MUSC International Travel Policy

I.    Purpose

The Medical University of South Carolina (the “University”) is engaged around the world through education activities, research and service of its faculty, staff, trainees and students.  The University supports and encourages international travel and collaborations and recognizes that a global perspective is essential to its academic mission.  The University’s international travel policy is intended to promote the health, safety and security of all members of the MUSC community while traveling abroad.  Colleges or business units may have additional procedures and requirements that support this overall policy. This International Travel Policy applies to faculty, staff, trainees and students traveling outside of the United States for University-related purposes.  This policy sets forth the requirements that faculty, staff, trainees and students must meet before and during university-related travel.

II.    Definition of University-Related Travel

International travel applicable to this policy includes travel in the course and scope of MUSC employment; travel that is funded in any part by MUSC or its affiliates (UMA, MUHA); travel within the scope of a MUSC sponsored research grant or contract; travel that is eligible for MUSC approved academic credit as well as travel under MUSC auspices for non-credit experiences; student travel under the direction or supervision of MUSC faculty or staff.  Personal leisure travel without University support and where University employment or study is not relevant to the activity, are not considered travel for University-related purposes.  Student travel with non-MUSC organizations may still qualify as university-related travel.  If clarification is needed to determine whether student travel is “university-related”, please contact the Center for Global Health prior to travel.

III.   International Travel Assistance and Travel Registration
MUSC has entered into a contract with International SOS to provide security and medical evacuation services, assistance with hospital referrals, repatriation insurance and a variety of online health, safety, and security resources for the university community traveling abroad on university business or sponsored activities.

 All faculty, staff, trainees and students traveling abroad for University-related purposes are required to register their travel itinerary with International SOS before the expected departure date.  Registration provides information that will enable the University to activate intervention services on the traveler’s behalf in the event of a health emergency, natural disaster, or a crisis of civil or political unrest in a foreign location that requires assistance or evacuation. Travelers are encouraged to carry the International SOS membership card with them at all times during their travel. For a complete list of program benefits and to print a copy or download the mobile app prior to your departure, visit the MUSC/International SOS communications portal

MUSC travelers are not guaranteed International SOS insurance coverage for travel to certain designated territories and countries under U.S. sanctions.  Personal travel before/after the period of time when traveling on University business is not covered by the university’s International SOS program, but can be purchased at a discount for that period of time by using your MUSC/ISOS membership number. 

IV.  Requirements for Faculty, Staff and Trainees

A.   International Travel Assistance and Travel Registration
All faculty, staff and trainees traveling abroad for University-related purposes are required to register their travel itinerary with International SOS before the expected departure.  Registration provides information that will enable the University to activate intervention services on the traveler’s behalf in the event of a health emergency, natural disaster, or a crisis of civil or political unrest in a foreign location that requires assistance or evacuation. Travelers are encouraged to carry the International SOS membership card with them at all times during their travel.

B.    Accidental Medical and Sickness Insurance
MUSC has worked with University Health Plans to provide a unique accidental sickness and medical insurance program with Nationwide Insurance for individuals abroad on MUSC-related programs, which works in concert with International SOS. The policy provides coverage for MUSC travelers’ benefit, including health insurance, medical repatriation, accidental death and dismemberment, and medical and security evacuation. This insurance program is primary in all cases, and because of the special relationship between International SOS and the Claims Administrator, emergency management and health care decision-making is simplified for members. For the Summary of Benefits, Explanation of Benefits and FAQs, click here.

C.    Workers Compensation Program 

For employees of MUSC, the MUSC workers compensation program applies on a worldwide basis for injuries and illnesses that occur in the course and arising out of employment at MUSC.  The program is administered through the Office of Risk Management.    
 

 D.    University Travel under State Department Warning 

When the U.S. State Department issues a travel warning, the following statements apply:

  1. No faculty, staff or trainee shall be required to participate in an educational, clinical or research activity under MUSC auspices in a country for which the State Department has issued a Travel Warning.
  2. There are no restrictions on faculty, staff or trainee travel to any country or location, but individuals are expected to consult State Department Travel Warnings or Alerts, International SOS risk ratings and the list of countries embargoed or sanctioned by the U.S. Government to explore other sources of information in arriving at their own judgment with respect to the level of risk involved. Faculty, staff and trainees should recognize that the existing warning may be changed at any time to a more urgent warning; they should also take into consideration that MUSC, the U.S. State Department, and local U.S. Embassy or Consulate may not be able to assist individuals in case of crisis or difficulties.  
 
V.  Requirements for Students

A.    International Travel Assistance and Travel Registration
All students traveling abroad for University-related purposes are required to register their travel itinerary with International SOS before the expected departure.  Registration provides information that will enable the University to activate intervention services on the traveler’s behalf in the event of a health emergency, natural disaster, or a crisis of civil or political unrest in a foreign location that requires assistance or evacuation. Travelers are encouraged to carry the International SOS membership card with them at all times during their travel.

B.    Student International Travel Waiver and Safety Plan
Students are required to submit and sign an MUSC international travel waiver before departure accepting responsibility for his/her own travel and acknowledging and assuming responsibility for all risk and liability. An MUSC faculty member must sign the travel waiver for it to be complete.  Students are also required to submit and sign an MUSC Health, Safety and Security Plan prior to departure. 

C.    Accidental Medical and Sickness Insurance 

MUSC has worked with University Health Plans to provide a unique accidental sickness and medical insurance program with Nationwide Insurance for individuals abroad on MUSC-related programs, which works in concert with International SOS. The policy provides coverage for MUSC travelers’ benefit, including health insurance, medical repatriation, accidental death and dismemberment, and medical and security evacuation. This insurance program is primary in all cases, and because of the special relationship between International SOS and the Claims Administrator, emergency management and health care decision-making is simplified for members. For the Summary of Benefits, Explanation of Benefits and FAQs, click here.

Students are encouraged to check with MUSC’s Office of Student Health at least 60 days prior to traveling abroad to inquire about coverage and necessary vaccines.  Some countries require vaccines for entry that must be administered months in advance. 

D.    University Travel under State Department Warning


 
When the U.S. State Department issues a travel warning, the following protocols must be followed: 

  1. No student shall be required to participate in an educational, clinical or research activity under MUSC auspices in a country for which the State Department has issued a Travel Advisory ratings of either Level 3 or Level 4.
  2. Any student who wishes to travel under university auspices to a country on the U.S. Department of State’s travel advisory Level 3 or 4 is required to submit a petition for travel approval from the International Travel Oversight Committee (ITOC). The ITOC is a joint faculty-administrative advisory committee to review security and safety conditions associated with MUSC international travel. Petitions must be submitted at least three months in advance of the proposed travel date. The committee’s recommendation will depend on the academic value of the travel to the student’s curriculum, as well as on the current security and health conditions in the particular country. Decisions from the ITOC will be final.

  3. If the petition is approved, the student will need to sign the High Risk Travel Waiver accepting responsibility for his/her travel and submit that to the Center for Global Health, submit a completed Health, Safety and Security Plan to the Center for Global Health and register his travel with International SOS.
  4. If the petition is denied and the student chooses to participate in non-university sponsored travel abroad, they must take a leave of absence from the University to do so, which means they cannot be registered for any university credits during this period and are not eligible for financial aid from the University.   Failure to comply with this policy can result in disciplinary actions.  Any student who chooses to travel after denial of a petition does so voluntarily and is acting outside the control and responsibility of the University.
 
VI.     Requirements for International Travel Involving Student Groups 

Faculty and staff accompanying, leading or advising student groups to international locations for the purpose of research, education, internships, special projects, academic credit, or service learning are encouraged to have their plans reviewed at least 60 days in advance by the MUSC Center for Global Health.  Group leaders are responsible for:
 
  1. *Following university guidance and policies, including university travel restrictions related to countries under State Department or Insurer warnings.  If the travel applies to a country under a State Department warning, students must follow the process outlined for petitioning the ITOC.
  2. Ensure students register travel information with International SOS and understand coverage included in MUSC’s international travel insurance policy
  3. Complete and submit the MUSC health, safety and security group form prior to departure to the Center for Global Health for review.
  4. Submit an International Travel Waiver to the Center for Global Health or if planning to travel to a country under State Department or Insurer warning, submit a High Risk International Travel Waiver.
*If the country of travel is under a State Department warning, faculty leading or accompanying students may petition approval in support of their students.  Faculty members preparing such a petition must include all student travelers in the petition.   


 
VII.    Export Controls

All MUSC travelers who intend to take equipment, supplies, software or other MUSC property to a foreign location or who plans to travel to a country under U.S. Government sanctions must check with MUSC’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs to ensure compliance with federal laws and regulations related to export control. All MUSC travelers using MUSC-owned or personal devices should refer to the MUSC Data Protection guidelines in order to protect MUSC’s data and resources when remotely accessing data from off-campus.
 
VIII.    Authority of The Office of The Provost

The University may warn travelers and/or impose additional requirements for faculty, staff, trainees or students seeking to travel to destinations where health, safety, or security risks are determined to be of sufficient significance as to require unusual caution. The University reserves the right to prohibit or suspend travel for University-related purposes to any destination by faculty, staff, trainees or students if significant health, safety, or security concerns pose extreme risks that warrant such a decision. For example, travel to destinations experiencing serious outbreaks of infectious disease, war or violent civil unrest may be temporarily prohibited.