April 7, 2021

Current policy

The current MIT travel policy will remain in effect until June 1, 2021. The future policy, outlined below, allows more travel in some conditions and more travel for certain community members.

We are posting the future policy in advance so that students, staff, and faculty can make informed decisions about potential travel during summer 2021, keeping in mind the new guidelines and assumptions. As always, we urge travelers to stay informed of changing local conditions and restrictions and exercise caution and good judgment.

Note: All MIT community members must register their MIT-related travel through Covid Travel and are encouraged to register their personal travel as well.

Travel reentry

MIT community members who have traveled outside of Massachusetts for more than 24 hours and who reside or work on campus must be tested for Covid through a PCR test immediately upon their return. Individuals authorized to test using Covid Pass may take this test through MIT’s testing operations at Johnson Athletic Center or MIT Medical.

  • Campus residents should remain in quarantine in their residence hall until receiving a negative test result.
  • All others should quarantine at home until receiving a negative test result. Employees who can work remotely are expected to do so during this quarantine period; employees who cannot work remotely may use any of their remaining Covid-19 sick time while quarantining and waiting for the result.

After receiving the negative result and returning to campus, community members will return to their normal testing cadence and continue to follow all Covid-19 safety procedures, including wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

Persons who have been completely vaccinated for Covid-19, having waited two weeks since their second dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or two weeks after their single dose of the Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) vaccine — and who do not have symptoms — can return to their residence or work site immediately. They should test on their first day back but do not need to quarantine while they wait for a negative test result and so should resume work on site.

After the test on the first day back to campus or at the work site, these individuals will also return to their normal testing cadence and continue to follow all Covid-19 safety procedures, including wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

Guidance at a glance (effective through 6/1/21)

Undergraduate studentsGraduate studentsAdministrative staffFaculty, research staff, and postdocs
“Local” travel (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT)Follow MA Covid-19 guidelines and local/state destination guidelines

Register MIT-related travel.

If you are in Covid Pass/regularly access campus, register overnight travel or travel that will cause you to miss a Covid-19 test.
Follow MA Covid-19 guidelines and local/state destination guidelines

Register MIT-related travel.

If you are in Covid Pass/regularly access campus, register overnight travel or travel that will cause you to miss a Covid-19 test.
Follow MA Covid-19 guidelines and local/state destination guidelines

Register MIT-related travel.

If you are in Covid Pass/regularly access campus, register overnight travel or travel that will cause you to miss a Covid-19 test.
Follow MA Covid-19 guidelines and local/state destination guidelines

Register MIT-related travel.

If you are in Covid Pass/regularly access campus, register overnight travel or travel that will cause you to miss a Covid-19 test.
MIT-related domesticSuspended; no exceptionsSuspended; exception process for essential travelSuspended; exception process for essential travelStrongly discouraged
MIT-related internationalSuspended; no exceptionsSuspended; exception process for essential travelSuspended; exception process for essential travelSuspended unless:
– Staying abroad for 30+ days
– Working 100% remotely with no plans to return to campus
Exception process for essential travel
Personal domesticStrongly discouraged. If you are in Covid Pass/regularly access campus, register your travel.Strongly discouraged. If you are in Covid Pass/regularly access campus, register your travel.Strongly discouraged. If you are in Covid Pass/regularly access campus, register your travel.Strongly discouraged. If you are in Covid Pass/regularly access campus, register your travel.
Personal internationalStrongly discouraged. If you are in Covid Pass/regularly access campus, register your travel.Strongly discouraged. If you are in Covid Pass/regularly access campus, register your travel.Strongly discouraged. If you are in Covid Pass/regularly access campus, register your travel.Strongly discouraged. If you are in Covid Pass/regularly access campus, register your travel.

Guidance for all travelers

All MIT travelers are asked to adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Travelers should abide by local governmental, U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and U.S. State Department guidelines and take appropriate precautions.
  2. You are required to register your travel through the MIT Travel Registry if:
    1. You are in Covid Pass and have regular access to MIT’s campus. This includes:
      1. Personal international and domestic travel
      2. Overnight “local” travel (out-of-state but within New England) and
      3. Any travel that will cause you to miss a required Covid test or
    2. Your travel is MIT-related. MIT-related travel is:
      1. Travel funded entirely or in part by MIT sources
      2. Travel organized primarily by MIT (e.g., MIT selects the participants)
      3. Travel conducted at the behest of MIT or in furtherance of MIT objectives
      4. Travel related to scholarly activities (whether paid for by MIT or not) and/or
      5. Travel that requires the use of MIT equipment, supplies, or personnel
  3. “Local” travel within the six New England states (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont) is only allowed to the extent that it conforms to the latest Massachusetts Covid guidelines. Travelers should consult Massachusetts guidelines as well as the guidelines in place at their final destination.
  4. Personal domestic (outside of New England states) travel and personal international travel are strongly discouraged.
  5. Non-local travelers must adhere to MIT’s post-travel reentry policies, as described at the top of this page.
  6. Whenever possible/allowable, all MIT-related travel should be booked through booked through MIT’s preferred provider, the Travel Collaborative (domestic and international booking).

Student travel

All MIT-related undergraduate student travel is suspended until further notice. This includes both domestic and international travel. No exceptions will be made.

All MIT-related graduate student travel is suspended until further notice. This includes both domestic and international travel. Exceptions may be made for essential domestic and international travel. The exceptions process requires endorsement from the student’s PI or advisor and DLC head, a risk review by the High-Risk Travel Committee, and approval by the vice chancellor.

These restrictions may not apply to students who are local to specific programs (e.g., international students already living abroad who wish to participate in an education abroad program); these cases would need to be evaluated before MIT endorses participation.

Administrative staff travel

All MIT-related staff travel is suspended until further notice. This includes both domestic and international travel. Exceptions may be made for essential domestic and international travel. The exceptions process requires endorsement from the staff member’s direct supervisor, a risk review by the High-Risk Travel Committee, and approval by the relevant Academic Council member.

Faculty, research staff, and postdoc travel

All MIT-related domestic travel is strongly discouraged. All MIT-related international travel is suspended until further notice unless one of the following criteria is met:

  • The traveler will be staying abroad for 30 days or more.
  • The traveler is working remotely 100 percent of the time and has no immediate plans to return to campus.

If neither of those criteria is met, exceptions may be made for essential international travel with the endorsement of the relevant PI or department head, a risk review by the High-Risk Travel Committee, and the approval of the Deans’ Council and vice president for research.

High-Risk Travel Committee

MIT’s High-Risk Travel Committee reviews all exception requests and provides a recommendation to the appropriate decision-maker(s). Committee members bring a depth and breadth of expertise in the areas of risk management, international programming, medicine, and public health.

Exceptions process for essential travel

Exceptions may be made in the case of essential travel for all travelers except for undergraduates (as noted above).

Essential travel is defined as travel that:

  • Advances critical research in the national or global interest.
  • Preserves the continuity of research that cannot be repeated, replaced, performed remotely or by proxy, or that is necessary to preserve the safety/well-being of research subjects.
  • Supports a critical MIT research, educational, or administrative/operational function that cannot be deferred or accomplished remotely.
  • For graduate students, maintains progress toward academic degree and that cannot be postponed, replaced, or accomplished remotely or by proxy.

Individuals with essential travel needs must apply for an exception. Requests with the required endorsements will be reviewed by the MIT High-Risk Travel Committee and then forwarded to the appropriate individual or group for a final decision.

Undergraduate studentsGraduate studentsAdministrative staffFaculty, research staff, and postdocs
Exception required for:No exceptions allowedEssential domestic and international travelEssential domestic and international travelEssential international travel
Required endorsementNo exceptions allowedPI or advisor and DLC headDirect supervisorDLC head or PI
Risk review and recommendationNo exceptions allowedHigh-Risk Travel CommitteeHigh-Risk Travel CommitteeHigh-Risk Travel Committee
Final decisionNo exceptions allowedVice chancellorRelevant Academic Council memberDeans’ Council and vice president for research

About the process

The decision to extend the suspension of most MIT-related travel resulted from a process that included recommendations from an ad-hoc committee of faculty and staff; community feedback from students, staff, and faculty; and input from MIT Medical and MIT Emergency Management Services. The final policy was adopted by MIT’s senior administration. Exceptions may be made for some travelers under certain circumstances.

This travel guidance is supplemental to existing/normal Institute travel policies and is subject to change at any time based on local, national, and/or global public health conditions and governmental restrictions.

Summer MIT travel policy, effective June 1, 2021

As the Covid-19 pandemic remains a serious risk here and across the globe, a modified Covid-19 travel policy will remain in effect. This is in addition to MIT’s existing International Travel Risk Policy. The policy below will go into effect on June 1, 2021, replacing the current policy outlined above.

We are posting the future policy in advance so that students, staff, and faculty can make informed decisions about potential travel during summer 2021, keeping in mind the new guidelines and assumptions.

While MIT policy may permit travel to some countries by some community members, we anticipate that the global travel landscape will remain volatile for some time to come. In particular, international travel will be extremely complicated at best and essentially unfeasible in many instances.

MIT travelers should understand the Covid testing, quarantine, and/or vaccination requirements imposed by their transportation provider and/or destination. We urge all travelers to understand the risks and local conditions, carefully plan for contingencies, and exercise great caution while in transit and once they arrive at their destination.

Guidance at a glance

Please note that all MIT-related travel must be registered in Covid Travel. Travelers should be aware that, if the CDC or DOS risk level for your destination changes prior to departure, you may be required to request an exception or you may need to postpone or cancel your trip. Travelers are urged to plan accordingly. Planning resources for travelers are available on the ICC website.

International travel

Step one: CDC Covid risk assessment

Please refer to the CDC website for updated country Covid-19 risk ratings.

Travel to countries with CDC Covid risk level 1 or 2: Low or moderate riskUndergraduate students: Not allowed except with approved programs or via exception process for essential travel

Graduate students/staff/faculty/postdocs: Allowed
Travel to countries with CDC Covid risk level 3 or 4: High or very high riskUndergraduate students: Not allowed; no exceptions

Graduate students/staff/faculty/postdocs: Not allowed except via exception process for essential travel

Step two: Department of State risk assessment

If travel is allowable by the policy above, undergraduate and graduate students should then check the Department of State (DOS) website for the overall risk rating of their destination. (This rating takes into account a wider variety of factors including crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and natural disasters, along with other non-Covid health risks).

If the country is a DOS level 3 or 4 (high or very high risk), undergraduate and graduate students must apply for a high-risk travel waiver. Staff and faculty members may travel to DOS level 3 and 4 countries with no exceptions required.

Local and domestic MIT-related travel

Local travel (within the 6 New England states of CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT): Allowed for all (undergraduate students, graduate students, staff, faculty, and postdocs). Follow Commonwealth guidelines or guidelines of your originating location.
Domestic travel by undergraduate students: Not allowed except with approved programs or exception process for essential individual travel.
Domestic travel by graduate students/staff/faculty/postdocs: Allowed

Personal travel

Use personal judgment and register travel (encouraged).

The exception process for essential travel is outlined above in the current policy.