Health and Safety Information

The University of Texas System Study Abroad Insurance Plan

Participants in the Study Abroad plan must be enrolled at The University of Texas at Dallas as a student and engaged in educational or research activities of the University outside of the United States and their Home Country. Eligible participants may be covered only under one of the following Classifications of Eligibility (even though he or she may be eligible under more than one class): US Citizen, Permanent Resident of the US or International Student.

Plan highlights: i) 24 hours a day/365  days per year emergency assistance anywhere in the world, ii) no deductible, iii) no coinsurance, iv) medical expenses paid at 100%, v) $200,000 maximum medical expense, vi) medical evacuation, repatriation, emergency reunion, home country, trip delay; and vii) AD&D benefits of $15,000, viii) a weekly rate of of $9.60 USD.

For more information, including period of coverage, definitions, medical expense benefits, covered expenses, exclusions and limitations, please review the The University of Texas System Study Abroad Plan – Academic HealthPlans Description and Enrollment Form.

International Students and The University of Texas System Study Abroad Insurance Plan

The UT System policy stipulates that any international student registered for classes be automatically charged and enrolled for student health insurance. This pertains to any amount of registered credit hours, even it if is only one credit hour or an internship class such as a CPT. However, international students who will be studying abroad for an entire semester may waive their U.S. student health insurance fee with proper documentation. Waiver forms and pertinent information relating to the waivers, such as insurance coverage dates and waiver period dates, may be found at Additionally international students who will be studying abroad for an entire semester may request an Attestation Form from The Attestation Form is the student’s testament that they will reside outside of the U.S. for the semester, and therefore are not required by the University to have insurance. International students will be automatically enrolled and charged for the U.S. student health insurance, if they do not submit waivers or attestation forms during the waiver period for the semester.

International SOS

To ensure safety and security, the UT System and UT Dallas request each student to register his/her travel itinerary in International SOS at least three weeks before departure: International SOS registration instructions / Electronic copy of UT System International SOS Card. The registration is done automatically when official UT System travel agencies are used. 

The registration of the student's air itinerary in International SOS is part of the requirements of the UT Dallas International Education Protocol.

International SOS is the world's leading provider of medical assistance, international healthcare, security services and outsourced customer care. International SOS is emergency assistance provided to UT Dallas students pursuing international educational programs. International SOS is NOT health insurance; however, it assists students in resolving any emergency situation, evacuation, repatriation, medical assistance in English, etc. 

Use your SOS card when you...

Would like to talk to an English speaking doctor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week 

Need a dispatch of prescription medication 

Need a referral to a doctor or dentist for even the most minor of instances 

Have a serious injury and need SOS for an evacuation or repatriation 

The Office of International Education (OIE) requests proof of health insurance with international coverage from each student. SOS emergency assistance along with individual health insurance with international coverage defines a complete coverage package. For questions or concerns, please contact our office.

Travel Tips For Students

This information was prepared by the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs to provide students, who are planning to travel or study abroad, with a few reminders about safety.

Although most trips abroad are trouble free, being prepared will go a long way to avoiding the possibility of serious trouble.

Become familiar with the basic laws and customs of the country you plan to visit before you travel.

Remember: Reckless behavior while in another country can do more than ruin your vacation; it can land you in a foreign jail or worse! To have a safe trip, avoid risky behavior and plan ahead.

Preparing for Your Trip Abroad

Apply early for your passport and, if necessary, any visas.

Passports are required to enter and/or depart most countries around the world. Apply for a passport as soon as possible. Some countries also require U.S. citizens to obtain visas before entering. Most countries require visitors who are planning to study or work abroad to obtain visas before entering. Check with the embassy of the foreign country that you are planning to visit for up-to-date visa and other entry requirements. (Passport and visa information is available on the Internet at

Learn about the countries that you plan to visit.

Before departing, take the time to do some research about the people and their culture, and any problems that the country is experiencing that may affect your travel plans. The Department of State publishes Background Notes on about 170 countries. These brief, factual pamphlets contain information on each country's culture, history, geography, economy, government, and current political situation. Background Notes are available at

Read the Consular Information Sheet.

Consular Information Sheets provide up-to-date travel information on any country in the world that you plan to visit. They cover topics such as entry regulations, the crime and security situation, drug penalties, road conditions, and the location of the U.S. embassy, consulates, and consular agencies.

Check for Travel Warnings and Public Announcements.

Travel Warnings recommend U.S. citizens defer travel to a country because of dangerous conditions. Public Announcements provide fast-breaking information about relatively short-term conditions that may pose risks to the security of travelers.

Find out the location of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

If you are traveling to a remote area or one that is experiencing civil unrest, find out the location of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate and register with the Consular Section when you arrive. ( U.S. embassy and consulate locations can be found in the country's Consular Information Sheet.) If your family needs to reach you because of an emergency, they can pass a message to you through the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 202-647-5225. This office will contact the embassy or consulate in the country where you are traveling and pass a message from your family to you. Remember consular officers cannot cash checks, lend money or serve as your attorney. They can, however, if the need arises, assist you in obtaining emergency funds from your family, help you find an attorney, help you find medical assistance, and replace your lost or stolen passport.

Find out what information your school offers.

Find out whether your school offers additional information for students who are planning to study, travel, or work abroad. Many student advisors can provide you with information about studying or working abroad. They may also be able to provide you with information on any travel benefits for students (e.g. how to save money on transportation and accommodations, and other resources.)

Before committing yourself or your finances, find out about the organization and what it offers.

The majority of private programs for vacation, study or work abroad are reputable and financially sound. However, some charge exorbitant fees, use deliberately false "educational" claims, and provide working conditions far different from those advertised. Even programs of legitimate organizations can be poorly administered.

Top Ten Travel Tips for Students

  1. Make sure you have a signed, valid passport and visas, if required. Also, before you go, fill in the emergency information page of your passport!
  2. Read the Consular Information Sheets (and Public Announcements or Travel Warnings, if applicable) for the countries you plan to visit.
  3. Leave copies of your itinerary, passport data page and visas with family or friends at home, so that you can be contacted in case of an emergency. Keep your host program informed of your whereabouts.
  4. Make sure you have insurance that will cover your emergency medical needs (including medical evacuation) while you are overseas.
  5. Familiarize yourself with local laws and customs of the countries to which you are traveling. Remember, while in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws!
  6. Do not leave your luggage unattended in public areas and never accept packages from strangers.
  7. While abroad, avoid using illicit drugs or drinking excessive amounts of alcoholic beverages, and associating with people who do.
  8. Do not become a target for thieves by wearing conspicuous clothing and expensive jewelry and do not carry excessive amounts of cash or unnecessary credit cards.
  9. Deal only with authorized agents when you exchange money to avoid violating local laws.
  10. When overseas, avoid demonstrations and other situations that may become unruly or where anti-American sentiments may be expressed.

Bureau of Consular Affair
September 2000

Travel Warning on Drugs Abroad Things You Should Know Before You Go Abroad


Each year, 2,500 Americans are arrested overseas. One third of the arrests are on drug-related charges. Many of those arrested assumed as U.S. citizens that they could not be arrested. From Asia to Africa, Europe to South America, U.S. citizens are finding out the hard way that drug possession or trafficking equals jail in foreign countries.

There is very little that anyone can do to help you if you are caught with drugs.

It is your responsibility to know what the drug laws are in a foreign country before you go, because "I didn't know it was illegal" will not get you out of jail.

In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of women arrested abroad. The rise is a result of women who serve as drug couriers or "mules" in the belief they can make quick money and have a vacation without getting caught. Instead of a short vacation, they get a lengthy stay or life sentence in a foreign jail.

A number of the Americans arrested abroad on drug charges in 1994 possessed marijuana. Many of these possessed one ounce or less of the substance. The risk of being put in jail for just one marijuana cigarette is not worth it.

If you are purchasing prescription medications in quantities larger than that considered necessary for personal use, you could be arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking.

Once you're arrested, the American consular officer CANNOT get you out!

You may say "it couldn't happen to me" but the fact is that it could happen to you if you find yourself saying one of the following:

"I'm an American citizen and no foreign government can put me in their jail."

"If I only buy or carry a small amount, it won't be a problem."

If you are arrested on a drug charge it is important that you know what your government CAN and CANNOT do for you.

The U.S. Consular Officer CAN

  • visit you in jail after being notified of your arrest.
  • give you a list of local attorneys. (The U.S. Government cannot assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of these individuals or recommend a particular attorney.)
  • notify your family and/or friends and relay requests for money or other aid -- but only with your authorization .
  • intercede with local authorities to make sure that your rights under local law are fully observed and that you are treated humanely, according to internationally accepted standards.
  • protest mistreatment or abuse to the appropriate authorities.

The U.S. Consular Officer CANNOT

  • demand your immediate release or get you out of jail or the country!
  • represent you at trial or give legal counsel.
  • pay legal fees and/or fines with U.S. Government funds.

If you are caught buying, selling, carrying or using drugs -- from hashish to heroin, marijuana to mescaline, cocaine to quaaludes, to designer drugs like testacy...It could mean:

Interrogation and Delays Before Trial - including mistreatment and solitary confinement for up to one year under very primitive conditions.

Lengthy Trials - conducted in a foreign language, with delays and postponements.

Weeks, Months or Life in Prison - some places include hard labor, heavy fines, and/or lashings, if found guilty.

The Death Penalty - in a growing number of countries (e.g., Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey).

Although drug laws vary from country to country, it is important to realize before you make the mistake of getting involved with drugs that foreign countries do not react lightly to drug offenders. In some countries, anyone who is caught with even a very small quantity for personal use may be tried and receive the same sentence as the large-scale trafficker.

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
February 2000

Travel Planning Checklist

  1. Schedule an appointment with OIE Advisor
  2. Select your program
  3. Apply for a passport
  4. Find out if you need a student visa
  5. Have passport pictures taken
  6. Attend any information or pre-departure meetings
  7. Schedule an appointment with your physician
  8. Check to see if you need any immunizations (Some may take six months to complete)
  9. Review your insurance policies coverage
  10. Arrange for necessary requirements for voting while out of the country
  11. Plan for registration, income taxes, power of attorney, housing, financial aid requirements
  12. Consult with various up-to-date websites such as U.S. State Department, Center for Disease Control