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Student Research and Non-Academic Programs Abroad

SUNY-ESF students are encouraged to pursue opportunities that will best meet their personal, educational, and professional development goals. Students who are conducting research abroad related to their ESF academic program or participating in non-academic programs abroad (e.g., Engineers without Borders) are REQUIRED to comply with the college policies for all international programs including submitting the complete packet of Student Research Abroad Forms with supplemental documentation to the Office of International Education prior to departure. If students do not comply, they will be "unregistered" for the associated coursework and will not receive credit or their on-campus organization/affiliation may encounter repercussions.

Paperwork to be Submitted to the Office of International Education prior to Departure:

  • Completed pack of Student Research / Non-Faculty or Non-Credit Program Abroad Forms (PDF)
    (Participant Information; Travel Information; Agreement and Release; Student Health Information; Physician’s Statement; and Waiver of Insurance)
    Please type directly into the form as some of the fields are linked so you do not have to re-type the information.
  • A copy of passport photo/identification page and passport expiration page
    (An international traveler's passport should be valid at least 6 months beyond the anticipated date of re-entry to the U.S.)
  • A copy of visa (if applicable)
  • A copy of flight itinerary
  • A copy of international health insurance card/plan
  • A copy of SUNY Student Outbound Health Insurance card which is purchased from the Cashier's Office
  • If you are an international student, please review the Study Abroad or Research Outside the U.S. webpage and submit the required Conducting Research Outside the U.S. Recommendation Letter signed by your advisor so that your SEVIS record and I-20/DS-2019 can be updated.

The comprehensive SUNY plan is REQUIRED and can be purchased at the Cashier's Office.


Any individual traveling internationally (beyond the territories and borders of their country of citizenship) must have a valid passport at all times while outside their country of citizenship. It should be valid at least 6 months beyond the end date of your study abroad program. You will be required to show border and custom authorities your passport when you enter or leave the U.S. and when crossing most other national borders.

Standard processing of passport applications typically takes 4-6 weeks but can take from 10-12 weeks during peak application periods so be sure to apply in a timely manner. Information about expedited passport services is available online.

You must submit your application materials in person at the nearest Passport Acceptance Facility if:

  • You are applying for your first U.S. passport or
  • You are under age 16 or
  • Your previous U.S. passport was issued when you were under age 16 or
  • Your previous U.S. passport was lost, stolen, or damaged or
  • Your previous U.S. passport was issued more than 15 years ago or
  • Your name has changed since your U.S. passport was issued and you are unable to legally document your name change

You may renew your passport by mail if all of the following are true about your most recent passport:

  • Is undamaged and can be submitted with your application
  • Was issued when you were age 16 or older
  • Was issued within the last 15 years
  • Was issued in your current name or you can legally document your name change

Additional Passport Resources

Foreign Entry Requirements

Most countries require visitors who are planning to study or work abroad to obtain visas before entering. Be sure to review the country-specific information on the U.S. Department of State website to determine entry and exit requirements and check with the embassy of the foreign country that you are planning to visit for up-to-date visa and other entry requirements.

International Health Insurance including Medical Evacuation and Repatriation

SUNY students who participate in international study or research are required to carry the SUNY Student Outbound Health Insurance Plan which has comprehensive health insurance with medical evacuation and repatriation coverage. The coverage should be in effect for the entire period the student will be abroad. No exemption from the health insurance fee shall be allowed except for participants presenting evidence of a religious objection or those individuals for whom comparable coverage has been obtained through an exchange agreement, an employment benefit, or foreign government

The SUNY Health Insurance Plan is serviced by Haylor, Freyer & Coon. Questions regarding coverage and policy information should be directed to Haylor, Freyer & Coon at 315-451-1500 or  1-800-289-1501, be sure to ask for a college specialist. You can also e-mail them: student@haylor.com.

Note: Neither the State of New York, through its agents, nor the State University of New York through its agents and employees, is responsible in any manner whatsoever for the payment of any claim for health-related services provided to individuals covered under this insurance policy. The State of New York and State University of New York are not responsible for obligations incurred by individuals who are not covered by this insurance policy. All individuals participating in the University’s health insurance programs described herein are responsible for reviewing all descriptions of the scope and level of coverage offered by this policy. Such participants will be solely responsible for obtaining additional coverage not provided under this program if such is deemed necessary by the participant.

If you are conducting official Research Foundation business, you may also be eligible for the Research Foundation International SOS travel assistance and/or CIGNA MBA insurance programs.


Be sure to access the Center for Disease Control’s website to obtain information regarding health and immunization recommendations for your travel destination and then obtain any necessary vaccinations and medications.

Country-Specific Information

Before departing, take the time to do some research about the people and their culture, and any problems that the country is experiencing that may affect your travel plans. Be sure to access the background notes and country-specific information for your travel destination on the U.S. Department of State website and the country profiles on the BBC’s website.

Travel Alerts

Travel Alerts are issued to disseminate information about short-term conditions, generally within a particular country, that pose imminent risks to the security of U.S. citizens. Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, coups, anniversaries of terrorist events, election-related demonstrations or violence, and high-profile events such as international conferences or regional sports events are examples of conditions that might generate a Travel Alert. Please access the U.S. Department of State’s website to determine if there is a travel alert for your destination.

Travel Warnings

Travel Warnings are issued to describe long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable. A Travel Warning is also issued when the U.S. Government's ability to assist American citizens is constrained due to the closure of an embassy or consulate or because of a drawdown of its staff. Please access the U.S. Department of State’s website to determine if there is a travel warning for your destination.

Department of State Resources and Registering your Travel with Department of State

Students and their families should be aware that the U.S. Department of State maintains a website for U.S. citizen students who are, or will be, studying abroad. It may be found at www.studentsabroad.state.gov and addresses the following subject areas:

  • Enrolling ones’ presence abroad with the nearest U.S. Embassy through the STEP Enrollment Program;
  • Checking country-specific conditions as well as travel warning and alerts;
  • Offering students travel safety and other traveling tips provided.

Travel registration is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. Registration allows you to record information about your upcoming trip abroad that the Department of State can use to assist you in case of an emergency. Americans residing abroad can also get routine information from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Cultural Adjustment

For students living abroad initial adjustment is often difficult as one must become familiar with a new culture and and city. Cultural adjustment often includes a series of highs and lows that are quite normal and often experienced universally.