Travel Policies and Information
Penn State Policies
NEW: Travel Safety Network
All travelers must submit their trip information to the travel safety network prior to international travel. If this is not completed prior to travel, reimbursement will not be approved. Travelers must register with the Penn State Travel Safety Network (TSN) at http://tsn.psu.edu/. Policies for all travelers (Faculty/Staff/Graduate/Undergraduate/Groups) can be found on the TSN homepage.
Embedded course leaders do not fill out the TSN for their course. They submit the course information through Global Programs here.
Graduate students doing international research or university related travel fill out the TSN. If traveling to a country with a state department travel warning, or registered for SUBJ 603 credits, they must complete the Graduate School Travel Request Form and receive travel approval PRIOR to completing the TSN. See specific policy for graduate student travel to restricted countries below.
Penn State Employees
From the Office of the Corporate Controller: We are always concerned with the safety of all members of the University Community while traveling as part of any University-affiliated travel; certain travel restrictions apply to undergraduate students and graduate students (detailed below). The University does not by Policy prohibit its faculty or staff from traveling to any country in the world. However, we face U. S. Government (Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC)) travel restrictions, as well as serious travel and safety concerns from our workers’ compensation insurance, for travel to the countries listed below. The University has a statutory obligation under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation law to pay, on an unlimited basis, for wages, rehabilitation and medical services arising from work-related injuries that occur anywhere in the world. The workers’ compensation insurance provides a financial “backstop” for the unlimited workers’ compensation benefit obligations.
Travel to the following countries must be reviewed and evaluated on a case-by-case basis, given the OFAC restrictions and serious concerns regarding personal safety: Afghanistan, Algeria, Belarus, Burma, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Cote d'Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of South Sudan, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Venezuela, West Bank and Gaza, Yemen, and Zimbabwe. New countries as of July 1, 2015 in the list above are: Cameroon, Djibouti, Egypt, and Lesotho. Tunisia has been removed from the restricted list as of 7/1/2015.
Because of the University’s statutory Workers’ Compensation obligation, and the possibility of not having the financial protection of insurance, travel and security plans must be reviewed by the Risk Management Department and the traveler’s sponsoring College, Campus or administrative unit in order to engage resources to understand the specific risks, develop a safety plan to mitigate the likelihood of injury, and determine the best path forward to ensure workers’ compensation coverage. Travel to any of the countries identified above cannot take place until an agreement is reached with the Dean, Chancellor or Budget Executive concerning the workers’ compensation risks.
For travel to any of the countries listed above, employees must complete the University’s “Travel Questionnaire for Restricted Countries” and submit per the instructions at the bottom of the form. This should be done, and approval received, PRIOR to completing the TSN.
Finally, the University Office of Global Programs (UOGP) offers Emergency Preparedness Workshops in one-hour sessions several times each semester to cover insurance issues, emergency response protocols and University services. All faculty and staff who are leading student groups abroad must participate in an Emergency Preparedness Workshop prior to traveling. Faculty and staff must attend an Emergency Preparedness workshop once every two years to stay informed of changing travel conditions and policies. For more information or to register for an upcoming workshop, please visit Emergency Preparedness Workshops.
Penn State Graduate Students
Graduate students wishing to travel to countries on the U.S. State Department Warnings List using University funds, in fulfillment of degree requirements, and/or carrying out University-sponsored or affiliated activities, are required to file a request for approval of such travel with the Graduate Council Subcommittee on Graduate Student Travel, prior to commitment of University resources or to finalizing arrangements (e.g., purchase of plane tickets) towards such travel. Student requests must be submitted to the Graduate School a minimum of 45 days prior to their proposed departure date. All requests must be approved by the University in order for students to travel and the process to review these requests necessitates no less than 3 weeks. If the request is not approved, the student will not be allowed to travel to the proposed country under the auspices of Penn State (which would also result in the disallowance of use of any University funds for the travel). Therefore, it is extremely important for students to submit these requests and receive approval for the trip BEFORE they purchase airline tickets or spend any funds on their travel. This is the case regardless of whether they are spending University or personal funds for the trip, but if not approved beforehand, no University funds can be used to travel.
NOTE that Graduate students proposing to travel and who are acting in their capacity as a Graduate Assistant [not in fulfillment of degree requirements] or wage-payroll employee of the University during the travel, should be aware that exclusions to eligibility for workers’ compensation insurance coverage may also apply. Countries that may be excluded from eligibility for such insurance coverage may be different than those on the U.S. State Department Warnings List. In cases where a graduate student will be traveling in his/her capacity as a Graduate Assistant or wage-payroll employee, the student should check The Office of The Corporate Controller’s site to determine if the country to which he/she intends to travel is excluded from eligibility for workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Please note that these are two different lists.
Graduate students who are not on assistantship are not able to act as chaperones for undergraduate study tours.
Finally, all graduate students who are traveling outside of the United States on university business, with university funds or with a university organization, must participate in an Emergency Preparedness workshop prior to their trip. Students must attend an Emergency Preparedness workshop on a biennial basis. Every two years before participating in any additional international travel, students will need to renew their travel eligibility by attending another Emergency Preparedness workshop. For more information or to register for an upcoming workshop, please visit Emergency Preparedness Workshops.
- Policy: Graduate Student Policy for Travel to Countries on the U.S. State Department Warnings List
- Request Form to Travel to Countries on the Warnings List (PDF)
- Assumption of Risk and Waiver Form (PDF)
Undergraduate students who wish to study abroad on Penn State programs or who wish to pursue independent travel, activities or research with University funds may not travel to countries on the U.S. State Department Travel Warnings list. However, students may petition for a waiver to this policy by using the process outlined below. This waiver request must be submitted a minimum of 6 months prior to travel. Likewise, faculty members leading a short-term program may petition for a waiver on behalf of all students on the program.
Finally, all undergraduate students who are traveling outside of the United States on university business, with university funds or with a university organization, must participate in an Emergency Preparedness workshop prior to their trip. Students must attend an Emergency Preparedness workshop on a biennial basis. Every two years before participating in any additional international travel, students will need to renew their travel eligibility by attending another Emergency Preparedness workshop. For more information or to register for an upcoming workshop, please visit Emergency Preparedness Workshops.
Penn State recently announced a new partnership with A Briggs visas, who will offer discounted service for your visa needs. Please see official announcement here.
- Information for International Students
- Welcome to TravelState.Gov Bureau of Consular Affairs
- Travel tips from the National Counterintelligence Executive
- Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Country Profiles/Maps
- Gateway to the European Union
- Library of Congress Country Studies
- Lonely Planet Country Guides
- Monetos Guide to Europe
- U.S. Department of State: Travel and Living Abroad
- American Citizens Abroad
- CDC Travel Health Info by Country
- Country Calling Codes
- Currency Converter
- European Railways
- Foreign Language for Travelers
- Intercultural Press
- Local Times Around the World
- MCW International Travelers Clinic
- Obtaining a U.S. Passport (includes forms)
- Subway Maps for International Cities
- Transitions Abroad
- Travel Health Online
- United States Visas
- U.S. Department of State: Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets
- World Citizens Guide
- World Health Organization: International Travel and Health
- World Newspapers Online
- Worldwide Front Page News (Updated Daily)
- World Watch (PSU faculty/staff/student only access)
U.S. Government and International Organizations
- FAO: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
- Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education
- World Bank Agriculture and Rural Development
- U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
- USAID Frontlines Newsletter
- U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- U.S. Department of State International Exchanges (formerly USIA)
- U.S. Peace Corps
- Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture
- Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)
International Agriculture Associations and Journals
- Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE)
- Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development (AIARD)
- Association of Public and Land-Grand Universities (APLU) International Agriculture
- Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education
- International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology