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Official International Student Travel Policy

The UW offers many opportunities for student engagement abroad. Student health, safety, and security are our top priorities. This policy outlines three important pre-departure requirements for all students traveling abroad for official academic purposes:


View The Full Policy


UW Study Abroad Students

Students traveling with UW Study Abroad will already meet these requirements and do not need to take additional action.

For additional information contact UW Global Travel Security at


Official International Student Travel Policy

Is this policy new?

The policy was signed by the Provost in April 2017 and is now a formal campus-wide policy. While there has not previously been a formal policy, many UW students have been following the outlined requirements for some time. Students who study abroad through UW Study Abroad have also been meeting these requirements. This policy invites an opportunity to educate all UW students about the global resources and services available to them as outlined in this policy.

What does the policy do?

The policy outlines three distinct pre-departure requirements for all students traveling abroad for official academic purposes. Students must register their planned international travel, purchase international insurance, and request a waiver before traveling to high risk destinations. These three pre-departure requirements are critical to ensuring all students have a safe, healthy and positive academic experience abroad. The spirit of this policy is to facilitate our students’ success abroad, not create unnecessary burdens to travel abroad for academic purposes.

Does the policy extend to faculty and staff?

The policy does not address international travel by faculty and staff. Faculty and staff are encouraged to also register their travel, verify insurance coverage abroad, and work with us in reviewing high risk travel. For more information about supporting faculty and staff travel abroad please visit:

Does this policy replace my department’s travel policy?

Regardless of existing department policy, all students are expected to comply with this University-wide policy. Please ask your department advisor for additional clarification.

I am going abroad through UW Study Abroad.

If you are traveling with UW Study Abroad (Seattle, Bothell, or Tacoma), you will already meet these requirements. UW Study Abroad works directly with students to ensure that these policy requirements are met, and you do not need to take any additional action.

I am an academic student, but I also work as a UW employee and I am traveling abroad for my work?


I am traveling within the United States for a study away opportunity.

No, this policy only applies to international travel for official UW travel.

I am taking a short trip for an academic conference.

Yes. Students traveling abroad on short trips for academic conferences are still required to enroll and activate International SOS. There is no minimum number of days required for enrollment.

I am studying abroad through another institution or a non-UW study abroad provider.

Yes! Please contact UW Global Travel directly to discuss the unique aspects of studying abroad with a non-UW organization.

I am a graduate student on leave traveling abroad for my dissertation research.

Yes. This policy applies to all students traveling abroad for official academic purposes.

I am going abroad aboard a research vessel in international waters.

Yes! Please contact UW Global Travel directly to discuss the unique aspects of traveling internationally aboard a research vessel.

I am participating in UW performing arts abroad.

No, this policy only applies to travel abroad for academic purposes. If you would like to discuss health, safety and security abroad please contact UW Global Travel.

I am going abroad as an athlete to compete on behalf of the UW.

Yes. This policy applies to all students traveling abroad on trips that are administered/arranged/approved by the university, including travel through UW Athletics.

I am going abroad with my registered student organization (RSO).

No. International travel for or with an RSO is not considered officially sponsored by the UW unless you receive travel funds or other support from UW for this international travel. If you have questions or concerns about health, safety and security on your RSO trip, please contact your RSO advisor.

How do I register my planned travel abroad?

Complete the brief international travel registration process. You will receive an email confirming that your travel has been registered. Please note that registrations of trips that have already ended will not receive an email.

I am going abroad on a program with UW Study Abroad Seattle, Tacoma or Bothell. Do I need to register my travel?

No. UW Study Abroad will register your travel for you.

Should I also register with the US State Department Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)?

Yes! Register with STEP here.

I am a graduate student-employee with the Graduate Appointee Insurance Plan (GAIP). Do I still need to purchase the Student Abroad Insurance?
Yes. GAIP coverage abroad is limited and does not include important evacuation insurance coverage.

How do I enroll in UW Student Abroad Insurance?

UW Student Abroad Insurance is activated through the Travel Registration process, where you will be prompted to download and activate International SOS. It is a requirement for all independent travelers and is part of the the pre-departure process for students enrolled in an official UW Study Abroad program (faculty-led program, exchange or provider program).

How do I pay for Student Abroad Insurance and International SOS?

Your student account will be charged a fee for the insurance and emergency assistance provider, based on the length and duration of your program. For information about the fees, consult the ISOS FAQs.

How do I file a UW Student Abroad Insurance waiver request?

Submit an Insurance Waiver in your travel registration application. Be sure to attach documentation of the proposed insurance plan including your insurance card and policy.

Who do I contact if I have any issues with the Student Abroad Insurance while abroad?

Please contact UW Global Travel by emailing We are more than happy to assist you.

How do I file a Travel Waiver Request?

Please fill out the Travel Waiver application, which is part of your travel registration. If your destination country requires a travel waiver, the application will automatically show up in your travel registration. UW Global Travel will be in touch with you shortly after submission.

I’m going abroad in less than 45 days. Can I still apply for a Travel Waiver?

Please fill out the Travel Waiver application in your travel registration. UW Global Travel will be in touch with you shortly after submission to discuss the waiver process and the late request. Short notice of international travel will only be considered under exceptional circumstances.

My Travel Waiver request has been denied. Can I appeal?

There is currently no appeal process but if you have concerns about the Provost’s decision regarding your travel to a high risk destination please contact UW Global Travel directly.

Should my planned academic travel abroad go through UW Study Abroad offices?

UW Study Abroad Seattle, Tacoma, or Bothell are the preferred offices to help students meet the pre-departure requirements outlined by the policy. Per Student Governance and Policies Chapter 102, students interested in studying in a foreign country should discuss their preliminary plans with a counselor in UW Study Abroad. UW Study Abroad has a diverse range of programs, models, and services to help students comply with the Student International Travel Policy, including Independent Learning.

What is Field Research and Independent Learning Abroad (FRILA)? How do I apply?

FRILA is an option for qualified graduate and advanced undergraduate students seeking UW credit for international activities that do not align with other study abroad program models. Click here for more information.