Travel

Page updated August 20, 2020.

Travel is one of the areas of university life and campus operations that has been dramatically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

International Travel

University-sponsored international travel

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has cancelled all international university-sponsored programs until further notice.

Those who believe they have an essential business reason to travel by air may request approval through their unit executive officer (dean, vice provost, vice chancellor, etc.). It is expected that permission to travel will be granted only in the most limited of circumstances.

As of early August, the U.S. Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are issuing country level advisories related to COVID-19. All individuals returning from study or travel abroad should follow CDC’s after travel guidance and Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines.

Personal international travel

The Department of State has issued COVID-19 travel guidance that advises all U.S. citizens to read the country-specific travel advisories and U.S. Embassy COVID pages for updates on the impact of COVID-19 worldwide. Individuals are also encouraged to review the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) travel notices.

Domestic Travel

University-sponsored domestic travel

The university is limiting domestic travel for faculty, staff and students to pre-approved travel for essential university business. 

Those who believe they have an essential business reason to travel by air may request approval through their unit executive officer (dean, vice provost, vice chancellor, etc.). It is expected that permission to travel will be granted only in the most limited of circumstances.

Programs that involve domestic air travel that have not yet departed are cancelled. Programs that involve domestic air travel that have already departed (are currently away from campus) should follow CDC guidelines for travel in the United States.

Personal domestic travel

The university is strongly advising against all personal domestic travel for faculty, staff and students, especially those in a high-risk category.

International Travel if Returning to Your Home Country

With the option of online course delivery, some international students and scholars may wish to return to their home country. If you choose to travel outside of the U.S., you should be prepared for the possibility for your return may be significantly delayed. This could pose different problems depending on your unique situation, from not being able to resume classes when face to face instruction does resume to not being able to apply for OPT. Each student should consider their own circumstances.

International students and scholars can refer to the International Student and Scholar Services website for visa and immigration specific questions.

Returning to Campus After Traveling

Under the guidance of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (C-UPHD), the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has new recommendations for individuals who travel, including those returning to campus or initial arrival on campus. These stay at home after travel guidelines apply to both international travel from a CDC-designated level 3 country and travel from a U.S. location that is considered higher risk than Illinois by the Illinois Department of Public Health.  

Students who have traveled outside of the state of Illinois 14 days prior to their first day on campus must test on-campus upon arrival and are further asked to stay at home at their on-campus or Champaign County residence for 14 days and monitor their symptoms every day. 

Faculty and staff who live in Champaign County are asked to test and asked to stay at home and not to return to campus for 14 days after they return from any out of state travel. Unless you are an employee who is working 100% remote, all individuals who meet these travel guidelines need to test at one of our testing sites the day you return to Champaign County.

During this 14-day stay at home time, individuals should only leave their homes for the following reasons:

  • To participate in on-campus COVID-19 testing
  • To get groceries, medicine or visit your healthcare provider
  • To attend in-person classes, unless the class is offered online. If courses are offered online during these 14 days, students and instructors should stay at home and attend classes remotely.

Once you return to campus, if you have been potentially exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, CUPHD will contact you to quarantine according to their COVID exposure quarantine guidelines. 

If you have tested positive COVID-19, you will be asked to isolate according to C-UPHD guidelines.


Frequently Asked Questions

My research grant is funding my travel to an international conference. Is that considered a prohibited university-sponsored travel opportunity?

The University has suspended all international travel for university-sponsored business. A faculty member may request a waiver from their Unit Executive Officer (UEO). The waiver will have to undergo second level review. Waivers will be awarded only if the travel is urgently necessary to the university’s mission—for example, if student safety is at risk or if the research has immediate consequences for health of the population. Participation at disciplinary conferences is not considered an activity that is critical at this time. It is expected that waivers will be rarely granted.

Do I need to present COVID-19 test information to Customs and Border Patrol?

The United States is not currently requiring this.

Additional Resources

Travel updates