Coronavirus (COVID-19) Travel Updates

Travel Guidance & Resources

The University of Pennsylvania continues to follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) and US Department of State (DOS) health and security travel guidance.  

As of May 18th, 2021 Penn moved to restricted travel guidelines. Visit Penn's Travel Guidelines and Procedures for the details.

Penn Travel Guidelines and Procedures apply to Penn-affiliated (outbound) travel only. The following (inbound) travel is NOT considered Penn-affiliated and therefore does not fall under the purview of Penn Travel Guidelines and Procedures, nor is it managed through Penn Global, International Risk Management, or CTRA:

  1. Visitors to campus who are not current students, faculty or staff of the University

  2. Commuting to campus by faculty, staff, or students currently living or temporarily located outside the Philadelphia and TriState area

  3. International student, faculty or staff returning to the US from abroad 

  4. Personal Travel 

Penn-affiliated Travel Guide for Students and Employees

If you have plans to travel on a Penn-affiliated trip during the COVID-19 pandemic, please review Penn's temporary:

Travel guidelines and procedures.

General Information
Traveling to the United States

For U.S. citizens and permanent residents returning to the U.S.:

For international students and scholars seeking to return to the U.S.:

If you are concerned about not being permitted to board your flight to the United States or being denied at the US Point of Entry, you may request a travel support letter from your academic department and/or from ISSS confirming that you are seeking entry into the country under the sponsorship of the University of Pennsylvania. Please note that this support letter does not guarantee that you will be permitted entry into the United States and is only meant to provide additional documentation of your status as an active Penn student

General Guidance:

  • For restrictions, medical screenings, and flight operations listed by state, visit the dedicated COVID-19 page maintained by International SOSBe sure scroll down to the United States section.

  • For additional information on entry restrictions and exceptions into the U.S., visit IATA travel regulations map. Be sure to click on the United States on the map for details.

  • For visa information, entry restrictions, health requirements, transit rules, and guidance for re-entry to the United States, use the CIBT Entry Guide. Be sure to select United States of America as the destination.

  • The Penn Travel Office has released COVID-19 Guidance and Related Resources.  

  • For assistance finding COVID-19 testing sites, medication refill or mental stresses support and more, call 215-942-8478 (Penn Member ID 11BSGC000012) or email to speak with a medical and security expert from the International SOS Assistance Center. Even in instances when an individual is not traveling, Penn community members still have access to International SOS member benefits, including the Assistance Center.

General Information
International Travel

General Guidance:

For Penn students planning to go, or currently abroad, on a Penn Abroad Global Program

For Penn Faculty and Researchers:

For international students and scholars leaving the U.S.:

  • View required FAQs on immigration documents, notification procedures, and guidance developed by International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS).

  • For students and scholars sponsored by Penn with international emergency travel concerns, view the notification process and resources listed on the ISSS site.

General Information
Domestic Travel

For state-by-state restrictions in the U.S., including stay at home orders, mobility restrictions/limitations, public requirements and more, view the National Governors Association interactive map.

For case counts and state-by-state COVID information, view the NYTimes COVID-19 Map

For restrictions, medical screenings, and flight operations listed by state, view the dedicated COVID-19 page (select Restrictions from the top menu) maintained by International SOS

For research that involves field work, off-campus interactions, or travel, view the Office of the Vice Provost for Research guidance on research resumption and associated travel risks.

The Penn Travel Office has released COVID-19 Guidance and Related Resources. That page includes, but is not limited to, the latest news and resources provided by World Travel.

Campus Visitors

As we begin this summer to repopulate the campus, schools, centers, and departments can again consider bringing in scholars and visitors to campus in accordance with social distancing and facility planning guidelines. Visitors must comply with all Penn health guidelines and policies and participate in PennOpen Pass. All Penn identification holders will have access to testing and vaccination opportunities in accordance with University and municipal and state health policy guidelines. For questions related to visitor travel, please contact your department BA or the travel office for Concur procedure.

Faculty, Staff, & Students
Commuting to Campus

For Faculty & Staff

Penn’s Division of Human Resources has developed a comprehensive guide (PDF) for the return to in-person work, which will be updated as the guidance continues to evolve.  

For Students

The Student Campus Compact will be updated with any changes in expectations for student conduct early in the fall. All students should remain familiar with the standards for behavior that it outlines. 

International Students, Faculty, & Staff
Coming to US from Abroad
General Information
Personal Travel

Personal travel is not prohibited or restricted, however, it is advisable to follow guidance from:

From Penn's central guidance: With increasing numbers of people being vaccinated, we still expect that masks will be required in many campus settings, testing and contact tracing for COVID-19 may still be necessary, and large gatherings may still be limited or modified. Everyone on campus will need to be mindful of social distancing, hand washing, and completing their daily PennOpen Pass

The Latest Information

September 7, 2021: Penn releases new Travel Guidelines, Faculty, Staff, & Postdocs can travel without Petition. 

August 25, 2021: Penn released message to Penn Campus Community on Start of the Fall Semester

August 19, 2021: CDC released updated guidance for fully vaccinated people. 

August 16, 2021: Penn released message to Students on Vaccine Requirements for Fall

July 6, 2021, CDC updated requirements on Travelers coming to US.

Nov. 5, 2020: ISSS released important travel updates for International Students. 

The Penn Travel Office has released COVID-19 Guidance and Related Resources.  

The University’s COVID resource call center provides up-to-date responses to questions about Penn Cares, testing, PennOpen Pass, and more. For information & resources for the Penn Community visit:

Destination Specific COVID Testing Requirements

Before you travel it is important to check the COVID related requirements of your destination. Failure to do so can prevent you from entering the country or boarding the plane. To find this information for your destination you can use the following country specific resources:

US State Department   ISOS*

*to access ISOS please use Penn Member # 11BSGC000012

Some important points to understand when preparing to travel:

  • Some countries require proof of a negative COVID test of all incoming travelers regardless of vaccination status

  • The types of COVID tests approved vary by destination

  • Requirements may ALSO vary within a country, e.g., testing requirement in Hawaii differs from rest of US

  • Timing of a COVID test, e.g., negative test 3 days prior to arrival, will also vary by destination

  • Free COVID testing is provided readily, often with same day appointments, around the country (note: CVS and RiteAid testing around Philadelphia requires a car for Drive-in testing only):

Due to COVID-19
Paying People Abroad

Fall 2021: Penn will return to its normal policy that all employees (faculty, staff, students, postdocs, etc.) must be working from within the United States in order to be on U.S. payroll.  This includes any individuals who continue to work remotely. Previous accommodations due to COVID-19 will no longer be in place. 

For more information visit People Operations Abroad

International Shipping

The regulatory and market constraints of international shipping are changing every day due to COVID-19. Although shipping is generally considered an essential service and exempted from most lock-down measures, deliveries may be impacted. In some countries service is continuing normally, while in other countries there are significant disruptions in service. As essentials and medical supplies are prioritized, other deliveries may be delayed. Also, many providers are applying surcharges, due to increased supply chain demands coupled with staffing disruptions.  The following are links with international shipping alerts, updates, and available services.  

DHL  |  FedEx  |  UPS Alerts  |  UPS Map  |  Geodis

For shipments in the EU, from January 30 to July 31:
VAT and duty will be waived for vital medical equipment for state organizations and charitable or philanthropic organizations approved by the EU member states.