ALERT: Travel by Penn State Employees to Countries Considered "Dangerous"

Posted: April 8, 2011

July 1, 2013 Edition

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 (see Undergraduate Policy R-7) and graduate students (see Graduate Student Policy On International Travel). 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, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Cote d'Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nepal, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia (new July, 2013), Uzbekistan, the West Bank and Gaza, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

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.

The University’s “Travel Questionnaire for Restricted Countries”, must be completed by the employee and submitted per the instructions at the bottom of the form. 

An overview of relevant international travel policies can be found here.