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International Travel Field Guide


When it comes to international opportunities and travel, it is important to recognize and properly evaluate the risks that are inherent with those opportunities.  Effectively evaluating risks and being prepared to properly mitigate those risks is important in preserving the safety of faculty, staff, and students, while also maximizing Institutional mission and performance. For this reason, and in accordance with the University’s Enterprise Risk Management initiative, we believe each faculty, staff, and student must assume the initiative of being a manager of risk in pursuing international opportunities.   

The sections below address several of the areas that should be given consideration in relation to any international opportunity and associated travel.  This list is not intended to be comprehensive or all encompassing.  The intent is to provide the reader with some general guidance to facilitate the management of risk while traveling and pursuing opportunities internationally.     


It is very important for business travel to be properly recorded and documented before the traveler leaves for a trip.  Documentation prior to the trip assures the traveler's supervisor and/or department head is aware of the activity, funds are available for reimbursement of expenses, travel is allowable on the funds, traveler is covered under worker compensation insurance, and that the traveler is registered for international medical/evacuation coverage.  Your travel may be recorded via the Universities travel system (Concur) or Form RM23 as appropriate.  Please see the Purdue Travel policy link and scroll to the Foreign Travel Request section for more information.


Purdue purchases medical/evacuation insurance coverage for two different categories of international travelers traveling on University business:

  • Short term international travel (less than one year)
  • Long term travel (more than one year) including change in duty station

Travelers must register for these coverages.

If you have requested or booked your travel in Concur (the University’s travel system) you are automatically registered.

Student travel, if not booked within the Concur system, should be registered using the Risk Management Form 23

Please see the following websites for additional information and follow the link to International Travel Medical/Evacuation Insurance Coverage:


If you are traveling with your spouse, domestic partner, and/or dependent children under the age of 19, please contact Lois High in the Risk Management Department to assure your loved ones are listed and protected by this program while they travel with you. This coverage is provided by the University at no additional charge to the traveler.  

If you will need to apply for a Visa for your upcoming international travel please contact Lois High at least 3 days prior to your appointment at the Embassy for a Consulate Letter showing proof of insurance. 

You will receive an Insurance Identification Card from the Risk Management Department via email prior to your travel.  If you do not receive a card 3 days prior to your departure, please contact Lois High at 765-494-7695.


In the event of a medical emergency, natural disaster or political unrest that necessitates an evacuation from an international location, travelers should contact the travel assistance vendor identified on the insurance ID card provided before travel.  It is always a good idea to program those emergency numbers into your international cell phone.  Access to ID cards and the most current emergency numbers can be found by clicking on the links below:    

Expatriate employees/change in duty station

All other short term international travelers

Leisure Travel/Cancel for Any Reason Policy

This policy offered through Gallagher can be used for University travel or for personal travel.  University travel will benefit through the Cancel for Any Reason coverage.  This will reimburse travelers for any reason of cancellation to help with the non-refundable cost associated with the trip.  For personal use, this extends the same Cancel for Any Reason benefit along with medical protections of up to $100,000 for Accident & Sickness Medical Expenses and up to $1 million for Medical Evacuations. 

Leisure Travel/Cancel for Any Reason Policy


If you are undertaking contract associated with your program or research abroad, those contracts must go through Sponsored Program Services at spsweb@purdue.edu.


The U.S. State Department provides a website (www.travel.state.gov) to provide country specific information regarding safety, security, crime rates, travel alerts, judicial system, health care systems, and emergency contact telephone numbers.

Travelers should also register their travel through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) https://step.state.gov/step/. This is a free service provided by the U. S. Government to U S Citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. STEP allows you to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can better assist you in an emergency.

As a traveler in a foreign land, you are obligated to act in accordance with foreign law. You are highly encouraged to become familiar with local laws before traveling.

Conditions can change rapidly in a country at any time. Travelers should recognize and weigh carefully that there are times and places where personal security issues outweigh the advantages of exposure to an international experience.

Country Specific information can also be found through the Gallagher Global Assistance website, http://www.acetravelassistance.net/, a service provided by our International Travel Insurance vendor. 

Please see the information regarding the Travel Eye Portal App by visiting https://www.gallagherstudent.com/faqs/5060.pdf and upload it onto your mobile device for up to date information at the touch of a button.

We also recommend that you visit the CDC website to be informed about certain health concerns, diseases, vaccines, other info, etc... for the country that you will be visiting by going to https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/.


International Vehicle Use and Insurance

Only authorized drivers may operate vehicles on University business.  Individuals who operate personal vehicles on university business or for any other University purpose are required to meet curtain minimum driver qualifications.  Please visit the following link regarding Purdue’s Use of Vehicles for University Business policy: http://www.purdue.edu/policies/facilities-safety/iva1.html

Please note- when renting or leasing a vehicle outside the U. S. while on University business, collision damage insurance (sometimes referred to as CDW or LDW), personal accident insurance and liability insurance should be purchased as part of the vehicle lease package.  The cost of this additional insurance during international business travel is considered a reimbursable expense under the University’s travel policy. 

The University prohibits the rental of vehicles by students in foreign countries.

Other Insurance Coverage

The University maintains broad liability coverages for its global operation.  Employees are insured under this broad policy while working within the scope of their employment with Purdue.  Employees, who are involved in an incident which may generate a third party tort claim against Purdue, should notify their U.S. based program director and the Risk Management Department via email at RiskMgmt@purdue.edu.

The University also maintains very broad physical damage coverage to its business property and other assets globally.  The policy does have some country specific exclusion which can be viewed on the Risk Management website (under the Building and Contents tab) http://www.purdue.edu/business/risk_mgmt/Risk_Management_Insurance_Program/index.html#buildings. Assets located in excluded countries must be reported to Risk Management at  RiskMgmt@purdue.edu.

Researchers who are shipping or maintaining large quantities of research equipment abroad (in excess of $1,000,000) must notify the Risk Management Department (at the link above) to assure proper coverage for those assets, both while being shipped, and on location.

Purdue Benefits Medical Insurance

For information regarding how Purdue employee medical benefits work while you are abroad please see the benefits website at  http://www.purdue.edu/hr/Benefits/  or contact the Benefits Department at 765-494-2222 or toll free at 877-725-0222

Worker Compensation Insurance

If you have any questions regarding filing a claim, or general work comp questions, you may visit the Worker Compensation Department website at http://www.purdue.edu/hr/Benefits/wc.html  or call them at 764-494-2222.  


Proper documentation and identification is required for entry into foreign countries and re-entry into the U. S.  Requirements vary by country based on citizenship, purpose of visit and length of stay.  The U. S. State Department provides information regarding the travel documents required for the country in which you will be traveling at www.travel.state.gov and navigating through the International Travel section.

Along with the originals, bring a copy of all your travel documents (including passport, birth certificate, visa, work permit, confirmation of vaccinations and confirmation of health insurance) and leave copies with a contact in the U.S. and abroad. 


International travelers should check with their cellular telephone provider to determine if international service is provided and will be accessible in the countries being traveled. 


The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U. S. Department of the Treasury administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on U. S. foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries and regimes, international narcotics traffickers, those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other threats to the national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States. 

OFAC may limit travel and financial payment into sanctioned countries.  The OFAC website at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Pages/Programs.aspx will provide a current list of sanctioned countries, and the sanctions imposed.


The federal Export Administration Regulations ("EAR") and International Traffic in Arms Regulations ("ITAR") control the export of certain commodities, software, technical data and certain other information to foreign countries. The EAR and the ITAR can restrict the furnishing of information, technical data and software to foreign persons, whether this takes place abroad or in the United States. The Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") regulates technology and economic transfers to countries, organizations, and individuals through embargoes and trade sanctions. In the university context, these regulations can prohibit foreign persons from participating in research projects or having access to information resulting from research under some circumstances unless an export license has been obtained in advance. While most university activities are not subject to the EAR or the ITAR, where these rules do apply they must be followed. Punishment for violations can be severe and include fines and imprisonment.  Click here for more information:  http://www.purdue.edu/research/regulatory-affairs/export-controls-and-research-information-assurance/


Plan well in advance when traveling outside the U.S.  For your convenience we have included the following quick reference check list of things to think about: 
  • Passport valid at least six months into the future 
  • Valid visa stamp in your passport if needed
  • Register your travel through the Purdue travel system  
  • Know the latest development regarding the country you are traveling to by checking the country specific information at www.travel.state.gov and especially be aware of the Travel Advsiory for the country that you are traveling to.
  • View the CDC website to get informed about certain health concerns, diseases, vaccines, other info, etc... for the country that you will be visiting by going to https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/.
  • Be aware of the Best Practices and Procedures all Campuses- Departmental International Travel Programs Involving Students, Alumni, and Other Attendees
  • Also be informed about the Best Practices for Engaging in Global Health/Medical Volunteer Experiences if it pertains to your trip
  • Register your travel with the embassy of the country you are traveling to
  • Assure you (and family traveling with you) are registered for the University’s evacuation coverage
  • Assure that you have a contact tree in place so your work colleagues and your family know you have arrived safely and continue to be safe during the course of your travel.
  • Establish (pre travel) an emergency plan that will be followed in the event that you must quickly leave your foreign destination (due to political unrest, natural disaster, etc.).  What rout will you take to what closest safe haven.  Multiple exit routes and modes of travel should be considered in your plan.
  • Preprogram into your international cell phone the University’s evacuation provider’s emergency phone numbers and email information.
  • Assure all of our vaccinations are up to date for the region of the world you are traveling to
  • Carry the minimum number of valuables, such as passport, cash and credit cards. Avoid outside pockets and handbags that are easy targets for thieves. Inside pockets and sturdy shoulder bag with a strap worn across the chest are somewhat safer.
  • To avoid problems when passing through customs, keep medicines in their original, labeled containers. Bring copies of your prescriptions and the generic names for the drugs. If a medication is unusual or contains narcotics, carry a letter from your doctor attesting to your need to take the drug. If you have any doubt about the legality of carrying a certain drug into a country, consult the embassy or consulate of that country before you travel.
  • If you are the victim of a crime overseas contact the local police to report the incident and get immediate help. Request a copy of the police report. Also, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
  • Make copies of your passport, airplane ticket, driver’s license, and credit cards that you take with you. Keep one copy at home; carry a second copy with you but separate from the originals. This will help speed the replacement process if they are lost or stolen.
  • One of your first priorities upon arrival in your host country is to identify and build a support system. Make a list of people you can trust to be supportive in an emergency. This list should include on-site program staff, their names, addresses and phone numbers. Keep this list with you at all times. Learn to correctly use the public telephones immediately upon your arrival. Learn to identify police station, uniform, and car, hospital and medical clinics, crisis or hotlines where English is spoken.
  • Don't give personal information to strangers. Be extremely cautious about inviting casual acquaintances into your home or room. Be aware of your surroundings; learn which areas should be avoided.
  • Laptop computers- Limit data stored on your laptop to what is necessary and be sure access is secure. Do not leave laptop computers in public areas or in plain sight in a hotel room or convention room.


Additional resources can be found on the following FBI websites regarding the following subject matter: