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Study Abroad Office

Destinations of Risk

Your well-being is our first priority. If you are interested in traveling to a country or region subject to a University Travel Warning, you will need to submit a Destination of Risk petition to gain university support. 

If you are traveling abroad for university-related purposes to a country subject to a University Travel Warning, you must adhere to the following procedures in order to gain USC approval to do so. This is to ensure that you are made aware of the safety and/or health risks associated with travel to such areas, that you are able to adequately prepare for travel to such areas, and that you fully understand that you do so voluntarily. This process also allows the University to better manage risk and prepare for emergencies.

  1. Contact the Study Abroad Office to set up an appointment with the Assistant Director of Health and Safety (ADHS) to discuss travel to a country currently subject to a University Travel Warning. 

  2. In advance of the appointment, thoroughly research the region in question, including all associated travel advisories, particular the U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory, and relevant risk reports, including the OSAC Crime and Safety Report for the country. 

  3. In advance of the appointment, submit to the ADHS a petition detailing: 

    1. The name of the organization sponsoring the program or opportunity, the name of the program and/or host institution abroad, and the location (city and country) of the program.

    2. The term/period you intend to go abroad.

    3. Why you want to go abroad through this program, in this country specifically.

    4. Why no other program or opportunity in a different country would provide a similar experience.

    5. A description of the comprehensive student support services provided by the program or otherwise available to the student (e.g. is there an on-site director, and other on-site staff? Is an on-site orientation provided? Is there a 24/7 U.S. emergency number, and if so what is it? Is there a 24/7 emergency number abroad, and if so what is it?).

    6. Your understanding of the safety and/or health situation in that country/region.

    7. Your personal safety plan when in-country.

    8. Your ability to speak the local language, if not English.

    9. Your prior travel experience abroad, if any.

    10. A description of your in-country contacts, if any.

    11. The program’s website.

    12. Any other pertinent info.

  4. During the appointment, the ADHS will review the petition with you, as well as the U.S. State Department Travel Advisory for that country/region, the Consular Information Sheet for that country/region, and any other related information for the country/region in question.

  5. If you have not completely addressed each point above, the Assistant Director will ask you to further research the program in question, then revise and resubmit the petition.

  6. Your petition is forwarded to the Student International Travel Oversight Committee (SITOC) for official review. 

  7. If your petition is approved, you will complete the Destination of Risk waiver. USC can withdraw approval of the experience if the situation in the areas changes drastically prior to departure. If the situation changes after you have arrived in the country, it will be handled on a case by case basis. 

The University Travel Warning (UTW) List is compiled of destinations deemed to be higher risk areas for travel by the University of South Carolina. UTW decisions are made by the Student International Travel Oversight Committee (SITOC). SITOC assesses safety and security by reviewing U.S. Department of State (DOS) travel advisories, the risk ratings of the university's international security vendor (WorldAware), and information published by other governments' foreign affairs commissions, the World Health Organization, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Generally, an area is included on the UTW List if it meets any of the following criteria: the area has a DoS advisory of Level 3 or 4; WorldAware assigns an overall risk rating of 4 or 5 to the country; the country carries a CDC Level 3 advisory.  SITOC may also determine that is appropriate to include or exclude additional areas based on other factors.

In some cases, the UTW applies to an entire country. In others, the UTW applies only to a specific region(s) or area(s) of the country; in these cases, the traveler is only required to submit a DoR petition if traveling to the UTW region or area.


UTW Region(s) or Area(s)

Entire country
Areas near the eastern and southern borders and areas in the Sahara Desert due to terrorism
Nagorno-Karabakh due to armed conflict
Nagorno-Karabakh due to armed conflict
(The) Bahamas  Freeport, Grand Bahama due to Hurrican Dorian
Entire country
Barbados Crab Hill, St. Lucy; Ivy St. Michael; Nelson Street and Wellington Street, Bridgetown (at night); Jolly Roger & Buccaneer Cruises (at night) due to crime
Park Pendjari, Park W and adjacent hunting zones, and areas around the northern border with Burkina Faso due to terrorism and kidnapping
Entire country
Burkina Faso
Entire country
Buthidaung, Kyauktaw, Maungdaw, Minbya, Mrauk- U, Ponnagyun, and Rathedaung townships in Rakhine State; Paletwa township in Chin State; Hpakan, Momauk, Sumprabum, Tanai, and Waingmaw townships in Kachin State; and Hseni, Hsipaw, Konkyan, Kutkai, Kyaukme, Laukkaing, Matman, Mongmao, Muse, Namphan, Namtu, Pangsang, and Pangwaun townships in Shan State due to civil unrest and armed conflict. Hpapun township in Kayin State due to civil unrest.
Entire country
North, Far North, Northwest and Southwest Regions, and Parts of East and Adamawa Regions due to crime and kidnapping; Far North Region due to terrorism; and Northwest and Southwest Regions due to armed conflict
Central African Republic
Entire country
Entire country
Entire country
Cote d'Ivoire
Entire country
Democratic Republic of Congo
Entire country
Carchi, Sucumbíos, and the northern part of Esmeraldas provinces, including Esmeraldas city, due to crime.
Entire country
El Salvador
Entire country
Entire country
The Russian-occupied regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia due to civil unrest, crime, and landmines
Entire country
Entire country
Entire country
Entire country
Entire country
The state of Jammu and Kashmir (except the eastern Ladakh region and its capital, Leh) due to terrorism and civil unrest; and within 10 km of the India-Pakistan border due to the potential for armed conflict.
Central Sulawesi and Papua due to civil unrest.
Entire country
Entire country
Israel, The West Bank and Gaza
Entire country
Some areas of Kingston, some areas of Montego Bay, Spanish Town due to crime
The border with Syria and Iraq due to terrorism and armed conflict
Entire country
North Mitrovica, Leposavic, Zubin Potok, and Zvecan due to civil unrest.
The desert region near the border with Iraq due to the prevalence of unexploded bombs and landmines
Xaisomboun Province due to civil unrest
Entire country
Urban areas and public beaches due to crime
Entire country
Entire country
Entire country
Entire country
Entire country
Entire country
Some northern districts in Cabo Delgado Province due to violent extremism
Entire country
Entire country
Entire country
Entire country
North Korea
Entire country
The Saudi Arabia and Yemen border areas due to terrorism and armed conflict
Entire country
The "Mosquito Coast" (Caribbean side) and Darien Region (Colombian border) due to crime
Papua New Guinea
Entire country
The Colombian - Peruvian border area in the Loreto Region due to crime; and the Valley of the Apurímac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers (VRAEM), including areas within the Departments of Ayacucho, Cusco, Huancavelica, and Junin, due to crime and terrorism.
The Sulu Archipelago, including the southern Sulu Sea, due to crime, terrorism,  civil unrest, and kidnapping; and Marawi City in Mindanao due to terrorism and civil unrest.
Republic of the Congo
The southern and western districts of the Pool Region due to civil unrest.
Russia The north Caucasus, including Chechnya and Mount Elbrus, due to civil unrest, terrorism, and kidnapping; and Crimea due to foreign occupation and abuses by occupying authorities
Saudi Arabia
Within 50 miles of the Yemen border
Entire country
South Africa
South Sudan
Entire country
Entire country
Entire country
Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat, and Songkhla provinces due to civil unrest
The Bahamas Freeport, Grand Bahama due to Hurrican Dorian
Entire country
Trinidad and Tobago
Laventille, Bettham, Sea Lots, Cocorite, and the interior of Queen's Park Savannah in Port of Spain due to crime
Within 30 km of southeastern Tunisia along the border with Libya, mountainous areas in the country’s west, including the Chaambi Mountain National Park area, Jendouba south of Ain Drahem and west of RN15, El Kef, and Kasserine, next to the Algerian border, and Sidi Bou Zid in central Tunisia due to terrorism; and the desert south of Remada due to the military zone.
Entire country
Crimea due to arbitrary detentions and other abuses by Russian occupation authorities; and the eastern parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, especially the non-government controlled areas, due to armed conflict.
Entire country
Entire country
Entire country

The UTW List is updated when specific conditions warrant and is reviewed twice a year in its entirety.  The UTW List was last updated on 12/6/2019.


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