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Travel Guidance

With higher vaccination rates among the Harvard community, the University aims to gradually resume travel as conditions warrant, while being mindful of the significant uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and varying regional conditions. 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.

The guidance on this page applies to Harvard-related travel. It does not apply to personal travel or to affiliates traveling inbound to the Cambridge/Boston area for approved work or for moving into or out of on-campus housing. If you travel for personal reasons, review Harvard’s post-travel COVID testing and quarantine policy.

If you are fully vaccinated

  • You may travel within the United States and to international destinations rated Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3 for COVID-19 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • You must petition the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs (OVPIA) for approval to travel to an international destination rated Level 4 or Level Unknown for COVID-19 by the CDC.
  • Regardless of your destination, you must attest that you are fully vaccinated at the time of travel and have submitted proof of your vaccination to Harvard University Health Services (HUHS). You must also complete the COVID-19 travel requirements that apply to you.
  • Monitor the CDC COVID-19 rating for your international destination. If the rating changes to Level 4 or Level Unknown, you must petition the OVPIA for approval prior to departure. Without approval, you may not be able to travel and/or may not get reimbursed.

If you are not fully vaccinated

  • You must petition the OVPIA for approval to travel within the United States or to any international destination.
  • If approved, you must complete the COVID-19 travel requirements that apply to you.

Note: Full vaccination is defined as two weeks after a final dose of either an FDA-authorized vaccine or World Health Organization (WHO)-authorized vaccine.

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 vaccination 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.

Monitor the CDC COVID-19 rating for your international destination. If you’re vaccinated and the rating changes to Level 4 or Level Unknown, you must petition the OVPIA for approval prior to departure. Without approval, you may not be able to travel and/or may not get reimbursed.

All 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 with International SOS.

After travel:

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

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

 

If returning to Massachusetts: Comply with Massachusetts Travel Information.

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.

How to petition for a travel exception

Some Harvard community members—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 or professional 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 continue to evolve as the public health situation evolves.


Criteria to Petition

Petitioners must meet the criteria in one of the following three categories, and submit their completed petition form to the OVPIA at least 14 days, but not more than two months, prior to your proposed departure:

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 or professional activity

  1. The travel is essential to the survival or long-term viability of significant research activity or academic work; or
  2. The 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; and
  2. The research, academic, or professional 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 your 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 International 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 international travel order

usa-map-close-up

CDC Domestic Travel Guidance

The CDC advises delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated. If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow the CDC recommendations for unvaccinated people.

CDC domestic travel guidance

Boston skyline

Massachusetts Travel Information

If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume pre-pandemic activities including travel within the United States.

Massachusetts travel information

A Harvard gate

Return to Campus Requirements

All Harvard community members who are authorized to be on 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 post-travel COVID testing and quarantine requirements. The University requires testing and quarantine measures beyond the state’s requirements.