Graduate Student Travel Policies

Introduction

The University of Kentucky places the highest importance on the health, safety and security of its faculty, staff and students who travel abroad under University auspices. Therefore, before departing the United States for educational purposes related to their student status at the University, graduate students are required to register their travel with the UK International Center, through either the Education Abroad (EA) or International Health, Safety and Security (IHSS) office, for risk management purposes, and to purchase coverage under the University’s international travel medical insurance and security evacuation policy. Registration and the purchase of insurance is required for all students who are traveling for educational purposes outside the United States or to U.S. territories.

Under this policy, travel for “educational purposes” includes, but is not limited to: travel for research purposes, academic or professional conferences, credit-bearing education abroad, service learning abroad, visiting appointments at international universities, and any other international activity funded, recommended, and/or approved, in whole or in part, by UK.

Credit-Bearing International Travel

Graduate students traveling abroad individually and earning academic credit (even if only enrolled in a 767 course) must register their travel with the International Center. However, they may need to register through the EA office instead of the IHSS office, as doing so could lower the amount of tuition they are required to pay for those credit hours. For questions regarding these options, please contact jasonhope@uky.edu

Non-Credit International Travel

Graduate students traveling abroad individually and not earning academic credit (e.g., conference attendances, research trips, etc.) must register their travel with the IHSS office at this link. After completing the registration process, students will receive an automated e-mail containing details of how to access UK’s international insurance and security evacuation benefit.

Academic Travel in Countries under a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Warning Level 3

Per Administrative Regulation (AR) 4:9, the University of Kentucky does not approve or sponsor international travel for educational purposes (e.g., research, collaborations, conference attendances, etc.) by any student in a country for which a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning is in effect. International travel by students is also prohibited to countries with a CDC Warning Level 3 in effect. However, as a research institution with a diverse student population and broad research interests, the University will consider exceptions on a case-by-case basis if a student, in consultation with his or her primary academic advisor, makes a compelling case that an alternative destination would not equally serve the student’s academic, research and/or career goals.

In order to receive an exemption to this policy, students must complete an appeal process before the University’s Travel Warning Oversight Committee, which operates under the auspices of the International Advisory Council. It should be noted that the appeal process is in no way related to the academic integrity or merit of the student’s proposed travel, as such oversight rests solely with the academic college. Instead, the appeal process relates only to the health, safety and security issues involved with travel to high-risk destinations.

Faculty members and other advisors should never advise any student to undertake work abroad in a country currently under a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning or CDC Warning Level 3 without the involvement of the UK International Center. To do so assigns unacceptable risk to the department and the college, as well as to the student.

The process for submitting an appeal to the Travel Warning Oversight Committee is as follows:

  1. As soon as a student begins making plans to pursue academic travel in a country under a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning, he or she should immediately contact UK’s Manager of International Health, Safety & Security (IHSS) to discuss plans, to ask any questions he or she may have about the University’s travel warning appeal policy, and to set up a meeting with the Travel Warning Oversight Committee.
  2. The student should begin the travel registration process through either the Education Abroad (EA) office, or the IHSS registration system, depending on whether or not academic credit is being earned.
  3. The student should begin compiling the required documentation which must be presented to the Travel Warning Oversight Committee, and which consists of the following:
    • A letter from the student’s primary faculty advisor confirming that the risks associated with the planned travel have been discussed with both the student and the department chair or dean and that in spite of these risks, the educational purpose is justified;
    • A statement explaining the purpose of the educational travel, a justification for travel to a country where a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning or CDC Warning Level 3 is in effect and why an alternative destination would not equally serve the student’s academic, research and/or career goals;
    • A summary of the student’s travel experience, preparedness for travel to this country, and evidence that suggests a record of independent judgment and decision-making;
    • A written exit strategy that includes plans for in-country security (including day to day travel logistics, housing options, etc.), knowledge of how to travel to a capital city or likely evacuation center (consider bus routes, the use of public transportation, knowledge of UK’s security evacuation provider, etc.), linguistic/cultural familiarity with the region (including cultural issues related to gender, ethnic origin, etc.), general preparedness and sound contingency planning;
    • A copy of the student’s UK academic transcript (official or unofficial);
    • A statement that confirms the student has reviewed the relevant sources of essential information and is fully informed of the content of the Travel Warning or CDC Warning Level 3 in effect for the country;
    • Evidence that the student has or assurance that the student will register with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate (if appropriate) nearest their destination and will keep the registration information updated for the duration of the time abroad
  4. At least 7 days before meeting with the Travel Warning Oversight Committee, the student must submit all required documentation to the Manager of IHSS.
  5. Based on the appeal documentation and the presentation by the student, the Travel Warning Oversight Committee will make a recommendation to the Associate Provost for Internationalization regarding a potential exception to the travel ban outlined in AR 4:9. The Associate Provost will then consult with the appropriate dean or a designee and then make the final decision.
  6. The Manager of IHSS will provide the student with an official letter from the Associate Provost either granting or denying an exemption to the AR, and outlining any conditions for such an exemption.
  7. The student must submit an additional signed and notarized waiver to the Manager of IHSS before final approval can be granted. Please contact the IHSS office to procure a copy of this waiver. The student most also print out a copy of the most recent version of the travel warning or CDC warning for the country to which he or she is traveling, write “I have read and understood the contents of this travel warning” or or “I have read and understood the contents of this CDC warning” on it, sign and have it notarized as well, and submit it to the Manager of IHSS.

Students should consider printing and keeping hard copies of the submitted documents with them for the duration of their time overseas.

Questions regarding any part of the appeal process should be directed to the Manager of IHSS.