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Travel Safety

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International Travel Safety



Emergency Medical Assistance

Safety and Security


Travel Registry



In an EMERGENCY involving a student abroad, please contact the Cornell Police 607-255-1111, and they will alert one of our staff.

Cornell faculty, students and staff are covered by UnitedHealthcare Global Emergency Assistance when traveling abroad on university business. UHC Global provides emergency evacuation assistance, medical referrals worldwide, and travel-related assistance in emergency situations; it is not health insurance. All Cornell community members are covered by this emergency medical and travel assistance program from the first day the travel begins until the last day of the month in which their program ends. Any Cornell community member may purchase additional coverage if they plan to stay longer or if they are traveling internationally for personal or non-Cornell reasons. Please contact UnitedHealthcare Global Sales at 1-800-732-5309 or go to if you would like to purchase a similar plan. 

Print a card with the Cornell ID# and carry it with you. Create a free account on UHC Global to access valuable health, safety and security information for each country in the world.


  1. Seek care immediately
  2. Call UHC Global via country-specific toll-free number on card or collect at 410-453-6330. Provide the Cornell ID number (343211)
  3. UHC Global will evaluate the situation and will assist you. UHC Global will alert Cornell University


Health Insurance while abroad
Students must be covered by an active health insurance policy throughout their semester or year before and any periods of travel before or after. 

As registered Cornell students while studying abroad, students should have coverage that meets the following criteria:

  1. Provide coverage for medically necessary care (NOT just emergency care) while abroad
  2. Cover pre-existing conditions
  3. Cover you in your host country and during your travels while you are abroad
  4. Have a maximum benefit of at least $500,000 per year
  5. Have coverage when you return from study abroad that will cover any condition contracted abroad
  6. Provide inpatient and outpatient mental health coverage

Students must affirm that they have insurance to Cornell Abroad in an on-line questionnaire which is part of their application.  Students who have SHIP (see below) need only identify their enrollment.

  • Students enrolled on the Cornell Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) are covered outside the United States at the level required.  Please note that like most policies, SHIP reimburses students up to a percentage of the total cost of approved health care expenses.  Students will be expected to pay any up-front costs.
  • If you are covered by a policy other than SHIP, make sure that the level of coverage does not decrease when you are overseas.  If so, find out whether you can obtain a rider to attain the necessary level of coverage.  If this is not possible, you can get SHIP for the year (simply do not submit a waiver in the summer) or you can obtain SHIP in the spring, by indicating your need to add this coverage on the Medical & Accident Insurance form and by completing an additional insurance form that will be provided by Cornell Abroad.  Please note that once you sign up for SHIP, you cannot waive or drop the policy.
  • Study Abroad programs may provide or require their own insurance coverage.  In most cases this coverage does NOT meet Cornell's requirements.  It is not unusual for a student to be covered by two or three policies while abroad.

Preparing for Health Concerns
Gannett Health Services Travel Clinic:  As you plan your travel to study abroad, follow health recommendations offered by Cornell University's Travel Medicine Team.  The Travel Clinic can provide immunizations (you should schedule these in advance) along with advice and suggestions targeted for your program's exact location and your time of travel.
CDC:  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a key resource.

World Health Organization: For information about the flu in the country in which you are planning to study or any other health-related concerns.


Your safety is the most important aspect of your experience abroad. These links provide usual information on the subject of safety and security as does the pre-departure orientation video. If you have any questions regarding your safety for international travel please contact the Cornell Abroad Office directly at 

U.S. Citizens are required to register in the SMART Traveler Enrollment Program. Keep your travel plans updated.  With STEP, you will receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans.  Non-U.S. citizens should register, if possible, with their embassy in the country they are living in.

Use the following links to learn more about safety and security abroad:

U.S. State Department
U.S. Department of State: Offers a consular information web page site for every country in the world and current travel warnings. Also a great resource for international educational and cultural affairs, including information about living abroad.
Country-Specific Information
U.S. Travel Warnings
Tips for Student Travelers: An excellent website from the Department of State designed specifically for students who plan to travel and/or study abroad. Among other things, the site includes information about safety abroad and medical insurance for traveling abroad.

Additional Resources
A Primer on Situational Awareness: A great article on the varying degrees of awareness and understanding of safety and security while traveling abroad. 
Cultural, Health and Safety Advice for Women: Tips on the different experiences that women may encounter when traveling abroad.

The World at Your Fingertips: Safety Issues: A helpful website in considering safety issues abroad by the Center for International Education at the University of California, Irvine.

Your Student Handbook is an important reference regarding safety and security issues. Refer to it to answer questions regarding passports, visas, personal safety and more.  Students on short-term, internship, or volunteer programs should refer to the The Venture Abroad Handbook.


Many programs managed or facilitated by Cornell University offer specific pre-departure programming.  Students must follow program requirements regarding pre-departure orientation.
Independent travelers may refer to the following generic pre-departure presentation.


Register with Cornell
  • All undergraduate and graduate students are required to register their travel if they are not using a program application tied to the registry.  Many Cornell programs (Cornell Abroad, College exchanges, Cornell Commitment, Global Health, CIFAAD, etc.) include the registry as part of the internal Cornell application.  For more information on the Travel Registry, click here.  To register, go to
  • Register Summer Study Abroad here
  • The International Travel Advisory and Response Team (ITART) reviews travel to countries that are designated as "high risk" by the U.S. State Department and/or the University's emergency assistance provider.  Undergraduate and graduate students traveling to high risk countries* must complete an ITART application.For a list of countries for which an ITART application is required, see
Register with the State Department (or if you are not a U.S. citizen register with your local embassy in the country where you are traveling)


GSA Partner

Cornell Abroad 300 Caldwell Hall Ithaca, NY 14853 p: 607.255.6224 f: 607.255.8700

In an EMERGENCY for a student abroad, call the Cornell Police: 607.255.1111
Last modified 08/14/2017