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Pre-Departure Requirements for International Travel

International travel is a critical element of many Columbia Law School activities. Pre-departure requirements, which vary according to the nature and purpose of a specific traveler's itinerary, help keep travelers safe and healthy.

Travelers should review and complete the relevant checklist below with as much lead time as possible.  Different pre-departure requirements apply to students; to faculty and researchers; and to administrators and support staff.

The Business Office cannot process funding or reimbursement requests unless pre-departure requirements have been completed.

Students, researchers, administrators, and support staff must submit Extreme-risk itineraries six weeks in advance, and High-risk travel four weeks in advance, for review by the Dean and/or Provost.

Checklist for students planning international travel

The International Travel Planning Policy covers all "Columbia-related" international travel.   Generally speaking, this means international travel that is sponsored, funded, and/or facilitated by Columbia University. 

Pre-departure requirements are drawn from the University's International Travel Planning Policy and International Travel Restrictions, as well as the Law School's own policies.

Columbia-related international travel does not include travel that is strictly personal.

Students must submit Extreme-risk itineraries six weeks in advance, and High-risk travel four weeks in advance, for review by the Dean and/or Provost.

Further information is available via these links:

Review your itinerary's risk ranking on each one of the following three websites.  Each one, separately, determines the applicability of the various pre-departure requirements listed below in Step 3.

1.  ISOS Travel Security website.   The International Travel Planning Policy uses risk rankings published by private consulting firm ISOS.  These label the travel risk of various global destinations as "Insignificant", "Low", "Medium", "High", or "Extreme".

2. Center for Disease Control Travel Recommendation website.  The International Travel Restrictions refer to Travel Advisories published by the Center for Disease Control.  These are ranked as "Level 1", "Level 2", "Level 3", or "Level 4".

3.  Countries Subject to CU Travel Advisories website.  This site lists certain destinations, including countries with ISOS-assigned Evacuation Status, that the University subjects to the same pre-departure requirements as those labeled by ISOS as "Extreme-risk."  Faculty and Researcher travel to these destinations requires prior approval from the Dean and Provost.

The travel risk of an itinerary that includes multiple destinations is considered, for purposes of pre-departure requirements, to be the highest risk associated with any of those destinations. 

The travel risk of an itinerary that includes one destination in a country is considered to be the risk level associated with that specific destination, even if other destinations in that country are associated with higher risk levels.

Students must submit Extreme-risk itineraries six weeks in advance, and High-risk travel four weeks in advance, for review by the Dean and/or Provost.

Based on your itinerary's risk level as described above in Section 2, complete all applicable pre-departure requirements in each of the following three sections.

1.  Required by the Law School

2.  Required by the International Travel Planning Policy

  • For all travel (prior to departure)Register trip details via the ISOS MyTrips website.  See special instructions, below, for those organizing, leading, or participating in group travel.
     
  • For ISOS Insignificant- and Low-risk travel:  Students have no further pre-departure requirements.
     
  • For ISOS Medium-risk travel (at least two weeks before travel): Submit itinerary for pre-trip review via the ISOS online form.  After submitting the pre-trip review form, copies will be sent to the University's Global Travel office and ISOS.  The latter will then reply with a comprehensive set of safety and security recommendations specifically tailored to that trip.
     
  • For ISOS High-risk travel (at least four weeks before travel):  Send itinerary for pre-trip review via the ISOS online form (see the discussion above of Medium-risk travel), and submit the High/Extreme Risk Travel Approval Form via the University's Global Travel office.  High-risk travel requires written approval from the Dean, and once Global Travel receives this form it will forward it with a request for the required review. 
     
  • For ISOS Extreme-risk travel (at least six weeks before travel):  Send itinerary for pre-trip review via the ISOS online form (see the discussion above of Medium-risk travel), and submit the High/Extreme Risk Travel Approval Form via the University's Global Travel office.  Extreme-risk travel requires written approval from the Dean and the Provost, and once Global Travel receives this form it will forward it with a request for the required review. 
     
  • For destinations listed on the CU Travel Advisories website (at least six weeks before travel):  Apply the same pre-departure requirements as for ISOS Extreme-risk travel.

3.  Required by the International Travel Restrictions

  • For Center for Disease Control Level 1 and Level 2 travel:  Students have no further pre-departure requirements.
     
  • For Center for Disease Control Level 3 and Level 4 travel (at least two weeks before travel)Most destinations that are subject to Level 3 and Level 4 Travel Recommendations are also ranked by ISOS as High- or Extreme-risk travel, and already require written approval from the Dean and/or Provost on that basis. 

    Approval by the Dean or the Dean's delegate is still required, however, even if a Level 3 or Level 4 destination is not ranked by ISOS as High- or Extreme-risk.

    To initiate the required review for a Level 3 or Level 4 destination that is not also ranked High- or Extreme-risk by ISOS, submit an online Pre-Departure Attestation / Assumption of Risk, Waiver, and Release at least two weeks prior to travel.  The Dean or the Dean's delegate will respond via email.

    Unvaccinated students with approved exemptions are strongly encouraged to defer international Columbia-related travel that is subject to Level 3 and Level 4 Travel Recommendations.

For Group Organizers/Leaders

(E.g., individual students responsible for Spring Break Pro Bono Caravans, administrators organizing moot court travel, researchers leading human rights clinic site visits, or faculty leading overseas study trips.)

  • Identify your group, its individual members, and your role as the organizer or leader where indicated on the online Attestation form.  (The student form can be found here, and the form for Faculty, Researchers, and Administrators can be found here.)  This can be done before exact travel dates and other arrangements have been finalized.
  • Send the group's itinerary for pre-trip review (if one is required per the checklist above) via the ISOS online form.  Individual group members do not need to request pre-trip reviews for the same itinerary.
     
  • Submit the group's High/Extreme Risk Travel Approval Form (if one is required per the checklist above) via the University's Global Travel office, which will request the required review by the Dean and/or Provost.  Individual group members do not need to submit a form for the same itinerary.
     
  • Ensure that each member of the group complies with all applicable pre-departure requirements per the checklist above.

For Group Participants

(E.g., individual students traveling with a Spring Break Pro Bono Caravan, an international moot court team, an international human rights clinic, or with a class on an overseas study trip.)

  • Identify your group, and its organizer, where indicated on the pre-departure attestation form.  (The student form can be found here, and the form for faculty, researchers, and administrators can be found here.)
  • Do not send an additional copy of the group's itinerary for pre-trip review (if one is required per the checklist above) via the ISOS online form.  The group organizer/leader is responsible for requesting a pre-trip review on behalf of the group.
     
  • Do not submit the group's High/Extreme Risk Travel Approval Form (if one is required per the checklist above) via the University's Global Travel office, which will request the required review by the Dean.  The group organizer/leader is responsible for submitting this form on behalf of the group.
     
  • Ensure that you comply with all applicable pre-departure requirements per the checklist above.