Preparing for International Travel
Dear U-M Community Member,
As travel conditions continue to change globally, this detailed email filled with important resources is designed to provide guidance and tips for those planning to travel internationally during the break between academic terms and for those traveling during the upcoming Winter term.
Before You Travel Abroad
- Get vaccinated or get a COVID-19 booster shot wherever available to you. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend traveling internationally until you are fully vaccinated. Getting the booster shot can also help protect you against new variants, including omicron. You can receive the shot on campus at walk-in appointments Dec. 10 and 13, or you can make an appointment at University Health Service, Michigan Medicine or at local pharmacies. If you are not fully vaccinated, there are additional recommendations to follow before, during and after travel.
- Register your travel with U-M. Our goal is to quickly and accurately locate U-M travelers in case of an emergency. We can only do so if travelers share their trip information in the registry. Students who applied for programs through M- Compass are already registered and need not take any further action.
- Review the Considerations for Planning International Travel During COVID-19 document. This resource covers considerations useful to any traveler going abroad, including understanding requirements to enter a country, choosing housing, providing an overview of requirements for U-M Related Travel, and listing resources.
- Verify you meet the entry requirements for your travel destination(s), and for all flight transfer locations. Entry requirements can change at any time and may include showing proof of a specific type of negative COVID-19 test, showing proof of being fully vaccinated, completing passenger locator forms, downloading certain public health apps and possibly quarantining upon arrival. Visit the U.S. Embassy COVID-19 Information page of your destination(s), which provides an overview requirements and links to the host country’s entry requirement websites.
- Identify suitable COVID-19 testing. Travelers should schedule COVID-19 testing that meets the timetable and testing type of their destination. Travelers should consider the time a testing site is open (including holidays and weekends), as well as the timeframe for receiving test results. To locate suitable testing sites, visit the University Health Service COVID-19 Testing for International Travelers page, which recommends appropriate testing through UHS, or visit the Washtenaw County and the Michigan statewide websites. Testing through the Community Sampling and Tracking Program also is an option.
- Ensure you are covered by U-M’s Travel Abroad Health Insurance, GeoBlue. For international personal/leisure travel, all students, faculty and staff can individually purchase Worldwide GeoBlue (Leisure Plan) insurance.
Faculty and staff traveling internationally for UM-Related Travel are covered under the university’s blanket travel abroad health insurance policy with Worldwide GeoBlue (Business Plan). Faculty and staff may access an insurance card after registering travel on the U-M Travel Registry and then registering to use the GeoBlue Member Website.
Students traveling for UM-Related Travel must have GeoBlue for the duration of travel. Students may purchase travel abroad health insurance individually, but students on UM-managed study abroad can also check with their study abroad advisor to see whether their program or department is purchasing the insurance on their behalf.
Note that while GeoBlue is a first-rate health insurance plan, it is not travel insurance and does not cover costs related to non-medically necessary quarantine, travel disruptions or COVID-19 testing. See GeoBlue & COVID-19: What To Know Before You Travel for details.
Returning to the U.S.
- Follow CDC guidelines for returning to the U.S. from abroad. All travelers flying to the U.S. will need to receive a COVID-19 viral test (regardless of vaccination status or citizenship) no more than 1 day before you travel by air into the United States. You must show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight; you will also be required to confirm that the information you present is true in the form of an attestation. Alternatively, travelers to the U.S. may provide documentation from a licensed health care provider of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel. The CDC Travel Assessment has more information about what you will need to board a flight to the U.S. The CDC has also posted a Test and Vaccination Documentation Requirements FAQ with detailed information about acceptable tests. Visit the U.S. Embassy COVID-19 Information page of your destination for testing sites abroad.
- If you are an international student, scholar or employee at U-M (i.e.: not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident), in addition to having a negative COVID-19 test, you also are required to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before you travel by air to the U.S. from a foreign country. Details about predeparture testing timelines, country-based restrictions and exceptions and other announcements are on the U-M International Center website.
- Be prepared to stay abroad longer than expected and account for possible quarantine and travel disruption costs. Almost every country, including the U.S., requires travelers to provide a negative COVID-19 test to enter their country. If a traveler tests positive for COVID-19 before boarding their return flight (or at any other time while abroad), they will be required to quarantine according to that country’s local public health guidelines. It’s also possible that a traveler could get “stuck” abroad because of airport closures or flight cancellations.
Travelers should develop financial contingency plans since the GeoBlue travel abroad health insurance does not cover the cost of quarantine or travel disruptions. Travelers should also prepare to be flexible, since staying abroad longer than expected may impact their ability to meet academic, work or other obligations in the U.S.
Follow best practices for remaining healthy while traveling and returning to campus. See the CDC How to Protect Yourself & Others for details. These include:
- Wear a face covering when around others and in any indoor setting.
- Keep a physical distance of 6 feet between you and others.
- Monitor your health daily and seek care if feeling sick.
- Wash your hands frequently and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
We wish you a safe and healthy journey wherever your travels may take you.
Valeria Bertacco, Vice Provost for Engaged Learning
Office of the Provost
Robert Ernst, Associate Vice President for Student Life
Director of Campus COVID Response
Patrick Morgan, Chief International Travel Safety Officer
Office of the Provost