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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

Check with your insurance company regarding their international coverage. Cornell’s endowed health insurance plans (Ithaca, Weill and NYC Tech) administered by Aetna provide enhanced coverage for international travel.
Students must be covered by an active health insurance policy throughout the duration of their formal experience abroad and any periods of travel before or after. 

  • Students enrolled in the Cornell Student Health Plan (SHP) are covered worldwide at the level required. Learn more at SHP Care Outside of Ithaca. Please note: like most policies, SHP 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 SHP, 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. You will need to verify that your alternate health insurance meets the requirements for coverage, is valid in the locations where you will be traveling and for the duration of your off-campus experience.
    • If your alternate insurance is insufficient, you can get SHP for the year (simply do not submit a waiver in the summer). Students studying abroad in the spring may obtain SHP for the semester by indicating you 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 SHP, 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 so you may need to provide proof of additional coverage. It is not unusual for a student to be covered by two or three policies while abroad.
  •  NOTE: Even when you have international insurance, you should be prepared to pay out-of-pocket and then submit a claim for reimbursement from your insurance company.

Preparing for Health Concerns

The Travel Clinic at Cornell Health:  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.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a key resource.

The World Health Organization provides information about health around the world.
  • Find information about the flu or any other health-related concerns in the country where you are planning to study or travel.



Your safety is the most important aspect of your experience abroad. Students who are U.S. citizens are required to register in STEP, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This allows you to enroll your trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. 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. Wherever possible, non-U.S. citizens should register with their embassy in the country in which they are living.
Study Abroad Participants: If you have any questions regarding your safety for international travel, please contact the Cornell Abroad Office directly at 607.255.6224.

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.
Information for Women Travelers

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. 
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. Many Cornell programs (Cornell Abroad, college exchanges, Cornell Commitment, Global Health, CIIFAD, et al.) include the registry as part of the internal Cornell application. To learn more and to register, go to
  • Register your Summer Study Abroad 
  • 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, including but not limited to those for which the U.S. State Department has issued a “Travel Warning” must complete an ITART application. For a list of countries for which an ITART application is required, see 
Register with the State Department
  • 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 09/06/2017