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Undergraduate International Travel Policy

Undergraduate International Travel Policy

Effective February 2017 for all international travel beginning on or after Tuesday, May 2, 2017

All matriculated undergraduates participating in Columbia-Led, Columbia-Facilitated and/or Recognized international travel will be required to obtain School Sponsorship at least 4 weeks prior to departure.


Application for School Sponsorship is comprised of the following steps. All steps must be completed prior to travel departure:

  1. Complete and Submit a School Sponsorship Request Form - including all travel destinations and side trips while abroad.
  2. Complete Pre-Departure Orientation.
  3. Abide by all University requirements, including:
    1. Register all travel with the University’s international travel assistance services – International SOS (ISOS).
    2. Maintain a health insurance policy that will also provide coverage outside the U.S. for routine, urgent and emergency care.
  4. Complete the Assumption of Risk, Waiver and Release Form, which must be signed by the undergraduate.
  5. Complete and/or adhere to any additional safety protocol recommended by the Undergraduate Travel Review Committee.

Undergraduates are expected to begin the application for School Sponsorship as soon as an opportunity that would require international travel has been secured, and submitted a completed application no later than 4 weeks prior to departure.

Once School Sponsorship is approved and issued, undergraduates may continue their work with a sponsoring unit/program to begin/continue their preparation for a specific Columbia-Led, Columbia-Facilitated and/or Recognized travel program.

Undergraduates are required to immediately notify the Undergraduate Travel Review Committee should any changes to their location occur during the duration of their travel so their School Sponsorship file may be updated.

The undergraduate schools reserve the right to revoke sponsorship, support and funding if any step of the School Sponsorship process is not completed and/or acknowledged prior to departure and/or if the Undergraduate Travel Review Committee determines after review that the travel would be imprudent, based on assessment of the risk variables involved and/or the particular facts of the application. The purchase of travel protection insurance is strongly recommended to potentially mitigate financial loss in case of trip cancellation or interruption.

If a country or region is placed on the medium, high, or extreme risk list during travel, the Undergraduate Travel Review Committee will assess the risks of remaining in or departure from the country or region. Undergraduates will be advised of the risks and, if necessary, provided a recommended course of action. The undergraduate schools reserve the right to revoke sponsorship, support and funding should the undergraduate not follow the recommendations of the Undergraduate Travel Review Committee.

Deans’ Disciplinary Action

Policies and Expectations

The Undergraduate Travel Review Committee fully supports and encourages the undergraduates of Columbia College (CC), Columbia Engineering (SEAS), and the School of General Studies (GS) to be the best prepared and most informed travelers – in both the travel-planning process and throughout their travel.  However, participation in Columbia-Led, Columbia-Facilitated and/or Recognized international travel is a privilege, and should be done so with full awareness of the requirements and risks. Therefore all undergraduate students of CC, SEAS, and GS are fully expected to abide by University Policies, including the pre-departure expectations outlined within Columbia University International Travel Planning Policy and Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, and The School of General Studies Undergraduate International Travel Policy

Responding to Undergraduate Travel Policy Violations

When a student has not completed all pre-departure requirements 2 weeks prior to the earliest departure date, the Undergraduate Travel Review Committee (UTRC) will report an allegation of noncompliance to Student Conduct and Community Standards. Student Conduct and Community Standards determines how to respond to the allegation based on whether the student has a related, prior disciplinary record.

Level 1 Violation:  A student with no related, prior disciplinary history will receive a letter, including a policy reminder and the directive to immediately complete the requirements.

Level 2 Violation:  A student who has not completed pre-departure requirements and has already begun their international travel will be notified in writing about the allegation and referred to a Dean's Discipline hearing to discuss the incident. The hearing will occur upon the student’s return to campus and the student is expected to appear at the hearing to discuss the allegation.

If a student is found responsible for a Level 2 violation of Undergraduate Travel Policy, consequences may include, but are not limited to, the sanction/status of Conditional Disciplinary Probation.

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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