Especially for Students Traveling Abroad

If your academic plans include studying or traveling abroad, please plan ahead to ensure that your healthcare is supported while you're outside the United States.

Vaccination requirements

Visit the CDC Traveler's Health website to learn about vaccination requirements and recommendations for your travel destination.

If you need vaccinations – and/or you want to consult with a travel nurse about caring for your health while abroad – you can schedule a Travel Services appointment here at Cornell Health. Our travel nurses can provide pre-travel consultation, immunizations, and health information. 

Note: Please contact us to schedule your Travel Services appointment at least 6 weeks prior to your departure. 

Health insurance

Cornell requires students who are traveling abroad to be covered by an active health insurance policy that meets specific requirements:

  • If you are enrolled in the Cornell Student Health Plan (SHP), this plan meets the university's requirements, and provides the same coverage abroad as when you're in the U.S. Visit Using SHP Abroad to make sure you understand how to use your plan. 
  • If you have private health insurance, your plan will already meet the university's requirements (per Cornell’s annual insurance waiver process). However, some approved insurance plans may decrease your coverage when you are overseas. Contact your insurance provider to verify that your level of coverage does not decrease when you are out of the country. If the level of coverage does decrease, you must obtain a rider or purchase an additional policy to ensure the necessary level of coverage. Learn more about these requirements and options for additional coverage.

If you require proof of health insurance coverage to obtain a visa, contact your health insurance provider. (Student Health Benefits can provide such letters for students with SHP). 

Physical and mental health

If you have a chronic or recurring health condition, a disability, or a current or ongoing mental health concern, be sure to meet with your healthcare provider before you leave to come up with a plan for getting the care you need when abroad.

Consider bringing copies of relevant health records if you think you'll need to establish care with a international medical or mental health provider. Some health insurance providers can help you identify providers abroad.

If you engage in counseling here in the U.S. (at Cornell Health or elsewhere), consider how you might get continued support outside the country. Cornell Health does not provide online counseling services for students outside of the U.S., but some private therapists and commercial services do.

Prescription medications

If you take (or anticipate needing to take) prescription medication, plan ahead to make sure you will have access to the prescriptions you need while you're away.

Consult with your Cornell Health provider and/or pharmacist about the possibility of filling multiple refills before you leave, and if that's not possible – or in the event that you lose your medication while traveling – consider options for obtaining your medication safely and legally while traveling. 

Refer to our pharmacy medication information for students traveling outside the U.S. for complete details.

24/7 phone consultation from Cornell Health

Students who are out of the country can still call Cornell Health at 607-255-5155 to consult with a health care provider about a medical or mental health concern (24/7 for urgent concerns). Even from afar, we can help you determine what care you need, and how and when to get it.

See also: Recommended hotlines and text lines, including international options. 

24/7 travel assistance

Cornell partners with International SOS, the world's leading medical and travel security services company, to offer 24/7 travel assistance for those traveling abroad on Cornell business, or participating in Cornell-affiliated travel outside of the U.S. Learn more about your travel assistance benefits.

Other important resources:

  • Make sure you register with Cornell’s International Travel Registry before you leave the country. In the event of an emergency, the Travel Registry helps university officials to reach you and provide assistance.
  • Cornell's International Affairs office provides information about health, safety, and other important considerations for all Cornellians planning international travel.