COVID-19 Update on University-Related Travel
University-related travel within Tennessee no longer requires an exception. Exceptions are required for university-related domestic travel, outside of the state of Tennessee, through 9/30. Domestic travel exceptions will no longer be required after 9/30. However, we will closely watch CDC guidelines and reinstate domestic restrictions if advised. The campus community will be notified of any changes.
Exceptions are required for university-related international travel through 12/31. Do not make any university-related international travel reservations without an approved exception. We will continue to monitor and possibly extend this restriction as we are seeing continued spikes abroad and re-entry restrictions for the US.
The University of Tennessee is committed to supporting and encouraging a wide variety of international opportunities for faculty, staff, and students. The safety and security of UT community members as they travel internationally is a top priority to the university.
This site provides guidance on international travel to UT faculty, staff, and students traveling independently.
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues across the world, UT employees (faculty or staff) and/or students who seek to travel internationally for UT business should complete the following processes in the following sequence.
- If you are traveling to a country or region under a US Department of State Travel Warning (Level 3 or 4) or Center for Disease Control Travel Alert (Level 2 or 3 for students, Level 3 for faculty/staff), complete a request for an exception to policy for international travel.
- If an exception is granted, Submit a travel request through IRIS
- Register your travel with UT’s International Travel Registry
Further information about travel in such regions and countries is outlined below.
International travel registration is critical to the university’s risk management program and allows the university to communicate with faculty and staff in the event of an emergency. All students traveling on a faculty/staff member’s travel authorization request must also complete the online international travel registration process before the faculty/staff member’s travel authorization will be approved.
Students participating in study abroad programs through the Programs Abroad Office are automatically registered and do not need to register again.
UT faculty, staff, and students who do not complete the registration process:
- will not receive travel authorization
- will not have access to International SOS or CISI insurance
- will not be reimbursed for expenses
- will not receive academic credit (if applicable)
How to register
Please use a recommended browser: Google Chrome or Firefox. This software is not compatible with Microsoft Explorer or Safari. Log-in requires two-factor authentication. If you have difficulty, contact the OIT HelpDesk at 865-974-9900.
Contact your health insurance provider to clarify what coverage you have while abroad.
Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) provides an international insurance plan at both basic and comprehensive levels for UT faculty, staff, and students on university-related international travel.
The university sponsor code for students is UTN.
Students on certain study abroad programs and noncredit group travel sponsored by colleges and departments will automatically have CISI.
Faculty and staff are required to purchase CISI coverage.
If you are extending your travel for personal travel, you may extend your CISI coverage. However, CISI insurance will not cover exclusively personal trips, but you are advised to secure such coverage.
The university sponsor code for faculty and staff is UTN-BT.
While traveling, use the CISI portal for policy brochures, resources, information or to request assistance. Download the CISI to your smartphone for convenient access.
International SOS is an assistance program or concierge service for UT faculty, staff, and students who sign up through the international travel registry. International SOS is not an insurance but provides medical and security advice, referrals, and emergency evacuation services to eligible university travelers abroad.
As a UT employee or student traveling outside a UT Programs Abroad program, you have access to the International SOS global network of 26 assistance centers. This assistance program provides expanded protection to deal with travel, medical, and security needs. The doctors, security experts, and assistance coordinators are available 24/7 to provide advice in your language and to support you in case of an emergency.
Travel through UT’s Program Abroad programs is covered by CISI rather than International SOS.
UT’s International SOS membership login is 11BCAS080063.
Tips for using International SOS
- Understand your coverage. The International SOS leaflet has important information and is available here.
- Download the ISOS app on your smartphone for policy details while traveling. The Center for Global Engagement will also send you an International SOS card in campus mail, which you can carry with you during your travels. It can be useful to have this card if you do not have consistent internet access internationally.
Register with STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program)
All UT faculty, staff, and students are advised to register with the US Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Complete this process online. In the event that issues affecting the safety of US citizens unexpectedly arise, the US Embassy needs up-to-date contact information for visitors to disseminate safety information, evacuation orders, or other updated travel advisories.
Included in the US Department of State website is information pertinent to travelers going to high-risk areas.
There is also a travel advisory list for countries and in some cases areas within countries. The advisory levels are as follows:
Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions
Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution
Level 3: Reconsider Travel
Level 4: Do Not Travel
Visit the Center for Disease Control website
Learn about relevant immunizations and health concerns for your destination. Additionally, the Center for Disease Control provides Travel Health Notices. Three levels of warnings are listed:
Watch Level 1: Practice Usual Precautions
Alert Level 2: Practice Enhanced Precautions
Warning Level 3: Avoid Nonessential Travel
UT does not recommend travel to destinations with an active US Department of State Level 3 or 4 travel advisory or with a CDC Level 3 travel health warning. UT funds cannot be used for travel to these destinations, and academic credit cannot be issued. Exceptions must be approved by the International Risk Management Committee or the provost.
Please review practices and information regarding:
- UT Students on Non-UT Programs Abroad
- UT Students conducting independent travel
- UT Staff and Faculty conducting independent travel
- International Risk Management Committee
Students may participate in non-UT programs in countries with a US Department of State Level 1 or 2 travel advisory. If there is an area within the country at a higher level, students should not travel to these areas.
For countries and areas with a US Department of State Level 3 or 4 travel advisory or a CDC travel health warning, the student is required to request an exception to the policy before UT funds may be used or academic credit received. Fill out the Student Request Form for an Exception to Policy. The International Risk Management Committee will review the request and the student will be notified of the decision.
If the International Risk Management Committee denies the request, the student may not use any UT funds (including the TELS scholarship and any existing financial aid package) for their study abroad program or receive academic credit, the Center for Global Engagement will not provide support and will not be able to maintain the student’s enrollment at UT during the study abroad term.
If the International Risk Management Committee approves the request, then the student may participate in the program and will receive access to all regular study abroad services offered by UT. The university is not responsible for the health and safety of any student who decides to travel to locations with a Department of State Level 3 or 4 travel advisory or a CDC travel health warning of 2 or 3.
Students whose request is denied can appeal to the provost by emailing a request for appeal to the International Risk Management Committee’s designee at firstname.lastname@example.org within 14 days of their notification of the committee’s decision. Students must conduct all communication with the designee. The provost’s decisions are final.
If the committee or provost grants an exception, the regular request and registration process must be completed before the travel begins.
The Center for Global Engagement may approve select non-UT programs within a country holding a Department of State Level 3 travel advisory based on program criteria. In such cases, the student would not need to request an exception from the International Risk Management Committee. The student would instead need to sign a statement indicating an understanding of the elevated risk. If a student chooses an unapproved program or wants to conduct independent travel, the regular petition procedure applies.
The same request and appeal processes apply to students who wish to conduct independent travel to a country or area under a Department of State Level 3 or 4 travel advisory or a CDC level 3 travel health warning. Without an approved exception, the student may not use UT funds or receive academic credit for the travel. This policy applies to all students, undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, who are receiving funds from UT to pay a portion or all their expenses for independent travel (independent study, research, conference attendance, etc.). The university is not responsible for the health and safety of any student who decides to travel to these locations without approval.
Faculty and staff members cannot use UT funds for official travel to a country or area under a Department of State Level 3 or 4 travel advisory or a CDC travel health warning of 3. To request an exception, fill out this form.
Faculty and staff members whose request is denied can appeal to the provost by emailing a request for appeal to the International Risk Management Committee’s designee at email@example.com within 14 days of their notification of the committee’s decision.
If the committee or provost grants an exception, the regular request and registration process must be completed before the travel begins. Without an approved exception, travel will not be reimbursed by the university.
The International Risk Management Committee reviews safety and security conditions associated with UT study abroad programs and independent international travel undertaken by students, faculty, and staff. The committee is responsible for deciding when individuals associated with UT may travel for UT business, use UT funds, and/or receive academic credit for travel to international destinations. In addition to the US Department of State’s travel advisories and Centers for Disease Control’s travel health warnings, the committee considers a variety of factors—the most important being the safety of UT students, faculty, and staff.
Should circumstances warrant, the International Risk Management Committee may also invite the following individuals to provide additional information:
- Additional UT faculty members with significant expertise in the affected country or region
- Dean of the college sponsoring the study abroad program or independent travel
- Appointed general counsel
- Other individuals as needed