Revised approval process for essential research travel

To: UCSC Community

From: Lori Kletzer Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor; Scott Brandt Vice Chancellor for Research

We write today to provide an update on research-related travel. We understand that some graduate students and employees of UC Santa Cruz may need to travel to enable critical research activities. Although the United States continues to see decreases in new COVID-19 cases and positivity rates, and an increase in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, COVID-19 continues to present a global health risk that must be taken seriously, particularly in the context of international travel.

The UC Office of the President has rescinded the prior travel directivesand directs that all University travelers follow the CDC Guidance before, during and upon return from travel. With this change, we are updating our policies on domestic and international research travel. We urge all prospective travelers to first consult the CDC Guidance, and we want to highlight that the CDC recommends delay of travel until travelers are fully vaccinated.

At this time, travel will only be permitted for critical research activities. By definition, critical research activities meet these three criteria: (1) The travel is essential to the survival or long-term viability of significant research activity or academic work; (2) The research activity is a substantial component of the petitioner’s academic or professional work at UCSC; and (3) There are no viable alternatives to travel.

All research-related travelers, whether domestic or international, are required to review and complete the COVID-19 Research Travel Checklist provided by the EH&S Field Research Safety program. The traveler can reach out as needed to EH&S at to review the checklist or discuss trip-specific parameters. For group travel, the trip lead is responsible for reviewing and sharing the checklist with all trip participants.

  • Domestic travel: Pre-approval is no longer required for domestic travel related to critical research activities. All domestic travelers outside the state of California are required to register with the UC Travel Insurance Program. For travel inside the state of California, but greater than 100 miles from campus, registration is encouraged but not required.
  • International travel: As there are variable risk levels for travel to different regions of the world, pre-approval is required for all international travel.

Faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and staff may request approval for essential University-related international travel for research purposes.

If your proposed travel meets the criteria for critical research activities, submit your completed request form at least 30 days prior to your proposed departure. As part of the request form, international travelers should include pertinent information from the Department of State Travel Advisories related to their destination(s). In addition, all international travelers are required to register with the UC Travel Insurance Program.

Only pre-approved travel will be eligible for reimbursement. The approved travel form will be sent to the accounting unit for your Division