Safety Information for International Travel


April 2017

Travel safety should be a top priority for any MIT student, faculty or staff member planning on travelling to another country.

The MIT Office of the General Counsel seeks to support international travel and to support safety and preparedness efforts for student, faculty and employee international travel.

MIT faculty and students regularly engage in international travel experiences.  These may be for educational reasons, such as study abroad or an internship with a foreign company, or for research, such as gathering data or spending time working in the lab of a collaborator.   Examples and a demonstration of the richness of this work can be found on the Global MIT web page. Many of the international activities of the MIT community are described and explained there.  Activities are cataloged by country and by type of activity.  This can be a helpful tool for finding overlapping projects or interests on campus.

Travel safety is a top priority for travelers and for programs supporting and facilitating travel.  MIT operates under an International Travel Risk Policy to assist the community. The International Travel Risk Policy applies to travel on MIT business by all members of the MIT community.  MIT business is any program or activity that is required or run by the Institute or financially supported through any MIT account.  It does not apply to travel for wholly personal reasons.

The International Travel Risk Policy designates certain countries, and areas of countries, based on current conditions to be under High or Extreme travel warning.  This status means that undergraduate and graduate student travel is prohibited.  These country-specific warnings are updated weekly or more frequently if warranted.  The warnings are based on public information provided by the U.S. Department of State, the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.

Finally, the International Travel Risk Policy provides information about countries which are under travel sanctions by the U.S. government.  In these cases, U.S. law restricts whether a person can travel, items they may not bring with them and activities they may not conduct on the ground.  Detailed information about sanctions and export controls is available at:  The Office of Sponsored Programs Export Controls Officer is also available to advise and provide information.

Additional travel resources are available.  The first resource for campus is MIT’s International Safety and Security Program Manager, Todd Holmes ( or (617) 324-7696).  Mr. Holmes can seek specific information from expert sources on specific locations, review and advise on travel plans and risks and provide pre-departure orientation to travelers.  In addition, MIT contracts with a company called International SOS to provide on-the-ground-assistance to its travelers in case of any type of emergency.  This could be if a person suddenly becomes ill and needs to see a recommended doctor or is the victim of a crime, or a natural disaster or political situation arises and the traveler needs logistical advice and travel help.  Additional information is available at:

The Office of the General Counsel supports and advises on the implementation of these travel policies and applicable laws, and hopes that every member of the MIT community who wants an international experience, or experiences, will be able to have a positive and safe experience.