Download PDF
Effective Date: October 30, 2014 Revised: March 19, 2018

1. Introduction

The goal of this policy is to help ensure the health, safety, and security of members of the Boston University community undertaking international travel consistent with the broad activity and intellectual exploration inherent in the global reach of a global research university. It seeks to enable consistent planning, operation and response among widely varied academic units and activities; provide for quick and consistent institutional support for Boston University global activities in the event of crisis; reduce institutional risk; and thereby enhance the global mission of Boston University. This policy applies to all Boston University Faculty, Staff and Students who engage in University-Sponsored International Travel. This policy does not apply to employees of the Boston Medical Center. This policy does not apply to personal International Travel.


2. Definitions

These definitions apply to terms as they are used in this policy.

Global Travel Risk Assessment Committee (GTRAC). The GTRAC is a standing committee tasked with assessing travel-related risk, reviewing petitions for exceptions to this policy, and offering support to individuals and groups abroad during emergencies. The GTRAC is coordinated by the Global Programs Office and consists of representatives from the Faculty body and the following administrative units: Risk Management, Dean of Students, Human Resources, Research Administration, Travel, and Global Programs.

Other individuals and University offices will be represented as appropriate.

High-Risk Destinations. Countries, regions and/or cities currently under an overall Level 3 or Level 4 Travel Advisory issued by the U.S. Department of State. Boston University may also apply the designation “High-Risk” to locations that pose a specific health, safety or security concern as indicated by sources other than U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories, such as individual U.S. embassies or consulates, the Centers for Disease Control, insurers, or travel providers.

International Travel. Travel undertaken outside the 50 United States or its territories.

Sanctioned Countries. Countries subject to United States trade or economic restrictions administered by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control, based on United States economic and national security interests.

Sponsoring Unit. A department, school, college, center, office or other University entity that organizes, approves or supports an overseas activity.

University-Sponsored Travel. Academic or business travel undertaken by Boston University Faculty, Staff and Students and authorized, funded, or administered by Boston University. Such travel may include, but is not limited to, teaching, research, administrative work, for-credit study, internships, field studies, service learning, volunteer or work programs and other experiential learning, performances, athletic competitions, and trips abroad in connection with student organizations recognized by any BU academic or administrative unit.

Waiver of Liability. A legal document signed by a person participating in an activity, acknowledging that he or she is aware of the risks associated with participation in the activity and agreeing to waive any claims against Boston University arising from any loss or injury suffered while participating in the activity.


3. Registration of University-Sponsored International Travel

Undergraduate Students. Undergraduates are required to register their travel before undertaking any University-Sponsored International Travel.

Graduate Students. Graduate Students are required to register their travel before undertaking any University-Sponsored International Travel.

Staff. Staff are required to register their travel before undertaking any University-Sponsored International Travel.

Faculty. Faculty are strongly encouraged to register their travel before undertaking any University-Sponsored International Travel. Faculty are also encouraged to consult with the Global Programs office regarding travel with family members.

Registration should typically include at least the following information from individuals undertaking International Travel: Boston University affiliation, purpose of travel, dates, destinations, itineraries, means of travel, accommodation information, contact information, and insurance information.

4. Restrictions on Travel to High-Risk Destinations

High-Risk Destinations

Undergraduate Students. University-Sponsored Travel to High-Risk Destinations is prohibited unless the Student’s travel is approved pursuant to Section 5.

Graduate Students. University-Sponsored Travel to High-Risk Destinations is not restricted, however, graduate students traveling to high-rsk destinations and/or their sponsoring units are encouraged to seek advice from the GTRAC to develop steps to help mitigate risks.

Faculty. University-Sponsored Travel to High-Risk Destinations is not restricted, but registration of University-Sponsored Travel to High-Risk Destinations is strongly encouraged.

Staff. University-Sponsored Travel to High-Risk Destinations is not restricted, but as stated above, registration of all University-Sponsored International Travel is required.

5. Exceptions to Restrictions on Travel to High-Risk Destinations

This policy acknowledges that the severity of risk may vary significantly from place to place within a given country, and that U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings also may vary in the severity of their proposed restrictions. Therefore, Undergraduates may petition for an exception to this rule if they can demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the risks involved and explain steps taken to mitigate those risks.

Undergraduates who seek an exception to the restriction on International Travel to High-Risk Destinations may submit a petition to the GTRAC. The GTRAC will then review and assess petitions and make a recommendation to the University Provost or his/her designee for final approval.

Final approval may require petitioners to take further steps to mitigate risk as conditions of approval, including, for example, additional health, safety and security precautions, further training, special waivers, or additional insurance coverage.

6. Waivers of Liability

Undergraduate Students. Each Sponsoring Unit must obtain a signed Waiver of Liability form from any Undergraduate prior to departure on University-Sponsored International Travel.

Graduate Students. Each Sponsoring Unit must obtain a signed Waiver of Liability form from any Graduate Student prior to departure on University-Sponsored International Travel to a High-Risk Destination.

7. Insurance and Evacuation/Emergency Travel Assistance

Information about health insurance and evacuation/emergency travel assistance can be found on the Global Programs Office website.

Undergraduate and Graduate Students. All Students undertaking University-Sponsored International Travel must possess health insurance and evacuation/emergency travel assistance coverage that meets minimum standards established by the GTRAC.

Faculty/Staff. Health insurance and evacuation/emergency travel assistance coverage are strongly encouraged for International Travel. Faculty and staff are encouraged to review their health insurance coverage to ensure that it meets minimum standards established by the GTRAC. Note that all Boston University employees are covered by an evacuation/emergency travel assistance plan when travelling abroad on University business.

8. Evacuation

The University reserves the right to issue an instruction that all University Faculty, Staff, or Students evacuate a given location when, in its sole judgment, conditions have changed to the extent that continued participation in an activity at that location endangers the health, safety or security of participants.

If a Faculty or Staff member, or Student does not heed a University instruction to evacuate, that individual does so at his or her own risk, may forfeit insurance coverage, academic credit, tuition payments or expense reimbursement, and may be held responsible for additional expense incurred by the University due to the individual’s refusal to follow this policy.

9. Export Controls

University-Sponsored International Travel to Sanctioned Countries for any period of time must be approved by Boston University’s Export Control Office.

In order to secure appropriate licenses or other approvals in advance of travel, Faculty, Staff, or Students are required to contact the University Export Control Director prior to any International Travel if:

    • Faculty, Staff or Students work on a project subject to US export control laws (even if the International Travel is not related to that particular project); and/or
    • Faculty, Staff, or Students plan to carry abroad samples, materials, prototypes, hardware, technology, or software on the U.S. Commerce Control List or the U.S. Munitions List.


10. Responsible Parties

Export Control Office. Approves University-Sponsored International Travel subject to U.S. export control laws and helps Faculty, Staff and Students secure government approvals.

Global Programs. Provides procedures supporting the International Travel Risk Policy, strategic and operational support for University-Sponsored International Travel, coordination of the GTRAC, and international emergency response.

Global Travel Risk Assessment Committee (GTRAC). Assesses International Travel risk; reviews petitions for exceptions to this policy; provides emergency support for International Travel.

Office of Risk Management. Provides information on insurance, use of motor vehicles, and other University procedures related to travel risk.

Travel Office. Responsible for travel booking, and business travel and expense guidelines.

11. Related Policies and References

Policies

Export Control Policy Statement
Travel and Business Expense Guidelines

References

U.S. Government

Centers for Disease Control
Commerce Control List
Munitions List
Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs
Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Asset Controls Sanctioned Countries List


World Health Organization

12. History

  • September 2013: Working Group convened to draft policy
  • December 2013: Working Group completed draft policy and submitted policy to the President and Provost
  • February 3, 2014: Draft policy discussed at Provost’s Cabinet meeting
  • February 7, 2014: Draft policy discussed at meeting of University Council Committee on Student Life and Policies
  • March 21, 2014: Draft policy discussed at joint meeting of University Council Committees on Faculty Policies and Student Life and Policies
  • May 7, 2014: Council of Deans recommended review by University Council
  • May 7, 2014: First reading by University Council
  • May 20, 2014: Draft modified to reflect University Council comments
  • June 26, 2014 : Draft policy discussed at the Executive Committee of the University Council
  • July 15, 2014: Draft policy discussed by the Faculty Council
  • October 15, 2014: University Council Meeting
  • October 30, 2014: Approved

Additional Resources Regarding This Policy

BU Websites

Policy Contacts:

Key elements of the International Travel Risk Policy for University-Sponsored international activities:

  • Registration of Travel: All student travel and staff business travel overseas must be registered through the International Travel Registry. The Policy strongly encourages faculty members to register their travel as well. This will allow us to reach you in an emergency.