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Travel to Risk Designated Countries

The health, safety and security of students and faculty traveling abroad is a top priority at Ohio State. So that every Buckeye who wants to gain valuable international experience through study abroad, research, field work, internships or volunteer opportunities is able to do so safely, Ohio State has developed a travel risk rating for every country as well as specific regions of the world.

Ohio State risk designated scale

The scale puts in place a tiered risk level for countries and regions and defines parameters for travel. The system is based on guidance from numerous resources: U.S. Department of State, Drum Cussac, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control.

 Ohio State Risk Designated Tiers

 Tier 5 Extreme Risk
 Tier 4  High Risk
 Tier 3  Moderate Risk
 Tier 2  Specific Risk
 Tier 1  Universal Risk

When assigning a risk rating to a country or region, Ohio State also may factor in additional criteria from government, insurance and in-country resources. These resources are weighted by Ohio State so the university’s tiered scale may not be comparable to the risk ratings of other organizations.

  1. U.S. Department of State – Issues travel advisories for every country, including four standard levels of advice, risk descriptions and actions that U.S. citizens should implement to help ensure their safety.
  2. Drum Cussac Country Risk Ratings - Issues an overall country risk rating based on a scale of 1 (negligible) to 5 (extreme) using .25 increments. Drum Cussac is Ohio State’s current provider of the Political Emergency and Natural Disaster (PEND) evacuation insurance.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travel Health Notices – Issues travel notices to inform travelers about current health issues related to specific designations and are categorized by Warning Level 3 (avoid nonessential travel), Alert Level 2 (practice enhanced precautions) and Watch Level 1 (practice usual precautions).
  4. U.S. Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) – Issues comprehensive sanctions against countries that prohibit all direct or indirect imports/exports, trade brokering, financing or facilitating against most goods, technology and services.

Updates to the risk designated scale

Updates to the risk designations will be posted at the beginning of each month, however Ohio State may make immediate adjustments if conditions in a country change significantly. Travelers should always monitor advisories for their intended location by registering in the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

International Travel Policy Committee

The International Travel Policy Committee (ITPC), appointed by the provost, develops guidelines and policies to maintain the health and safety of Ohio State students, faculty and staff studying abroad or conducting research or business in another country.

The committee is also responsible for conducting a risk assessment for students planning to study in risk designated countries and provides approval (in consultation with the provost) for university-related travel to these locations. The ITPC approval process evaluates the academic value of travel balanced with the current health, safety and security conditions of the intended destination.

Current Ohio State Risk Designated List - All Countries 

Tier 5 - Extreme Risk

Travel is highly discouraged and may be restricted to countries with a Tier 5 extreme risk rating. Some of the factors taken into consideration include a Level 4 travel advisory (do not travel) issed by the U.S. Department of State; a Level 3 warning (avoid nonessential travel) issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; risk rating above 4.0 assigned by Drum Cussac. 

Implications for student travel:
  • Ohio State does not administer undergraduate education abroad programs in Tier 5 extreme risk countries
  • Graduate student education abroad programs require submission of an ITPC Risk Assessment
Undergraduate student travel:
  • Restricted
Graduate student travel:
  • Requires submission of ITPC Risk Assessment and review and consensus by the ITPC Committee

 Tier 5 Extreme Risk Countries

 Afghanistan  Iraq  South Sudan 
 Burundi  Libya  Syria
 Central African Republic  Mali  Yemen    
 Democratic Republic of Congo  North Korea       Venezuela
 Iran  Somalia         

 

Tier 4 - High Risk

Travel may be restricted or confined to specific locations and there will be substantial requirements for the safety and security of students, faculty and staff. Some of the factors taken into consideration include countries issued a Level 2 (exercise increased caution) or Level 3 (reconsider travel) or regions issued a Level 4 (do not travel travel advisory by the U.S. Department of State; risk rating of 3.5 - 4 .0 assigned by Drum Cussac.

Implications for student travel:
  • Education abroad programming or on-site faculty-led research in Tier 4 High Risk countries requires completion of an ITPC Risk Assessment and is subject to substantial vetting
  • Travel must be site specific and only to locations critical to an academic program
Undergraduate student travel:
  • Individual undergraduate student and extracurricular travel is restricted
Graduate student travel:
  • Individual graduate student travel requires submission of an ITPC Risk Assessment and review and consensus of the ITPC committee

 Tier 4 - High Risk Countries

 Algeria  Honduras  Pakistan
 Burkina Faso  Lebanon  Papua New Guinea
 Chad  Madagascar  Sudan
 El Salvador  Nicaragua  Zimbabwe
 Guinea-Bissau  Niger  
 Haiti  Nigeria  

 

Tier 3 - Moderate Risk

Travel may be limited in country; certain forms of travel and programming may be restricted; some locations may require a higher level of in-country support, accommodations, transportation and logistics for the safety and security of students, faculty and staff. Some of the factors taken into consideration included countries issued a Level 2 (exercise increased caution) or Level 3 (reconsider travel) or regions issued a Level 4 (do not travel) travel advisory by the U.S. Department of State; comprehensive sanctions assigned by the OFAC; risk rating of 3.5 or less assgned by Drum Cussac. 

Implications for student travel:
  • Education abroad programming and on-site faculty-led research to Tier 3 Moderate Risk countries requires completion of an ITPC Risk Assessment and is subject to review and consensus of the ITPC committee
  • Travel may entail significant safety arrangements including specific on-site support, limitations on travel to specific regions and requirements on accommodations, transportation and other logistics
Undergraduate student travel:
  • Individual undergraduate student travel is limited and requires submission of an ITPC Risk Assessment for review and consensus of the ITPC committee
  • The risk assessment must include a statement of purpose and articulate relevancy of travel to the country to specific academic objectives
  • Due to the diversity of the security profiles of countries in this category, there may be significant variation in approved opportunities between locations
Graduate travel:
  • Individual graduate student travel requires submission of an ITPC Risk Assessment and review and consensus of the ITPC committee

 Tier 3 - Moderate Risk Countries

 Bangladesh  India  Sierra Leone
 Cameroon  Indonesia  South Africa
 Cote d'Ivoire  Kenya  Tanzania
 Cuba  Mauritania  Togo
 Egypt  Mexico  Turkey
 Eritrea  Republic of Congo  Uganda
 Ethiopia  Saudi Arabia  Ukraine
 Guatemala    

 

Tier 2 - Specific Risk

Travel to specific geographic locations may be restricted or require significant vetting. Some locations may require a higher level of in-country support, accommodations, transportation and logistics for the safety and security of students, faculty and staff. For areas that demonstrate inadequate healthcare resources, travelers may need to identify competent medical facilities in the area. Some of the factors taken into consideration include countries issued a Level 1 (exercise normal precautions) or Level 2 (exercise increased caution) or regions issued a Level 3 (reconsider travel) or Level 4 (do not travel) travel advisory by the U.S. Department of State; risk rating of 3.5 or higher assigned by Drum Cussac.

Implications for student travel:
  • Education abroad programming and on-site faculty-led research to Tier 2 Specific Risk countries requires an intitial International Risk Management Itinerary Review
  • Objections to the risk management evaluation will require completion of an ITPC Risk Assessment and is subject to review and consensus of the ITPC committee
Undergraduate student travel:
  • Individual undergraduate travel requires submission of an International Risk Management Itinerary Review listing all travel destinations in the country
  • May restric or limit travel to specific regions
  • Objections to the risk management evaluation will require completion of an ITPC Risk Assessment and is subject to review and consensus of the ITPC committee
Graduate student travel:
  • Individual graduate student travel requires submission of an International Risk Management Itinerary Review listing all travel destinations in the country
  • May restrict or limit travel to specific regions
  • Objections to the risk management evaluation will require completion of an ITPC Risk Assessment and is subject to review and consensus of the ITPC committee

 Tier 2 - Specific Risk Countries

 Antigua and Barbuda  Guinea  Oman
 Armenia  Indonesia  Panama
 Azerbaijan  Israel, West Band, Gaza   Peru
 Brazil  Jamaica  Philippines
 Burma  Jordan  Russia
 Comoros  Kosovo  Rwanda
 Colombia  Kuwait  Thailand
 Ecuador  Laos  Timor-Leste
 French West Indies  Liberia  Trinidad & Tobago
 Georgia  Mozambique  Tunisia

 

Tier 1 - Universal Risk

Travelers should not assume that travel to Tier 1 destinations is devoid of risk. Hazards such as inadequate medical facilities, ongoing demonstrations and exposure to tropical diseases do not necessarily result in a country being assigned to a higher tier. Travelers to these countries are still advised to read the country specific information at the U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory and CDC destination profile prior to travel.