number.

Aggregate Reporting and Analysis

We may use records on visits to the sites in aggregate (i.e. without names, Harvard IDs, or other identifying information) to analyze and report on general travel volume, trends and travel risks, and to evaluate our communications and registration and response procedures. This aggregate data may be used in internal or public communications. We may also evaluate site usage by collecting statistics about the behavior of visitors to the sites and analyzing user information and demographics, but only to generate aggregate statistical reports. For this purpose, we may use third-party services to collect such information. We may display this statistical information publicly or provide it to others. Such reports will not disclose site usage by individual visitors or by IP addresses.

Internal Program Management

For students, if you are traveling as part of a Harvard program or project, we will inform relevant Harvard contacts regarding your travel plans. We will track, and notify appropriate Harvard personnel, about whether or not you have completed online pre-trip requirements available through GSS, such as undergraduate pre-departure orientations and travel registration, in accordance with the student travel policies. We may also provide such information in response to requests from program or project staff.

Site Operations

The information may be used in general operations, for example, to customize your experience of the sites; evaluate the sites and users' needs; gather feedback about the sites; improve our service; support the functioning and security of the sites and our network and systems; and other similar purposes.

Protection of Harvard and Others

We may use the information, or provide the information to third parties for use, in circumstances where we believe that doing so is necessary or appropriate to: satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process, or governmental request; detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security, or technical issues; or protect our rights, property, or safety or the rights, property, or safety of others.

Users Located Outside the USA

If you are located outside of the United States in a country which has enacted a personal data protection law, please review additional privacy disclosures that may apply to you.


The GSS site has reasonable security measures in place to help protect against the loss, misuse, and alteration of the information under our control. However, no such measures are foolproof or 100 percent secure.

Third-Party Policies

In using the information of Harvard travelers, our providers have contractual obligations to Harvard with respect to data use and protection. The providers also have their own independent, additional privacy policies which may be accessed through their sites. When you visit their sites, their privacy policies will apply. Harvard can take no responsibility for their privacy and data security policies, acts, or omissions.

Contacting Us

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of the sites, or your dealings with the sites, please contact us at

Changes to Privacy Disclosures

We may change these Privacy Disclosures from time to time without advance notice. We will post the modified disclosures on this page, and will note the date of modification.

These Privacy Disclosures were last updated August 30, 2023.