IUP Education Abroad and US Department of State Travel Guidelines

  • The following outlines the US Department of State (DOS) Travel Advisory system. IUP requires all students to check this information when making a decision about their overseas experience. The IUP Guidelines as related to student travel abroad are listed below the DOS explanations.

    The United States Travel Advisories can be found on the US Department of State (DOS) Travel Advisories website (information directly from Travel.State.Gov).  

    Level 1 – Exercise Normal Precautions: 

    This is the lowest advisory level for safety and security risk. There is some risk in any international travel. Conditions in other countries may differ from those in the United States and may change at any time.

    IUP Guidelines: Any IUP student (undergraduate or graduate) who wishes to travel for his/her own educational purposes to a district/country for which the DOS has issued a Level 1 Travel Advisory may do so, under the following conditions:

    1. The student must review the Travel Advisory and the US DOS Consular Information Sheet for the district/country in question. The student must also review applicable US DOS public announcements for the region in question. These documents are available at the US Department of State website. A questionnaire will be regarding this information will be available on the Education Abroad application.
    2. The student must register for the US DOS Smart Traveller Enrollment Program (STEP) for updates, warnings, and timely in-country information. There is no fee for this service. 
    3. The student must consider carefully the risks described in the DOS Travel Advisory and, weighing those risks against the value of the educational opportunity to the student, make his or her own determination about whether to continue with the planned research or study activity. In balancing these factors, the student should take into consideration the possibility that the existing Travel Advisory may be changed to a more urgent Advisory (levels 3 or 4). This may possibly affect the funding status of a student’s already expended monies for the research or study activity. The student should also take into consideration the possibility that, if she/he encounters difficulties abroad, IUP and even the US DOS may be unable to assist. 
    4. If the student is already in the district/country for which the travel warning has been issued, the Education Abroad Office will attempt to notify him/her of the changed status, and request a signed release. Should the student decide to return to the United States, IUP will, at the student’s request and cost, endeavor to help the student make arrangements for his/her return. 
    5. If the student follows the steps outlined above, she/he should be able to register for academic credit. 
    6. If the student follows the steps outlined above, and if the educational activity is otherwise approved and eligible, she/he should be able to use scholarship and other IUP funds obtained in support of the educational activity in the district/country affected by a Level 1 Travel Advisory.

    Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution:

    Be aware of heightened risks to safety and security. The Departments of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.

    IUP Guidelines: Any IUP student (undergraduate or graduate) who wishes to travel for his/her own educational purposes to a district/country for which the DOS has issued a Level 2 Travel Advisory may do so, under the following conditions:

    1. The student must review the Travel Advisory and the US DOS Consular Information Sheet for the district/country in question. The student must also review applicable US DOS public announcements for the region in question. These documents are available at the US Department of State website. A questionnaire will be regarding this information will be available on the Education Abroad application.
    2. The student must register for the US DOS Smart Traveller Enrollment Program (STEP) for updates, warnings, and timely in-country information. There is no fee for this service. 
    3. The student must consider carefully the risks described in the DOS Travel Advisory and, weighing those risks against the value of the educational opportunity to the student, make his or her own determination about whether to continue with the planned research or study activity. In balancing these factors, the student should take into consideration the possibility that the existing Travel Advisory may be changed to a more urgent Advisory (levels 3 or 4). This may possibly affect the funding status of a student’s already expended monies for the research or study activity. The student should also take into consideration the possibility that, if she/he encounters difficulties abroad, IUP and even the US DOS may be unable to assist. 
    4. If the student is already in the district/country for which the travel warning has been issued, the Education Abroad Office will attempt to notify him/her of the changed status, and request a signed release as specified in 3 above. Should the student decide to return to the United States, IUP will, at the student’s request and cost, endeavor to help the student make arrangements for his/her return. 
    5. If the student follows the steps outlined above, she/he should be able to register for academic credit. 
    6. If the student follows the steps outlined above, and if the educational activity is otherwise approved and eligible, she/he should be able to use scholarship and other IUP funds obtained in support of the educational activity in the district/country affected by a Level 2 Travel Advisory.

    Level 3 – Reconsider Travel:

    Avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.

    IUP Guidelines for undergraduates (graduate students, see below): When the US DOS issues a travel advisory that restricts, or otherwise urges US citizens to defer travel to a certain district, the following rules apply for students:

    1. IUP education abroad programs in that district/country shall be reconsidered on a case-by-case basis. IUP education abroad programs may be suspended.
    2. No student shall be allowed to travel to that district/country under the auspices of IUP without consultation and approval from the IUP OIE.
    3. Unless approved by IUP OIE, no student shall be given IUP funding—including any external funding administered through and disbursed by the university—for any activity in that district/country.
    4. If the student has already received such funding prior to the imposition of the Travel Advisory Level 3, the funding maybe returned to IUP as deemed by the IUP OIE and appropriate offices. 
    5. Unless approved by IUP OIE, no student shall be given IUP academic credit from IUP for that research or educational activity for any activity in that district/country. If the student is already in the district/country for which the travel warning has been issued, IUP’s president and provost, in consultation with the Education Abroad Office, will decide whether the student shall be required to return to the United States.

    If proposed experience is approved by IUP OIE: 

    1. The student must review the Travel Advisory and the US DOS Consular Information Sheet for the district/country in question. The student must also review applicable US DOS public announcements for the region in question. These documents are available at the US Department of State website. A questionnaire will be regarding this information will be available on the Education Abroad application.
    2. The student must register for the US DOS Smart Traveller Enrollment Program (STEP) for updates, warnings, and timely in-country information. There is no fee for this service. 
    3. The student must consider carefully the risks described in the DOS Travel Advisory and, weighing those risks against the value of the educational opportunity to the student, make his or her own determination about whether to continue with the planned research or study activity. In balancing these factors, the student should take into consideration the possibility that the existing Travel Advisory may be changed to a more urgent Advisory (level 4). This may possibly affect the funding status of a student’s already expended monies for the research or study activity. The student should also take into consideration the possibility that, if she/he encounters difficulties abroad, IUP and even the US DOS may be unable to assist. 
    4. The student must sign an additional release, acknowledging the existence of the travel warning and his/her decision to continue with the planned activity despite that warning, and releasing IUP from liability for death, injuries, or losses suffered by the student while participating in the activity. 
    5. If the general travel warning for the district/country in question contains Levels 3 or 4 warnings for specific regions within the country, the student must agree in writing to refrain from any travel to those regions during his/her education or research abroad activity. Failure to comply with this agreement will lead to a loss of enrollment status and the inability to transfer credit to IUP. 

    If changed to Level 3 during experience:

    1. If the student is already in the district/country for which the Travel Advisory Level 3 has been issued, the IUP OIE will attempt to notify him/her of the changed status, and request a signed release. Should the student decide to return to the United States, IUP will, at the student’s request and cost, endeavor to help the student make arrangements for his/her return.
    2. The student must sign an additional release, acknowledging the existence of the travel warning and his/her decision to continue with the planned activity despite that warning, and releasing IUP from liability for death, injuries, or losses suffered by the student while participating in the activity. 
    3. If the general travel warning for the district/country in question contains Levels 3 or 4 warnings for specific regions within the country, the student must agree in writing to refrain from any travel to those regions during his/her education or research abroad activity. Failure to comply with this agreement will lead to a loss of enrollment status and the inability to transfer credit to IUP. 
    4. Where the student has pre-paid the costs of an IUP education abroad program, the student may be eligible for a refund of all or a portion of the payment, but the availability of a refund is not guaranteed and will depend on the circumstances of each case.
    5. In cases where a student’s early departure from an education abroad program due to a US DOS travel warning leads to a loss of anticipated academic credit, IUP will make a good-faith effort to provide alternative arrangements allowing the student to complete the work necessary to obtain the academic credit that she/he would have earned on the interrupted program.

    IUP guidelines for graduate students who wish to travel to a district/country with an active US DOS Travel Advisory Level 3 for purposes of research or training must submit the following documents in addition to the Education Abroad Office:

    1. The student must review the Travel Advisory and the US DOS Consular Information Sheet for the district/country in question. The student must also review applicable US DOS public announcements for the region in question. These documents are available at the US Department of State website. A questionnaire will be regarding this information will be available on the Education Abroad application.
    2. The student must register for the US DOS Smart Traveller Enrollment Program (STEP) for updates, warnings, and timely in-country information. There is no fee for this service.
    3. A written statement by the student explaining why travel to the respective district/country is essential to the student’s research and/or training and containing a travel itinerary, including detailed contact information.
    4. A written statement by the faculty advisor, endorsed by the department chair, confirming that the research or training project is important to the student’s academic program and stating how the advisor believes any risk would be mitigated.
    5. A signed waiver and release (provided by the Education Abroad Office) stating that the student has been advised of the travel warning and associated risks, and still chooses to travel to this district/country. The waiver will also include an acknowledgement by the student that it is his/her own responsibility to take precautions with respect to his/her personal safety, and that she/he understands that IUP, external funding agencies, and even the US DOS may be unable to help in the event she/he encounters difficulties abroad. The waiver and release shall release IUP from liability for death, injuries, or losses suffered by the student while participating in the activity. 
    6. Upon submission of all the above to the Education Abroad Office and approval by the Education Abroad Office, graduate students may use approved IUP funding—including any external funding administered through and disbursed by IUP—for approved research or training activities in that district/country. However, any rules set by external funding agencies for travel to countries with Travel Advisories will take precedence if they are more stringent than IUP guidelines. It is ultimately the responsibility of each participant to monitor the Travel Advisory Level of the planned program and the outlined confines (if any) of funding sources.

    Level 4 – Do Not Travel:

    This is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the US government may have very limited ability to provide assistance. The Department of State advises that US citizens not travel to the country or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.

    IUP Guideline: IUP will not permit any student (undergraduate or graduate) to participate in any travel in/to a Level 4 Travel Advisory Country or area.


    Forum Standards: 7, 8, 9