UC Berkeley is following the guidance of UCOP and the CDC when outlining travel policies. Please review UC Berkeley’s guidance on travel before you travel or make travel plans for the duration of  the COVID-19 pandemic – particularly for international travel as advance approval may be required and local public health and border entry requirements frequently change. The following guidance is effective as of April 21, 2022, and until further notice.

UCOP Directives

  • CDC Guidelines and Essential travel: On March 12, 2021, UCOP updated its executive directive on travel with a requirement that all UC travelers must follow CDC Guidance before, during, and upon return from domestic or international travel. Authority to determine what is essential travel and any additional approvals required was delegated to campus locations – see below for current UC Berkeley guidelines.
  • Vaccines: As of July 15, 2021 the University of California released a UC COVID-19 vaccination policy which requires, with few exceptions, that all UC community members receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Travelers should ensure they are in compliance with the UC vaccine requirements prior to commencing any university-related travel. Refer to UHS for more information.
  • Boosters: On January 3, 2022, the UC system announced that the current UC COVID-19 vaccination policy requires faculty, staff and students to obtain a booster shot as soon as they are eligible. Enforcement of the booster requirement for those who are booster eligible will begin on Jan 31, 2022. Refer to UHS for more information.

Trip registration is required for out of state and foreign travel

If travel reservations are made by an agency outside Connexxus Travel, then trip registration is required for university-related trips out of state and to foreign countries, regardless of CDC or State Department level. This will ensure travelers have access to travel insurance and other UC risk management services and benefits. Contact riskservices@berkeley.edu with questions.

CDC guidance and vaccination status

The CDC guidance refers to vaccination status, but UC Berkeley managers/approvers are not permitted to ask employees, students, or affiliates whether or not they are vaccinated. If an employee, student, or affiliate has not volunteered vaccination status, uncoerced, then the approver should interpret the CDC guidance as if the individual is unvaccinated when determining whether or not to authorize travel.  For the purpose of authorizing travel, units should rely upon the individual’s representations of vaccination status and should not seek to verify vaccination status.

The campus unit that is authorizing the employee or other affiliated person to travel at campus expense and/or as part of employment duties is responsible for determining whether the travel is permitted. The unit can seek advice from Legal Affairs or Risk Services.

UC Berkeley guidelines for university-related Travel

Below is the most up-to-date information available pertaining to the campus’ travel directives and essential travel protocols, travel insurance, travel reimbursement, and international agreements for faculty, staff, and students.

  • It is up to the campus unit to determine if university-related domestic travel is permitted for the employee (faculty/staff), student, or other affiliated people, taking into account the CDC guidelines.
  • The CDC advises that domestic travel should be delayed until you have had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated.
  • Per CDC guidelines, individuals who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine or a vaccine authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization can travel safely within the United States:
    • Fully vaccinated travelers are still expected to follow CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely
    • If you have questions:
      • Please contact the UC Berkeley travel office at travel@berkeley.edu with questions regarding non-research domestic travel.
      • Please contact vcr@berkeley.edu with questions regarding off-campus research.
      • For questions about CDC guidance and vaccination status, contact Legal Affairs or Risk Services.
  • Trip registration is required for out-of-state travel: Per UCOP guidelines, regardless of CDC or State Department level, if travel reservations are made by an agency outside Connexxus Travel, then trip registration is required for university-related trips out of state and to foreign countries. This will ensure travelers have access to travel insurance and other UC risk management services and benefits. Contact riskservices@berkeley.edu with questions.

UC Berkeley has decided to end the pre-travel approval requirement for travel to CDC Level 3-4 countries. For all travel after May 3, 2022, only the following university-related foreign travel will continue to require pre-approval from central campus:

  • Study abroad and group student travel for credit: All study abroad and international group student travel for UCB coursework or credit involving faculty, students, or staff must be pre-approved by the relevant Dean and Berkeley Study Abroad, regardless of CDC or DOS advisory level, due to greater financial and academic risks due to the ongoing global uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Requests can be submitted via the study abroad travel review process. Contact studyabroad@berkeley.edu with questions.
  • State Department Level 4 locations: All university-related travel to U.S. Department of State (DOS) Level 4 travel advisory (i.e., Do Not Travel) destinations for any reasons other than solely COVID-19 require a 2-step approval process, first from their Dean and then from the Vice Provost for Academic Planning. Level 4 is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. Refer to the International Travel Protocol to submit a request. Contact geo@berkeley.edu with questions.

All other travel will return to pre-COVID, departmental approval processes. Be reminded that:

  • Trip registration is required for all university-related foreign travel, regardless of State Department Travel Advisory Level or travel purpose. (Travel booked via Connexxus is automatically registered, or register manually via UCAway.)
  • UC travel insurance will not cover foreseeable COVID-19 related risks, such as business interruption, delays, or flight cancellations at this time. It is the responsibility of the traveler and approving department to ensure the financial and health/safety risks associated with international travel during the COVID-19 pandemic are assessed before authorizing travel. Contact risk@berkeley.edu with questions.
  • UC travelers must follow CDC guidance before, during, and upon returning from international or domestic travel. COVID-19 restrictions for entry remain in place for a majority of countries. Challenges to international travel may include mandatory quarantines, travel restrictions, and closed borders. Foreign governments may implement restrictions with little notice, even in destinations that were previously low risk. Failure to assess local restrictions at your destination may have considerable personal and financial consequences.
  • Air passengers are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result within 1 day before travel to the United States. Additional vaccine requirements may apply for non-US citizens. Refer to CDC FAQs for more information.

  • Regardless of CDC or State Department Advisory Level, all study abroad and international group student travel for Berkeley coursework or credit involving Berkeley faculty, students, or staff (including advance travel for program planning and site evaluations, faculty-led programs, MBA exchanges, etc., both undergraduate and graduate) must complete a 2-step Study Abroad Travel Protocol. This involves approval first at the decanal level and then from Berkeley Study Abroad. In addition, according to campus guidelines, all international travel to State Department Level 4 (Do Not Travel) destinations for any reasons other than COVID-19, will require approval from the vice provost for academic planning/senior international officer. Berkeley Study Abroad will facilitate the third level of approval if necessary.
  • Anyone engaged in planning for university-related study abroad and international group student travel is encouraged to contact Berkeley Study Abroad (studyabroad@berkeley.edu) early in the planning process to maintain a comprehensive and effective program that includes risk assessment and mitigation, emergency preparedness and response, and business recovery. Berkeley Study Abroad will also assist in identifying and navigating local resources to support a strong academic and student experience.
  • Travel by UC Berkeley faculty, staff, or students must also comply with local, national and international travel restrictions. Self-quarantine may be required on arrival and return.
  • Students considering independent study abroad or planned leave for study abroad should reach out to the Berkeley Study Abroad office for advising (studyabroad@berkeley.edu).
  • Please note that:
    • UCEAP programs authorized to operate are reviewed and approved by UCOP and do not require additional approval from the Berkeley Study Abroad office nor the Berkeley campus.
    • Students, staff, or faculty considering other types of university-related international travel, including research, international business, executive education, etc. do not require approval from the Berkeley Study Abroad office, but should refer to the campus COVID-19 travel guidelines and approval processes for International Travel outlined above at https://coronavirus.berkeley.edu/travel/. Any international travel to State Department Level 4 locations for any reasons other than solely COVID-19 is subject to further review.

Step 1

Faculty, staff or students who wish to travel for university-related study abroad or student group travel, must first request in writing, approval from their dean.

Step 2

  • The group travel organizer, faculty, and/or traveler(s) should submit the respective Dean’s written approval along with study abroad and group travel requests via the Berkeley Study Abroad Travel review process.
  • Berkeley Study Abroad will assess the health and safety risks of the proposed travel for the given location(s) and work with Risk Services, faculty director(s) and program staff to develop safety plans, coordinate resources and minimize risk to participants and the host community.

Step 3 (for State Department Level 4 destinations)

  • Per campus guidelines, international travel to countries rated State Department Level 4 (do not travel) for reasons other than COVID-19 will require additional approval from the vice provost for academic planning. Berkeley Study Abroad will facilitate the approval on behalf of the travelers via the campus International Travel Protocol.

Please contact studyabroad@berkeley.edu with questions regarding travel for study abroad.

Travel insurance and foreseeable COVID-19 risks

Please be advised that UC travel insurance will not cover foreseeable COVID-19 related risks, such as business interruption, trip delays or foreign flight cancellations at this time.

UC personnel traveling to high risk regions against this advisory do so potentially at their own physical and financial risk. In the event an international airport is closed to commercial flights to the U.S. the only option back may be on a US Embassy repatriation flight – which can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 payable by the traveler at a later time. For more information about trip registration, please see the pages on travel for employees and travel for students.

However, UCOP has advised that the travel insurance does include medical coverage related to covid matters determined “medically necessary” such as a doctor ordered COVID test when experiencing cold/flu like or other covid related symptoms.

The following IS NOT considered medically necessary:

  • Covid testing to show a negative result in order to enter a country or to move into a residence
  • testing of asymptomatic roommates who are exposed to covid
  • quarantine and/or food service during a quarantine period.

For more information about trip registration, please see the pages on travel for employees and travel for students. Contact riskservices@berkeley.edu with questions.

Travel reimbursement

If your business travel has been canceled as a result of COVID-19 and you were not able to obtain a full refund of some or all of your expenses, you have options for requesting reimbursement, which can vary depending on how you booked your travel. These options are outlined on the Berkeley Travel website as well as on a recorded webinar from April 21 provided by UC Berkeley Travel. A wide range of issues associated with travel impacted by COVID-19 is addressed, including an extended question and answer session.

International students and scholars

The Berkeley International Office understands that the UC Berkeley community of international students and scholars has many questions about the rapidly evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. BIO has created a webpage to answer common travel-related questions specific to international students and scholars and share support resources.

International agreements and travel

International agreements committing members of the UC community to travel, or foreign cohorts to visit the campus, should include terms that allow for no penalty cancellation of in-person deliverables. Depending on the specific language, force majeure clauses may not cover epidemics (e.g. COVID-19), especially where the cancellation or non-performance due to the incident was foreseeable or predictable at the time of contract execution. If you have not already, please contact the relevant campus contracting office for assistance in negotiating these terms into current or future agreements.

The Global Engagement Office is available to assist individuals in identifying the appropriate contracting office. Please refer to the Campus Guidelines for International Activities and Agreements and consult Global Engagement.