While all travel abroad has inherent risks, some parts of the world pose heightened risks to the health and safety of travelers. UT believes that an international experience is essential to our academic mission; thus, the International Oversight Committee (IOC) created the Restricted Regions Travel Policy in order to safeguard the well-being of students, faculty, and staff going abroad.
Navigating the Restricted Regions List
The International Oversight Committee (IOC) maintains a Restricted Regions List of locations worldwide that pose a heightened travel risk. No UT Austin student, faculty, or staff member can be required to travel to a location on the Restricted Regions List. In fact, students, faculty, and staff are not permitted to travel to locations on the Restricted Regions List unless an exception is granted by the IOC. This does not include personal/vacation travel that is unaffiliated with UT Austin.
Locations on the Restricted Regions List are evaluated for their level of risk and assigned to a category from one to four. By searching the Restricted Regions List, you can discover which Restricted Regions Request form you should complete for your proposed travel. If you still have questions after reading the risk category list, please email IOC@austin.utexas.edu.
The Restricted Regions List is monitored regularly and may be updated by the IOC whenever specific conditions warrant. The list is reviewed on a monthly basis. Absence of a country from the Restricted Regions List does not indicate that a location is without travel risk.
Travel Request Process
While UT Austin maintains the right to restrict travel to regions with a heightened safety risk, you may request an exception to travel to a Restricted Region. The IOC Subcommittee, appointed by the President, reviews travel requests on behalf of the IOC. This means the IOC Subcommittee makes the final decision about such travel, which cannot be appealed. For this reason, the IOC strongly recommends you do not purchase airline tickets until you have received an official letter of approval.
Travel can be approved when there is compelling justification and no suitable alternative opportunities exist. All requests must be strongly linked to academic goals and must adequately address major health, safety, or security concerns. The IOC will not support travel that takes place without adhering to the requirements of the Travel Policy. Therefore, the IOC will not retroactively approve any past travel to a Restricted Region.
Changes in Travel Arrangements
Last-Minute Travel Requests
Late requests cannot be guaranteed a decision prior to the proposed departure date and may result in a denied application and/or delayed start date for travel. To ensure you do not risk turning in a last-minute request, please take note of the deadlines for submitting requests.
Sudden Changes in Travel Conditions
Though uncommon, it is possible that travel abroad could need to be modified or suspended by the University due to a sudden change of health and safety risks. In making this assessment, the IOC will consider:
- The risks associated with continuing the activity at that location
- The risk management plan for the students, faculty, or staff involved
- The value of the academic experience in that specific location
In circumstances where students are perceived to be in imminent danger and immediate action is required, the University has the authority to suspend the affected programs or activities immediately and initiate evacuation proceedings.
Circumstantial Changes Following IOC Approval
If your travel plans are adjusted after IOC approval has been granted, the traveler or program/activity sponsor is responsible for contacting the IOC to discuss the conditions of your changes for approval. If there is a change in circumstances – in terms of the proposed itinerary, the critical nature of the trip, or the health, safety, or security climate of the region of interest – either prior to or after departure, the University retains the right to withdraw IOC travel approval and/or require return to the U.S.