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Important Documentation

International Electives



Passport & Visa

Check your passport now!

    • A passport with an expiration date a minimum of 6 months from the date of your return to the US is required for travel outside of the US. 
    • Some countries also require a visa.  In many instances the visa must be secured prior to departure from the US and requires an application.  This process can take several weeks or a couple of months.
    • Visit the State Department website at for full information about international travel and for specific information about the country(ies) you plan to visit, passports, and visas.
    • Register with International SOS at, the University of Colorado’s preferred site to provide assistance for students, faculty, and staff traveling outside the US on University-related activities.  SOS also notifies the University of harm or potential harm to you.   For SOS Member Log In information, please contact Steven Cruse at  


Travel Health & Insurance

A travel consultation with your primary care physician or a travel clinic is required.  The facilities below can be used if your primary care physician is not able to provide a travel consultation. 

    • AF Williams Student Health: (720) 848-9000
    • UCHSC Travel Clinic: (720) 848-0165
    • Denver Health: (303) 436-7230 (probably the least expensive)


The CDC website, “Yellow Book,” is a reliable resource to determine what vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis are indicated for travel outside of the US,

Travel and medical evacuation insurance are required.  The sites below offer insurance information and discounts.


It is recommended that you register with the US embassy (or the embassy of the country of your passport if you are not a US citizen) when you arrive in-country.  You can register online.

In the event of a disaster, know your Warden Zone and contact someone ASAP – either at the embassy or at home.



Malpractice Coverage Outside of US

    • You are not covered by the University of Colorado student malpractice insurance outside of the US.  If you do clinical work, your preceptor needs to be notified.
    • Your preceptor and you could be at risk if you provide unsupervised health care outside the US.  The basic rule is, “if you do not do something in the US, do not do it outside the US.”




    • Arrange all your hotels and housing before you depart from the US.
    • Arrange all transportation to and from airport and your hotel/housing before you depart from the US.
    • When in crowded areas or on a crowded bus, carry cash and your passport in money belt, front fanny pack or zipped inside pocket. Wallets in back pockets and backpacks are easy to pickpocket.  Be aware of diversion tactics.
    • Americans tend to be friendly.  Men in other cultures may misinterpret a woman’s friendliness as being an invitation.  Avoid being alone with men you do not know and trust in a place where you do not feel safe.
    • Just think twice about whom you can trust. Listen to your intuition – if you feel uncomfortable in a situation or about a situation – get out!
    • If you were to be arrested, insist on having the consular officer at the nearest US embassy notified – you have a right to speak with the consul.  The American consul can help arrange legal care, medical care, can contact people back in the US, arrange for money to be transferred to you, etc.  Be familiar with what the consul can and cannot do for you.
    • Drugs – Just say NO!  Beware of scams (being made a drug carrier unknowingly by having someone plant drugs in your luggage, or by you agreeing to carry a package for someone).
    • Alcohol – Limit your alcohol use.  Excessive alcohol can make you a target for crime or violence, or arrest.
    • Sex – The only safe sex is sex with only your spouse.  This is especially true when traveling outside of the US.  HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C are more prevalent outside the US.


Preparing for Your Travels

  Things to think about BEFORE you go...

    • Make sure your name is the same on your airline tickets and your passport.
    • Make sure there is an emergency contact number written in the front of your passport.
    • Take a copy of your passport with you.  Write your contacts on this. Carry the copy separately from your passport.  If your passport is lost or stolen, you will be able to get it replaced much more easily if you have a copy (and if you are registered at the embassy).
    • Leave a copy of your passport, itinerary and credit card number with a family member or friend.  Definitely let someone in the US and your in-country contact know your plans.
    • Check in via email from time to time.


  Things you may want to TAKE with you... 

    • If you are doing clinical work, find out if you need to bring:  a white coat; scrubs; student ID; stethoscope; any specific equipment or books.
    • If you are going to a country with a high prevalence of HIV and you will be e​xposed to needles or surgery, consider taking with you the CDC recommended antiretrovirals for post exposure prophylaxis:
    • If you plan to stay with a family, consider taking small gifts for the family members.
    • Extra gifts for any friends you may make there.
    • Business cards with your address, email, etc.
    • Small locks for bags, padlock, towel/wash cloth, extra bag to carry back souvenirs, photos of Colorado/family/etc.
    • Prescription meds – letter from doctor if necessary
    • Determine if you will be driving and need an international driver’s license.  You can usually process and purchase this at an AAA.



    • Exchange $20 or so before you arrive in your destination country (to cover taxi, bus fare, food etc.)
    • Cash is still king in much of the developing world.  So determine from your in-country contacts, how much cash you should bring to exchange after you arrive in-country.
    • The best way to pay for big things is a credit card.   However, credit cards are not accepted in all developing countries, especially in small towns.
    • ATMs are the best way to obtain local currency at a good exchange rate.   Check with your in-country contact on the availability and reliability of ATMs.
    • Traveler’s Checks can be replaced if they get lost.  However, it can be a hassle to find a place to cash them.  Many stores will not accept them and you are often offered a lower exchange rate.
    • Don’t forget about visas and airport taxes on arrival and departure.  Ask in advance if you need to pay entrance and departure taxes, the amount and if you must pay in local currency or can pay in US dollars.



    • Most places will have internet access (internet cafés) which is easier and less costly than phone access.
    • Take a list of the international codes for telephone calls, faxes, phone cards, or buy local phone cards:
    • If you are taking your own laptop, download and learn to use Skype.