Harvard To Lift Some Travel Restrictions for Vaccinated Affiliates on May 15


Fully vaccinated Harvard affiliates will be able to conduct University-related domestic travel beginning on May 15, the school announced Friday.

Vaccinated affiliates will also be permitted to conduct Harvard-related travel to any countries assessed as Level 1 or Level 2 for Covid-19 risk by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unvaccinated affiliates and anyone seeking to travel to a country with Covid risk deemed to be greater than Level 2 by the CDC must petition the school for an exemption, according to the Friday guidance.

The announcement — made in an email from University Provost Alan M. Garber ’76, Executive Vice President Katherine N. Lapp, Vice Provost for International Affairs Mark C. Elliott, and University Health Services Director Giang T. Nguyen — came just shy of a year from when Harvard indefinitely barred all domestic and international University-related travel last May.

“With all adults in the U.S. now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC recently announced that fully vaccinated people can travel at low risk to themselves,” the administrators wrote. “These developments have led us to conclude that certain Harvard-related travel can resume while continuing to protect our community and the communities to which we travel.”


Currently, just 48 countries are deemed to be Level 1, “low” risk, and Level 2, “moderate” risk, for Covid-19 risk by the CDC. Harvard is home to nearly 10,000 international students and scholars from over 161 countries — many of whom are facing difficulties obtaining visas and vaccines ahead of the planned in-person fall semester.

Travel to any countries not listed in the Level 1 or 2 categories continues to be prohibited for undergraduate, master’s, and professional students. Vaccinated faculty, postdoctoral fellows, doctoral students, and staff may petition the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs for an exemption from University’s restrictions if they require travel for work related to Covid-19 or research essential to their role at Harvard, or if they plan to stay in a single country for more than 90 days.

The travel policy and petition process do not apply to affiliates who are traveling to Cambridge to work or live on campus.

“As more members of our community and the world’s population are vaccinated, we are optimistic that the global public health situation will improve,” the administrators wrote. “That will enable us once again to pursue academic, research, and professional interests wherever they might lead.”

—Staff writer Jasper G. Goodman can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Jasper_Goodman.

—Staff writer Kelsey J. Griffin can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @kelseyjgriffin.