Global Education

Travel to Risk Designated Countries

Currently all university international travel is restricted until June 30, 2021. Exemption processes and elevated approvals related to travel restrictions are available under specific circumstances.

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 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.

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 

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) 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 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

AfghanistanIndonesia Madagascar
Algeria IranMozambique
ArgentinaIraqNiger
BhutanKosovo Nigeria
Bolivia LebanonPakistan
Botswana LibyaPapua New Guinea
BrazilMaliRepublic of the Congo
Burkina Faso MyanmarSierra Leone
BurundiNorth KoreaSudan
Central African RepublicRussiaTimor-Leste
CubaSomaliaTogo
Democratic Republic of CongoSouth SudanUkraine
French Guiana SyriaZimbabwe
French West Indies The Kyrgyz Republic
Georgia Turkmenistan
GuineaTurks and Caicos Islands
Haiti Venezuela
IndiaYemen

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

BangladeshMadagascarTogo
ChadMozambique Ukraine
Cote d'IvoireNigerZimbabwe
EgyptNigeria
El SalvadorPakistan
EritreaPapua New Guinea
EthiopiaRepublic of the Congo
Guinea-BissauSierra Leone
KenyaSudan
LiberiaTimor-Leste

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:

  • 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

AlbaniaFrench Polynesia Oman
AndorraGabonPanama
AngolaGermanyParaguay
AnguillaGhanaPeru
ArmeniaGreecePhilippines
ArubaGrenada Poland
AustriaGuatemala Portugal
AzerbaijanGuyanaQatar
BahrainHonduras Romania
Barbados Hong KongRwanda
BelarusHungarySaint Lucia
BelgiumIcelandSaint Vincent and The Grenadines
BelizeIrelandSao Tome
BeninIsrael, The West Bank and GazaSaudi Arabia
Bermuda ItalySenegal
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaJamaicaSerbia
Bosnia and HerzegovinaJapanSeychelles
British Virgin Islands JordanSint Maarten
BulgariaKazakhstanSlovakia
Cabo Verde KiribatiSlovenia
CambodiaKuwaitSolomon Island
CameroonLatviaSouth Africa
CanadaLesothoSpain
Cayman IslandsLithuaniaSri Lanka
ChileLuxembourgSuriname
ChinaMalawiSweden
ColombiaMalaysiaSwitzerland
ComorosMaldivesTajikistan
Costa Rica MaltaTanzania
CroatiaMauritaniaThe Bahamas
CuracaoMexicoThe Gambia
CyprusMoldovaTrinidad & Tobago
Czech Republic Mongolia Tunisia
DenmarkMontenegroTurkey
Dominica MontserratTuvalu
Dominican Republic MoroccoUganda
EcuadorNamibiaUnited Arab Emirates
Equatorial Guinea NepalUnited Kingdom
EstoniaNetherlandsUruguay
EswatiniNicaragua Uzbekistan
FinlandNorth MacedoniaZambia
FranceNorway

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

 Tier 2 - Specific Risk Countries

  • Laos
  • Thailand

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. 

Tier 1 - Universal Risk Countries

AntarcticaMauritiusSamoa
AustraliaMicronesiaSingapore
BruneiNauruSouth Korea
Djibouti New Caledonia Taiwan
FijiNew Zealand Tonga
MacauPalauVanuatu
Marshall Islands Saint Kitts and Nevis Vietnam