MIT International Travel Risk Policy

MIT uses travel warnings and alerts issued by the U.S. Department of State, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and World Health Organization to categorize countries with a travel warning level of Extreme, High, or Medium.

For a list of locations with current ratings designated by this policy, check out the International Travel Risk Policy Country Warning Levels page. For questions on how the International Travel Risk Policy applies for your travel, contact International Safety and Security Program Manager Todd Holmes.

Policy

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that all members of the MIT community are able to make well-informed travel decisions.  No one will be coerced or required to travel to or remain in locations where there are significantly heightened health or safety risks.

The following guidelines outline definitions of MIT international travel, the various levels of travel warnings, and the policies that apply to international travel for MIT.  Student travel may be restricted as outlined further by this policy. 

MIT uses the best available sources for assessing risk, including travel advisories from: 

Who is Affected by this Policy?

The International Travel Risk Policy applies to any member of the MIT community travelling out of the United States for MIT business.  This is defined as any program or activity that is required or run by the Institute or financially supported through any MIT account.

Any member of the MIT community (faculty, staff, and students) who is traveling wholly for personal reasons and without financial support by MIT (i.e., without funding through any MIT account) is not subject to MIT’s International Travel Risk Policy.

Individual discretion governs decisions regarding personal travel.

Travel Warnings

MIT categorizes international destinations by three warnings:

A.   Extreme Travel Warning
This applies to countries or areas where any of the following conditions apply:

  • DoS Level 4 - Do not travel
  • DoS personnel and/or their families have been ordered to leave and/or services are not available at US Embassies or consulates.
  • The DoS, CDC and/or WHO have determined that there is a very serious health risk and therefore prohibit travel and/or require quarantine before or upon re-entry to the U.S. 

B.   High Travel Warning
This applies to countries or areas where any of the following conditions apply:

  • DoS Level 3 - Reconsider travel
  • CDC Level 3 - Warning - Avoid nonessential travel
  • DoS personnel and/or their family are authorized to leave
  • US citizens are urged to delay all but essential travel
  • Only emergency or intermittent services are available at U.S. embassies or consulates, and even they may not be available.
  • DoS, CDC and/or WHO find there is a serious health risk and inadequate medical care, and urge a delay of all but essential travel. 

C.  Medium Travel Warning
This applies to countries or areas where any of the following conditions apply:

  • DoS Level 2 - Exercise increased caution
  • CDC Level 2 - Practice enhanced precautions
  • Full services are available at US embassies or consulates but US citizens are urged to delay all but essential travel based on specific events/risks.
  • DoS, CDC and/or WHO find there is a serious health risk and urge delay in all but essential travel but do not find inadequate health care.

Updates to the warning levels are made regularly.  Members of the MIT community are urged to check the DoS, CDC, WHO, and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) web pages for more current information.

How Extreme and High Travel Warnings affect MIT faculty, staff, and students: 

All MIT Community Members

  • MIT strongly urges ALL MIT travelers to fully understand the risks and to not travel to Extreme and High Travel Warning locales.  This includes places where MIT’s Travel Insurance coverage is unavailable. 
  • No one may be required or coerced to travel (e.g., by a faculty member, supervisor, or advisor) to any location.

Faculty and Staff

Students
Student travel is NOT permitted to locations with Extreme or High travel warnings, unless a travel risk policy waiver is granted via the following process.

  • Students may be granted a waiver from the Vice Chancellor, with letters of support from the sponsoring faculty member, department head, and dean of their school, upon completion and review of the MIT Student High Risk Policy Waiver Application.

The Program Manager for International Safety and Security, The Office of the General Counsel, The Office of Insurance, and the MIT Medical Department serve in an advisory role on the recommendation of a travel waiver.

How the Medium Travel Warning affects MIT faculty, staff, and students:

All MIT Community Members

  • MIT urges all members of the MIT community to heed DoS/ CDC/ WHO travel warnings and not to travel to these locales, but faculty, staff and students are free to make their own informed decisions.  
  • No one may be required or coerced to travel (e.g., by a faculty member, supervisor, or advisor) to any location.

Students

  • Students must review and sign the International Travel Risk Acknowledgement Form for Students prior to departure. The form can be accessed and electronically signed in MIT's Travel Registry.
  • Students must agree not to travel to or through any Extreme or High-Risk Travel warning areas or to an area/region where DoS personnel are required or authorized to leave.
  • Students are required to follow any specific guidelines of the DoS regarding methods of transport.
  • Students must agree not to travel to or through areas where MIT Travel Insurance coverage or adequate medical care is not available.
  • Although those traveling for personal reasons are not subject to the International Travel Risk Policy, students who combine personal travel with MIT business travel, including travel to their home country, must sign MIT's Travel Risk Acknowledgement Form.

Travel to other countries (not under Medium, High, or Extreme Travel Warnings):

All MIT Community Members

  • The MIT community should exercise normal precautions while traveling to any location abroad. There is some risk in any international travel.
  • No one may be required or coerced to travel (e.g., by a faculty member, supervisor, or advisor) to any location.

Students

  • Students must review and sign the International Travel Risk Acknowledgement Form for Students prior to departure. The form can be accessed and electronically signed in MIT's Travel Registry.
  • Although those traveling for personal reasons are not subject to the International Travel Risk Policy, students who combine personal travel with MIT business travel, including travel to their home country, must sign MIT's Travel Risk Acknowledgement form.

Sanctioned Countries

For some countries, U.S. law restricts whether you can travel there, what you can take with you, or what you can do once you get there.  If you travel to a sanctioned country, review these tips for International travel and conferences and consult MIT’s Export Control Officer in the Office of Sponsored Programs.