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Foreign Travel Risk Assessment Guidelines

The risk assessment and mitigation plan should include planning for a pre-departure orientation that will incorporate a discussion of potential health and security risks, the measures to be taken to avoid them, and the steps that need to be taken should serious problems arise. An emergency communications and procedures plan should be an explicit component of the travel risk assessment and mitigation plan.

Download Travel Safety Plan (pdf)

As you prepare to develop the plan you should:

  • Discuss with all participants the potential travel risks and crises that could occur in your travel destination after reviewing the State Department country information sheets and security issues, travel warnings, and advice.
  • Agree with all participants on an emergency communications plan; consider establishing a “buddy system.”
  • Ensure all participants register their trip. All travel booked using UC Travel Center on Connexxus will automatically be registered. Students using other booking methods must register their travel plans prior to departure: Register online at Upon registration, students will receive confirmation of coverage and the toll-free number to call in an emergency.
  • Obtain the signatures of all participants on the UC Merced Waiver of Liability Form. Please note that participants under 18 need to obtain signatures from their parents or legal guardians.
  • Review guidelines on handling emergencies and contacting parents and family members.
  • Summarize the potential travel risks and crises that could occur in your proposed travel area and your plans for mitigating them, including your emergency communications plan in a brief statement.
  • Know how to contact local law enforcement authorities, especially if a crime is involved.
  • Hail transportation from one site to another
  • Know how to contact the local US Embassy/Consulate.

Handling Emergencies while traveling

What is an emergency?

  • Any hospitalization – no matter how brief
  • Rape, sexual assault
  • Crime
  • Severe psychological problems
  • Civil unrest/terrorist attacks/outbreak of war

Responding to Emergencies

  1. Seek appropriate medical care (medical emergency) or safe location.
  2. Notify the UC Travel Assist Provider United Health Care Global (UCHG) and UC Merced Risk Services and your department of your location and status.
  3. UC Travel Assist Provider Emergency contact numbers:
    •  1-410-453-6330 (From outside the U.S.)
    •  1-866-451-7606 (From U.S. and Canada)
  4. UC Merced Risk Services Office:

The Travel Insurance provider and UC Merced Risk Services will coordinate details and action, including notifying the State Department or local authorities regarding a safety emergency.

Guidelines for Contact with Parents and Family Members

  • Faculty leaders should not make direct, initial contact with family members without the student’s permission. Where possible, the student should communicate with their parents about a critical incident.
  • Do not presume that the student’s parents are the listed emergency contact.
  • Faculty leaders should contact their department whenever a student is ill or injured, even if it’s not an emergency, so the department and University are not caught off guard when contacted by parents.
  • If a student is ill or injured abroad, the student should be encouraged to inform their parents, but this disclosure is ultimately up to the student.

However, the Faculty leader may choose to inform emergency contacts about a potential emergency abroad without the student’s express permission, if the student is unable to speak for him-/herself; the student has been missing for more than 24 hours; the student is perceived to be a danger to themselves or others; or when a significant health, safety, or security incident affecting the entire program has occurred abroad, to provide information or updates.