ALERT: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and UBC Student Travel

In March 2020, UBC made the difficult decision to cancel all student travel internationally for university purposes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After careful consideration, UBC is extending this cancellation until 31 December 2020. This includes international programs like exchange and co-operative education, student research placements (both undergraduate and graduate), practicums and conference attendance. This decision is in line with the current advice of BC CDC and Global Affairs Canada. It follows guidelines outlined in UBC’s Student Safety Abroad Policy

If you planned on travelling abroad during Winter Session Term 1, you are encouraged to work with your program to explore alternatives to international travel. If this is not possible and you are a student in a graduate or professional program, you may request special authorization to travel through Student Safety Abroad (please read below for more information on the process). To receive authorization you must demonstrate that the trip is academically essential and present a well-developed safety plan. Please visit the Student Safety Abroad website to learn more about this process.  

UBC will continue to monitor the situation and government directives as they evolve, sharing any updates on student international travel as they become available.

For more information on UBC's response to COVID-19 please visit: 


UBC values international learning and encourages students to seek out these opportunities. UBC has a responsibility (Student Safety Abroad Policy) to make sure everyone engages in safer travel practices and operates the Safety Abroad Program.

If you’re traveling outside of Canada for university activity, you’ll need to complete UBC's travel authorization requirements. Travel for a “university activity” includes academic purposes including any activity required for academic credit, or financially sponsored or supported by UBC. Travel typically includes exchanges, research, internships, co-op placements, conference attendance, field study, and volunteering.

Travel to different destinations require different steps, depending on risk levels. UBC uses Global Affairs Canada’s travel advisories to assess the risk level of a destination. 

Low-risk destinations are those with an advisory that says travellers should practice normal or increased security precautions. Students travelling to low-risk destinations need to:

  • Review the online pre-departure          
  • Make sure you have travel insurance to cover emergency medical
  • Complete the student safety abroad registry
  • Use the travel check-list

High-risk destinations are those with an advisory that say travellers should avoid non-essential or all travel. Students travelling to high-risk destinations need to: 

  • Review the online pre-departure
  • Make sure you have emergency medical travel insurance that covers travel to destinations under a high-risk travel advisory issued by a government
  • Complete the student safety abroad registry
  • Use the travel checklist
Get special authorization with the Safety Abroad Advisor and your faculty. To get special authorization,you will be required to complete a Safety Planning Record ( template available in the registry) outlining the following:
  • The academic necessity of completing travel to the destination
  • The student’s familiarity with the destination
  • A thorough risk-mitigation plan
Students submit their record to the Student Safety Abroad Advisor for review and consultation. The Student Safety Abroad Advisor coordinates with faculty for approval. 

Student Safety Abroad Registry

All students travelling internationally for university activity are required to complete the Student Safety Abroad Registry. We use the information collected to ensure that students prepare for a safer trip abroad, and can so that we can effectively assist in the event of an emergency. In the registry, you will be asked to enter your trip information and complete the Student Mobility Agreement. The agreement outlines the risks associated with international travel and the responsibilities of students travelling abroad

Completing the registry should take about 15 minutes. Before you begin, make sure you have:

  • Valid passport
  • Emergency contact information
  • Travel insurance policy provider and number
  • Local contact information ( your host organization if applicable and accommodation information)

You can save your registry entry and complete it later if you do not have all of the information available.