International Travel Guidelines: Students, Residents, and Fellows

Definitions: Students and trainees are covered by these guidelines. Students include professional and graduate students. Trainees include residents and GME (clinical) fellows. For postdoctoral scholars, individual programs can decide whether or not to apply these travel guidelines.


UCSF Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy, and the Graduate Division recognize the benefit to students and trainees of international travel for educational and research purposes. The Schools and Graduate Division’s objective is to facilitate travel for these reasons. Travel not specifically authorized under a Training Affiliation Agreement or Memorandum of Understanding for UCSF-related research, clinical care, or educational programs is not considered UCSF-related travel. Students and trainees who travel without affiliation agreements are not considered to be in the course and scope of their program when traveling. Exception: Students/trainees traveling to conferences for UCSF-related purposes do not need affiliation agreements and are eligible for free UC Travel Insurance (see below).

Affiliation Agreements: Training Affiliation Agreements (TAAs) and Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs)

Please refer to UCSF Administrative Policy 100-10: Affiliation Agreements for guidelines and responsibilities for entering into Training Affiliation Agreements between UCSF and foreign or international entities. For the purpose of this policy, the Memoranda of Understanding include formal MOUs, IRB-approved projects, and Letters of Invitation. Such agreements must articulate applicable responsibilities and expectations for supervision, safety, and intellectual property in educational, clinical, and research settings.

Professional Liability/Malpractice Coverage and General Liability Coverage

Students/trainees traveling for UCSF-related work or study are covered by UC professional liability/malpractice insurance and general liability insurance, which should be delineated in the affiliation agreement between UCSF and the foreign or international entity. Provision of clinical care must be supervised in accordance with the student/trainee’s credentials and privileges as granted by UCSF to assure that care is provided within the student/trainee’s current competence, experience, and training, and in compliance with UCSF policies and procedures. Students/trainees are not required to register but are automatically covered for professional liability/malpractice insurance and general liability insurance when they travel for UC-related work or study.

Students/trainees who travel for other purposes, like personal travel, are not eligible for UC professional liability/malpractice coverage, or general liability coverage.

Travel and Evacuation Insurance

Students/trainees traveling for UCSF-related work or study (as well as those traveling for conferences related to UCSF work or study) are all eligible for free UC Trip Insurance including medical emergency/security evacuation services. To ensure coverage, students are required to register their travel.

Students/trainees who undertake non-UCSF-related travel are not eligible for free UC Trip Insurance. There are 2 other options students/trainees should use for travel insurance.

  1. Students enrolled in the UC Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) have additional coverage for personal travel through Blue Cross Blue Shield for approved medical expenses. Students must access information about this travel insurance before departure.
  2. Students not enrolled in SHIP, residents, and fellows are strongly advised to purchase personal travel insurance. UC Risk Management provides a personal travel insurance option, which can be compared to other choices.

Responsibilities of the Schools and Graduate Division

UCSF has a responsibility to minimize risk to students/trainees participating in academic programs. For this reason, in most circumstances, students/trainees will not be approved to undertake international UCSF-approved activities in a location for which high-risk travel levels have been assigned by the U.S. Department of State Travel or the UC Trip Planner. If a student/trainee wishes to participate in international UCSF-approved activities in a location for which a U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory is rated 3 or 4, or a UC Trip Planner Overall Security Warning Level (5 Very-High Warning) has been assigned, approval of the dean of the School or Graduate Division (or his or her designee) is required. Any additional approvals for low-risk locations, according to the U.S. State Department Travel Advisories or the UC Trip Planner, is at the discretion of the Schools, the Graduate Division, or individual programs.


UCSF acknowledges there are risks inherent in travel, and UCSF may have limited ability to protect the traveler against such risks. However, the Schools and Graduate Division provides detailed information about risk and measures that can be taken to mitigate risk to students and trainees. UCSF trainees have access to additional country-specific information, including but not limited to:

  • State Department Travel Advisories
  • Travel Alerts
  • UC Trip Planner and trip safety planning including ground transportation, immunizations, and travel medications
  • UC travel insurance/emergency medical/evacuation
  • Personal purchased travel insurance

All of these (and many more) safe travel resources for academic work abroad can be found on the Trainee International Travel Resources (TITR) website. Resources for safe vacation or conference travel can be found on the Trainee Resources for Vacation or Conference (TRVC) website. Trainees are strongly urged to use these resources, and many UCSF programs or Schools will require use.