Pandemic Travel Petitions Update

Dear Colleagues,

I write to inform you that the Notification of Intent/Petition to Travel form for domestic travel is no longer required by CUNY.  International travel petitions remain in place; a streamlined Petition to Travel form for international travel has recently been updated (v. 3/14/22).

For international travel, a completed and signed Petition to Travel form, a screenshot of vaccination in CUNYfirst (or RF portal), and a Release form are required and should be sent to Teresa Scala at  for processing. (Unvaccinated travelers’ petitions will be forwarded to CUNY.)

Updated travel information can be found on the CUNY website for Travel During the Pandemic.

A detailed memo from the Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost Daniel Lemons outlines the essentials of the changes and current policy and I attach it below.

From IEVC Daniel Lemons dated March 24, 2022:

  1. Petition to Travel (individual)
    1. The Petition to Travel (formerly Notification of Intent/Petition to Travel) has been streamlined (with Parts A and B consolidated), and all petitioners complete the full form.
    2. All domestic travel is now permitted without a Petition to Travel.  This does not impact other requirements for domestic travel, especially those in the Domestic Travel Guidelines.
    3. Undergraduate students are no longer confined to a limited list of reasons they may petition to travel and are now eligible to petition to any country with a Department of State travel advisory and a CDC COVID-19 traveler’s health notice (THN) of 3 or below.  Graduate students and employees remain eligible to petition to travel to all destinations, regardless of these levels.
    4. Campuses remain responsible for the full process of most petitions; however, employee petitions that are not accompanied by a screenshot documenting at least the full primary series of COVID-19 vaccinations, and student petition that do not include a screenshot documenting that they are or will be up-to-date with the COVID-19 vaccination series must be forwarded to the University Travel Policy Committee (UTPC) for review. (When in doubt regarding the timing of vaccinations and travel, the campus LVA or UTPC can advise).
    5. Petitions with a Department of State travel advisory of 3 or above should receive enhanced review, with particular attention when the advisory features one or more risk indicators other than H (health).  This is in keeping with CUNY’s International Travel Guidelines’ emphasis on a broad range of risk factors.
    6. These updates to individual travel policy are being introduced at the same time as updates to CUNY’s standards for relaunch of colleges’ study abroad programs.  Applicants to CUNY-sponsored study abroad programs (that have been duly relaunched) will be screened for eligibility by the program’s campus sponsor (no Petition to Travel required). As before, students interested in non-CUNY study abroad programs should continue to go through the (individual) Petition to Travel process. The campus study abroad office should be cc’d on all petition decisions (positive and negative) concerning undergraduates, to ensure that these students receive advising on next steps.
  2. Updates to the CUNY study abroad program relaunch process
    In order to support a responsible restoration of study abroad programming at CUNY that accounts for this mature phase of the pandemic as well as other risks that have been overshadowed by an emphasis on COVID-19, the following principles will guide the restoration of CUNY study abroad programming:
    1. Study abroad programs in a host country with a Department of State travel advisory of level 1, 2 or 3, and that meet all other criteria outlined in CUNY’s International Travel Guidelines including CDC Traveler Health Notices (THNs), are eligible to petition to relaunch.  All petitions must be reviewed by the University Study Abroad Restoration Committee (USARAC); petitions in host countries with level 3 Department of State and/or CDC travel warnings will receive enhanced review, with comprehensive attention to various types of risk.  Final decisions will be made by the campus REO after USARAC has issued a recommendation.  
    2.  Students and any accompanying faculty and staff must be documented in CUNYFirst as up to date with the COVID-19 vaccination series, including a booster once eligible, to participate in a CUNY-sponsored program. Vaccination waivers for participation in campus activities do not apply to participation in CUNY study abroad programs.
    3. In light of these rigorous vaccination requirements and that all participants must have a negative test before returning to the U.S., dormitory support for returning students who test positive will no longer be a requirement for relaunch planning.
    4.  Study abroad program sponsors may share financial risk with students, provided that they clearly explain in writing which risks students incur, and which are assumed by the sponsor, before students make financial or other commitments to the program.  Institutional responsibility is held by the college program sponsor, not by the University or the home college.
    5.  Conditions in countries where study abroad programs have been approved to relaunch must be closely monitored prior to departure and throughout the program; however, shifts in the Department of State and/or CDC risk assessments are not an automatic reason to cancel or interrupt a program. These decisions must be made on a case-by-case basis in consultation with USARAC. 

    Once a program is successfully relaunched, it does not need to go through further review at Central unless it meets the International Travel Guidelines’ criteria for a travel warning petition during the planning phase of a subsequent program cycle. This may be the case if a program approved at level 3 remains at that level, but a successful track record of running the program under such conditions will be an important consideration. Programs in host countries where either risk assessment goes to level 4 may not resume until conditions improve. 

    The petition form (attached) has been updated to reflect these changes; please see section V in particular, which reflects (d) above.  Any program approved under the previous standards will be granddaughtered into the new standards (no penalty for early submission). 

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