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International Travel

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 health, safety, and security of all UT community members is the top priority to the university. For more information, see: UTK COVID-19 travel guidelines.


Who should register their international travel?

All students, faculty, and staff traveling abroad with UT support must register their travel with the university. This includes:

  1. Travel conducted abroad using university funds, whether the university is partially or fully funding the travel (for example, for independent study, research, conference attendance, etc.).
  2. All travel abroad for academic credit, including research that will lead to credit at the university.
  3. 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 is not being paid for by the university, you do NOT need to complete Travel Exception or an International Travel Request.

UT Travel Policy (Faculty, Staff, and Students)

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 Advisory. Depending on the advisory level (see below), the traveler must submit a request for an exception to the travel policy.

If an international travel exception is granted or if an exception is not required, move to STEP 2 above.

Exception requests should be submitted at least 10 days in advance of travel, and are required for the following groups/risk levels:


Set up a Travel Request in Concur; AND

Complete international travel registration (ITR)

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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)


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 (STEP). Complete this process online. Benefits of enrolling in STEP include:

  • Receiving important information from the local embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans.
  • Helping the US embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.

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 International SOS website

In addition to international health insurance coverage, UT partners with International SOS (ISOS) to provide 24/7 medical, security, and emotional assistance to our travelers while they are abroad. See our website for additional details.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control website

Learn about relevant immunizations and health concerns for your destination. Additionally, the CDC provides Travel Health Notices, which inform travelers about current health issues that impact travelers’ health, like disease outbreaks, special events or gatherings, and natural disasters, in destinations around the world.

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International Travel Advisories and UT Travel

UT does not recommend travel to destinations with an active US Department of State Level 3 or 4 travel advisory. UT funds cannot be used for travel to these destinations, and academic credit cannot be issued, unless the individual or group receives an approved exception to the travel policy. Please see: International Travel Requests and Registration — Required Steps.

The university is not responsible for the health and safety of any student, faculty, or staff member who decides to travel without an approved exception. Their travel expenses will also not be reimbursed by the university.

International Risk Management Committee

The International Risk Management Committee reviews health, safety, and security conditions associated with UT study abroad programs and UT-supported travel undertaken by students, faculty, and staff. The committee is responsible for deciding when UT travelers may travel with UT support to international destinations that require a travel policy exception request. 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 health and 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

The International Risk Management Committee or its designee will review requests and the traveler will be notified of the decision.

If the International Risk Management Committee denies the request, the traveler may not use any UT funds (including the TELS scholarship and any existing financial aid package) for their travel or receive academic credit.

Travelers 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. Travelers must conduct all communication with the designee. The provost’s decisions are final.

If the committee or provost grants an exception, the regular travel registration process must be completed before the travel begins. Travelers must also comply with stipulations of the committee or provost’s approval while abroad.


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