Study Abroad FAQ for COVID-19

Purdue Study Abroad is committed to supporting students and remains steadfast in our mission of providing students with access to international opportunities.

Last updated 7/27/22

Decision Making

Will students be able to participate in study abroad this year?

Purdue is currently conducting study abroad programs in locations where student mobility from the United States remains possible.  

Where can I find more information about Purdue's Travel Policies?

The current travel guidelines are listed on the Essential Protect Purdue Guidance page.  Please check back regularly for any updates.

Travel Preparations

Can students apply for a passport at this time?

Students may apply for a new or renewed U.S. passport. You also have the option of paying an additional $60 for expedited service.  Please check current processing times via the U.S. State Department’s Processing Times page.

Due to potential delays, if you are planning on studying abroad in the coming semesters, you are strongly encouraged to apply for a passport as soon as possible.

Refer to the following pages for further information:

Will I need proof of a negative COVID-19 test to study abroad?

Some countries may require a negative COVID-19 test result prior to departure or evidence of recovery from a previous infection for entry. Please review the U.S. Department of State COVID-19 Country Specific Information to learn more about entry requirements for your chosen location. 

To avoid spreading or contracting COVID-19 in your travels, please plan to be extra cautious in the 14 days leading up to your departure for study abroad.

Do I need a COVID-19 vaccine in order to study abroad?

The CDC recommends that individuals should not travel unless fully vaccinated: 

Students should be aware that their chosen program, host country and/or region may also require vaccination. It is your responsibility to understand and comply with all program, host country and/or regional vaccination regulations. Failure to provide proof of vaccination when required may result in (but not limited to)  financial penalty, denial of entry into the country and/or region, and the inability to complete required academic components of the program.

Some or all of the study abroad program’s opportunities require proof of vaccination. Those students without proof of vaccination may not be able to participate in all activities

May I move forward with booking my flight and making other travel plans?

Study abroad continues to work with our partners abroad to confirm program viability. However, the global pandemic is dynamic and there is always the possibility for a change. Students participating in a departmental program (faculty led) should consult with their program leader to confirm program viability prior to purchasing airline tickets.  

Once your program has been confirmed, we recommend you remain flexible when purchasing airline tickets and carefully review the airlines cancellation and change policies. We recommend you purchase a refundable or flexible airline ticket and/or cancellation insurance.

Purdue will not be responsible for any out-of-pocket expenses incurred in preparing for the program, such as, but not limited to, advance purchase airfare, passport fees, visa fees, and medical expenses.

Should I have a back up plan?

Yes. We recommend you stay flexible with your study abroad plans. Speak with your study abroad advisor or program leader regarding any back up plans already in place. If you are taking required courses during your time abroad, ensure that you will be able to obtain these credits in a different manner if your program is canceled.

Program Cancellation/Withdrawal

What would happen if I choose to withdraw from a study abroad program due to COVID-19 concerns?

We understand that personal circumstances and tolerance for risk may vary, and that final decisions will be made between students and families. If a student chooses to withdraw from their study abroad program, the student will be subject to the terms in the Participation and Cancellation policy for their program. Ask your study abroad advisor or program leader for help identifying the date by which you need to withdraw from a program to mitigate financial obligations.


How will I know if my program is canceled or postponed?

The Study Abroad Office or Sponsoring Unit will contact students directly via email with any and all updates regarding their study abroad experience. The Study Abroad Office will only reach out to student emergency contacts in very specific situations.  

Updates available to the wider community may be found via the study abroad COVID-19 information page and Protect Purdue sites.

Student Experience

What should students expect when participating in a study abroad program during the pandemic?

Students are expected to follow the guidelines set forth by the University, their program and host country regarding COVID-19 health and safety, which may include restrictions on gatherings, travel and mobility that can change at any time.

We do not recommend that student plan extensive travel outside of their host country during the program.  Even if travel from your host country is legally permissible and allowed by your program administrators, we would advise against it.  Sudden border closures could mean an inability to return to your study abroad site/program in order for you to continue your studies as planned.

If you wish to travel outside of your host country, it is recommended to wait until after the completion of your program.  

How can I help prevent the spread of COVID-19 while studying abroad?

Students and faculty should follow guidance from the CDC to help protect yourself and others. In addition, COVID-19 protocols will be in place for your chosen study abroad program and host country to prevent the spread of the virus. Heed the advice and recommendations of your program and local officials, as well as the CDC.

Health and Safety Matters

Is it safe for me to study abroad?

There will always be inherent risks associated with international travel and the presence of the ongoing pandemic makes international travel more complicated. However, we expect that our host universities and program partners will be prepared to receive our students in the coming semesters.

Purdue Security Risk and Assessment Committee completes a review on program locations and program acclivities.  For more information, please see Purdue Policy on Security.

We recommend that you review the Additional Resources listed below in regards to your chosen destination and standard US guidance.  Dependent on your comfort level with risk, you should make your decision to study abroad after careful consideration of all available information, awareness of risk, and ability to manage the risks.

Will students need to take any specific action after returning from a study abroad program?

Please see the current guidelines for students returning to campus after international travel posted on the travel guidelines page.  Students should check back for updated guidelines for future terms.

Insurance Matters

What if I get sick or injured while abroad (including testing positive for COVID-19)?

All students are automatically enrolled in either Purdue's International Insurance coverage or an alternate insurance that has been vetted by Purdue with similar coverage.  Purdue's insurance provides 100% coverage for emergency medical expenses while abroad.  Please take the time to review coverage.

If you get sick (including testing positive for COVID-19) while abroad, contact onsite staff/program leader immediately and seek medical care. Review "How to Use Insurance Abroad" via the link above and follow instructions.  Please note that due to the ongoing pandemic and current travel restrictions, you may not be able to return to your home country immediately following testing positive for COVID-19 and you may not be able to have a family member quickly join you in your host country.

Should I purchase trip cancellation insurance for my program?

While the University will provide decisions on each program based on the timelines set, it is important to note that conditions may continue to evolve after a decision is made. Country requirements may change, host institutions or program providers may make cancellations, or students may voluntarily opt to withdraw. To protect funds committed toward a study abroad experience, students have the option to purchase Trip Cancellation & Interruption insurance. 

Please see more information via the insurance information page.

Does the insurance provided by Purdue cover COVID-19 testing?

Purdue's International Insurance only covers medically mandated testing.  The insurance does not cover testing that may be required for government entry, airline or site visit requirements.  Students should research the COVID-19 Country Specific Information to determine potential testing needs. Students should discuss these needs with their program leader or study abroad advisor prior to departure and budget accordingly.

Testing needed prior to departure may be obtained at Purdue Student Health Center or a local pharmacy. It is the student's responsibility to ensure appointments are made in an appropriate time frame and the type of test results obtained meet the specific country requirement.

Testing needed will be obtained at the student expense.

Additional Resources

Who can I contact with further questions related to study abroad and COVID-19?

For questions related to a specific study abroad program, contact Programs for Study Abroad.  For questions related to the campus response to COVID-19, please see Protect Purdue website which includes links to submit questions.