The University announced an updated international travel policy Wednesday requiring itinerary review and approval for high-risk travel affiliated with Columbia.
Guidelines for international travel were first established one year ago, including the new requirement that all Columbia-related travel be registered with Global Travel. The updated policy classifies international travel based on risk tiers provided by International SOS—the University’s contracted travel assistance company—with medium, high, and extreme-risk destinations requiring increasing levels of approval.
According to the revised policy, all travel by students, support staff, and administrators must be registered with Global Travel, regardless of risk. Medium-risk locations require additional itinerary review by ISOS, high-risk travel will require the approval of the individual’s dean, and extreme-risk travel will require the provost’s approval in addition to all previous levels of clearance.
The international travel policy applies to all trips organized by the University, such as studying abroad, as well as travel sponsored by Columbia-recognized groups and faculty. The policy will not apply to personal travel or travel through an entity not associated with the University, and it exempts officers of research and instruction who are unaccompanied by graduate or undergraduate students.
These changes come after several months of planning. Administrators noted that they were not related to President Donald Trump’s recent executive order restricting immigration from certain countries.
This policy comes out of the International Administrative Working Group, which includes representatives from every school within the University and senior administrators.
Associate Director for International Safety and Travel Risk Management Tristan Tafolla said that the University is not looking to inhibit international academic exploration with the revised policy.
“In terms of benchmarking, a lot of universities have adopted probably even more stringent travel policies than what Columbia has, and it’s not about prohibiting travel, it’s about enabling students to travel to safely as possible,” Tafolla said.