Travel safety for students

Students in Ecuador
Atop the Museum of Sombreros - ready for their study abroad term in Cuenca, Ecuador. Photo: Mitchell Spendelow

UVic's off-campus activity risk management policy applies to you if you’re travelling internationally on a university-sanctioned activity; this includes conferences, research, exchange, field schools, co-op, volunteering, varsity sports and study abroad.

In most cases, you will be travelling to regions where all you will need to do is register your travel details, submit emergency contacts and complete a pre-departure course to prepare you for a safe journey.

If you’re travelling to a location with an increased travel warning, you will need to get permission to travel and undertake additional preparation for risks associated with your location.

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

The following steps help you prepare for a safe experience abroad.

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 traveling abroad. Review and monitor this information carefully and check back regularly for relevant updates. Subscribe to GoC's email updates and/or social media channels. Download their Travel Smart App.

UVic’s Off-Campus Activity Risk Management Policy restricts student travel to countries with an official travel advisory stating "Avoid non-essential travel" and "Avoid all travel." 

If your proposed destination is under one of these official travel warnings ("Avoid non-essential travel" or "Avoid all travel"), you (your program or your supervisor) 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, as such it is important that you plan your travel and completion of the form accordingly.

Students need to provide a written rationale and set up a plan for pre-designated check-ins with sponsor or leader. Ensure health insurance coverage extends to level 3 risk countries.

Step 2: Complete pre-departure training

Students participating in university-sanctioned international travel must complete a UVic pre-departure orientation. You will learn how to plan for your trip, ensure health and safety abroad, develop intercultural competencies, and prepare for an emergency. 

If your international program (e.g. exchange, co-op) does not provide you with pre-departure training please contact  to get access to the course.

Step 3: Sign a UVic waiver

Your program director or supervisor will provide you with a country-specific waiver for your trip.

If you are travelling independently contact  to obtain a UVic waiver. Please provide the following information:

  • program and course(s)
  • travel dates
  • country/ies

Step 4: Complete UVic's Travel Registry

All UVic students participating in university-sanctioned international activities are required to enroll in UVic’s Travel Registry prior to departing Canada. This information enables UVic to monitor student safety, update students 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.

Students are only required to register their travel details pertaining to their university-sanctioned international activity. Any personal side trips or vacations scheduled around or outside of the university-sanctioned travel are the sole responsibility of the student.

Step 5: Review insurance coverage

All UVic travelers are required to possess out-of-country travel insurance. All full-time UVic undergraduate students are automatically enrolled in the UVSS Health and Dental Plan and all full-time, on campus UVic graduate students are automatically enrolled in the GSS Health and Dental Plan, which provide out-of-country travel insurance. If you have opted out of the UVSS/GSS Plans, you need to make sure that you have out-of-country coverage through another 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, this includes but is not limited to pre-existing conditions, high risk activity, etc. 

Based on your review, you may need to purchase supplementary insurance to meet your individual needs and requirements. Visit the Government of Canada website for more information on the importance of out-of-country travel insurance, and what coverage to look for.

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 abroad or a personal emergency at home. This service also enables you to receive important information before or during a natural disaster or civil unrest.

International students and others holding international passports should check with individual consular services in their home country. 

Step 7: 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 for when 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.