Frequently Asked Questions

Policy

Student international travel has three policies, the International Travel Planning Policy, the current CU International Travel Restrictions, and the Undergraduate International Travel Policy. Students should reference these policies, including the Pre-Departure Requirements, and use this website to navigate travel planning. 

Officers of instruction, officers of research, officers of the libraries, and postdoctoral fellows/scholars traveling with students are required to register international Columbia Travel. For other travel to Medium-, High-, and Extreme-risk locations, they are strongly encouraged to have their itinerary reviewed by ISOS. They must ensure that all student travelers have complied with all Pre-Departure Travel Requirements.

If you are running a global program or course that is open to undergraduate students, please see the Travel Program section of the Undergraduate International Travel Policy and reach out to [email protected].

If you are traveling to your home country for Columbia related business (research, conferences, meetings, etc.), then yes, the International Travel Planning Policy, International Travel Restrictions and/or Undergraduate International Travel Policy applies to you. 

If you are traveling to your home country, strictly for personal/leisure travel, these policies do not apply. 

International travel is any location outside of the 50 United States, including Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories.

Trip Registration

Yes, you are required to register your international Columbia-related travel. Registering in ISOS MyTrips helps our office contact you in the event of an emergency, such as political uprisings and natural disasters.  

If you are traveling with students, see 'Policy' above. 

No, the University does not govern personal travel. You can purchase International SOS coverage for personal travel at a discount. Please see the ISOS website for more information.

If you are traveling to your home country for research, meetings, or anything related to your work or academics at Columbia University, you must comply with the International Travel Planning Policy, International Travel Restrictions or the Undergraduate International Travel Policy

Please visit the ISOS MyTrips page for trip registration. 

Visa & Travel Documents

The 'certificate of coverage' letter is sometimes required for visa applications and refers to the university's coverage for medical evacuation, repatriation, and repatriation of mortal remains to home country or home campus from any other overseas country for a certain amount for Columbia University travelers going abroad on behalf of the University.

Send an email to [email protected] with the following information:

  • Name of traveler(s)
  • Date of birth
  • Citizenship
  • Travel Destination(s)
  • Travel Dates
  • Purpose of Travel
  • Purpose for this Certification of Coverage Letter

Columbia University does not have an outbound immigration unit, but please see the following links for information. 

  • For International Students and Scholars, please see the Visas and Travel 
     
  • EmbassyPages.com lists the foreign consulates in New York City

  • You can dial ‘311’ to find a Consulate (NYC Contact a Consulate

  • Columbia's Travel Management Company, World Travel (WTI) has a vendor, VisaHQ, for Visa and Passport Services.

    • Travelers will need to enter their nationality, resident status and purpose of the trip in the user interface and there is no cost to check what documents may be required.  The only time a cost is incurred is when the traveler utilizes the services of VisaHQ to process a visa, passport or any other services.

    • For more information, please visit Columbia Travel & Expense

You will need to contact the Columbia International Students and Scholars Office. You can also contact their office regarding your inbound visa status. 

A travel signature is relevant only to F-1 students or J-1 students (and their dependents) who are planning to travel abroad and return to the U.S. in F or J status. You must have an unexpired travel signature on the date you re-enter the U.S.

Travel Signatures and Passport Renewal (F and J Students)

Finance & Global Support

Our office does not administer the Corporate Card program. Please contact Columbia Finance

Questions about hiring people, making payments, conference planning, equipment, etc. while abroad are best handled by Global Support. Please send questions to [email protected]