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Travel Policies and Exceptions

SPECIAL ALERT

Consistent with UNC System guidance, Carolina is prohibiting university-affiliated travel outside the state of North Carolina. Please see the Carolina Together website and the resources below for additional guidance.

Current Travel Restrictions

Carolina is prohibiting University-affiliated travel outside the state of North Carolina. Within the state, University travel is permitted, but it must be limited to gatherings of 50 or fewer people.

Requesting an Exemption from Current University-Related Travel Restriction

University-related travel abroad is defined as any activity outside the United States tied to academic credit or university sponsorship or where the traveler directly represents the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This includes but is not limited to independent and structured study abroad, internships and practicums for credit, independent and sponsored research and service delivery, conferences, workshops, presentations, public engagement, partnership building and stewardship, site visits, development and alumni activities, meetings with global collaborators, and athletic competitions. It does not include personal or vacation travel.

In accordance with UNC System Office policy, Carolina has prohibited university-affiliated travel outside the State of North Carolina until further notice. Exceptions to this travel restriction can only be made by the chancellor or provost, as detailed in the following processes. Click on the specific category of travel below to view guidelines and criteria for requesting an exception.

The following processes apply to all international travel. For information specific to domestic travel exceptions, please see the Travel Guidelines section of the Carolina Together website.

Important Notes for All Approved University-Related Travel

  • All individuals who are approved for any of the categories of university-related travel below will be asked to sign an assumption of risk & release of liability document.
  • All travelers must be enrolled in the international health, evacuation, and repatriation insurance program established by the UNC System Office and administered by GeoBlue. To enroll, please contact Janet Hoernke in Risk Management Services at 919.962.6681 or janet_hoernke@unc.edu.

Other than specific exemptions granted by the chancellor, UNC-Chapel Hill has cancelled all study abroad programs for spring 2021, per UNC system policy.

All exceptions for university-affiliated travel by graduate students must be pre-approved by the provost with a favorable recommendation from the traveler’s 1) department chair or director of graduate studies; and 2) appropriate senior administrator (school dean or associate dean).

Requests for exceptions should be submitted via Rapid Admin Service Request (RASR) system. Applicants should select “The Graduate School” under the Group Selection tab and complete the “Graduate Student Request for Travel Restriction Exception” form.

If you are unable to access the RASR system, please contact Julie Montaigne at julie_montaigne@unc.edu.

The application form requires the following information:

  1. The specific dates and destinations of proposed travel;
  2. The purpose of the proposed research and an explanation as to why the work can’t be fulfilled remotely via video conferencing or through other electronic means;
  3. Whether the proposed travel is related to COVID-19 or other pressing public health matters;
  4. A summary of how the trip will explicitly advance the research mission of the university;
  5. A description of travel risks and how the traveler proposes to mitigate those risks during the trip and upon return to campus;
  6. Acknowledgement of the traveler’s Assumption of Risk & Release of Liability;
  7. A signed Advisor Approval Form (to be attached); and
  8. A copy of a proposed travel itinerary detailing the travel route (to be attached).

Applicants can follow the approval progress of their application in the RASR system under “My Forms.”

If you are an approver for this process, please visit The Graduate School website for more information.

All exceptions for university-affiliated travel by faculty and post-docs must be pre-approved by the provost with a favorable recommendation, depending on reporting lines, from the traveler’s 1) supervisor; 2) department chair, center or institute director, or other unit head (if different from supervisor); and 3) appropriate senior administrator (school dean or executive dean, vice chancellor, or vice provost).

Requests for exceptions should be sent via email by the petitioner directly to Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bob Blouin (provost@unc.edu) and should copy Debbi Clarke, Associate Provost for Strategy and Special Projects (debbi_clarke@unc.edu); and Emma Dehne, Executive Assistant to the Provost (emma.dehne@unc.edu).

In their message, petitioners should include:

  1. The specific dates, routes/itineraries, and destinations of proposed travel;
  2. The purpose of the proposed research and an explanation as to why the work can’t be fulfilled remotely via video conferencing or through other electronic means;
  3. Whether the proposed travel is related to COVID-19 or other pressing public health matters;
  4. A summary of how the trip will explicitly advance the mission of the university;
  5. A description of travel risks and how the traveler proposes to mitigate those risks during the trip and upon return to campus;
  6. A completed and signed faculty/post-doc assumption of risk and release of liability document; and
  7. Acknowledgement that the appropriate senior administrator and other supervisors listed above have approved the travel exemption request. When a determination is made, the appropriate senior administrator will be copied on the provost’s response. Please be sure to gain these supervisory approvals before submitting your request.

All exceptions for university-affiliated travel outside the State of North Carolina by EHRA non-faculty and SHRA staff must be pre-approved by the chancellor with a favorable recommendation from the vice chancellor for human resources and equal opportunity and compliance.

Requests for exceptions for international travel should be sent via email by the petitioner directly to Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance Becci Menghini (becci_menghini@unc.edu), and copy Katie Nolan, interim chief of staff, (kbnolan@unc.edu), and Sherene Jenkins, executive assistant (sherene_jenkins@unc.edu). Finally, as noted below, the traveler’s immediate supervisor or manager and the appropriate school dean or senior administrator should be copied on the request. 

In their message, petitioners should include:

  1. The specific dates, routes/itineraries, and destinations of proposed travel;
  2. The purpose of the proposed research and an explanation as to why the work can’t be fulfilled remotely via video conferencing or through other electronic means;
  3. Whether the proposed travel is related to COVID-19 or other pressing public health matters;
  4. A summary of how the trip will explicitly advance the mission of the university;
  5. A description of travel risks and how the traveler proposes to mitigate those risks during the trip and upon return to campus;
  6. A completed and signed Assumption of Risk and Release of Liability document; and
  7. Acknowledgement that the traveler’s immediate supervisor and appropriate school dean or senior administrator have approved the travel exemption request. When sending your request, please copy these individuals.

Other categories of travel may also be considered for an exception. Some processes are still being finalized but will be posted here as soon as possible. In the meantime, please contact Andrew Hunt at andrew.hunt@unc.edu if you have other questions or an urgent concern.

Global Travel Registry

The legacy Global Travel Registry system is not being used to manage university-related travel under the current restrictions and special procedures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  During this period, record-keeping for university-related travel approved by the processes above is being managed internally by the Office of the Vice Provost for Global Affairs. Contact Andrew Hunt, Global Operations Specialist with the Office of the Vice Provost for Global Affairs at andrew.hunt@unc.edu with any questions.

International Health and Evacuation Insurance

As mandated by the University of North Carolina System, all University affiliates—students, faculty, staff, and others–are required to enroll in the international health, evacuation and repatriation insurance coverage, provided by GeoBlue, when traveling abroad on university-related business.

Affiliates granted an exemption to current travel restrictions can visit our page on travel insurance for full details.

For any questions, please contact Janet Hoernke in Risk Management Services and Mission Continuity at +1.919.962.6681 or janet_hoernke@unc.edu.

Special Insurance Guidance for Students Returning from Overseas Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Students who were enrolled in Blue Cross Blue Shield GeoBlue travel health insurance are eligible to enroll in the U.S.-based StudentBlue plan. Loss of GeoBlue is considered a qualifying life event to obtain Student Blue. Coverage is retroactive to the date after the loss of GeoBlue and will be activated once prorated premium payment is made.

Student Blue does cover coronavirus testing at 100% and does not require prior approval. However, doctor visits to screen for COVID-19 will be covered the same as any other doctor visit, subject to the applicable copay. deductible or coinsurance. Student Blue members will also have access to telehealth services through MClive. To begin your application, contact Vicki Warwick, vwarwick@email.unc.edu, and include your name, PID, date of birth and date that you are canceling GeoBlue. 

UNC-Chapel Hill Travel Policies and Forms

Currently, the restrictions and special procedures regarding university-affiliated travel as described above supersede the provisions outlined in the legacy Policy Concerning Global Study, Travel and Research.

This policy was created to ensure compliance with state and University regulations; establish guidelines for approval, control and accounting for employees and others who travel on University business; and ensure fairness for both the traveler and the University.

View full policy.

Additionally, UNC Finance provides information about using the web travel system, travel authorizations, travel reimbursements, airfare requests, the business travel card program and related forms on the Travel Services website.

If you are traveling outside the country, sending items overseas, inviting a visiting scholar to your lab on campus, or related activities, then export control regulations likely apply. Export controls are federal laws that govern the transfer of items, materials, equipment, commodities, biologics, software, encryption, and/or technical information to foreign nationals, wherever located. Many University activities fall under these very comprehensive regulations, and violations of these laws carry both individual liability and significant penalties.

The UNC-Chapel Hill Export Compliance Office is here to help UNC faculty, staff, students, and other personnel navigate through U.S. export controls. The Export Compliance Office is committed to supporting the University’s global mission, as well as our extraordinary foreign national population on campus. Please contact exportcontrol@unc.edu with questions or for help with your international engagements.

View full policy.

Communications

Download and print an emergency information card before traveling.

Carolina faculty, staff and students who experience an emergency while traveling abroad on University business should contact UNC Police at +1.919.962.8100. UNC Police is first in the chain of response. Students should ask UNC Police to contact the dean of students on call to find the appropriate resources for assistance. UNC Police will assist faculty and staff with identifying a human resources administrator or Employee Assistance Program officer who can help coordinate support.

For emergency evacuation and other 24/7 health insurance assistance, call GeoBlue collect from outside the U.S. at +1.610.254.8771, toll free within the U.S. at +1.844.268.2686, or via email at globalhealth@geo-blue.com. In an emergency, seek appropriate medical care immediately, and then call GeoBlue. Insurance coverage must be purchased in advance of travel.

The Risk Management Advisory Committee (RMAC) serves as an advisory board for the Vice Provost for Global Affairs.  The Vice Provost for Global Affairs seeks the advice of the RMAC on matters such as the following:

  • whether to cancel or suspend a UNC program or programs abroad
  • whether and how strongly to encourage UNC students and/or faculty to travel back to the U.S. or another home country
  • whether to recommend restrictions on university-affiliated outbound travel

The Risk Management Advisory Committee is composed of:

  • Barbara Stephenson, Vice Provost for Global Affairs and Chief Global Officer
  • Rudi Colloredo-Mansfeld, Senior Associate Dean for Social Sciences and Global Programs, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Heather Ward, Associate Dean of Study Abroad & Exchanges, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Jason Kinnear, Assistant Dean of Study Abroad & Exchanges, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Desirée Rieckenberg, Dean of Students, Office of the Dean of Students
  • Katie Bowler Young, Director of Global Relations, Office of the Vice Provost for Global Affairs
  • Andrew Hunt, Global Operations Specialist, Office of the Vice Provost for Global Affairs
  • Derek Kemp, Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Safety & Risk Management, Division of Finance and Operations
  • Catherine Brennan, Executive Director of Environment, Health and Safety and Risk Management, Division of Finance and Operations
  • Sarah Schtakleff, Associate University Counsel
  • David Perry, Assistant Vice Chancellor and Chief, UNC Police
  • Rasheem Holland, Captain, UNC Police
  • Angela Bond, Director of Global Programs, Kenan-Flagler Business School