Travel entails risks that can be mitigated by developing detailed travel plans in advance. Principal Investigators and travel planners should assess and address the risks associated with travel to foreign countries in advance, especially to remote areas, in order to ensure the health and safety of participating faculty, staff, and students.
This webpage identifies Resources that can be used by departments to help with planning and organizing travel to foreign countries. It also provides a section on Planning Tools & Tips that describe specific things travel planners can do to reduce the risks of travel.
Register to Travel
Trip registration is required for those traveling on official University business off-campus (>100 miles) or internationally. Accurate information on travel plans is needed in order to deliver the services and protections the travel insurance policy offers.
University travelers include employees, medical residents, students, fellows, and guests with travel paid by the University.
*Guests participating in a sponsored and supervised event with travel paid for by the University.
There are two ways that travel can be registered:
- If travel is booked through UC Travel or Connexxus, your travel itinerary will automatically be registered with iJET/Worldcue.
- If travel is not booked through UC Travel or Connexxus, you must register your out of state or international trip using the Away website.
Travel Insurance: UC Away
The university has arranged for employees and students traveling on official university business to be covered for a wide variety of accidents and incidents while away from the campus or primary workplace.
- Regents, faculty, staff, or any person designated by while traveling at the direction and approval. Coverage can also be provided to a spouse/domestic partner, dependent(s), and traveling companions when traveling with them; their travel should be registered.
- Students can also be covered while participating in sponsored and supervised off-campus activities both domestically and abroad. Registration is required for activities taking place out of state and in foreign countries.
This broad coverage includes medical care and evacuation, loss of personal property (UC employees only), extraction for political and weather related reasons, and more.
On June 1, 2022, AXA Assistance, a leading global travel and medical assistance provider, will begin serving all University of California travelers when they travel outside the US for UC-affiliated purposes. This change occurs as a result of a contract between UC’s travel insurance provider Chubb and AXA Assistance. United Healthcare Global (UHCG) formerly provided this service.
Beginning on June 1st, UC international travelers should reference the new travel insurance contact card for employees or travel insurance contact card for students for help accessing medical care and other services described below. The UC Travel Insurance Liaison will email all registered international travelers who will be abroad on or after June 1st to notify them of this change and provide the insurance card link. Additionally, the information will be posted to the UC Travel Insurance web page. During the initial transition, calls to UHCG on or after June 1st will be warm-transferred to AXA Assistance.
The switch to AXA Assistance provides several advantages over the previous provider, and we are looking forward to the new partnership in service of UC travelers. Please take a look at the AXA brochure to familiarize yourself with the services they offer. We are particularly enthusiastic about the following:
UC international travelers will be able to receive the medical care they need without having to step outside. The use of communication technology is allowing AXA to optimize global medical care and provide 24/7 access to teleconsultation services to UC travelers.
Medical teleconsultation enables travelers to have a healthcare experience via video consult using the ‘Doctor Please!’ app or over the phone. For minor ailments and conditions, licensed medical providers offer medical advice, treatment options, assistance with prescription refills, and provider referrals when needed.
Remote Behavioral Health Crisis Consult
AXA helps international travelers by providing emergency access to U.S. Ph.D. and master’s level mental health professionals by phone for psychological support, crisis intervention and stabilization. The AXA medical team will work in coordination with the mental health provider to find appropriate continued care, whether that be a referral to a local counselor, or to facilitate hospitalization or repatriation when necessary. This service is intended to provide immediate support and transition to appropriate continued care, with a limit of 3 remote sessions per case while the appropriate follow-up treatment is being arranged.
All AXA services, including the Global Teleconsultation and Remote Behavioral Health Crisis Consult, can be accessed by eligible UC international travelers by contacting Chubb-AXA Global Travel Assistance for the University of California using the contact information from the UC travel insurance contact card or the program brochure. These are dedicated phone numbers set up by AXA for UC travelers, and they will be greeted using that moniker.
NOTE: This information provides you with a brief outline of the services available to travelers. Some of these services are not insured benefits. Reimbursement for any service expenses is limited to the terms and conditions of the travel insurance policy under which the traveler is insured. The traveler may be required to pay for services not covered. A third-party vendor may provide some services. AXA Assistance makes every effort to refer travelers to appropriate medical and other service providers. It is not responsible for the quality or results of service provided by independent providers.
In addition to the switch to AXA Assistance, there are a few travel insurance policy changes that become effective on June 1, 2022 for UC international travelers on UC-affiliated travel, including:
- Up to 14-day personal deviation for both student and employee international travelers (previously 7 days for students).
- Quarantine Benefit – Quarantine is no longer a trigger in the Trip Delay benefit. It is now a stand-alone benefit for up to $2,000 of eligible expenses. It may apply if the traveler is “forced into isolation by a recognized government authority…or medical examiners due to the Covered Person either having, or being suspected of having, a contagious disease.” Our belief is that ‘forced into isolation’ means that the local government requires, not simply recommends, such isolation, and documentation is submitted with the claim that provides that evidence. Alternatively, a doctor’s letter indicating the necessity for isolation may suffice, although it is within the assigned Chubb’s claims assessor’s discretion to decide whether the traveler’s submitted documentation demonstrates sufficient evidence of benefit eligibility.
- Trip Delay Benefit – The Trip Delay benefit for both the student and employee policies applies to international travel and has increased to an overall benefit of $2,000 maximum (from $1,500). The benefit applies if a trip is delayed for more than six hours for one of the specific reasons written into the policy, including sickness or injury of the traveler preventing travel; lost or stolen passport or travel documents; natural disaster; civil disorder; inclement weather, equipment failure, or strike that causes carrier delay; documented traffic accident in route to airport that causes missed flight. Chubb will determine whether submitted claim documentation justifies benefit eligibility. The maximum benefit period has increased to 10 days (from 5), but the daily benefit max decreased to $200 per day (from $300).
- Security Evacuation Expense Benefit – The Security Evacuation Expense Benefit applies to both the students’ and employees’ international travel when specific security events happen, including but not limited to being declared persona non-grata, natural disasters, victim of physical harm or threat of harm, military or political events). The maximum benefit limit per occurrence per traveler has increased to $100,000 (from $50,000) subject to the aggregate limit of $2,000,000 (increased from $1,000,000). This benefit is payable only once for a traveler for any one occurrence.
- Out of Country Medical Expense Benefit – Added alleviation of pain coverage under dental treatment subject to a maximum benefit limit of $1,000 in addition dental treatment for injury.
- The ‘war risk’ exclusion has been removed from the UC student travel insurance policy (was already removed from the UC employee policy). The exclusion remains in effect for both the student and employee policies if travel is within the US or to Afghanistan, Belarus, Ethiopia, Iraq, Libya, Russia, Somalia, Ukraine, or Yemen.
Only Chubb and their contracted claims assessors can determine whether particular circumstances warrant a traveler to be eligible for any specific travel insurance policy benefit, including those summarized above. Claims are assessed based on all information available to the claims assessor at the time of assessment and all policy rules and exclusions. UC employees should refrain from telling travelers that they will be eligible for a certain benefit, or that a certain expense will be reimbursed, because eligibility is based on evidence submitted with the claim, which is outside UC’s control.
UC Travel Insurance web page will be updated to include the 2022-23 Benefit Summaries. This web page should continue to be the primary source for information and resources for international travelers on UC-affiliated travel.
The University contracts with iJET/Worldcue in order to provide travelers with real-time intelligence and alerts. The University asks employees who are traveling out-of-state and internationally to register their travel itinerary with iJET/Worldcue so they will receive real-time intelligence, notices, and alerts via email about political unrest, natural disasters, and health warnings affecting the areas where the travelers will be, as well as information about required immunizations, entry/exit, safety and security, language, transportation, weather, communications, legal and cultural issues, and currency exchange rates. This is a valuable resource when traveling in countries where information is tightly controlled and it can help employees avoid difficulties during a trip. For more information visit the iJET/Worldcue website.
Foreign Travel Risk Assessment
The travel planning process should include the identification of potential health and security risks involved in travel to foreign countries, the measures that can be taken to avoid them, and advance planning on how to respond to emergencies if and when they occur. For information on how to conduct a simple risk assessment, visit UCOP Risk Assessment Tools website.
Traveling with Minors
Traveling with minors entails an extra level of risk that must be addressed accordingly. For information about issues attendant to the participation of minors in University activities, please contact Risk Management.
Travel Planning Checklists
Standardized travel-planning checklists can provide travel planners with a list of things that should be considered during the planning process. A checklist might include the following:
- Goals & objectives
- Known risks; means of addressing them
- Information about local health, weather, cultural standards, social conditions, local traditions and beliefs
- Emergency response plan; emergency contacts
- Composition of field team in field research activities; emergency contact information
- Accommodations during travel to and from site and on-site
- Need for first-aid supplies and expertise
- Medical needs of travelers with pre-existing conditions
- Clothing, personal equipment, and field equipment
- Transportation before, during, and after returning from the event location
- Food and supplies on-site and during travel to and from the site
- Mandatory safety training in specific areas of risk applicable to the event as appropriate
- Necessary University forms
- Required documents for individual travelers: passports, visas, vaccinations, etc.
- State Department Alerts or Warnings
- State Department Checklist, which, in addition to providing a generic list of concerns that apply to travel to any location, also provides the means to link to information about your specific destination.
- Medical Preparation When Studying Abroad Checklist provides detailed information about how to be medically prepared for travel abroad.
- The UCR Field Research Page may also be helpful to travel planners.
If a department sponsors activities that include student travel to foreign countries, a Participant Agreement can be used to spell out the obligations of the University and the traveler and specify the terms and conditions of participation: program description, fees, cost of and information about transportation, food and lodging, scheduling, modification and termination of the agreement, standards of conduct, health and safety, insurance, mandatory activities, and any other requirements or critical information.
Participant Travel Guide
Departments that organize travel study programs abroad can prepare student guides that include information about the specific program and course of study as well as issues of general concern - travel arrangements, insurance, duties and customs, and cultural issues. This information can better prepare the participant and help maximize the learning experience and minimize unanticipated surprises. For more information on travel study, please visit Education Abroad program though International Affairs.
Prior to departure it may be useful to conduct an orientation meeting with attendance required for all participants. Review administrative matters and important information: contacts and addresses, including consulate contacts, clothing, transportation, lodging, local customs, money, personal health and safety, required documents, use of credit, telephones, communications, medical issues, required vaccinations, etc. Provide information specific to living in the destination country. Provide materials such as maps, practical living information, guidebooks and handbooks, links to relevant websites, including the State Department website. Provide information about the University’s travel insurance security and information service, iJET/Worldcue. Prepare and present an emergency preparedness plan.
Waiver of Liability
All individuals (with the exception of employees in the course and scope of their employment) who participate in University of California sponsored off-campus travel, classes, programs and activities must sign a Waiver of Liability, Assumption of Risk and Indemnity Agreement (Voluntary Activities). Departments that sponsor activities that involve off-campus travel are responsible for preparing the waiver and making certain that all participants sign and submit one before participating in the activity. For more information about waivers of liability, go to Waiver of Liability.
Emergency Information and Contacts
Departments can ask participants to provide information on the Emergency Information & Contacts form about who should be contacted in the event of an emergency and who their insurance carrier is.
The form also offers the participant the opportunity to advise the trip organizers of any allergies, dietary restrictions, or other conditions they have and any medications they may be required to take. It is important to review this information and to understand what, if anything, it will require of the employees leading the activity. If travel is to remote areas where certain vaccinations or immunizations are advisable, departments can ask the participant to show proof that they have gotten them. All this information is confidential and should only be shared with people who have a need to know.
The employee leading the trip should take the Emergency Information & Contacts form with them in case a participant is injured. If the completed Emergency Information & Contacts form is not needed, the campus department should destroy it when the trip is over. If the completed Emergency Information & Contacts form is used for one reason or another, it should be retained for three years after the trip is over. If the department has had to rely on the form, the hard copy must be retained.
Release & License to Use Image
Prior to making any public use of a participant’s image, departments must obtain a signed Release & License to Use Image, Name and/or Voice form from the participant. Sample forms can be found on the University Communications website.