MIT International Travel Risk Policy

For questions on how the International Travel Risk Policy applies for your travel, contact Todd Holmes (

As of September 19, 2017

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that all members of the MIT community are able to make well-informed travel decisions.  No one will be coerced or required to travel to or remain in locations where there are significantly heightened health or safety risks.

The following guidelines outline definitions of MIT international travel, the various levels of travel warnings, and the policies that apply to international travel for MIT.  Student travel may be restricted as outlined further by this policy. 

MIT uses the best available sources for assessing risk, including travel advisories from: 

Who is Affected by this Policy
The International Travel Risk Policy applies to any member of the MIT community travelling out of the United States for MIT business.  This is defined as any program or activity that is required or run by the Institute or financially supported through any MIT account.

Any member of the MIT community (faculty, staff and students) who is traveling wholly for personal reasons and without financial support by MIT (i.e., without funding through any MIT account) is not subject to MIT’s travel policy.  Individual discretion governs decisions regarding personal travel.

Faculty, staff and students who combine travel on MIT business with travel to their home country for personal reasons must sign MIT’s Travel Risk Acknowledgement Form but should use their individual discretion regarding decisions to travel to areas on the travel warning lists.

Travel Warnings
MIT categorizes international destinations by three warnings:

A.   Extreme Travel Warning
This applies to countries or areas where any of the following conditions apply:

  • DoS personnel and/or their families have been ordered to leave and/or services are not available at US Embassies or consulates.
  • The DoS, CDC and/or WHO have determined that there is a very serious health risk and therefore prohibit travel and/or require quarantine before or upon re-entry to the U.S. 

B.   High Travel Warning
This applies to countries or areas where any of the following conditions apply:

  • DoS personnel and/or their family are authorized to leave
  • US citizens are urged to delay all but essential travel
  • Only emergency or intermittent services are available at U.S. embassies or consulates, and even they may not be available.
  • DoS, CDC and/or WHO find there is a serious health risk and inadequate medical care, and urge a delay of all but essential travel. 

C.  Moderate Travel Warning
This applies to countries or areas where either of the following conditions apply:

  • Full services are available at US embassies or consulates but US citizens are urged to delay all but essential travel based on specific events/risks.
  • DoS, CDC and/or WHO find there is a serious health risk and urge delay in all but essential travel but do not find inadequate health care.

The table below identifies countries with extreme, high, or moderate travel warnings. Updates are made on a weekly basis.  Members of the MIT community are urged to check the DoS, CDC, WHO, and OFAC web pages for more current information.


How Extreme and High Travel Warnings affect MIT faculty, staff and students:

All MIT Community Members

  • MIT strongly urges ALL MIT travelers to fully understand the risks and to not travel to Extreme and High Travel Warning locales.  This includes places where MIT’s Travel Insurance coverage is unavailable. 
  • No one may be required or coerced to travel to any location with an Extreme, High or Moderate travel warning.

Faculty and Staff

Student travel is NOT permitted to locations with Extreme or High travel warnings, unless a travel risk policy waiver is granted via the following process.

  • Students may be granted a waiver from the Chancellor, with recommendation from the Dean for Undergraduate Education, the Dean for Student Life, or the Dean of Graduate Students upon completion and review of the MIT Student High Risk Policy Waiver Application.

The Program Manager for International Health and Safety, The Office of the General Counsel, The Office of Insurance and the MIT Medical Department serve in an advisory role on the recommendation of a travel waiver.


How the Moderate Travel Warning affects MIT faculty, staff and students:

All MIT Community Members

  • MIT urges all members of the MIT community to heed DoS/ CDC/ WHO travel warnings and not to travel to these locales, but faculty, staff and students are free to make their own informed decisions.  No one may be required or coerced to travel (e.g., by a faculty member, supervisor or advisor).


  • Students must also agree not to travel to or through any Extreme or High Risk Travel warning areas or to an area/region where DoS personnel are required or authorized to leave. They are required to follow any specific guidelines of the DoS regarding methods of transport. They must also agree not to travel to or through areas where MIT Travel Insurance coverage or adequate medical care is not available. If the student is under 18, parents or guardians must sign to provide consent.
  • Students must review and sign the International Travel Risk Acknowledgement Form for Students prior to departure.

Countries with Extreme, High, or Moderate Travel Warnings

This list is updated regularly. (Dates in parenthesis reflect the date a warning is made or updated by the DoS, CDC or WHO.) 

* For some countries, U.S. law restricts whether you can travel there, what you can take with you, or what you can do once you get there.  If you travel to a sanctioned country, designated “S” in the table below, review and consult MIT’s Export Control Officer in the Office of Sponsored Programs if you have any questions. 

E – Extreme

H – High

M – Moderate

S – Sanctioned

TW - Travel Warning

TA - Travel Alert

Location        Warning Level
Worldwide Caution (03/06/17) No Warning Level. Please read Worldwide Caution
Europe Travel Alert (09/01/17 - exp. 11/30/17) No Warning Level. Please read the Europe Travel Alert
CDC Global Health /Medical Travel Notices - these diseases include Zika and several others.  Review for all notices that may affect travel to certain countries or regions for diseases such as Zika and others in the Travel Health Notices. 
Afghanistan (TW 03/21/17)


Algeria (TW 06/21/17) 

High - Other areas

Moderate – Algiers province (wilaya)

Bahamas (TW 09/06/17)




Bangladesh (TW 01/05/17)

High – Entire Country



Burkina Faso (TW 06/07/17)

Extreme – Northern Part of the Sahel Region, border areas with Niger and Mali

High – Remainder of Country

Burundi (TW 06/26/17)


Cameroon (TW 03/22/17)

Extreme – Far North, North, Adamaoua, and East Regions 

Moderate – Other areas

Central African Republic (TW 10/19/16)



Chad (TW 06/06/17)

Extreme Remainder of Country

High – Capital city of N'djamena

Colombia (TW 06/16/17)

Moderate - note that travel restrictions including modes and routes of travel in the travel warning for U.S. Government employees and their families apply to MIT student travelers.

Cuba (TW 09/18/17)



Please see Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) / Export Control Guidance Documents for Travel To Cuba information.

Democratic Republic of the Congo (TW 03/29/17) 

Extreme – Other areas

High – Kinshasa


Egypt (TW 07/19/17)

Extreme  Sinai Peninsula except Sharm el Sheikh, Western Desert 

High – Religious sites outside Greater Cairo

Moderate – Other areas

El Salvador (TW 02/14/17)


Eritrea (TW 02/22/17)

High  Entire country


Ethiopia (TW 08/25/17)


The Gambia (TW 01/07/17)


Haiti (TW 09/12/17)

High  Entire country

Honduras (TW 01/23/17)

High  Gracias a Dios Department

Moderate  Other areas

Iran (TW 08/15/17)



Iraq  (TW 06/14/17)



Israel  (TW 04/11/17) 

See U.S. State Department Warning for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza for the detailed warnings and notice requirements.  Please contact Program for International Safety & Security at 617-324-7696 (Todd Holmes: for specific guidance.

Extreme – Gaza Strip

High – West Bank (no travel to or through (except via Routes 1 & 90)); Exception for Jericho and Bethlehem (see Moderate below)

High – Within Israel

  • Golan: on or east of Route 98; 
  • Lebanese border: within 1.5 miles of the border;
  • Gaza buffer (within Israel): within 7 miles of the Gaza demarcation line;
  • East Jerusalem: predominantly Palestinian neighborhoods such as Sheikh Jarrah, Shufat, Shufat Refugee Camp, Beit Hanina, Mt. of Olives, As Suwaneh, Abu Deis, Silwan, Issawiyeh, Tsur Baher, "seam areas", where Palestinians and Israelis intersect, refugee camps; 
  • Old City, Jerusalem: Fridays during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan;
    • Entrance to Old City during daylight hours only (from 8 am to 8 pm and via Jaffa Gate. 
  • ​Jerusalem: Prohibition from transiting public parks in central Jerusalem during the hours of darkness.
  • Tel Aviv: No transit via neighborhoods near the New Central Bus Station between dusk and dawn.
  • MIT travel is not permitted on public and inter-city buses (and associated bus terminals) in the West Bank. 

Moderate – Other areas; Jericho and Bethlehem: Travel must depart no earlier than 8 am and have returned by 8 pm;

Additional restrictions may be enacted through MIT / your program management based on information in U.S. Embassy Security Messages or other policy risk resources.  This is a reminder that enrollment in STEP is necessary to ensure travelers receive these security messages.

Jordan (TW 07/20/17)

High – border with Syria and Iraq within 10 kms buffer, which includes the town of Ramtha.  Travel on Highway 10 east of the town of Ruwayshid toward the Iraqi border.  U.S. government employees on personal travel are not permitted to visit the border areas or refugee camps. 

Moderate – Other areas, tourist site of Umm Quais and the City of Irbid in the north. 

Kenya (TW 09/08/17 & TA 09/13/17)

High - Avoid travel to the border area between Somalia and Kenya, specifically the northeastern Kenyan counties of Mandera, Wajir and Garissa (including the cities of El Wak, Wajir, Garissa, Mandera and Liboi), the coastal counties of Tana River and Lamu in their entirety, all areas north of of Malindi in Kalifi County, and the Nairobi neighborhood of Eastleigh.  In Mombasa, the U.S. Embassy recommends U.S. citizens visit Old Town only during daylight hours, and avoid using the Likoni ferry due to safety concerns.

Moderate – Other areas 

Lebanon (TW 02/15/17)





Libya (TW 01/27/17)



Malaysia (see Philippines below)

High – Eastern Sabah province and southern Sulu Sea area

Mali (TW 06/29/17)

Extreme – Northern and Central Regions

High – Other areas 

Mauritania (TW 03/22/17)

Extreme – Other areas

High – Nouakchott

Mexico (TW 08/22/17)

Please see U.S. State Department Warning and / or contact the Program for International Safety & Security at 617-324-7976 (Todd Holmes: for specific guidance.

High – States of Coahuila, Guerrero, Tamaulipas.

High with Moderate areas / municipalities within the State and / or some movement restrictions apply – Certain parts of the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Colima, Durango, Estado de Mexico, Jalisco, Michoacan, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo Leon, Oaxaca, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, Sonora, Veracruz, Zacatecas.

Moderate – Aguascalientes, Campeche, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Mexico City, Puebla, Queretaro, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Tlaxcala, Yucatan

Niger  (TW 01/21/16)

Extreme Diffa Region

High – Other areas

Nigeria (TW 04/05/17) 

Extreme – States of Adamawa, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Borno, Delta, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Yobe, and Zamfara; Gulf of Guinea

High  Remainder of Country except areas noted under Moderate.

Moderate – Abuja, Lagos

North Korea  (TW 08/10/17)

Please reference this link directly to read the specifics in the travel warning.



Note that the U.S. Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 147 / Wednesday, August 2, 2017 / Notices, Public Notice 10074 states that as of September 1, 2017, United States Passports are invalid for Travel to, In, or Through the Democratic People's Republic of Korea unless travel meets certain criteria.  The State Department directs travelers to inquire on conditions with The Bureau of Consular Affairs , Passport Services, Office of Legal Affairs at (202) 485-6500.

Pakistan (TW 05/22/17)

Extreme  Other areas

High – Islamabad Capital Territory & Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Rawalpindi only, Karachi, Lahore

Philippines (TW 07/17/17)

Please see U.S State Department Warning for additional information.

Extreme  The city of Marawi, Mindanao, the Sulu Archipelago including the southern Sulu Sea, the southern tip of Palawan

High –  Other regions of Mindanao; eastern Sabah province of Malaysia; Central Visayas Region to include Cebu and Bohol provinces per the Philippines US Embassy Safety and Security page.

Moderate  Other areas

Russia Sanctioned (Magnitsky Sanctions)
Saudi Arabia (TW 03/29/17) 

High – within 50 miles of the Yemeni border, including the cities of Jizan and Najran, the city of Qatif in the Eastern Province and its surrounding suburbs, including Awamiyah, the city of Hofuf and its suburbs in Al Hasa Governorate.

Moderate – Other areas 

Somalia (TW 08/03/17)



South Sudan (TW 07/20/17)



Sudan (TW 03/30/17)

Extreme  Darfur region to Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states 

High  Other areas


Syria  (TW 03/22/17)



Tunisia (TW 05/02/17)

Extreme – Jendouba, south of Ain Drahem and west of RN15, Kef, and Kesserine, next to the Algerian border; Ben Guerdan and Medenine, next to the Libyan border; Gafsa and Sidi Bou Zid in Central Tunisia; the desert south of Remada (restricted military zone)

High  Other areas

Moderate  Governorate (wilaya) of Tunis

Turkey (TW 03/28/17)

High – Provinces of Hatay, Kilis, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Sirnak, Diyarbakir, Van, Siirt, Mus, Mardin, Batman, Bingol, Tunceli, Hakkari, Bitlis, Elazig. Any areas along the Syrian / Iraq border.  

Note that for Istanbul, there are restrictions on types of locations: 

  • Large, crowded areas such as shopping malls and houses of worship frequented by expatriates, entertainment complexes, nightclubs, public sporting / cultural performance venues, and crowded pedestrian thoroughfares.
  • Tourist destinations throughout Istanbul, to include historical sites, monuments, large bazaar markets, and museums.

Moderate – Istanbul (types of areas not included in High above) & other areas.


Ukraine (TW 06/27/17) 

Extreme – Eastern portion including Donetsk, Luhansk and the Crimean Peninsula

Moderate – Other areas 


Venezuela (TW 07/27/17)


Yemen (TW 05/10/17)





Additional information
Please refer to the MIT International Coordinating Committee’s Travel Abroad page for helpful information on planning an international trip, including medical and insurance information.

Other references and resources regarding travel include the following: