Last updated: July 26, 2021

As the Covid-19 pandemic remains a serious risk 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.

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 complicated at best and essentially unfeasible in many instances. 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.

Effective June 1, 2021, Covid-19 vaccination is required for MIT-related domestic and international travel. This requirement applies to undergraduate and graduate students, staff, faculty, and postdocs. The requirement does not apply to local travel (within the six New England states) or to MIT travelers with an approved medical or religious exemption from the vaccination requirement. MIT employees who have been granted a remote work exemption from the vaccination requirement are not eligible for MIT-related travel.

MIT community members who travel outside of Massachusetts for more than 24 hours and who reside or work on campus should consult the travel reentry policy for more details on testing and quarantine requirements.

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 Department of State 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.

Local and domestic MIT-related travel

Local travel and domestic travel are allowed for all with no exceptions required (undergraduate students, graduate students, staff, faculty, and postdocs). Local travel is travel within the six New England states of CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Travelers should follow Commonwealth guidelines or guidelines of the originating location.

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 riskUndergraduates/graduate students/staff/faculty/postdocs: Allowed for all
Travel to countries with CDC Covid risk level 3 or 4: High or very high riskUndergraduate and graduate students: Not allowed except with approved programs or exception process for essential individual travel

Staff/faculty/postdocs: Allowed

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) for reasons other than Covid-19, 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. If you are uncertain which application form to use, please contact the contact the High Risk Travel Committee for assistance.

Personal travel

Use personal judgment and register travel (encouraged).

Individuals traveling to campus to start the school year are not required to secure an exception, but should consult the re-entry policy for further instructions.

Exceptions process for essential travel

Exceptions may be made in the case of essential travel, 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.
  • Maintains progress toward academic degree and that cannot be postponed, replaced, or accomplished remotely or by proxy.

Students with essential travel needs to CDC or DOS level 3 or 4 countries 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 vice chancellor for a final decision.

Undergraduate and graduate students
Exception required for:Essential international travel to countries with CDC Covid risk level 3 and 4 OR Department of State risk level 3 or 4

Note: Travel with MIT-approved programs does not require an individual exception
Required endorsementDLC head, PI, or advisor
Risk review and recommendationHigh-Risk Travel Committee
Final decisionVice chancellor

If you have questions about travel, or any other Covid-related policies, please email covidapps-help@mit.edu.