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Travel Checklist

Click through to view a list of required forms and to-dos prior to your international travel, as well as what to do upon return. Also included are common Questions and Tips about international travel.

At least 6 months before...

Read the International Travel Policy from the Office of the Provost

  • Stanford's International Travel Policy impacts students, faculty, and staff traveling on Stanford-sponsored or Stanford-organized travel abroad. 

Review the U.S Department of State travel advisory and country information page for your destination(s)

Verify that your travel plans comply with Stanford's International Travel Policy

  • For undergraduate students, Stanford-sponsored or Stanford-organized trips are prohibited to countries or regions and locations within a country where International SOS risk rating (either the medical risk or travel risk) is “High” or “Extreme,” or where there is other reliable information of significant health or safety risks  for either the country destination, or for the particular region or location of intended travel within the country destination, or where there is other reliable information of significant health or safety risks. To determine a location’s International SOS medical and travel risk ratings, select the destination country from the International SOS portal.)

    No university funds or resources may be used, university sponsorship provided, or academic credit awarded, in support of travel to these locations. All individuals engaging in university-sponsored travel must comply with all applicable travel policies.

    For undergraduates only: if you are not in compliance with Stanford's International Travel Policy, discuss your options with your program sponsor. See Travel Exceptions Conditions, Criteria, and Process for more information.

Get a passport or check passport validity

  • For U.S. citizens, a passport application can take approximately four to six weeks to process. For non-U.S. citizens, check with your consulate for current processing times. Some countries require that a traveler’s passport be valid for six months after the date you enter the country. 

    To find out what those requirements may be, select your destination country and refer to the “Entry/ Exit Requirements” section on the U.S. State Department Country Specific Information page.

Apply for a visa (if required)

2 months before your trip

For students: Take the International Travel Preparation course on Canvas

  • This self-paced Canvas course for students covers travel preparation, health, safety and security matters. Upon finishing the course, students will be able to complete important pre-departure tasks and plans in preparation for international travel.

This includes using a range of external resources to identify and evaluate health and safety concerns specific to their destination, practicing safe travel behaviors, and identifying services and resources available through Stanford in case they need help.

To enroll:

  1. Students who are taking this course as a program pre-departure requirement will receive an enrollment link from their travel sponsor.
  2. Students who wish to self-enroll in the course may go to the link below.

Read guidelines on Stanford's travel assistance services

Check your health insurance plan for international coverage

  • All medical expenses that you incur when out of the U.S. are paid out of pocket. Check the terms of your insurance policy and the claim and reimbursement process with your health insurance carrier. Ideally, your insurance should cover international medical treatment, medical evacuation (in an emergency), and repatriation of remains in the event of death. If you’re covered by Cardinal Care, all three categories are covered.

    Many types of health insurance may only cover medical treatment abroad. In order to satisfy the two other categories, “medical evacuation” and “repatriation of remains,” you may choose to purchase supplemental travel insurance.

Schedule a Travel Medicine Consultation and obtain necessary vaccinations

Ensure a supply of medication for the duration of your trip and check that it is legal to bring into your destination country

  • If you have prescription medication, plan ahead and obtain prescriptions from your primary physician for the entire duration of your stay if possible. Some medications may not be readily available overseas. Some medications that are common in the U.S. may not have the same status in other countries and may even be illegal. Check the U.S. State Department Country Information page for restrictions.

Sign Stanford's Assumption of Risk form and return it to your travel sponsor

  • Any student planning to travel off-campus on Stanford-sponsored or Stanford-organized trips must read and sign Stanford's Assumption of Risk form and return the signed form to the department or center sponsoring their travel. (Not sure if you need to sign the form? Check out the decision tree.)

For international students or scholars: Get a travel signature

A few weeks before...

Read and understand guidelines for international expenses (graduate students)

  • For travelers who are traveling on University business, you may submit a request for reimbursement via an expense report within Stanford's Expense Requests System.

  • If there is a departmental administrator who has "SU Expense Requests" authority and handles expense reports that result in a reimbursement, you can submit your invoices or receipts to the administrator to process the reimbursement request.
  • If you submit a request via Expense Requests, you need to enter a business purpose and attach/upload supporting documentation. Business purpose includes the reason for the expenditure and explains how it supports Stanford University business and addresses Who, What, Where and Why. Please refer to the Guidelines for Writing Clear Business Purpose.

    The U.S. Department of State provides an online guide where you can look up foreign per diem rates by location. The Expense Requests system will display domestic and foreign per diems based on city within the system.

    Additionally, please read the Expense Guidance for Business Meals that includes additional regulations and guidelines that pertain to expenses for alcoholic beverages, location of the business meal, and meals provided to a spouse.

Identify specific challenges in the country(ies) to which you will travel and develop a contingency plan

Research international phone and data plans

  • Roaming (calls or using data services outside of your cellular provider's coverage area) charges can get very expensive. Call your cell phone provider to find out what kind of international phone plans they have for your destination country. Each cell phone provider is different and plans may vary depending on your provider. Alternatively, you can bring an unlocked phone that accepts a foreign SIM card, or purchase a local cell phone and SIM card upon arrival, or rely on wifi where available. 

Create a communication plan including key contacts

  • Create a communication plan and share it with family and relevant Stanford staff so that they know how you plan to keep in touch, and how often. Include relevant contact details for destination country, home country and Stanford contacts and method of communication.

Make paper copies of all travel documents and communication plan

  • Before you go, make copies of your passport, visa, and the fronts and backs of any credit cards you might bring with you. Also copy other important documents such as flight and hotel information, documents regarding prescriptions, medical conditions and vaccination records, and your communication plan. Leave copies with a trusted friend or family member or someone in your department and pack a copy of each in your luggage in case you lose the originals.

Register your trip with the U.S. Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

  • If you are a U.S. citizen, register your trip with the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) so they can better assist you in an emergency, i.e. you lose your passport. You can also subscribe to receive country specific updates. If you are not a U.S. citizen, the Department of State's equivalent in your country might have a similar program. 

  • Book Your Trip Using a Stanford Booking Channel

  • Book your itinerary using a Stanford Booking Channel so that the University can assist you in case of an emergency. By booking your international trip through one of these channels, your itinerary will be automatically registered in the University travel registry.

1 week before your trip

Notify financial institutions of your travel plans

Call your banks and credit card companies to let them know that you are traveling, and for how long. Failure to alert your issuer can result in a hold on your account due to suspected fraud, leaving you in a bind when you need your card the most.

Upon return from international travel