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International Travel

All air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board a flight to the United States. Learn more about the CDC order.

COVID-19 Update on University-Related Travel

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 to international destinations. With regard to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel (both domestic and international), refer to the University FAQ.

Who should register their international travel?

  1. All Faculty, Staff, and Students traveling abroad on University funds.
  2. All Faculty, Staff, and Students traveling abroad on University business without University funds (example: a faculty member is invited to give a keynote address at a conference and his/her costs are fully paid by the conference).
  3. All Students traveling abroad and receiving academic credit.
  4. All Students traveling abroad on non-credit programs sponsored by academic programs/departments

Who does NOT need to request travel exceptions or fill out this international travel request?

Faculty, staff and students traveling with UT’s Programs Abroad Office (PAO) with a PAO group do NOT need to complete a Travel Exception or an International Travel Request. PAO travel is reviewed through a separate process.

If you are traveling for personal reasons and the trip not being paid for by the University of Tennessee, you do NOT need to complete Travel Exception or an International Travel Request.

International Travel Requests and Registration — Required Steps

Travel Exceptions:   All travelers must determine if their destination(s) are under a US Department of State Travel Warning or a CDC Travel Health Notice. Pending the warning level or health notice, the traveler must submit a request for an exception.

Exception requests should be submitted at least 10 days in advance of travel.

Exceptions are required accordingly:

  • For Undergraduate Students
    If the Dept. of State Travel Warning is a 3 or higher; or

    If the CDC Travel Health Notice is a 2 or higher

Request Form for an Exception to Policy for Students

  • For Graduate or Professional Students
    If the Dept. of State Travel Warning is a 3 or higher; or

    If the CDC Travel Health Notice is a 3 or higher

Request Form for an Exception to Policy for Students

  • For Faculty & Staff
    If the Dept. of State Travel Warning is a 3 or higher; or

    If the CDC Travel Health Notice is a 3 or higher.

Request Form for an Exception to Policy for Faculty and Staff

Travelers will be notified if their travel exception is approved.

If an international travel exception is granted or if an exception is not required, follow the next steps.

Complete international travel registration (ITR)

  • Faculty/Staff Registration

Create new registration – for each international trip

Login to a saved registrations – to view current or previous applications

  • Student Registration

Create new registration – for each international trip

Login to a saved registrations – to view current or previous applications

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.

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 CISI insurance
  • will not be reimbursed for expenses
  • will not receive academic credit (if applicable)


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Basic Advice for Health and Safety during International Travel

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.

Review the US Department of State international travel website  

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.  The Travel Health Notices were recalibrated as of November 21, 2020.  A COVID-19 risk assessment is assigned to all countries according to the following levels:  

Risk Assessment Level for COVID-19

Level 4:  COVID-19 Very High
Level 3: COVID-19 High
Level 2: COVID-19 Moderate
Level 1: COVID-19 Low
Level Unknown: COVID-19 Unknown

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International Travel Warnings and UT 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

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 of 2 or higher, 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, 3, or 4

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 itr@utk.edu 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.

UT Students Conducting Independent Travel

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 2 or higher 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.

UT Faculty and Staff Conducting Official University Business

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 or higher. To request an exception, fill out this form.

Faculty and staff members whose request are denied can appeal to the provost by emailing a request for appeal to the International Risk Management Committee’s designee at itr@utk.edu 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.

International Risk Management Committee

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

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