Travel Guidance

Updated May 13, 2021

As circumstances around the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve, UCSF will update its travel guidance in accordance with the latest public health orders. This guidance is effective until further notice.

  • Those who are fully vaccinated and travel interstate do not have to fill out the Pandemic Travel Reguest Form.
  • People fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine must be more than 2 weeks after receipt of the second dose of 2-dose vaccine (like Pfizer or Moderna) or more than 2 weeks after receipt of single-dose vaccine (like Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen). View this link for WHO-approved vaccines which are listed as Finalized in the Status of Assessment column. Equivalence to vaccination: proof for COVID-19 infection in the last 90 days.
  • Central approval for university-sponsored travel refers to use of the Pandemic Travel Approval Request form. When this form is not required by campus leadership, departments and divisions will follow their pre-COVID travel approval mechanisms.
  • Avoid international travel.
  • University-sponsored travel requiring central approval with the Pandemic Travel Approval Request form:
    • International travel
    • Travel to another state if not fully vaccinated*
  • Follow CDC guidelines during all travel, and consider carefully the risks and costs of travel for the travelers and the travel location.

Fully vaccinated: more than 2 weeks after receipt of second dose of 2-dose series (Pfizer or Moderna) or more than 2 weeks after receipt of single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen). Exception: proof of COVID-19 infection in the last 90 days.

See the detailed guidance:


 

NOTE: Public health authorities have updated their guidance for anyone traveling, moving or returning from outside of California. UCSF has updated its travel policy in response to new vaccination guidelines. UCSF's travel policy applies to all employees and learners. Travelers should also be aware that local public health authorities may enact quarantine and testing orders in addition to UCSF requirements.

Requirements and Reimbursement Upon Return From Travel

Employees returning to UCSF with questions about COVID-19 and high-risk travel or high-risk exposure (close contact with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, regardless of travel) should call OHS at (415) 514-7328 for further evaluation. Students should send questions to the COVID Nurse at Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) via MyHealthRecord. Please contact OHS or SHCS immediately if your COVID-19 test comes back positive.

Individuals may be encouraged or required to quarantine after travel. To quarantine after travel, individuals should remain in their hotel or residence for up to 10 days, mask and stay 6 feet away from people with whom they did not travel, wash hands frequently, and only go out for essential activities like obtaining food, medical care or individual outdoor exercise. Exceptions that allow travel to and from onsite work at UCSF during the travel quarantine period are described below.

Reimbursement upon return from UCSF-sponsored travel requires documentation.

Traveler Categories

Guidance from the CDC and California public health authorities places travelers in three categories, which determine testing and quarantine requirements after travel. All employees and students should use the following tables to determine when to enter campus after travel, while adhering to travel quarantine guidelines if required when off-site. In addition, any students or employees entering campus must attest via the Conversa screening tool that they are asymptomatic and are completing any required COVID-19 tests after travel. If you are unsure whether you are required to be on site, please consult your supervisor. 

Traveler Category 1: Individuals who have been fully vaccinated with a US vaccine

Fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine means that the individual is more than 2 weeks after receipt of the final dose in a 2-dose series (like Pfizer or Moderna) or the single-dose vaccine (like Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen).  View this link for WHO-approved vaccines which are listed as Finalized in the Status of Assessment column. Equivalence to vaccination: proof of COVID-19 infection in the last 90 days.

If you have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 3 months, you may not need to quarantine or test but you should carry documentation when traveling, and check with OHS or the SHCS upon return. Follow the table requirements for Fully Vaccinated individuals.

Traveler Category 2: Unvaccinated Essential On-Site Workers and Students

This group includes employees and students with a rotation/placement beginning in the next seven days, whose responsibilities require them to be on-site – including, but not limited to, frontline care workers; facilities, transportation, custodial, and administrative staff; environment, health and safety; laboratory animal research center; and police and security personnel. Follow the table requirements for Not Vaccinated & Approved for immediate UCSF Entry.

Traveler Category 3: Unvaccinated Researchers and Students/Remote Workers Who Are Periodically On Site

This group refers to UCSF research personnel (e.g. faculty researchers, postdocs, research laboratory technicians and assistants) who work on site, as well as employees and students who work remotely but sometimes work or have on-site educational program activities. All must adhere to the Unvaccinated Delayed Entry to UCSF guidelines. A small number of individuals in this group, due to their responsibilities, will need to be on-campus without time to quarantine after travel. These individuals can follow the table requirements for Not Vaccinated & Approved for Immediate UCSF Entry.

On-site workers and students can use the free COVID-19 testing available for employees and learners.

U.S. Travel Outside California

UCSF employees and learners who live or work in California should consult the following table regarding vaccination status and UCSF-sponsored interstate travel, and upon their return should undergo required post-travel quarantine and testing. Regular commuters are exempted.

If you do undertake U.S. travel beyond your place of residence, be aware that some state and local governments require you to test and/or self-quarantine for up to 14 days upon arrival. Also consider the associated risks and follow the guidance while traveling from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whether the travel is personal or UCSF-sponsored.

DOMESTIC INTERSTATE TRAVEL

UCSF-Sponsored or Private

 

Fully Vaccinated*

Not Vaccinated - Essential & Approved for Immediate UCSF Entry

 Not Vaccinated -  Delayed for UCSF Entry

  Traveler Category 1  Traveler Category 2 Traveler Category 3

Requirements Before & During Travel

UCSF-related Travel

Attestation Required

Central Approval Required

Central Approval Required

COVID-19 test** 1-3 days before travel at non-UCSF testing sites

If destination requires***

If destination requires***

If destination requires***

During travel, wear a mask, keep 6 feet distance, avoid crowds, frequent hand cleaning

X

X

X

Requirements After Travel

No quarantine, no COVID-19 test**

Immediate return to work

X

 

 

COVID-19 test** within 3 days prior to or on the first day on campus and day 5-7

Home quarantine 7 days when not on UCSF campus

 

X

 

Option 1: Covid-19 test** 5-7 days after  travel.

    Enter UCSF campus day 7 or later if negative test

    Home quarantine 7 days when not on UCSF campus

Option 2: Without test enter UCSF campus after 10 d

    Home quarantine 10 days

 

 

 

 

X

Self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days

X

X

X

* Fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine: more than 2 weeks after receipt of the final dose in a 2-dose series (like Pfizer or Moderna) or the single-dose vaccine (like Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen).  View this link for WHO-approved vaccines which are listed as Finalized in the Status of Assessment column. Equivalence to vaccination: proof of COVID-19 infection in the last 90 days. Equivalence to vaccination: proof for COVID-19 infection in the last 90 days.

** COVID-19 test: UCSF accepts only PCR/LAMP/NAAT, not the rapid antigen test.  

***Destination requirements

See frequently asked questions about this guidance »

 

 

International Travel

UCSF strongly recommends against personal international travel as part of a broader effort to limit the transmission of COVID-19 from place to place. For those who travel abroad, please be aware of the following policies that apply when returning to the U.S. and to UCSF after international travel.

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

UCSF-Sponsored or Private

 

Fully Vaccinated*

Not Vaccinated -

Approved as Essential for Immediate UCSF Entry

Not Vaccinated -

Delayed for UCSF Entry

  Traveler Category 1 Traveler Category 2 Traveler Category 3 

 Requirements Before & During Travel

UCSF-related Travel

Central Approval required

Central Approval required

Central Approval required

COVID-19 Test** 1-3 days before travel out of US at non-UCSF testing sites

If destination requires***

If destination requires***

If destination requires***

During travel, wear a mask, keep 6 feet distance, avoid crowds, frequent hand cleaning

X

X

X

Within 3 days before board flight to the US, the CDC requires negative testing or proof of recovery from COVID-19 infection in last 90 days

 

X

 

X

 

X

Requirements After Travel

Essential Clearance Document required:       

   Employees call OHS (415 514-7328)

   Students send secure message to SHCS

 

 

 

X

 

X

COVID-19 Test** 3-5 days after travel

Immediate return to campus without quarantine

X

 

 

 

COVID-19 Test** day 1 after travel and day 5-7

Home quarantine 7 days when not on UCSF campus

 

X

 

Option 1: COVID-19 test** 3-5 days after travel

    Enter UCSF campus day 7 or later if negative test

    Home quarantine 7 days when not on UCSF campus

Option 2: Without test enter UCSF campus after 10 d

    Home quarantine 10 days

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

Monitor for symptoms for 14 days with OHS (employees) and Student Health & Counseling Services (students). See below

 

X

X

* Fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine: more than 2 weeks after receipt of the final dose in a 2-dose series (like Pfizer or Moderna) or the single-dose vaccine (like Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen).  View this link for WHO-approved vaccines which are listed as Finalized in the Status of Assessment column. Equivalence to vaccination: proof of COVID-19 infection in the last 90 days. Equivalence to vaccination: proof for COVID-19 infection in the last 90 days.

** COVID-19 test: UCSF accepts only PCR/LAMP/NAAT, not the rapid antigen test. 

***Destination requirements

 

Monitoring Required for Unvaccinated International Travelers Approved as Essential for Immediate UCSF Entry

1.  Monitor and record any COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days, beginning on the first day back in the U.S. This includes taking your temperature twice daily, and one of the following:

  Employees:

  Students:

2. Employees contact OHS at (415) 514-7328 for a post-travel interview. Students send a secure message to SHCS nursing to initiate an assessment:

  • You may not return to UCSF without a clearance letter or email from OHS or SHCS

3.  Contact your supervisor or educational program to discuss your return to work/campus.

  • Employees must bring a copy of the clearance letter or email from OHS to your department/unit when you return to work.
  • Students must provide a copy of the SHCS clearance letter to their educational program.

4.  Quarantine at home for 7 days from your return date when not on campus.

5.  Follow testing requirements according to the table above.

 

UCSF-Sponsored Essential Travel

Frequent changes to air travel or government restrictions like mandatory quarantines or border closures are beyond UCSF’s control and may affect your ability to return.

International Travel

We are restricting all non-essential university-sponsored international travel to any country.

  • We realize this may affect some researchers who are under contractual obligation to complete projects within a given timeframe. 
  • Requests for approval of essential university-sponsored international travel to any country must follow the approval process outlined below. If you do undertake personal international travel, review travel recommendations by country from the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Department of State prior to departure. Also be aware that in accordance with guidance from the CDC, UCSF requires you to stay home and monitor your health for at least 7 days upon your return if not fully vaccinated.
  • If you are a health care worker, not fully vaccinated, who believes a 7-day quarantine after travel would create an unrealistic staffing burden or, call OHS at (415) 514-7328 to discuss plans before you travel and after you return.

Domestic Travel Outside California

University-sponsored travel to another state is permitted for fully vaccinated travelers and does not require the Pandemic Travel Approval form, although departments and divisions may follow pre-COVID approval mechanisms as appropriate. For individuals who are not fully vaccinated, interstate travel is restricted and requires central approval as essential using the Pandemic Travel Approval Request form.

Interstate Travel Requirements for Incoming and Outgoing Trainee Rotations 

  • Trainee programs must ensure that all participants are fully vaccinated before allowing incoming or outgoing rotations involving interstate travel. 
  • Trainees not fully vaccinated must have Pandemic Travel Approval Request form submitted by the UCSF program that requests the trainee's incoming or outgoing travel. 
  • Trainee programs must track whether incoming and outgoing students have checked and will comply with any state or local restrictions, as well as CDC guidelines during domestic travel. 

Approval for Essential Travel

Anyone planning to travel internationally, or domestically if unvaccinated, for university-sponsored purposes must obtain prior approval according to the information in this section.

  • Deans of the Schools and the Graduate Division are responsible for ensuring that students residents, and fellows are aware of this requirement.
  • Department Chairs and Institute/Organized Research Unit directors are responsible for ensuring that their faculties, staff, and postdoctoral scholars are aware of and adhere to this requirement.
  • University leadership may consult with the UCSF Recovery Operations Center (ROC) regarding specific circumstances.

Defining Essential Travel for Faculty and Staff

Defined as travel that is required — and cannot be postponed — in order to preserve the:

  • Safety of a patient or research subject or
  • Results of a research activity.

Essential faculty and staff travel does not include travel to attend educational conferences. Many other activities would also be considered non-essential travel.

  • Faculty and staff approvers: Approval for university-sponsored travel outside California by faculty,  research-project staff (including postdoctoral scholars), and independent contractors may only be provided by the appropriate Dean of the School of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, or Graduate Division, or the Executive Director of the Institute of Global Health Sciences. Research-project staff, including postdoctoral scholars, and independent contractors must have essential approval requests submitted by the UCSF principal investigator or chief administrator of the project.
  • Administrative staff approvers: Approval for university-sponsored travel outside California by administrative staff may only be provided by leadership based on the departments where they are assigned: Chancellor (for staff in the University Development and Alumni Relations, Offices of Communications, Community & Government Relations, Diversity and Outreach, Legal Affairs, Science Policy & Strategy, and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer); Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost; UCSF Health CEO; or Senior Vice Chancellor Finance & Administration.

Defining Essential Travel for Students, Residents, and Fellows

Defined as travel that is required – and cannot be postponed – in order to:

  • Meet a graduation or completion requirement.
  • Student, resident, and fellows’ approvers: Approval for university-sponsored travel outside California by students, residents, and fellows may only be provided by the Dean of their respective school or the Graduate Division.

Obtaining Approval for Essential Travel

  1. The Requester should complete the Pandemic Travel Approval Request Form. ​If you have not heard about your approval within 10 days after your request, please notify Travis Pentz, and include these details: dates of trip, location of trip, your designation (faculty, staff, student, resident, fellow, or postdoc), and to whom the Travel Request was submitted. Click here to see an example of the questions asked on the Pandemic Travel Approval Request Form, but use the link above to DocuSign form when submitting your responses.
  2. After the Requester clicks Finish, the form will automatically be routed through DocuSign to the appropriate Approver based on how the requestor selected their UCSF affiliation as faculty, staff, fellow, resident or student, and jurisdiction within UCSF. Broader approval may be granted for multiple travel events for an individual traveler in one identified country at the discretion of the Approver and within a clearly defined period of time, and according to the laws and regulations of that country.
  3. The Approver receives and reviews the Request. Based on the travel itinerary and justification, the Approver accepts or does not accept the Request, and signs and dates the form. This documentation is automatically sent via DocuSign to the Recovery Operations Center with copy to the Requester and Approver.
  4. ROC reconciles these requests with the UC Insurance Travel registration list in the case of international travel, and
  5. If travel approved, ROC will contact the Requester to share standard links and a person to contact for travel safety information if needed, and will require email confirmation that the Requester has registered for UCSF travel insurance.
  6. If travel not approved, ROC contacts anyone planning travel without approval to verify travel has been cancelled. If Requester wants to appeal the non-approval of travel, the ROC will send an email with the appeal process.

 

If You Need Travel Assistance

Many country borders are closing and flights are limited. If you face challenges when attempting to return to the U.S., please read the following guidance:

  • Members of the UCSF community who are currently abroad and intent on returning to the United States are urged to work with their airlines to update travel arrangements. 
  • UCSF travelers who are stranded and cannot get a return flight to the U.S. AND who are traveling on UC-related business (e.g., rotations, research, meetings, consultancies, etc.) can contact United Health Care Global Assistance, however evacuations cannot be guaranteed and depend on local circumstances, individual illness requirements, and governmental orders:
  • UCSF travelers on personal travel or vacation who are US citizens, and who cannot obtain a flight back to the US, should contact American Citizen Services (ACS). Lawful permanent residents (LPRs, or "green card holders") are included in emergency evacuations when there is the capability to do so.
    • ACS may be inundated with a high volume of inquiries from travelers currently impacted by the widespread flight cancelations, so please excuse any delay in response.
    • Rest assured that ACS (globally) is monitoring the situation closely and working on solutions for U.S. citizens abroad.
    • For country-specific information, travelers need to contact the local ACS at the Embassy or Consulate nearest to them. Get Embassy and Consulate information abroad.
  • Non-U.S. Citizens from many countries are not being allowed to enter the U.S. Please check current border restrictions before you attempt to return to the United States.
  • Please be aware that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises you to stay home and monitor your health for at least 7 days after returning from abroad if not fully vaccinated, due to the risk of exposure during transit. See the section above for UCSF-specific requirements on return to work.