Travel FAQs

QUESTION 1: What is considered “university travel”? 

ANSWER: University travel refers to academic, business, or extra- or co-curricular travel that is part of a university program or project, authorized by, at the request of, funded, coordinated or administered by Northeastern University.

Examples include teaching, study, research, consulting, conference attendance, co-op, service, administrative work, field studies, volunteer work, performances, athletic contests, and trips in connection with a university-recognized student organization or an academic or administrative unit, such as Advancement or Admissions.

University Travel does not include an individual’s commute from their residence to their primary work site, travel within the region of their primary work site (including travel to or between campus locations during the workday with no overnight stay or international border crossing), or personal side trips or personal business in conjunction with university travel.


QUESTION 2: What Makes a Location “High-Risk”? 

ANSWER: The university designates locations as high-risk based upon:

  • CDC Level 3 & 4 rating (“avoid non-essential travel” & “do not travel”) 
  • US State Dept Level 3 & 4 advisory (“reconsider travel” & “do not travel”) 
  • GardaWorld Level 4 & 5 Assessment (“high” & “extreme” risk) 

Northeastern reserves the right to designate locations as high-risk based upon its own assessment. We also consider: 

  • COVID-19 case trajectory 
  • Average daily case rate per 100,000 population 
  • Hospital capacity, in particular available ICU bed space  
  • Vaccination rates 
  • Local health guidance  


QUESTION 3: Why am I being asked to register my university travel—and why, particularly, in the US? 

ANSWER: The Travel Registry is a free service available to all Northeastern travelers. When you enter your trip in the Travel Registry, you get access to destination-specific travel advice delivered, if you choose, right to your computer or mobile device. Registering also allows the university and its travel partners tocontact you and to provide assistance if you face a health and safety risk such as a natural disaster, a pandemic outbreak, terrorism or civil unrest.  

In this highly interconnected and mobile world, the US is not immune from the dangers and risks that the rest of the world faces, from earthquakes and hurricanes to political unrest to outbreaks of infectious diseases. We have arranged for emergency support for our university travelers in the US, and as with international travel, we stand ready to support any university traveler anywhere in the US who encounters health and safety difficulties while traveling.  


QUESTION 4. Where and When Can I Travel on University Business? What Do I Need to Do?  

ANSWER: You may travel to any location on the Low and Moderate Risk list. 

You may travel to a high-risk location only after obtaining approval from your Dean, supervisor, advisor, or program office and completing the proper form, either an Acknowledgement of Risk or an Exemption Petition.  Please visit this site to determine which form you need to complete.   

Visit this page to learn which countries the university considers low, moderate or high-risk 

If you plan to travel with students, contact the International Safety Office at 

As a reminder, all travelers must enter their university travel into the Travel Registry.  


QUESTION 5. What is an Acknowledgement of Risk Form? How does it work? 

ANSWER: The Acknowledgement of Risk is a simple webform that asks for basic information about your trip, provides helpful links risks, gives advice on whom to consult before traveling, and asks you to confirm several statements related to risk, liability, and responsibility. 

Here’s how it works:  

  • You consult your unit head, supervisor, advisor, or program office to obtain approval.  
  • You complete the AoR form online (10-15 minutes), available on the University Travel Safety and Support website 
  • The International Safety Office (ISO) and your supervisor receive your submitted AoR. Supervisors who have not granted approval are asked to contact the ISO.  
  • You and your supervisor receive notification from ISO that you are approved to travel.  

Important: Per university policy, no traveler shall be required by the university to travel to a location designated as high-risk.  


Question 6. What Does GSSAC Consider When Reviewing Petitions to Travel to High-Risk Locations? 

ANSWER: Successful petitions must demonstrate the following:

  • a compelling reason for the proposed activity in this location at this time 
  • preparedness of traveler(s) to undertake the proposed activity  
  • a thorough and appropriate plan for mitigating those risks and responding to potential dangers 

GSSAC has posted guidance for preparing high-risk petitions.