Travel to a Country with a U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory: Levels 3 and 4

Portland State University has numerous officially approved education abroad programs spanning the globe. The University has selected these programs, in part, based on the knowledgeable program personnel that our partners have stationed in-country; the program infrastructures they have in place; and the due care and attention they devote to enhancing the safety and security of our students. In spite of our confidence in the measures our partners abroad take to enhance student safety and security, from time to time the University finds it appropriate to suspend approval in an officially recognized education abroad program or destination for which students may have an open application due to serious concerns, such as political unrest, social instability, contagious disease control, military operations, or terrorism concerns within the host country.

To minimize health and safety risks, University policy requires students traveling to, and faculty/staff leading students to countries under a U.S. Department of State Advisory Level 3 to seek special permission from the University's International Travel Risk Assessment Committee. Countries with a Level 4 Advisory cannot be petitioned. 

Portland State University, in its discretion, may suspend approval for an officially approved education abroad program or destination for any of the following reasons: 

  1. U.S. Department of State has issued a Level 3 Travel Advisory for the country. All PSU sponsored programs in countries with a Level 3 Advisory will be automatically suspended until further notice.  Students wishing to participate on a PSU-approved education abroad program to a country with a U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory Level 3 will be required to receive approval from the International Travel Risk Assessment Committee (ITRAC) via a petition process.  Countries with a Level 4 Advisory cannot be petitioned.
  2. Locations pose a specific health, safety, or security concern as indicated by authorities other than the U.S. Department of State, such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and non-U.S. government authorities (e.g., Australian or Canadian authorities).
  3. PSU personnel have received recommendations that participants refrain from travel to a specific country or region by either: (1) PSU faculty who are knowledgeable in the sociopolitical dynamics of the country or region in which the program is located; (2) private security firms with personnel stationed in-country; or (3) PSU’s peer institutions who are advising students to decline participation in programs located within the country or region.

While Abroad

Should a Travel Advisory Level be elevated for a country or region while participants are currently in-country, PSU will carefully monitor the situation, along with recommendations from the Department of State, on-site staff, and other stakeholders, and assess whether or not to withdraw students back to PSU for the remainder of the program.

Who Must Apply?

University policy requires students traveling to countries under a U.S. Department of State travel advisory level 3 to seek special permission from the International Travel Risk Assessment Committee. Note that "students" include undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree students, residents, and fellows. In cases where a unit or faculty/staff member is organizing an activity, the unit or faculty/staff member in charge is responsible for ensuring all participants have approval. The easiest way to do this is to apply for approval for the program on behalf of all participants. If the answer to any of these questions is "yes," approval is required prior to travel and, in the case of unit-sponsored programs, prior to promotion of the activity:

  • Is the activity for credit?
  • Is the activity financially supported, in any way, by the University?
  • Is the activity supervised, led, arranged, OR somehow sponsored by a University department or faculty or staff member?
  • Is the activity supervised, led, arranged, OR somehow sponsored by a University office, organization (band, athletic team, etc.) or Student Activities and Leadership Programs (SALP) organization?

Travel Advisory Petition