Spring and Summer 2021 Travel Restrictions

Last Updated April 9, 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.

Spring 2021 Travel Restrictions

Summer Travel Restrictions (Effective June 1, 2021)

*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 for Officers of Administration and graduate students.
2. Register travel with ISOS.
3. Have itinerary reviewed by ISOS.
4. Secure written approval from the dean or head of administrative unit.
5. Secure written approval from the Provost or, for CUIMC affiliates, from the EVP and Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine.

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 Students Requesting Domestic Travel for Columbia-related Activities 

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.

For Everyone

All faculty, staff, and registered students are covered by Columbia’s travel restrictions. These restrictions 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 Spring term and who also must adhere to the University’s quarantine requirements.

Any outbound travel from the U.S. to other countries is subject to Spring 2021 Travel Restrictions listed here and those of the destination country.

Subject to applicable guidance, travel within a non-U.S. country should be based on local COVID-related guidance. Please use caution as the COVID-19 situation may vary from region to region within a country.

Columbia-related travel from country-to-country outside of the U.S. is suspended.

Undergraduate study abroad programs for the spring term are suspended.

Academic personnel who need to work abroad for the spring term must complete the travel exception process. Their departments/units must contact the International Hiring Committee at [email protected].

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.

Please review CDC’s COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination to understand the level of COVID-19-related risk associated with travel to particular locations.

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

Student personal travel is urged to be postponed, except for personal or family emergencies. If travel must happen, students must follow NYS guidance or destination country-specific guidance.

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

All Columbia-related travel, including any group travel, is suspended for students. It also includes travel arranged, organized, supported, or in any way related to Columbia.

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, departmental chairs or unit heads will be notified.

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.

For Students

The University wants to ensure that all of our students minimize the risks of being exposed or exposing others to COVID-19. Travelling together is high risk as it is often not possible to maintain distance.


University travel restrictions apply to all students, including students not coming to campus.


Personal Trips With Other Columbia Students

Students may not travel in groups with other Columbia students, including for personal travel. A student may travel with one other Columbia student or with others who share the same apartment or household, but all personal travel is strongly discouraged.  

Travel to See Family

The University urges students to postpone personal travel except for personal and family emergencies in order to protect yourself and the Columbia community’s health. If you travel outside of New York, you must follow New York State guidance upon return to campus.

Travel Within New York State

The purpose of the policy is to reduce the risks of transmission associated with travel and, especially, travel in groups. For students living in New York City, you are urged to postpone personal travel outside of the city other than for personal or family emergencies. For students living outside of NYC but in New York State, you are also urged to postpone personal travel within the state other than your local metropolitan area and to and from campus. For any travel, including local travel, observe all safety measures per the Columbia University Health Compact when accessing campus.