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Travel FAQs

Visit Pandemic Travel Policy, Guidelines, and Recommendations for current Cornell travel information. Visit Cornell's COVID-19 Response for campus-wide information.

Here are answers to frequently asked questions by students, faculty, and staff traveling abroad on Cornell business.

Getting Connected

How do I get in touch with someone at Cornell while I’m abroad?

How can I find a reputable doctor abroad?

Contact ISOS for a hospital/physician referral at 1-215-942-8478 and reference membership number 11BSCA827281

What should I report to ITHS?

The more we know about incidents affecting our travelers, the better prepared we can be in the future. ITHS encourages you to report all variety of incidents regardless of the severity.

  1. For non-emergencies (lost passport, illness or injury that does not require medical attention, sporadic non-violent protests) to severe incidents (non-life-threatening injury, hospitalization for stomach issues, pickpocketing, weather that alters travel plans but does not put travelers in danger) you can contact ITHS at or online international incident report form.
  2. For the most critical incidents (life-threatening injuries or illness, violent crime, arrest, missing persons, sexual assault, a natural disaster that puts travelers in danger) you should reach out to ITHS by calling International SOS at 1-215-942-8478.

I'm planning a sabbatical abroad. What should I know?

Please familiarize yourself with the following resources: 


Can Cornell’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provide assistance while abroad?

The services CAPS can provide abroad are very limited. If you or fellow travelers are experiencing an incident involving mental health, we recommend calling ISOS at 1-215-942-8478. Cornell's membership includes up to five free virtual emotional support sessions (phone/video call) with mental health professionals, per incident.

I am a faculty or staff member and a student just told me about an alleged sexual assault. Do I have to report this?

Yes. The vast majority of faculty and staff are not considered confidential resources. You must report what you know, including the names of those involved, to the Title IX office. International Travel Health and Safety can help you with this. This allows the university to offer resources to those involved. It is completely up to them if they choose to utilize those resources.

What if cultural differences make it hard to know if it was sexual harassment?

If an incident was reported to you, it likely bothered the person reporting enough to warrant letting the Title IX office know. Over-reporting is better than under-reporting. Remember, the Title IX coordinator will confidentially reach out to the victim and offer resources. It is completely up to the victim if they choose to utilize those resources.

Am I automatically covered by health insurance when traveling abroad on Cornell business?

In most cases, travelers registered for and on Cornell travel are covered by an accident/sickness and emergency evacuation insurance plan. For more information see the Insurance for International Travelers page.

Is there a travel clinic on campus?

Yes. All members of the Cornell community can visit the Travel Clinic at Cornell Health. Schedule an appointment for pre-travel consultation, immunizations, and health information. Disclose any medications you take on a regular basis; there may be contraindications with travel-specific medications such as malaria prophylaxis. Consider using this Health Self-Assessment as a guide for speaking with the Travel Clinic and/or your medical provider.


Why do I need to get approval to travel to an elevated-risk destination?

We want you to expand your education and career by traveling and we want to make sure you have the resources and information to stay safe while doing so. The approval process gives the experts, you included, time to make sure we are mitigating the foreseeable risks as best we can.

Is travel to Cuba permissible?

The general license (published by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control as part of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations) authorizes accredited U.S. graduate and undergraduate degree-granting academic institutions to engage in Cuba travel-related transactions incident to certain educational activities. To be eligible, faculty, staff, and students must meet the qualifications outlined in 31 CFR §515.565 Educational Activities. Additional information on qualifications for travel in Cuba.

Can ITHS give presentations on health and safety abroad to my group?

We are always happy to help. In order to provide the most accessible and consistent access to baseline information, of which all students traveling internationally should be aware, we offer the online, free courses, found here. As the Off-campus Activity Leader (OCAL) you are the expert on your travel plans, program’s objectives, and destination. For this reason, we generally do not offer in-person presentations as we strongly encourage OCALs to provide that deeper dive into the information relevant to your specific program. The online course provides confirmation of completion email. If, as OCAL or program manager, you wish to require this as a prerequisite for participation, you may ask students to provide this to you.

Can ITHS assist with student misconduct?

Yes. We can help facilitate the conversation with the appropriate offices here on campus, offer support in removing a student from a program, and help guide you through the entire process.

Where can I learn more about my destination?

  • The U.S. Department of State offers extensive information on safety and security, health, transportation, entry and exit requirements, and more for every country. 
  • Cornell's ISOS online portal is a great resource for destination-specific intelligence on health, safety, and security issues. You may also call the ISOS assistance center and discuss your travel plans with health and security professionals at no charge.

What should I do if my passport is lost or stolen?

Contact ISOS at 1-215-942-8478 or the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for assistance. Additional information on lost or stolen passports.


Can I drive a motor vehicle abroad?

Cornell Policy 8.5, Risk Management for International Travel, states that students traveling internationally on Cornell travel are prohibited from driving any type of motor vehicle, motorcycle, moped, etc., without explicit permission from ITART. Students who wish to seek permission are asked to complete and submit a short petition form for ITART review. You may request a copy of this form by emailing

What is "Cornell Travel?"

  • Cornell directed or supervised travel: Mission-related travel that is sponsored or supervised by Cornell and for which Cornell exercises oversight, e.g. IARD and Global Health, Cornell study abroad programs, athletics/music-related travel, faculty or staff traveling internationally on university business
  • Cornell facilitated or supported travel: Student travel over which Cornell exercises no oversight but that may be funded by the university, e.g., international study through another university or organization, approved exchange programs, co-ops or internships through Cornell departments, or Cornell-funded travel such as Cornell Commitment, OCOF, or other travel grants.
  • Non-Cornell travel: Not related to Cornell business or programs, e.g., independent student organization travel or personal travel.