Travel Guidance

Applies to all UCSF employees and learners

Updated April 26, 2022

What’s new

COVID Testing within 10 days of on-site work or study

  • After any domestic travel greater than 100 miles from your home
    • Is required if not up-to-date on vaccinations
    • Is strongly recommended if up-to-date on vaccinations
    • Domestic travel includes travel to all U.S. states and territories
    • Commuters in private vehicles are exempt
  • After travel to professional meetings and conferences (domestic or international)
    • Is required, regardless of vaccination status
  • After international travel
    • Is still required, regardless of vaccination status
  • Involves 2-step testing
    • The first approved COVID-19 test is taken within 24 hours of entering a UCSF facility (before or during the first day onsite)
    • A second COVID-19 test is required 3 to 5 days following the first UCSF test

International UCSF-sponsored travel requires approval for UCSF-sponsored work or study. 

  • For Faculty, Staff, Post-docs, Residents, and Fellows
    • The new approval form must be signed and attached to your reimbursement request through MyExpense. 
    • Approval is now done at the level of the Departmental Chair or the Institute Director or their designees. Details available below in the Approvals section. 
    • Travel criteria have changed and now relate to staffing issues. 
  • For Students 
    • No change in International UCSF-sponsored travel policy. Details available below in the Approvals section. This policy will be reviewed again in 2 – 3 months 

Complete the Daily Health Screener  for up-to-date guidance on post-travel requirements, and to learn if you need COVID Hotline clearance to return to campus. 

New Hires to UCSF

See full details on UCSF Travel Requirements Table below

  • New hires to UCSF who are up-to-date with vaccinations should follow the Traveler Category 1: Individuals who have been fully vaccinated with an FDA or World Health Organization (WHO)-approved vaccine plus booster when eligible. See below under Vaccine Definition.
  • New hires who are not up-to-date with vaccinations should follow the Traveler Category 2: Individuals who have not completed the dose requirements of a vaccine, and individuals who have not received an FDA or WHO-approved vaccine plus booster when eligible. See below under Vaccine Definition.
  • Regardless of vaccination status, anyone periodically onsite needs clearance and must contact the [email protected] for guidance.
  • 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

Employees and Learners

Vaccination Definition 

Up-to-date vaccination status is defined as meeting criteria in A or B:

  • A: COMPLETED an initial FDA- or WHO-approved two-dose vaccination series > 5 months ago (or one-dose J&J > 2 months ago) and you have RECEIVED your booster.
  • B: COMPLETED an initial FDA- or WHO-approved two-dose vaccination series < 5 months ago (or one-dose J&J < 2 months ago), and > 14 days since you completed your vaccination series (i.e., NOT YET booster eligible)
  • If you have questions about booster eligibility, see this CDC link. If you have been treated for COVID with prescription medications or have questions about vaccines, see this CDC link or contact the UCSF vaccination team ([email protected]).

Allowable Travel for Faculty, Staff, Post-Docs, Residents and Fellows

International UCSF-sponsored travel requires approval. Travel to other states and U.S. territories does not. 

  • Allowable Travel Defined: Travel that is compatible with staffing requirements in the event that travelers abroad are affected by COVID or travel delays. Specifically, after the third requester seeks approval for the same international site/meeting, the approver must consider the staffing/operational impact of the requesters’ concurrent travel.
  • Faculty, Staff, Post-doc, Resident, Fellow, and Independent Contractor Approvers: Approval for university-sponsored international travel may only be provided by the appropriate Departmental Chair or Institutional Director or their designees. 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. Note: names and email addresses for these approvers are on the International Travel Approval & Resources form linked from the Required Travel Approval section below. 
  • Administrative Office Staff Approvers: Approval for university-sponsored international travel may only be provided by leadership based on the offices where the requesters are assigned: Offices of the Chancellor, University Development and Alumni Relations, Communications, Community & Government Relations, Diversity and Outreach, Legal Affairs, Science Policy & Strategy, and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer; Offices of Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost, UCSF Health CEO; and the Senior Vice Chancellor Finance & Administration. Note: names and email addresses for these approvers are on the International Travel Approval & Resources form linked from the Required Travel Approval section below. 

Essential (Allowable) Travel for Students

International UCSF-sponsored travel requires approval. Travel to other states and U.S. territories does not. 

  • Defined as travel that is required – and cannot be postponed – in order to meet a graduation or completion requirement.
  • Students’ approvers: Approval for university-sponsored international travel by students may only be provided by the Dean of their respective school or the Graduate Division. Note: requesters choose from the approvers listed on the DocuSign Pandemic Travel Request form linked from the Required Travel Approval section below.
  • Requirements for interstate trainee work (incoming and outgoing)
    The UCSF program must insure
    • All participants are up-to-date with COVID vaccines, including booster.
    • Any participant NOT up-to-date must receive approval using the Pandemic Travel Request form, submitted by UCSF program (linked from the Required Travel Approval section below).
    • All participants comply with any additional state or local restrictions, as well as CDC guidelines during travel.

Travel Approval and Reimbursement

Approval must be requested before travel, as described below. If unusual circumstances make pre-trip approval impossible, the traveler should submit the appropriate travel approval form linked below to the appropriate approver. Note: a post-travel request may not be approved.

  • All travel
    • ​Follow CDC guidelines and consider carefully the risks and costs of travel for the travelers and the travel location. Check destination and airline requirements.
  • Travel within California or to another state for UCSF-sponsored work or study  
    • Regardless of vaccination status: no forms needed for travel approval or reimbursement. 
    • Includes travel to/from a U.S. territory like American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Travel to another state includes the islands of Hawaii.
    • Travel to another country for UCSF-sponsored work or study 
      •  Regardless of vaccination status, faculty, staff, post-docs, residents and fellows must fill out the International Travel Approval and Resources Form. See below.
      • Students refer to the international travel approval process below.

​Faculty, Staff, Post-Docs, Residents, and Fellows

The Requester should complete the International Travel Approval & Resources Form. ​If you have not heard about your approval within 10 days after your request, please email the approver, and include these details: dates of trip, location of trip, your designation (faculty, staff, post-doc, resident, or fellow).

  1. After the requester completes the form, he/she sends it to the approver (listed on page 3 of the form) as an attachment to an email. Please write “Travel Approval Request” in the email subject line. 
  2. The Approver receives and reviews the Request. Based on operational and staffing considerations, the Approver accepts or does not accept the Request, and signs and dates the form. The Approver sends a copy of this form to the requester and keeps another copy in his/her files. The requester must make sure he/she has selected the correct approver, since requests may be rejected if they are sent to the wrong approver. 

Students

  1. The Requester should complete the Pandemic Travel Approval Request FormMake sure you include your vaccination status in the box asking about how you will lower COVID risk during travel and at the site. ​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 (Student), and to whom the Travel Request was submitted. (View a sample Pandemic Travel Approval Form to see the questions asked). But use the Pandemic Travel Approval Request Form via DocuSign to submit 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 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. Make sure you have selected the correct approver, since requests may be rejected if they are sent to the wrong 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.
  7. If the approval form is returned to you via DocuSign without a signature and without an explanation, please reach out to the approver to understand the issue.

Requirements After Travel Outside California

See the UCSF Travel Requirements Table below for further details.

  1. Monitor and record any COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days, beginning on the first day after arrival. This includes taking your temperature twice daily (if you have been exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case), and monitoring symptoms using the COVID Symptoms form.
  2. Complete the Daily Screener even if it will deny entry. For employees and learners, this guides next steps and sends a message to the COVID Response Team, which will contact the employees and learners if entry is denied. Quarantine while awaiting this contact. Repeat the Daily Screener if symptoms arise or you test positive.
  • 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.
  1. Complete the testing required by the Daily Screener.
  • All individuals returning to UCSF onsite work within 10 days following international travel or following any domestic or international professional meeting or conference are required to take and submit an approved COVID-19 test within 24 hours of entering a UCSF facility (before or during first day onsite).  A second COVID-19 test is required 3 to 5 days following the first UCSF test.
  • Those returning to UCSF onsite work within 10 days following travel more than 100 miles from their home are strongly recommended (if Up-to-date with COVID vaccination) or required (if not up-to-date with COVID vaccinations) to take and submit an approved COVID-19 test within 24 hours of entering a UCSF facility (before or during first day onsite).  A second COVID-19 test is required 3 to 5 days following the first UCSF test.
  1. Get further information if additional questions about issues like returning to campus, a positive COVID test, high-risk travel or high-risk exposure.

Traveler Categories

All employees and students who live or work in California can use the following table which summarizes pre- and post-travel requirements. If you are unsure whether you are required to be on site, please consult your supervisor. If you have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 3 months, follow the table requirements according to your COVID-19 vaccination status.

Traveler Category 1: Individuals who are up-to-date on COVID vaccinations have been fully vaccinated with an FDA or WHO-approved vaccine plus booster when eligible.

Traveler Category 2: Individuals who have NOT completed the dose requirements of a vaccine, individuals who have not received an FDA or WHO-approved vaccine, and individuals who have not received a booster when eligible.

UCSF Travel Requirements Table

Vaccination Status

Not Up-to-Date on Vaccinations

(Includes Booster by March 1

or when eligible)

Fully Up-to-Date on Vaccinations

(Includes Booster by March 1

or when eligible)

Traveler Category

1

Travel

Travel to/from Another State

International Travel

Travel to/from Another State

International Travel

Before Travel

Travel Approval required

No

Students: Use Pandemic Travel Approval form 

All others: Use International Travel Approval & Resources Form

No

Students: Use Pandemic Travel Approval form 

All others: Use International Travel Approval & Resources Form

COVID-19 test 1-3 days before travel

Yes

No

Check destination requirements**

Yes

Yes

During Travel

For International Travelers, Pre-travel test must be performed and resulted no more than one day before departure flight to the U.S., 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**

 

Testing required if traveled more than 100 miles from home.
 
Testing required if attend a professional meeting or conference. 
 
First test required within 24 hours of entering UCSF ability (before or during first day onsite) Second test required 3-5 days after first UCSF test 
 
Required: First test required within 24 hours of entering a UCSF facility (before or during first day onsite) Second test required 3-5 days after first UCSF test

Testing strongly recommended if traveled more than100 miles from home. 

Testing required if attended a professional meeting or conference. 

First test required within 24 hours of entering UCSF ability (before or during first day onsite) Second test required 3-5 days after first UCSF test 

Required: First test required within 24 hours of entering a UCSF facility (before or during first day onsite) Second test required 3-5 days after first UCSF test
COVID-19 Quarantine

Following NPI testing requirement to be onsite

Return to on-site work sooner than 10 days after return from travel requires COVID-19 Response Team interview and clearance 

Employee will do either a 7-day home quarantine with testing or 10-day quarantine without testing

Immediate return to on-site work if asymptomatic with no known exposure

No home quarantine unless symptomatic and COVID-19 test is positive

  Symptoms Monitoring

Monitor for 14 days

See monitoring information below

 

COVID-19 Response Team review before onsite return to work/learn. Take the Daily Screener for guidance. 

No COVID-19 clearance email is required to return to work if asymptomatic with no known exposure

COVID-19 clearance email is required to return to work less than 10 days after travel

No COVID-19 clearance email is required to return to work if asymptomatic with no known exposure

  Contact if COVID-19 questions

UCSF SF & Fresno Employees & Students: COVID-19 Response Team (415) 514-7328

BCH Oakland Employees: (510) 428-3620; option 4

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.

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.
  • 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.
  • Check current US border restrictions before you attempt to return to the United States. Check current international border restrictions where you were located abroad before travel.