Global Education

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.

Information on the university’s travel guidelines can be accessed at the Office of Business and Finance website

While resources used in the risk designated scale factor-in the prevalence of COVID-19, the scale does not fully reflect current concerns for immigration restrictions, country medical capacity and other risks associated with the pandemic. Therefore, a designation of Tier 1: Universal Risk does not indicate travel is advisable.

Due to the potential for significant fluctuation due to COVID-19, the scale will be updated monthly. The scale is currently used to forecast for one month at at time.   

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 6 Extreme Risk
Tier 5 Significant 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.

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.

Ohio State Risk Tiers

Travel is highly discouraged and may be restricted to countries with a Tier 6 extreme risk rating. Some of the factors taken into consideration include a Level 4 travel advisory (do not travel) issued 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 4.25 assigned by Drum Cussac.

Implications for student travel:

  • Ohio State does not administer undergraduate education abroad programs in Tier 6 extreme risk countries

Individual undergraduate student travel:

  • Restricted

Individual graduate student travel:

  • Individual graduate student travel requires submission of ITPC Risk Assessment and review and consensus by the ITPC Committee
  • The assessment would require a strong academic rationale and assume the individual has prior experience in the country or region; significant language skills or native fluency; connection to a strong local partner (Government, NGO, university) and a significant security plan. Likely requirements will be established for logistics including transportation and accommodation. A routine check-in protocol with international risk management is required.

Travel is highly discouraged and may be restricted to countries with a Tier 5 signifiant risk rating. Some of the factors taken into consideration include a Level 4 travel advisory (do not travel) issued 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 significant risk destinations

Faculty-led or Group Programs:

  • Graduate student education abroad programs in Tier 5: Significant Risk destinations require submission of an ITPC Risk Assessment. The sponsoring College would need a strong academic rationale for travel and support from the Dean or their designee.
  • The assessment would assume faculty/staff leadership have prior experience in country; significant language skills, native fluency or access to full-time translators; and a connection to a strong local partner (government, NGO, university). Travel must be site specific and only to locations critical to the academic program. Likely requirements will be established for logistics including transportation and accommodation.

Individual undergraduate student travel:

  • Restricted

Individual graduate student travel:

  • Requires submission of ITPC Risk Assessment and review and consensus by the ITPC Committee.
  • The assessment would require a strong academic rationale and assume the individual has prior experience in the country or region; significant language skills or native fluency; connection to a strong local partner (government, NGO, university) and a significant security plan. Likely recommendations will be established for logistics including transportation and accommodation. A routine check-in protocol with international risk management is required.

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.

Faculty-led or Group Programs:

  • Education abroad programming in Tier 4 High Risk countries requires completion of an ITPC Risk Assessment.
  • The assessment would assume the academic rationale for the program cannot be accomplished in a location with a lower risk tier rating. Assessment would also assume that faculty/staff leadership would have significant language skills or native fluency, and a connection to a strong local partner (government, NGO, university). Travel must be site specific and only to locations critical to the academic program.

Exchange, Third-Party and Customized programs:

  • Participation in Ohio State International Exchange (IEP), Third-Party Programs (TPP), or a Customized Experiential Educational Agreement may be limited to those students with a specific academic rationale and preparation (e.g. significant language experience).

Individual undergraduate student travel:

  • Individual undergraduate student (e.g. university supported research, internship) travel is restricted.
  • Individual undergraduate travel for select government sponsored programs (e.g. Boren, CLS, Project Go) is subject to ITPC review and approval.
  • Extracurricular travel (away from an approved education abroad program site) is restricted.

Individual graduate student travel:

  • Individual graduate student travel requires submission of an ITPC Risk Assessment and review and consensus of the ITPC committee.

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 assigned by Drum Cussac.

Implications for student travel:

Faculty-led or Group Programs:

  • Education abroad programming in Tier 3: Moderate Risk destinations requires completion of an ITPC Risk Assessment and adherence to ITPC guidelines for the country.
  • 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. The Assessment assumes the individual student has prior experience in the country or region; significant language skills or native fluency; academic background in the location.
  • 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 by international risk management. Approval may entail significant safety arrangements including specific on-site support, limitations on travel to specific regions and requirements on accommodations, transportation and other logistics.

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 initial 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 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

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

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. 

Ohio State Risk Designated Country List (Alphabetical)

CountryOverall Risk Rating
AfghanistanTier 6: Extreme Risk
AlbaniaTier 3: Moderate Risk
AlgeriaTier 5: Significant Risk
AndorraTier 4: High Risk
AngolaTier 5: Significant Risk
AnguillaTier 4: High Risk
AntarcticaTier 4: High Risk
Antingua and BarbudaTier 4: High Risk
ArgentinaTier 4: High Risk
ArmeniaTier 3: Moderate Risk
ArubaTier 4: High Risk
AustraliaTier 3: Moderate Risk
AustriaTier 4: High Risk
AzerbaijanTier 3: Moderate Risk
BahrainTier 3: Moderate Risk
BangladeshTier 4: High Risk
BarbadosTier 4: High Risk
BelarusTier 5: Significant Risk
BelgiumTier 4: High Risk
BelizeTier 4: High Risk
BeninTier 3: Moderate Risk
BermudaTier 3: Moderate Risk
BhutanTier 2: Specific Risk
BoliviaTier 4: High Risk
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaTier 4: High Risk
Bosnia and HerzegovinaTier 5: Significant Risk
BotswanaTier 4: High Risk
BrazilTier 3: Moderate Risk
British Virgin IslandsTier 1: Universal Risk
BruneiTier 3: Moderate Risk
BulgariaTier 4: High Risk
Burkina FasoTier 5: Significant Risk
BurundiTier 6: Extreme Risk

CountryOverall Risk Rating
Cabo VerdeTier 3: Moderate Risk
CambodiaTier 4: High Risk
CameroonTier 4: High Risk
CanadaTier 3: Moderate Risk
Cayman IslandsTier 4: High Risk
Central African RepublicTier 6: High Risk
ChadTier 6: High Risk
ChileTier 2: Specific Risk
ChinaTier 2: Specific Risk
ColombiaTier 4: High Risk
ComorosTier 2: Specific Risk
Costa RicaTier 2: Specific Risk
Cote d'IvoireTier 4: High Risk
CroatiaTier 4: High Risk
CubaTier 3: Moderate Risk
CuracaoTier 4: High Risk
CyprusTier 4: High Risk
Czech RepublicTier 4: High Risk
Democratic Republic of CongoTier 6: Extreme Risk
DenmarkTier 4: High Risk
DjiboutiTier 2: Specific Risk
DominicaTier 4: High Risk
Dominican RepublicTier 3: Moderate Risk
EcuadorTier 3: Moderate Risk
EgyptTier 4: High Risk
El SalvadorTier 4: High Risk
Equatorial GuineaTier 4: High Risk
EritreaTier 4: High Risk
EstoniaTier 4: High Risk
EswatiniTier 5: Significant Risk
EthiopiaTier 6: Extreme Risk
FijiTier 3: Moderate Risk
FinlandTier 4: High Risk
FranceTier 4: High Risk
French GuianaTier 4: High Risk
French PolynesiaTier 3: Moderate Risk
French West IndiesTier 3: Moderate Risk

CountryOverall Risk Rating
GabonTier 4: High Risk
GeorgiaTier 5: Significant Risk
GermanyTier 3: Moderate Risk
GhanaTier 2: Specific Risk
GreeceTier 4: High Risk
GrenadaTier 3: Moderate Risk
GuatemalaTier 4: High Risk
GuineaTier 5: Significant Risk
Guinea-BissauTier 4: High Risk
GuyanaTier 4: High Risk
HaitiTier 6: Extreme Risk
HondurasTier 4: High Risk
Hong KongTier 3: Moderate Risk
HungaryTier 4: High Risk
IcelandTier 4: High Risk
IndiaTier 3: Moderate Risk
IndonesiaTier 4: High Risk
IranTier 6: Extreme Risk
IraqTier 6: Extreme Risk
IrelandTier 4: High Risk
Israel, The West Bank and GazaTier 3: Moderate Risk
ItalyTier 4: High Risk
JamaicaTier 3: Moderate Risk
JapanTier 2: Specific Risk
JordanTier 5: Significant Risk
KazakhstanTier 5: Significant Risk
KenyaTier 4: High Risk
KiribatiTier 5: Significant Risk
KosovoTier 4: High Risk
KuwaitTier 2: Specific Risk
LaosTier 5: Significant Risk
LatviaTier 4: High Risk
LebanonTier 6: Extreme Risk
LesothoTier 4: High Risk
LiberiaTier 4: High Risk
LibyaTier 6: Extreme Risk
LiechtensteinTier 3: Moderate Risk
LithuaniaTier 4: High Risk
LuxembourgTier 4: High Risk

CountryOverall Risk Rating
MacauTier 2: Specific Risk
MadagascarTier 5: Significant Risk
MalawiTier 5: Significant Risk
MalaysiaTier 5: Significant Risk
MaldivesTier 5: Significant Risk
MaliTier 6: Extreme Risk
MaltaTier 4: High Risk
Marshall IslandsTier 3: Moderate Risk
MauritaniaTier 4: High Risk
MauritiusTier 4: High Risk
MexicoTier 3: Moderate Risk
MicronesiaTier 2: Specific Risk
MoldovaTier 4: High Risk
MongoliaTier 4: High Risk
MontenegroTier 4: High Risk
MontserratTier 2: Specific Risk
MoroccoTier 4: High Risk
MozambiqueTier 5: Significant Risk
Myanmar (Burma)Tier 6: Extreme Risk
NamibiaTier 4: High Risk
NauruTier 4: High Risk
NepalTier 3: Moderate Risk
NetherlandsTier 4: High Risk
New CaledoniaTier 3: Moderate Risk
New ZealandTier 2: Specific Risk
NicaraguaTier 5: Significant Risk
NigerTier 5: Significant Risk
NigeriaTier 5: Significant Risk
North KoreaTier 6: Extreme Risk
North MacedoniaTier 3: Moderate Risk
NorwayTier 4: High Risk
OmanTier 2: Specific Risk
PakistanTier 5: Significant Risk
PalauTier 1: Universal Risk
PanamaTier 3: Moderate Risk
Papua New GuineaTier 5: Significant Risk
ParaguayTier 1: Universal Risk
PeruTier 3: Moderate Risk
PhilippinesTier 2: Specific Risk
PolandTier 3: Moderate Risk
PortugalTier 4: High Risk

CountryOverall Risk Rating
QatarTier 3: Moderate Risk
Republic of the CongoTier 4: High Risk
RomaniaTier 3: Moderate Risk
RussiaTier 5: Significant Risk
RwandaTier 4: High Risk
Saint Kitts and NevisTier 4: High Risk
Saint LuciaTier 3: Moderate Risk
Saint Vincent and The GrenadinesTier 3: Moderate Risk
SamoaTier 4: High Risk
Sao TomeTier 3: Moderate Risk
Saudi ArabiaTier 3: Moderate Risk
SenegalTier 2: Specific Risk
SerbiaTier 4: High Risk
SeychellesTier 4: High Risk
Sierra LeoneTier 4: High Risk
SingaporeTier 3: Moderate Risk
Sint MaartenTier 4: High Risk
SolvakiaTier 4: High Risk
SloveniaTier 4: High Risk
Solomon IslandsTier 4: High Risk
SomaliaTier 6: Extreme Risk
South AfricaTier 5: Significant Risk
South KoreaTier 3: Moderate Risk
South SudanTier 6: Extreme Risk
SpainTier 4: High Risk
Sri LankaTier 4: High Risk
SudanTier 5: Significant Risk
SurinameTier 4: High Risk
SwedenTier 4: High Risk
SwitzerlandTier 4: High Risk
SyriaTier 6: Extreme Risk

CountryOverall Risk Rating
TaiwanTier 2: Specific Risk
TajikistanTier 5: Significant Risk
TanzaniaTier 5: Significant Risk
ThailandTier 3: Moderate Risk
The BahamasTier 3: Moderate Risk
The GambiaTier 2: Specific Risk
The Kyrgyz RepublicTier 2: Specific Risk
Timor-LesteTier 4: High Risk
TogoTier 4: High Risk
TongaTier 4: High Risk
Trinidad & TobagoTier 4: High Risk
TunisiaTier 3: Moderate Risk
TurkeyTier 5: Significant Risk
TurkmenistanTier 5: Significant Risk
Turks and Caicos IslandsTier 4: High Risk
TuvaluTier 4: High Risk
UgandaTier 4: High Risk
UkraineTier 5: Significant Risk
United Arab EmiratesTier 3: Moderate Risk
United KingdomTier 4: High Risk
UruguayTier 3: Moderate Risk
UzbekistanTier 5: Significant Risk
VanuatuTier 4: High Risk
VenezuelaTier 6: Extreme Risk
VietnamTier 4: High Risk
YemenTier 6: Extreme Risk
ZambiaTier 3: Moderate Risk
ZimbabweTier 5: Significant Risk