Logistical Support

Whether you are preparing for international leave or another opportunity to work or travel abroad, it is important that you carefully consider the below practical matters well in advance.

Six Important Travel Tips


Notify your financial institutions that you will be traveling abroad. Make sure that your financial institutions know how to contact you overseas if they need to verify purchases or card usage.  Ask whether your cards will work in your destination and inquire about fees.


Make sure your passport is valid for at least another six months from the end of your travel.


Carry extra passport photos in case you need an entry visa upon arrival, or in case you need to replace a lost or stolen passport.


Register with the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP linked below.

  • It’s a free service that allows U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.


Carry a copy of important identification documents and other important information (medical prescriptions, credit card and bank information) in case of loss or theft.


Confirm that your cell phone will work abroad or make plans for local service.
Outbound Visas

An outbound travel visa is dependent upon your destination, the duration of the trip and what you will be doing when there. Please visit our Outbound Travel Visas resource page for more information.


Data Security on Foreign Travel

International travel introduces new risks to your data and devices. We encourage you to also consult Penn’s Office of Information Security and their information on data security on foreign travel.

Travel Safety

International SOS provides medical and security assistance to Penn travelers, including pre-travel security consultations.  Contact International SOS at 215-942-8478 (Penn Member ID 11BSGC000012) to speak directly with a security professional.   

You may also review security alerts on through the International SOS Penn Portal - click on “current security alerts” (left column) for the latest security updates by country. 

Tax Information

Talking to your tax advisor is an especially important step when planning for extended international leave.  

Tax Planning and International Sabbaticals
This 2011 article from The Chronicle of Higher Education highlights topics to think about and discuss with your tax advisor when planning an international leave.  While it is out of date with regard to some specific tax rules, it provides a helpful overview.

TCJA Affects Reporting Options for Professors on Sabbatical Overseas
This article from a public accounting firm provides some information on the updates since the 2011 article.

Taxpayers Living Abroad
Helpful information from IRS.

Research Compliance

The research you plan to do, in combination with your destination, might result in specific compliance issues. It's important to explore if your research requires such considerations.

Read the following guide for researchers through international collaborations. 

Health Insurance

Students, faculty and staff traveling on Penn-affiliated trips are members of International SOS, which includes travel medical insurance.  Please be sure to register your trip in advance to be pre-authorized to use these services.

International Relocation

If your department is paying for your international relocation, Penn has a direct bill arrangement with SIRVA to assist Penn personnel with relocation services. Contact your departmental HR contact for more information.

International Benefits

Faculty and employees working on short-term Penn projects overseas will generally retain their university benefits, such as health insurance and retirement plans, when they continue to be paid through the U.S. payroll. Prior to engaging in an international activity, be sure to consult with your HR representative and medical insurance provider to review your existing coverage and benefit capabilities in the country you will be traveling.