Vaccination Guidance

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Do I need to get vaccinated to participate in a UW-Madison study abroad/away program?

We strongly encourage all participants to be up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccinations with a CDC or WHO approved COVID-19 vaccine prior to their program start date.

The University of Wisconsin–Madison does not require that participants be vaccinated. However, countries may require proof of vaccination for entry, and some programs and partners may also require proof of vaccination prior to participation. Additionally, country and program protocols such as mandatory quarantines, travel policies, course and activity participation, housing options, and testing requirements may vary by vaccination status. Being fully vaccinated with a CDC or WHO approved vaccine will result in a less burdensome and safer traveling, living, and learning experience for you and those you interact with given dynamic worldwide conditions due to COVID-19.

It is your responsibility to understand and abide by all (COVID-19 as well as any other) vaccination requirements (including acceptable vaccine types and verification methods) for your specific program and location(s), as well as any country you may travel through or visit during your time abroad. Note that restrictions and regulations may change at any time. Any related delays, penalties, quarantines, program status changes or cancellations, and associated costs are the full responsibility of the student.

We encourage you to bring your COVID-19 vaccination record card when abroad and to also have copies available as a back-up.

You will need to research and monitor your country and program requirements. The U.S. Embassy is a good source for the country(ies) you’re visiting. For program specific requirements, please read all of your program materials carefully or reach out to your study abroad advisor if you have any questions.

If you are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster, we strongly recommend that you get one before you depart for your program. The definition of “fully vaccinated” in many countries could change to include a booster or second/third dose (depending on vaccine) at some point before or during your study abroad experience and access to boosters for study abroad students may vary as well per location. Please also check in with your program for specific recommendations. This recommendation aligns with current CDC guidance, which can be found here.

Do I need to show proof of vaccination to enter my country?

This will vary by country and may change over time.  We encourage you to go to the U.S. Embassy’s page for your host country for the most current information on vaccination requirements.

You are responsible for understanding and following the entry information for your host country and for any country where you travel.  If you do not follow the entry requirements, that could preclude you from entering your host country, resulting in unforeseen personal expenses for which you won’t be reimbursed, and may impact successful program completion.  You also must understand that rapid border closures, movement restrictions, or other declarations may occur.

What is a vaccine passport?

Vaccine passports are issued in a paper or digital format, such as smartphone apps that securely store your data, showing proof of your vaccination status. In some places, a vaccine passport would allow individuals to travel without restrictions or entry bans, including quarantine obligations or testing requirements.   You will need to make yourself aware of what is needed for proof of vaccine for your host country/city.

Planning Guidance

The recent global COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated to us the possible impacts that worldwide health or safety incidents may have on study abroad programs and our experiences abroad.  Though almost all of the Pandemic related travel restrictions have currently been removed, it is important to be aware of these potential impacts, and your responsibility in navigating them, as you begin your planning.

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Your courses may need to change in any of the following ways throughout your program:

  • The mode of instruction (online, hybrid, in person, etc.) may be shifted
  • The availability of certain classes may be reduced
  • Syllabus and/or assessment may be adjusted
  • Classes may be canceled
  • You may be absent for a period of time due to illness/self-isolation


  • You must carefully review the cancellation policies on the program cost sheet.
  • There may be additional costs for self-isolation, housing, or travel, in addition to what is included in the cost sheet.

Health and Wellness

  • The study abroad offices at UW-Madison and our institutional/provider partners cannot guarantee an environment free of health/safety risks/incidents.
  • You will be enrolled by UW-Madison in CISI insurance for the duration of your program.
    • CISI offers coverage for many accidents, mental health services, or illnesses that you may experience abroad. This includes seeing a doctor or going to the hospital.
    • CISI provides medical evacuation and repatriation benefits and covers you when traveling to other countries during your program.
    • CISI can also recommend English-speaking healthcare professionals, hospitals, or pharmacies.
    • CISI will not pay for evacuation expenses or benefits due to a pandemic.
  • You must read the current Centers for Disease Control CDC guidelines for your host country and any country where you may travel.
  • Any public health and safety measures that may be implemented by your host country or program must be followed.
  •  Prior to your departure, talk with your doctors about any underlying health conditions that may put you at higher risk for complications if you get ill and understand how this could impact your experience or is advisable at this time.
  •  You may be required to enroll in and/or abide by your host institution’s or host country’s vaccination, health tracking, tracing, or monitoring protocols.
  • Access to illness treatments, vaccines, or care may be less accessible or less available in some countries.


  • Housing available at your program site will have various risk factors; you will educate myself on those risk factors using program resources.
  • Housing at your program site may have specific rules or protocols that you will need to follow.


  • You will follow domestic and international laws and regulations regarding travel and quarantine or self-isolation.  Any costs related to quarantine or self-isolation will be at your own expense unless stated on the cost sheet. CISI may provide some coverage for quarantine expenses through the Trip Delay benefit (see the CISI policy for additional information).
  • You may need to provide proof of receiving, or having a medical exemption from any required vaccination(s) prior to departure.
  • Independent travel during weekends and academic breaks may be limited.  Regulations will vary by program and country.
  • Your mode of personal travel may be impacted if required or recommended.
  • You need to carefully review ticket change fees and policies, travel insurance options, and the airline’s protocols for  health and safety.
  • You will need to follow program or country requirements if you would like to have family or friends visit during your program.