Given uncertainty surrounding the Omicron COVID variant, Stanford recommends that individuals contemplating travel during the winter quarter as part of university programs or group travel defer making firm financial commitments until further notice. Undergraduate students, however, continue to be guided by the travel policy below (See: “Undergraduate Students”)
Stanford affiliates who traveled over the holidays should familiarize themselves with the university’s winter quarter return policies.
As a result of the Omicron COVID variant, pre-travel and post-arrival testing and quarantine requirements are continually changing at the local, national and international level. For instance, as of December 6, 2021, all U.S.-bound international travelers must test within 24 hours of departure, regardless of vaccination status or nationality. Please note that reimbursement for any mandatory quarantines associated with university-sponsored travel is the responsibility of the sending unit or department.
Given current uncertainty around entry requirements, Stanford recommends that unvaccinated non-U.S. citizens DO NOT travel outside of the United States, as return may be problematic.
Regardless of vaccination status, all individuals are required to comply with campus access restrictions and testing requirements, utilizing PCR or Color/LAMP-based COVID tests, following personal or university-sponsored travel. In addition, visitors and guests coming to campus must also complete a daily Health Attestation form.
For those planning their return to campus following the winter break, Stanford has posted protocols here. Our winter quarter return protocols include:
- Continued masking
- Two Color tests the first week back on campus from the winter break
- An additional rapid test upon arrival for students who return to on-campus housing the weekend of Jan. 1-2
- Limitations on student parties and certain other gatherings for the start of the winter quarter
- Additional requirements for those who are unvaccinated, including a period of restricted activity for unvaccinated individuals arriving from domestic or international travel
Vaccinated individuals returning from international travel may not come to shared spaces, including class, until they receive a negative COVID test result taken on Day 0 (immediately upon return). They must also take a test on Day 5.
Unvaccinated students and employees who have traveled internationally may not return to campus, except housing, until a Day 5 negative test.
Travel to Hawaii, Alaska, and U.S. territories and possessions is considered domestic travel.
As with all policies during the COVID-19 pandemic, this guidance is subject to changing health conditions.
On this page, you will find travel guidance, what to do when you return to Stanford from travel and links to frequently asked questions about business travel, cancellations and reimbursements.
Faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars and students booking air fare, hotels, or rental cars for university-sponsored travel must utilize a Stanford Travel booking channel in order to ensure reimbursement.
As of January 27
Effective September 20, 2021
Following CDC, state, and county guidance, Stanford University is updating its travel guidance as a result of factors including the widespread emergence of the COVID Omicron variant. Travelers at schools or programs with more restrictive policies will be required to follow those more restrictive policies.
While fully vaccinated travelers are at less risk to themselves and others, unvaccinated travelers and those who are not fully vaccinated (collectively referred to here as “unvaccinated travelers”) are at even greater risk of contracting the Omicron variant and spreading it to others than with previous strains.
Stanford will permit international travel ONLY for fully vaccinated individuals, subject to conditions determined by the nature of the travel, activity, and traveler’s role at the university. Travelers must upload proof of COVID-19 vaccination prior to departure. Faculty, staff and postdocs must upload proof of vaccination status using Health Check. Graduate and undergraduate students must upload proof of vaccination documentation to the VadenPatient portal. All students also must attest to their vaccination status in the Health Check system.
FACULTY, STAFF, POSTDOCS and GRADUATE STUDENTS
Fully Vaccinated Travelers
Fully vaccinated faculty, staff, postdocs, and graduate students are permitted to travel both domestically and internationally without requesting an exception. However, field research that involves clinical or non-clinical human subjects continues to require prior approval.
Unvaccinated faculty, staff, postdocs and graduate students may travel domestically without a travel exception. Those who are unvaccinated and have a critical and essential need to travel internationally on university business must be approved for a travel exception prior to commencing travel. Critical and essential travel is defined as:
- Advancing critical research in the national or global interest.
- Preserving the continuity of research that cannot be repeated, replaced, performed remotely, or by another fully vaccinated Stanford traveler or proxy, and that is necessary to preserve the safety/well-being of research subjects.
- Supporting a critical Stanford research, educational, or administrative/operational function that cannot be deferred, accomplished remotely, or performed by a fully-vaccinated Stanford traveler.
- Maintaining progress toward academic degree and that cannot be postponed, replaced, or accomplished remotely or by proxy
Given current COVID-19 conditions, as well as federal and local guidelines, the university is unlikely to grant unvaccinated travelers permission for international travel in Fall or Winter 2021-22.
Travel exceptions should be requested at least 4 weeks in advance of the date a decision is needed. Unvaccinated international travelers must have a travel exception prior to departure in order to be reimbursed for international trips.
Beginning September 20, 2021, undergraduates may travel for Stanford-related course field trips and field research within California. All such travel must be accompanied by an instructor or staff member. International travel and domestic travel outside California continues to be not permitted. Course-related travel has additional requirements found here.
Bing Overseas Studies Program (including SiNY) and Stanford in Washington
Travel associated with the Bing Overseas Studies Program (BOSP), Stanford in New York, and Stanford in Washington will be permitted for fully vaccinated undergraduates. Unvaccinated students who wish to participate in BOSP programs both abroad and in New York, or in Stanford in Washington, must begin the vaccination exception request process for travelers at least 4 weeks in advance of the program withdrawal deadline. Given current COVID-19 conditions, permission for travel through Bing Overseas Studies Program or Stanford in Washington is unlikely to be granted to unvaccinated undergraduate students in Fall 2021 and Winter 2022. For Stanford in Washington, internships and many learning opportunities will not be available to unvaccinated students. Approval for vaccine exemption for on-campus enrollment does not automatically extend to off-campus programs. For more information about program specific withdrawal deadlines please see the BOSP Participation Agreement.
OTHER INTERNATIONAL EDUCATIONAL LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
At this time, the University is advising academic departments and programs that offer study abroad and international educational learning opportunities to be cautious in planning activities for vaccinated and boosted students for Spring Break and Spring of 2022.
The University is working closely with campus partners to plan for Summer 2022, and to develop contingency plans should COVID conditions deteriorate.
ONGOING TRAVEL ASSISTANCE
Travelers may benefit from global travel risk assessments and mitigation recommendations. This service is available through the Global Risk office (firstname.lastname@example.org) and is particularly useful for:
(1) Travel to higher-risk destinations (based on information from the U.S. Department of State, Centers for Disease Control, International SOS or other reliable sources of information for health, safety or security risks),
(2) Group trips that include five or more travelers, and,
(3) Travelers with particular vulnerabilities.
Frequently asked questions
Find answers to common questions about business travel, cancellations, reimbursements etc.
It depends on the destination and the test required. Color is a NAAT (nucleic acid amplification) RT-LAMP test. Color is not a RT-PCR test, so any destination that requires a PCR test will not accept a Color test. However, destinations…Read full answer about Do Color tests fulfill travel test requirements?
Stanford recommends deferring international travel, even if you are vaccinated. For those planning travel over Stanford’s winter break, the university’s protocols for returning to campus following the winter break are posted here. If you plan to travel internationally, be…Read full answer about I’d like to travel internationally for a vacation. What are the rules for my return to campus?
Under current policy, regardless of vaccination status, Stanford affiliates who travel to any location outside of the United States on personal or university-sponsored business must follow some protocols before returning to campus. All international travelers are required to…Read full answer about Archived: My family lives overseas, and I would like to go home during the Thanksgiving break. What are the rules for my return?
Under current policy, there are no testing requirements following domestic travel. However, according to CDC recommendations, unvaccinated travelers are encouraged to test “3-5 days following their return and stay home and self-quarantine for a full seven days” following domestic…Read full answer about Archived: I’m in a wedding outside California (but within the U.S.) in October. What are the rules for my return?
Faculty, staff, postdocs and graduate students are exempt from the university surveillance testing during travel, if such testing is impractical or impossible. Undergraduate students must follow the program testing requirements during travel. Travelers must adhere to campus access restrictions and…Read full answer about Do the university surveillance testing requirements apply during travel?
You should carefully access your plans and discuss with your faculty advisor or PI to determine the best course of action. For example, you might consider postponing or restructuring your research plans to avoid travel and/or to reduce the number…Read full answer about I’m conducting research away from campus, or was planning to do so. What precautions should I take?
Bechtel International Center has posted FAQ and is ready to assist individual students...Read full answer about Where can I find information about international student and scholar concerns?
Please consider the following as you plan your international travel: Airline and international entry testing and quarantine requirements are continually changing at the local, national and international level, and require prior planning. Under current restrictions, for instance, U.S. citizens and non-citizens…Read full answer about What international travel restrictions, including testing and quarantine requirements, should I be aware of?