Coronavirus COVID-19 Updates: or 513-556-7200

Travel Restrictions & Minors

Travel Restrictions & Exemptions

Which countries are restricted?

In 2018, the U.S. Department of State implemented a new Travel Advisory system, which gives each country an overall rating from 1 to 4.

Travel Advisories at Levels 2-4 contain clear reasons for the level assigned, using established risk indicators and specific advice to U.S. citizens who choose to travel there. These are:

  • C – Crime: Widespread violent or organized crime is present in areas of the country. Local law enforcement may have limited ability to respond to serious crimes.
  • T – Terrorism: Terrorist attacks have occurred and/or specific threats against civilians, groups, or other targets may exist.
  • U – Civil Unrest: Political, economic, religious, and/or ethnic instability exists and may cause violence, major disruptions, and/or safety risks.
  • H – Health: Health risks, including current disease outbreaks or a crisis that disrupts a country’s medical infrastructure, are present. The issuance of a Centers for Disease Control Travel Notice may also be a factor. 
  • N - Natural Disaster: A natural disaster, or its aftermath, poses danger.
  • E - Time-limited Event: Short-term event, such as elections, sporting events, or other incidents that may pose safety risks.
  • O – Other: There are potential risks not covered by previous risk indicators. Read the country’s Travel Advisory for details.

Note: The U.S. Department of State may issue an overall Travel Advisory level for a country, but levels of advice may vary for specific locations or areas within a country. For instance, U.S. Department of State may advise U.S. citizens to “Exercise increased caution” (Level 2) in a country, but to “Reconsider travel” (Level 3) to a particular area within the country.

UC has updated the Student Travel Policy to clearly define the guidelines and expectations that students, faculty and staff must follow while on university-sanctioned or funded travel. This policy has been adopted to better safeguard UC’s undergraduate, graduate, and professional students with regards to insurance coverage, evacuation, and emergency services, and to avoid personal and institutional liability for noncompliance with applicable law, including export control laws, Title IV, and related laws.


U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory Level

Definition of Travel Advisory Level

UC’s policy regarding student travel based on Travel Advisory Level

1: Exercise Normal Precautions (Blue)

This is the lowest advisory level for safety and security risk. There is some risk in any international travel.

UC students are permitted to travel to these locations for university-sanctioned or funded travel and advised to educate themselves on the risks and risk mitigation.

Level 2 : Exercise Increased Caution (Yellow)

Be aware of heightened risks to safety and security. See additional advice for travelers in these areas.

UC students are permitted to travel to these locations for university-sanctioned or funded travel and advised to educate themselves on the risks and risk mitigation.

Level 3: Reconsider Travel (Orange)

Avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security. See additional advice for travelers in these areas.

It is not recommended that UC students travel to these locations for university-sanctioned or funded travel. UC students interested in traveling to these locations must request an exemption by appeal to the International Travel Oversight Committee (ITOC). Decisions of the ITOC are final. See notes below.

Level 4 : Do Not Travel (Red)

This is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance. U.S. citizens are advised not travel to the country or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so.

UC students are not permitted to travel to these locations for university-sanctioned or funded travel. Appeals will not be considered for such travel.



Notes about Level 3 Exemptions:

It is not recommended that UC students travel to Level 3 locations due to the serious risks of safety and security. UC students wishing to travel to these locations should submit an exemption by appeal to the International Travel Oversight Committee (ITOC) with a serious understanding of the risks and a plan to mitigate those risks abroad. ITOC approvals for undergraduate travel to Level 3 destinations will be made with caution and in rare occasions.

There are times when UC students may have a plan to mitigate these risks and the inability to travel to a location would compromise UC’s mission towards research and graduate education. Therefore, ITOC is open to considering graduate student (including medical, law and PhD students) travel to a Level 3 location when it involves unique research or presentation opportunities when vetted and endorsed by the home college (and IRB approval, if appropriate).

Alternately, there are times when the risk of traveling to locations with a Level 3 advisory places UC students and the University of Cincinnati under unnecessary risk. This includes non-credit experiences for undergraduate students and study abroad or co op (when an alternate location is available that does not present significant risk).

UC faculty-led study abroad programs will be considered on a case by case basis. The faculty leaders will be required to demonstrate a mitigation of safety concerns and the lack of alternative location to ITOC. Such experiences require the support by the home College. Those who wish to travel to a location with a Level 3 Alert may download and complete a Travel Exemption Form, to be submitted to the UC International Travel Oversight Committee via email at Students traveling without a faculty or staff leader must individually request an exemption. Faculty or staff leading a group of students must complete a request on behalf of the entire group.


How & when are exemptions reviewed?

The International Travel Oversight Committee will review travel exemptions at its monthly meeting. Meetings are typically held the first Thursday of the month.

Appeals should be submitted at least several days prior to the scheduled meeting, as appeals are first sent to International SOS for third party review prior to being reviewed by the International Travel Oversight Committee. If there are no submissions 48 hours prior to a scheduled meeting, meetings are typically cancelled.

Minor Student Travelers

Who is considered a minor? Which study abroad programs are they eligible for?

A minor student at the University of Cincinnati and UC International Programs is identified as any student who is under the age of eighteen (18, and therefore under the age of legal responsibility) at the point of time that the student first applies for his/her study abroad program.

Minor Students (under the age of 18 who are degree-seeking, matriculated students) are able to participate on any UC International programs that are led by a UC faculty/staff leader pending admission into a program and the completion of minor participation documents.

Minor students are generally ineligible to participate on UC Exchange Programs, UC Co-op programs, and Third Party Provider programs (e.g. USAC, ISA, etc.) due to these organizations' additional application requirements.


Procedures for Minor Students Participating in UC Study Abroad Programs

  1. Minor student must be fully matriculated. This is defined by the University of Cincinnati as being enrolled within a degree program upon admission to the University of Cincinnati.
    1. Students participating in the University of Cincinnati’s College Credit Plus program are not permitted to participate in study abroad programs per the College Plus Program Policies.
  2. At the time of an application, the minor student and parents/guardians must sign all UC International forms and releases for studying abroad per student’s online application.
    1. Minor student must print and sign (and have his/her parents/guardians also sign) all UC International forms and releases for studying abroad that are part of their online application, and submit these in hard-copy form to the UC International Office.
  3. Prior to travel, the minor student’s parents/guardians must complete all Minor Participation Documents for the study abroad experience. All documents require a notary’s signature. UC International will upload electronic copies to the student’s online application in Terra Dotta.
    1. University of Cincinnati - Consent for a Minor Study Abroad Travel and Participation
    2. University of Cincinnati - Travel Authorization of Minor to Leave US (for airlines, TSA, border agents)
    3. University of Cincinnati - Consent for Medical Treatment of Minor (for local clinic)


UC Faculty-Led Leaders with minor students on their program are strongly encouraged to:

  • Attend a Faculty Leadership seminar.
  • Notify all on-the-ground providers/arrangements of the upcoming minor travel, and verify if any additional documentation is needed.
  • Maintain access to the original copies of the Minor Participation Documents at all times while abroad.
  • Upon arrival back into the United States, the Faculty Leader expected to shred or return the original the Minor Participation to the student.
  • Under the “Protecting Minors on Campus" Policy, faculty-led study abroad programs are not covered. The online training available through the Department of Enterprise Risk Management is beneficial, but not required.