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International travel risk policy

While MIT policy permits travel to most countries, all MIT travelers should understand the risks and local conditions, carefully plan for contingencies, and exercise caution while traveling internationally.

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, we anticipate that the global travel landscape will remain volatile for some time to come. International travel will be complicated and even unfeasible in some instances. Travelers should not feel compelled to travel to or remain in locations of heightened risk.

Vaccination and booster requirements

Anyone participating in MIT-related travel must comply with MIT’s vaccination and booster policy in order to travel.

This requirement applies to undergraduate and graduate students, staff, faculty, and postdocs. The requirement does not apply to MIT travelers with an approved medical or religious exemption from the vaccination requirement.

MIT employees who have been granted any exemption from the vaccine requirement other than a medical or religious exemption are not eligible for MIT-related travel.

Register your travel

All MIT-related travel must be registered in the Institute’s Travel Registry. Travelers should be aware that if the U.S. Department of State risk level for your destination changes prior to departure, you may be required to request an exception, or you may need to postpone or cancel your trip. Travelers are urged to plan accordingly.

MIT-related travel is defined as:

  • Travel funded entirely or in part by MIT sources.
  • Travel organized primarily by MIT (e.g., MIT selects the participants).
  • Travel conducted at the behest of MIT or in furtherance of MIT objectives.
  • Travel related to scholarly activities (whether paid for by MIT or not).
  • Travel that requires the use of MIT equipment, supplies, or personnel.

International travel

Undergraduate and graduate students

Travel to countries with CDC Covid-19 risk level 4 is no longer restricted and does not require an exception for students and programs. However, undergraduate and graduate student travelers should check the U.S. Department of State (DoS) overall risk rating of their destination. (This rating takes into account a wider variety of factors, including crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and natural disasters, along with other non-Covid-19 health risks.)

Students traveling to countries at a DoS level 3 or 4 — high or very high risk for reasons other than Covid-19 — must apply for a high-risk travel exception.

Exception requests with the required endorsements will be reviewed by the MIT High-Risk Travel Committee and then forwarded to the vice chancellor for a final decision.

  • Exception required for: International travel to countries with DoS risk level 3 or 4 for reasons other than Covid-19
  • Required endorsement: Faculty advisor for MIT-related travel, department head, and dean of the school
  • Risk review and recommendation: High-Risk Travel Committee
  • Final decision: Vice chancellor

When students are on MIT-related travel, “side trips” to DoS level 3 or 4 countries are not permitted.

Information on planning travel during the pandemic may be found in Resources for MIT student travel during Covid-19 (PDF).

International students should consult with the International Students Office for the latest guidance on visas and travel restrictions.

Staff and faculty

Staff and faculty members may travel to DoS level 3 and 4 countries with no exceptions required, but are encouraged to check the Department of State (DoS) travel advisories for their destination. If you have questions, please contact Program Manager for International Safety and Security Todd Holmes for assistance.

Local and domestic MIT-related travel

Local and domestic travel are allowed for all (including undergraduate students, graduate students, staff, faculty, and postdocs) with no exceptions required. Travelers should follow Commonwealth guidelines or guidelines of the originating location.

Personal travel

Use personal judgment and register your travel with MIT (encouraged).

Need more help?

Todd Holmes

Todd Holmes

International Safety & Security Program Manager


Covid-19 policies help

Covid-19 policies help