The COVID-19 pandemic transformed operations across IU, and had particularly significant consequences for the international mobility of students, faculty, and staff.
COVID-19 and Global Mobility
As all IU campuses prepare to return to mostly normal operations this fall, the IU Restart Committee recommendations recognize that “international travel continues to pose greater challenges due to stress on local health systems and the emergence of new variants of concern.”
The information below addresses changes to university policy and practice in light of those challenges.
International Travel Policy
Effective July 1, 2021, the university’s general suspension of university-affiliated international travel will be modified as follows:
- International travel by faculty and staff no longer requires case-by-case review. It will be permitted upon submission of the IU Employee International Travel Information and Acknowledgment form. The form must be signed by the traveler and approved by the responsible dean or unit head. In the case of travel paid through IU, the form must be uploaded with the Chrome River pre-approval document for the trip to be authorized. In the case of university-affiliated travel paid by a third party, the form may be submitted directly to OVPIA via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- International travel by undergraduate students is subject to approval by the Office of Overseas Study.
- International travel by graduate students remains subject to case-by-case review by the OVPIA exception committee. It will be approved if the travel is essential to the traveler’s academic program and reasonable safety measures are fulfilled. Requests for approval should be sent to email@example.com for committee review and must be accompanied by a statement of approval from the relevant dean.
- The university will not restrict incoming non-employee international travel beyond the requirements that apply to all university visitors as set out in the IU COVID-19 Campus updates, see the Events and Conferences and Campus Visitors sections for more information. No Acknowledgment form is required for Chrome River pre-approval documents for non-employee travelers.
This policy does not apply to international travel for personal reasons (please see detailed FAQs below). However, considering the health risks that travel continues to present, we recommend that anyone considering personal international travel consult the CDC's travel guidance.
International travel FAQ
Travel is university-affiliated if it is undertaken within the scope of the traveler’s role and responsibilities at IU, regardless of the source of funding for the trip. For faculty, examples include travel to conduct research, teach, or participate in a professional meeting; for graduate students, examples include travel for research or study at a foreign institution.
No. However, in light of the health risks that travel continues to present, we recommend that anyone considering personal international travel consult the CDC's travel guidance.
No. The policy applies to all international travel undertaken within the scope of the traveler’s role and responsibilities at IU, even it is funded by a third party or by personal funds.
No, the policy applies to all travelers.
Employee travelers whose pre-approval document has already been submitted and approved in Chrome River do not need to do anything further. Travelers who have not yet submitted a pre-approval document in Chrome River for travel after July 1 may attach either the exception approval memo already received, or the signed acknowledgment form.
Travel will be considered essential if it is necessary for the traveler to fulfill their academic program—for instance, to advance research, to fulfill course or program requirements toward a degree, or to discharge professional obligations. The review committee will consider whether the travel could be postponed, or whether alternatives (such as remote options) are available.
- Prevailing health conditions in the country of destination
- The absence of any entry bans or mandatory quarantines in the destination that would make the proposed travel impracticable
- The feasibility of the proposed travel (e.g., flight availability, ability to re-enter the U.S.)
- Access to necessary resources and facilities at the destination
- Vaccination status
All international travelers are advised to follow CDC guidance for returning from travel.
Yes. On January 26, 2021, a CDC Order went into effect requiring all air passengers arriving to the U.S. from a foreign country to get tested no more than 3 days before their flight departs and to provide proof of the negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the flight. Find more details here.
Our offices continue to assist international students in maintaining their student visa status and to provide support services. We are continuing to process admissions applications and you can find detailed resources and guidance on our websites.
Inbound undergraduate and graduate student exchanges resumed in 2021.
However, due to the ongoing pandemic, academic units should be fully transparent with students and international exchange partners about the risks and uncertainties associated with visas, international travel, and the university’s health and safety plans, including its vaccination policy. IU’s policy on international travel relies on current CDC guidance and is subject to change.
Through fall 2021, IU will support study abroad for a limited number of programs that have established appropriate protocols to address the worldwide pandemic. Given the ongoing, rapidly changing developments in locations around the world, and the associated unpredictability of travel restrictions, we continue to encourage students to consider postponing study abroad plans to a future semester, if feasible.
Global Gateway Network
Our Global Gateway offices in Bangkok, Beijing, Berlin, New Delhi, and Mexico City are hosting events on a limited basis depending on local conditions. The gateway directors continue to support international student services teams in their efforts to provide students and their parents with timely information, advice, and reassurance.
Gateway staff are also ready to provide faculty and staff any assistance required to help with rescheduling events, visits, communicating with partners, etc.
Internationalization at home
Updated July 1, 2021