Preparing for safe travel

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

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

Travel bans

Visas and work permits

Preparing for safe travel

Students participating in a University-related travel activity (i.e., course work, internships, exchange programs, field work or research, for credit or not) should understand the requirements outlined in the McGill guidelines for Preparing for Safe Travel.

Social Media use while interning abroad is a delicate matter and this link provides useful guidelines.

Travel insurance must be purchased for all travel including for airline tickets.

For the most up-to-date McGill University Information and FAQs on COVID-19, please visit the Coronavirus updates website. The suspension of University-sponsored travel and international activities that had been in place since March 2020 was lifted on October 22, 2021 following the Government of Canada’s announcement that the global travel advisory had been lifted.

Despite this, traveling during a pandemic poses additional risks and challenges that must be taken into account when contemplating and planning travel.

Please note proof of vaccination may be required by host organizations.


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 McGill Abroad, 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.

For more information, consult the McGill Abroad website.

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.


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

Pre-departure orientation covers practical information related to pre-departure preparations, your time abroad, and your return to McGill. The sessions are offered entirely online via MyCourses! This orientation remains mandatory for all students* who are traveling outside of Canada for University-related international activities, including internships (applying for academic credit, a Faculty of Arts internship, award, or recognition on Co- Curricular Record).

More information on the McGill Abroad website.

Pre-departure Orientation is offered on a monthly basis. We recommend completing Pre-departure 3-6 months prior to departure for your international activity. Students have 7 days to register and will be granted access to the online course within 1 to 2 working days. A notification e-mail will be sent to students and the online training will be available on MyCourses until the given deadline. Students are given the remainder of the month to complete the course. Upon successful completion, students will receive a certificate of completion. A copy of the certificate must be sent to aio [at] or uploaded on the relevant application form.

You can only download a copy of the Certificate of Completion for your records while you are enrolled in the Pre-Departure Orientation course. At the end of the course access period, you will be unenrolled from the course and no longer able to download the certificate. For questions related to Pre-Departure Orientation and the Certificate of Completion, please contact safetyabroad [at]


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.


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. Country-specific requirements can be found here.

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.

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