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College International Travel Policy

This policy sets forth international travel restrictions for Harvard College students and post-baccalaureate fellows traveling with Harvard sponsorship. Travel with Harvard sponsorship is travel or related activities involving academic work qualifying for Harvard credit, funded in whole or in part by Harvard, or organized or accompanied by a Harvard faculty or staff member acting in a Harvard capacity.

Global Support Services maintains travel risk ratings for high-risk, elevated-risk, moderate-risk, and low-risk countries and regions. These categories of countries and regions are the destinations directly affected by this policy. The risk ratings list is reviewed and updated twice annually and as needed based on world events.

Prohibited Travel

Harvard-sponsored travel to high-risk regions is prohibited. The sole exception to this prohibition is for visiting your parents or legal guardians, but only if your parents or legal guardians reside in the high-risk region and will monitor your well-being throughout your time there.

In certain cases, a country that is classified as high risk may have elevated regions within its borders; in such cases, you may be cleared for travel to the elevated regions once you comply with the restricted travel steps (see below).

Because the list of high-risk countries and regions is prone to fluctuations, Harvard sponsorship may be withheld at any time up to and including your planned date of departure.

Restricted Travel

Harvard-sponsored travel to elevated-risk regions is ordinarily permitted, but may be subject to restrictions. To receive Harvard sponsorship to these countries or regions, you must:

  1. Fill out and submit the Travel Safety Questionnaire, to be reviewed by our International Safety and Security team.
  2. Make adjustments or arrange additional safety mitigation, if recommended by our International Safety and Security team.
  3. Download and complete the appropriate Assumption of Risk and General Release form (also called a Travel Waiver). This form must be signed by you and a parent or legal guardian.
  4. Attend a special orientation program for travel to elevated-risk regions, organized by GSS and the Office of International Education.

Based on recommendations of our International Safety & Security team, you may be required to take additional steps before or during your travel to these countries in order to obtain approval for your travel plans; examples include:

  • Contacting a designated Harvard official on arrival in country and/or at regular intervals during travel
  • Obtaining permission from a Harvard official before making side trips
  • Adhering to security mitigation strategies to promote a safer travel environment

Harvard may withhold sponsorship of the planned travel if our International Safety and Security team determines after review that the travel would be imprudent, based on the particular facts of the case.

Changes During Travel

If a country or region is placed on the high-risk or elevated-risk list during travel, our International Safety and Security team will assess the risks of remaining in country and the risks of departure. Typically, this risk assessment will involve a review of available information from a variety of news sources, in consultation with U.S. State Department officials, safety and security partners and/or other private security consultants, the Office of the General Counsel, and any Harvard affiliates with knowledge of the situation on the ground.

Based on this risk assessment, Harvard will advise you of the risks and the recommended course of action, up to and including immediate departure from the country, and explain how to access Harvard assistance. Harvard may withdraw your sponsorship if you do not follow its recommendations.