COVID-19 Travel Information

Penn Abroad is committed to safeguarding the health and safety of the Penn Community and our partners. The team works closely with resources like the Office of Risk Management, International SOS, our local contacts onsite overseas, and our many campus partners while closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and remaining abreast of new developments. As students plan for international travel, we thoroughly review and vet programs, put contingency plans in place, and anticipate and mitigate student risk abroad.

Students and families are asked to review the information on this page for travel guidelines, and health and safety information specific to the COVID-19 pandemic. This information will help you plan and prepare to travel as we continue to be impacted by the pandemic. We also encourage you to review our page Assessing Safety and our general Health & Safety page for additional information, advice, and resources

Primary Information & Resources
Program & Travel Guidelines

Programs and destinations are approved in consultation with Penn’s Committee on Travel Risk Assessment (CTRA). As Penn Abroad continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic, programs that maybe be listed as part of the initial offerings may be suspended or changed. Students who are affected by any changes will be notified by Penn Abroad according to the contingency plans or processes set by their program.

Penn Abroad follows the University’s travel guidance and policies. As of May 18, 2021, all domestic and international Penn-affiliated travel is in “restricted status,” which means that:

  • Vaccination against COVID-19 is required for any travelers unless there is a medical or religious exemption.

  • Students may travel to countries rated CDC Level 1 or CDC Level 2 without travel approval needed from CTRA.

  • Travel to countries rated a CDC Level 3 or CDC Level 4 require a petition to CTRA to determine whether travel approval will be granted. Note: Penn Abroad will submit a CTRA petition on behalf of students applying to programs in these locations.

  • All personal travel while participating on a Penn Abroad program is subject to CTRA policies. Students wishing to travel to a CDC Level 3 or Level 4 destination would be required to submit a petition to CTRA to gain approval for leisure travel. Other restrictions, including quarantine requirements, may apply. Students must also register all personal travel details into MyTrips.

CTRA approval may be rescinded at any time and programs may be canceled independently of the CTRA process due to restrictions from host countries or institutions. 

Quarantine requirements vary at all abroad locations and impact each program’s itinerary and potential for suspension differently. Quarantine and arrival information changes regularly. The most current arrival and quarantine information for your abroad location can be found on the International SOS website Travel Restrictions, Flight Operations, and Screening (enter Penn’s Membership Number Login: 11BSGC000012 and search by country).

Support & Resources

There are many resources available for students to use before, during, and after they go abroad, including Penn Campus Resources, Health & Safety Information, and our online Pre-Departure Orientation.

Should a student produce any symptoms of COVID-19, or require other medical help, International SOS is available 24/7 for medical and security consultation, doctor and hospital referrals, guarantee of payment of medical bills, and emergency evacuation assistance. 

Additional information and resources for traveling during the COVID-19 Pandemic:

Additional Information by Program
Semester Abroad

Penn Abroad has received approval from the Committee on Travel Risk Assessment (CTRA) to support students to a majority of study abroad program locations for the Spring 2022 term.

Planning & Preparing

  • Application Process & Deadlines - Review basic eligibility, deadlines, advisor information, how to apply to a Semester Abroad program.

  • PASSPORT - Use the “search programs” feature to explore options. If a global experience is a core element to your academic studies and your preferred program has been suspended, please contact goabroad@upenn.edu to discuss your options further.

  • CDC COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination- Find up-to-date information on current CDC levels (this information can change at any time without notice).

  • Academic Information - Find pass/fail policies, student conduct guidelines, and academic credit information.

  • Petition Programs - Students can petition to do a program that is not Penn-approved. Currently, only programs in a CDC level 1 or level 2 countries will be considered. 

While Abroad

Co-curricular travel during Penn Abroad program dates is permitted when organized and/or sponsored by the host institution, study abroad provider, or Resident Director. Students are subject to additional guidelines and conditions related to personal travel and leisure travel, including:

  • Personal travel outside the pre-approved destination country is permitted so long as the return trip to the host country does not require testing or quarantine

  • Personal travel outside the host country is subject to permission from the host institution, program, or Resident Director, if applicable

  • Students are not allowed to miss class or attend virtual classes as a result of mandatory testing or quarantine required as a result of a personal / leisure trip

In the event a student tests positive for COVID-19 while abroad, immediately alert with the appropriate on-site support staff at the abroad location and/or at a host institution in order to seek proper medical care. Students may be required to self-isolate and will be expected to follow all local guidance regarding COVID-19 protocols. All Penn students abroad are covered by International SOS for travel medical assistance, including care for COVID-19.

Travel information and policies also vary by Semester Abroad program, destination, and as public health guidance changes. Students can access more specific details on their program and policies within PASSPORT as they go through the application process, and while they are abroad.

Penn Global Seminars

Planning & Requirements

The Penn Global Seminars team will notify students of the travel requirements prior to departure and we ask students to check their email frequently prior to travel. Should any action be required, we ask that students respond accordingly within 48 hours. 

While travel requirements will vary per the host country’s rules, common requirements such as vaccination, COVID-19 testing, and quarantine may impact your preparations and plans.

For example:

  • Students may need to provide a vaccine certificate and a negative PCR test to enter their destination abroad. Students should schedule their tests with any required timeframes and be aware of the possible delays with testing around holidays. 

  • If a destination requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination, students will be asked to upload a copy of their vaccination certificate in PASSPORT prior to departure.  

  • Should quarantine measures be put into place prior to travel, Penn Abroad will suspend the travel component. 

Support & Safety

COVID-19 risk is mitigated due to the vaccine requirements imposed by the University and by the governments of some travel destinations. All participants, including faculty, staff, students, and local partners, will be vaccinated against COVID-19. Universal vaccination will drastically reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 during travel.

Additional steps and support while abroad include:

  • Should a student produce any symptoms of COVID-19, Penn Abroad will provide self-administered COVID-19 tests and assist the student with seeking medical help, if necessary. 

  • The students will be accompanied by the faculty leader and a staff leader who have both participated in a PGS trip leader training. If there will be limited access to Wi-Fi, cell service, and data during many portions of the trip, the trip leader will be carrying a satellite phone for emergency purposes. 

Penn Abroad will monitor the health, safety, and security of program participants during the travel component and will be prepared to respond to any COVID-19-related emergencies as needed. 

Travel Cancelation

If Penn Abroad determines that travel is no longer safe or feasible or does not meet CTRA approval, the travel component of this Penn Global Seminar may be suspended. In the case of travel suspension, Penn Abroad will inform program participants in writing and provide them with an alternate assessment so that the course can be completed without travel. 

Students will be refunded the full amount of the PGS program fee. Additional expenses, such as costs related to travel to Philadelphia prior to the program’s departure, PCR testing before departure, and visa fees will not be refunded.  

Students must alert Penn Abroad immediately if they are no longer able to travel. A refund of the PGS program fee would be determined at the discretion of Penn Abroad. 

Global Research & Internship Program

GRIP placements may take place on-site abroad or in a remote format in Summer 2022. Feasibility of GRIP travel will depend on the location and placement details and will be assessed in collaboration with Penn’s Committee on Travel Risk Assessment, Penn leadership, and employer partners abroad, as detailed above in the Primary Information & Resources section. Decisions regarding each GRIP placement's format will be confirmed on or before the admission decision date. Students can access more specific details regarding individual placements within PASSPORT as they go through the application process.