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Frequently Asked Questions

The following is a list of frequently asked questions from across the offices supporting Columbia College and Columbia Engineering collected here in one place for your convenience. You can browse by topic/department or search by keyword.

How to Comply with the Policy, Student Affairs

Do I need School Sponsorship if I am going to be traveling to my home country?

Travel to your home country requires School Sponsorship under certain circumstances.  

If you will be traveling home only for personal reasons, such as during school breaks or for family visits, School Sponsorship is not required.

If, however, you will be traveling to your home country on Columbia-Led, Columbia-Facilitated and/or Recognized International travel, then School Sponsorship is required. If your time in your home country is travel that takes place while abroad on Columbia-Led, Columbia-Facilitated and/or Recognized International travel, or seven days before or after such travel, you must include your personal travel home in your application for School Sponsorship.

What do you consider a side trip?

Any travel that is not an official part of a Columbia-Led, Columbia-Facilitated and/or Recognized Travel program’s curriculum/course/itinerary is considered a side trip. All components of side trip travel are organized by the traveler – typically an individual traveler. Side trip travel may be within or outside of the host country and can take place immediately before, during or immediately after participation in Columbia-Led, Columbia-Facilitated and/or Recognized Travel.

How do I register my side trip?

Prior to Departure

Any travel information (including air/ground transportation and accommodations) on-hand prior to departure for pre-planned side trips should be included in the School Sponsorship application.

Side trip information entered into a School Sponsorship application will be subject to a standard review. Side trips to medium or higher travel risk locations will be submitted to ISOS for itinerary review. In addition, side trips to high travel risk locations will require that the dean of the student’s respective school, and in extreme travel risk locations the Provost, be notified of the travel. It may also require parental notification due to the risk level and/or safety implications associated with the proposed travel.

While In-Country

Students who participate in unplanned travel during a Columbia-Led, Columbia-Facilitated and/or Recognized Travel program should log in to the ISOS Assistance App and “check in” upon arriving at each new destination. Side trips to high travel risk locations will require that the dean of the student’s respective school, and in extreme travel risk locations the Provost, be notified of the travel. It may also require parental notification due to the risk level and/or safety implications associated with the proposed travel.

I want to travel before or after my Columbia-Led, Columbia-Facilitated and/or Recognized International travel is completed. Do I need to include those locations in my School Sponsorship application?

Any travel that takes place seven days before or after your Columbia-Led, Columbia-Facilitated and/or Recognized Travel is considered a side trip and must be included in your School Sponsorship application.

What do I need to complete my School Sponsorship application?

Your application for School Sponsorship must be started and completed in one sitting, therefore please have the following on hand before beginning:

  • your UNI;
  • the name of the program you will be attending;
  • the program type (i.e. study abroad, conference, service-learning, etc.);
  • your dates of travel;
  • your emergency contact while abroad — name, phone number, email address, and her/his relationship to you; and
  • all locations you plan on traveling to while abroad, including those that are not an official part of the program’s curriculum and/or itinerary — this includes side trips during the program and any pre- or post-program travel occuring within seven days of the program's beginning or end date.

Once you have all of the necessary items, log in to the Undergraduate Travel Web App to begin your School Sponsorship application.

What types of travel require that I apply for School Sponsorship?

Undergraduate Students from Columbia College, Columbia Engineering and the School of General Studies

School Sponsorship is required of undergraduate students from Columbia College, Columbia Engineering and the School of General Studies participating in international travel that is Columbia-Led, Columbia Facilitated and/or Recognized International Travel, and fits any or all of the following criteria:

  • is any of the following in nature: conference, research, internship, study abroad, service, performance, co-curricular and/or extra-curricular;
  • is funded in whole or part by any school, program, and/or unit of Columbia University;
  • earns academic credit at Columbia; and/or
  • is organized, advised, and/or accompanied by Columbia University faculty or staff serving in a Columbia University capacity.

Undergraduate Students from Other Schools

School Sponsorship is also required of all other undergraduate students participating in international travel and/or recognized student group travel that:

Graduate Students

School Sponsorship is required of all graduate students participating in international travel and/or recognized student group travel that:

My School Sponsorship has been approved with required safety contingencies. What now?

Your additional safety contingencies are safety precautions that may include additional travel insurance, securing a satellite phone and/or consultation with the CU on the Road Travel Medicine Program. If necessary, the list of required safety contingencies will be available in the Undergraduate Travel Web App. When you have completed each contingency, please email utrc@columbia.edu with the proper documentation to have your status updated.

I’ve received School Sponsorship, what’s next?

Maintaining School Sponsorship is contingent on the completion of completing a Pre-Departure Orientation and an Assumption of Risk, Waiver and Release form. Log in to the Undergraduate Travel Web App to fulfill these requirements, as well as to see and complete any remaining University requirements (i.e. registering travel with ISOS, maintaining health insurance, etc.) that must be fulfilled prior to your departure.

How do I complete the Pre-Departure Orientation?

The required Pre-Departure Orientation will be available through the Undergraduate Travel Web App once you have been granted School Sponsorship.

Where do I find the Assumption of Risk, Waiver and Release form?

The required Assumption of Risk, Waiver and Release form will be available in the Undergraduate Travel Web App once you have submitted your School Sponsorship application. 

Where can I find the International SOS risk ratings for my destination(s)?
How long will review and approval of my School Sponsorship application take?

We are committed to reviewing and assessing School Sponsorship applications in a timely and prompt manner. Each application will be reviewed and assessed individually. Applications for School Sponsorship for new programs, to locations of high or extreme risk rating, or that include additional side trips may increase the length of time needed to approve applications. Students are encouraged to apply for School Sponsorship as soon as possible after their acceptance to their program, and no less than four weeks prior to departure.

What happens if I don’t comply with the Undergraduate International Travel Policy?

Students not in compliance with the Undergraduate International Travel Policy and/or the Columbia University Travel Planning Policy will be reported to Student Conduct and Community Standards for disciplinary action. Additionally, the student may be subject to having their sponsorship and/or program funding revoked and/or their program terminated.

While abroad, travel location(s) may be re-evaluated to have elevated safety concerns. Students will be advised of the risks, including newly determined ones, in their location and, if necessary, they will be provided a recommended course of action which may include departure from the country or region. Schools reserve the right to revoke sponsorship, support and funding should students not follow these recommendations.

Why a policy just for international travel?

With planned implementation of an enhanced University international travel policy impacting undergraduates, the undergraduate schools recognized the immediate need to develop an aligned process for international travel first. As the undergraduate schools are committed to better supporting the health, safety, and security of our undergraduates while they pursue transformative, meaningful, and engaging educational experiences beyond the classroom, additional time and consideration will be taken to eventually develop a policy that will be inclusive of domestic travel as well.

Undergraduate International Travel - Programs, Student Affairs

How do I apply for Program Approval?

Program Approval applications can be submitted through the Undergraduate Travel Web App.

What types of travel need Program Approval?

Any new international program that is Columbia-Led, Columbia-Facilitated and/or Recognized International Travel that is open to undergraduates of Columbia College, Columbia Engineering and the School of General Studies requires Program Approval.  

When do I need to apply for Program Approval?

One program organizer is expected to apply for Program Approval after key logistical components of the trip are determined (i.e. all destinations, accommodations, transportation, activities and/or excursions). The faculty, staff or student leader program organizer must complete a Program Approval application at least six weeks prior to departure.

Do I have to reapply for Program Approval each time I facilitate the same trip?

Approved programs will be automatically available in the Undergraduate Travel Web App each semester. However, existing Columbia-Led, Columbia-Facilitated and/or Recognized International Travel programs that have changes to program destinations and/or to any of the risk variables must log in to the Undergradute Travel Web App to reapply for Program Approval.

Can I add additional details and/or destinations to my application once it’s been approved?

Yes! You may make edits to to your application at any point. Please note that adding new details and/or destinations will place your application back in “Review” status until the Undergraduate Travel Review Committee reviews, assesses and provides a new determination.  If locations added are of a medium, high or extreme location risk rating, your application may need require steps as well as a new review and assessment.

How do I know if my Program Approval application has been received? Approved? Denied?

You will receive an email from utrc@columbia.edu when your application is received, as well as when a final determination has been made. You may also check the status of your application or any other required steps of the Program Approval process by logging in to the Undergraduate Travel Web App.

How long will review and approval of a Program Approval application take?

We are committed to reviewing and assessing applications in a timely and prompt manner. Each Program Approval application will be reviewed and assessed individually for several risk variables, as the safety and security of our students is our priority.

What happens if I do not apply for Program Approval?

Undergraduate students from Columbia College, Columbia Engineering and the School of General Studies may not be able to obtain School Sponsorship if the programs they want to attend have not received Program Approval, and as a result they will be in violation of the Undergraduate International Travel Policy should they still attend your program. 

Student Affairs

How do I complete the Pre-Departure Orientation?

The Undergraduate International Travel Policy Pre-Departure Orientation can be found here. The Pre-Departure Orientation will take approximately 45 minutes.

What is the Undergraduate Travel Review Committee?

The Undergraduate Travel Review Committee is composed of representatives from Columbia College, the Fu Foundation of School of Engineering and Applied Science, the School of General Studies, and the University who review, assess, and make decisions on School Sponsorship and Program Pre-Approval applications on behalf of the undergraduate schools.

How to Use the Undergraduate Travel Web App, Student Affairs

I couldn’t find my internship or program on the list, now what?

Are you traveling alone?

If you have obtained Columbia funding for international travel (Funding Source) — i.e. the Work Exemption Program, the Columbia College Alumni and Parent Internship Fund, the Columbia College Alumni-Sponsored Student Internship Program, the Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program Summer Enhancement Fellowship, etc. — and/or secured an opportunity on your own, you may not find your internship or program on the list and will therefore be asked a few additional questions about your travel plans while filling our your School Sponsorship application.

After you log into the Undergraduate Travel Web App, choose “Add Your Program” and then identify your Funding Source. 

To add your program, you must have the following information available:

  • Name of program; if you do not have a program name, please use the following format to create a unique name for your program: 
    [Last Name] [Related Office or Department or Funding Program] [Program Type] [Year]
  • Program type (i.e. internship, study abroad, conference, service-learning, etc.)
  • Name of the office or department you’ve worked with on your travel plans
  • Description of Program
  • All locations you plan on traveling to while abroad, including side trips and any travel seven days before your program beings or after your program ends
  • Dates of travel
  • Program Contact (if other than yourself)

Are you traveling with a group?

If you have secured an opportunity that is led by a student group, faculty member or staff member and do not see your program on the list of pre-approved programs, please ask the faculty, staff or student group advisor to apply for Program Approval. Once you have confirmed that Program Approval has been secured you will be able to apply for School Sponsorship.

Are you the program organizer?

After the key logistical components of your trip are established (i.e. all destinations to be visited, accommodation and transportation plans, activities and/or excursions), please apply for Program Approval. You must complete a Program Approval application at least six weeks prior to the program start date. If you are a student program organizer, please work with your student group advisor during this process.

Can I add additional destinations into my application once it’s been approved?

Yes, this is required for all additional destinations you will be visiting while abroad, including travel seven days before or after your program.

You may make edits to to your application for School Sponsorship at any point in the process. Please note that the addition of new destinations will place your School Sponsorship application in “review” status until newly added travel has been reviewed, assessed and approved. If destinations added are of a medium, high or extreme risk rating, your application may require additional steps, including, but not limited to, an International SOS Itinerary Review.

How do I withdraw my School Sponsorship application?

Visit the Undergraduate Travel Web App, click on the “Withdraw” button on your dashboard and confirm approval. Should you need to withdraw any pending applications, please do so as soon as possible.

How will I know if my School Sponsorship application has been received? Approved? Denied?

You will receive an email from utrc@columbia.edu when your application is received, as well as when a final determination has been made on your application. You may also check the status of your application, as well as confirm any additional required steps, by logging in to the Undergraduate Travel Web App.

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