Columbia College | Columbia Engineering | School of General Studies

Undergraduate International Travel Policy

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Comply with the Policy

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 destinations that are not an official part of your Columbia-Led, Columbia-Facilitated and/or Recognized Travel program’s curriculum or itinerary are considered side trips if they occur during the dates of your program or within seven days prior to or after the completion of your program.

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 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 may be subject to having their sponsorship and/or program funding revoked, the termination of their program and/or additional dean’s disciplinary measures.

If your location(s) are determined to have threats to your safety while abroad, students will be advised of the risks in their locations and, if necessary, 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 you 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.

How to Use the Undergraduate Travel Web App

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 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.

Need Program Approval?

If you are a Columbia faculty or staff member and have an opportunity, program or excursion that is recognized or supported by Columbia and involves international travel, please see our Travel Programs page.


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