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.

Since January 2020, Brown has continually monitored domestic and international travel risk and safety related to the COVID-19 pandemic informed by a variety of travel and public health authorities. These include, but are not limited to the U.S. Department of State, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), International SOS, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) and other states’ health agencies, as well as Brown faculty and staff regional experts.

Brown continues to update its travel policies in light of the increased rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S., beginning in earnest in April and May of 2021, and the growing availability of COVID-19 vaccines for more age groups. The most up-to-date travel policies are below.

Undergraduate students should also visit:

Travel-related Guidance for Students

Policies for University-Sponsored Travel

With the now wide availability of COVID-19 vaccines in the United States, accompanied by general improvement and/or stability in the public health landscape across the U.S., the University has lifted its previous “essential travel only” mandate and also is in the process of gradually easing restrictions on domestic University-sponsored travel. In addition, the University has lifted undergraduate travel restrictions for individual students undertaking University-sponsored domestic travel. (Students should consult Travel-related guidance for undergraduate students for more information.)

These updated travel policies will allow greater flexibility for members of the Brown community to conduct mission-critical research and to take part in activities and opportunities that cannot be deferred or carried out by remote means. Students no longer need to consult with Student Support Services regarding their travel within the U.S.

While we remain optimistic about international travel, we recognize that the public health conditions and entry requirements for international destinations continue to be variable and dynamic, even at this stage in the pandemic. Therefore, travel restrictions for international destinations remain in place. As with any University-sponsored activity, Brown expects faculty, staff and students to comply with national, state and local laws, as well as requirements of the community and/or organization to which they are traveling.

Brown continues to encourage all travelers on domestic and international travel to exercise caution and abide by relevant local and country health guidance. Travel guidelines and procedures are outlined in the following section.

Domestic Travel

Domestic travel is defined as travel to a destination within the United States or U.S. territories.

  • Travel is permitted for faculty, staff, graduate and medical students, and undergraduates. Travelers do not need to seek pre-departure travel review or approval but are required to register their travel plans in TravelSafe.
  • Travelers should review the CDC’s guidance on domestic travel, as well as the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) guidance for returning to R.I. after travel outside the state.
  • Student organizations can begin requesting permission to travel domestically on behalf of their student organization beginning July 1, 2021. More information on this process will be shared by the Student Activities Office in June.

Essential International Travel  

The University will continue to operate under a restricted travel policy for University-sponsored international travel, which is defined as travel outside the United States or outside U.S. territories.

  • Faculty, staff, graduate and medical students who wish to be considered for international travel approval must submit a Safety Plan Proposal and Request for Travel Approval for Global Travel Risk Assessment Committee (GTRAC) review and may do so via the Safety Plan Proposal and Request for Approval for Essential Travel form.
  • Safety Plans must be submitted at least three weeks prior to travel to allow time for GTRAC review and final review and approval by the provost.
  • All approved travel plans must be registered in TravelSafe.
  • In the event the risk level and/or public health condition changes at the traveler’s destination, Brown reserves the right to rescind authorization or revise the conditions for travel approval.

Travel for Field Research

Please note that if the purpose of travel is to carry out essential field research, the Justification and Safety Plan must first be approved by the Field Research Subcommittee. Individuals participating in field research involving international travel must still submit a Safety Plan Proposal and Request for Approval for Essential Travel form for review by GTRAC; domestic-based field research does not require an Essential Travel petition.

Details about field research approvals are available on the Resuming Research webpage.

Returning to Rhode Island and Brown after Travel

Any individual arriving from outside of Rhode Island (including domestic and international locations) must follow the current Rhode Island Department of Health guidelines regarding quarantine and testing, as applicable. More information can be found on the RIDOH website.

Personal Travel

As with University-sponsored travel, Brown continues to encourage all travelers on domestic and international personal travel to exercise caution and abide by relevant local and country health guidance. Travelers should continue to prepare for the possibility of local quarantines and fluctuating travel and domestic operations restrictions and/or testing requirements in some locations. The University is unable to support the health, safety, travel and academic needs of community members on personal travel.

Travel Preparation and Resources  

The University will require COVID-19 vaccines for all employees starting July 1, 2021, and for all students starting no later than the Fall 2021 semester. Brown strongly encourages all members of the community who can be vaccinated to get the vaccine before engaging in any domestic or international travel. Please note these important details when preparing for personal travel:

  • During the pandemic, Brown requires all members of the Brown community to register domestic and international University-related travel in Brown’s global travel registry, TravelSafe, via their Brown login. Registering will pre-authorize travelers on university-sponsored travel for International SOS, a 24/7 travel assistance, travel medical insurance and evacuation assistance resource. Registration enables all travelers to receive timely updates and advisories from International SOS sent directly to the registered traveler’s email. It can also assist the University in locating you and offering available 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. Department of State website and the International SOS pandemic website for updates (via login through Brown’s membership number: 11BSGC000031); travel and entry restrictions continue to evolve and could change with little advance warning.

Please note that Brown’s travel policy is subject to change in accordance with shifts in government-mandated travel restrictions and guidance and nationwide and global public health conditions.

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].

Please refer to the Rhode Island Department of Health's Travel Information for Residents and Visitors General Guidance for Travelers webpage.

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 26, 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.