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Travel Guidance effective May 15

For the foreseeable future, the global pandemic will continue to affect the safety and feasibility of travel. Because there is still significant uncertainty about the course of the pandemic, Harvard intends to gradually resume safer travel as conditions warrant. In addition to lowering the risk of coronavirus transmission on campus and helping ensure the health and safety of the Harvard community, we also seek to slow the worldwide spread of COVID-19.

For travel that begins May 15 or later:

If you are fully vaccinated, University-related travel is permitted within the United States and to international destinations rated Level 1 or Level 2 for COVID-19 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

All other Harvard-related travel is prohibited. However, the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs (OVPIA) has established a petition process (outlined below) for additional Harvard-related travel that meets certain criteria.

If you choose to travel for personal reasons, review the post-travel COVID testing and quarantine policy.

Note: The travel guidance and petition process do not apply to affiliates who are traveling inbound to the Cambridge/Boston area for approved work or for moving into or out of on-campus housing.

If you’re fully vaccinated

If you’re not fully vaccinated

vial of a vaccine.

How to attest you’re fully vaccinated

  1. If you have been fully vaccinated with either an FDA- or WHO-authorized vaccine outside of HUHS, see the instructions for submitting vaccine documentation on the HUHS website.
  2. Download and complete the vaccination attestation form.

Download the vaccination attestation form

COVID-19 Travel Requirements

Before travel:

All: Review Global Support Services’ advice for developing a safe travel plan amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Register your international travel with International SOS MyTrips.

College, master’s, professional, and doctoral students: Comply with the student pre-departure requirements for international travel.

Postdoctoral fellows: Complete a COVID-19 Travel Waiver (international waiver or domestic waiver, as applicable)

During travel:

All: Follow local health and safety guidelines (which are changing regularly), including testing and quarantine requirements, mask wearing, hand washing/sanitizing, and physical distancing.

All: Keep your international travel plans updated in International SOS MyTrips.

After travel:

If returning to the United States: Comply with the CDC Travel Order.

If returning to Massachusetts: Comply with the Massachusetts Travel Advisory.


If returning to Harvard’s campus: Adhere to Harvard’s Post-Travel COVID Testing and Quarantine Policy, which requires testing and quarantine measures beyond the state’s requirements.

If returning elsewhere: Follow the guidelines provided by your local jurisdiction.

How to petition for a travel exception

At this time, faculty, postdoctoral fellows, doctoral students, and staff (regardless of vaccination status or level of COVID-19 in the destination) may need to travel for work directly and immediately related to the COVID-19 pandemic, for work that enables critical research activity, or for an extended single-country stay to undertake essential work. The OVPIA has established a petition process for these cases, which we expect to be rare.

Harvard’s travel guidance and petition process will evolve as the public health situation evolves. We anticipate that other students will be able to petition to travel when the global public health situation improves.

Criteria to Petition

Petitioners must meet the criteria in one of the following three categories:

COVID-19 work

  1. The petitioner is a medical, public health, or other professional who will be traveling for work directly and immediately related to the COVID-19 pandemic; and
  2. There are no alternatives to travel.

Critical research activity

  1. The travel is essential to the survival or long-term viability of significant research activity or academic work;
  2. The research activity is a substantial component of the petitioner’s academic or professional work at Harvard; and
  3. There are no alternatives to travel.

Extended single country stay

  1. The travel is to a single country for 90 or more consecutive days;
  2. The research or academic activities are an essential component of the petitioner’s degree program or professional work at Harvard; and
  3. There are no alternatives to travel.

If you believe you meet the criteria outlined in one of the three categories above, submit your completed petition form to the OVPIA at least 14 days, but not more than two months, prior to your proposed departure.

shanghai china skyline.

Travel Advice

Review Harvard Global Support Services’ advice and considerations for developing a safe travel plan amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

GSS travel advice

An old globe

Travel Booking, Cancellation, & Reimbursement

If you’re travel is paid for by Harvard, consider using one of Harvard’s preferred travel partners to book your trip. When submitting your travel reimbursement request, include your completed vaccine attestation form or letter from the OVPIA approving your travel petition. If you had travel reservations for University business, the Harvard Travel Policy allows for reimbursement of cancellation or change fees due a valid business reason. The policy also allows the purchase of refundable tickets where there is a high likelihood that the itinerary may change.

Harvard Travel Services website

Airplane wing

CDC Travel Order

All air passengers arriving to the US from a foreign country (who do not meet an exemption) must get tested no more than 3 days before their flight departs and provide proof of the negative result to the airline before boarding the flight or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19.

CDC travel order

Boston skyline

Massachusetts Travel Advisory

All visitors and returning residents entering Massachusetts (who do not meet an exemption) are advised to quarantine for 10 days upon their arrival.

Massachusetts travel advisory

A Harvard gate

Return to Campus Requirements

All Harvard students and personnel who are authorized to come to campus must adhere to the University’s campus access policies for facilities, offices, & labs and dorms & residences. If you’ve chosen to travel, you must comply with the the post-travel COVID testing and quarantine requirements. The University requires testing and quarantine measures beyond the state’s requirements.