Travel has always involved risk, and the COVID-19 pandemic presents even more considerations for anyone traveling domestically or internationally. Anyone considering travel should assess their personal risk tolerance and review the information below to make an informed decision about whether traveling is the right choice for you.
The CDC outlines the particular risks associated with travel for contracting and spreading COVID-19. Risk can differ depending on vaccination status, the mode of transportation, the origin and destination of travel, accommodations, and activities.
You should consider the COVID risk level at your point of departure (since you risk spreading COVID-19 to others or contracting COVID-19), at your destination, and at any points of transit. Travelers can use the Harvard Global Health Institute/Brown School of Public Health COVID-19 Risk Levels map to compare COVID risk globally (select "Worldwide" on the left-hand side of the map to view risk levels per country).
You should assess your suitability for travel by reviewing public health guidance from the CDC, reviewing COVID-19 spread at destination (see above in “COVID-19 Risk Levels”), and discussing travel plans with their primary care physician and/or International SOS (their pre-travel consultations with a medical professional are free to Temple travelers). Consider making an appointment with the Employee Health Services or another travel health professional if you need immunizations, malaria prophylaxis, etc.
Some populations are more at risk of becoming severely ill after contracting COVID-19. This includes:
adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions such as immunocompromised state, obesity, pregnancy, smoking, or type 2 diabetes.
This is not an exhaustive list. The CDC also provides additional information about populations at increased risk for severe illness or who may need to take extra precautions against COVID-19.
You must verify all entry and exit requirements in advance of travel, for all countries on the itinerary including transit countries. Countries may have different entry and exit requirements at land borders, ports of sea, or airports. Common entry or exit requirements that countries are enacting during the global pandemic include:
testing requirements (including pre-departure, arrival and/or exit testing)
quarantine on arrival at a designated facility, designated hotel, or private residence (often at traveler’s own expense)
public health forms, participation in COVID-19 tracing apps, etc.
The U.S. has also introduced entry requirements and restrictions. Some requirements (like presenting a negative COVID-19 test) apply to everyone. Others (like prohibiting entry to the U.S. if you have physically been in the Schengen Area, the UK, South Africa, or Brazil) exempt U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and some other specific categories of traveler.
The following list is not exhaustive and entry requirements are subject to change without notice. You must monitor these restrictions carefully.
- State and International Entry Restrictions
- Transportation Security Authority (TSA) Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
- International Air Transport Association - COVID-19 Coronavirus & Travelers
- U.S. Department of State Country-Specific COVID-19 Information
- US Embassy COVID-19 Specific Information for your Destination, including entry and exit regulations and links to immigration requirements of the host country.
- United Nations World Food Programme Travel Restrictions Map
- IATA Travel Regulations Map
- U.S. Negative COVID-19 Test Entry Requirement (applies to all)
- Travelers Prohibited from Entry to U.S. (citizens/permanent residents exempt)
Since the stay at home orders last year, the U.S. Department of State has experienced severe delays in processing applications for new or renewed passports. Travelers expecting to travel during the 2021-2022 academic year should consult the U.S. Department of State’s website regarding current wait times for expedited and regular processing. While there is the option to apply within 72 hours of international travel at an agency, appointments are rather hard to come by and we recommend that travelers not rely on this option.
Most countries require your passport to be valid for six months beyond your scheduled departure from that country.
Some international destinations require a visa to enter, study, research, or intern abroad. You will need to have your passport before applying for your visa, as some visas are electronically tied to your passport, while others are stamped into your passport. If you are traveling abroad through an approved Temple International Program, administrators at Temple will provide guidance on the visa application process. If you are an independent traveler, you will need to research which visa is appropriate for your time abroad and apply through the consulate of your host country.
Processing times vary by country, student citizenship, and consulate. Consulates base their processing times on the official program dates rather than individual travel plans. As a result of COVID-19, visa issuance policies and time frames have significantly changed. Please check with the consulate of your host country for updated policies and procedures.
Some countries require evidence of a negative COVID-19 test (usually a negative PCR - or nasal swab - test) to enter. These test results often need to be from within 48-72 hours of departure. Read these entry requirements carefully as they vary by country and can be specific. For example, the PCR test results might need to include your name as it appears on your passport. We recommend securing a physician’s note or certificate attesting to the negative results.
Obtaining a PCR test, if required or desired, is the traveler's responsibility.
Free COVID testing is provided readily, often with same day appointments, around the country:
As of January 26, 2021, anyone traveling by plane to the United States from an international location must present proof of a negative viral COVID test (NAAT or antigen) from within 72 hours of departure to the U.S. Anyone without evidence of a negative test will be denied boarding. This requirement applies to everyone including citizens and permanent residents. It’s also required even if the traveler has been fully vaccinated against COVID. Please review detailed guidance from the CDC. You must verify that you can obtain a viral COVID-19 test at your destination/country of origin.
Temple’s Student Health & Employee Health Services has testing available for individuals returning from domestic or international travel. All travelers regardless of vaccination status are encouraged to follow CDC recommendations.
The US Department of State (DOS) provides information on DOS country travel advisories as well as specific DOS information related to COVID-19, including Presidential Proclamations and restrictions on entering or re-entering the United States.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes country-specific travel health notices and has an interactive map with COVID-19 travel recommendations from the CDC.
If considering engaging in Temple-affiliated travel, International SOS can also offer additional insight on specific destinations.
- International SOS COVID-19 Resources - case trends, entry restrictions, local transportation/social impacts etc. Temple membership number:
- U.S. Department of State COVID-19 Country Specific Information
- U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travel Recommendations by Country
- Harvard Global Health Institute
- Global Critical Trends Tracking from Johns Hopkins University
- Partnership for Evidence-Based Response to COVID-19 (PERC): Responding to COVID-19 in Africa
- European Center for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Pandemic Updates