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Frequently Asked Questions

International Travel: FAQs

What is the Cal Poly International Center Travel Registration?
The Cal Poly International Travel Registry provides a centralized system for international travel information and registration for Cal Poly students and Cal Poly (State) faculty and staff traveling with students. It offers a variety of tools and resources for those planning to travel outside the U.S. for Cal Poly academic, research, and business purposes. The tools and links provided are designated to enhance travel safety, ensure regulatory compliance, and provide for rapid location and communication in the event of an emergency situation. 

Does Cal Poly have a travel policy?
Yes. The Cal Poly travel policy is within the CSU Travel policy.

Who needs to go through the International Travel Authorization process?
All individual student and group travel conducted as Cal Poly business must be registered through the Cal Poly International Center and approved by the Provost/President. Travel abroad may include activities such as attending conferences, participating in tours, conducting funded research, taking students on non-credit international field trips, club activities, or for students completing independent study/internship courses.

What about if I will be reimbursed by an outside entity?
All individual student and group travel conducted as Cal Poly business must be registered through the Cal Poly International Center and approved for international travel (up through the Cal Poly President), even if a non-Cal Poly entity is paying for the travel expenses.

How do I know if I should complete the individual registration or group registration?
If you are a faculty member leading one or more students on a trip abroad, then you will need to complete the group registration. If you are a faculty/staff member traveling with other faculty/staff members and NO students will be traveling with you, then each faculty/staff member completes their own individual travel request via Concur through the PolyTravel process. 

Does the International Center charge a fee?
All approved student travel registrations will incur a $200 fee per student participant. The fee is non-refundable after the seven (7) calendar day grace period. Cal Poly faculty and staff are not subject to the fee.

If I am going abroad on a program that is NOT affiliated with Cal Poly, but Cal Poly students are going regardless, do I (they) need to complete the ITA paperwork?
If no Cal Poly funds are utilized and the faculty/staff leaders and the students are not attending as part of your functions with Cal Poly (i.e., employee utilizing Cal Poly funds or as a student group affiliated with Cal Poly), then you do not need to complete the paperwork. If, however, the students are going as an affiliated group with Cal Poly and/or Cal Poly funds are being utilized, then all need to complete the travel paperwork.

If I am a Cal Poly employee who is contracting with a non-affiliated program to teach or work abroad, am I able to recruit Cal Poly students to attend?
Non-affiliated programs advertise at Cal Poly utilizing their own resources (paying for ads in the Mustang Daily, hiring people to post materials, etc.). If you advertise, it must be in a way that indicates that the program is not Cal Poly affiliated and does not utilize Cal Poly resources. It must also be clear to students that you are not working in your role as an employee of Cal Poly.

Must I utilize a service provider for a group program?
Group trips need to have an on-the-ground support provider or entity OR faculty/staff need to provide a detailed itinerary (with proposed trains, buses, hotels, etc.) AND a contingency plan. For high-hazard destinations, on-the-ground service providers are required.

When do I need to submit my travel request?
Faculty/staff traveling without students must complete the Concur travel request and follow the deadlines required by Strategic Business Services. Group travel (faculty/staff with two or more students) requests have specific deadlines listed on the home page. Once the group travel is approved by the Cal Poly International Center, employees also complete the Concur travel request and upload the approval and group travel documents to the Concur request.

It is recommended that travelers submit packets early to allow additional time for internal deadlines.  Please understand this process requires participation on the part of the traveler, department/division and college that is authorizing the trip – therefore, we encourage travelers to start early!

How do I know if a country or region is considered high hazardous?
Please check the country/region where you will be traveling by going to the Department of State website and the CSURMA High Hazard List.

What do I need to do prior to my international travel?
Please review the 'Before You Go' and/or 'Before You Go with Students' travel guide.

Who should I contact with international travel-related questions?
For questions regarding Student and Group Travel, please contact Stacey Shimizu (
For questions regarding Individual Faculty/Staff Travel, please contact Poly Travel (

How do I submit a request for my individual student or group travel?
Select the appropriate registration button at the bottom of the International Travel Home Page. You will login using your Cal Poly Username and Password. Please be sure to set up a profile the first time you login that includes your date of birth. You will only be asked to complete this step the first time you login.

Does Cal Poly provide insurance coverage for employees/students traveling abroad on official University business?
Cal Poly requires all faculty/staff/students and volunteers who are traveling on university-related international business to be enrolled in the foreign travel insurance program with Cal Poly. The foreign travel insurance may be paid by your department, college, ASI, or corporation account. If you are unsure what information to provide, please contact your department for assistance. You may include your spouse and/or dependent children on the foreign travel insurance and reimburse your department for their cost. In addition, up to 14 days of personal travel may also be covered under the foreign travel insurance as long as it is associated with a Cal Poly business trip. You will need to receive permission from your department and reimburse them for any additional costs associated with higher costs premiums due to personal travel. Personal travel exceeding 14 days will NOT be covered and it is recommended that the traveler purchase their own international travel insurance policy. 

Students participating in a Faculty-led Study Abroad Global Program through Cal Poly may have separate insurance requirements. For additional information, please contact your study abroad advisor.

Is the CSU insurance required?
For faculty, staff, students, and affiliated volunteers associated with Cal Poly, the CSU insurance is mandated by the Chancellor's office. The travel registration must be completed by the required deadlines and the insurance bound prior to the departure date.

How do I pay for the insurance?
For individual student travel requests and faculty/staff group travel requests there is a chartfield listed on the "International Travel Insurance Request" form that must be completed as part of your registration. If you do not know how to complete the chartfield, please contact your department office for assistance. 

Why must I request approval for my travel?
The two main goals of the travel request process are to (1) provide pre-departure assistance information to any person traveling on university business and (2) to know where university employees, students, and volunteers are located around the globe in the event of an emergency so that the university can more effectively provide assistance.

What happens if a traveler fails to register and goes on the trip?
Failure to submit required international travel information and obtain approval in advance of the trip may result in having the trip designated as non-Cal Poly authorized, which may result in disciplinary action, non-reimbursement of travel expenses, ineligibility for Cal Poly international insurance during the trip, and limitation for future travel.

Is there a reimbursement for airfare or other travel expenses if the travel is denied?
No. All travel must be approved before purchasing airfare or incurring travel expenses, per the CSU Travel Policy.

How will the university assist in case of an emergency?
General travel assistance and security assistance is available to all university employees, students, and volunteers while traveling on university business or as part of a university-sponsored program or activity. These services can assist travelers in difficult or problematic circumstances during a trip. Services include assistance with emergency medical issues, lost documents, embassy information, repatriation, and emergency evacuation. It is recommended that travelers print out their foreign travel insurance card and take it with them on their trip.

What is the turnaround time on approvals?
It depends on the size of the group, destination, and business purpose as well as the completeness of the travel documents. Most complete group proposals are approved within 4-6 weeks of submission. Additional timing is typically needed when a contract must be in place for a vendor and/or for fee approvals. 

Can I cancel my travel registration?
Yes. You can “Withdraw” your registered trip by clicking the “Withdraw” button next to your travel application.

What if I need to change the dates for the trip?
If for any reason you need to change the dates of your registered trip, please email

Can I take my research materials abroad?
Federal regulations govern the international transport of certain technology, data, and information. Cal Poly students, faculty, and staff traveling abroad are responsible for verifying the applicability of export control and licensing regulations to their work, and for compliance with applicable requirements. For additional information and assistance, please contact the Cal Poly Office of Research and Economic Development.
I am presenting my research at a conference, are there any export control considerations for handouts and poster presentations?
Yes. The following points of concern are those most often implicated by international travel and the various federal export control regulations and embargoes/economic sanctions and should be implemented prior to travel:
  • Laptops, PDAs, software, and other equipment may need to be vetted prior to travel for possible export licensing issues (this includes but is not limited to hardware, technical data, technologies, schematics, blueprints or other project-related information, and encryption capabilities).
  • Presentations to be given at a conference or meeting may need to be vetted for possible export control issues, including any accompanying materials or handouts.For additional information and assistance, please contact the Cal Poly Office of Research and Economic Development.