The university recognizes there might be a rare and compelling reasons to consider an exception to the travel policy's prohibition for a “high-risk” travel. The petition process is designed to make travelers aware of the potential risks in their proposed high-risk destination and connect travelers with the appropriate support mechanisms to minimize potential travel disruptions.

Requirements for seeking an exception to the university's Policy on International Travel for university-sponsored travel to a "High Risk" destination:

  • To facilitate visiting a high-risk location, an Exception Petition must be submitted to the International Safety and Security Assessment Committee (ISSAC).
  • Information and guidance regarding the submission of an Exception Petition is available in the Global Experience Office (GEO)
  • All students seeking an Exception Petition need to submit their completed Petition at least two months in advance of their intended travel.
  • Information regarding “high risk locations” is outlined in the International Travel Policy. The current list of high risk locations can be found here.
  • The Exception Petition Form, which can be found at the Documents and Forms page, should be completed in consultation with and the assistance of your faculty or co-op advisor.
  • Examples of completed individual and group petitions can be found here.

FAQ's for Petition Process

Northeastern University's Policy on International Travel requires the following:


  1. All university–sponsored international travel must be authorized by an immediate supervisor in advance of the travel.
  2. International travel in connection with sponsored research must follow the guidelines stated on the Office of Research Administration and Finance's (ORAF) (Click here for ORAF's Guidelines and Travel Checklist). There may be other restrictions when using sponsored funds. Please contact your ORAF representative and refer to the Policy on Travel & Expense Reimbursement.
  3. Staff and administrators may not travel to “high-risk” destinations on university-sponsored travel without approval for an exception to the travel policy.  Travelers must approval from their immediate supervisor and Senior Vice President, or designee, following consultation with the International Security Specialist in NUPD.
  4. No person in any category of traveler shall be required to travel to a location designated as a “high-risk” location.


  1. All staff and administrators are required to enter their travel plans in the Travel Registry.
    • Registered travelers will be eligible for insurance coverage, emergency assistance and other services.
    • Failure to register may impact access to and eligibility for such services, as well as travel expense reimbursement.
  2. Evaluation and recommendations regarding trip interruption and/or evacuation/recall will be made by ISSAC. Staff or administrators who fail to heed the instruction to interrupt or evacuate:
    • do so at their own risk,
    • may forfeit emergency travel insurance coverage, academic credit, tuition payments or expense reimbursement, and
    • may be held responsible for additional expense incurred by the university due to the individual’s refusal to follow policy.


  1. CONNECTIVITY: Group leaders traveling with students as well as all travelers to “high-risk” locations and sanctioned territories must have reliable mobile or satellite phones or other communication devices approved by ISSAC that operate in the planned country(ies) visited.
  2. EXPORT CONTROLS: Travelers must comply with applicable laws and the university’s Export Control Policy and make appropriate notifications as outlined in the Policy on Export Control.



The university's Policy on International Travel uses three indicators to determine if a country, city, or region presents a "high risk" to travelers.

  1. Countries with current U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings.
  2. Countries and cities designated with a risk rating of "High" (Level Four) or "Very High" (Level Five) by WorldAware, the university's international response provider.
  3. Areas or regions under a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Travel Notice Warning Level 3.

Visit this webpage for a list of high-risk destination. The University reserves the right as its sole discretion to designate other locations as “high-risk.”

Please contact your program or NUPD's International Security Office to learn more about the university's requirements for sponsored travel to high risk destinations.


ISSAC is the International Safety and Security Assessment Committee. It is charged with providing advice, guidance, and recommendations to the Provost and Senior Vice Presidents in response to circumstances that present a safety concern where Northeastern community members are, or will be, participating in a university-approved activity. The ISSAC also proactively makes recommendations in response to changing world conditions regarding programs still in the planning stages.


Any University related travel to countries found on the following lists require submission of an ISSAC Petition: US Department of State’s list of travel warning countries, WorldAware’s Watch List of countries considered either HIGH (risk level 4) or SEVERE risk (risk level 5), and The Center for Disease Control travel notices.


GEO International Travel Coordinators, can help answer general questions. We can be reached at Khushal Safi, the University’s International Security Specialist, can help answer questions regarding evacuation plans, emergency protocols, etc. He can be reached at or (617) 373-3212.


It is best to complete and submit your Petition as soon as you know you intend to travel to a country requiring ISSAC review. Two months is recommended.


No two Petitions are the same and some may require more time to review than others,however, once all the necessary information has been submitted and the Petition is complete, the committee will work to review and provide an answer within 2 weeks.


Regardless of one’s country of origin, if you are traveling to a country deemed “high risk” on a University related program or trip, you are required to submit a Petition.


ISSAC will make its recommendations to the Provost or appropriate Senior Vice President who will issue the final decision. There are no appeals.