Travel Policies

With COVID-19 reaching locations across the world, Brown has implemented its policy on High-Risk and Restricted Travel, aligned with guidance from government and health agencies.

To help mitigate risk for our global travelers, Brown University regularly monitors world health, safety and security events using a variety of assessment sources, including taking input from the U.S. Department of State, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), International SOS, Brown faculty and staff regional experts, among other reputable oversight agencies.

Any individual arriving from out of state or out of the country must follow the current Rhode Island law regarding quarantine. This may require the completion of a 14-day quarantine before conducting any activities outside your residence. The University has planned for a “quiet period” at the beginning of each term, which will serve as a quarantine time for students and others traveling to Providence from domestic and international locations, and Brown will be conducting mandatory COVID-19 testing during this period.

Current Travel Restrictions

University-sponsored Travel

Brown has extended the suspension of all international and domestic travel organized, sponsored by or supported by the University, through Jan. 3, 2021. These travel restrictions apply also to externally supported travel arising from or associated with employment at Brown. This means that for both international and domestic destinations:

  • All undergraduate students are prohibited from travel as part of any University-sponsored program. This includes travel for all academic programs, student organizations and travel for Brown research.
  • Faculty and staff are restricted from participating in any travel arising from or associated with their appointment or employment at Brown. This includes travel for conferences, speaking engagements, and research, unless advance permission is granted by the Office of the Provost. Brown will continue to review case-by-case “essential” University-related travel for faculty and staff, pending review by the Global Travel Risk Assessment Committee (GTRAC) and approval by the provost. If the purpose of travel is to carry out essential research, the research plan must first be approved by the field research subcommittee before submitting the request for essential travel. Faculty or staff requesting travel for essential purposes must obtain written permission from their senior administrator and then complete a Safety Plan Proposal and Request for Essential Travel form, which will be reviewed by GTRAC.
  • Graduate students requesting to travel to conduct essential research that has already been approved by their senior administrator and the field research subcommittee must also request review and approval by GTRAC for their essential travel.
  • After reviewing the requests for exceptions for essential travel, the GTRAC will make recommendations to the provost for final approval. All approved essential travel must be registered in TravelSafe.
  • These travel restrictions may be relaxed or reinforced before this date as public health conditions dictate both domestically and worldwide.
  • Travelers with questions about travel restrictions, or who may wish to request an exemption, may write to [email protected].

Brown’s Summer 2020 study abroad program in Bologna, Italy, as well as all undergraduate travel and programming for other Brown-related international programs for Summer 2020 have been formally suspended. This includes any non-Brown programs where students may intend to transfer credit back to Brown.

All University-sponsored undergraduate study abroad for Fall 2020 is suspended as well. This includes all Brown and Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad (CASA) programs, as well as all approved partner programs and others for which students had successfully petitioned. This decision was made early to ensure that all students who had applied to participate in a study abroad program have ample time to adjust their plans to continue studies at Brown for the fall semester.

A full set of FAQs about the cancellation of study abroad programs is available on the Office of International Programs website.

Faculty- and student-run field trips off campus

As outlined in Brown’s Plan for a Healthy and Safe 2020-21, travel guidance and policy will reflect the University’s overall plan for academic classes, including de-densification or reduced capacity of spaces, social distancing and other public health best practices in accordance with our shared responsibility for health and well-being. As such, no off-campus faculty- or staff-led, course-based, non-academic or administrative field trips involving faculty, staff and/or students will be permitted at least through the fall semester. This includes any field trips to or in the greater Providence area.

Consistent with Brown’s extracurricular activities policy and Student Activities Office policy, student-run field trips that are considered part of a student club, academic or administrative department, or organization that is affiliated with the University will not be permitted until further notice.

Personal Travel

Brown strongly urges all faculty, staff and students to avoid all non-essential personal travel to international and domestic destinations and to minimize movement off campus to the greatest extent possible. Students who plan to travel to their home residence, and will remain at their residence and not return to campus, are exempt from this guidance. The University is unable to support the health, safety, travel and academic needs of community members on personal travel.

International Travel

The University strongly urges Brown community members to avoid personal travel to any country with a CDC Level 2 or Level 3 and/or a U.S. Department of State Level 3 or Level 4 risk designation. On Aug. 6, 2020, the CDC amended the previous Level 3: Avoid Non Essential Travel Global COVID Outbreak Notice to include an amended list of travel health notices taking into consideration the current COVID-19 risk by country. Similarly, the Department of State revised the Global Level 4: Do Not Travel Health Advisory, reverting to its country-by-country travel advisories to include enhanced recommendations pertaining to COVID-19-specific risk. Brown advises all travelers to follow CDC and State Department directives.

Per executive order from Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, all travelers returning to the state from abroad must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Rhode Island.

In addition, travelers should prepare for the possibility of local quarantines in some locations. Numerous commercial flights remain cancelled, and return to the U.S. from some international destinations may be delayed or even impossible. For these reasons and others, Brown community members are urged to avoid all non-essential international travel.

Travelers who must engage in essential international travel are encouraged to review the International SOS pandemic website for up-to-date specific travel restrictions per country. (Travelers will need to log in with Brown’s membership number: 11BSGC000031.)

Travel in the United States

With COVID-19 cases continuing to emerge across the nation, travel within the United States remains challenging. Anyone with domestic travel plans should carefully consider whether they should be adjusted or cancelled and be sure to follow all federal and state travel directives that may apply.

Brown follows the guidelines for COVID-19 travel restrictions set forth by the Rhode Island Department of Health regarding return to Rhode Island from international and domestic travel.  On June 29, 2020, Gov. Raimondo updated two executive orders pertaining to travel restrictions. For domestic travel, individuals returning from states with a community spread rate of higher than 5% as set forth on a list maintained by RIDOH must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days or until they receive a negative COVID-19 test. Please refer to this website for any applicable exceptions.

Travel Preparation and Resources

  • Now and in the future, Brown encourages all members of the Brown community — and requires all students — to register University-related travel in Brown’s global travel registry, TravelSafe, via their Brown login. This will enable all registered travelers to receive timely updates and advisories from International SOS sent directly to your email. It can also assist the University in locating you and offering support in the event of an emergency.
  • International students considering personal travel should contact the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISSS) for general travel and re-entry information.
  • All members of the community should actively monitor the U.S. State Department website for updates, as travel restrictions continue to evolve daily and are prone to sudden change.
  • International students who remain on campus are encouraged to contact the Global Brown Center at [email protected]. The center will have various programs and support.

Travel Restrictions FAQ

Brown partners with International SOS to provide emergency travel assistance and important travel health, safety and security alerts and resources. The International SOS pandemic website provides country-by-country (and also U.S. state-by-state) guidance on the following:

  • international travel disruption, including details on commercial travel as well as inbound and outbound travel restrictions;
  • domestic mobility considerations;
  • and other non-movement related conditions that could affect your travel.

To access the information on this website you will need to login with Brown’s membership number: 11BSGC000031. Additional guidelines are available on the Rhode Island Department of Health COVID-19 Travel Restrictions website. We also encourage you to read Brown’s Plan for a Healthy and Safe 2020-21.

If you have travel health, safety and security questions, please refer to Brown’s travel policies on the Healthy Brown website, which includes contact information for relevant offices. You can also refer to the International Travel Risk Management website or contact Christine Sprovieri, director of international travel risk management at Brown. If you have questions about visa requirements, please contact the Office of International Student and Scholar Services at [email protected].

Any person who comes to Rhode Island after international travel must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the state. For domestic travel, return from states with a community spread rate of higher than 5% as set forth on a list maintained by RIDOH must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days or until they receive a negative COVID-19 test. Please refer to this website for any applicable exceptions.

International postdocs considering personal travel should contact the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISSS) for general travel and re-entry information. Please see the OISSS website for recent communications, including a COVID-19 FAQ for international students.

Brown continues to monitor travel guidance from national and international agencies and to support all international students, including those who are newly enrolled and seeking to travel to campus for the academic year. The Office of College Admission and Office of International Student and Scholar Services partner to offer guidance on matters related to student visas. Together, they will work with international students as they apply for visas and offer support in the context of all policies and guidance from the U.S. Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last updated Aug. 11, 2020. Information on this page may be updated as the University’s planning evolves and/or public health guidance prompts a shift in Brown’s operations and protocols.