Students Travelling Abroad Procedures


The University is globally-connected, with internationalisation as one of the core elements of its mission, and with an increasing number of students undertaking international travel for the purpose of international relations, research and study. Such travel activities may involve risks which need to be carefully managed.


Students of the University travelling outside New Zealand for University activities and University staff members who are involved in organising, supporting or authorising such travel.  


To assure the safety of students travelling abroad. This will be done by providing clear procedures;

  • for students undertaking travel related to University activities abroad
  • for the University to consider whether University student travel may proceed to regions/countries of risk

This document accompanies the Students Travelling Abroad Policy. It explains the corresponding mandatory procedures for carrying out the policy


  • Travel support
  • Risk rating system
  • Travel to 'some risk' destinations
  • Travel to 'high risk' and 'extreme risk' destinations
  • Revocation of authorisation
  • Changes to risk ratings
  • Unauthorised travel
  • Requirements to report problems
  • General travel procedures


Travel support

1.     The International Office provides support for the implementation of this policy by:

  • working with trip organisers and student travellers in faculties, LSRIs and UniServices to provide advice and assistance, particularly in cases where there are Government travel advisories or warnings and advising University authorities on decisions to restrict or recommend against student travel
  • working with trip organisers and student travellers in faculties, LSRIs and UniServices to offer pre-departure checklists, workshops and resource materials
  • advising outgoing student travellers

Risk rating system

2.     The University takes into account the MFAT and other governments’ travel advisory risk levels to assess whether or not staff members and students should engage in University activities in various regions of the world. MFAT uses a three-level risk system and provides advice on security risks in several destinations, based on information from a number of sources

3.     In situations of 'extreme risk', the University advises against all travel. This advice usually applies to areas where there is conflict, warfare or civil disturbance. Students in or planning to go to these areas should be aware of the limits on official assistance that can be provided there. The New Zealand Government may not be able to assist if students are detained, injured, or otherwise prevented from leaving these areas. There may be little warning of airport closures, cancellation of air services or closure of airspace to civilian air traffic

4.     In situations of 'high risk', the University advises that non-essential travel, including tourist travel, is to be deferred. High risk means MFAT has specific indication/s of possible location, timing or place of threatened action from sources that may be regarded as reliable (The Ministry does not disclose the detailed information that may be behind such assessments).

5.     Situations deemed to be of 'some risk' signify a level of risk that warrants caution. Some risk means there is a heightened but still generalised threat of terrorism. Travellers need to be especially alert and vigilant. Sensible precautions include avoiding large gathering places such as shopping malls and public events. In non-Western destinations places identified with Western interests such as bars, nightclubs, and commercial premises with a strong Western identity are to be avoided if possible

Travel to 'some risk' destinations

6.     Students may travel for University activities to destinations classified 'some risk' by MFAT and other governments, provided that they comply with the conditions and requirements set out in the associated policy and these procedures. Provided they comply with the conditions and requirements set out in the associated policy and these procedures they are not required to seek authorisation for such travel  

Travel to 'high risk' and 'extreme risk' destinations

7.     The University will not support student travel to a country or region with a government travel advisory set at 'high risk' or 'extreme risk' unless exceptional circumstances exist.

8.     If it is believed exceptional circumstances exist, he or she may apply for special consideration as outlined in these procedures

9.     A student seeking such consideration must apply in writing to the Vice-Chancellor

10.     It is the responsibility of the Vice-Chancellor or his or her delegate to determine whether, on considering relevant advice and other supporting information, to authorise the travel to proceed or not before approving such travel. The Vice-Chancellor would normally require that:

  • the travel has the written support of the relevant dean or LSRI director;
  • for a student under the age of 18 years, the trip has the written support of the student’s parents or legal guardians
  • the trip organiser has submitted a risk assessment, and emergency planning and other supporting documentation
  • the student or trip organiser can demonstrate that they have taken adequate steps to mitigate risks at the location and will have adequate support and guidance while in the region. In making this assessment, the Vice-Chancellor will consider the student’s experience and background in the region and whether they are travelling with an established person or organisation with expertise in providing safe travel within the region
  • the student has adequate and appropriate travel and medical insurance

11.     Special considerations of this nature will only be granted in exceptional circumstances

12.     The fact that the conditions listed above have been met does not create any entitlement to a special consideration by the Vice-Chancellor

Revocation of authorisation

13.     Notwithstanding a decision made by the Vice-Chancellor pursuant to these procedures to authorise travel for a particular student, the Vice-Chancellor may review a student’s application for special consideration and may decide to revoke such special consideration for the student to travel as a result of safety concerns, or a change to the risk status of a country or region

Changes to risk ratings

14.     If the New Zealand Government risk rating of a country or region are increased while students are participating in University activities, students are required to follow the advice of MFAT and the New Zealand Embassy, and leave the country or region if advised to do so

15.    Students who refuse to follow the advice of MFAT or the New Zealand Embassy will be considered to be on unsupported travel and will be subject to the provisions relating to unauthorised travel

Unauthorised travel

16.     No University resources may be used in unauthorised student travel for University activities. In the event the University becomes aware of such travel, the University may, at its discretion, take any of the following measures:

  • suspend or cancel the travel/University activity or the student’s participation in the above
  • suspend or cancel any funding to the student from sources controlled by the University
  • subject to applicable laws, advise third parties that the student’s travel is not authorised or supported by the University. Third parties might include government agencies, sponsors, parents, or next of kin of the student
  • subject to the approval of the dean of the relevant faculty or director of the relevant LSRI withdraw the student from registration/enrolment in any course or programme supported by the travel
  • subject to the approval of the dean of the relevant faculty or director of the relevant LSRI, decline to award academic credit for activities undertaken while travelling

17.     When making a decision according to the above procedures on unauthorised travel, the University will consider any information that has been received from the student

18.     Decisions made according to sections 16 above are subject to appeal within the student’s faculty, LSRI, UniServices or the appropriate committee that has jurisdiction

Requirements to report problems

19.     University students are to report any concerns or problems related to their own health and safety abroad to the appropriate office or department in the place of travel (if any) and to the trip organiser and/or Associate Director, International Student Support, as soon as possible during their travel

20.     The University will provide students with access to all relevant University  resources, and where necessary, will coordinate a response to any problem

General travel procedures

21.     Students travelling outside of New Zealand for University activities may be required to attend pre-departure workshops as specified by the International Office, faculty, LSRI or UniServices

22.     The International Office will keep a copy of all written applications to travel together with the Vice Chancellor’s decision, the risk assessment, emergency plan and supporting information developed for each student traveller

23.     The International Office will keep a register of the travel plans of those students who are authorised by the relevant dean or LSRI director to utilise a travel supplier other than the University’s preferred travel supplier


The following definitions apply to these procedures:

Faculty is an organisational structure, approved by the Senate (or Council) to oversee the educational and research experiences of those students and staff in its sphere of influence

International Office is the service division within the University that supports the University’s internationalisation objectives, including the management of exchange/ study abroad arrangements

LSRI is a Large Scale Research Institute at the University

MFAT refers to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Student is an individual enrolled in a programme of study at the University

Trip Organiser is the member of staff arranging, requiring, authorising or supporting the trip or activity, as nominated by the relevant dean or LSRI director

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries

University activities means any activity

  •  undertaken by a student to fulfil a requirement for academic progress at the University; or
  • organised by the University; or
  • paid for in whole or in part from University funds, including without limitation, third party research or other funds administered by the University; or
  • an activity that is encouraged by the University, supported by academic staff and is directly relevant in terms of the student’s professional/academic development
  • University activities do not include activities organised solely by a student or group of students unless they otherwise meet the definition of University activities

UniServices is a wholly owned subsidiary company of the University

Key relevant documents

Include the following:

Document management and control

Content manager: International Office/ Performance and Risk

Owned by: CIO

Approved by: Senior Management Team

Date approved: 03 July 14 (last reviewed)

Review Date: July 2016