COVID-19 vaccination required for employees on University-funded travel

May 25, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Recognizing that travel presents additional risks for being exposed to and spreading COVID-19, Penn State has updated its travel guidance to address vaccination requirements for employees on University-funded travel. 

For all domestic and international travel that begins on June 1 or later, all Penn State employees requesting University-affiliated travel that involves University funding must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by their date of departure. However, employees should note the following exceptions:

  • Travel funded by non-University funds, such as sponsored research utilizing federal or state grants, is excluded from the vaccination requirement.
  • Employees with a departure date before June 1, and employees whose travel on or after June 1 was approved prior to May 25, are exempt from this requirement.
  • Unit executives may choose to exempt from the vaccination requirement those employees for whom the requested travel is part of their regular job responsibilities.

Regardless of the funding source, all employees must continue to seek permission from their unit executive for University-affiliated domestic travel. 

All University-affiliated international travel remains suspended until further notice. However, if international travel is essential, requests should be screened by and submitted through unit executives to Executive Vice President and Provost Nick Jones at and include a description of why the travel is mission critical. For the Applied Research Laboratory, essential travel will be reviewed by Senior Vice President for Research Lora Weiss at For the College of Medicine, essential travel will be reviewed by Interim Dean of the College of Medicine Kevin Black at After this review, all travel requests will be sent to the Global Safety Office for review by the International Restricted Travel Committee prior to final approval. Employees wishing to travel internationally must request approval at least one month prior to the expected date of departure.

While employees will be required to affirm that they are fully vaccinated when requesting to travel, documentation is not required at this time. Employees who are not vaccinated because of a medical condition, documented disability or religious belief may request an exemption by contacting the Affirmative Action Office at Unvaccinated employees who receive permission to travel must sign an acknowledgement of risk. Unvaccinated international travelers should get tested with a viral test three to five days after travel and stay home and self-quarantine for a full seven days after travel.

Employees are asked to limit travel where possible and consider virtual options that might replace or reduce the need to travel.

With regard to personal travel, Penn State encourages faculty, staff and students to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations. In particular, unvaccinated travelers are encouraged to delay travel until they are vaccinated. In addition to the risk to their personal health, travelers should be aware of the elevated risk to other members of the community if they become infected.

Those who must travel should follow all state and local travel restrictions currently in place. All travelers should consult the CDC’s recommendations related to domestic travel and international travel, which differ depending on vaccination status. International travelers should consult the CDC’s website for the latest travel health notices and COVID-19 travel recommendations by destination, and research the restrictions imposed in the country they plan to visit, as well as any U.S. government restrictions that could impact their return home, as the global travel situation is changing frequently.

The University’s full travel guidance, including additional information on how to request travel and requirements before, during and after the trip, are available from the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs. The latest travel information also is available on Penn State's official coronavirus information website

Last Updated May 25, 2021