Travel Policies

With COVID-19 continuing to present health, safety and security challenges 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, testing, and the completion of a certificate of compliance and out-of-state travel screening form. Requirements may also include 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.

Students should also visit:

Travel-related Guidance for Students

Current Travel Restrictions

University-sponsored Travel

Given the protracted uncertainty regarding the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, Brown has extended its travel restriction for all University-sponsored international and domestic travel until further notice. Faculty, staff and graduate students can request exemptions for essential travel, and each request will be reviewed by Brown’s Global Travel Risk Assessment Committee (GTRAC) for travel health and safety considerations. Maintaining the health and safety of our community is the University’s highest priority, and continued understanding and compliance with this updated policy remains essential in Brown’s effort to minimize risks related to the spread of COVID-19.

The restriction on all University-sponsored international and domestic travel applies to all students, faculty and staff, and pertains to all for-credit and non-credit travel including the following:

  • faculty-led student travel;
  • internships/fellowships;
  • research;
  • business travel (such as conferences, meetings, symposia, trainings); and 
  • any other activities that involve University-administered funds. 

The travel suspension also applies to externally supported travel arising from or associated with employment at Brown. As announced on Oct. 8, Spring 2021 study abroad has been suspended. Brown will continue to monitor the situation before making any determinations about study abroad for Fall 2021

Exemption for Essential Travel

While the University is operating under this restricted travel policy, no exceptions for University-sponsored travel will be granted for undergraduate students until further notice.

The University will continue to review requests for essential travel by faculty, staff and graduate students on a case-by-case basis. For travel to be deemed essential by the appropriate senior departmental leader, it must include at least one of the following conditions:

  • essential or time-sensitive research, defined as either non-deferrable or mission-critical research;
  • directly related to research of or support for the COVID-19 response;
  • and/or mission-critical business within the U.S. or overseas that cannot be carried out through remote means or postponed.

If the purpose of travel is to carry out essential field research, the research plan must first be approved by the Field Research Subcommittee before submitting the request to GTRAC for essential travel. Details about field research approvals are available on the Resuming Research web page

As a reminder, GTRAC reviews travelers’ risk and safety plans — but the determination and pre-approval of travel as essential is made by the traveler’s relevant senior departmental leader (e.g. dean) with final approval granted by the provost. Travel plans must be approved before any travel expenses are incurred.

Faculty, staff or graduate students meeting one of the essential criteria above and who wish to be considered for essential travel approval must submit a Safety Plan Proposal and Request for Approval for Essential Travel for GTRAC review and may do so via the Safety Plan Proposal and Request for Approval for Essential Travel form. 

All approved essential travelers must comply with the guidance from the Rhode Island Department of Health regarding returning to Rhode Island from travel outside of the state either from abroad or domestically.

In addition, faculty, staff or graduate students who plan to return to Brown’s campus must also comply with the protocol for a safe return to Brown's campus found on the Healthy Brown 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 spring 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 highly discourages 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 and advises all travelers to follow CDC and State Department travel health, safety and security directives.

Travelers should continue to prepare for the possibility of local quarantines in some locations. Numerous airlines are still operating under limited capacity, 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.

Effective Jan. 26, 2021, a new federal policy requires that all air travelers entering the United States from any international destination show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of boarding their flight or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19. Airlines are required to check each passenger's documentation and will deny boarding to those who do not comply or cannot show proof of a negative test result or recovery. More information about this requirement can be reviewed on the CDC website.
 
Travelers must also comply with the guidance from the Rhode Island Department of Health regarding returning to Rhode Island from abroad. 

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. 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. Faculty and staff returning from traveling within the United States who would like to test out of the 14 day quarantine requirement can schedule a test through portal.ri.gov. Employees will be asked to submit documentation of their test results directly to UHR by emailing [email protected] before their first day of returning to work. Please refer to this website for any applicable exceptions, and note that Brown University COVID-19 testing locations cannot be used to test out of quarantine for personal travel.

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 and the International SOS pandemic website (via login through Brown’s membership number: 11BSGC000031) for updates, as travel and entry restrictions continue to evolve and could change with little advance warning.
  • 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.

Please note that this restricted travel policy is subject to change in accordance with shifts in government-mandated travel restrictions and nationwide public health conditions. Should the federal travel health advisory levels downgrade and if global travel restrictions are subsequently relaxed to indicate that broader travel with precautions may resume, the University will reassess its policy at that time.

Travel Restrictions FAQ

Effective Jan. 26, 2021, a new federal policy requires that all air travelers entering the United States from any international destination show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of boarding their flight or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19. Airlines are required to check each passenger's documentation and will deny boarding to those who do not comply or cannot show proof of a negative test result or recovery. More information about this requirement can be reviewed on the CDC website.

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. 

Faculty and staff returning from traveling within the United States who would like to test out of the 14 day quarantine requirement can schedule a test through portal.ri.gov. Please refer to this website for any applicable exceptions, and note that Brown University COVID-19 testing locations cannot be used to test out of quarantine for personal travel.

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 March 17, 2021. 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.