Student International Travel Policy



EFFECTIVE DATE: May 10, 2021

Policy Statement/Reason for Policy

Increasing numbers of Vanderbilt students undertake international travel for the purpose of study, research, service learning, and internship activities. These travel activities range from individual educational and research projects, through traditional study abroad, to service projects conducted by student organizations. As Vanderbilt’s students expand their global reach, the University must balance the value of participation in international education activities with the potential risk to its students. As such, certain international travel may require additional review prior to being approved as an official Vanderbilt sponsored activity.

The Vanderbilt Student International Travel Policy has been adopted to set forth a consistent set of standards to be followed by students in connection with Vanderbilt-sponsored activities that take place outside the United States. Vanderbilt strongly encourages all members of the Vanderbilt community who are considering travel abroad to review and familiarize themselves with the political, health, crime and other safety-related conditions of any country and specific locations within it.



  1. Any individual who has been officially admitted into Vanderbilt University, and who is enrolled for at least one class at Vanderbilt at the time of travel; or during the summer, is enrolled for at least one class at Vanderbilt, or was a student the previous spring semester and is enrolled for at least one class for the fall semester.

Sponsored activities (group or individual) 

  1. All credit-bearing or degree-advancing international travel (e.g. study abroad, including Maymester; thesis and dissertation research, required practicum or internships)
  2. Travel organized on behalf of a registered student organization, varsity athletic team, or residential facility.
  3. Activities funded in whole or in part by Vanderbilt University (e.g. Vanderbilt money held or disbursed through student organization agency funds[1], fellowships, grants, International Summer Awards, research assistantships).

Non-sponsored activities

  1. Travel that has no connection to Vanderbilt University or its educational, research, service, and patient care activities. Examples include personal travel (vacation), mission/service trips that are unaffiliated with a Vanderbilt organization, and any other travel not described in the definition of “sponsored activities.”
  2. Travel that is organized by an entity other than Vanderbilt, even when participants are recruited through Vanderbilt student organizations or other on-campus marketing efforts, as long as Vanderbilt has no role in overseeing or funding the travel.


This policy applies to students taking part in sponsored activities. Vanderbilt University assumes no responsibility for non-sponsored activities as defined in this policy.


A. Travel Registration

  1. All undergraduate, graduate, and professional Vanderbilt students participating in a sponsored activity (as defined above) must register their travel with Vanderbilt’s international security provider at least two weeks prior to travel. If travel is booked through Concur/World Travel or is part of a Global Education Office (GEO) study abroad program, this will be done automatically. If travel is booked independently, travelers should reference the Global VU Safety website for instructions on how to register.

B. Travel Waiver Form

  1. All undergraduate Vanderbilt students participating in a sponsored activity (as individuals or in groups) must execute a “standard” travel waiver form with Vanderbilt acknowledging that they understand the risks of travel, affirming that they have reviewed and understand relevant safety-related materials, and acknowledging that they assume the risks related to their international travel. Students should sign and submit this document electronically to their program administrator or department contact. Forms must be signed and submitted at least two weeks prior to departure.
  2. Students under the age of 18 must obtain a parental signature on the form.

C. Pre-Departure

  1. Undergraduate students traveling on credit-bearing Vanderbilt-approved study abroad programs must check with GEO or the faculty member organizing their activities for a list of required pre-departure tasks, including pre-departure orientation.
  2. Undergraduate students traveling as part of a registered student organization should work with their group’s advisor to plan the trip and to fulfill required pre-departure requirements.

D. Health Insurance

  1. All students participating in a sponsored activity are required to have medical insurance that will provide coverage in the country in which they will travel. Undergraduate students must obtain this insurance through Vanderbilt’s international medical insurance provider. Information on how to self-enroll as well as policy details can be found on the Global VU Safety website.
  2. Undergraduate students enrolled in credit-bearing, Vanderbilt-approved study abroad activities will automatically be enrolled in international medical insurance. All other students participating in programs outside of GEO are responsible for enrolling themselves.
  3. Graduate and professional students who are traveling internationally for research, as part of a course, conference, or any other sponsored activity are responsible for enrolling themselves with Vanderbilt’s international medical insurance provider.

E. Laws and Conduct

  1. While abroad, students are expected to abide by the laws of the host country.
  2. Vanderbilt regulations concerning student conduct, as codified in the Student Handbook, also apply to students abroad.
  3. Students traveling on sponsored activities are strongly discouraged from driving any type of motorized vehicle, especially motorcycles, mopeds, and similar vehicles. Graduate or professional students who must use a vehicle to conduct their research or to access clinical facilities should confirm they have adequate personal liability insurance.

F. Export Control

  1. If you are taking with you any equipment (such as a laptop computer) or information (including collaboration or training with foreign nationals), or working with a country subject to a US trade embargo, please contact the Vanderbilt Export Compliance office to seek clarity with regard to compliance with US laws concerning export control. Vanderbilt Export Compliance will also provide information about laptop safety and security while traveling internationally.

Restricted International Travel

A. Vanderbilt-sponsored travel (as defined in section II.B.) may require review and approval from the Vanderbilt Travel Risk Assessment Committee (VTRAC) or be restricted in countries for which one or more of the following applies:

  1. The US Department of State has issued a travel advisory of level 3 or level 4;
  2. Vanderbilt’s international security provider has rated the country as a level 4 or level 5;
  3. The World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control or other governmental health agency has issued a warning that there are serious disease or other health hazards present that warrant suspension of travel to that country;
  4. The VTRAC has determined that there are other safety concerns that warrant restriction of travel.

B. Requests for Exception to Restricted Travel Destinations

  1. Students who wish to travel to a country defined as a restricted international travel location (referenced in section V.A.) must submit a “Request for Exception to Travel” to VTRAC for review. VTRAC is responsible for deciding whether to permit an education abroad opportunity in a review-required location or to suspend an education abroad opportunity when health or safety concerns emerge shortly before a program starts or while it is in progress.
  2. The process for submitting individual student requests for exception as well as groups can be found on the Global VU Safety website under VTRAC. The online forms should be completed as soon as students are aware of plans to travel to a review-required site, and no later than thirty days prior to travel. Questions about the request for exception to travel process can be emailed to
  1. Agency funds affected by this policy include, but are not limited to, Student Services Fee, tax-receipted donations, money donated to Vanderbilt that is raised by student organizations through fundraisers, and contributions from other Vanderbilt entities, such as other student organizations, schools and academic departments or administrative offices. Money deposited in agency funds by individual students or their parents or relatives for which there is no tax receipt is not affected by this policy.