Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New International Travel Policy provides critical guidance and resources

When the university's new International Travel Policy (ITP) went into effect on March 8, several of its component parts already had proven their value many times over.


More information

• International Travel Standard Practice Guide

• Overview about international travel

The ITP details university policy on the U-M Travel Registry, travel abroad health insurance, emergency evacuation insurance, U-M travel warnings or travel restrictions, and international travel involving student groups. The policy applies to all university faculty, staff and students who travel outside of the United States for university-related purposes.

"We send hundreds of students abroad each year," says Amy Conger, director of International Programs in the College of Engineering. "In addition to providing needed medical or mental health care, the university's international health insurance provider, HTH, also will develop individualized plans to ensure required medical support throughout the traveler's itinerary. This makes it possible for people with chronic health conditions to enjoy the extraordinary benefits of travel abroad.

"The value of HTH became real for me last spring, when I experienced an urgent medical situation, myself, in Paris," Conger says. "Within an hour of calling HTH, a taxi was waiting to take me to a nearby hospital where the medical and administrative staff were already expecting me, had been informed that I had insurance coverage, and had authorized my treatment."

HTH also provides comprehensive emergency evacuation services. "In the recent past, we have worked with HTH to evacuate members of the university community from perilous situations in Egypt and Japan," says John Godfrey, chair of the International Travel Oversight Committee.

"Global engagement is increasingly important in teaching, learning, and research, making international travel more common for students, faculty and staff," Provost Phil Hanlon says. "The new International Travel Policy provides an appropriate structure and key resources that help to ensure safe, productive and enjoyable travel."

The ITP addresses five major policy areas specific to university-related travel.

• University Travel Registry (also available for personal travel): All faculty, staff and students traveling abroad must register their international travel in the registry before departure. This confidential and secure database provides a convenient tool for the traveler and the department to coordinate travel details. The registry also helps the university locate the traveler if an emergency situation arises.

• Travel Abroad Health Insurance: All students traveling abroad are required to have travel abroad insurance coverage from the university's authorized vendor. Faculty and staff traveling internationally are covered under the university's blanket policy with that vendor. Coverage also may be purchased for personal travel.

• Emergency Evacuation Insurance: All faculty, staff and students traveling internationally are covered under a blanket policy for emergency evacuation due to political unrest or natural disaster.

• University travel warnings or travel restrictions: The ITP provides guidance on traveling to a location where there is a university-issued travel warning or travel restriction.

• International travel involving student groups: All university-sponsored student travel abroad and student-initiated group travel abroad must meet specific requirements, including securing specified permissions, and participation in the Travel Registry and travel abroad and emergency evacuation insurance.