UMass Boston is a strong advocate of international education and programs, international research activities, and collaborations, as well as of international service learning experiences opportunities that support student learning and professional development, and strengthen faculty and staff scholarship and professional growth.
The university is also aware that the potential risks related to international travel are varied, and at times could be life-threatening.
June 7, 2017
UMass continues to recommend that community members who are not U.S. passport-holders or legal permanent residents and hold passports with expired visa stamps from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen avoid any international travel. Those traveling with a passport from these six countries with a valid visa stamp should travel with caution.
If you are a non-U.S. passport holder, in addition to reviewing the information immediately below, please pay particular attention to the second section of this memo for relevant details specific to your situation.
Practical Travel Safety Tips for All International Travelers
- Travel with valid travel documents.
- Consider whether you need to carry electronic devices such as cell phones or laptops. The Departments of State and Homeland Security have communicated their intent to review and/or limit the use of electronic devices at various stages of travel including: visa interview, certain international flights, and upon entry. Get more information on traveling with electronic devices and data protection issues.
- Communicate travel plans with family or a trusted friend and create a check-in process for flights. For example:
- Text or call a friend or family member immediately upon landing at your destination and again on your return to the U.S.
- Contact your friend again within four hours of your initial landing communication.
- If your friend or family member has not heard from you, he or she should contact relevant authorities and/or the University of Massachusetts Boston Department of Public Safety at 617.287.1212. When calling, you will speak to a live dispatcher. Remember:
- Please clearly state your name and inform the dispatcher you are a relative or a friend of a UMass Boston student, faculty, or staff member traveling internationally.
- Inform the dispatcher of your emergency.
- The dispatcher will take your contact information and initiate the university’s Notification Protocol for Travel Emergencies.
- A member of the university’s International Travel Risk Management and Safety Committee (ITRASE) will be in contact with you.
- The Office of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) actively enforces all federal law including the Controlled Substance Act that criminalizes, among other things, marijuana. As such, anyone entering the U.S. found in possession of even small quantities of marijuana may be charged with a federal crime. This could result in severe immigration consequences for legal permanent residents and non-immigrant visa holders. The fact that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts recently legalized possession of certain quantities of marijuana will not prevent CBP from enforcing federal law at all ports of entry, including Logan Airport. CBP has drug-sniffing dogs able to detect the presence of illegal substances on clothing and travel articles so pack and prepare for re-entry into the U.S. with care.
CBP has broad authority to stop, detain, and search all individuals – including U.S. citizens - entering the U.S. Searches can include all baggage and electronic equipment. For more information.
General Recommendations for Non-U.S. Passport Holders
- All community members who must renew their visa before re-entering the U.S. should anticipate long wait-times when scheduling visa appointments, additional screening during visa interviews, and delays with visa issuance.
- Students, scholars, and faculty in F-1 or J-1 visa status, should contact the ISSO for any required travel endorsements needed. See Travel Tips for F-1 students. Students in other non-U.S. passport categories should contact the Dean of Students Office for assistance. Faculty and staff in non-U.S. passport categories other than F-1 or J-1 should contact Human Resources for any needed documents or information.
- Non-student UMass employees who are not U.S. passport holders or permanent residents should also take copies of their last three paystubs and employment verification letter, which may be obtained through UMass Boston Human Resources. You are encouraged to contact Kara Rudnick in UMass Boston Human Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org with travel questions not addressed in this communication.
- Employees in legal permanent residence status planning to spend six months or more outside the U.S. should contact the General Counsel’s Office to review whether a re-entry permit will be required. Contact Sandra Torres at email@example.com or Sara Rufli at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Visit the Office of Global Programs website to stay informed of changes in immigration law, international travel recommendations and additional resources.
- Make two copies of all pertinent immigration documents. Carry one set with you during your trip – separate from other travel documents – and leave one set with family or a trusted friend in the U.S.
Prepare for Re-entry to the U.S.
In general, be prepared for additional screening at airports or other ports of entry and carry the above-mentioned documentation. It is not uncommon to be asked to go to secondary inspection upon re-entry, and be sure to follow instructions and answer the questions asked. You will not be allowed to leave or use your electronic devices until the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer grants permission. Inspections can take three-plus hours; this does not indicate problems with your case but, rather, it is often a reflection of a high caseload.
Any attempts by CBP to have a legal permanent resident sign a Form I-407 Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status should be declined; this is a voluntary form. Contact Sandra Torres or Sara Rufli at General Counsel’s Office if these issues occur.
All ports of entry into the U.S., including airports, are on federal property.
The following pages are provided for international travelers to research and prepare for their travel overseas:
- Research Your Destination – Overview of resources provided by UMass Boston, the UMass President’s Office, U.S. State Department, and other governmental and non-governmental entities. As part of researching your destination, UMass Boston travelers are to prepare and submit UMass Boston Safety Plans (Individual Travel or Group Travel) and/or Conditions of Agreement document(s).
- Travel Health – The UMass Boston University Health Services Travelwell Clinic is available to students, faculty, and staff. The UHS Travelwell Clinic offers comprehensive pre-travel consultation to maximize your health during travel outside the United States.
- International Travel Health Insurance – The university’s international travel coverage is intended to provide the first line of service and protection to the university’s travelers. Prior to traveling, international travelers should still contact their personal health insurance company to make certain they understand what additional coverage they may have in place, or may want to put in place, while traveling abroad. Any additional coverage purchased would be at the traveler’s own expense.
- In Case of Emergency – UMass Boston travelers should be familiar with emergency contact information as well as the different steps to take in the event of an emergency abroad.
- Data Protection & Export Control Laws – UMass Boston travelers are subject to data protection and export control laws while traveling abroad and should plan accordingly to adhere to these requirements.
Please note that students studying on a semester or year-long program are to coordinate with the Study Abroad Office.
For more information, contact InternationalEd@umb.edu (617.287.5586).