International Travel Protocol & Approval Process

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)(link is external) or Level 4 COVID-19 Very High (avoid all travel)(link is external), 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. 

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.

Anyone seeking exceptional permission to travel to a CDC Level 3 or 4 or State Department Level 4 country should be aware that:

  • 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 or State Department Level 4 destinations may be required to participate in a pre-departure “Know Before You Go/Travel Preparedness Briefing” with UC Berkeley Risk Services.

Additional considerations:

  • Study Abroad and Group Student Travel: Until further notice, and regardless of CDC or State Department Advisory Level, all study abroad and international group student travel for Berkeley coursework or credit involving Berkeley faculty, students, or staff (including advance travel for program planning and site evaluations, faculty-led programs, MBA exchanges, etc., both undergraduate and graduate) must complete a 2-step Study Abroad Travel Protocol. Review the campus guidance or submit a request via the study abroad travel review process.
  • Off-campus research: 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.
  • Other travel: 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.

Approval Process

Step 1 

Faculty, staff or students who believe their travel is essential, must first request in writing, approval from their Dean. 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.

Please be aware that educational conferences or delegation visits are not considered essential travel, even if you are a presenter. This is just one example of non-essential travel and does not include all other activities that would also be considered non-essential travel.  

Step 2 

Traveler(s) should 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. Please allow at least 21 days for the review process before booking flights.

The following information is required:

  • Complete itinerary, including destination(s), dates, and quarantine requirements. 

  • Specific rationale detailing how the travel meets one of the three definitions listed above.

  • Documentation of written support from the Principal Investigator. (For students and researchers)

Please contact the Global Engagement Office at geo@berkeley.edu if you have questions, or submit your travel request here.