Before You go

International Travel Policy

Students and educators traveling through one of George Fox University’s international travel opportunities are required to register with the George Fox Center for Study Abroad and complete all forms, protocols and procedures, abide by all policies, and comply with all deadlines outlined in the International Travel Policies and Procedures Manual.  Failure to do so may result in the group or student's suspension from travel through the University, including withholding of funding and institutional support.

International Travel Procedures

All faculty members must notify the Center for Study Abroad at least two months before international travel.  Once the Center for Study Abroad office is notified, the trip leader needs to complete the online International Travel Form (https://goo.gl/forms/90azccHwwTuv73Al2).

The group leader then submits electronic copies of the following:

  • Air Itinerary
  • Trip Itinerary

And makes sure that students complete and submit the following:

  • Liability form – upload signed forms.
  • Medical Information form

Complete the following:

    • All participants (faculty, staff, students and family members) must complete the International Traveler Information form.  We will send you the link for your groups form.
    • Register with S.T.E.P. (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) https://step.state.gov/step/
    • Register with AIG travel insurance and sign up for travel alerts for your trip - www.aig.com/us/travelguardassistance.
    • Review safety manual with all students – this manual can be found on the shared general Google folder.
    • Review Faculty Handbook that is located on the shared general Google folder.          

Responsibility and Liability Statement

Students and non-George Fox University employees that are traveling abroad on a George Fox University sponsored trip are required to read and sign the Agreement of Responsibility and Liability sheet.  (See Appendix B for an example) 

Discipline

Students (and faculty) are expected to abide by all GFU standards on University International Travel trips.  Faculty have the authority to send students home early, BUT this option should be used only in extreme circumstances. See Safety section for procedure to send a student home. 

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) https://step.state.gov/step/

All groups are required to register with STEP.  One faculty can register for the entire group. This program allows you to enroll your trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  They can then send you important information, including notification of safety concerns, natural disasters, civil unrest, etc.

AIG Insurance and Assistance

Faculty must register with the university’s AIG insurance before they leave on the trip.  AIG not only provides insurance, it also provides 24/7 travel assistance. Each faculty will be given an AIG card.   It is one of the best sites to obtain information about where you are traveling. 

Travel Advisories

It is the responsibility of the group leader to check with appropriate sources about current conditions and safety in these countries.  These sources should include the Bureau of Consular Affairs Travel Advisory website - https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html.

This site includes all travel advisories for every country in the world.   In January 2018 the U.S. State Department introduced a new system for Travel Advisories:
  • Level 1 - Exercise Normal Precautions: This is the lowest advisory level for safety and security risk. There is some risk in any international travel. Conditions in other countries may differ from those in the United States and may change at any time. 
  • Level 2 - Exercise Increased Caution: Be aware of heightened risks to safety and security. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time. 
  • Level 3 - Reconsider Travel: Avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time. 
  • Level 4 - Do Not Travel: This is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance. The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to the country or leave as soon as it is safe to do so. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.

While a Travel Advisory level is issued for every country, levels of advice may vary for specific locations or areas within a country. For instance, U.S. citizens may be advised to “Exercise Increased Caution” (Level 2) in a country, but to “Reconsider Travel” (Level 3) to a particular area within the country.

The following George Fox University policy must be followed:

  1. Travel to countries with a Level 4 travel warning is prohibited.
  2. Travel to Level 1 and Level 2 countries will be allowed with trip leaders taking normal precautions as outlined in the Study Abroad Faculty Handbook.
  3. Travel to Level 3 countries may be allowed with the following stipulations:
  • All students will be required to sign a liability waiver.
  • The trip leader will contact local people in the country to get a sense of the risks involved in traveling to the country.
  • The full itinerary must be approved, and travel will only be allowed in areas that are determined to be reasonably safe.
  • Trip leaders must submit a proposal to the Center for Study Abroad and the University Provost. The Provost, University President, Board of Trustees Chair, and another Board member with significant travel experience will make the final decision whether the trip can proceed. 

Medical Eligibility of Students

Besides the academic and student life eligibility requirements (see University catalog) each student must be reviewed by the University Health and Counseling Center.  (Exceptions are made for some graduate programs.)

In recent years we have had to deal with some very serious medical and mental health problems.  Please contact the Center for Study Abroad with any concerns immediately.  The safety of the student and group is of utmost importance. 

You need to remind students to inform you of any special medical considerations in the case of problems on the trip. 

The students will be asked to sign a release of medical information form.  The University Health and Counseling Services will then review each student’s health record and determine if the student can safely participate in overseas travel.

If the GFU Health Center finds that there is a medical or mental health issue that may impede the student’s successful participation in the international travel experience they will submit a report listing the concerns to the trip faculty member.  The faculty then will discuss the concern with the student.  If the concern is great enough the Health Center or the faculty member should contact the Center for Study Abroad and determine whether the student can safely fulfill the requirements of the international travel.

Medical Requirements

Group leaders should check with the George Fox University Health Services to determine if there are any special medication or immunizations necessary for travel to the trips destination. The Center for Disease Control web site (http://www.cdc.gov) is another important source of information and should be consulted. The Health Center will provide any immunizations that are necessary for a particular trip.  Please make arrangements with the Health Center for immunizations.

Before the trip:

  1. Students must fill out a medical release form that will be reviewed by the George Fox Health and Counseling Center (HCC). Unless the student has a medical record in the HCC, all information used to determine trip eligibility and potential additional student support is based on the student’s self-report.
  2. The HCC will inform each trip’s faculty of any medical or counseling related concerns for individual students.
  3. The faculty must meet with each student if there are concerns to discuss any potential issues.  If there are any major concerns, the faculty must contact the Director of the Center for Study Abroad.  If the concerns are great enough a meeting will be convened that will include the Director, Assistant Director, Director of Health and Counseling Services, Dean of Students, and trip faculty. This group will make a decision on the next steps that need to be taken, including possible removal of the student from the trip.

Cancellation of Trips

Trips should be canceled if there is undue concern about the safety of students due to political, or other serious safety issues. Trips may also be canceled due to low student numbers.

Financial

There are several ways to pay bills and trip expenses:

 ATM/Debit withdrawals Once on the trip, this is the desired method of obtaining large amounts of money in foreign countries. The University is willing to advance you the amount needed for your trip. (Only one cash advance for each group). You can then withdraw from your bank account from an ATM almost anywhere in the world.  You will need to keep accurate records and receipts for the money that you withdraw and spend.

Typically banks limit your daily withdrawals.  However, you can talk to the bank BEFORE you leave and, usually, they will be able to raise the daily limit, possibly to as much as $2000.

Also, make sure that you check on the fees that your bank charges. These can be quite high and may preclude using this method.  Typical fees should be a 3% foreign transaction fee and a $2 – 5 ATM fee.  Credit Unions typically do not charge a transaction fee.  Many foreign ATM’s limit the amount of each ATM transaction so it may be necessary to make several withdrawals.

    NOTIFY YOUR BANK TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY DO NOT CANCEL CARD USAGE WHILE YOU ARE ABROAD.  Please remind students of this.

VISA/MasterCard You can also pay a bill with your credit card and you will be reimbursed.  Of course, if foreign currency is involved there is usually a currency conversion fee with each credit card use, up to 3%. Several credit cards, such as Capital One, Costco Citi, or Alaska Visacards do not charge a conversion fee.

Foreign Wires You can also pay using Foreign Wire Transfers.  Wires get the money there faster, and this is the preferred method to pay an overseas company before the trip.  It is vitally important that you complete the wire transfer request with ALL the information requested.  For an estimate of current currency conversion rates see http://www.travlang.com/money. Note that these conversion rates are approximate to the actual rates as they vary according to time of day, bank, etc. Our banks rates are almost always higher.  There is also at least a $25 wire fee for each wire transfer.  (Sometimes there has also been an additional “bank transfer fee.” The Financial Affairs office has wire transfer forms.)

Foreign Wire Instructions

      • Complete the form with ALL information and submit with invoice to the Financial Affairs office.
      • If the wire request is in foreign currency do not convert to US. The bank will do this when they process the request.
      • Please translate where necessary - often foreign addresses are hard to understand.
      • Clearly mark due date on the form.
      • The Financial Affairs office will send a confirmation to you once the wire is sent.This will state the actual US dollar amount. It is best to take this confirmation with you on the trip, just in case….

 Traveler Checks  Do not use these.

Non-University Participants

 The following are general guidelines for non-university travelers.

Academic: That groups participating in George Fox course work or service opportunities delivered overseas be comprised of individuals whose primary objective is learning and serving, not leisure. 

Financial: That George Fox University students not subsidize the travel costs of auxiliary personnel and/or travelers.

Liability: That all individuals accompanying the trip be officially known and approved by the University, and that all participants agree to follow the guidelines and parameters of the George Fox run international programs.  Likewise, that the insurance status of all travelers be clarified before departure.

All travelers MUST fill, read, and sign the appropriate liability form and complete the online International Traveler Information form.

Ethos: That all group participants be compatible with George Fox ethos and are willing to abide by the community covenant.

Priorities:  Please understand that even though the family member is allowed to accompany a group, the primary responsibility of the faculty member(s) is for the students.

Categories of Travelers:

Immediate Family Members: It is possible for spouses and school-age children of an educator group leader to accompany the group while they are studying or serving abroad. If participating in an academic opportunity (such as cross-cultural courses), such family members are not required to take the course for audit or credit.  No subsidy for their expenses, however, should come from student tuition or fees, and the University cannot assume additional expense in order to accommodate non-participant individuals accompanying the trip.  It is important, however, for the University to be aware of the total roster of family members accompanying an official George Fox group, and to address basic liability, health, and logistical issues. 

Younger Children of Group Leaders:  In most cases it is not advisable for younger children to accompany student groups on credit-bearing international courses or service experiences.  The 24-hour demands of delivering academic course work or leading a service group overseas leave little time or energy to tend to the needs of young children.  The concern here is that students' access to group leaders not be compromised by competing demands.  Requests for special permission should be directed to the appropriate Dean.

Spouses of Trip Leaders: The spouse of a trip leader may also request to accompany the group.  It is important that student fees or fundraising not subsidize the travel expenses of the leader’s spouse.

Passports

It is the responsibility of the group leaders to make sure that all of the travelers have a valid passport and appropriate visas. 

To obtain a passport, travelers must have an official copy of their birth certificate and one-passport photo.  Travelers will need to turn in their applications and show the supporting documentation at one of the official passport offices; the closest office to Newberg is the Dundee Post Office, 279 SW 5th Ave. Dundee (8:00am- 12:30pm M-F, 10:00am-11:30am Saturday).  Photos are also available at the Dundee Post Office. Photos can be taken at any place that does passport photos. 

Passport applications for U.S. citizens are available online. Detailed instructions and lists of charges are on the passport application, which can be found online https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html).

PLEASE encourage travelers to get this done as soon as possible.

Visas

It is the responsibility of the trip leaders to determine the visa requirements for the trip.  This can be a frustrating experience as countries continue to change requirements. The ease of obtaining visas run the spectrum of showing up in the airport of the country and obtaining a visa to having to go in person to the countries consulate, typically in San Francisco. 

  • Students should be made aware of any costs associated with obtaining their visa.
  • George Fox has an account with CIBT, a company that helps people obtain visas.  Contact the Center for Study Abroad for more information.
  • This process should be started as soon as possible.
  • International students who do not have a U.S. passport often need visas to countries that U.S. students do not. This can take considerable time and thus should be done as soon as possible.  Please communicate this to any foreign students. It is their responsibility to obtain these visas. It is quite possible that a student will need to travel to San Francisco to get their visa in person.

Travel Arrangements

It is the trip leaders responsibility to find a travel agent. Please let the Center for Study Abroad office know about your experiences with various travel agents. We are always looking for good ones and would like to stay away from problems.  A travel agent can help with airline reservations, ground transportation, accommodations or all of these.

In arranging air transportation, please be sure that all deadlines are clear; this includes deadlines for deposits, for surrendering seats without penalty, for final payment, itinerary changes, and penalties and costs for changes in tickets after these deadlines.  There may be students who wish to stay longer and will ask for changes in return dates. Please make sure that this is allowed by the airline.  It is typical for airlines to allow up to 20% of passengers to change.   DO NOT ALLOW STUDENTS TO CONTACT THE TRAVEL AGENT.  This leads to confusion for you, the student, and the travel agent.

Consider the following in making airline reservations.

  • Can they Mix and Match (Open jaw routing)? Is the group able to travel into one city and return from a different city?
  • Are deviations permitted from different cities?  Is it possible to have individual students change their departure time and city?  It is typical that some students will want to change their return date and possibly city.  NEVER allow students to contact the travel agent.
  •  Special Requests.  Can we request advance seat assignments and special meal requests, etc?
  • Are deposits refundable? Deposit is all that is needed until ticketing. Typically we pay a $100 per student deposit that is refundable until 90 days prior to departure.
  • Can we cancel seats if numbers change, without penalty?

Caution: Always check baggage fees.  Even if there are no international fees there may be domestic fees, if you group is booked with two separate tickets.

Accommodation and ground transportation can be arranged by trip leaders or travel agents and should be reasonable in cost and appropriate for the group.

Resources

For Europe travelers we have found the Europe Through the Back Door books by Rick Steves to be especially helpful.  Many of his accommodation suggestions often fit your type of trip. His books are also excellent resources for planning your trip. For non-Europe trips Lonely Planet is an excellent source.  Other resources include Frommers, and Rough Guide travel books.  Please feel free to contact the Director of the Center for Study Abroad with any questions. 

International Student Identity Cards

International Student Identity Cards (ISIC) provides emergency discounts and emergency travel insurance for students. These are available in the Center for Study Abroad for groups of 5 or more. If you have less than 5 students traveling with your group you can buy them individually on the website.  We provide emergency insurance for students through the university’s overall policy with AIG Travel Guard (see below). More information can be found at the ISIC website: http://www.myisic.com/.

Medical Insurance

The University provides medical insurance to all university faculty and students, who travel abroad on University related trips, through AIG Travel Guard. Each trip leader should register (students do not need to register) in advance online at the following link – http://www.aig.com/travelguardassistance. There is a $100 deductible so if the charges are less than this there is no need to submit them to AIG. 

In case of an emergency please contact both AIG and the Study Abroad office.

Mobile Phones

All faculty members are required to carry a mobile phone on the trip for emergencies.  The university will provide phones, or faculty can use their own phones (assuming that they work internationally).   Most carriers have international plans that you can sign up for a month at a time.  These are for emergency use, but also come in handy for obtaining directions, checking on accommodations, etc.  Faculty can use these to make short calls to home, but the cost is considerably higher (about $0.70 -$4.00/minute) than a phone card. STUDENTS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO USE THESE PHONES except in emergency.

Each faculty member should have all of the students phone numbers and emails on their phone so that they can text or email the students in case of emergency.

If you are traveling to a developing country it is possible that the university provided phones might not work for making local calls.  Thus you may want to purchase a local SIM card (and phone if needed) on arrival for local calls.

International Dialing

To dial internationally you must use the country code followed by the phone number.  The country code for the US is 1.
Dialing Examples:
From UK to the US: +1-503-554-2702 
From China to the US: +1-503-554-2702
From the US to France:  +33-334-221-1234 

Operation of Motor Vehicles

Operation of motor vehicles by students is strongly discouraged.