Updated: November 16, 2021

All affiliates must continue to abide by the Columbia Community Health Compact, all relevant University Public Health Protocols, and the University International Travel Planning Policy.

Fall 2021 Travel Restrictions apply to all travel initiated through January 17, 2022. For guidance on all travel beginning on and after January 18, 2022, read the Spring 2022 Travel Restrictions.

Fall 2021 Travel Restrictions

The following conditions apply for all travelers post travel.

Vaccinated or unvaccinated:

  • Wear masks indoors at all times
  • Properly distance (6 feet), if drinking or eating indoors
  • Keep in mind that the principles articulated in the Columbia Compact apply on and off campus

If unvaccinated:

  • All domestic or international travel, recommended to avoid people with higher risk for severe disease for 14 days
  • For domestic travel:
    • Get a COVID test 1-3 days before the trip
    • Get a COVID test 3-5 days upon return from travel
    • Stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel (7 days if tested on day 3-5, or 10 days without a test)
  • For international travel, required quarantine (7 days if tested on day 3-5, or 10 days without a test)

If vaccinated:

  • For international travel, get tested 3-5 days after travel
  • Vaccinated and unvaccinated airline passengers (age 2 or older) arriving in the US, including returning travelers, must present to the airline at point of departure the following
    • A negative pre-departure COVID Qualifying Test result from a specimen collected within the three days preceding travel for fully vaccinated individuals or within one day for unvaccinated individuals, or
    • Documentation by provider of recovery from COVID-19

Please see CDC guidance for more details, including what constitutes a Qualifying Test, Documentation of Recovery and acceptable vaccines to fulfill vaccination requirement.

Special Instructions

*Procedure for Faculty, Staff, and Graduate Students Requesting International Travel for Columbia-related Activities in U.S. Department of State Level 3 & 4 Countries

1. Complete Travel Waiver (only applicable to Officers of Administration and graduate students).
2. Have itinerary reviewed by ISOS.
3. Secure written approval from the dean or head of administrative unit. (Please send the ISOS itinerary review and travel waiver, where applicable to [email protected] to initiate steps 3 and 4.)
4. Secure written approval from the Provost or, for CUIMC affiliates, from the EVP and Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine.
5. Register approved travel with ISOS.

Applies to travel both from the U.S. to non-U.S. countries and between non-U.S. countries, including after a return to a non-U.S. country of residence.

Requests should be submitted prior to booking travel and at least 30 days prior to the commencement of travel.

Please contact [email protected] for more information.

**Procedure for Graduate Students Requesting International Travel for Columbia-related Activities in U.S. Department of State Level 1 & 2 Countries
1. Approval of the dean or head of administrative unit. Issues to be taken into account include need for in-person presence, location of activities, type of activities, housing situation, etc.
2. Register approved travel with ISOS.

Travel FAQs

All faculty, staff, and registered students are covered by Columbia’s Fall 2021 Travel Restrictions and the International Travel Planning Policy. These policies apply regardless of whether you are accessing campus.

Any inbound travel to the U.S. from other countries is subject to CDC Travel Guidance and State of New York guidelines. This includes travel to the U.S. by students who plan to access campus for the fall semester and who also must adhere to University requirements for access to campus.

Any outbound travel from the U.S. to other countries is subject to Fall 2021 Travel Restrictions listed here and those of the destination country. It is also subject to Columbia’s International Travel Planning Policy.

Subject to applicable guidance, travel within a non-U.S. country should be based on local COVID-related guidance. Use caution as the COVID-19 situation may vary from region to region within a country and could change over time.


You must follow New York State guidance upon return or arrival to campus. Before coming to campus, you must review and affirm the Columbia Community Health Compact, complete any required quarantine, and successfully complete a gateway test.

Columbia’s travel restrictions apply to all Columbia faculty, staff, and students even if the travel is part of a non-Columbia sponsored program. This includes travel that may be partially funded or arranged by Columbia, may earn academic credit at Columbia, may be coordinated by a Columbia-recognized student group, or may be an extension of a faculty or researcher’s professional work.

Undergraduate study abroad programs are suspended for Fall 2021. The University has determined that limited undergraduate study abroad will be permissible in the spring 2022 term. For more information, please contact the Center for Undergraduate Global Engagement at [email protected].

Group Columbia-related travel, whether international or domestic, is not permissible in groups of three or more. All international personal travel is strongly discouraged, including travel with other students.

All international Columbia-related travel remains suspended for undergraduate students.

For Department of State Level 3 and 4 countries, a traveler must first obtain an ISOS itinerary review. Officers of Administration and graduate students must also complete a Travel Waiver. These items should then be submitted to [email protected] for advancement to the dean and to the provost or executive vice president of CUIMC.

For Department of State Level 1 and 2 countries, approval is not required for faculty and staff, but they must register their travel with ISOS. Graduate students traveling to DoS Level 1 and 2 countries should reach out to [email protected] to initiate the dean’s approval process.

All approved international travel must be registered with International SOS. Visit globaltravel.columbia.edu or email [email protected] for more information.

Faculty and staff who need to work abroad for the fall semester must complete the travel approval process for work in countries that have a Department of State Travel Advisory Level 3 or 4 and must register their travel with ISOS for Level 1 or 2 countries. Their departments or units must also contact the International Hiring Committee at [email protected].

Travelers are encouraged to book Columbia-related travel through Concur, the University travel and expense management system. This ensures travelers can be reimbursed if travel must be cancelled or dates changed. In the instance that travel cannot proceed (e.g., travel is not approved or US or destination restrictions preclude travel) and non-refundable expenses are incurred, decisions will be made at a departmental level about whether a traveler will be reimbursed.

The current travel restrictions urge postponement of international personal travel for faculty, staff, and students. If personal travel must happen due to urgent circumstances, caution is advised, as local conditions can quickly evolve. Attention should be given to destination country restrictions as well as requirements upon return to the U.S.

Please review CDC COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination to understand the level of COVID-19-related risk associated with travel to particular locations, as well as U.S. Department of State’s website for COVID-19-related risks and restrictions.

You must follow the guidelines regarding restrictions of your inbound destination and that may apply upon re-entry to the U.S.

Students who wish to conduct domestic Columbia-related travel should reach out directly to their school to initiate the approval process.

Students who fail to comply with applicable travel restrictions will be subject to Dean’s Discipline and review by Student Conduct and Community Standards. In the case of faculty or staff violations, the dean or head of the administrative unit will be notified.