International Travel Guidelines for UAB, UABHS, HSF, CEFH, and OSF Employees

International Travel Guidelines for UAB, UABHS, HSF, CEFH, and OSF Employees

Abstract:
These guidelines enable UAB, UABHS, HSF, CEFH, and OSF employees to undertake international travel safely and within the policies and procedures established by these entities and by regulatory authorities.
Effective Date:
9/25/2013
Responsible Party:
Contacts:
University Compliance Office
Administrative Category:
Applies To:
Faculty, Staff
Material Original Source:

International Travel Guidelines for UAB, UABHS, HSF, CEFH, and OSF Employees

 

Purpose:

UAB and its affiliated entities support and encourage international travel by faculty and staff (“employees”) for the purpose of educating our students and furthering the medical, research, and educational missions of the University.  The purpose of these guidelines is to enable employees to undertake international travel safely and within the policies and procedures established by the University and by regulatory authorities.

 
Travelers on UAB business should be aware that policies and procedures governing employee behavior and financial affairs and other UAB and affiliated entity policies apply regardless of the location where UAB business is conducted.

 

Definitions:

For the purpose of these guidelines, the following definitions apply:

  1. UAB – includes the University of Alabama at Birmingham, UAB Hospital (including UAB Highlands), the UAB School of Medicine, and the following UAB Affiliates: UAB Health System, University of Alabama Health Services Foundation, Callahan Eye Foundation Hospital, and the University of Alabama Ophthalmology Services Foundation.
     

  2. UAB employees – includes faculty and staff of the UAB entities named above.
     

  3. International Travel – Any UAB-related travel outside the United States, United States territories and possessions (also known as United States Insular Areas), and Canada.  For more detailed information on what constitutes UAB-related travel, please refer to the UAB-Related International Travel Policy.

     

Foreign Travel Risks:

International travel has inherent risks associated with it.  UAB recommends that travelers fully inform themselves of those risks, as response systems in other countries may be very different from those available here in the United States.  Risks include automobile accidents, crime, loss of or damage to property, medical emergencies, political risks, and export control risks. 

 

Other Sources of Information:

UAB-Related International Travel Policy – available from the UAB Policies and Procedures Library at www.uab.edu/policies.

UAB Financial Affairs, Procurement Office – foreign travel information available at http://financialaffairs.uab.edu.

UAB Office for Study Awaywww.uab.edu/studyaway; 975-6611.

University Compliance Office – responsible for approving all UAB-related international travel for the university.  Contact 996-6540.

Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development – coordinates affiliation agreements focusing on research.  Contact the Director of Sponsored International Programs at 975-2438.

UAB Office of Insurance and Risk Management (also referred to as the UAB Office of Risk Management) – assists with accident and medical evacuation insurance, crime/political risk insurance questions, and emergency information for international travelers.  Contact the Director of Insurance & Risk Finance or the Risk Manager for Campus Affairs at 934-5382.

International Scholar and Student Services – advises international students and assists visiting international faculty/scholars and students on matters of immigration, taxation, and orientation to Birmingham.  Primarily a resource for incoming students and faculty, but also available as a resource for those traveling outside the U.S. on UAB business.  Contact the Director at 934-3328.

UAB Travelers’ Clinic – a leader in travel and tropical medicine.  Staffed by specialized physicians, the clinic offers comprehensive pre- and post-travel consultations as well as vaccinations.  Located on the 5th floor of UAB Hospital-Highlands, 1201 11th Avenue South.  Contact 731-9366.

U.S. State Department at www.state.gov/travel.  A wealth of information including travel safety tips, passport information, country specific information.

Europ Assistance – a worldwide travel assistance service offered in association with the UAB international travel insurance.  A wallet-size card with information on the services provided and contact information available through the UAB Office of Risk Management.

World Health Organization at www.who.int



                                                                                                           Guidelines:

1. Registration and Approval. 
All University faculty, staff, and students participating in international travel as defined in the UAB-related International Travel Policy must complete and submit an online UAB-related International Travel Registration Form at http://www.uab.edu/uabforms  Employees of UAB Affiliates, as defined above, with dual University appointments/employment should follow the University procedure.  Otherwise, employees of UAB Affiliates planning UAB-related international travel and should document their travel and receive approval according to the policies and procedures of their employing entity.  

The UAB-Related International Travel Registration process is the primary vehicle through which the UAB-related International Travel Policy is implemented in the University.  It is used for reviewing UAB business purpose, approving funding of University employee international travel, logging international travel for travel accident insurance purposes, and processing and approving student international travel activities.

The steps for registration of University employee international travel are as follows:

  • The University employee completes and submits the online UAB-Related International Travel Registration Form prior to travel.  Pre-registration allows the traveler to identify funds proposed to cover expenses and meet all appropriate standards and guidelines.  In addition, such pre-registration provides UAB with itinerary information in case of an emergency abroad.  It is recommended that travelers submit forms no later than 7 days before departure to allow sufficient time for review.

  • Relevant department/unit representatives, school deans, library directors, Vice President/Provost of UAB, and President, or their respective delegates review the form for purposes of authorizing UAB business purpose and funding of travel.

  • If a sponsoring agency is a source of funding for the international travel, the traveler, with the Principal Investigator, must ensure all necessary sponsor approvals have been secured through the Office of Sponsored Programs.

  • If the travel is to accompany an undergraduate student on Class A or B Study Away or a graduate student on Class A Study Away, the Office of Study Away reviews the form, accounts for travel accident insurance expenses, and approves/disapproves the travel.

  • Traveler receives an automated e-mail when the online international travel registration form is complete at all levels. A copy of the e-mail should be attached to travel reimbursement forms, conference registration fee requisitions, airline ticket requests, or any other payment/reimbursement requests related to international travel.

  • If the traveler holds national security clearance, the Facilities Security Officer receives an automated notification e-mail when the online international travel registration form is complete at all level.

  • The Office of the Vice President for Financial Affairs and Administration accesses the international travel registration database to ensure appropriate approvals have been obtained before payment/reimbursement is processed.

The steps for registration of student international travel are as follows:

  • The student completes and submits the online UAB-Related International Travel Registration Form prior to travel.  

  • The UAB Office of Study Away reviews the form, accounts for travel accident insurance expenses, and in the case of undergraduate students and graduate students traveling on Class A Study Away, approves/disapproves the travel.

    In cases in which undergraduate students and graduate students traveling on Class A Study Away intend to travel to destinations for which there exists a travel warning, the UAB Office of Study Away works with the UAB Study Away Risk Management Committee to review the information and determines whether or not the travel will be permitted. 

  • If UAB accounts are to be charged, relevant department/unit representatives, school deans, library directors, Vice President/Provost, and President, or their respective delegates review the form for purposes of authorizing funding of travel.

If a sponsoring agency is a source of funding for the international travel, the traveler, with the Principal Investigator, must ensure all necessary sponsor approvals have been secured through the Office of Sponsored Programs.

2. Country Restrictions.  There are no specific geographic restrictions on faculty and staff travel to any country, but faculty and staff are expected to consult the U.S. State Department’s travel warning list and other sources of information and to understand the risk involved.  The approvers listed above may elect not to approve travel based on the risk involved or for other reasons.  There is an established process for review of requests for travel to countries where there are State Department travel warnings or current U.S. Trade/Economic Sanctions in place or where sudden and unexpected safety issues may arise.  For more information on the process, employees should consult with the Director of Sponsored International Programs; students should consult with the Office for Study Away.  Criteria for review of such requests includes, but may not be limited to, the nature of the risk and warnings, the timing and purpose of the trip, and the traveler’s familiarity with the local area, customs, etc.  A link to the State Department web site (http://travel.state.gov/travel) is found on the UAB-Related Foreign Travel Request.  All travelers must disclose on the Request if they are making a request to travel to a country under current State Department travel warning.

3. Office for Study Away.  Employees should be aware that any UAB student, graduate or undergraduate, undertaking UAB-related foreign travel must register with the UAB Office for Study Away.  This applies to students participating in designated Study Away programs as well as students traveling to conferences/workshops as representatives of UAB, choir members participating in a competition, inter-college or intra-collegiate athletes, members of recognized student organizations, students participating in foreign exchange activities, and any other student participating in UAB-related foreign travel.  The Office for Study Away phone number is 975-6611.
 

Study Away is defined as any academically-grounded, University-related activity undertaken by UAB undergraduate or graduate students.  These activities include, but are not limited to:

  1. Any course of study for which academic credit is received and transferred to UAB at a UAB Office for Study Away-approved domestic or overseas institution.
     

  2. Research for which academic credit is received and transferred to UAB that is conducted at a domestic or foreign institution approved by the UAB Office for Study Away, UAB Office for Undergraduate Studies, or a UAB academic department.
     

  3. Service Learning for which academic credit is received and transferred to UAB.  This includes internships, volunteerism, shadowing, clinical rotation, and observations.
     

  4. University-sponsored activities that take place overseas that are either credit-bearing or non-credit-bearing (e.g., conferences paid for by UAB funding sources, Outreach Abroad, Outdoor Pursuits, artistic performances, or athletic activities).
     

4. Travel Preparation.

1. Before leaving the U.S., employees should review their approved UAB-Related Foreign Travel Requests to ensure that the information reflected there is entirely complete and accurate.  Requests should contain the name and telephone numbers of a person in the U.S. to contact in the event of an emergency and final itineraries for the travel abroad, including dates of travel and names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all hotels/lodging arrangements.  Any necessary updates to the Request may be made through the electronic form modification process.  Also, employees should investigate emergency procedures in the country to which they will be traveling.  Know the equivalent of “dialing 911” in that country if such a service is available, or determine how to contact the local police and medical emergency responders.

2. Check with UAB Information Technology/Communication Services or Health System Information Services to be certain that your cellular or satellite telephone has the functionality required to allow you to communicate in the areas in which you will be traveling.  Consider equipment with GPS capability.

3. Travelers are strongly encouraged to register with the U.S. embassy in the country/countries to which they will be traveling.  This can be done through the U.S. State Department web-site (http://travel.state.gov/travel).  Under Tips for Traveling Abroad, select Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  Travelers should check in with the local U.S. Embassy upon arrival in a foreign country if staying in the country more than a few days.

4. Travelers should carry with them the names and contact information for persons who can make decisions for them (e.g., financial, healthcare) in the event they are incapacitated.  University travelers should also carry the name and contact information of the UAB Provost’s emergency contact designee, the Director of Sponsored International Programs.  Contact the Director’s office for emergency numbers at 975-2438.  UAB Affiliate travelers should carry the name and contact information of the Director of Insurance & Risk Finance.  Contact 934-5382

5. Review all travel warnings and safety information provided through the U.S. State Department web site up to and including the day of departure.

6. Carry your itinerary and a copy of your birth certificate and passport in your carry-on baggage, and keep a copy in your checked baggage, as well, to allow airlines to locate you if you should be separated from your luggage.

7. If you are carrying medical or research equipment or supplies including, but not limited to, medications, test tubes, and syringes, consider obtaining a letter (on UAB letterhead) describing the materials in your luggage, why you have it, and where it is going.  Include a contact name and number for a UAB representative and a representative at the foreign location to which you are traveling.  Contact the University Compliance Office at 934-9564 for advice if you have any questions regarding export controls.  
 

5. Travel Insurance.  The University provides global medical and travel accident insurance for employees traveling on UAB business.  The policy is not intended to take the place of major medical insurance as benefits are limited.  The policy will pay to evacuate a traveler for the purpose of receiving medical attention if the insurance company determines that evacuation is required, and to the medical facility selected by the insurance company.  The insurance company’s service representative, Europ Assistance, also offers services to travelers such as assistance with replacing stolen/lost cash or passports or assistance locating an English-speaking attorney.  The insurance company does not pay for those services (such as expenses related to extending travel resulting from a lost passport), but Europ Assistance will help travelers with arrangements if requested.  Contact information for Europ Assistance is noted below, and a card with emergency contact information is available through the Office of Risk Management.

There are exclusions in the policy for certain pre-existing conditions.  If you have any questions about a pre-existing medical condition, contact the UAB Office of Risk Management.

The travel accident and medical evacuation coverage provided through the University applies only to foreign, not domestic, travel and only for periods of 365 days or less.  The policy does not cover UAB employees who are assigned to a permanent location outside the United States except when they are making occasional visits to the U.S. from the foreign location.   If your online foreign travel request is approved, you will be provided with further information regarding insurance.  Questions about insurance may be directed to the Director of Insurance and Risk Finance or the Risk Manager for Campus Affairs in the UAB Office of Risk Management at 934-5382.

6. On-the-Job Injury/Illness/Workers Compensation Programs.  For employees of UAB (not UAB Affiliates), the UAB On the Job Injury/Illness program applies on a worldwide basis for injuries and illnesses that occur in the course of and arising out of employment at UAB.  The program applies only to UAB employees (not UAB Affiliates).  Volunteers and students are not eligible for OJI benefits.  The program is administered through UAB Human Resources.  Contact 934-5548.  UAB Affiliates each maintain workers compensation programs.  Contact your respective administrative office as follows: UABHS 996-4392; HSF 731-9639; CEFH 325-8100; OSF 325-8361.

7. Rental Car Insurance.  When traveling in a foreign country, it is usually preferable to use public transportation, since unfamiliarity with vehicles, roads, and the motor laws of a foreign country increase the risk of driving.  If a vehicle is rented or leased outside the U.S., U.S. territories, or Canada for use on UAB business, the renter should purchase any liability and/or physical damage (collision/ comprehensive coverage) that is offered by the rental company.  Secondary insurance may be available through UAB.  The UAB Office of Risk Management must be notified in the event of any accident occurring while on UAB business, regardless of the location.

8. Personal Travel Associated with UAB-Related Travel.  The UAB-provided travel accident and global medical insurance policy will extend coverage to “side-trips” of a personal nature that are associated with UAB-related foreign travel.  For example, if an employee visits a tourist attraction (such as a zoo or museum) during the course of a conference at a foreign location, coverage will apply.  However, coverage does not extend to personal vacation “tagged on” to a UAB-related foreign trip (such as an employee remaining in a country for several days after a conference has ended in order to visit relatives/friends or to visit tourist attractions).  If you wish to purchase travel insurance for a personal trip, there are numerous resources, and a search of the internet will yield a multitude of results.  Two resources are the UAB Critical Care Transport office at 934-1635 and an independent, local provider of medical evacuation insurance, AirMed International at www.airmed.com or 443-4882 (or 877-633-5387).  UAB employees can mention your UAB affiliation and receive a discount, even if your travel is not UAB-related.

9. Spouses or Guests and Foreign Travel.  Spouses or guests traveling with UAB employees on UAB-related foreign travel do so at their own risk and volition.  The global medical insurance and medical evacuation coverage provided by the University does not extend to spouses or guests who are not on authorized UAB business.  Children under the age of 19 should not travel with UAB employees on a UAB-related trip unless a spouse or legal guardian of the minor is also participating in the entirety of the trip.

10. Export Controls.  Any UAB traveler who intends to take equipment, software, supplies or other UAB property to a foreign location or who plans to travel to a country under U.S. Government sanctions must check with the University Compliance Office in order to ensure that they are acting in compliance with federal laws and regulations.

11. Property Insurance.  There is no insurance available through UAB for loss of or damage to employee’s personal property.  UAB property is insured through UAB, but only while it is within the United States.  If UAB property is being taken outside the U.S., contact the Office of Risk Management to determine if insurance should be purchased.

12. Emergency Response.

Employees on trips that are NOT coordinated through the Study Away Office:

In the event of an emergency (e.g., arrest, auto accident, personal injury, or loss of/damage to property), political or civil unrest, natural disaster, infectious disease outbreaks/epidemics, employees should:

STEP 1:    Contact the local authorities (U.S. embassy, police, fire, etc.) about the emerging event.

STEP 2:    Contact the Provost’s designee, Mr. Pennington (Penny) Whiteside, Director of Sponsored International Programs, for advice and resource information at the following numbers and e-mail address:
 

Work: (205) 975-2438
Cell: (205) 789-5212
Home: (205) 327-8151
E-mail: whiteside@uab.edu  

If you are unable to contact the Provost’s designee, you may contact Europ Assistance, UAB’s worldwide emergency assistance provider, directly at the following numbers 24 hours a day (IDD = International Direct Dialing code):

IDD + (800) 0200-8888 toll-free outside the U.S. and Canada
1 + (202) 659-7777 collect outside U.S. and Canada
IDD + 1 + (202) 659-7777 direct dial outside U.S. and Canada
1 + (800) 766-8206 within U.S. and Canada

If you are asked for a policy number for the name of the “insured,” provide the following information:

Policy Number:  GLMN01060806
Insured:  Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama

If you become aware of or suspect an abduction/”kidnapping” or extortion demand, you should contact the local authorities (police) and then immediately contact Penny Whiteside at one of the numbers provided above.  If you are unable to contact Mr. Whiteside, you may contact the Director of Insurance and Risk Finance at 205-934-5552 or 205-568-1342. 

Emergency Response for Study Away Faculty Leaders: 


STEP 1:    Secure the safety and health of students and faculty with local law enforcement, US Embassy, and/or program provider(s).          

A:    Get to a safe location.                        
B:    Seek medical help if available – remember you are not expected to act as a medical care provider.  If no medical help is available, contact Europ Assistance USA.

STEP 2:    Once everyone is accounted for, contact UAB Office for Study Away.

UAB Office for Study Away:
(W): 001 (205) 975-6611 and 001 (205) 934-9816**
Email: bjohns@uab.edu, mtalpash@uab.edu, studyaway@uab.edu

**NOTE: The work number listed will also serve as the AFTER HOURS number.  

In the case of a SERIOUS EMERGENCY, please press 0 when you hear the greeting and you will be directed to our on-call emergency phone.

STEP 3:    Office for Study Away will initiate additional phone calls as deemed necessary.

STEP 4:    Faculty Leader and Office for Study Away will complete an Incident Report form.

STEP 5:    Stay in touch with Office for Study Away.