International Studies & Programs

Home > Travel During COVID-19 Pandemic > International Travel

International Travel

All University-sponsored international travel must be reviewed and approved according to the process described below. A minimum of three week's notice is required to process all travel requests.


Vaccination Recommendation

All MSU international travelers are strongly encouraged to be fully vaccinated before departure. According to the CDC, you are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after your second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

All travelers must comply with local, state, federal, and destination entry requirements and public health restrictions. For example, many countries are still requiring evidence of a negative COVID-19 test regardless of vaccination status. 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. These requirements and recommendations are changing often and everyone is encouraged to closely monitor restrictions. Please review the latest CDC guidance for international travel and these pre-travel considerations and travel health resources.

Fully vaccinated travelers may benefit from more flexible MSU travel review processes. The travel review processes outlined below are still in effect with the following changes for fully vaccinated faculty, staff, sponsored guests, and graduate/professional students:

  • For faculty, staff and sponsored guests who have been fully vaccinated (see definition above), a full travel review by the Faculty and Staff Travel Review (FASTR) Committee and Dean-level approval may be eliminated. Faculty, staff, and sponsored guests on MSU-sponsored outgoing international travel must submit the MAU approval form and waiver request form (see below) no later than three weeks before departure and must comply with MSU health and safety guidelines, and policies in the countries of transit and of destination. Travelers will have the opportunity to disclose their vaccination status on these forms. The Office for Global Health, Safety, and Security will review both forms and will advise on next steps. Faculty, staff, and sponsored guests traveling to high-risk security destinations will continue to require FASTR review and MAU (Dean-level) approval.

  • Graduate and professional students who have been fully vaccinated (see definition above) and who intend to engage in MSU-sponsored outgoing international travel must submit the MAU approval form and waiver request form (see below) no later than three weeks before departure. Travelers will have the opportunity to disclose their vaccination status on these forms. Waiver requests will be reviewed by a subcommittee of the Risk and Security Assessment Committee which will expedite decisions for those who are fully vaccinated. Graduate and professional students may also be approved to travel to higher risk countries including those with an "orange" risk level per the Harvard Global Health Institute/Brown School of Public Health COVID-19 Risk Levels map. Travelers must comply with MSU health and safety guidelines, and policies in the countries of transit and of destination.

  • Effective June 15, 2021, students participating in faculty-directed Education Abroad programs are required to be fully vaccinated before their program departure. Students on all other kinds of Education Abroad programs (e.g., direct enroll, exchange, provider, internship, etc.) are strongly recommended to be fully vaccinated before their program departure.

Waiver Request Process Overview

All faculty, staff, students, and sponsored-guests who intend to engage in essential MSU-sponsored international travel must obtain a waiver. The waiver request process has two steps. First, the traveler(s) must obtain approval from their Major Administrative Unit that their travel is considered essential. Approval forms are available below. Next, the traveler(s) must submit an online waiver request form (signed approval forms must be uploaded to the waiver request). Waiver requests must be submitted at least three weeks before departure. 

Undergraduate and graduate/professional students waiver requests will be reviewed by the Risk and Security Assessment Committee (RSAC). RSAC will make a recommendation to the Provost who has final authority for approving waivers. 

Faculty and staff waiver requests will be reviewed by the Faculty and Staff Travel Review Committee (FASTR) which will make a recommendation to the relevant dean who has final authority for approving waivers. The Faculty and Staff International Travel Review Process flowchart outlines the steps required for waiver requests. 

All travelers should carefully review the COVID-19 travel health resources before submitting a waiver. International travel must also be registered in the MSU Global Travel Registry and Concur (if applicable).

For any international travel that will entail human subjects research, both travel health and safety and the Human Research Plan for a Safe Return will be reviewed concurrently after obtaining Major Administrative Unit (MAU) determination of essential and before consideration by FASTR. For more information on the human subjects research, please review the MSU Human Research Protection Program's COVID-19 webpage.

For MSU faculty and staff who reside internationally, MSU’s international travel review process applies for any travel taking place from the country of residence to another country (except the United States). MSU’s domestic travel review process applies for any travel taking place within the country of residence. In both cases, the most stringent health and safety requirements (MSU and U.S. versus country of residence and country of destination) will prevail. For any travel to campus, MSU’s inbound health protocols apply.

The information above does not apply to Education Abroad. Specific guidance has been published online and sent directly to Program Directors. The Office for Education Abroad is also communicating directly with Program Directors and participants and is posting the latest updates on their website.

Groups may submit one MAU approval form and one waiver request provided all travelers will be following to same itinerary and health precautions. Please list all travelers covered by the form and the waiver request.


First Step: Secure MAU Approval

Major Administrative Units (MAUs) are responsible for determining if proposed MSU-sponsored international travel is considered essential. Travelers are asked to submit the form below to their Dean, Associate Dean, or Unit Head for approval. 

Guidance on what may be considered essential travel and what minimum health and safety measures should be in place is provided below.

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. Air travel and public transportation is permitted if physical distancing is maintained. Travel by car preferred (private vehicle, rented/Motor Pool vehicle, taxi/rideshare permitted so long as physical distancing maintained).

  5. Travel by car preferred when reasonable.

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

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

  8. Traveler must participate in health screening before and after travel.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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

  12. Room-sharing is not permitted.

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

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

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

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

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

side-by-side_agriculture-africa.jpgMAU Approval Form

Submit this form to the relevant MAU administrator. Retain a copy of the signed form and upload it the online international travel waiver request form.


Second Step: Submit Waiver Request

As the second step in the waiver process, please submit the online international travel waiver request form at least three weeks before intended departure. Waiver requests are reviewed by the Faculty and Staff Travel Review (FASTR) committee which makes a recommendation to the relevant Dean who has final approval.

Groups may submit one MAU approval form and one waiver request provided all travelers will be following to same itinerary and health precautions. Please list all travelers covered by the form and the waiver request.


side-by-side_windmill.JPGInternational Travel Waiver Form

Submit this online waiver form at least three weeks before departure. This form may be used by students, faculty, and staff. One form may be submitted for a group if their travel details are identical. Here is a preview of the form that you are encouraged to review before completing it online.


Pre-Travel Health Considerations

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.

Travelers must also be prepared to comply with local public health guidance and entry restrictions, including 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.

Traveler must complete the Spartan Health Screening before they arrive at their work location and then each subsequent day of travel if applicable.


Return to Campus/Regular Worksite Health Protocols

Please follow MSU health procotols for returning to MSU from an international location. Faculty and staff should also complete the Spartan Health Screening before returning to their regular worksite. Do not travel to campus or your regular worksite if you feel sick.

As of January 26, 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 72 hours of departure to the U.S. 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.


Faculty and Staff International Travel Review Process - Flowchart

This flowchart outlines the steps for reviewing proposed MSU-sponsored international travel by faculty, staff, or sponsored guests.