Travel Safety for Faculty and Staff

Welbensee Jewish cemetery in Berlin
Dr. Helga Thorson at Weißensee Jewish cemetery in Berlin. Photo: Giorgia Ricciardi

Faculty and staff who are engaged in off-campus teaching and learning opportunities along with UVic related international travel are advised to familiarize themselves with the Off-campus activity risk management policy.

The steps outlined below provide assistance in travel planning, health, first aid, safety & risk considerations, documentation, insurance and more. Please complete them as soon as possible upon learning of your travel arrangements.

You can print off UVic's travel checklist for easy reference or complete it electronically.

If you have any questions, please contact .

Step 1: Review Government of Canada travel advisories

The Government of Canada (GoC) provides travel advice and advisories for Canadians travelling abroad. Program coordinators should review and monitor this information regularly. Subscribe to GoC's email updates and/or social media channels, and download their Travel Smart App

Faculty travel to destinations that are classified by the Canadian Government with risk levels that advise travellers to "avoid all non-essential travel" or "avoid all travel" is strongly discouraged. 

UVic’s Off-campus activity risk management policy restricts staff travel to countries with an official travel advisory stating "avoid non-essential travel" and "avoid all travel". If a proposed destination is under such an official travel advisory, staff are required to complete and submit UVic's Special Authorization to Travel form to be reviewed for approval. The approval process may take up to six months. 

If you're doing fieldwork, fill out the Field Safety Plan.

Step 2: Check your travel documents

It can take several months, even up to a year, depending on where you are going and what kind of experience you are planning, to complete all the necessary requirements for overseas travel.

Passport

  • If you need to apply for or renew your passport, start the process well before your planned departure from Canada. Allow more time if you need a visa, since you’ll need to obtain a passport first. 
  • It is a good idea to keep a photocopy of your passport (and other important documents) in a separate location.
  • Check the entry/exit and passport validity requirements by country.
Travel Visas

Canada Customs

You can find information about certificates, duty, and other border services and requirements on the Canada Border Services website.

International Driving Permit

Depending on where (and for how long) you are going abroad, it may be advantageous to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP). Learn how to obtain an IDP for BC residents.

Step 3: Obtain vaccinations or health checks

Based on your current health status, immunization history and anticipated itinerary, a health-care provider can assess your individual health risks and advise you on vaccination requirements, your need for preventive medication (e.g., for malaria) and personal protective measures.

For more information on immunization and contact details consult Victoria’s Health Unit and visit Travel health and safety.

Step 4: Complete UVic's Travel Registry

UVic's off-campus activity risk management policy expects that faculty and staff use the Travel Registry for all international university-sanctioned travel.

Travel to destinations that are classified by the Canadian Government with risk levels that advise travelers to "avoid all non-essential travel" or "avoid all travel" is strongly discouraged. Staff are required to complete and submit UVic's Special Authorization to Travel form to be reviewed for approval. 

By enrolling in the travel registry it enables UVic to monitor faculty and staff safety, provide updates on travel advisories from the Canadian Government, and locate and provide assistance in case of an emergency.

Please login to International SOS with your netlink ID and enter your information in the travel registry as soon as you are able to, and at least 3 weeks in advance of your travel date. 

Note: Even if you don't have all your travel details arranged yet please enter what you have. You can always log back in to add more information.

Any personal trips or vacation scheduled are the sole responsibility of the traveller and don't need to entered in UVic's Travel Registry.

Step 5: Review insurance coverage

All UVic travellers are required to possess out-of-country travel insurance.

Regardless of your insurance plan, it is important to review and become familiar with exactly what your plan covers, how long it lasts, and where and how it works.

Check if your health insurance coverage or emergency travel assistance have any limitations or restrictions associated with your planned destination, especially if you are travelling to a country with a special Government of Canada travel advisory.

Note: Certain Employee Benefits are first payee, meaning that they will be used first if you purchase other travel medical insurance coverage. Check with Human Resources to determine if your Employee Benefits are first payee and how this may impact you.

  • Visit the Government of Canada website for more information on the importance of out-of-country travel insurance, and what coverage to look for. 
  • Review Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage guidelines while out of province. You may be eligible to maintain coverage for up to 24 consecutive months while temporarily outside of BC.
  • BC Ministry of Health Information on Temporary Absence from British Columbia 
  • Pack your BC CareCard or BC Services Card
  • Pack your insurance card from your extended health insurance provider. If you don't have a printed copy, you can print it from the member website.

Step 6: Complete the Registration of Canadians Abroad

Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) is a free service that allows the Government of Canada to notify you in case of an emergency at home. This service also enables you to receive important information before or during a natural disaster or civil unrest.

Persons holding international passports should check with individual consular services in their home country. 

  • Obtain country-specific travel reports, as well as security and safety warnings, at the Government of Canada website.
  • Government of Canada travel reports provide information about local laws and customs, entry requirements, health conditions, and other important travel issues.

Step 7: Develop your intercultural competencies

UVic offers a comprehensive curriculum that supports students in preparing for their international experience, develop their intercultural competencies while abroad and debrief their experiences upon return. Even though written for students these resources can also help other travellers develop their intercultural abilities.

Additional useful resources:

Centre for Intercultural Learning - Provides an insight and resourceful information on different countries and their cultures.

Geert Hofstede's 6D model of national culture

Coping with Culture Shock 

Laray Barna (1994) "Stumbling blocks in intercultural communication"

Peggy McIntosh (1989) “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.”

TED Talk: "The danger of a single story" (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) 

TED Talk: "Overcome Bias" (Vernā Myers)

Step 8: Prepare for an emergency

UVic has partnered with International SOS, the world’s leader in international healthcare, medical assistance, and security services which has 27 alarm centers and 31 clinics around the world. 

Before you leave:

Login to International SOS with your netlink ID.

Complete UVic's travel registry and review country-specific information (i.e., vaccinations, required medication, medical and travel security concerns). Sign up for health and security email alerts and download the ISOS Assistance App.

You will receive your ISOS membership number and ISOS travel cards with important contact information while you are abroad.

In an emergency abroad:

Call ISOS for any medical, personal, travel, or legal problems that arise while abroad. 

Please note: International SOS is not an insurance company. They are a travel assistance company. So even though you have free travel assistance through UVic's contract with ISOS, you are still responsible for obtaining suitable travel insurance.


The Government of Canada lists various emergency assistance contact information for Canadian citizens abroad.