High Risk Travel

Petition Process

High-Risk Destinations refers to countries, regions and cities under current U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings.

The term also includes locations that pose health, safety and security concerns as indicated on the university’s global travel support provider’s list of countries related as either HIGH (risk level 4) or SEVERE (risk level 5), or areas garnering a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Travel Notice Warning Level 3. The university reserves the right in its sole discretion to designate other locations as “high-risk.”

Students are not permitted to travel to High-Risk Destinations. However, the university recognizes there might be a rare and compelling reasons to consider an exception to the travel policy’s prohibition for a “high-risk” travel.

All travelers considering sponsored travel to a “high risk” destination must petition the International Safety and Security Advisory Council (ISSAC) for consideration and recommendation to the Provost or Senior Vice President regarding approval for the travel. You must also consult the International Security Specialist located in NUPD for a pre-travel country risk assessment.  If students are able to provide a thorough plan for both assessing and mitigating the risks of traveling to the chosen destination, they may petition for an exception to the restriction.

The petition process is designed to make travelers aware of the potential risks in their proposed high-risk destination and connect travelers with the appropriate support mechanisms to minimize potential travel disruptions.

What is “high risk” travel?

The university’s Policy on International Travel uses three indicators to determine if a country, city, or region presents a “high risk” to travelers.

  1. Countries with current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories levels three and four.
  2. Countries and cities designated with a risk rating of “High” (Level Four) or “Very High” (Level Five) by WorldAware, the university’s international response provider.
  3. Areas or regions under a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Travel Notice Warning Level 3.

Visit this webpage for a list of high-risk destination. The University reserves the right as its sole discretion to designate other locations as “high-risk.”

Please contact your program or NUPD’s International Security Office to learn more about the university’s requirements for sponsored travel to high risk destinations.

Requirements for seeking an exception to travel to a “High Risk” destination:

  • To facilitate visiting a high-risk location, an Exception Petition must be submitted to the International Safety and Security Assessment Committee (ISSAC).
  • Information and guidance regarding the submission of an Exception Petition is available in the Global Experience Office (GEO)
  • All students seeking an Exception Petition need to submit their completed Petition at least two months in advance of their intended travel.
  • Information regarding “high risk locations” is outlined in the International Travel Policy.
  • The Exception Petition Form, which can be found at the Documents and Forms page, should be completed in consultation with and the assistance of your faculty or co-op advisor.
  • Click to see examples of completed individual, home country, and group petitions.


The university maintains a dynamic list of countries, cities and regions within a country that are consider high-risk according to the university’s Policy on International Travel.  The list is located here.

Academic or business travel taken by Northeastern faculty, staff, administrators, and students authorized, funded, coordinated, or administered, by Northeastern University. Such travel may include but is not limited to teaching, research, consulting, coop, service, administrative work, field studies, volunteer work, performances, athletic contests, and trips abroad in connection with any university recognized student organization, academic or administrative unit.

Your program office and the GEO International Travel Coordinators, can help answer general questions.

The NUPD International Safety will help walk each petitioner though the process and can help answer questions regarding evacuation plans, emergency protocols, etc.  ISO can be reached at mytravelplans@northeastern.edu.