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Santa Clara University

International Travel COVID-19 FAQs

  • International Travel COVID-19 FAQs, below. See also FAQs for:
    Global Engagement promotes collaboration and connection with others in our globally interdependent world and the current situation is a reminder of just how interconnected we are. While we do not know when the COVID-19 situation will stabilize, we are eager resume global programs when it is safe to do so. 


    What are the decision-making points relevant to SCU’s International Travel Policy?

    The University International Travel Policy gives primary importance to the US Department of State (DOS), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) in evaluating decisions about international travel.  


    What is SCU’s timeline for decisions related to international university-sponsored travel?
    • March 25, 2021 the University announced the SCU COVID Travel Protocol for Spring 2021 remains effective through June 30. 
    • March 13, 2020 the University suspended all international programs taking place during summer 2020.  
    • March 7, 2020 the University suspended all international programs taking place over spring break 2020.  
    CDC COVID Advisory Updates for International Travel
    The CDC Level 4 COVID Global Health Advisory to avoid travel has been removed. Updates to the advisories levels for many destinations were made April 2, 2021 and you can find both the covid recommendation and their regular travel advice in the program-specific pages for each country: You can see all the CDC covid-specific travel recommendations by destination here. The CDC has created new advice for international travel based on whether travelers are vaccinated or unvaccinated.  
    CDC recommendations are based on the health condition and do not address travel restrictions, testing requirements, visa restrictions or on-site quarantine requirements which impact whether or not international travel may be possible. Refer to country embassies for this information. During pandemic the CDC advisories and recommendations are more current than the US Department of State. Many DOS travel advisories remain unchanged since August 1, 2020.
    Are there other factors, in addition to these advisories, that SCU considers in making decisions about university-sponsored international travel?

    Yes, in addition to these advisories, border closings and quarantine requirements are being implemented around the globe often without warning.  Many countries have closed their borders to non-citizens who are not already in the country. Some countries are requiring mandatory quarantining upon entry.  The US has increased restrictions on travel entering/returning to the US.

    Other considerations may include:

    • Ability to successfully execute the educational objectives of the program
    • Impact on ability to receive academic credit
    • Impact on ability to receive refunds for program costs, visas, airfare, immunizations or other costs related to program participation
    • Where can I find information on the current entry requirements related to COVID-19 for countries around the world?
    • The US Department of State (DOS) provides country-specific information here


    What are the governance and decision-making structures in place related to university-sponsored international travel? 

    The Crisis Abroad Response Team (CART) convenes to coordinate response in the event of an international or localized emergency that may impact participants in University-sponsored travel.  The members determine when to cancel or suspend University-sponsored education abroad opportunities because of significant health, safety, or legal risks to participants, or significant threat to the educational objectives of the program.  The Crisis Abroad Response Team may incorporate other consultants as needed. 

    The Travel Policy Advisory Committee (TPAC) reviews proposals from Faculty/Staff Program Coordinators and makes recommendations to the Associate Provost for International Programs regarding the approval of university-sponsored international travel. The Committee makes recommendations to the Provost regarding requests for exceptions to University policy regarding university-sponsored international travel.  TPAC advises on guidelines and procedures related to university-sponsored international travel. The Committee provides guidance in keeping with national best practices and ethical engagement abroad.

    How is SCU’s implementation of the University International Travel Policy different now from other times?

    It is not different.  In keeping with the University International Travel Policy, the University does not approve programs in countries/areas where a Level 3 or Level 4 advisory is currently in effect.  

    What about the timeline -- what if the COVID-19 situation improves a week or two before planned travel - can we still go?

    Programs need to make decisions eight to twelve weeks prior to the program start date.  

    The DOS Global Health Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel applies to all countries/areas worldwide.  

    This is because programs require adequate time to prepare for programs abroad including time to complete pre-departure orientations, obtain visas, immunizations, address individualized plans for academic accommodations, develop plans for on-going health support, purchase plane tickets and manage other preparations that typically take six to twelve weeks prior to departure.  SCU prioritizes equity in all our programs abroad and this includes allowing sufficient time for all program participants to address individualized needs related to program preparation.  

  • The country/area of my program is not mentioned in the country-specific CDC advisories, can I still travel?

    No. The DOS Global Health Advisory Level 4: Do Not Travel applies to all countries/areas worldwide.

    What are the implications for departments across the university?

    This has significant implications for departments across the university requiring adaptations of courses already in progress and addressing financial commitments already made to offer programs abroad. Many faculty and staff have worked for many months building programs abroad that are impactful and innovative and these programs are all suspended.  

    I have been invited to give a talk at a conference or meeting abroad, is that considered university-sponsored travel?

    If SCU is providing any in-kind support such as time away from teaching or on-campus responsibilities, this is supporting your travel abroad making it “university-sponsored”.

    How can I learn more about what is considered “university-sponsored” international travel?

    University-sponsored travel is described in detail here.

    What are implications for international students and scholars wishing to travel abroad?

    Please see FAQs for Immigration Considerations related to COVID-19 for International Students and Scholars here.