COVID-19: Essential Travel Requests
UC Office of the President COVID-19 Travel Directives:
UCOP updated its executive directive on travel on March 12, 2021, replacing system-wide guidance restricting non-essential, University-related travel, with a requirement that all UC travelers must follow CDC Guidance before, during, and upon return from domestic or international travel. CDC guidance currently recommends not to travel at this time or to limit travel to essential travel only. The UCOP directive has delegated the determination of what travel is considered essential travel to the campus.
While the United States has recently experienced a decrease in new COVID-19 cases and positivity rates, and an increase in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, COVID-19 continues to present a global health risk that must be taken seriously. The CDC guidance currently includes guidance not to travel (CDC Level 4) or to limit travel to essential travel only (CDC Level 3) to nearly 80% of the world. We must continue to observe the restrictions and guidelines currently in place for the safety of our campus community.
Regardless of whether or not you have been vaccinated, these requirements for university-related travel remain in place at this time. Please note that academic or professional development conferences are not considered essential travel at this time, even if you are a presenter, as they can be conducted remotely.
For more information, please visit the CDC COVID-19 website and Department of State COVID-19 Country Specific Information.
University of California directives do not apply to travel that is solely personally-funded, but such travelers should be aware of travel risks and of federal government warnings when traveling to any country during the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Previous UCOP Travel Directives During COVID-19
UC Berkeley International Travel Protocol
Until further notice, all UC Berkeley community members (faculty, students, staff) engaging in university-related international travel to countries rated CDC Level 3 COVID-19 High (avoid all nonessential travel)or Level 4 COVID-19 Very High (avoid all travel), must seek approval through the two-step International Travel Protocol, which includes approval first at the decanal level and then from the vice provost for academic planning.
It is strongly recommended that an essential travel request to be submitted at least 21 days before departure to ensure a thorough review, prior to booking flight tickets.
In addition, travel for UC Berkeley faculty, staff or students on University business to countries designated by the U.S. Department of State as having a Level 4 travel advisory (i.e., Do Not Travel) always requires a two-step approval process first from their Dean and then from the Vice Provost for Academic Planning.
Level 4 is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance to travelers. The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to these countries or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time, so it is advisable that travelers check the Travel Advisory often.
- Challenges to international travel at this time may include mandatory quarantines, travel restrictions, and closed borders. Foreign governments may implement restrictions with little notice, even in destinations that were previously low risk. Some international destinations have restricted entry based on citizenship status, including for US citizens.
- Some state and local governments require you to self-quarantine after arrival, sometimes in accommodations specified by the host country.
- Several Presidential proclamations have suspended or limited entry into the United States of noncitizens who were physically present within certain countries during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. Please refer to CDC COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination for more information.
- 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. Please refer to FAQs for more information.
- Travelers to CDC Level 3 or 4 international destinations may be required to participate in a pre-departure “Know Before You Go/Travel Preparedness Briefing” with UC Berkeley Risk Services.
- Travel to locations that are not designated CDC level 3 and 4, and/or State Department level 4 are not subject to the campus international travel protocol. However, travelers must still register their travel and are responsible for monitoring the travel advisories and adhering to CDC guidelines.
- Off-campus researchers must also review the VC Research COVID-19 Off-Campus/Field Research Guidelines for travel considerations and to determine any additional necessary approvals.
Campus Resources for International Travel
Most up to date campus-wide information available pertaining to the campus’ travel protocol, travel insurance, travel reimbursement, and international agreements in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please note: Travelers should follow applicable health orders at their destination, including quarantine requirements, etc.
Travel for UC Berkeley faculty, staff or students on University business to countries designated by the U.S. Department of State as having a Level 4 travel advisory (i.e., Do Not Travel) requires a two-step approval process first from their Dean and then from the Vice Provost for Academic Planning.
Provides information on booking international travel, reporting international travel expenses, how to get reimbursed, and UC travel regulations.
All Berkeley faculty and staff traveling on official university business should register their travel to receive free 24 hour services and benefits. These services include emergency evacuation, accident and illness care during international travel, passport replacement services, travel alerts and more. For full list of benefits, visit Register Travel website link above.
International Risk Services & Insurance
Provides country-specific travel updates and briefings associated with health and safety as well as information for faculty members, students, and staff conducting research internationally, faculty leading study abroad programs, and international insurance coverage.
Cybersecurity and Data Protection for International Travel
For members of the campus community, a trip to a foreign country presents unique data security challenges. The following resources will help faculty and staff better prepare:
- Berkeley's Information Security Office provides advice on protecting your intellectual property, data, and devices, whether it’s for work or personal, and includes a list of data security safeguards you should add to your travel checklist before, during and after your trip. If you plan to access CalNet while traveling, follow the University's recommendations for "Traveling with 2-Step".
- Consult with Export Control well in advance of your trip if you are planning to take University equipment, data or technology outside of the United States. There are special rules for bringing electronic equipment, research, intellectual property, and encryption technology abroad.
Although encryption is recommended to protect sensitive information in case your device is lost, stolen, inspected or confiscated, some countries restrict the use/importation of encryption software. The USA may also restrict its export. See UCOP's "International Travel" web page for information, including lists of countries with travel restrictions, and links for additional help.
- UCOP's Cyber-Smart Traveling provides many additional systemwide cybersecurity resources for domestic and international travelers.