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International Travel Waiver Process

Please click on the flowchart image for an interactive PDF of the Travel Review Process Flowchart.

Submitting an International Travel Waiver

All faculty, staff, students and guests on MSU-sponsored travel, except those on an Education Abroad program, must submit an international travel waiver request at least 3 weeks prior to travel. This is a two-step submission process: 

  1. An MAU form is signed by the dean or an associate dean from the traveler’s college;
  2. Once the MAU form is completed, the traveler must submit an international travel waiver request form detailing their health and safety plan.

Group travel: Groups may submit one MAU form and one international travei waiver request. All travelers must be listed on both forms, with their specific itinerary and vaccination status (yes, no, prefer not to disclose).

Faculty, staff and sponsored guests: Follow steps outlined above, and the waiver request will be reviewed by Global Safety. If the traveler is unvaccinated against COVID-19 or travel is to a high-risk destination, the request will also be reviewed by the Faculty and Staff Travel Review (FASTR) committee.

Students on non-Education Abroad travel: Follow steps outlined above, and the waiver request will be reviewed by Global Safety and, if needed, by the Risk and Security Assessment Committee (RSAC).

Education Abroad programs: This process does not apply to those traveling on an Education Abroad program. Please refer to the EA COVID-19 Program Guidance and the Office for Education Abroad for more information on the review process.

MSU faculty and staff based internationally: Please follow the waiver process for any travel to another country other than the country of residence or the US. Travel within the country of residence is considered domestic travel, and inbound travel to the US does not require review.

MSU faculty and staff working remotely while abroad: If this is considered MSU-sponsored travel, please follow the waiver process. If this is not considered MSU-sponsored travel, no waiver is required; please reach out to the Office of Research and Innovation (research(at) or abroadappts(at) for more information.

Human or animal research: Please refer to MSU's Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) or Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC) for information on any applicable COVID-19 research review processes. HRPP or IACUC review can be done concurrently to the international travel waiver process.

Questions about healthcare while abroad? Please review information on accessing healthcare abroad during COVID-19 as well as information about international health insurance for MSU-sponsored international travelers.

Step 1: MAU Form

 Must be signed by the relevant MAU Administrator.

Step 2: International Travel Waiver Request

Upload MAU Form and provide details on health and safety plan.

Examples of Permitted Travel

MAUs are responsible for evaluating what they consider essential travel according to programmatic priorities and budgetary implications. Remote alternatives should be considered first. 

Below is a list of examples of the kinds of activities that could be considered essential travel. This is not an exhaustive list but is intended as guidance.

Faculty and staff

  • maintaining critical functions
  • COVID-related research and work
  • essential research to fulfill grant obligations
  • timely or seasonal and critical research
  • Extension and Advancement work travel
  • teaching/essential work at MSU satellite locations
  • long-distance commuters
  • essential small meetings/events with mitigation measures

Graduate and professional students

  • essential research to fulfill grant obligations
  • timely or seasonal and critical research
  • travel necessary for degree completion/academic continuity
  • COVID-related research and work, teaching at MSU satellite locations
  • long-distance commuters
  • essential small meetings/events with mitigation measures
  • study away
  • research assistantship
  • excursions embedded in academic courses

Undergraduate students

  • study away
  • internships
  • research assistantship
  • excursions related to academic courses (all with strong mitigation measures) 

Student groups

  • alternative break
  • community-engaged learning
  • Registered Student Organization travel (RSO advisor may approve in lieu of MAU)



Minimum Health and Safety Measures

  1. Travelers should assess their suitability for travel by reviewing public health guidance, reviewing COVID-19 spread at destination, and discussing travel plans with their primary care physician.

  2. Traveler abides by all local restrictions at destination(s).

  3. Travel should involve the fewest staff needed to complete the activity while assuring employee safety.

  4. Travel by car preferred when reasonable. Air travel and public transportation is permitted.

  5. Maintain physical distancing during travel and at worksite(s).

  6. Travel with food/water to avoid unnecessary stops. If necessary, obtain food from places that allow physical distancing (drive-through, take-away).

  7. Traveler must participate in any required health screening before and after travel.

  8. Carry hand sanitizer and disinfectant to sanitize hands and frequently touched surfaces/equipment. Note that TSA is permitting 12 oz bottles of hand sanitizer on flights.

  9. Wear a mask or cloth face covering in enclosed spaces or if near other people. This includes during a flight when a mask should only be removed to eat or drink.

  10. Wear PPE is applicable to setting (e.g. health care worker).

  11. Traveler must follow all TSA and airline health and safety requirements and may refuse to board a flight if they feel unsafe.

  12. No one can be required to travel as part of their job duties or academic coursework.

  13. Alternate assignments should be provided to any student who does not want to travel as part of an academic course.

  14. Faculty/staff are responsible for enforcing health and safety measures when traveling with students.

  15. Travelers must be prepared to sign an Acknowledgment of Risk form.

Health Considerations for Travel

Travelers should assess their suitability for travel by reviewing pre-travel health considerationspublic health guidance, reviewing COVID-19 spread at destination, and discussing travel plans with their primary care physician and/or International SOS (their pre-travel consultations with a medical professional are free to MSU travelers). Travelers should consider making an appointment with the MSU Travel Clinic or another travel health professional if they need immunizations, malaria prophylaxis, etc.

All travelers must comply with local, state, federal, and destination entry requirements and public health restrictions. These requirements and recommendations change often, and everyone is encourage to closely monitor restrictions. For example, many countries require evidence of a negative COVID-19 test regardless of vaccination status. This may also include self-quarantining upon arrival if advised by local authorities. Any travelers who develop symptoms upon arrival should self-quarantine immediately and contact International SOS for medical assistance.

Anyone traveling to the US (including US citizens and legal permanent residents) must present proof of a negative COVID-19 test regardless of vaccination status. Non-US citizen, non-US immigrants must also be fully vaccinated if traveling to the US by air - limited exceptions apply. Please review the latest CDC guidance for international travel and these pre-travel considerations and travel health resources.

Return to Campus / Regular Worksite Health Protocols

Please follow MSU health procotols for returning to MSU from an international location. Do not travel to campus or your regular worksite if you feel sick.

As of December, 2021, anyone traveling by plane to the United States from an international location must present proof of a negative viral COVID test (NAAT or antigen) from within one day. Anyone without evidence of a negative test will be denied boarding. This requirement applies to everyone including citizens and permanent residents. It’s also required even if the traveler has been fully vaccinated against COVID. Please review detailed guidance from the CDC.