Travel Risk Management

All travel, regardless of destination, brings a certain level of inherent risk. To help mitigate risk for our global travelers, Brown University regularly monitors world health, safety and security events using a variety of assessment sources, including taking input from the U.S. Department of State (DOS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), International SOS, Brown faculty and staff regional experts, among other reputable oversight agencies.

Whether you are a student, staff, or faculty member, heading to a familiar area of the globe or embarking on an entirely new opportunity, we strongly recommend that you familiarize yourself with the following information prior to departure:


Register your travel

TravelSafe is Brown’s global travel registry for all Brown faculty, staff, undergraduate, graduate, and medical students to register their University-related travel overseas. All faculty, staff, and student travel plans must be registered in TravelSafe regardless of destination. Information you provide regarding itinerary and emergency contacts will help the University account for your well-being and provide assistance in the event of an emergency. Registering your University-related travel enables you to enter itinerary and emergency contact details in a secure electronic platform via your Brown login. It also serves as a conduit to apprise international travelers of important information including travel advisories from the U.S. DOS and provides a direct upload of travel details to activate the benefits of Brown’s emergency assistance provider, International SOS.

Travel Health

All Brown students, faculty, and staff traveling abroad on behalf of the University (i.e. study abroad, research or business travel) are automatically enrolled in a blanket study/travel abroad accident and sickness insurance policy at no additional cost to them. Please note, this insurance policy is not a replacement for your required health insurance and does not cover routine care; it is a supplemental policy to cover accidents/illnesses while traveling outside the U.S. on University-related travel. Registering your University-related travel in TravelSafe will activate the program benefits, including emotional/mental health support and coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation along with other valuable and relevant information related to health and security. If you need to obtain medical care outside of the United States or have pre-departure safety and/or health-related questions, be sure to contact International SOS. They will guide you to a medical or mental health provider within the plan so you will not incur any out of pocket expenses such as co-pays or deductibles. You can download the International SOS Assistance App as well as print International SOS wallet cards directly from the International SOS portal


To obtain a verification letter for the coverage through International SOS, please email [email protected] for instructions. 


Make an appointment with your doctor or local travel clinic to determine what, if any, vaccinations you may need or to devise a travel health plan to consider your health and safety profile during your travels. The Brown Medicine Travel Clinic is a great resource in the Providence area. You can also check the CDC's Travelers' Health website for important health-related travel notices.

Department of State

Visit the U.S. Department of State (DOS) website for country specific information and postings of travel advisories and to sign up with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).   You do not need to be a U.S. citizen to receive important travel related email messages from STEP, but if you are a foreign national, you should also register with your local consulate or embassy in the country in which you will be staying. Students traveling internationally should also visit the U.S. Students Abroad page of the U.S. DOS website to review important information including a traveler's checklist and recommendations for travelers with special considerations.

Technology Security

Review Brown's Office of Information Technology (OIT) website for important information on security tips and possible restrictions involved with use of certain technology during international travel, in particular preparing your mobile device and preparing your laptop for travel. Travelers who do not have a Brown University owned cell phone and need to travel internationally can contact OIT to request a loner phone for use. Loner laptops may also be available; contact the Help Desk for more information. The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) also prepares reports and other useful information to assist global travelers in managing their technology security while abroad.

Export Control

Per Brown’s Export Control and Sanctions policy, if you will be traveling to a comprehensively embargoed country (Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria, North Korea, and the Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk Regions of Ukraine), you must contact the Export Compliance Team to determine if an export license is needed. Issuance of an export control license can take several months following receipt of an application from Brown; please plan accordingly. When taking items or materials abroad (including scientific equipment, laptops, encryption software, cell phones, tablets, flash drives, cameras, and GPS units), you need to verify that the items and materials are not export restricted based on your travel destination(s). Don’t make assumptions. Many items that you can easily purchase online or that are made by a foreign manufacturer are, in fact, controlled for export to certain destinations. Contact Brown’s Export Control Officer for an export control review if you are hand-carrying or shipping any tangible research items or materials abroad. If an export license is needed, acquiring a license can take upwards of 30 days. Visit Brown’s export control website for more information on export controls and international travel.

High Risk Travel Policy

Brown classifies travel to world destinations with elevated risk factors as High Risk Travel. A definition and international travelers affected are indicated as follows:


High Risk Travel:  International destinations that are posted to the U.S. DOS as a Travel Advisory Level 3 or Level 4, and/or a CDC Travel Health Notice Level 2 or Level 3, and/or that are deemed as posing a significant health, safety or security risk to the traveler through advisories from International SOS.


  • No undergraduate student, graduate student, or medical student will be required to travel to a High Risk Travel destination as part of a for-credit or noncredit program. 
  • All undergraduate student, graduate student, or medical student travel to a destination with a High Risk Travel classification must be reviewed and approved by the Global Travel Risk Assessment Committee (GTRAC).
  • To obtain GTRAC review, student travelers are required to complete a Safety Plan (submitted via Brown's online TravelSafe registry system).
  • Students must apply to have their travel approved at least six weeks prior to their anticipated departure. 
  • No travel arrangements should be made until GTRAC has reviewed the Safety Plan and subsequently approved the travel.
  • Faculty and staff are not restricted from and are not required to complete a Safety Plan for High Risk Travel destinations but are encouraged to do so for High Risk Travel destinations.
  • All faculty, staff, and student travel plans must be registered in TravelSafe regardless of destination. 


    Global Travel Risk Assessment Committee​ (GTRAC) approval and Safety Plans for travel to High Risk destinations


    • Safety Plans are required for all undergraduate students, graduate students, or medical students planning travel to High Risk Travel destinations.
    • Safety Plans are completed via TravelSafe and empower the traveler to take responsibility for and show evidence of their appropriate risk assessment of the destination to which they are planning travel. Detailed information for a series of questions--including but not limited to accommodations, transportation, and other risk areas--are required for completion.
    • Undergraduate students, graduate students, and medical students planning travel to international High Risk Travel destinations must first complete a Safety Plan via TravelSafe, which automatically gets routed to GTRAC to review the student's travel request. GTRAC will then notify students via TravelSafe as to whether they approve or deny the proposed High Risk Travel.

    GTRAC will consider a number of factors, including academic necessity and appropriateness of the travel, personal traveler preparedness, and sufficiency of the procedures in place to mitigate the specific health and safety risks (evident in the Safety Plan and including the feasibility of International SOS intervention, as needed). 

    *Please note: if you are traveling on a Brown administered group program (e.g. through OIP, Swearer, GELT/Winter Session, etc.) you do not need to complete a separate individual Safety Plan or get GTRAC approval.  These programs have already gone through a rigorous site assessment and program review by the department/unit and GTRAC taking into consideration guidance from U.S. agencies, in-country health and security conditions and public health experts, as well as readiness plans of each program, including housing, on-site staffing and partner organizations' and universities' protocols.