University-Sponsored or University-Related International Travel
University Policy Number 1134
Categorized: General Policies
Responsible Office: Office of the Provost, Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance
- International Travel Handbook
- International Travel Emergency Operations Plan
- Trip-specific International Travel Emergency Plan
- Application for Travel to Hazardous Areas and Countries Under Comprehensive Economic Sanctions
Related Law & Policy:
- University Policy 1404: Reporting of Crimes, Accidents, Fires, and Other Emergencies
- University Policy 2101: Travel Authorization and Reimbursement
- University Policy 1141: Export Controls and Sanctions Compliance
- Code of Student Conduct
- Student Rights and Responsibilities (from University Catalog)
- Mason International Travel
This policy governs all international travel, and under special circumstances domestic travel when directed by Emergency Management Executive Committee (EMEC), that is university-sponsored or university-related. It establishes processes for registering travel with the university. This policy applies to all university faculty, staff, and students, as well as participants in university-sponsored or university-related group international educational travel programs, whether credit-bearing or not.
II. Policy Statement
All university-sponsored or university-related international travel must be registered with the university, and travelers must comply with all requirements of this policy. Employees are responsible for registering group travel activities with the Global Education Office (GEO); students are responsible for registering for individual educational travel. In addition, it is the responsibility of the traveler (employees and students) to regularly check the Department of State Advisories, Centers for Disease Control, and other websites to stay apprised of, and updated on, any and all travel advisories, warnings, or notices to the countries and regions currently visiting or will visit as part of their travel.
A. Employee Responsibilities for Individual or Group Travel
- It is the responsibility of the Academic Department to determine the qualifications of employees leading a group of students on an international trip.
- Employees traveling to or leading groups traveling to countries or areas under U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) or 4 (Do Not Travel), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travel Health Notice Warning Level 3 (Avoid non-essential travel) or higher, or countries under comprehensive economic sanctions must follow University Travel Advisory Committee (UTAC) procedures and policies. See Section III.
- Employees who lead, coordinate, or otherwise participate in university-sponsored or university-related international travel must register travel with the university before the international travel experience may be conducted or represented as approved by or sponsored by the university.
- Employees must also:
a. Complete the Trip-specific International Travel Emergency Plan, if traveling internationally;
b. Contact the Office of Research, Integrity, and Assurance (ORIA) to determine license requirements if working with export-controlled technology or materials or taking Mason equipment or technology abroad;
c. Maintain confidentiality of student records;
d. Apply appropriate financial controls;
e. Attend required orientation sessions provided by GEO if leading group for international travel;
f. Behave in a professional manner befitting the university and professional role during travel;
g. Maintain adequate communication with GEO, the relevant department and college, the Office of the Provost, and other university offices, as appropriate;
h. Notify University Police in the event of a crime that involves employees or students, or crimes that occur on property or locations under the control of the university. Crimes that must be reported to University Police include:
1. Murder/non-negligent manslaughter;
2. Negligent manslaughter;
3. Sexual assault (i.e., rape, fondling, or incest)
5. Aggravated Assault;
6. Motor vehicle theft;
8. Domestic violence;
11. Vandalism, destruction of property, or damage to property;
12. Intimidation; or
13. Simple assault.
i. Notify GEO of the following emergencies:
1. Serious injury, illness, psychiatric incidents, death, or hospitalization;
2. Reports or occurrence of infectious disease;
3. Natural disasters;
4. Political unrest or turmoil;
5. Missing employee or student; or
6. Any other situation deemed an emergency by employees or students.
j. Adhere to emergency management protocols as outlined in the International Educational Travel Handbook; and,
k. Employees must maintain a health insurance policy and register travel with the Office of Risk Management to receive university-approved travel insurance for themselves.
B. Student Responsibilities for Individual or Group Travel
Students pursuing international educational travel experiences, such as study abroad, internships, independent study, service learning, conferences, or dissertation research, must:
- Register travel with GEO;
- Sign and file an International Travel Acknowledgement of Risks and Medical Consent Form;
- Attend any required orientations/trainings;
- Pay applicable tuition, administrative and program fees, if any;
- Comply with policies and procedures regarding academic advising;
- Abide by applicable university regulations and policies, including, but not limited to, the University Catalog, the Code of Student Conduct, and university drug and alcohol policies;
- Students must purchase university-approved travel insurance for the duration of international travel;
- Students must have a current personal and medical insurance policy; and
- Students traveling to countries or areas under U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) or 4 (Do Not Travel), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travel Health Notice Warning Level 3 (Avoid non-essential travel) or higher, or countries under comprehensive economic sanctions must follow UTAC procedures and policies (see Section III).
A. Travel to Hazardous Areas
1. Student and employee travel that is university-related or university-sponsored is restricted from any area affected by the following:
a. U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) and 4 (Do Not Travel);
b. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travel Health Notice Warning Level 3 (Avoid non-essential travel) or higher; or
c. Comprehensive economic sanctions.
2. Exceptions to the restriction in Section III.A.1 may be made on a case-by-case basis by UTAC, as outlined in 3. below.
3. Individuals or groups intending to travel to an area subject to a travel advisory as outlined above must complete an Application for Travel to Hazardous Areas and Countries under Comprehensive Economic Sanctions. Applications should be submitted 30 days in advance of the proposed travel date or as soon as travel is anticipated (at a minimum 3 business days before travel start).
4. Because regional conflict may extend beyond defined borders, UTAC may also determine that university-related or university-sponsored travel is suspended or prohibited to countries neighboring any countries affected by Section III.A.1. (a), (b), or (c).
5. Refusal to comply with an evacuation order may result in either dismissal from the university in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct, termination of employment, or other disciplinary action as appropriate.
6. In the event of an in-country travel advisory issuance, travelers must follow the Trip-specific International Travel Emergency Plan.
7. UTAC may assess risks associated with activities in-country and travel to other areas, and may restrict travel as appropriate.
B. Travel to Sanctioned Countries
1. University-related or university-sponsored travel to any country or area under comprehensive United States economic sanctions must be approved in advance by UTAC. Individual employees are responsible for compliance with all U.S. laws and regulations related to travel to any such country or area. Individuals or groups intending to travel to an area under comprehensive economic sanctions must complete an Application for Travel to Hazardous Areas and Countries under Comprehensive Economic Sanctions. Applications should be submitted 30 days in advance of the proposed travel date or as soon as travel is anticipated.
C. UTAC Application Approval and Appeal Process
1. Approval: If your request for an exemption is approved, you may travel subject to any conditions stated within the application. Due to the dynamic nature of risk management concerns for any international or domestic travel, any approved UTAC exemption applies ONLY to the specific trip and for the stated travel dates provided on the application.
2. Changes in travel and/or conditions after UTAC Approval: If travel plans are adjusted after UTAC approval has been granted; the traveler or program/activity sponsor is responsible for contacting UTAC to discuss modified travel arrangements. If there is a change in circumstances – in terms of the proposed itinerary, the critical nature of the trip, or the health, safety, or security climates of the region of interest – either prior to, or after departure, the University retains the right to rescind UTAC travel approval and/or require return from travel.
3. Denial: If a request for a restricted travel exemption is denied, the proposed traveler(s) are not authorized to travel. Travelers who engage in unauthorized travel may not receive any sought academic credit and may not be reimbursed for any expenses associated with their travel (if eligible) as per George Mason University Policy 2101 – Travel Authorization and Reimbursement, and may be subject to disciplinary action.
4. Appeals: An appeal to the UTAC decisions should be directed to the Office of the Provost.
A. Hazardous Area: Any area that falls under a U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) or 4 (Do Not Travel), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travel Health Notice Warning Level 3 (Avoid non-essential travel) or higher; or is subject to comprehensive economic sanctions. Hazardous areas may also be identified on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of UTAC.
B. International Educational Travel: Any international travel undertaken by a student in association with a credit-bearing course, or by a student or participant in a non-credit-bearing course or program. International Educational Travel may include: study abroad courses; independent study, internships or student research; or experiential learning or field experiences.
C. University-sponsored: For the purposes of this policy, university-sponsored refers to any means by which the university approves, funds, manages, promotes, admits into, or operates international travel activities whether directly or through a subcontractor; this includes volunteers and agents of the university.
D. University-related: Any international travel activities engaged in by students or employees in their capacity as students or employees. This includes travel related to instruction, research, or business, such as: conferences, presentations, recruiting, site or program assessment, or development. This does not include international travel activities engaged in by students or employees in a personal capacity.
E. Employee: A person who works for the university full-time or part-time and is paid through the university’s payroll system.
A. UTAC bears overall responsibility for the administration of this policy. UTAC is responsible for registration, training and coordination with university officials in response to emergencies involving students, faculty, and staff on international travel. UTAC will review high risk international travel to ensure compliance with this policy and associated procedures, will investigate and assess potential threats, and will coordinate physical and personal security during crises. UTAC will maintain the university’s records on employee and student international travel to hazardous areas.
B. GEO is responsible for registration, training and coordination with university officials in response to emergencies involving students or faculty/staff participating in GEO programs. GEO will review student travel registrations to ensure compliance with this policy and associated procedures, will investigate and assess potential threats, and will coordinate physical and personal security during crises. GEO will maintain the university’s records on student international travel.
C. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that employees adhere to this policy and the procedures established by UTAC.
D. The Office of Risk Management is responsible for establishing minimum travel insurance requirements and providing guidance upon request.
E. ORIA shall provide information and resources related to compliance with export control and sanctions laws and regulations.
F. Employees and students on university-related or university-sponsored travel must comply with direction provided by UTAC.
International Travel Acknowledgement of Risk and Medical Consent Form
Trip-specific International Travel Emergency Plan (Group or Individual)
Application for Travel to Hazardous Areas and Countries under Comprehensive Economic Sanctions
This policy will become effective upon the date of approval by the Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance and Provost.
Date of Most Recent Review:
VIII. Timetable for Review
This policy, and any related procedures, shall be reviewed every three years or more frequently as needed.
Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance
Revision approved: August 2, 2016
Revised: January 23, 2018
Revised: April 9, 2018
Revised: September 16, 2020
Revised: July 21, 2021