Travel for UC Berkeley faculty, staff, or students on University business to countries designated by the U.S. Department of State as having a Level 4 travel advisory requires a two-step approval process first.

February 10, 2020

UC Berkeley Travel Protocol for State Dept. Level 4 Locations

Travel for UC Berkeley faculty, staff or students on University business to countries designated by the U.S. Department of State as having a Level 4 travel advisory(link is external) (i.e., Do Not Travel) requires a two-step approval process first from their Dean and then from the Vice Provost for Academic Planning. 

Level 4 is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance to travelers. The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to these countries or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory(link is external). Conditions in any country may change at any time, so it is advisable that travelers check the Travel Advisory often.

University of California restrictions do not apply to travel that is solely personal-related and funded, but such travelers should be aware of travel risks and of federal government warnings on any type of travel to/from Level 4 advisory countries.

Approval Process

Step 1 - Faculty, staff or students who believe their travel to a State Department Level 4 location(link is external) is essential, must first request in writing, approval from their Dean. Faculty essential travel is defined as follows:

Travel is defined as essential if it is required to:

  • preserve the safety of a research subject and is not possible to be postponed; or

  • preserve the results of a research activity and is not possible to be postponed.

Please be aware that educational conferences or delegation visits are not considered essential travel, even if you are a presenter. This is just one example of non-essential travel and does not include all other activities that would also be considered non-essential travel.

Step 2 - If the Dean deems the travel as essential, the Dean must then forward the written request to the Global Engagement Office (GEO) sends e-mail) for final approval by the Vice Provost for Academic Planning. 

The following information is required:

  • Complete itinerary, including destination(s) and dates.

  • Specific rationale detailing how the travel meets one of the two definitions listed above.

If Approval is Granted, Steps to Take Before Travel

1. UC personnel (staff, faculty, students) traveling to Level 4 locations should contact Risk Services sends e-mail) and request a "Know Before You Go/Travel Preparedness Briefing."

2. Briefing requests need to be submitted at a minimum of 72 hours prior to departure, however for a more detailed briefing, please allow more time.

3. Each traveler should be prepared to answer the following questions: 

    • Reason for the Trip
      • Nature of program, details of research or meetings?
      • Is there a local sponsoring organization/university?
    • When will the traveler(s) be leaving and returning to the US?
    • Has the traveler been to the location before? Does the traveler speak the language?
    • Nationality of the traveler(s)?
    • What is traveler's itinerary? 
      • Please be as specific as possible: include dates, lodging, transport hubs, meeting/research sites, who traveler will be staying with, etc.
      • Will the traveler be using public transportation? If so, please list all modes (taxi, rideshare, limo service, etc.)
    • Phone number traveler will be using in the area. (Note: a phone with a US based sim card may not work in the region.)
    • What is traveler's contingency plan if that phone is lost, stolen, or not functional?
    • What email is best for reaching the traveler quickly?
    • Has the traveler received their Visa?
    • Has the embassy provided any additional information or guidance?  

    4. Participants on the live call/webinar should include the traveler(s), faculty most familiar with the trip (for students), and the Dean or Department Chair.

    5. When requesting the briefing, please provide at least 3 proposed dates/times for when would like the call to take place.

    UC Berkeley Travel Protocol for State Dept. Level 3 Locations  

    A State Department Level 3 designation advises travelers to avoid countries due to serious risks to safety and security. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers to these areas in the Travel Advisory(link is external). Conditions in any country may change at any time, so it is advisable the travelers check the advisory often.  Level 3 travel does not require prior written approval of the Dean and Vice Provost for Academic Planning, but does require the “Steps to take before travel” listed above. 


    Resources for faculty and staff who travel on university-sponsored trips

    Berkeley Travel(link is external) 

    Provides information on booking international travel, reporting international travel expenses, how to get reimbursed, and UC travel regulations.

    Register Travel(link is external)

    All Berkeley faculty and staff traveling on official university business should register their travel to receive free 24 hour services and benefits. These services include emergency evacuation, accident and illness care during international travel, passport replacement services, travel alerts and more. For full list of benefits, visit Register Travel website link above. 

    International Risk Services(link is external)

    Provides country-specific travel updates and briefings associated with health and safety as well as information for faculty members, students, and staff conducting research internationally, faculty leading study abroad programs, and international insurance coverage(link is external)

    Cybersecurity and Data Protection for International Travel

    For members of the campus community, a trip to a foreign country presents unique data security challenges.  The following resources will help faculty and staff better prepare:

    • Berkeley's Information Security Office(link is external) provides advice on protecting your intellectual property, data, and devices, whether it’s for work or personal, and includes a list of data security safeguards you should add to your travel checklist before, during and after your trip. 
    • Consult with Export Control(link is external) well in advance of your trip if you are planning to take University equipment, data or technology outside of the United States. There are special rules for bringing electronic equipment, research, intellectual property, and encryption technology abroad. 
    • Although encryption is recommended to protect sensitive information in case your device is lost, stolen, inspected or confiscated, some countries restrict the use/importation of encryption software. The USA may also restrict its export. See UCOP's "International Travel(link is external)" web page for information, including lists of countries with travel restrictions, and links for additional help.

    • UCOP's Cyber-Smart Traveling(link is external) provides many additional systemwide cybersecurity resources for domestic and international travelers.

    UCOP International Activity Policy(link is external)

    Please refer to the UCOP Policy on International Activity (IAP) which covers policy related to all international activities conducted by UC employees and students, and is intended to support the University's academic mission, provide an administrative framework for international activities, and guard the interests of faculty, students, and staff while engaging in international activities. 

    International activities include collaborations and agreements between UC and international partner institutions and organizations, and can range widely in size and scope. This policy sets out governing principles, clarifies approval levels, and directs you to consider and address potential risks as you pursue international activities.