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FAQ - Travel and Study Abroad

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Travel

Study Abroad


Travel

What is AU’s current policy on student/faculty/staff travel?

Official university travel outside of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area will remain suspended through the end of summer classes (August 14, 2021). All spring and summer 2021 study abroad programs have been suspended. Requests for travel exceptions for certain university functions and research may be considered by the President/Provost/Vice Presidents/Director of Athletics and require approval before any travel arrangements are made. Faculty travel for research purposes is subject to the Return to Research guidelines, and research-related travel exceptions can be requested by contacting the Vice Provost for Research at VPR@american.edu. In-season travel by AU’s Patriot League intercollegiate teams is allowed under the approved plan for competition.

Future travel policies will be based on Centers’ for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other government agencies’ guidance, and the university’s risk assessment of travel conditions and exposure risks. Please note that the US Department of State issued a press release on Monday, January 25, 2021 with details requiring a negative COVID-19 test for air travel to the United States. This order applies to both foreign nationals and U.S. citizens. Please see the CDC's Requirements for Air Passengers Arriving in the United States for additional information.

I am a faculty member or graduate student who needs to travel to conduct research, what should I do?

A petition can be made for an exception to the moratorium on travel by contacting the Vice Provost for Research at VPR@american.edu. The petition should include: AU research participants; travel details including location, timeframe, and mode of transportation; a brief description of the purpose of travel and a rationale for the exception that explains why delaying this research will harm the effort; and grant or funding source, if applicable.  

For human subject's research, the petition should also include the status of AU’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). Researchers are reminded that all requests to restart human subjects research must be submitted directly to IRB for consideration and approval. For more information, see the IRB website

Are there COVID-19 related reentry restrictions to the U.S.?

At the moment there are travel restrictions for certain countries, including the US. For travel inquiries and up-to-date information on travel restrictions, please visit the US Department of State's COVID-19 Country Specific Information page, and for travel health guidance, visit CDC's COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Country page.  

Please note that effective January 26, 2021: If you plan to travel internationally, you will need to get tested no more than 3 days before you travel by air into the United States (US) and show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight, or be prepared to show documentation of recovery (proof of a recent positive viral test and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel). Please see the CDC's Requirements for Air Passengers Arriving in the United States for additional information.

Study Abroad

What is the university doing about study abroad programs?  

AU Abroad is processing applications for students to study abroad for the Fall and Academic Year. All Spring and Summer 2021 study abroad programs have been suspended.  

While AU has suspended official university travel outside the Washington DC Metropolitan area through the end of summer classes, at this time the suspension does not apply to Fall and Academic Year AU Abroad Programs, including those that may have a start date before August 14. Students planning to participate in a study abroad program managed by a different academic unit or offices at AU should contact that unit directly for guidance.  

Together with a cross-functional response team, AU Abroad continuously monitors the worldwide situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Should any decisions be made concerning an AU Abroad program’s continuation or cancellation, students will be notified by AU Abroad within 2 months of that program’s stated start date. These decisions will be made in accordance with global, national, and local health and government officials.  

What is the AU Abroad Fall and Academic Year study abroad timeline?  

AU Abroad students’ completed applications will be processed in April and early May. Deposits will be due in mid-May and, pre-departure orientations will occur remotely in June.  

What are American University’s study abroad refund policies?  

The University reserves the right to make cancellations, changes, or substitutions to study abroad programs based on the best interests of participants, including in cases of emergency or threats to health, safety, or security. Should the University suspend, change, or make a substitution to a study abroad program, refunds of costs or fees will be made in accordance with published University policies and only if the funds are uncommitted and/or recoverable. Payments made directly to a partner institution, airline, travel agency or any third party are not recoverable by the University and cannot be refunded or reimbursed.  

If I plan to study abroad in the Fall or Academic Year, should I arrange flights now or wait?  

We recommend that all students wait until they receive additional instructions during the pre-departure sessions in June before making travel arrangements. Payments made directly to a partner institution, airline, travel agency or any third party are not recoverable by the University and cannot be refunded or reimbursed.  

Should I have a Fall backup plan? 

Out of an abundance of caution, all students should register for Fall courses on campus. Students will be registered for Fall or Academic Year AU Abroad programs sometime during the summer term after confirming program participation. Students planning to participate in Fall or Academic Year study abroad programs managed by a different academic unit or offices at AU should contact that unit directly for guidance.  

As a Fall or Academic Year study abroad student, is there anything else I should be doing right now?  

Check that you have a passport that will be valid for 6 months beyond the end of your planned study abroad program. If you do not have a valid passport, apply for one or renew your current passport immediately. Check your email regularly for any program updates. Admitted students receive more information in the post-decision phase.  

What criteria does AU use to determine when it is safe to resume international travel associated with its programming?  

Together with a cross-functional response team, AU Abroad continuously monitors the worldwide situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Should any decisions be made concerning an AU Abroad program’s continuation or cancellation, students will be notified by AU Abroad within 2 months of that program’s stated start date. These decisions will be made in accordance with global, national, and local health and government officials.  

I am not able to study abroad in a future semester. Can I still take courses through an AU Centers program in the Summer?  

Yes! Courses from our AU Centers in Madrid, Brussels, and Nairobi will also be offered online by our faculty based in these cities. You can enroll in these classes and learn from our overseas experts. More information about our virtual AU Center courses can be found here.  

In addition, students have the opportunity to apply for virtual internships through AU Centers in Madrid and Nairobi.  

Can I still apply for a Permit to Study Abroad on a non-AU program this Summer?  

No. The university has extended its suspension of travel outside of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area until August 14. However, if you are interested in participating in a virtual program abroad this summer, please contact AU Abroad at auabroad@american.edu.  

Can I take a leave of absence to participate in a program independently from AU?  

No. AU Academic regulations don’t allow you to enroll in another institution during an official leave of absence.