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Travel Guidance

The University is committed to facilitating travel under safe conditions. Our on-campus community’s high vaccination rate—combined with increasing global vaccination rates and mitigation measures like masking, testing, and government-mandated quarantines and proof of vaccination—significantly reduce the risk of infection.

Travel still poses risks, however, and individuals should carefully consider their risks and take appropriate precautions. 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.

With the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases locally, nationally, and around the globe—now driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant—there is a much greater chance of experiencing travel disruptions in the next few weeks.

If you’re planning Harvard-related travel in the weeks ahead, we urge you to consider whether it’s necessary at this time and cannot be postponed. If it is necessary, research to determine if your trip is feasible, have contingency plans, and be prepared for the possibility of disruptions or cancellations. Increased transmission, the emergence of new variants, and border restrictions implemented on short notice may continue to affect your travels.

For Harvard-related travel

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 policy.

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How to attest you’re fully vaccinated and boosted (if eligible)

  1. Submit your vaccination and booster documentation to HUHS (if you received your FDA- or WHO- authorized doses outside of HUHS).
  2. Download and complete the attestation form, and submit it according to the instructions on the form.

Download the attestation formOpens new window

COVID-19 Travel Requirements

Before travel:

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

All: Register your international travel with International SOS.

All students traveling internationally: Complete the student pre-departure requirements.

All students traveling within the US: Submit a completed domestic travel waiver to the Harvard office, department, or trip leader overseeing your activity.

During travel:

All: Follow local health and safety guidelines (which are changing regularly), including vaccination, testing, masking, and quarantine requirements, 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 Requirements.

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

If returning to Harvard’s campus: Adhere to Harvard’s Post-Travel COVID Testing Policy.

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

If filing reimbursement requests: Submit the required documentation.

How to petition for a travel exception

Harvard community members who have an approved medical or religious exemption from the University’s COVID-19 vaccination and booster requirements may need to travel within the US or internationally 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 Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs (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.

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Travel Advice

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

GSS travel advice

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Travel Booking, Cancellation, & Reimbursement

If your travel is paid for by Harvard, consider using one of Harvard’s preferred travel agencies to book your trip. Use of a preferred agency will automatically register your trip with International SOS. If you do not use a preferred agency, you will need to register your trip with International SOS. When submitting your travel reimbursement request, include your International SOS registration confirmation email and, if applicable, either your vaccination/booster attestation form or your 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 to a valid business reason. The policy also allows the purchase of refundable tickets when there is a high likelihood that the itinerary may change and when budget and policy allow.

Harvard Travel Services website

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CDC International Travel Requirements

Testing and vaccination requirements to enter the United States vary depending on where you are traveling from and whether you are a US citizen, US national, Lawful Permanent Resident, Immigrant, or Non-Immigrant.

CDC international travel requirements

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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

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Massachusetts Travel Information

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

Massachusetts travel information

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Return to Campus Requirements

If you’ve chosen to travel, you must comply with Harvard’s post-travel COVID testing requirements upon your return to campus.

Harvard’s post-travel testing & quarantine