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Mandatory Travel Preparation

Passport

  • Required to enter or leave the U.S. and host country
  • Usually be valid 6 months beyond program end date. Varies by country
  • Processing time: 18 weeks routine and 12 weeks expedited (additional fees apply)
  • Check what you need for your application (proof of citizenship, proof of identity, passport photos, ID, fee, etc.)
  • Forms can be filled out in advance, but you need to apply in-person
  • Most locations (Squires Student Center, post office, state or county courthouse) require appointments (they can fill up quickly, so call a few weeks in advance!)
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your home country's consulate or embassy for procedures
A passport is one of the most valuable identification documents in the world, so limit the number of people who handle your passport. For example, if a hotel or rental agency needs your passport as collateral, offer another form of identification or a copy of your passport.
 

Visa

  • Visa: entry permit to a foreign country and is issued in the U.S.
  • Resident permit: allows you to stay in a county (might be required if staying abroad longer than 3 months and you apply for it once you’re in your host country).
  • If you need a visa or not depends on where you are going and for how long. Consult the country specific information provided by the U.S. Department of State.
  • You need a passport to obtain a visa.
  • It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad.
  • Processing time can take up to 3-4 months.
  • Costs vary anywhere between $20 and $500.
  • You may be required to apply to a specific consulate in your jurisdiction.
  • An in-person interview/application submission may also be required.
  • Understand your visa type! The visa may require you to leave the country at a certain time (usually a few weeks after the program ends), deny permission to work for money, etc. If you violate it, you risk deportation.

Employees traveling on behalf of Virginia Tech, or a delegate, are required to complete a preapproval in the Chrome River system for international travel. If you are using Virginia Tech Foundation funds and traveling on behalf of the University, you or a delegate will need to enter an Intl Travel/Risk Management expense in the Chrome River system using a state fund number. The fund number determines how the report routes through the system for approval.

Students traveling abroad only need to complete a preapproval in the Chrome River system for international travel if university funds are being used to support the travel. A delegate must complete the preapproval on behalf of student travelers.

Advisories

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs issues a Travel Advisory for each country of the world. Travel Advisories follow a consistent format and use plain language to help U.S. citizens find and use important security information. Travel Advisories apply up to four standard levels of advice, describe the risks, and provide clear actions U.S. citizens should take to help ensure their safety.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issues Travel Health Notices to inform travelers and clinicians about current health issues that impact travelers’ health, like disease outbreaks, special events or gatherings, and natural disasters, in destinations around the world.

As the COVID-19 situation around the world changes, CDC is monitoring COVID-19 risk in destinations around the world and making travel recommendations.

Restrictions

Virginia Tech Policy 1070: Global Travel Policy,  does not authorize any university-supported international travel to locations where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Travel Health Notice Level 3 or higher. Also, Policy 1070 does not authorize student university-supported international travel to locations where the U.S. Department of State has issued a Travel Advisory Level 3 or higher.

Individuals or group leaders can petition the GTOC for an exception to Policy 1070 international travel restrictions based on U.S. Department of State and CDC travel advisories. The petitioner is responsible for proving necessity of travel and sufficient risk mitigation to merit travel. Waivers are not guaranteed and can be revoked at any time by the GTOC or the university president, as the situation progresses.  Non-compliance may result in revocation of university-support and loss of eligibility for credit transfer.

See the Procedure to Request an Exception to Policy – International Travel for procedures on how to request an exception to university policy for high risk travel in which the risk is not related to COVID-19.

For locations with elevated advisories due only to COVID-19, see the COVID-19 International Travel & Study Abroad FAQ for procedures on how to request an exception to university policy for high risk travel.

About CISI 

  • International emergency medical and security assistance insurance through Virginia Tech's policy with CISI is mandatory for all students, employees, dependents, and guests traveling on university-supported international travel (study abroad, service learning, conferences, internships/externships, competitions, research, field work, business meetings, etc.) 
  • This plan is your primary insurance coverage specific to overseas travel (covering emergency medical assistance and evacuation, security evacuation, and repatriation services)
  • Travelers must self-enroll (VT faculty-led study abroad students are enrolled as a group)
  • Coverage can be purchased in small increments (one week/two weeks/three weeks/monthly)
  • Some countries require you to take a national insurance as well
  • CISI is only for the duration of your program and not for personal travel before or afterwards; you are highly encouraged to obtain similar coverage for personal travel

Policy brochures

How to enroll

   Faculty / staff on university business

  1. This coverage is provided on a per person fee basis 
  2. The cost for CISI coverage is an allowable international travel expense
  3. BEFORE ENROLLING!! make note of these CISI Sponsor Codes (“VTH-SE” or “VTH-Other”) which you need to fill out based on the reason for travel, as outlined below:
    • If the trip or program abroad involves students or is for the purpose of exploring, preparing, executing, or evaluating learning or research opportunities for students: use “VTH-SE”
    • All other Virginia Tech employee travel abroad: use “VTH-Other”
  4. Click here to enroll (this link will bring you directly to the CISI website)
  • If traveling to more than one country during a single coverage period:
    • Enroll using your first destination
    • Once you have enrolled, create an account with CISI 
    • After creating your account, update “My Itinerary” with your other destinations and the dates you will be in these locations (this information will be helpful to CISI and Virginia Tech in the event of an emergency)

 

   Students on university-supported international travel

  1. This coverage is provided on a per person fee basis
  2. Click here to enroll using the sponsor code "VTH-SE"
  • If traveling to more than one country during a single coverage period:
    • Enroll using your first destination
    • Once you have enrolled, create an account with CISI 
    • After creating your account, update “My Itinerary” with your other destinations and the dates you will be in these locations (this information will be helpful to CISI and Virginia Tech in the event of an emergency)

 

Faculty leading a study abroad program

  1. Faculty must enroll students participating on faculty-led programs in the BOV-mandated CISI insurance policy
  2. Download Virginia Tech CISI Group Enrollment Template 2021-22 (email VT Global Safety to receive the password)
  3. Fill out all columns highlighted in white on the spreadsheet
  4. Submit the spreadsheet to the Google Drive folder (DO NOT email the spreadsheet to adhere to FERPA guidelines) and notify  VT Global Safety for processing
  5. Submit payment after receiving an email notification that an invoice has been placed on Scholar to be paid from your study abroad local fund via HokieMart

 

Dependents

  • Dependents are required to be covered by CISI if they are accompanying a sponsor (spouse, parent, etc.) abroad
  • CISI coverage for VT employees, students, guests, and/or volunteers (individuals with a specific business purpose) is reimbursable
  • CISI coverage for dependents is not reimbursable and the sponsor is responsible for the costs
Save and then send as an e-mail attachment to CISI or fax to 203-399-5226 

OFFICE OF EXPORT AND SECURE RESEARCH COMPLIANCE (OESRC)

  • The physical export of university commodities, software or technology outside of the U.S. outside of the U.S. is subject to control under U.S. export control laws and regulations. 
  • In most cases, university employees may take common items, software and technology subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) outside of the U.S. under a “No License Required” declaration, so long as this property is not exported to the five Export Administration Regulations Country Group E locations (Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Sudan, and North Korea).
  • OESRC does not require notification for the temporary export to a non-sanctioned country of commercially available laptops, tablets and cell phones with standard commercially available software because no license is required.
  • For export of any other types of university commodities, software or technology, please email OESRC or call at 231 6642 prior to your travel to ensure no export license is required.
  • Published information, fundamental research, open source software, and other information in the public domain is not subject to these regulations and may be discussed and shared freely.
  • We recommend that you do not export confidential / proprietary technical data as it may be subject to export control and may require an export license or other government approval.  
  • Visit OESRC’s international travel page for services (loaner laptops, restricted party screening, travel tips).
  • There have been incidents of malicious software installation in employee computers when left unattended in foreign countries. If you believe your computer has been compromised, please contact OESRC immediately upon your return and prior to connecting the computer to any university networks. 

About the Clery Act

  • The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act requires U.S. colleges and universities who participate in Title IV federal student financial aid programs to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses, or in non-campus facilities (e.g. hotel, rented spaces). Providing accurate and timely safety information to the public, parents, and students (about crimes, and on campus student alcohol and drug violations), enables all parties who inquire at an institution to make an informed decision about their safety.
  • Failure to comply with the policy requirements can result in substantial fines for an institution (in the tens of thousands of dollars) or in an extreme case, in the loss of all participation in Title IV federal financial aid programs.

Mandatory Clery Reporting

  • Before Departure
    • You are required to report to GEO the full address(es) of all of the lodging locations students will occupy while abroad as well as all classroom spaces rented or occupied by students, and a verified local police address at least 30 days prior to your program’s departure
    • Virginia Tech’s Clery Compliance Coordinator, Gail Moles, will use the information to follow-up with local authorities regarding crime reporting statistics on your behalf
  • While Abroad
    • Report to the VTPD crimes that are directly reported to you in your capacity as a CSA as soon as possible
    • Provide as much detail as possible to assist law enforcement in addressing and categorizing the crime including the exact physical address of the offense (e.g. inside hotel, outside hotel, 3rd floor hallway, etc.). Your report should include personal identifying information if available to avoid double counting crimes. If the victim does not want the report to go any further than the CSA, the CSA should explain that he or she is required to submit the report but it can be submitted without identifying the victim.
    • Let the victim know about resources available to them regardless of whether they want the incident investigated or not. However, in an emergency situation the CSA should contact the VTPD or 911 as appropriate.
    • CSA’s are not responsible for investigating or reporting incidents that they overhear or learn about in an indirect manner.

Submit the Clery Report

  • Submit the Clery Act Reporting Spreadsheet via Google Drive at least 30 days in advance of program departure
  • Program leaders should have a designated folder in Global Education’s Google Drive
  • To login to your Google Drive visit the VT Google Apps Portal. Click Drive and login using your @vt.edu email address. Your folder is labeled "Global Education - your last name, first name" and has two subfolders: one for CISI Enrollments and one for Clery. Upload the designated spreadsheet under the Clery subfolder.
  • If you have questions, please email VT Global Safety

 

Resources

General info

  • Going abroad is normally stressful and can compromise your well-being if you are not careful
  • Health issues can, including ones that are under control at home
  • New or unexpected symptoms may arise
  • Going to another country will not solve personal problems and may make them worse
  • Consult with your doctor to ensure that you’re stable enough for travel without your usual support system

Check Up

  • Make an appointment with your physician (4–6 weeks before departure)
  • Have your physician write a summary of your medical history and current issues 
  • CISI can provide certified translations

Vaccinations

  • Check if the countries you’re traveling to require or recommend vaccinations
  • Make an appointment with your doctor at least four to six weeks before you travel 
  • Keep in mind, many vaccinations require at least 14 days to become effective and some require multiple trips to the doctor
  • There are several resources on and around campus that assist with travel vaccinations. Some may not have particular vaccinations available
  • Learn more about Immunizations offered by the Schiffert Health Center

Medication

  • On Call International (Security Provider with CISI) can assist with identifying if there are an requirements for your medication to be carried into your destination country. Contact On Call International at least 30 days prior to departure:
  • If you have any medical conditions that require prescription drugs, ask your physician to write a letter with your diagnosis, prescribed medications, and required dosage
  • Make sure your prescription medication is not restricted or illegal abroad (i.e. Adderall is illegal in Japan). Check with the country’s embassy on procedures.
  • Make sure you have enough medication while abroad. Do not rely on mailing it from home! Customs may stop the shipment
  • Keep your medication it in its original, labeled containers
  • If you have significant allergies to medication ensure that you carry a medication/emergency card with your drug allergies

Investigate

  • What common diseases and illnesses exist in the host country?
  • How are they transmitted?
  • What medical facilities are in the area?
  • Are English speaking doctors readily available?
  • What will I need to do if I have a medical issue?
  • Can my dietary restrictions or food allergies be accommodated?
  • Are any medical conditions ignored or virtually taboo in my host country?
  • What is my weight in kg and my height in cm?

Resources

Plane ticket

  • Wait to buy a plane ticket until you've been accepted into your program and you're sure you will be going
  • Consider leaving your return open ended so that you have the option of staying on after the program to travel on your own
  • You can find cheap flights online, or book directly with airlines (if you have an International Student Identity Card (ISIC), you qualify for many student fares with discounts up to 50%

Airport customs

  • Check both U.S./host country’s customs regulations before departure
  • What may be legal in the United States (i.e. prescription drugs) might not be allowed/limited elsewhere and vice versa
  • Smuggling can be a federal offense leading to fines or imprisonment
  • If the total cost of your purchases exceeds a certain amount, you will be asked to pay a tax on those items
  • Retain all receipts, or make an itemized list of purchases, prior to customs inspection
  • Customs declaration forms are usually distributed on the plane and should be completed before presenting yourself at passport control

Airport security

  • Contact your airline to learn more about their specific policies
  • Do not even think about joking about terrorism, or what "might" be in your bags. It will get you arrested immediately. Don't try it!

Traveling while abroad

  • Discount airlines are often less expensive than trains or busses
  • Train passes can be expensive, so don't buy one unless you're certain you'll use it

Resources

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