Skip navigation

Procedure: Travel to high risk destinations, procedures for risk assessment


To outline the University's procedures for risk assessment for travel to high risk destinations.



  1. This procedure should be used in conjunction with the Travel to High Risk Destinations procedure ANUP_000677 and the Travel Form. The procedure assists staff, students and approving delegates to assess and manage the risks associated with travel to international destinations. This applies particularly to those regions where there are travel advisories issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) stating ‘Reconsider your need to travel' (Level 3) or ‘Do not travel' (Level 4).'
  2. To assist staff and students to assess risks this document provides direct links to key websites.

Travel risk assessment

  1. The risks which ANU staff and students face in travelling are dependent both on the individual characteristics of the traveller (language competence, experience, gender, ethnicity, religion, nationality and sexual orientation) and on circumstances in the destination country. The most significant risks are:
  • Disease;
  • Theft;
  • Misadventure (including traffic accidents, natural disasters and hazards, and extreme climatic conditions);
  • Harassment (including physical attacks, extortion and arrest by authorities); and
  • Civil unrest and acts of terrorism.
  1. Any proposal to visit a country for which DFAT advice is ‘Reconsider your need to travel' or ‘Do not travel’ should be accompanied by a risk assessment plan that addresses the five issues above and the means by which each level of risk will be reduced.

Key Recommendations

  1. Where DFAT Travel Advisories state ‘Reconsider your need to travel (Level 3)’ and ‘Do not Travel (Level 4)’ applicants should provide the delegate with:
  • A detailed itinerary including contact details. A copy of the itinerary should be maintained in the local area Business Office;
  • A brief summary of their experience in the country of destination, including local language comprehension etc;
  • An exit strategy;
  • Certification of registration with DFAT Smart Traveller ;
  • Proof of purchase of flexible air tickets that allow changes to dates, airlines and routing; and
  • Advice on how the budget unit\research grant will fund the buy-out of the civil unrest\war exclusion component of the University business travel policy (only required when the travel advisory warning is due to ‘civil unrest\ terrorism\war reasons').

Precautions for emergencies

  1. Staff and students travelling abroad should be aware that emergency circumstances may arise after their departure which require an early departure from their destinations. These circumstances may include:
  • Family or personal crisis requiring the traveller’s presence in Australia;
  • Natural disaster, outbreak of disease or development of civil disorder which makes it unsafe to remain any longer in the destination country;
  • Changes in the political, social or physical circumstances which makes it impossible to continue the programme for which the travel was originally undertaken, even if there is no immediate danger to wellbeing; or
  • Traumatic event such as a terrorist attack which, although it may not itself increase the danger to wellbeing, nonetheless is so disturbing that the traveller feels it advisable to depart.
  1. The appropriate response to each emergency will vary, depending on the nature of that emergency and the individual circumstances of the traveller. In the event of an emergency, the traveller should bear in mind that evacuation may sometimes be more dangerous than remaining. The following precautions should be considered:
  • Staff and students are urged to make travel bookings through the University’s preferred supplier as a further guarantee that they can be traced in the event of an emergency;
  • When booking flights, staff and students should note that the cheapest flights are often the least flexible. Staff and students should seek an appropriate balance between price and flexibility, and should be in a position to obtain a higher cost ticket should an early departure be required (see ‘Flexible Airfares’);
  • Travellers should notify the delegate of any changes to their itinerary and provide contact details as they become available; and
  • Travellers should check their e-mail accounts regularly.


  1. All members of the ANU community are advised to seek medical advice before travelling overseas to ensure that they are appropriately protected by inoculation and prophylaxis, and to take precautions against infection, particularly when travelling to tropical regions. The University recognises the right of staff and students to choose the medical protection that they consider most appropriate, but strongly urges that this choice be based on medical advice. Supervisors of first-time travellers to tropical regions should ensure that prospective travellers seek medical advice at least three to six months before departure. The ANU Health Service provides specific advice and can offer some vaccinations. Valuable advice is available from the following websites:

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  1. All staff and students contemplating travel to countries with known outbreaks of COVID-19 should be alert to Smart Traveller COVID-19 Travel Advice and should seek advice from the University Work Environment Group concerning advisability of travel, bearing in mind that international travel is likely to be a major factor in the spread of the disease.
  2. The University has restricted official travel for staff and students to certain countries. Please consult the ANU Travel Approval Form for the latest list of countries that are restricted before planning your travel. The University will provide medical assistance and support to staff and students who may have contracted COVID-19 while on approved official University travel.
  3. For staff and students submitting travel applications to countries known to have had outbreaks of COVID-19 the following are recommended:
  • A detailed itinerary, including flight details and accommodation at a minimum;
  • A detailed evacuation plan which may need to include a 2 weeks self-isolation plan prior to returning to Australia;
  • A call back plan to keep in touch with a nominated ANU representative, ie supervisor, school manager etc; and
  • Evidence or a written assurance of the purchase of a ‘flexible’ airfare preferably through the preferred travel provider.
  1. All staff and students must follow the information provided by ACT Health and Department of Health regarding self-isolation upon returning to Australia.
  2. Further information regarding the COVID-19 and arrangements in the University can be found via the Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions.

Avian flu

  1. To date there have been no confirmed cases of human-to-human transmission of bird flu, but the issue is monitored by national governments and by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is widely believed that development of human-to-human transmission would greatly increase the risk of a pandemic.
  2. All staff and students contemplating travel to countries with known outbreaks of bird flu should be alert to WHO travel warnings and should seek advice from the University concerning advisability of travel, bearing in mind that international travel is likely to be a major factor in the spread of the disease.
  3. For staff and students submitting travel applications to countries known to have had outbreaks of Avian Flu the following are recommended:
  • A copy of the latest DFAT travel advisories re Avian Flu;
  • A detailed itinerary;
  • A detailed exit strategy; and
  • Evidence or a written assurance of the purchase of a ‘flexible’ airfare preferably through the preferred travel provider (see benefits below).

Personal safety

  1. Travellers are always especially vulnerable to theft and assault. Travellers should exercise vigilance and ensure they are registered with DFAT SmartTraveller.
  2. The following are recommended:
  • Ensure you have made copies of passport details, visas, travellers’ cheques and credit card numbers. Carry one copy in a place separate from the original documents and ensure a copy is left with an appropriate person at home;;
  • Keep in touch with family and work colleagues on a regular basis;
  • Be conscious of safety when travelling on public or private transport; and
  • Be sensitive to local cultures.
  1. The following link provides further valuable personal safety tips:

Civil disorder (Indonesian example)

  1. Several regions of Indonesia have been affected by short-or long-term civil disorder. There is a risk that ANU staff and students who enter such regions may become accidental victims of this disorder. This risk is normally localised but may be acute, so that staff and students should exercise extreme caution in approaching or become involved in political protests, demonstrations or other manifestations of potentially violent protest. Avoiding or minimising this risk depends especially on access to local information. An experienced researcher, fluent in Indonesian with good local contacts, is at much less risk than an undergraduate visiting Indonesia for the first time and speaking no Indonesian.
  2. In general, ANU staff and students should travel to Indonesia only if they have basic proficiency in Indonesian (and thus access to local advice) or a competent local sponsor (travel companion, travel agent, conference organiser, or government, business or academic counterpart) who can be relied upon to provide up- to-date advice. ANU staff and students should not travel to provinces experiencing unrest (currently Aceh, Maluku, Maluku Utara, and Sulawesi Tengah provinces) unless there is a compelling reason to do so.

Note: These principles should be applied to any destination where civil disorder is or has been evident.


  1. ANU staff and students with concerns about the risk of terrorist attacks in general should avoid travel to the destinations mentioned above. More generally, travellers should note that the aim of terrorist attacks is to create a level of fear that is greater than the actual level of risk. The nature of terrorist tactics means that, although the risk of an attack may be high, the risk to any individual traveller is low. To become a victim, one must be in just the wrong place at just the wrong time. The risk of further terrorist attacks must be judged as high, but this risk should be set in the context of the significant risk of a terrorist attack in parts of the world commonly visited by ANU staff and students (Indonesia, Eastern Europe, Western Europe (including Great Britain), North America, the Middle East, South Asia) (See: DFAT Travel Advice).

Travel insurance

  1. All travel applicants and delegates should be aware that there may be restricted conditions on insurance coverage for specific situations, for example, war, civil war, civil unarrest, and to certain countries. The restricted conditions can be found in Section 12 of the Travel Insurance Disclosure Statement.
  2. Benefits of using the preferred supplier for Travel Management Services. American Express Global Business Travel and STA Travel are global travel management companies that provide a full travel service to the University. In times of disaster STA Travel supports the University and its travellers by providing a full 24\7 notification service. Information on the full range of other services can be found at this link.

Helpful Links:

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Smart Traveller

Insurance and ANU Travel

Travel Insurance Disclosure Statement


Printable version (PDF)
Title Travel to high risk destinations, procedures for risk assessment
Document Type Procedure
Document Number ANUP_000516
Version 9
Purpose To outline the University's procedures for risk assessment for travel to high risk destinations.
Audience Staff, Students
Category Administrative
Topic/ SubTopic Travel & Transport
Effective Date 12 Mar 2020
Next Review Date 31 Mar 2023
Responsible Officer: Director, Shared Services
Approved By: Chief Operating Officer
Contact Area Division of Shared Services
Delegations 198, 199

Information generated and received by ANU staff in the course of conducting business on behalf of ANU is a record and should be captured by an authorised recordkeeping system. To learn more about University records and recordkeeping practice at ANU, see ANU recordkeeping and Policy: Records and archives management.

Related Content

Travel to high risk destinations