Frequently Asked Questions
Below are frequently asked questions related to outbound study abroad and COVID-19. This page was last edited on May 10, 2023.
The university resumed limited study abroad in January 2022. In the intervening eighteen months, the university has resumed full study abroad operations. Consequently, the impact of these changes is likely minimal.
However, COVID-19 remains a risk to travelers. While we are more accustomed to the risks and inconveniences of COVID-19, the risks remain. These can range from the imposition of social distancing and masking to isolation resulting from symptomatic and asymptomatic infection. Although not required at this time by the University of Illinois, vaccination and periodic boosters are encouraged to reduce risk while traveling.
Countries retain their authority to treat COVID-19 as a health emergency, to include imposing strict mitigation measures (altering entry requirements, vaccinations, testing, etc.) at any time. Travelers should review country information before and during travel.
A few international programs may still require proof of vaccination for participation. These programs will be identified during student advising for study abroad. Without disclosing vaccination status, students unable to vaccinate for medical or religious reasons should coordinate with study abroad advisers to identify other potential programs.
The university resumed study abroad in January 2022. Many students have studied abroad, enjoying great experiences. While we are more accustomed to the risks and inconveniences of COVID-19, the risks remain. These can range from the imposition of social distancing and masking to isolation resulting from symptomatic and asymptomatic infection.
Consequently, each student must carefully and personally evaluate program and location information (testing, quarantine, accommodations, mitigation measures, infection response, and program support) to determine their readiness and comfort studying abroad. We encourage students to make a decision that balances their comfort levels, well-being, and academic plans.
The emergence of variants is an enduring risk. The university relies on national and international health authorities to understand impact and best practices for mitigating the evolving concerns. Students should routinely employ precautions to protect their well-being, including:
- Honestly assessing individual comfort and readiness to respond to the risks and ambiguity associated with COVID-19.
- Being fully vaccinated, to include receiving a booster, prior to departure.
- Staying informed of developments and best practices before departure and after arrival. Students should check DoS Travel Information often.
- Complying with recognized best practices (masks, social distancing) and local mitigation measures from the host nation and the program partner.
- Understanding international insurance and its benefits.
The university reserves the right to cancel programs in the interest of student and host community well-being. However, with advances in scientific understanding of the virus, improved vaccinations and health care, and use of mitigation measures as necessary, the university is unlikely to cancel future programs. The university will monitor emerging variants that may pose particular risk to university travelers.
If the university cancels a program, staff will work with program partners to recoup as much of the program costs as possible. Costs that cannot be recouped are the responsibility of the student. Students may consider refundable fares or the purchase of insurance to reimburse canceled tickets.
The university standard for campus generally applies to study abroad. At this time, campus encourages but does not require vaccination for COVID-19. Beyond the university’s requirement, some countries and/or partners require vaccination as a condition of participation. These programs will be identified during student advising. Without disclosing vaccination status, students unable to vaccinate for medical or religious reasons should coordinate with study abroad advisers to identify other potential programs.
The university’s international insurance policy covers the cost of medical care to treat COVID-19 and can reimburse some quarantine costs.
- The benefit value is a maximum of $2,000 for all covered expenses. It covers quarantine up to 14 days (consecutive or nonconsecutive).
- This benefit only pays through reimbursement. Travelers must pay first and then request reimbursement with documentation.
- The quarantine must be required by a recognized government authority, their authorized deputies, or medical examiners.
Covered Expenses For Quarantine
- The reasonable expenses incurred for lodging and meals;
- The cost of a one-way economy airfare ticket to either the student’s Insured Person’s Home Country or to rejoin the group (if quarantine interferes with program travel, not personal travel); and
- Non-refundable travel arrangements.
Excluded Expenses For Quarantine
- Mandatory arrival quarantine. The quarantine benefit will NOT apply to mandatory quarantine upon arrival as a precaution required by the host government. This is a known cost and should be planned for accordingly.
- Limits. The quarantine will NOT be covered once you exceed 14 days or $2000, whichever happens first.
Requirements To Activate Benefits
- Quarantine upon confirmation of a COVID-19 infection. Confirmation must include a written element, either an official test result or a physician’s note. The quarantine benefit will apply to quarantine if testing positive for COVID-19. This applies to quarantine in a hospital, other government facilities, designated hotels, or special program accommodations set aside for quarantine. Any reasonable charge for meals is also covered.
- Symptoms of the infection must first present themselves after starting the trip. Travelers sick before departure will not be covered for quarantine and should not travel.
- For any claim, travelers must submit documentation of the requirement to quarantine and receipts or proof for all requested costs. Quarantine must be required by a recognized government authority, their authorized deputies, or medical examiners.
- Claims must be filed within 90 days of payment. Reimbursement will be paid via check mailed to the traveler’s designated location in the U.S.