Before You Go

International Travel Insurance

If you are participating in a study or other (including non-credit) program or trip abroad organized by a CUNY college or school, you must be covered by the CUNY comprehensive travel insurance policy through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI).  In many cases you will be enrolled automatically by the program you are participating in; follow directions from your study abroad office (or from the student affairs office if your trip is through a club).

If you are participating in non-CUNY program or other experience abroad with a connection to your CUNY education (including direct enrollments in non-CUNY programs, research and internships abroad), it is your responsibility to obtain insurance.  You can purchase travel insurance under the CUNY plan here; please contact the Study Abroad Office at your college or school for the appropriate code.  This ensures that you will receive the special CUNY rate and adequate coverage.  This requirement applies even if your program requires another policy.  In general, other policies do not include the scope of coverage as CUNY’s plan, and the cost for CUNY students is extremely low.  Please keep in mind that travel to a part of the world that has travel warnings will have different insurance terms and may not be insurable.

Keeping Safe While Abroad

You may be asked to complete a medical exam before you leave to verify you are healthy enough to travel abroad. If you have any special health concerns, it is recommended that you confidentially disclose them to the program administrators so that they can assist you in case of emergency.



You can never apply too early for a passport, and you will need it to apply for a student visa (if required).  It can take eight weeks to have your passport processed, so the sooner you apply, the better. Passports are valid for 10 years, so you can never apply too early! If you have a passport, make sure it is valid. Most countries require that your passport be valid for six months after your program ends. Also, keep in mind that many countries require a student visa. A visa is a travel document used in conjunction with the passport, and you cannot apply for a visa without a passport. Your study abroad program will inform you of the need for a visa and will send you information on how to apply for it. Visa processing times vary from country to country and consulate to consulate, so advance planning is imperative. Information on applying for and renewing your passport is available here.


Travel Guidelines

CUNY’s International Travel Guidelines are a resource to assist faculty and staff in the review and approval requirements and in the planning and preparing for health and safety issues that may arise in the context of students participating in domestic and international travel programs. Please check for updates and contact us with any questions.


Pre-Departure Orientation

A pre-departure orientation is required for students studying abroad. You will learn how to prepare to travel and study abroad. You will learn about local customs and currency and be given advice about what to pack for your trip and how to stay safe while you are abroad. This is also your opportunity to have your questions answered.


Health and Safety

Find out information about the country you are studying in by visiting the U.S. State Department Website. This site also posts travel warnings issued by the government, as well as public announcements and consular information sheets.  If you are traveling on a non-CUNY program, be sure to report your travel to your home college or school Study Abroad Office, enroll in the CUNY comprehensive travel insurance plan (see above).  In addition to these required steps, we also recommend that U.S. citizens and nationals sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which gives you access to updates and support in emergencies from the nearest consulate or embassy while you are traveling.

You should be familiar with the immunizations required and suggested for the area in which you plan to travel, and whether there are any CDC Travel Warnings, Alerts or Watches you should be aware of.