Travel Guidelines

Penn State has developed 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 is strongly discouraging faculty, staff and students from engaging in personal travel. 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. 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. With widespread, ongoing transmission of novel coronavirus worldwide, if you have traveled in the past 10 days, stay home and monitor your health.

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. The Pennsylvania Department of Health is strongly advising individuals to avoid traveling and has issued an order requiring travelers over age 11 entering Pennsylvania from locations outside the commonwealth, including Pennsylvanians who are returning home from locations outside the commonwealth, to produce evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before returning or place themselves in quarantine for 10 days without testing or a seven-day quarantine with a negative test on or after day five of quarantine. If someone cannot get a test or chooses not to, they must quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in Pennsylvania.

Employee Domestic Travel

Employees must seek permission for University-affiliated domestic travel from their unit executive, such as a dean or chancellor. Employees should limit travel when possible and consider virtual options that might replace or reduce the need to travel.

Employees wishing to travel should carefully review 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; obtain permission to travel from their unit executive; and arrange any necessary air travel through Anthony Travel, Penn State’s preferred travel agency.

Once approved for travel, employees must comply with the following:


  • 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. Masks should be worn at all times when interacting with others and as advised by the area(s) to which they are traveling.

  • Travel one person per vehicle unless an exceptional circumstance dictates otherwise.

  • Observe the following guidelines when returning home:

Domestic travel to/from other states:


  • Travelers should monitor their health and follow COVID-19 health and safety precautions upon returning home.

  • Per an order of the secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, “individuals traveling to and from the Commonwealth for the purposes of work” are exempt from the order requiring travelers entering Pennsylvania from locations outside the commonwealth, including Pennsylvanians who are returning home from locations outside the commonwealth, to produce evidence of a negative COVID-19 test or place themselves in quarantine for 10 days without testing or a seven-day quarantine with a negative test on or after day five of quarantine.

  • For 10 days after returning home, employees in the Return to Work database who resume on-site work should take their temperature at home within one hour before reporting to work and report “ok” status to supervisor or designee before arriving to work. 

  • Individuals who become ill/symptomatic must stay home and follow COVID-19 reporting protocols.

Domestic travel within Pennsylvania:


Student Domestic Travel

Students should rigorously restrict their travel to only travel that is necessary.

If a student is traveling off campus as part of a course, the faculty member teaching the course is responsible for working with the unit administrator so than any student travel adheres to the University’s travel guidance. This includes travel for short duration field trips. Overnight field trips are highly discouraged and generally will not be approved. International travel currently is not permitted.

Students wishing to travel domestically to conduct research, including thesis or dissertation research, should make a request to the faculty member teaching the course that is associated with the research, or the student's research adviser. The faculty member will submit a request for travel to the unit executive (dean or chancellor) of the unit to which the travel is related.

Travel for cocurricular purposes is discouraged. Students and student organizations wishing to travel for such purposes must submit a request to the Office of Student Activities for approval.

Full guidance related to student domestic travel is available on the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs website, under "Travel and Meetings."

International Travel

All University-sponsored international travel involving students, faculty and staff is suspended until further notice. This guidance will be revisited monthly and revised as U.S. Department of State and other public health guidance evolves.

Students who wish to travel internationally for academically essential purposes should review the materials posted online on the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs’ website under “Travel and Meetings” and follow the process outlined.

Employee requests for essential travel should be screened by and submitted through unit executives to Executive Vice President and Provost Nicholas P. Jones at provost@psu.edu and include a description of why the travel is mission critical. For the Applied Research Laboratory, essential travel will be reviewed by Senior Vice President for Research Lora G. Weiss at OSVPRTravel@psu.edu. For the College of Medicine, essential travel will be reviewed by Interim Dean of the College of Medicine Kevin Black at dean@pennstatehealth.psu.edu. After this review, all travel requests will be sent to the Global Safety Office for review by the International Restricted Travel Committee prior to final approval.

Employees wishing to travel internationally must request approval at least one month prior to the expected date of departure. Requestors must receive approval prior to purchasing airline tickets, hotel accommodations, etc. Once approved, all international travel must be registered with the Travel Safety Network at least three business days prior to departure. All travel arrangements must be made through Penn State’s travel provider, Anthony Travel. The Global Safety Office (TSN@psu.edu) will continue to assist approved international travelers and be a resource for any questions about health and safety at your destination(s).

Full details about how employees can make a request to travel internationally are available on the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs’ website under "Travel and Meetings."

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