International Travel Planning Resources

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Cuba General License for Educational Activity

The United States Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") amended the Cuban Assets Control Regulations on January 28, 2011. A new general license authorizes accredited U.S. graduate and undergraduate degree-granting academic institutions to engage in Cuba travel-related transactions incident to certain educational activities. To be eligible, faculty, staff or students must meet the qualifications outlined on page 5075 of the Rules and Regulations related to Educational Activities under the General Cuba license. Full details are available at:

 To meet the qualifications, the Cuba travel must be related to:

  1. Participation in a structured educational program in Cuba as part of a course offered for credit by Cornell University. 
  2. Noncommercial academic research in Cuba specifically related to Cuba and for the purpose of obtaining a graduate degree. 
  3. Participation in a formal course of study at a Cuban academic institution, provided the formal course of study in Cuba will be accepted for credit toward the student’s graduate or undergraduate degree.
  4. Teaching at a Cuban academic institution by an individual regularly employed in a teaching capacity at Cornell University, provided the teaching activities are related to an academic program at the Cuban institution and provided that the duration of the teaching will be no shorter than 10 weeks. 
  5. Sponsorship, including the payment of a stipend or salary, of a Cuban scholar to teach or engage in other scholarly activity at Cornell University (in addition to those transactions authorized by the general license contained in § 515.571). 
  6. The organization of, and preparation for, activities described in # 1-5 above by members of the faculty and staff of Cornell University. 


Authorization Letters are required from the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs

To obtain an authorization letter:

  • Send an email to Linda Schmidt in the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs, ( and copy the Manager of Export Controls at, that contains the following information:
    • Your full name and NetID
    • Your status (faculty, staff, undergraduate student, or graduate student)
    • Dates of travel in Cuba (from [date] to [date])
    • Cut and paste the paragraph from the 6 qualifying activities above that your travel is related to.
    • A brief description of your intended business in Cuba.  You may send attachments.
  • Download the brochure "Cuba: What You Need to Know About the U.S. Embargo" for your reference from this site: 

If the Manager of Export Controls approves the request, you will be notified that the authorization letter is signed and is ready.

Carry this letter with you during your travel to Cuba to show upon request.


Travelers should read the “Records and recordkeeping” and “Reports to be furnished on demand” requirements set forth under the OFAC Recordkeeping Requirements (31 C.F.R. §501.601 and §501.602,, and General Cuba license, 31 CFR 515.565(a).  Cornell University and the individual travelers must retain records related to their travel transactions, to be available for examination upon demand for at least 5 years from the date of each transaction.  The Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs does not require an activity report.


Please contact Linda Schmidt in the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs, 115 Day Hall. Email:, Phone: 255-7682, Fax: 254-8325.

Gannett Travel Clinic

Travelers (more than 1600 last year) to destinations on all continents come to Gannett Travel Clinic seeking assessment, advice, supplies, and immunizations to help maintain their health while they travel abroad for education, research, business, or pleasure.

Training and Support of Trip Leaders

Trip leader checklists are available for those taking students out of country (link). For questions about developing a travel safety plan, please contact Alexis E Santi <>, Coordinator of Travel Safety or Craig McAllister <>, Director of Risk Management. The following web video for trip planning and leadership is found here (link). Trip leaders should be familiar with HIPAA privacy practices and FERPA regulations

Travel Planning and Checklists

Look here for a checklist for travel planning, information about registering your travel, and information for parents of student travelers. Registration is required for Cornell travel but this information may be used for educational purposes for non-Cornell travel abroad.

Student Planning

The U.S. State Department's "How to Have a Safe Trip" contains valuable information to consider before traveling abroad. This is online at: . You can also check their "Plan Your Trip" page at:  

Expect the Unexpected

Even the best laid plans can go awry. That is why we urge to you develop alternative plans in case things take an unexpected turn. Please refer to the "Crisis Management Planning" section of the Travel Planning Checklist  for some ideas of the kinds of situations that might arise. 

Parents of Student Travelers

Cornell understands and appreciates the concern of parents when their children are traveling abroad. This suggests steps that can be taken to alleviate questions and concerns parents may experience while their students are away.

  • Ask your child to give you a copy of their complete trip itinerary including emergency contact information and contact information for the supervising faculty member and/or local contact. 
  • Be sure you understand when and how your child will communicate with you as communication may be restricted in certain areas. 
  • Talk to your child to discuss pre-departure preparations and risks. 
  • Express to them any concerns you may have. 
  • Understand FERPA restrictions. 

Understanding Types of Travel

University Policy 8.5, Risk Management for International Travel, defines three types of travel:

  1. Cornell Travel; travel that is mission-related and is sponsored or supervised by Cornell and for which Cornell exercises control and responsibility, 
  2. Cornell-Facilitated Travel;  student travel that is not sponsored, supervised, or controlled by Cornell but may be funded by Cornell and for which Cornell students may be eligible for certain benefits, and 
  3. Non-Cornell Travel; travel that is not related to Cornell business or programs and for which Cornell assumes no control or responsibility. 

Details for each of these categories are outlined below. This policy does not apply to personal travel of faculty, staff or students except when the university provides financial support for such travel. CORNELL TRAVEL:

  • Cornell course activities that are fully supported, supervised, and controlled by Cornell (i.e. International Agriculture and Rural Development course travel, Cornell Adult University) 
  • Cornell-owned study abroad programs (i.e. Cornell-Nepal program, Cornell-in-Rome)
  • Travel that fulfills Cornell contractual agreements
  • Travel that is required in order to fulfill degree requirements as directed by the academic units.
  • Travel for Cornell athletics
  • Non-student travel sponsored by Cornell for alumni and the public
  • WCMC affiliated programs (i.e. Weill-Bugando University College of Health Sciences).
  • Caution: This may not be true in every case; in unique circumstances, units are advised to consult the Office of Risk Management and Insurance for guidance. See Cornell-Facilitated Travel below.
  • Faculty and staff traveling abroad on university business


  • Study Abroad through another university or outside organization
  • Approved exchange programs between Cornell and another university
  • Voluntary co-ops or internships organized by Cornell departments
  • Cornell-funded travel such as Cornell Commitment, scholarships, and travel grants
  • Note: Typically, students receive either a note on their transcript or credit by transfer from the international institution for participating in such travel.


  • Independent Student Organization travel
  • Personal travel, such as spring break or vacation travel.