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Undergraduate Student Life

International Travel Timeline

International travel takes place outside of the U.S. (or its territories). U.S. trips (or territories) are considered domestic travel. These trips have different requirements and timelines.

International travel requires at least three months of notice to your adviser in order for it to be considered Columbia-supported travel. This lead time is necessary for you to manage all the aspects related to an international trip, such as the various travel processes and necessary payments.

Three months before your trip

Meet with your adviser to discuss the following and develop an individual timeline to keep you on track for your trip

  • Purpose of Trip - What’s the reason for the trip? Who is going and why? Does the trip fall within your group’s mission?
  • Travel Plans - Where will you be traveling and for how long? How will you be getting there? Where will you stay (if necessary)?
  • Safety - Is there a U.S. State Department Travel Warning, or Travel Alerts assigned to your destination country?
  • Visa - What, if any, are the Visa requirements and fees?
  • Immunizations - What, if any, are the immunization recommendations for your destination country?
  • Weather - What is the local weather expected to be during your stay and how might that impact how you prepare? Are their cultural or custom particulars that you need to be aware of? 
  • Trip Finances - Will you be using university funding (that includes student-group funds)? Does your group have the funds to cover the travel? What is the tentative trip budget? Approximately how much, if any, will each traveler be expected to pay out-of-pocket? There are several options available to you to pay for travel. What methods make the most sense for your trip? What steps need to be taken to access those spending options?

Following the meeting, you will submit any financial paperwork related to your upcoming trip, such as an FTF, travel advance forms, request to use a divisional credit card, etc. See the Payment Method Guide or talk with your adviser for more details.

Depending on the situation, you may purchase some of your travel between this first meeting and the second adviser meeting one month later.

Two months before your trip

  • Purpose of Trip - You and your adviser will review the purpose of your trip to disucss any adjustments.  
  • Travel Plans - You and your adviser will review the your individual trip timeline and confirm details such as transportation, lodging and other trip details. 
  • Trip Roster - You will finalize your trip roster. 
  • Safety - You and your adviser will discuss a safety plan and double check for any U.S. State Department Travel Warning, or Travel Alerts assigned to your destination country.
  • Visa - You will confirm that you have a plan in place to manage applications and fees for any possible Visa requirements and any immunization recommendations for the destination country.
  • Trip Finances - You and your adviser will discuss the finances of the trip, including the trip budget and the chosen payment methods. Your adviser will review processes and deadlines that you need to be aware of.

You will purchase as much of your travel at this time as possible.

Two weeks before your trip

  • Travel Plans - You and your adviser will check in to see if there have been any changes to the travel plans. If there have been, you will discuss how best to manage the changes. 
  • Trip Roster - You will confirm your roster and instruct all your participants to fill out and submit their Student Travel Form online. This process requires students to register with the U.S. State Department (if the student is a U.S. citizen) and with the ISOS (which provides emergency travel insurance and assistance). 
  • Trip Finances - You and your adviser will make sure there have not been any issues with the payment methods and will discuss how to deal with any last-minute issues.

One week before your trip

You and your adviser will discuss any last-minute issues with the payment methods and how to deal with them. Your adviser will confirm again that everyone on the trip roster has correctly filled out and submitted their travel form online. Remember, students cannot take trips considered Columbia-Supported Travel unless they correctly fill out the appropriate travel form.

48 hours before your trip

Check in with your adviser to address any last minute issues.  

48 hours after your trip’s completion

  • Debrief with your Adviser - Schedule time to meet with your adviser to debrief your trip.  
  • Trip Finances - You will submit any relevant financial paperwork. See the Payment Method Guide or talk with your adviser for more details.

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