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Travel Policies and Exceptions

SPECIAL ALERT

Consistent with UNC System guidance, Carolina is prohibiting University-affiliated international travel unless approved via one of the processes outlined on this page. Please see the Carolina Together website and the resources below for additional guidance. 

How to Request Approval for University-Affiliated International Travel

University-affiliated international travel includes international travel funded by the University and international travel for academic credit.

In accordance with UNC System Office policy, Carolina prohibits University-affiliated international travel until further notice.

Exceptions to this travel restriction may be granted by the chancellor or provost as detailed in the following processes. Choose the specific category of travel below to view guidelines for requesting an exception.

Please note that this process is for University-affiliated travel. For requests to telework internationally, please contact your unit’s HR representative or assigned Talent Acquisition Partner.

Important Notes for Approved University-Affiliated International Travel

  • Deans and others weighing whether the benefits to UNC of the proposed travel outweigh the risks should review guidance updated September 27, 2021, on increased risks of international travel.
  • Individuals who are approved for any of the categories of University-affiliated travel below must comply with all applicable guidelines and requirements, including the Department of State requirement of a negative COVID-19 test for travel to the US, which went into effect January 26, 2021. Other requirements may include mask-wearing and recommended periods of self-quarantine or self-isolation after entry into the United States.
  • Individuals on approved University-affiliated travel will be asked to sign an assumption of risk and acknowledgement document.
  • Individuals on approved University-affiliated travel must be enrolled in international health insurance such as the program established by the UNC System Office and administered by GeoBlue.

UNC-Chapel Hill is operating a limited number of study abroad programs for Fall 2021. These are provided by the Study Abroad Office and Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Individuals participating in a UNC study abroad program do not need to submit an individual request for a travel exception. For study abroad, approval is sought and granted for the program and all participants in the program are covered.

Undergraduate University-affiliated international travel outside study abroad is currently prohibited. Exceptions may be requested for travel in cases in which a student needs to fulfill a distinguishing academic or professional credential or qualification, such as advanced language study, thesis research requiring access to an archive only available in another country, or other academic purpose essential to an advanced multi-year academic program. Students seeking such an exception should plan to remain at a fixed location. A student under 18 years of age as of their departure date is not eligible for international travel exceptions.

The policy applies to undergraduate student independent travel that is University-affiliated and not to personal travel. There are separate approval processes for undergraduate international travel through established, credit-bearing study abroad programs, and for undergraduate domestic University-affiliated travel.

1. Complete the Undergraduate Student International Travel Approval Request Form and Assumption of Risk and Acknowledgement
2. Get approval

Exceptions for undergraduate University-affiliated travel begin with:

a) student’s faculty advisor who certifies that the proposed travel meets the exceptional academic criteria in the first paragraph above; and

b) chair of the department in which the faculty adviser resides, who ratifies the academic endorsement of the faculty advisor; and

c) dean of the student’s college/school who must certify that the benefits to the student’s academic career outweigh the risks to UNC of the proposed travel.

3. Dean sends Undergraduate Student International Travel Approval Request Form, Assumption of Risk, and a signed statement that he/she has reviewed the request and certifies that the benefits to the student’s academic career outweigh the risks to UNC of the proposed travel.

Send all three documents to:

    •  Barbara Stephenson, Vice Provost for Global Affairs and Chief Global Officer: barbara.stephenson@unc.edu

The Vice Provost for Global Affairs reviews requests for completeness and compliance with current procedures and forwards them to the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost as appropriate.

4. The Provost’s Office will respond as soon as possible.

1. Submit requests for exceptions through Rapid Admin Service Request (RASR)

On the Graduate School tab, select “Graduate Student Request for Travel Restriction Exception”.

For RASR access issues, contact Julie Montaigne at julie_montaigne@unc.edu. Applicants can follow the approval process in the RASR system under “My Forms.”

2. Approval

Have your advisor complete the Advisor Approval Form.

Exceptions for University-affiliated international travel must be approved by the traveler’s 1) department chair or director of graduate studies; and 2) appropriate senior administrator (school dean or associate dean). By approving the request, the dean or dean’s designee has determined that the articulated benefits to the University outweigh the risks associated with the travel. Deans or designees should review the guidance on increased risks updated September 27, 2021.

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

1. Download and complete these forms:

A. Faculty and Postdoc Travel Restriction Exception Request and Approval

B. Assumption of Risk and Acknowledgement

2. Get approval by the school dean

Exceptions for University-affiliated travel must be approved by the traveler’s dean or designee. In weighing whether to certify that benefits outweigh the risks to UNC of the proposed international travel, deans or designees should review the guidance on increased risks updated September 27, 2021.

Units may require additional levels of approval including supervisor, department chair, and senior administrator. Be sure to gain necessary supervisory approval before submitting your request. The dean will submit the exception as outlined below.

3. Dean sends request for exception to

    •  Barbara Stephenson, Vice Provost for Global Affairs and Chief Global Officer: barbara.stephenson@unc.edu

The Vice Provost for Global Affairs reviews requests for completeness and compliance with current procedures and forwards them to the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost as appropriate.

4. The Provost’s Office will respond as soon as possible
5. If your international travel is approved, attach the forms in the Concur travel management system

To manage the financial side of travel more efficiently, the University introduced Concur in August 2021. You will need to attach forms A and B above along with a copy of your approval email from the Provost’s office.

Sign in to Concur | Concur Solutions

1. Download and complete these forms:

A. EHRA Non-Faculty and SHRA Staff Travel Restriction Exception Request and Approval

B. Assumption of Risk and Acknowledgement

2. Obtain a signed statement by the dean or other appropriate senior administrator

Exceptions for University-affiliated travel must be approved the traveler’s dean or designee. In weighing whether to certify that benefits outweigh the risks to UNC of the proposed international travel, deans or designees should review the guidance on increased risks updated September 27, 2021.

Units may require additional levels of approval including supervisor, department chair, and senior administrator. Be sure to gain necessary supervisory approval before submitting your request.

3. Dean sends request for exception to

  •  Barbara Stephenson, Vice Provost for Global Affairs and Chief Global Officer: barbara.stephenson@unc.edu

The Vice Provost for Global Affairs reviews requests for completeness and compliance with current procedures and forwards them to the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost as appropriate.

4. The Provost’s Office will respond as soon as possible
5. If your international travel is approved, attach the forms in the Concur travel management system

To manage the financial side of travel more efficiently, the University introduced Concur in August 2021. You will need to attach forms A and B above along with a copy of your approval email from the Provost’s office.

Sign in to Concur | Concur Solutions

 

At this time, no exception process exists for other categories of travel. Please contact the Office of the Vice Provost for Global Affairs at jill.wilhelm@unc.edu with any questions.

Global Travel Registry

Record-keeping for University-affiliated international travel is being managed by the Office of the Vice Provost for Global Affairs. Contact Jill Wilhelm at jill.wilhelm@unc.edu with questions.

International Health and Evacuation Insurance

Students, faculty, and staff are required to have international health insurance coverage when traveling abroad on University-affiliated 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 & Operations 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

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.