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Travel FAQ

Updated May 5, 2021

Caltech's travel guidance strongly discourages all members of the community from participating in nonessential personal travel. Institute-sponsored travel is only permissible when deemed essential and approved, in advance, by the reporting division chair, vice president, provost, or president.

The Institute's preventative measures emphasize that all members of the community who are reporting to campus or an off-site location should be mindful of their behavior, including travel, and limit participation in high-risk activities, regardless of where they are located. Anyone participating in activities that take place indoors, do not support physical distancing between individuals from different households, or involve groups of individuals gathering from multiple households, or who are interacting with individuals without face coverings are at increased risk of exposure to the virus and thus are also more likely to spread the virus to members of the Caltech community.

Students and postdoctoral scholars in Caltech Housing may be required to quarantine prior to moving into their Caltech residence (subject to the local health department requirements below). While the Institute does not have a policy that requires members of the Caltech community going to the Pasadena campus to quarantine after travel, individuals are required to adhere to local public health orders (see below). Caltech strongly discourages all members of the community from participating in nonessential personal travel.

Individuals traveling to or from Institute-managed, off-site locations should consult with the respective site leadership for directions or requirements that pertain specifically to that location.

The Los Angeles County Health Department, the Pasadena Public Health Department, and the State of California currently advise that county residents avoid all non-essential travel.

Fully vaccinated travelers may travel domestically without a pre- or post-travel COVID-19 test and without quarantining if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19 after domestic travel.

Unvaccinated travelers arriving in or returning to the County of Los Angeles or the state of California from other states or countries must self-quarantine for 7 full days after travel if they get tested and get a negative COVID-19 viral test (swab or saliva) result from a specimen collected 3-5 days after their arrival; or quarantine for 10 full days after travel if they did not get tested with a COVID-19 viral test after their arrival.

Fully vaccinated international travelers with a WHO-authorized vaccine are not required to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States. All other people should follow the instructions for unvaccinated travelers.

Vaccination is not required for entry into the United States; however, individuals who are not fully vaccinated must adhere to local travel quarantine/testing requirements set forth by public health. The Institute has a requirement for all enrolled students to have vaccination against COVID-19.

Caltech is prepared to accept immunization records for all vaccines recognized by local public health officials, in accordance with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Presently this includes vaccines authorized for use by the World Health Organization. Students may send a secure message to Student Wellness Services through the Student Health Portal for consultation on their specific circumstances.

International students or scholars who have questions about their vaccination status or what vaccines are recognized by Caltech may send a secure message to Student Wellness Services through the Student Health Portal for consultation on their specific circumstances.

Individuals reporting to campus must attest that they do not have any symptoms of illness and have not had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 prior to coming to campus. They must also participate in the surveillance testing program.

Students and postdoctoral scholars in Caltech Housing are required to quarantine prior to moving into their Caltech residence.

Individuals traveling to or from Institute-managed, off-site locations should consult with the respective site leadership for directions or requirements that pertain specifically to that location.

Please consult with the Human Resources Disability and Leave Administration Unit at leaveunit@caltech.edu for guidance on timekeeping related to COVID-19 policies, activities, or requirements.

Caltech recommends that individuals who choose to engage in personal travel consider their options for testing at an outside facility both before and after their trip.

Anyone reporting to campus must participate in the surveillance testing program. Swabseq results include a report that may be used for confirmation of negative test; however, the Institute does not guarantee that this will be accepted for travel, clearance for medical appointments, etc.

Community members are welcome to consult with Student Wellness Services via email at covid19@caltech.edu on their travel plans and self-quarantine.