Office of Travel Services

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL PROCEDURES

(Last Revised, April 2018)

Travel outside the continental United States (including travel to Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Canada) requires approval by the President of the University. Approval by the Board of Trustees and the Governor's Office is no longer required.

Prior approval of the Department Head, Dean/Director, International Institute, Vice President, and President is required at least 30 days before departure, using MSU Form A-04 (Request for Approval of International Travel and Reimbursement Form) and MSU Form A-05 (International Travel, Support Schedule of Expenses), when travel is outside the continental limits of the United States for University business purposes. Designated funds utilization requires a category description be provided for President's Office approval.

Private funding of International Travel (i.e. funded by employee, Development Foundation, or other private funds not administered by MSU) does not require the estimate of expenses to be completed on MSU Form A-04. If private funds are utilized, an advance by the Office of Travel Services is not allowed. However, all international travel must have the President's signature.

Please NOTE that MSU Form A-04 was significantly updated in April 2018 to improve the safety and security of MSU travel abroad. Please be sure to use the current form.

Per MSU OP 60.01, prior to travel, faculty and staff must route the International Travel Authorization Form (A-04) to the International Institute for review and sign an “Assumption of Risk and Release Form” if required under the MSU International Travel Security Guidelines noted below.



INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL SECURITY GUIDELINES

The International Institute is responsible for upholding the travel security guidelines for MSU faculty, staff, and students participating in an international travel experience whether for a conference, research activity, program development, study abroad, experiential learning, or any other academic or business related travel either sponsored or affiliated with MSU. The intent is to promote and protect the safety and security of our MSU family.

In January, 2018, the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs initiated a significant change to the Travel Advisory system. The system changes were designed to provide more clear, timely, and reliable safety information about every country in the world. Each country is now assigned a Travel Advisory Level 1-4 for the country as a whole (listed below). The advisory report for a country may also apply varying levels of advisories for specific locations or regions within a country. For example, a Level 2 country could have cities or regions with Level 3 or 4 ratings.

  • Level 1: Exercise normal precautions
  • Level 2: Exercise increased caution
  • Level 3: Reconsider travel
  • Level 4: Do not travel

More information regarding the Travel Advisory system is found at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html

Based on the changes by the U.S. Department of State, as of April, 2018, the following MSU international travel guidelines apply.

  1. MSU will not approve university travel to a Level 4 country or region.
  2. Countries and regions within countries designated as Level 3 are considered elevated-risk regions. Travel to Level 3 regions is discouraged and requires additional approval.
    1. All travel by faculty, staff, and students to Level 3 regions will require signature on an “Assumption of Risk and Release Form” prior to travel.
    2. While University affiliated travel to elevated-risk regions is generally prohibited, faculty or staff planning a student program to an elevated-risk region or who wish to travel to an elevated-risk region for research or other purposes may do so by providing adequate documentation to the International Institute that: (1) summarizes the major risks of travel to the proposed area, (2) indicates ways in which the faculty leaders can mitigate those travel risks, (3) demonstrates the travel has extraordinary academic or research value, and (4) shows that travel to an alternative location would not provide a comparable experience.
    3. Similarly, any student or student group planning to travel on their own to elevated-risk regions through a university affiliated program may do so by providing adequate documentation to the International Institute that: (1) summarizes the major risks of travel to the proposed area, (2) indicates ways in which the student can mitigate those travel risks, (3) demonstrates the travel has extraordinary academic or research value, and (4) shows that travel to an alternative location would not provide a comparable experience.
    4. The decision regarding whether to grant an exemption and allow travel to a Level 3 region is within the sole discretion of University administration. If approved, then all MSU faculty, staff, and students traveling must: (1) sign an “Assumption of Risk and Release Form” indicating that he or she acknowledges and fully assumes all risk related to the travel and the University will bear no responsibility for evacuation in the event of a crisis or emergency and (2) provide documentation to the International Institute of emergency travel insurance purchased through an MSU approved vendor.
  3. All international travel by student groups who are accompanied or led by MSU faculty or staff must route through the International Institute for tracking and security purposes. Faculty should contact the International Institute for details as soon as group travel is being considered.
  4. All travelers should enroll in the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Enrolling in STEP provides free, electronic travel advisories on safety conditions for their international destination(s). This service provides traveler trip information to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country or countries of travel, allowing the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to assist travelers in the event of an emergency.
  5. All faculty and staff must leave a copy of their individual or group travel itinerary with their designated departmental travel manager.
  6. All travelers should ensure their medical insurance provides coverage for overseas benefits (i.e. medical evacuation, bedside visits, repatriation of remains). MSU benefits eligible travelers should review the travel assistance services available as part of the standard Minnesota Life Insurance policy.
  7. Faculty and staff traveling with a University laptop or other device, should contact ORED/FSO at 325-8682 regarding data encryption or participation in the Laptop Loan Program, providing clean laptops for travel.
  8. To mitigate risk when traveling, keep a low profile and avoid attracting attention to yourself. Be alert and aware of your surroundings. Take the time to learn about the country/countries or region/regions to be visited and what is or is not allowed culturally and legally.

The various travel forms are available online. They are used to authorize travel, to receive travel advances, to receive and document authorization to charge to EBTA account, and to reimburse the traveler.



MSU International Travel Forms


Contact Information

640 McArthur Hall
Mississippi State University
Mississippi State, MS 39762

Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday

Phone: 662-325-8817
Fax: 662-325-0840