Travel Guidance

Updated September 14, 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.

COVID-19 Testing

  • Those returning from travel to states outside California:
    • All persons (regardless of vaccination status) are strongly recommended to have a COVID test 3-5 days after return from travel.
    • Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated persons are required to have a COVID test 3-5 days after return from travel.
  • Those who travel internationally, regardless of vaccination status, are still required to have a COVID test 3-5 days after return from travel. See the UCSF Travel Requirements Table below for additional details.

Travel Approvals

  • Those who travel within California, regardless of vaccination status, do not need to fill out any forms for travel approval or reimbursement
  • Those who travel interstate and are fully vaccinated* do not need to fill out the Pandemic Travel Request Form. These fully vaccinated travelers can use the Attestation Form for reimbursement (see below).
  • Avoid international travel.
  • University-sponsored travel requiring central campus-leadership approval with the Pandemic Travel Approval Request form:
    • International travel
    • Travel to another state if not fully vaccinated*
  • When the Pandemic Travel Approval Request form is not required by central campus leadership, departments and divisions will follow their pre-COVID travel approval mechanisms.
  • Follow CDC guidelines during all travel, and consider carefully the risks and costs of travel for the travelers and the travel location.

*People fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine by the World Health Organization (WHO) must be more than two weeks after receiving the second dose of two-dose vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) or more than two weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine (like Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen). Individuals who have not completed the dose requirements of a vaccine, and individuals who have not received a WHO -approved vaccine are not fully vaccinated.

Visit this webpage for more information on WHO-approved vaccinesclick on Status of COVID-19 Vaccines Within WHO EUL/PQ Evaluation Process, and check for Finalized vaccines in the Status of Assessment column.  

Equivalence to vaccination: proof for COVID-19 infection in the last 90 days.

See the detailed guidance:


 

NOTE: Public health authorities have updated their guidance for anyone traveling to, moving to, 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 After Travel

Employees returning or coming 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 complete the Daily Health Screener and/or call the COVID Response Team 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 the COVID Response Team 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 after UCSF-sponsored travel requires documentation

Traveler Categories

Based on vaccination status, 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 daily employee 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. 

Vaccination Status:

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).  Individuals who have not completed the dose requirements of a vaccine, and individuals who have not received a WHO-approved vaccine are not fully vaccinated.

View this page for WHO-approved vaccines: click on Status of COVID-19 Vaccines Within WHO EUL/PQ Evaluation Process,  and check for Finalized vaccines in the Status of Assessment column.          

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  or the SHCS upon return. Follow the table requirements for Fully Vaccinated individuals.

Traveler Category 1: Individuals who have been fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine

Traveler Category 2: Unvaccinated/Incompletely Vaccinated 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 Fully Vaccinated.

Traveler Category 3: Unvaccinated/Incompletely Vaccinated 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. Follow the table requirements for Not Fully Vaccinated.

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

U.S. Travel Outside California

UCSF strongly recommends against personal international travel as part of a broader effort to limit the transmission of COVID-19 from place to place.

If you do undertake travel outside California, be aware that some state and local governmentsas well as airlines and many foreign countries, require you to test, produce documents related to vaccination status, and/or self-quarantine for up to 14 days upon arrival. 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 whether the travel is personal or UCSF-sponsored. Also consider the follow the guidance while traveling from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

UCSF employees and learners who live or work in California should consult the following UCSF Travel Requirements Table regarding vaccination status and interstate or international travel, and upon their arrival after travel should undergo required post-travel quarantine and testing. Regular commuters are exempted.

UCSF Travel Requirements Table

Vaccination Status

Not Fully Vaccinated*

Fully Vaccinated*

Traveler Category

2 & 3

1

Travel

Interstate Travel

International Travel

Interstate Travel

International Travel

Before Travel

Travel Approval required

Central approval required via Pandemic Form

Attestation required for reimbursement

Central approval required via Pandemic Form

COVID-19 test 1-3 days before travel

Yes

No

Check destination requirements**

Yes

Yes

During Travel

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

No

Yes

No

 

 

 

Yes

After Travel

COVID-19 Testing***

Test 3-5 Days after travel required

Test 3-5 days after travel - strongly recommended

Test 3-5 days after travel - required

COVID-19 Quarantine

Immediate return to work if asymptomatic with no known exposure

Home quarantine for 7 days when not at UCSF -recommended

With a Test - No entry to UCSF for 7 days. Home quarantine for 7 days when not at UCSF if result is negative – required

Without a Test – No entry to UCSF for 10 days. Home quarantine for 10 days - required

Immediate Return to work if asymptomatic with no known exposure

No home quarantine

 

  Symptoms Monitoring

Monitor for 14 days.

See monitoring info below

  COVID Clearance from COVID Response Team to return to campus No COVID Response Team clearance email required

Employees: Need COVID clearance email after international travel. Call 415.514.7328

Students: Need COVID clearance after international travel. See below.

Employees: No COVID Response Team clearance email required.

Students:  Need COVID clearance after international travel. See below.

 

 

* 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).  Individuals who have not completed the dose requirements of a vaccine, and individuals who have not received a WHO-approved vaccine are not fully vaccinated.

View this page for WHO-approved vaccines: click on Status of COVID-19 Vaccines Within WHO EUL/PQ Evaluation Process, and check for Finalized vaccines in the Status of Assessment column.

Equivalence to vaccination: proof for COVID-19 infection in the last 90 days.

 ** US Destination requirements and International Destination requirements. Also check with your airline regarding boarding requirements.

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

See frequently asked questions about this guidance »

Monitoring Required for International Travelers Approved as Essential for Immediate UCSF Entry (Category 2)

1.  All employees and Students returning from travel outside California must monitor and record any COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days, beginning on the first day after arrival. This includes taking your temperature twice daily, and the following:

  • Complete the Daily Screener to obtain your daily campus pass.
  • Start Coronavirus symptom self-monitoring by checking daily for COVID Symptoms.
  • If you fail the Daily Screener or if symptoms appears, employees should complete Daily Screener to message the COVID Response Team or else call the  COVID Hotline 415-514-7328.  Students must immediately contact SHCS by sending a secure message to the SHCS COVID Nurse.

  2.  Employees and Students following international travel:

3.   Follow testing and quarantine 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 or travel.

UCSF is restricting all non-essential university-sponsored international travel to any country; and for not-fully vaccinated individuals, also restricting interstate travel.

  • We realize this may affect some researchers who are under contractual obligation to complete projects within a given timeframe. 
  • Requests for approval of restricted university-sponsored travel must follow the approval process outlined below.
  • 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 the COVID Response Team at (415) 514-7328 to discuss plans before you travel and after you return.
  • If you are a new hire traveling from outside of California to begin your appointment at UCSF, and are unclear about the arrival instructions you have received, please contact the COVID Response Team at (415) 514-7328. 

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 not fully vaccinated, 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 Interim 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

Country borders may close and flights may be limited. If you face challenges when attempting to obtain flights to the U.S., please read the following guidance:

  • Members of the UCSF community who are currently abroad and intent on traveling to the United States are urged to work with their airlines to update travel arrangements. 
  • UCSF travelers who are stranded and cannot get a 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 UCSF Travel Requirements Table above before entering campus to work.