International Travel

The University of Colorado recognizes that international study and work experiences are integral to students, faculty, residents and staff. Such travel can pose certain unique and increased risks to participants and to the university.

This information applies to university-sponsored international travel. Examples include study abroad programs, faculty-led study tours, faculty research, attendance at conferences and other meetings, recruiting, semester at sea, independent study and internships. 

Responsibility/Accountability

These guidelines provide information and tools to assess and manage unique risks associated with international travel.

Campus, Departments and Units

The university and its campuses have various policies and procedures addressing international travel.

Each campus has an office with responsibility for coordination of academic travel and international education, which is an excellent resource for specific international travel questions and safety concerns. They provide international travel orientation and other health and safety information for both students and faculty. Faculty planning to lead trips abroad can contact these offices for support and guidance.

International Risk Management Committee

Campus International Risk Management Committees assess the university’s international risk, recommend policies to enhance university international risk management and risk mitigation, develop international risk management services and protocols, and provide oversight and review of international risk. They develop and maintain the campus international crisis response plans and assist departments with emergency response and business continuity plans for international emergencies.

Campus committees may consist of representatives from study abroad/global education and/or Office of International Education, Office of International Affairs, and Risk Management. Representatives from various colleges and disciplines including communications/public relations, student affairs, University Counsel, faculty, finance, public safety and others may be invited to participate as needed.

University Employees and Authorized Volunteers

Faculty, staff, student employees and authorized volunteers of the university are expected to comply with university policies, rules and regulations when planning for and traveling abroad.

Regulatory compliance may include export controls, government sanctioned nations and individuals, animal and human subject research and technology transfer.

Faculty planning to lead trips abroad can contact campus study abroad offices for international information.

Students and Participants

In the interest of individual and group safety and overall positive learning experience, students who are traveling abroad as part of a study abroad, international education or other university-sponsored program should follow their campus-specific policies and educational programs that include orientation, sexual harassment policies, health insurance packages/information, travel warning websites, and return transition/debriefing. Students and participants traveling as part of a university-sponsored program should be aware that they are responsible for their own behavior and any resulting consequences.

University Risk Management

The University Risk Management (URM) website and campus URM representatives can provide information regarding international travel insurance and assistance programs provided by the university. URM representatives serve on campus international risk management committees and consult on risk assessments. URM provides the International Travel Risk Assessment and Emergency Planning Checklist to use as a risk identification and mitigation tool.

Types of International Travel

University-sponsored Programs

University-sponsored programs are programs organized, financed, operated, and/or maintained by the university with minimal or no third party (vendors, contractors, travel agencies, etc.) assistance. These programs follow all university and campus policies and work with campus offices and URM.

Third-Party Programs

The university may outsource certain international programs by contracting with third parties. Travelers follow all university and campus international policies, and the third-party requirements. Contact University Counsel and URM to review contracts for appropriate hold-harmless language, indemnification agreements, insurance and waivers.

Elective Travel (non-sponsored)

This travel is not endorsed or under the auspices of the university. The university does not offer academic credit, coordinate travel or fund these activities. Travelers are encouraged to review general travel information that is available from campus international programs or URM regarding safety and health information.

University Insurance Programs

International Medical and Evacuation Insurance

The university program is a blanket insurance policy designed to cover all University of Colorado faculty and staff (employees) during international travel meeting the following criteria:

  • travel outside of US and its territories
  • travel for less than 180 consecutive days
  • travelers up to age 80
  • travel to Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria or Yemen requires insurance insurer pre-approval.  For any of these countries please email URM at riskmgmt@cu.edu and your campus international contact

CU Faculty/staff employed by the university and traveling as part of their employment can contact URM or PSC-Travel for information to access the insurer’s website. The information includes group access code, access to ID card and emergency contact information.

CU Faculty/staff traveling on a study abroad program must coordinate their coverage by contacting their campus global education or study abroad office managing the program.

Students must contact their campus global education or study abroad office for guidance on purchase of international medical and evacuation insurance. 

For non-employees URM recommends purchasing travel medical and evacuation insurance for your trip. Your personal health insurance may not cover foreign medical treatment, co-payments, co-insurance, or out-of-network charges. Faculty/staff family members on approved travel can purchase coverage through the university provider.

Workers' Compensation

The university workers’ compensation program apples to employee’s work related injuries and illnesses while in the course and scope of their employment on official university business.

For immediate medical response and guidance contact your university international medical and evacuation insurer as referenced above. 

Report work related injuries or illness as soon as possible filing a claim. Visit our worker’s compensation page for more information.

Property Insurance

University property is insured through the URM program. A $2,500 deductible may apply to theft losses. Your personal property is not insured by the university. Please review security measures that apply to your travel destination.

Foreign Auto and Liability Insurance

  • Liability: university employees are covered while acting within the course and scope of their employment. Exclusions include medical malpractice. Contact Professional Risk Management at 303-724-7475 for additional information on medical malpractice insurance.
  • Auto: international car rental does not trigger liability or physical damage coverage through the State of Colorado Auto Rental Agreements. The university travel card may not provide physical damage in some countries and has various restrictions/limitations. You must purchase country- specific compulsory auto insurance if you rent a vehicle. This expense is eligible for reimbursement. Regulations and laws vary from country to country, making car rental and driving a high-risk choice in some countries. Consider the various transportation options for your destination. 

Incident and Claim Reporting

Any incident should be reported as soon as possible through the URM website. Please provide international contact information, as we may need to contact you prior to your return. For emergency guidance or additional claim information contact URM at 303-860-5682 or riskmgmt@cu.edu.

Travel Assistance Provider

Preparing for international travel and potential emergency situations outside of the U.S. may be very different than in the U.S. The university has a membership with a travel assistance provider called International SOS to provide the following services. You can access the provider hosted website at www.internationalsos.com with the university membership number 11BCAS000006 (login number).

  • Pre-travel country specific information: provides information on medical, security and travel to prepare for safe travel. The travel guidance is accessible on the hosted website and/or is emailed to travelers booked through the university travel agency or who manually register their reservation.
  • Database of university travelers: traveler reservations booked through the university travel agency are uploaded to assist in responding to emergencies. Travelers can manually enter travel reservations.
  • 24/7 travel assistance: travelers can call for pre-travel and during-travel inquiries.
  • Real time global intelligence reports (email or mobile app):  changes in medical or travel conditions will trigger alerts to travelers.
  • Emergency/crisis responder: your international medical and evacuation insurance carrier is your first call for medical and evacuation needs. The university uses the travel assistance provider for additional guidance in emergencies.

Waivers, Releases and Consents

Risk/Waiver templates are used to advise participants (students, volunteers, non-employees) of the anticipated hazards for the specific trip; advise participants of their responsibility; advise the university does not provide medical insurance; obtain their written consent and document international health insurance and emergency contact information.

Risk Assessment and Emergency Planning Checklist

The International Travel Risk Assessment and Emergency Planning Checklist is a tool to identify country-specific risks and assist with emergency planning.

International emergencies can range from petty theft to terrorist acts, psychological or bodily injury, and even death. Distance, limited communications, and unfamiliar laws and customs can further exacerbate these emergencies. Trained group leaders and participants who have prepared and been oriented on a written crisis response plan are best prepared to respond to a variety of emergencies. Use of the risk assessment can assist in utilizing university and non-university resources to effectively prepare for travel emergencies.

Does the university have international medical and evacuation insurance for university travelers?

  • University employees including faculty, staff, residents, fellows traveling on university-sponsored international activities are covered under a blanket faculty and staff plan through GeoBlue. Information is available at www.geo-blue.com. Register for access to the member guide, faculty and staff plan and additional information using CU Access code: QHG99999UCBT.
  • Study Abroad program participants (students and faculty/staff) must contact the campus Study Abroad Office for information on their international medical and evacuation insurance coverage.

What is the first step when dealing with an injury or illness while traveling abroad?

  • Prior to travel identify your international medical and evacuation insurance carrier. They are your first contact and will provide guidance, treatment locations and assist with payment arrangements. 
    • University employees including faculty, staff, residents, fellows traveling on university-sponsored international activities are covered under a blanket faculty and staff plan through GeoBlue. Information is available at www.geo-blue.com.  Register for access to the member guide, faculty and staff plan and additional information using CU Access code: QHG99999UCBT.
    • Study Abroad program participants (students and faculty/staff) must contact the campus Study Abroad Office for information on their international medical and evacuation insurance coverage.
  • Report all incidents that may be a work-related injury or illness to Risk Management by filing a claim.

What is international medical and evacuation insurance?

International medical and evacuation insurance may provide the following coverage and services. Review the insurance plan that covers you for additional coverage information.

  • arrange payment of medical treatment
  • arrange and pay for medical evacuation and repatriation
  • arrange and pay for political and natural disaster evacuations
  • research in-country medical facilities
  • arrange access to doctors and hospitals
  • arrange appointments and assist with patient admittance
  • communicate and coordinate with in-country medical facilities

When does workers' compensation apply to international travel?

Workers’ compensation benefits apply to work related injuries and illnesses arising out of the course and scope of university employment. Workers’ compensation covers university employees including faculty, staff, paid student workers, residents, fellows, students in internships, clinical rotations or practicum. Workers’ compensation does not cover volunteers, family members, and other travelers that are not considered employees. Report claims to Risk Management on the file a claim page.

Why should I see a travel clinic before international travel?

International destinations might not have access to medical care similar to care in the U.S. CDC and the university advise visiting a travel medicine specialist or a doctor familiar with travel medicine to answer questions and make recommendations at least four to six weeks before your trip.

Travel clinics can provide information on health conditions, pre-existing conditions that might require management while you are abroad, and can prescribe prophylactic medications and vaccines where indicated. University of Colorado Hospital, Rose Medical Center, Denver Health Medical Center, Porter Hospital, Wardenburg Health Center, and Passport Health all have travel medicine specialists available.

Does the university insure my personal property while traveling abroad?

Only property that is owned/leased by the university is covered by the university’s insurance program. A $2,500 deductible applies to theft losses of university owned/leased property. Review security measures that apply to your travel destination. Contact your personal homeowners/renter’s insurance representative for questions on your personal property coverage while traveling abroad.

Does the university provide auto insurance while I am traveling abroad?

The university program does not include country-specific compulsory auto insurance. You must purchase country-specific compulsory auto insurance including liability and physical damage if you rent a vehicle. If renting a vehicle is necessary, contact the Procurement Service Center for further information.