International Travel Posts

Visa/Passport Services

For expedited processing, we have partnered with CIBT Visas, the largest travel visa and passport company in the world. University of Wisconsin students, faculty and administrators are entitled to significantly reduced CIBT processing fees. CIBT’s Customer Care Center is available toll free at 800-577-2428 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

The CIBT dedicated portal for the University of Wisconsin can be found at: cibtvisas.com/wisconsin

The account code is 29249, please reference this number if contacting CIBT via phone.

 

International Travel FAQ

Travelers should first check Concur for lodging arrangements. If no suitable options are available, travelers may book with a lodging establishment of their choosing so long as the rate is below the rate maximum for the location. Acceptable lodging includes: hotels, hostels and Airbnb. In-kind lodging is allowable, but no expenses may be submitted for reimbursement if this lodging method is chosen. 

Air travel must be booked with the designated agency. International flights in excess of 8 hours may book Premium Economy seats.

Exception: If the traveler is purchasing the airfare while in travel status, outside of the United States, to a destination other than the United States, the airfare may be purchased directly with the air carrier. Third party sites (such as Expedia) are still non-reimbursable. 

All international faculty/staff travelers are strongly encouraged to register for CISI insurance. Students are required to register for this insurance.  Contact your risk management or international education office for registration instructions. 

Other travel insurances are not required, recommended or reimbursable. 

Car Rental Insurance:

    1. UW Risk Management recommends purchasing insurance with all international rentals.

Special Considerations for International Travel can be found in the Miscellaneous Travel Expenses Policy. Receipts are required regardless of cost for the below items.

Reimbursable costs associated with Foreign/International travel:

  • Cost of testing required for travel (i.e. COVID testing)
  • Travel visas
  • required inoculations/vaccinations
  • foreign transaction fees incurred on corporate cards
  • business communications, including international calling plans when accompanied by business justification (individual phone calls are part of the M&IE per diem allowance)

U.S. Department of State RSS Feed

As a first step in planning any trip abroad, check the Travel Advisories for your intended destination.

  1. Maldives - Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

    Reissued after periodic review with minor edits.

    Exercise increased caution in Maldives due to terrorism.

    Country Summary: Terrorist groups may conduct attacks with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. Attacks may occur on remote islands which could lengthen the response time of authorities.  

    Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Maldives.

    If you decide to travel to Maldives:

  1. Syria - Level 4: Do Not Travel

    Updated to reflect the risk of wrongful detention

    Do not travel to Syria due to the risk of terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping or hostage taking, and armed conflict. Exercise increased caution due to the risk of wrongful detention.

    Country Summary: The U.S. Embassy in Damascus suspended its operations in February 2012. Czechia serves as the protecting power for the United States in Syria. The U.S. government is unable to provide any routine or emergency consular services to U.S. citizens in Syria.

    Syria has experienced active armed conflict since 2011. No part of Syria is safe from violence. Hostage taking by armed groups, wrongful detentions, the use of chemical warfare, shelling, and aerial bombardment of civilian centers pose significant risk of death or serious injury. The destruction of infrastructure, housing, medical facilities, schools, and power and water utilities has also increased hardships inside the country.

    The U.S. government strongly warns private U.S. citizens against traveling to Syria to engage in armed conflict. The U.S. government does not support this activity. U.S. citizens who undertake such activity face extreme personal risks, including hostage taking by armed groups, wrongful detentions, injury, or death. Our ability to provide consular assistance to individuals who are injured or kidnapped, or to the families of individuals who die in the conflict, is extremely limited.

    Protests and demonstrations are quelled by government forces through aggressive tactics and protestors, activists, and political dissenters are routinely detained without access to legal representation or the ability to communicate with friends and family.

    Terrorist groups are active in Syria. Parts of Syria have experienced recent increases in incidents of bombings, IEDs, and assassinations. Fighting on behalf of or providing other forms of support to designated terrorist organizations, including ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliates, can constitute the provision of material support for terrorism or a foreign terrorist organization, which is a crime under U.S. law that can result in penalties including prison time and large fines.

    There is an ongoing risk of hostage taking of U.S. citizens and other foreign nationals throughout the country. U.S. citizens are also targets of abduction and/or wrongful detention by the Syrian government. Those in detention do not have access to fair judicial process or medical attention. Government detention centers are known to be unsanitary facilities where widespread cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment of detainees has been documented, as well as torture and extrajudicial killings. Minors, persons with physical, sensory, or mental disabilities, and elderly have frequently been victims of unjust detention. The Syrian government has also been implicated in the enforced or involuntary disappearance of more than 100,000 individuals, including medical and humanitarian workers, journalists, human rights activists, political opposition, and additionally those suspected of affiliation with these groups and their family members. Only the Syrian government can issue a valid entry visa to Syria. Failure to obtain a legitimate entry visa directly from the Syrian government could result in detention.

    Due to risks of operating civilian aircraft within or in the vicinity of Syria, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For more information, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

    Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Syria.

    If you decide to travel to Syria:

    • Visit our website on Travel to High Risk Areas.
    • Draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney.
    • Establish a proof of life protocol with your family, so that if you are taken hostage, your family knows specific questions (and answers) to ask the hostage-takers to be sure that you are alive and to rule out a hoax.
    • Leave DNA samples with your medical provider in case it is necessary for your family to access them.
    • Share important documents, login information, and points of contact with family so that they can manage your affairs if you are unable to return as planned to the United States.
    • Develop a communication plan with family and/or your employer or host organization so that they can monitor your safety and location as you travel through high-risk areas. This plan should specify who you would contact first, and how they should share the information.
    • Enroll your trip in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
    • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter/X.
    • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.
    • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

  1. Yemen - Level 4: Do Not Travel

    Updated to reflect additional information on terrorism and security.

    Do not travel to Yemen due to terrorism, civil unrest, crime, health risks, kidnapping, armed conflict, and landmines.

    Country Summary: The U.S. Embassy in Sana’a suspended its operations in February 2015. The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Yemen.

    The Department of State has designated Ansarallah, commonly referred to as the Houthis, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist group. Other terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Islamic State affiliates, continue to plot and conduct attacks in Yemen – most notably in al-Bayda, Abyan, and Shabwah governorates. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting public sites, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. Additionally, there is a continuing threat of kidnapping/detention by terrorists, criminal elements, and/or non-government actors. Employees of foreign organizations may be targeted for attack or kidnapping.

    A civil war continues in Yemen. While reduced overall levels of violence continue following the April 2022 truce, instability, and ongoing threats of armed conflict, particularly along the frontlines in central Yemen, remain at a severe level. Due to the ongoing civil unrest and weak government institutions, travelers should not rely on significant assistance from local authorities. Foreign nationals are frequently the target of kidnapping and carjacking, particularly when traveling outside of urban areas.

    Military conflict has caused destruction of basic infrastructure, housing, medical facilities, schools, and power and water utilities. This destruction limits the availability of electricity, clean water, and medical care in affected areas. It also often hampers the ability of humanitarian organizations to deliver critically needed food, medicine, and water. Landmines exist throughout Yemen.

    Widespread violent crime and/or organized crime are present in Yemen. Local law enforcement may have limited or no ability or willingness to respond to serious crimes.

    As a result of the deterioration of health services, Yemen is experiencing the re-emergence of infectious diseases, such as cholera, polio, and measles. There is a limited availability of medicine and medical supplies, and adequate medical treatment is unavailable.

    There is a very high risk of kidnapping and detention of U.S. citizens in Yemen, particularly dual U.S.-Yemeni citizens. U.S. citizens, particularly young people, are also at risk of kidnapping for purposes of forced marriage, sometimes involving force, fraud, or coercion by family members in the United States and/or Yemen. The Houthis, who control Sana’a, have detained U.S. citizens, including dual U.S.-Yemeni citizens. U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, have faced difficulty – including lengthy delays – when attempting to depart Yemen.

    Commercial flights have departed from Aden and Sana’a to multiple destinations in the region. Contact airlines and travel companies directly for the most current information on flights departing Yemen.

    Companies outside of Yemen have misrepresented the security situation on the Yemeni island of Socotra. They offer tourist visits, including by facilitating unofficial and invalid "visas." Only the sovereign Republic of Yemen government can issue valid Yemeni visas. Companies that arrange such visits are putting tourists in danger, including legal jeopardy. While security conditions may be less volatile than on the mainland, the U.S. government has no presence and no way to assist U.S. citizens who travel there. U.S. citizens should not travel to Socotra or any other part of Yemen.

    Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Yemen, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For more information U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

    Due to risks to commercial shipping operating within or in the vicinity of Yemen territorial waters, the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) has issued a Maritime Advisory. For more information U.S. citizens should consult the Maritime Administration’s Maritime Security Communications with Industry (MSCI).

    Additionally, the Commandant of the Coast Guard has determined that effective anti-terrorism measures are not in place in Yemen’s ports and has imposed conditions of entry on vessels that arrive in U.S. ports having visited ports in Yemen. Mariners and passengers traveling through the ports of Yemen should exercise caution.

    Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Yemen.

    If, despite this Travel Advisory, you decide to travel to Yemen:

    • Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
    • Make contingency plans to leave the country without U.S. government assistance.
    • Draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney.
    • Discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, belongings, non-liquid assets (collections, artwork, etc.), funeral wishes, etc.
    • Share important documents, login information, and points of contact with loved ones so that they can manage your affairs, if you are unable to return as planned to the United States.
    • Be aware of your surroundings.
    • Establish your own personal security plan in coordination with your employer or host organization or consider consulting with a professional security organization.
    • Develop a communication plan with family and/or your employer or host organization so that they can monitor your safety and location as you travel through high-risk areas. This plan should specify who you would contact first, and how they should share the information.
    • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
    • Follow the Department of State on Facebook  and Twitter
    • Review the Country Security Report for Yemen.
    • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.
    • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

CISI Insurance

  • All students must register for CISI insurance prior to any university-sponsored international travel.
  • UW Madison and UW Stout students and employees must register for CISI insurance prior to beginning an international trip.
  • It is recommended to contact your campus International Education Office or Risk Management Office to enroll in CISI insurance.