International Travel

Frequently Asked Questions

Traveling abroad can be an exciting but confusing time. Here you will find some of the most often frequently asked questions for international travel.

General FAQs regarding international travel

What is international travel?

International travel is defined as travel to any location outside the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, and therefore includes all international bodies of water and U.S. territories, as well as foreign countries. This broad definition is accepted by our insurance so that you have the same great health and evacuation coverage going to Guam as you would going to Antarctica or Germany. And, the insurance is fully paid for by the University.

Why is there a policy requiring students, faculty, and staff to register their international travel?

The University has a “Duty of Care” to support its international travelers, both employees and students, when they travel abroad on any activity tied to their relationship with USF. The University has a complete suite of risk mitigation tools to support global travel including international health and evacuation insurance, a 24/7 international assistance line, risk review protocols, pre-departure orientations, and more.

Everyone who travels internationally must register their travel with USF. For faculty and staff on business travel, the primary registration portal is via a Travel Request in Archivum. For students, and anyone, such as faculty and staff, associated with student travel (aka Associate Travelers), the main portal is through USF World via the Education Abroad Database. USF Health student-related travelers must visit USF Health International to complete their registration.

Why do you need to know where I will be staying/living while I’m outside of the U.S.? What if I don’t know my exact location at this time?

Because USF is obligated to be able to help you in an emergency under its “Duty of Care.” If you do not have your precise location, we can always set up a reminder for you to provide the exact address or coordinates when you get to your destination. Also, if the location is not pre-existing within our database, we can always create new locations based upon other criteria, such as latitude-longitude or a body of water.

Why does the University need to know what I am doing in my free time? I haven’t even planned my free time yet.

During the time between your start and end dates for your international travel, we have a greater degree of responsibility to help you, even if it is not during your actual USF activity-related time. You are always covered by insurance during this period and you might travel to another country in your down time. If there is a natural disaster or you are injured, we still need to know your whereabouts to be able to help you so you can safely complete your USF experience. Also, some activities may not be approved by our insurance, and we are obligated to share that information with you.

Why have I been advised to take a cell phone with me? It is an added expense that I didn’t plan for.

During a natural disaster and civil unrest, wi-fi is the first communication tool to fail. A cell phone that can send and receive international calls and texts is necessary for you to call us or for us to call you if something goes wrong. Generally, you can activate your current coverage for about $40 a month, or you can buy a disposable phone or SIM when you arrive in country. This additional expense can be well worth the investment. Be sure to check with your local carrier before you leave.

Why is USF requiring me to pay $30 - $50 for insurance? I need every penny I have, and I’m not planning on using insurance while I’m abroad.

The $30 - $50 Safety and Security Monitoring charge is NOT for insurance. USF has already paid for international health and evacuation insurance for you. Like many services USF offers, there are associated costs that are not covered by tuition and student fees. USF Education Abroad is a self-funded entity and as such, this charge helps to cover the most basic and minimum services associated with the 24/7 assistance line and support services during your time abroad.

What is a Risk Level 3 or 4 country and why does it matter? I’ve already planned my travel.

A U.S. Department of State Risk Level 3 or 4 country means that the U.S. Department of State believes the risks of travel to the country/destination are heightened, and in some cases they do not want you to travel there. We have a Global Risk Assessment Committee that is dedicated to carefully reviewing travel to such countries. It does not always mean you can’t go as a USF affiliate, but it does help us do our best to see that you are safe and prepared when you do.

FAQs specifically for students traveling abroad

Why do I need to complete a Pre-Departure Orientation? I travel all the time and have never had a bad experience.

We are grateful that you have never had a bad experience. However, you still must complete the CANVAS pre-departure orientation. Much of the information you may already know, which means that you can likely complete the pre-departure orientation in under 30 minutes. The videos are optional and are designed to help you complete the online forms. Nevertheless, we are obligated to ensure that you have been offered all relevant information. You only need to complete this orientation once a year, no matter how often you travel internationally as a student.

I didn’t sign up for a study abroad program. I’m just attending a conference. Why am I registering with USF World?

It can be confusing because “study abroad,” “education abroad,” and USF World mean different things to different people. USF implemented Policy #10-507 to clarify that all types of international travel experience must be registered with the University and can include a research trip, a cruise, and/or a volunteer activity with a student organization. Any and all of these activities are referred to as “student-related travel.” Simply put, it means any international travel tied to your status as a student at USF, USF must do more to support you when you go abroad. This is USF’s “Duty of Care.”

The Education Abroad Office maintains the student-related travel database. Even when you are not participating in a sponsored Education Abroad program, you will still use their portal for registration. Since the database was already developed in support of student travel, it was easy to make it accessible to all types of student-related travel.

Specifically for conference travel, a faster and easier registration process called the OneStep Express Conference and Research Registration was developed. If you have all of your information together, that process will take about 30 minutes to complete.

This process feels overwhelming. Why do I really need to go through it?

School in general can be stressful, and we get it. But having an accident, getting robbed, or catching an illness while abroad can be a lot more stressful. The hour or so to complete the forms is well worth being prepared.

Another student told me I don’t have to complete the registration process. What are the consequences on noncompliance?

If you do not complete the registration process, you and/or your student group are not authorized under USF Policy #10-507 to travel internationally. This means that no credit can be given to you, no USF funds including grants, scholarships or financial aid can be used towards the travel, and no material gain or research can be gathered and used towards the completion of your degree.

My professor organized this trip, can’t he or she complete the registration for me? He/She knows more about the trip than I do.

Your professor is completing his or her own registration and he/she will be describing the travel to us – you do not need to do that when a staff or faculty member is associated with your travel. This actually makes the number of forms to complete far fewer for you. Professors and other types of trip leaders will also use this information to make a safety plan with you and establish program safety guidelines, such as using a buddy system and sharing phone numbers.

FAQs specifically for international students traveling abroad

If I am an international student traveling outside of the United States, do I need to register my travel with USF World?

If you are leaving the U.S. for any activity related to your status as a USF student (internship, research, practicum, course credit, community service, etc.) even if to your home country, you are required to register your travel with USF World (USF System Policy #10-507). This is in addition to the request on iStart for a study or research abroad approval.

To find out more visit the iStart home page or contact GlobalTravel@usf.edu
You can also visit the international students section of the Frequently Asked Questions page.

If you are not earning credit, not on a USF department Travel Request, and not using any USF funds such as research money or scholarships, you do not need to register. This includes work experience, vacation, or online courses taken while abroad (that are fully online). However, please still check with International Services before you travel to make sure your visa status is up to date.

Either way, please be sure to check with the consulate of the country you are planning on traveling to in order to verify the requirements and processing time.

I’m going to my home country to visit, but I also intend to earn credit toward my degree at USF. Why do I have to register with USF World?

USF World serves as the student registration portal for all USF related international travel, even when you are not traveling on a USF Sponsored Education Abroad Program.

USF implemented Policy #10-507 to clarify that all types of international travel experiences must be registered with the University including a research trip, a cruise, and/or a volunteer activity with a student organization, among others. Any and all of these activities are referred to as “student related travel.” Simply put, it means any international travel tied to your status as a student at USF – and because it is tied to your status, USF must do more to support you when you go abroad. This is USF’s Duty of Care.

If you are traveling under a USF Department Travel Request, you must register. But, because you are returning to your home country, parts of the registration process have been modified to simplify the process. In many cases you can use the OneStep Express Registration Process.

Why are you asking me questions about time spent in my home country while I am a student at USF?

If you are traveling internationally on an activity as a student at USF for credit, we still need to have certain basic information on file to be able to assist you in the event something goes wrong. The expectation is that USF will continue to support you so that you have a successful experience abroad and return safely to campus to complete your studies. To support you, we require basic information such as your address and phone number abroad, an emergency contact, and a basic itinerary of activities. This is regardless if you are traveling to your home country or any other outside of the United States on a USF-affiliated trip.

I’m going home and health care is provided for everyone – why do I need to purchase additional coverage?

You are not paying for international health and evacuation insurance. USF has already paid that on your behalf. It is more comprehensive than national health care. It provides support during civil unrest, natural disasters, and a level of health care that may not be available to you in your home country. The $30 - $50 Safety and Security Monitoring charge is NOT for insurance.  Like many services USF offers, there are associated costs that are not covered by tuition and student fees. USF Education Abroad is a self-funded entity and as such, this charge helps to cover the most basic and minimum services associated with the 24/7 assistance line and support services during your time abroad.

You can certainly rely on your home country benefits, but this extra insurance could come in handy. For example, it includes a medical evacuation component that can be used to upgrade airline seating if you should need extra space upon your return to USF (e.g. an injured leg).

Why do I have to complete a Pre-Departure Orientation about traveling abroad?

We do need you to complete the CANVAS pre-departure orientation to confirm you have a full understanding of the risk mitigation protocols available to you while you are away from USF. We have made it easy to navigate so you only need to answer a few questions to confirm you understand how USF can assist you outside of the United States. Much of this information you may already know, but we are obligated to make sure you have been offered all of the information. It describes your benefits and your rights as a USF student in your home country.

I already completed the iStart form. Why must I complete more forms?

iStart only concerns your visa and immigration status. USF World still needs basic information about where you plan to stay, your emergency contact, and how to reach you in an emergency. This information is not collected on the iStart form.

What are the consequences of noncompliance with USF’s Travel Policy?  

If you do not complete the registration process, you are not authorized under USF Policy #10-507 to travel internationally for an experience related to your status as a USF student. This means that no credit can be awarded, no USF funds including grants may be utilized, no scholarships or financial aid may be used towards the travel, and no material gain or research can be gathered and used towards the completion of your degree.