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International Travel Policies

Nyugati Station, Budapest (Hungary)

Photo credit: Hariharan Srinivasulu '21 (Hungary, AIT, spring 2020)

State Departmental Travel Advisories

Travel advisories of level 3 or 4 are issued by the U.S. State Department when conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable lead the State Department to recommend that Americans "reconsider travel" to that country (level 3) or advise that Americans "do not travel" to that country (level 4). Level 3 or 4 advisories are also issued when the U.S. government's ability to assist American citizens is constrained due to the closure of an embassy or consulate or because of a drawdown of its staff.

Travel Petitions

A petition is required should a student wish to study in a country with identified increased risks (usually a level 3 or 4, or with parts of the country at level 3 or 4). In addition to the requirements for all petitions ( See: Petition Programs), students must write a statement outlining what the academic significance of this particular country and program is to them, and indicate what personal knowledge and experience the student has of the country, culture, and language.

The petition will be reviewed by members of the International Travel Risk Management Committee and other members of the community as deemed necessary by the Provost. 

If a petition is successful, students and their parents or guardians will be required to sign a supplemental acknowledgement of risk. Should a program in a country under a travel warning be canceled, participants may incur financial losses and might not receive credit. Students are encouraged to consider supplemental insurance options to cover losses if programs are canceled.  

Risk Management

Interdepartmental collaboration in risk management is critical to implementing successful off-campus programs.

Global Engagement supports risk management efforts at Swarthmore through the following activities:
  1. Serve as the centralized resource for risk assessment and management related to international off-campus student activities. On-campus stakeholders work closely with Global Engagement staff to craft an appropriate plan for mitigating risks through intentional program design.
  2. Publish risk management information that can be readily accessed online by students, faculty, and staff.
  3. Mitigate risks to student health and safety by influencing student behavior before students go off campus through comprehensive advising, pre-departure orientation, and re-entry debriefing.
  4. Comply with institutional, state, and national regulations that pertain to international education. 

International Travel Risk Management Committee


  • Tomoko Sakomura, Provost & Dean of the Faculty
  • Sharmaine LaMar, General Counsel 
  • Alice Turbiville, Associate Vice President for Finance & Assistant Treasurer
  • Cat Norris, Associate Dean of the Faculty for Academic Programs and Research
  • Eric Jensen, Dean of Academic Success
  • Carina Yervasi, Executive Director, Global Engagement Office
  • Lauren Owens, Director of Operations, Global Engagement Office
  • Jena Fioravanti, Director, Office of Research Integrity and Engagement

The Committee is charged with reviewing petitions for College-sponsored travel that involve heightened levels of risk to the safety and welfare of faculty, staff and student travelers. Examples of circumstances that might represent heightened risks include travel to countries with U.S. State Department level 3 or 4 travel advisory. The Committee also reviews petitions for College-sponsored travel to ensure planned activities are conducted within College policy and best practice. 

Registration for College-sponsored travel is required for all international travel. The Committee’s review process is meant to assist travelers with mitigating risks and to direct travelers to various safety precautions for College- sponsored travelers who are faculty, students or staff. 

The Committee meets regularly during the academic year to review petitions for College-sponsored travel that present heightened risks. The Committee also develops policies and procedures concerning international travel by members of the College community and to centralize the dissemination of appropriate information and resources. The Committee augments reviews conducted by other committees such as the IRB. Both IRB approval and ITRMC approval is required for international travel which includes human research subjects.

The Committee strives to raise awareness to help travelers appreciate the risks with travel and develop plans to mitigate those risks. If the risk reduction strategies cannot mitigate the risk sufficiently, the Committee must recommend to the Provost, or the applicable President’s staff member that the request for College sponsorship of the travel be denied. In those instances, the traveler may decide to complete travel on an independent basis. 

The Committee is intent on protecting the academic freedom of global scholarship and research as well as facilitating global engagement of faculty, staff and students while supporting the creation of safety plans and measures to mitigate the risks associated with international travel.