All university-related travel for UC Berkeley faculty, staff or students to countries designated by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) as having a Level 4 travel advisory (i.e., Do Not Travel) requires a 2-step approval process, first from their Dean and then from the Vice Provost for Academic Planning. The Global Engagement Office is responsible for coordinating a thorough review of such travel, which may involve Export Control/Research Compliance, UCOP, Risk, Legal, and other stakeholders as needed.
DOS 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 destinations, 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.
Anyone seeking exceptional permission to travel to a State Department Level 4 / Do Not Travel destination should be aware that:
Travel to State Department Level 4 / 'Do Not Travel' destinations may be required to participate in a pre-departure “Know Before You Go/Travel Preparedness Briefing” with UC Berkeley Risk Services, often alongside the relevant Dean, PI, and others as applicable.
Certain destinations may be prohibited by UC or the Federal government and may not be eligible to be considered for an exception.
Per Federal guidelines, University-related travel to comprehensively or targeted sanctioned countries is generally prohibited and requires immediate consultation with UCB Export Control including: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Russia, and specific regions of Ukraine (Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk). Consult Export Control at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Out of concern for the well-being and safety of the UC community, UCOP is also directing all members of the UC community to avoid all travel to Ukraine (since February 2022) and to avoid all non-essential travel to the Middle East North Africa (MENA) Region (since October 2023). Please refer to the February 2022 UCOP travel advisory for Ukraine and October 2023 UCOP travel advisory for MENA region.
- The US Government and University of California may be unable to provide crisis management services in these locations. Review the Department of State guidance for travel to high risk areas before considering your request.
In addition to State Department and CDC advisories, units and travelers/Deans/PIs/staff can consult campus Risk Services to understand the situation at the destination before considering submitting or writing a letter of support for a request.
Approval Process & Timing
Once campus approval is deemed necessary, travelers should follow the steps below. The Global Engagement Office is responsible for coordinating a holistic review of destinations that meet the campus criteria. In addition to the Vice Provost for Academic Planning, this review may include, as applicable, the relevant Dean, PI, Vice Chancellor for Research, Berkeley Risk Services, Office of Legal Affairs, UCOP Risk Services, UC's global intellingence provider, Crisis 24, among others.
Faculty, staff or students who believe their travel to a State Department Level 4 or other 'do not travel' destination is essential, must first request in writing, approval from their Dean or relevant equivalent (ie Vice Chancellor for Research for an ORU). Travel is defined as essential if it is required to:
preserve the safety of a research subject and is not possible to be postponed; or
preserve the results of a research activity and is not possible to be postponed; or
- perform other work related to university objectives that is unable to be postponed or performed remotely without catastrophic interruption.
Traveler(s) should first obtain the respective Dean's written approval and submit it along with the travel request here for final approval by the Vice Provost for Academic Planning. Requests should be submitted a minimum of 21 days in advance, and prior to booking any non-refundable flights.
Documentation of written approval from the unit Dean or Division head (ie Associate Vice Chancellor for Research for Organized Research Units)
For students and staff: Documentation of written support from the principal investigator or advisor (for students) or supervisor (for staff)
Complete itinerary, including all destination(s) and entry/exit dates.
Specific rationale detailing how the travel meets one of the three essential travel definitions listed above.
- Travelers should provide further information regarding any specific safety or security concerns, and how these will be addressed.
Timing for review:
- Requests should be submitted a minimum of 21 days in advance, and prior to booking flights.
- Travelers should expect a minimum of 5 business days for their requests to be processed. Depending on the nature of the travel and destination, as well as the volume of requests, some reviews may take longer or require consultation with other units. You are encouraged to submit your request as soon as you determine the need to travel. The Global Engagement Office may reach out to you with further questions or more information.