November 11, 2020
Global Travel Risk Assessment Committee
Tags Undergraduates Grad and Medical Students Faculty and Staff

To Brown Community: Travel restrictions extended until further notice


Brown's Global Travel Risk Assessment Committee (GTRAC) continues to monitor the dynamic impact of COVID-19 on travel, both within the U.S. and internationally. Many U.S. states are seeing upticks in COVID-19 positivity rates, and the U.S. Department of State, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and International SOS have remained at their strictest travel health advisories for most global destinations.

Given the protracted uncertainty regarding the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, Brown is extending 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; each exemption request will be reviewed by GTRAC for travel health and safety considerations. Maintaining the health and safety of our community is our highest priority; therefore, we appreciate your continued understanding and compliance with this updated policy in our efforts 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 October 8th, Spring 2021 study abroad has been suspended, and Brown will continue to monitor the situation before making any determinations about study abroad for Summer and Fall 2021.

All nonessential personal travel continues to be highly discouraged as well.


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 research, the research plan must first be approved by the Field Research Subcommittee before submitting the request to GTRAC for essential travel.

As a reminder, GTRAC reviews travelers’ risk and safety plans; 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 this form:

All approved essential travelers must comply with the guidance from the Rhode Island Department of Health website 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:

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.