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Travel Advisory FAQ's

How do I interpret the U.S. State Department travel advisories for cities or regions within a country? 

The Travel Advisory level for a country is clearly displayed at the top of each country page. Within the country’s travel advisory, look for key phrases that signal the equivalent numerical level for regions, cities, and other areas:

  • “Exercise normal precautions” - Level 1: This is the lowest advisory level for safety and security risk.

  • “Exercise increased caution” - Level 2: Be aware of heightened risks to safety and security. 

  • “Reconsider travel” - Level 3: Avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security. 

  • “Do not travel” - Level 4: This is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. 

Undergraduate students are not allowed to travel to - or through - cities, regions, areas, or countries that have a “Reconsider travel” (Level 3) or “Do not travel” (Level 4) advisory. Note that conditions in any country may change at any time. 

Who should review a student’s travel itinerary?

Students should first conduct their own self-assessment to ensure their travel is permissible under Stanford’s International Travel Policy. This first step requires that the student understand the U.S. State Department travel advisories for their destination (some resources for students to conduct this self-assessment are available here). 

A student’s next point of contact should be the department or program administrator coordinating or sponsoring the opportunity. The department or program has primary responsibility for reviewing travel itineraries, giving the green light to travel, and assigning any required pre-departure steps (some resources for administrators to advise students are available here).

If the student is traveling on a self-organized trip (without a department sponsor), they should contact the Office of Risk Management for support in reviewing their itinerary and preparing for a safe trip (attn: Vinita Bali, Associate Director - Global, vinitab@stanford.edu). 

What is the process for requesting an exception to Stanford’s International Travel Policy?*

Programs, Departments or Schools ("Travel Sponsor") may request an exception to the Stanford International Travel Policy for undergraduate travel to a Level 3 ("reconsider travel") or Level 4 ("do not travel") country or location, or to a location where there is other reliable information of significant health or safety risks ("Travel Policy Exception").

Conditions:

1. A Travel Policy Exception must be submitted by a Travel Sponsor. Students may not submit a Travel Policy Exception.

2. Travel Sponsors may request a Travel Policy Exception only for group travel. A Travel Sponsor's request for travel by an individual undergraduate student may be considered only where the travel by an individual undergraduate student is to his/her country of origin or residence.

The full details on the Travel Policy Exception process can be found here.  

For individual students:

Students will be asked to submit additional itinerary details to their Travel Sponsor using the Student International Travel Itinerary Review Form (also posted on OIA’s forms page). This form provides additional information needed to review the case for an exception. The Travel Sponsor will then proceed with the Travel Policy Exception process as described above. 

*For Travel Sponsors:

If you are interested in using the SOLO platform to manage travel policy exception requests, please contact Katie Kuruc (kkuruc@stanford.edu).

Is student personal travel affected by these advisories?

The International Travel Policy applies to Stanford-sponsored or Stanford-organized travel. Personal travel does not fall under these rules. However, we encourage students to register their travel with OIA. 

Is travel by graduate students, faculty, or staff affected by these advisories? 

For faculty, staff and graduate students, Stanford University strongly recommends against, but does not prohibit, travel to countries where the U.S. Department of State has issued a Level 3 ("reconsider travel") or Level 4 ("do not travel") for either the country destination, or for the particular region or location of intended travel within the country destination. There are no restrictions for travel to countries or regions within a country that are rated Level 1 or 2.

Travel Sponsors may still decide to require itinerary review or pre-departure steps for travel to high-risk areas. At a minimum, OIA recommends that graduate students register their travel, use the graduate student pre-departure checklist, and contact the Office of Risk Management (attn: Vinita Bali, Associate Director - Global, vinitab@stanford.edu) for support in preparing for a safe trip.