Preparing for safe travel

Pre-Departure Orientation (mandatory for travel outside of Canada)

Visas and work permits

McGill Student Travel Registry (mandatory for travel outside of Montreal)

Travel bans

Preparing for safe travel

McGill Abroad

Students participating in a University-related travel activity should understand the requirements outlined in the McGill Abroad guidelines for Preparing for Safe Travel. If you are planning on travelling abroad over the coming months you are urged to fully evaluate the potential safety, financial and academic risks involved (i.e., being stranded in another country, loss of accommodation, missing course registration deadlines, etc.). 

Pre-Departure Orientation (mandatory for travel outside of Canada)

Pre-Departure Orientation is a mandatory course offered online via MyCourses that covers practical information related to pre-departure preparations, your time abroad, and your return to McGill.

Who is Pre-Departure For?

This orientation remains mandatory for all students* who are traveling outside of Canada for University-related international activities, which includes interns receiving academic credit, a Faculty of Arts internship award, or recognition on Co- Curricular Record).

Please note, students who are traveling to their home country for an internship must complete the Pre-departure orientation.

When is Pre-Departure Orientation Offered?

Pre-Departure Orientation is offered on a monthly basis. We recommend completing Pre-Departure Orientation 3-6 months prior to departure for your international activity. Students will be granted access to the online course within 2 working days of their registration. They will receive a notification e-mail from 'myCourses' once they are registered. A copy of the certificate must be uploaded on the relevant AIO application form or sent to aio [at] mcgill.caConsult the McGill Abroad for the upcoming Registration Dates.

For questions related to Pre-Departure Orientation and the Certificate of Completion, please contact safetyabroad [at]

Visas and work permits

All students

Interns are responsible for informing themselves about appropriate entry and work requirements for their host country. Students must acquire proper travel visas and work permits where applicable. It is important that students begin this process early, as for many countries, it can take some time.

Non US citizens interning in the US

Non US citizens completing any internship (paid or unpaid) in the USA require a J-1 visa. Students should apply for a J-1 through Cultural Vistas or the SWAP Internship USA Program (Canadians and international students are eligible). Neither AIO nor the host organization are responsible for helping the student procure the visa, pay for a portion of the costs, or speed up the processing.

International students with internships in Canada

International students require a Co-op/internship work permit if they are completing a mandatory internship (paid or unpaid) in Canada. For more information on mandatory internships, students should see McGill’s International Student Office here. For more information on non-mandatory internships, students should see McGill's International Student Office here.

Canadian Citizens interning outside of Canada

If you’re a Canadian citizen aged 18-35, International Experience Canada (IEC) offers you the opportunity to work and travel in any of IEC’s over 30 partner countries by facilitating work permits (in other words, the immigration document you need to work abroad). For more information, consult the Government of Canada's website here.


Students must have sufficient travel and medical insurance (that covers medical emergencies, emergency evacuation, and trip cancellation and interruption) in the country you are staying, for the duration of your internship. Travel insurance must be purchased for all travel including for airline tickets.

It is recommended that you contact your insurance provider(s) directly to verify coverage and take note of any exceptions, limitations or other caveats related to your coverage while travelling. It can be helpful to request an official letter from your insurance provider confirming your coverage. Most members of the community already have some coverage through the McGill Supplemental Health Insurance Program or their student insurance, but travelers should explore whether additional insurance is required for their destination and activities. Don't forget to ask about policy exclusions and limitations related to: Personal health factors; Participation in political demonstrations; Extreme sports and other risky activities; Travel advisories issued for the host country and/or regions within; Other circumstances that may affect insurance coverage.

  • International students interning outside of Canada must request extended insurance coverage through International Student Services in order to have minimally sufficient insurance coverage.
  • Students who intern in their home country must have medical insurance covering from the start until the end dates of their internship.

Two-factor Authentication (2FA) Microsoft Authenticator App

Students travelling abroad are advised to download the two-factor authentication (2FA) Microsoft Authenticator app on their mobile device prior to their scheduled departure and configure the Authenticator App as their primary method of verification. This will allow students to sign into their McGill affiliated email address while travelling which is required for safety purposes. 

In the event that a student will be using a different physical phone and telephone number while travelling, please contact the IT Service Desk for support: 514-398-3398. Please note that a WIFI connection is needed to connect through the 2FA system.

McGill Student Travel Registry (mandatory for travel outside of Montreal)

McGill Student Travel Registry is the official safety app for McGill students travelling outside of the Greater Montreal area on university-related travel activities. The app allows McGill to keep a record of your travel dates and study destinations and to reach students in case the situation in the location they are visiting changes.  All students travelling on a university-related activity must register their travel through the app. You will receive alerts and check-in requests from the Safety Abroad Officer, via the app as well as your McGill email, in case the Government of Canada issues an “Avoid-Non-Essential Travel” or “Advise All Travel” advisory for your university-related travel destination.

If you are unable to use the McGill Student Travel Registry app due to technical reasons, contact McGill Abroad at safetyabroad [at] with the details of your trip no later than 4 weeks before your departure. 

Other Registration: Foreign Office of Your Country of Citizenship

Additionally, all interns are required to register with the foreign office of their country of citizenship before leaving Canada. Canadian students can register online here.

Travel bans

McGill encourages students to include an international educational experience as part of their studies. However, the University will not approve student travel to all countries or regions of countries, as the safety of students is of primary importance.

In planning a University-related international travel activity, staff members and students are to consider the nature of the activity, the associated risks and the location, specifically consulting travel warnings and reports issued by the Global Affairs Canada (GAC), listed here. A travel warning is official advice concerning travel to a country or specific regions of a country, based on an overall assessment of the security risk and expressed in terms of the following four levels:

  1. Exercise normal security precautions
  2. Exercise high degree of caution
  3. Avoid non-essential travel
  4. Avoid all travel

University-related activity will not be approved in locations for which GAC has issued a level 3 or 4 warning. University-related courses, conferences and other activities undertaken in these locations will not receive McGill credit or recognition.

Please note:

  • If a Travel Advisory is in place recommending to avoid all travel OR avoid non-essential travel at the time of application the internships in that country will be rejected;
  • If a Travel Advisory is in place restricting travel at the time of deployment, internships in that country will be cancelled.
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