MIT Travel Risk Policy

As of October 6, 2015

(For printable version view PDF)
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 locations where there are significantly heightened health or safety risks.

The following guidelines outline definitions of MIT travel, the various levels of travel warnings, and the policies that apply to 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 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 form but should use their individual discretion regarding decisions to travel to areas on the travel warning lists.

Travel Warnings
MIT categorizes 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

  • Faculty and Staff must sign MIT's High Risk Travel Form for faculty and staff prior to traveling to locations with an Extreme or High Travel Warning.  (A copy of the form should be submitted to the DLC department head and The Office of Insurance).   

Student travel is NOT permitted to locations with Extreme or High travel warnings, unless a travel waiver is granted.

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 Graduate and Undergraduate Student Travel Form 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

Location                                                                    Warning Level

Worldwide Caution (7/29/15)

Please read Worldwide Caution

Afghanistan (5/22/15)


Algeria (8/26/15)

H - Areas east of Algiers or in the Sahara

M - Other areas





Burkina Faso (9/21/15)




Burundi  (5/14/15)


Cameroon, (9/30/15)

E - Far North, North and Adamaoua regions

M - Other areas

Central African Republic (9/30/15)

E, S

Chad (10/2/15)


Colombia (6/5/15)


Cote d’Ivoire




Democratic Republic of the Congo (11/25/14)


H - Central to eastern provinces of the country

M - Other areas, S

Djibouti (7/17/15)

H- Northern border with Eritrea

M- Other areas

El Salvador  (6/22/15)


Eritrea  (5/6/15)


Guinea (8/15/14 - CDC warning)


Haiti  (8/5/15)


Honduras (3/2/15)


Iran  (8/5/15)

E, S

Iraq  (4/29/15)

E, S

Israel  (2/18/15)

E – West Bank, Golan Heights, Gaza and Gaza strip*

M – Other areas

*The DoS warns U.S citizens of the risks of traveling to these areas due to ongoing hostility.   MIT travel is currently not permitted on/to public buses and their terminals and bus stops throughout the country and are reminded to exercise caution at Muslim religious sites on Fridays and holy days, particularly during Ramadan. 

See U.S. State Department Warning for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza and its detailed warnings and notice requirements.

Kenya  (5/13/15)

H - The Nairobi neighborhood of Eastleigh, coastal counties of Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu, and the coastal portion only of Tana River County. Also, Northeastern Kenya, including the cities of El Wak, Wajir, Garissa, Mandera and Liboi, and the area north of Pate Island, including Kiwavu, and the area north to Kiunga on the Kenya-Somalia border.


M – Other areas

Lebanon  (5/29/15)

H,  S

Liberia (1/21/15) – CDC Warning

M, S

Libya (9/16/15)

E, S

Mali  (5/7/15)


Mauritania  (10/7/14)


Mexico (5/5/15)

H – All or parts of the states of: Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Durango, Estado de Mexico, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacan, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas and Zacetecas.

M – Other areas

Please see U.S. State Department Warning at and contact the Insurance Office at 617-324-5031 for specific guidance.

Nepal (7/2/15)


Niger  (7/17/15)

E- Diffa Region

H- Other areas

Nigeria (7/27/15)

E- Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States

H - States of Bauchi, Bayelsa, Delta, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebi, Niger, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto and Zamfara; the Gulf of Guinea.

M – Other areas

North Korea  (4/23/15)

E, S

Pakistan (8/28/15)


Philippines  (5/20/15)

H - Mindanao Island and the Sulu Archipelago island chain, and the southern Sulu Sea area

M - Other areas

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

Saudi Arabia (9/21/15)


Note: U.S Government personnel are prohibited from traveling within 50 miles of the border dividing Yemen and Saudi Arabia)

Sierra Leone (9/17/15)


Somalia (10/1/15)

E, S

South Sudan (1/7/15)


Sudan  (6/15/15)


E-Darfur region to Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states

H-Other areas


Syria  (8/27/15)

E, S

Turkey (9/3/15)

H-Hatay, Kilis, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Sirnak, Diyarbakir, Van, Siirt, Mus, Mardin, Batman, Bingol, Tunceli, Hakkari, Bitlis and Elazig

M-Other Areas

Ukraine (7/16/15)

E - Eastern portion including Donetsk, Luhansk and the Crimean Peninsula

H - Other areas


Venezuela (9/18/15)

M-The US embassy has divided Caracas into three security travel zones for US embassy employees / family.  Please read the relevant Country Specific Information on Venezuela

Yemen (4/3/15)

E, S



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: