Travel Guidelines

Penn State has established comprehensive guidance for both personal and University-affiliated travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. These guidelines have been developed with the health and safety of the entire University community in mind, in accordance with the latest information and requirements from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the governor’s office, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Department of State. All Penn Staters are being asked to follow these basic guidelines in the interest of their own health, and for the common good.

Personal Travel

Penn State encourages its faculty, staff and students to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations related to travel. In particular, unvaccinated travelers should delay travel until they are vaccinated. In addition to the risk to their personal health, travelers should be aware of the elevated risk to other members of the community — including individuals with compromised immune systems and the elderly — should they become infected.

If you must travel for personal reasons, follow all state and local travel restrictions currently in place. All travelers should consult the CDC’s recommendations related to domestic travel and international travel, which differ depending on vaccination status. International travelers should consult the CDC’s website for the latest travel health notices and COVID-19 travel recommendations by destination, and research the restrictions imposed in the country they plan to visit, as well as any U.S. government restrictions that could impact their return home, as the global travel situation is changing frequently.

COVID-19 vaccines are available across the commonwealth. Click here for information from the Pennsylvania Department of Health on where to sign up for and receive a vaccine.

The U.S. Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued international COVID-19 travel advisories and recommend reconsidering or avoiding travel to many destinations.

Employee Domestic Travel

Starting July 1, 2021, employees resumed University-affiliated domestic travel without unit executive approvals. Employees are asked to limit travel where possible and consider virtual options that might replace or reduce the need to travel. Employees planning to travel on Penn State business should follow their unit's pre-COVID-19 travel approval process. College of Medicine faculty at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, both clinical and basic science, are expected to follow the shared guidelines issued together by Kevin Black, interim dean of the College of Medicine, and Penn State Health.

Employees wishing to travel should carefully review Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidance; research the restrictions imposed in the area(s) to which they are traveling and make sure they can comply with any restrictions; and arrange any necessary air travel through Anthony Travel, Penn State’s preferred travel agency, when possible.

Employees planning domestic travel should:


  • Practice physical distancing and hygiene recommendations before and during travel.

  • Obtain masks, hand sanitizer, and any PPE that might be necessary in the course of their work while traveling.

  • Follow all quarantine guidelines and requirements of the destination.

  • If you are unvaccinated, the CDC recommends upon return that you seek a viral test three to five days after travel, and stay home and self-quarantine for seven days after travel.

Student Domestic Travel
(Updated Sept. 14, 2022)

COVID-19 vaccination guidelines

The University strongly encourages all students traveling for any University-sponsored or University-affiliated purpose to be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters, by the date of departure.

Observance of health and safety guidelines

Students traveling domestically should:


  • Follow the CDC guidelines for domestic travel.

  • Follow all COVID recommendations and requirements of the destination.

  • Arrange any necessary air travel through Anthony Travel, Penn State’s preferred travel agency, when possible (not applicable to student organizations or Student Initiated Fee travel).

Travel associated with a course

If a student or group of students is traveling off campus as part of a course, the instructor of record should develop a plan for continuation or cancellation of the program should the faculty member become ill; a plan for continuation or cancellation of the program should the faculty member need to accompany a student who is ill; and a plan for returning students to their homes or campus in the event of a program cancellation due to emergent restrictions due to COVID-19.

Cocurricular travel

Cocurricular travel that is sponsored by the University should follow the appropriate approval paths and guidelines through the sponsoring unit.

Student organization and Student Initiated Fee-funded travel must be registered. At University Park, travel must be registered through OrgCentral using the travel registration form and will be reviewed by Student Activities staff. Club Sports travel must be submitted and reviewed by the Competitive Sports staff in Campus Recreation.

At Commonwealth Campuses, travel must be registered through campus-specific travel registration processes and will be reviewed by appropriate staff.

Trip coordinators will be responsible for sharing CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines, safety measures and potential risks associated with traveling with all participants.

Acknowledgment/Assumption of Risk

Students who participate in University-related travel acknowledge and understand that participation is wholly voluntary. In addition to other hazards connected with travel, students understand that there is risk they may become exposed to and/or infected by COVID-19 or any of its variants, and that this risk cannot be entirely eliminated even with adherence to all preventative measures including vaccination. Students who participate in University-related travel assume any and all risks associated with travel, including that of COVID-19 exposure or infection, and acknowledge that they may result in personal injury, illness, severe complications, permanent disability, and/or death. STUDENTS UNDERSTAND THAT ANY REQUEST FOR TRAVEL IS COMPLETELY VOLUNTARY AND SHALL OPERATE AS AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT AND ASSUMPTION OF RISK RELATED TO TRAVEL AND TO COVID-19 AND ITS VARIANTS.

Personal travel

Students wishing to travel for personal reasons should exercise caution and follow safety and hygiene recommendations.

International Travel

Penn State leaders encourage the community to continue taking health and safety precautions as outlined by both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of State.

Recognizing that travel imposes additional risks relative to the spread of COVID-19, Penn State developed the following guidance for University-affiliated international travel by employees and students. Policy TR01, International Travel Requirements, applies to all international travel.

Student International Travel

Penn State prioritizes the health and safety of its students and employees and for that reason provides recommendations and guidance to help international travelers prepare to mitigate and respond to known health risks. COVID-19 and other infectious diseases can impact travel planning, logistics, finances, and educational considerations. It is critical that any student or employee undertaking University-affiliated international travel complete their own research into the specific vaccination, booster, testing, isolation or quarantine requirements of the host country/location, host institution, or sponsoring organization. It is the responsibility of each traveler to meet the requirements or protocol of their intended international location or program. Requirements at international destinations and within the United States can shift without notice, and Penn State reserves the right to modify its COVID-19 vaccination requirements accordingly.

Effective for international travel commencing on February 1, 2023 or later, Penn State strongly recommends that all University-affiliated travelers be up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations and vaccinations for other infectious diseases. Being up to date with COVID-19 and other vaccinations and boosters reduces the risk of severe disease while abroad, reduces the risk of substantial disruptions to the academic program and nature of the travel due to isolation or quarantine, and reduces costs associated with isolation, quarantine, and medical care abroad. This recommendation aligns with international health guidance and best practices in public health.

Note that non-U.S. citizens/non-U.S. immigrants are subject to specific COVID-19 vaccination requirements to enter the United States. So, for Penn State students and employees who are not U.S. citizens and are traveling internationally on University-affiliated business, it is critical that they review and meet the Centers for Disease Control entry requirements for the United States.

Students traveling internationally on Penn State-approved education abroad programs may have specific health or vaccination requirements set by their host country or host institution. Those students are required to meet the protocol established by the education abroad program or location. Students are strongly advised to research or inquire about the health and safety or vaccination protocol for their specific program during the education abroad application process by visiting global.psu.edu or contacting their education abroad adviser. Students with questions about the requirements of their specific education abroad program can contact the Education Abroad staff.

Note that Penn State Education Abroad issues program admissions decisions regardless of health or vaccination status, but students may later be asked to supply vaccination records directly to their host institution or organization. Students are subject to the admissions, enrollment, and financial policies of their host institution abroad and may be denied enrollment in the education abroad program later if they are not in compliance with their host institution’s policies.

If a student is not up-to-date on COVID-19 or other vaccinations and is intending to study in a location or participate in an itinerary where vaccination is essential (i.e., hospital rotations, working with vulnerable populations), Penn State Education Abroad will explore whether reasonable accommodations can be identified. If reasonable accommodations cannot be identified without fundamentally altering the nature of the educational program or activity, including if significant health and/or safety concerns remain, Penn State reserves the right to rescind the offer of admission to study abroad.

Employee International Travel

Recognizing that travel imposes additional risks relative to the spread of COVID-19, Penn State has developed the following guidance for international travel. Policy TR01, International Travel Requirements, applies to all international travel. Requirements at international destinations and within the United States can shift without notice, and Penn State reserves the right to modify its COVID-19 vaccination requirements accordingly.

Vaccination for COVID-19 and Other Infectious Diseases

Penn State strongly recommends that all University-affiliated travelers be up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations and vaccinations for other infectious diseases. Being up to date with COVID-19 and other vaccinations and boosters reduces the risk of severe disease while abroad, reduces the risk of substantial disruptions to the employee’s work due to isolation or quarantine, and reduces costs associated with isolation, quarantine, and medical care abroad. This recommendation aligns with international health guidance and best practices in public health.

Employees traveling internationally on University-affiliated travel may have specific health or vaccination requirements set by their host country or host institution. Employees are strongly advised to research or inquire about the health and safety or vaccination protocol for their specific country or institution.

Note that non-U.S. citizens/non-U.S. immigrants are subject to specific COVID-19 vaccination requirements to enter the United States. So, for Penn State employees who are not U.S. citizens and are traveling internationally on University-affiliated business, it is critical that they review and meet the Centers for Disease Control entry requirements for the United States.

Travel Registration

Employees wishing to travel internationally must register their University-affiliated travel with the Travel Safety Network at least 30 days in advance or as soon as possible once travel is planned. In addition, unit-level pre-COVID travel approval processes should be followed. All employees wishing to travel should first review the list of restricted countries, which is periodically updated and includes countries restricted for security and regulatory reasons. This list will be reviewed periodically and may not be exhaustive; questions about restricted countries can be directed to the TSN at tsn@psu.edu or 814-863-8788. Additional forms, review and approval are required for travel to restricted countries. Employees must receive approval for travel to restricted countries prior to purchasing airline tickets, hotel accommodations, etc. Arrange any necessary air travel through Anthony Travel, Penn State’s preferred travel agency, unless it is not possible to do so. The Global Safety Office (TSN@psu.edu) will continue to assist University-affiliated international travelers and be a resource for any questions about health and safety at your destination(s).

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