Ensuring student safety is an institutional priority for Harvard Law School. Therefore, HLS has a set of required procedures for students undertaking international travel in relation to activities for which they receive HLS academic credit and/or Harvard funding. These international travel procedures are designed to protect students’ well-being and enable the university to provide tailored medical and security information and assistance prior to and during trips. As well, keeping track of student travel and projects abroad helps HLS better serve members of the community by facilitating connections among students and with organizations, and by securing and maintaining donor support for international initiatives.
We expect that all HLS students will follow the School’s international travel procedures and meet the requirements of sponsoring programs for projects abroad. Failure to do so in the specified timeframe may lead to revocation of funding or a student being deemed ineligible to apply for future HLS funding for projects abroad (those that would be conducted while enrolled at HLS and/or post-graduate fellowships). Actions deemed to be departures from generally accepted standards of integrity could result in referral to the HLS Administrative Board.
International Travel Requirements
All HLS students who are traveling abroad under HLS auspices—for HLS academic credit and/or with Harvard funding—must fulfill the requirements listed below prior to travel. In addition to these steps required for all HLS student travelers, there are additional requirements for students traveling under HLS auspices to high-risk areas.
HLS students should also review Harvard’s Graduate and Professional Student International Travel Policy.
1. Register the trip in the International SOS MyTrips platform.
Registration is required for all students traveling under Harvard auspices (that is, trips funded or arranged by the Law School or other parts of the University or resulting in academic credit) and strongly recommended for everyone. Registering enables the University to locate people quickly and provide assistance in the event of an emergency.
Students must create a profile in MyTrips, initially using their Harvard email address; students can then add an additional preferred email address to their profile. After creating their MyTrips profile, students can enter their trip details manually or forward their confirmed bookings to email@example.com. Entries should include the complete period of time abroad, including travel before, during, and after the primary program/project under Harvard auspices, and students should make sure the information stays up-to-date throughout travel.
2. Review, sign, and return the appropriate Assumption of Risk form to the sponsoring program at HLS.
Harvard University requires students traveling abroad to review, sign, and submit an Assumption of Risk form, which also includes emergency contact information. There are three different forms, each designed for a certain type of international travel. Students should carefully review the form descriptions to select the appropriate form for their travel.
3. Review International SOS and other relevant health and safety information and take appropriate steps.
Harvard Law School students traveling abroad for academic or professional reasons are covered by Harvard University’s International SOS membership. International SOS provides 24-hour worldwide emergency medical and security assistance and evacuation services. Please note that this program is a supplement to, not a substitute for, health insurance.
4. Obtain the necessary passport and visa.
Students traveling outside the United States need a passport both to leave and to reenter the U.S. Students who are U.S. citizens who do not have a passport must obtain one through an application process.
Most foreign countries require a visa to enter. Visa application requirements vary by country as well as the purpose of the visit, so students should look carefully at the requirements for their planned destination.
5. Examine Harvard’s COVID-19 and travel risk ratings to ensure that travel is permissible.
Review the Harvard COVID-19 travel guidance and verify that planned travel is permissible in accordance with university policy.
In addition, examine Harvard’s Global Support Services’ travel risk ratings, and seek necessary reviews as specified below.
Students who are considering travel to an area that is categorized as high-risk, during the period of the program/project under Harvard auspices, must both:
- Complete and submit the Questionnaire for Graduate Student Travel at least 30 days in advance* of the expected travel date (access to the document requires a HarvardKey log-in).
- Consult with a member of the Global Support Services safety and security team if requested to do so by GSS or HLS’ International Legal Studies.
These steps are required in order to obtain clearance for travel in conjunction with courses or clinics as well as independent travel, and applies for the duration of the placement or project abroad. Please be aware that HLS may advise against—and may even withhold support for—travel that is deemed to pose excessive risk.
* In the event that circumstances beyond a student’s control do not allow for at least 30 days’ advance notice, the student should contact International Legal Studies and provide a detailed explanation. If circumstances warrant, ILS will request an expedited review.
6. Attend information session and complete online orientation.
Students traveling during Winter Term or during the summer, for HLS academic credit and/or with Harvard funding, must also:
- Attend a mandatory international travel information session. For summer travel, these sessions are held in April. For Winter Term travel, the sessions are held in November.
- Complete the Global Support Services on-line orientation. This training session must be completed once per academic year.
Health and Safety
Be sure to review our Health and Safety pages for the information you’ll need before and during your travels.
Additional Considerations for International Students
Unlike U.S. citizens and permanent residents, international students at HLS may face difficulties when traveling abroad and returning to the U.S. during their studies. Before making a commitment to travel outside the U.S., international students should carefully review the travel information provided by the Harvard International Office (HIO), and speak to an HIO advisor.
Contacts and Resources
These offices and contacts may be helpful as you explore the many frameworks for travel abroad, including study abroad, clinical projects, independent research and writing projects, summer public interest internships, law firm summer associateships, student organization trips, and faculty-led courses.
Research Programs and Centers
International Legal Studies (ILS)
During the academic year, Sara Zucker holds office hours on Tuesdays from 10:00 to 11:30 am and Thursdays from 2:00 to 3:00 pm in Wasserstein 5005. Office hours are a chance for students to ask questions or consult about their plans, and are held on a drop-in basis; no appointment is needed. In addition, Sara is happy to meet with students at other mutually convenient times, either in person or over Zoom. To schedule a meeting outside of regular office hours, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Global Support Services
In addition to taking the mandatory steps listed above, take time to explore the travel tools provided on the Harvard Global Support Services website. The site offers links to a broad range of information and resources, updates on immigration changes and airline rules, and advice ranging from traveling with medications to apps to make your life easier while you are abroad.
Before you travel, the International Safety & Security team can provide guidance regarding safety in general, as well as concerns specific to your destination’s culture, your reason for travel, and your background, gender, race, sexual orientation, or gender-identity. Contact email@example.com to set up a consultation.