Forms + Checklists
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)
- International SOS assigns travel and medical risk ratings and the U.S. Department of State issues a travel advisory for every country in the world, in addition to detailed country information pages with important safety, security, and immigration information for travelers.
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)
For U.S. citizens, refer to the “Entry/Exit Requirements” section on the U.S. State Department’s Country Information page to determine whether you need a visa. Citizens of other countries can contact the destination country's embassy. Citizenship and purpose of travel will determine the type of visa needed. If you prefer, you can engage the services of a visa agency that specializes in obtaining visas. Agencies recommended by the University travel agent that specialize in obtaining visas for foreign travel include:
VisaCentral by CIBT
VisaCentral by CIBT offers online Stanford rates; or contact the local office:
VisaCentral San Francisco
555 Montgomery Street, Suite 700
San Francisco, CA 94111
Walk-in hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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.
Students who are taking this course as a program pre-departure requirement will receive an enrollment link from their travel sponsor.
Students who wish to self-enroll in the course may go to the link below.
Read guidelines on Stanford's travel assistance services
Through International SOS (for faculty, staff and students) and Assist America (for postdoctoral scholars), Stanford University has 24/7 resources on-call, online and on-the-ground to help with medical, security and logistical questions and concerns that may arise when you travel internationally or live abroad. Note that some services may result in additional costs to the traveler. Contact your sponsoring unit for more information.
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
At least 6-8 weeks prior to departure, schedule a travel medicine consultation to discuss issues specific to your health history, destination, and planned activities. For travelers with self-identified risk factors and/or disease symptoms, a medical services evaluation might also be useful to ensure you stay safe and healthy during your trip. The Travel Clinic at Vaden Health Center, Travel Medicine Clinic at Stanford Hospital and Clinics, and Occupational Health Center (for faculty and staff) are convenient on-campus options. Depending on your destination, you may also need an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (also known as the Carte Jaune or Yellow Card) to document necessary vaccinations for traveling to and from certain countries.
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.
For international students or scholars: Get a travel signature
A valid travel signature on the I-20 or DS-2019 is required for re-entry during the F or J program after travel abroad. Only authorized advisors at the I-Center can provide such signatures for students/scholars sponsored by Stanford. Student/scholars sponsored by other program sponsors such as Fulbright or LASPAU, must contact those sponsors to obtain the required 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
Gain comprehensive knowledge on your destination(s) through the U.S. Department of State’s Country Specific Information Page, International SOS Risk Assessments, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's advice for travelers. Talk to others who have traveled there before. Think about likely scenarios that could affect your health and safety, and how you would respond if they were to happen.
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.