San Francisco State Travel FAQs for COVID-19 Crisis

Updated Guidance for SF State Travel

Effective June 1, 2021

As of June 1, 2021, CSU pandemic-related travel restrictions have ended. Authority and responsibility for SF State travel is now at the campus level. The travel ban has been lifted. Reasonable and necessary travel may resume according to the CSU Travel Policy including the timely submission of travel requests via Concur before making any travel arrangements.

Travelers are responsible for complying with SF department of Public Health orders and the health orders for their destinations. Travelers should adhere to the latest travel guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

International Travel

Employees planning to travel to foreign destinations must complete a travel request in Concur and get approval from the Provost (President Mahoney has delegated Provost Summit to approve all international travel on her behalf) prior to making any travel arrangements. Travel is allowed to countries categorized as Level 1 by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and not as a Level 3 or 4 country by the State Department for reasons other than COVID related. 

Study Abroad

Campus leadership has developed guidelines specifically designed to allow study abroad programs to resume safely. The guidelines will be posted on the Office of International Programs website.

Learn more about travel during the COVID-19 pandemic and other travel considerations by visition the Travel Services webpage.

San Francisco State Travel FAQs for COVID-19 Crisis

  • Employee travel for University-related business
  • Student domestic travel for University-related business
  • Student travel abroad
  • Personal travel

Effective June 25, 2020

As of June 25, 2020, the CSU is moving to a virtual mode for system wide meetings and conferences through May 31, 2021. Additionally, for this academic year, the travel ban for non-essential international and domestic travel has been extended through May 31, 2021. Exceptions will be granted on a very limited basis and must be approved by the appropriate VP and the President. Any travel requests that have already been approved for travel between now and May 31, 2021 that have not been approved by the President are considered cancelled. Travel Requests where travel is deemed essential can be submitted in Concur and must have justification and appropriate supporting documentation attached upon submission.



Is San Francisco State restricting travel for University-related business?

Yes. Effective immediately campuses and their auxiliary organizations will suspend all international and non-essential domestic travel through May 31, 2021. Future travel, including during summer and fall 2020, will be determined as the COVID-19 situation evolves.

The President has authorized campus Vice Presidents to determine what constitutes essential travel and provide exemptions where appropriate.

For employees (faculty, managers and staff)

Vice Presidents may consider the following exceptions as essential travel:

  • Enforcement of California law, including auditing and revenue collection
  • Litigation
  • To meet contractual obligations incurred before March 11, 2020
  • To comply with requests by the federal government to appear before committees
  • To complete job-required training necessary to maintain licensure or similar standards required for holding a position, in the event that comparable training cannot be obtained remotely or after June 30, 2020
  • For the protection of public health, welfare, or safety, or other conditions as determined by the CSU or other state agencies
  • For local or regional blanket-approved travel by car to field sites or for research and education
  • To preserve the results of a research activity that cannot be postponed
  • To preserve the safety of a research subject that cannot be postponed
  • For other situations deemed essential by the traveler’s Vice President

Visit the CDC website for country destination and warning level listing.

For students

Vice Presidents must consider the following factors to determine if student travel is essential:

  1. How critical is the travel? Could it be done at a later date or could its goals be accomplished in a different modality?
  2. Can participants follow social distancing guidelines while participating?
  3. The participant must agree to participate. Would a participant who could not participate be penalized?

If a participant would be penalized by an inability to participate, and they do not want to participate, the travel cannot be approved

Travel deemed essential must meet the following criteria:

  • The travel is time-sensitive and must be done now.
  • There is no other way to accomplish its goals.
  • Participants can follow most social distancing guidelines while participating.


Should managers approve any future travel?

Non-essential travel should not be approved until further notice. For travel deemed essential, the traveler (employee or student) must receive approval (e.g., email, written, Concur) from their vice president or dean before incurring expenses related to the travel. Travelers will not be reimbursed for expenses incurred for future travel that has not been approved by their vice president or dean.


What is the status of travel requests for future dates that have already been approved?

All previously approved travel that is deemed essential should be resubmitted to your travel approver for evaluation. Travel approvers should ensure essential travel is approved (e.g., email, written, Concur) by their vice president or dean.

If you do not deem your future travel essential, you should notify your travel approver if they have not already contacted you regarding your travel requests.

  • Existing travel approvals via Concur

All travel currently approved via Concur will be cancelled. If travel is deemed essential it must be resubmitted via Concur. Travel approvers in Concur must manually forward travel requests for travel deemed essential to their deans or vice presidents for approval. Please contact for assistance.

  • Existing travel approvals via paper-based forms

Existing travel approvals via paper-based forms are voided and must be rerouted for approval. If travel is deemed essential, it must be resubmitted for approval. Travel approvers must forward paper-based travel requests for travel deemed essential to their dean or vice presidents for approval.

  • For Academic Affairs

For state funded travel, Academic Affairs employees should contact for approval of essential travel.   For externally funded grant travel, please contact for essential travel.


What happens if I choose to cancel my previously approved trip or my vice president or dean deems it non-essential travel?

If a traveler has already purchased an airline ticket, registration fees and other travel-related costs and they or their department decides they should not travel in light of the COVID-19 crisis, departments should approve reimbursement for these costs. Before utilizing this option, the traveler must contact the airline, conference administrator or other provider to confirm whether the costs can be refunded or, in the case of airlines, if a credit will be issued for a future flight. Travelers are required to use travel credits toward future travel when normal travel policies are reinstated.


If my essential travel is approved, should I purchase travel insurance?

No. Departments and travelers should not purchase travel insurance. Travel insurance usually only covers cases where the traveler is ill. Many airlines are waiving fees for flight changes or departments can allow the purchase of refundable tickets for a period of time.



How is San Francisco State supporting students who are already studying abroad?

For students currently studying abroad, guidance was drafted to return students from any country with a significant number of cases, to the United States, a place of relative safety. Now, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States increases, it may not always be the case that boarding a plane would be safer for students than remaining where they are. In addition, some students returning from abroad might not have a place to self-quarantine as recommended by current federal and state guidance.

Therefore, effective immediately, depending on the specific countries and circumstances, San Francisco State will assist students to remain abroad if, based on current information, it is deemed to be a safer course of action. For study abroad students in CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice countries, San Francisco State will offer the option to remain or to return with as much assistance as possible.

Upcoming Study Abroad: For upcoming study abroad programs (occurring after July 31, 2020), San Francisco State will review the current situation in the host country, current travel restrictions and planning requirements in considering whether to move forward with those programs.



What if I plan personal travel over spring break?

San Francisco State asks that students, faculty and staff consider the following if intending to travel over spring break:

  • COVID-19 conditions in the U.S. and abroad continue to change, therefore, San Francisco State strongly urges travelers to stay informed and be aware of any developments that may impact their plans.
  • Monitor travel advisories for your destinations and consult with national, state and local public health resources such as the CDC or the U.S. Department of State before you go.
  • Officials may implement domestic and international travel restrictions with little notice.
  • Airlines may cancel or limit flights in or out of a country or region with little notice.
  • Additional quarantine measures may be applied within the U.S. and abroad.
  • For individuals traveling internationally, re-entry to the U.S. may become more restricted.


Are there restrictions on domestic travel for personal reasons?

No, there are currently no restrictions on domestic travel. That said, San Francisco State encourages individuals traveling domestically (as well as internationally) to research their destinations and consult with the CDC , the U.S. Department of State and local public health departments at their destinations before they go.


Can I return to campus if I've recently traveled internationally for personal reasons?

To ensure the safety and well-being of the campus community, all students, faculty and staff returning from international travel will be subject to CDC and local public health travel re-entry guidelines in place at the time of their return. Depending on the country visited, such re-entry guidelines may include a mandated 14-day self-isolation period.