International Travel Requirements and Resources

Review the information below to ensure you are following the Gillings International Travel Exception Process

In accordance with UNC System Office policy, Carolina has prohibited University-affiliated international travel, unless approved via one of the processes outlined below. Exceptions to this travel restriction may be granted by the chancellor or provost, and we have created a Gillings School international travel exception process (see below) prior to requests going to the chancellor and provost.

Please note that due to the continuously evolving COVID-19 situation, the University reserves the right to revisit any travel requests including rescinding or modifying approvals already granted. The University is not responsible for financial or other related losses as a result.

If you have any questions, please contact Naya Villarreal, Gillings Global Health Associate Director, at naya@unc.edu.

UNC Gillings International Travel Exception Process

We have set up a Gillings School travel exception process specific to students, faculty, and staff where travel will need to be approved prior to continuing through the university travel exception process. Please read the exception process below that corresponds to your position to follow the Gillings School travel exception process.

Graduate Student Exception Process

We highly encourage those who are looking at international practicum/internship opportunities to parallel plan. Please make sure you are working with your preceptor/supervisor to make sure you can complete your practicum/internship remotely, if you are not approved to travel. For now, we will be reviewing international travel exception requests related to a student’s academic program, not recreational travel, on a case-by-case basis. The steps of a travel exception request approval are as follows:

  • Review by Associate Dean for Global Health and Global Health Associate Director
  • If the request meets the basic criteria for approval, then the request will be reviewed and must be approved by the student’s Department Chair.
  • If approved at the department level, then the student will submit a travel exception request via the Rapid Admin Service Request system
  • Requests are all reviewed by Provost Blouin for final approval
Criteria the School will use to decide if your travel exception request will move to the next phase. You will be required to respond to these questions through the Gillings School Travel Exception Request form:
  • Is this opportunity essential for you to continue to make academic progress? Please explain.
  • Describe the situation in the destination country. For example, is the destination experiencing a COVID surge? Is the health care system under duress?
  • Describe how you propose to mitigate risk during your trip. Factors that strengthen a case for approval include: being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including a booster short of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna); having support in the destination country, such as through a local host or program administrator, or family present in the destination country; a stay of longer duration; having a plan for accessing adequate medical care for COVID or other needs
  • Describe the purpose of your proposed trip (research, conference, etc.) and a detailed explanation as to why this work cannot be fulfilled remotely (via video conferencing or other electronic means).
  • Describe how the proposed trip will explicitly advance the research mission of the University.
  • Upload a completed Faculty Mentor Approval Form
If travel is approved, you must comply with all applicable guidelines and requirements, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requirement of a negative COVID-19 test for travel to the US. Other requirements may include mask-wearing and recommended periods of self-quarantine or self-isolation after entry into the United States.

Undergraduate Student Exception Process

Undergraduate University-affiliated international travel outside study abroad is currently prohibited. Exceptions may be requested for travel in cases in which a student needs to fulfill a distinguishing academic or professional credential or qualification, such as advanced language study, thesis research requiring access to an archive only available in another country, or other academic purpose essential to an advanced multi-year academic program. Students seeking such an exception should plan to remain at a fixed location. A student under 18 years of age as of their departure date is not eligible for international travel exceptions. The policy applies to undergraduate student independent travel that is University-affiliated and not to personal travel. There are separate approval processes for undergraduate international travel through established, credit-bearing study abroad programs, and for undergraduate domestic University-affiliated travel. The steps of a travel exception request approval are as follows:

  • Review by Associate Dean for Global Health and Global Health Associate Director
  • If the request meets the basic criteria for approval, then the student will submit an Undergraduate Student Travel Restriction Exception Form to the relevant faculty advisor for approval
  • If approved, then the request will be reviewed and must be approved by the student’s faculty advisor
  • If approved at the department level, the request will be sent to the Associate Dean for Global Health and the Associate Dean will send to the Vice Provost for Global Affairs and Provost Blouin for final approval
You will be required to respond to these questions through the Gillings School Travel Exception Request form:
  • Is this opportunity essential for you to continue to make academic progress? Please explain.
  • Describe the situation in the destination country. For example, is the destination experiencing a COVID surge? Is the health care system under duress?
  • Describe how you propose to mitigate risk during your trip. Factors that strengthen a case for approval include: being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including a booster short of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna); having support in the destination country, such as through a local host or program administrator, or family present in the destination country; a stay of longer duration; having a plan for accessing adequate medical care for COVID or other needs
  • Describe the purpose of your proposed trip (research, conference, etc.) and a detailed explanation as to why this work cannot be fulfilled remotely (via video conferencing or other electronic means).
  • Describe how the proposed trip will explicitly advance the research mission of the University.
If travel is approved, you must comply with all applicable guidelines and requirements, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requirement of a negative COVID-19 test for travel to the US. Other requirements may include mask-wearing and recommended periods of self-quarantine or self-isolation after entry into the United States.

Faculty, Staff, and Post-Doc Exception Process

1. Approval by School Dean (For Gillings, Suzanne Maman, Associate Dean for Global Health, will be the Dean-level approval)

Exceptions for University-affiliated travel must be approved by the traveler’s dean, or designee, and acknowledged by the provost. In weighing whether to certify that benefits to UNC of the proposed international travel outweigh the risks, deans or designees should review the guidance on increased risks.

Units may require additional levels of approval including supervisor, department chair, and senior administrator. Be sure to gain necessary supervisory approval before submitting your request. The dean will submit the exception as outlined below.

2. In their submission to the Associate Dean for Global Health, Gillings faculty, staff, and post-docs should include

a. A completed and signed Faculty and Postdoc Travel Approval Request Form

3. If approved, the Associate Dean for Global Health will send the forms and a signed statement articulating the benefits to the University of your request outweigh the risks associated with your travel, to the Vice Provost for Global Affairs for review for completeness and compliance with current procedures and forwards to the Provost as appropriate.

4. The Provost’s Office will respond as soon as possible

5. If your international travel is approved, attach the forms in the Concur travel management system. To manage the financial side of travel more efficiently, the University introduced Concur in August 2021. You will need to attach forms A and B above along with a copy of your approval email from the Provost’s office.

Sign in to Concur | Concur Solutions

Travel Tips and Resources

We have compiled resources to help prepare for your trip!

Health and Safety

Health

Safety

  • UNC Emergency Communications
    • Faculty, staff and students who experience an emergency while traveling abroad on University business should contact the UNC Department of Public Safety (DPS) at +1.919.962.8100.
    • Public Safety is first in the chain of response. Students should ask DPS to contact the Dean of Students on call to find the appropriate resources for assistance. DPS will assist faculty and staff with identifying a human resources administrator or Employee Assistance Program officer who can provide support.
    • For emergency evacuation and other 24/7 health insurance assistance, call GeoBlue collect from outside the U.S. at +1.610.254.8771, toll free within the U.S. at 800.257.4823, or email globalhealth@geo-blue.com.
    • In an emergency, seek appropriate medical care immediately, and then call GeoBlue. Insurance coverage must be bought in advance of travel.
  • Safety advice from the UNC Study Abroad Office.

Research Ethics and Cultural Competence

Research Ethics

  • All UNC faculty, staff, and students participating in research involving human subjects or identifiable data from human subjects must complete IRB CITI Ethics training.
  • You must submit an IRB application and receive approval well in advance of your trip. Visit the website for the UNC Office of Human Research Ethics for more on IRB approval.

Cultural Competence

We encourage you to review the material found on these websites to help facilitate working effectively abroad. All students planning to go abroad should attend the GO! Global Orientation Initiative Workshop held annually in the spring semester.

Learn About Your Destination

  • The U.S. Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world. You will find the location of the U.S. embassy and any consular offices, information about whether you need a visa, crime and security information, health and medical considerations, drug penalties, localized hot spots and more.
  • We highly recommend registering your trip on the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Passport Information

  • Make sure your passport is valid. You can find more information on applying for a passport or renewing your passport here. Make sure to give yourself enough time to apply or renew your passport!
  • Each year, hundreds of Carolina community members obtain or renew a passport at the annual Passport Drive hosted by UNC Global.

Financial Considerations

Helpful financial advice to consider prior to departure. Research to see what forms of payment (cash, debit and credit cards, and traveler's checks) are accepted in your destination country and any other countries you may be traveling through (do not carry too much cash at one time): Alert your bank and credit card companies when and where you will be traveling

  • Ask if they charge foreign transaction fees
  • Ask if you’ll need a PIN to make purchases abroad. If so, how many digits does the PIN need to be.
Exchange some cash to your destination’s local currency
  • Exchange money at a bank before you leave the U.S. or exchange in the airport prior to departure or when you arrive to have money for transportation, accommodations and food for the day of your arrival
  • OANDA Currency Converter allows you to print out a wallet sized Traveler's Cheat-sheet to take on your trip.
Find out about Arrival and Departure Taxes and Currency Restrictions
  • Check on any arrival or departure taxes you may encounter
  • Check on any restrictions on how much currency you can enter and exit with
Adapted from Yale's International Travel Toolkit

Ethical Photography

The above resources are to help with understanding how to appropriately respect the people and communities you are working with and meeting when documenting your experience for any purpose.

Taking photos with your smartphone

For those not taking a separate camera with them for their travels, learn how to take incredible photos with your smartphone!