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Travel Guidance

All University-related travel, both international and domestic, is prohibited until further notice and should not be planned or scheduled at this time. This policy applies to all Harvard community members regardless of whether or not they have received the COVID-19 vaccine. We also strongly discourage personal travel, both international and domestic. Note that international travel is defined as the crossing of any national border.

Travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. For the foreseeable future, the global pandemic will continue to affect the safety and feasibility of travel. Because there is so much uncertainty about the future course of the pandemic, Harvard intends to keep travel to a minimum until conditions change. 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 Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs (OVPIA) has established a petition process (outlined below) for certain Harvard-related travel.

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

Petition to Travel

We understand that certain members of our community 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 Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs (OVPIA) has established a petition process for these cases, which we expect to be rare.

Who Can Petition to Travel

Under the current petition process:

Faculty, postdoctoral fellows, doctoral students, and staff may petition the OVPIA to undertake University-related international or domestic travel that is essential to your work.

If your petition is approved, you must also complete the COVID-19 travel requirements.

Who Cannot Petition to Travel

Under the current petition process:

All other graduate, professional, and undergraduate students are currently prohibited from Harvard-related international and domestic travel and cannot petition to travel at this time.

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

For now, 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 prior to your proposed departure.

COVID-19 Travel Requirements

If the OVPIA approves your petition to travel, you must also complete the COVID-19 travel requirements outlined below.

Before travel:

All: Register your travel with International SOS MyTrips.

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

Doctoral students: Comply with the graduate student travel policy.

During travel:

All: Follow the travel plan developed with Global Support Services (submitted as part of your petition form).

All: Follow local health and safety guidelines (which are changing regularly).

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

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 the Massachusetts Travel Order.

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.

Airplane wing

CDC Travel Order

Effective January 26, 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 Order

All visitors and returning residents entering Massachusetts (who do not meet an exemption) are required to complete a travel form prior to arrival, and to quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to your arrival.

Massachusetts travel order

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 return-to-campus testing and quarantine requirements. The University requires testing and quarantine measures beyond the state’s requirements.

An old globe

Travel Cancellation & Reimbursement

If you had travel reservations for University business, the Harvard Travel Policy allows for reimbursement of cancellation or change fees due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The policy also allows the purchase of refundable tickets where there is a high likelihood that the itinerary may change.

Harvard Travel Services website