On August 22, 2017 the US State Department issued a revised travel warning for Mexico. Visit the US Department of State website for the full text.
The Learning Abroad Center submitted a petition to the University of Minnesota's International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee (ITRAAC), the committee responsible for making decisions related to the Travel Warning Policy, for the Study Abroad in Mexico program. The committee has approved the petition for 2017-18 programs, provided that participants abide by the guidelines and restrictions below.
The Learning Abroad Center Must
- Register the group at the closest US embassy in Mexico through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
- Ensure all students traveling with students receive CISI international insurance for the duration of their participation in the program.
- Provide each participant with a copy of the Travel Warning and Country Specific Information for Mexico, and require that they follow the advice and safety recommendations contained within the warning and country information.
- Stay up to date with the recommendations of the State Department Travel Warning and provide the official warning to each student participating in the program.
- Collect and maintain a list of cell phone numbers for all students and onsite program contacts.
- Communicate regularly with students and on-site contacts regarding the program and safety. Provide students with the University's 24/7 emergency phone line: 612.301.CALL(2255).
- Provide a mid-year report including any health, safety and security incidents to the committee by August 1, 2017.
- Send a renewal request to the ITRAAC in February 2018, if the Learning Abroad Center wishes to continue the Cuernavaca program in the academic year 2018-2019.
- Communicate the following requirements to all students on the program in writing and/or in orientation.
All Students on the Program Must
- Review the Warning and Country Specific Information for Mexico, and follow the advice and safety recommendations contained within. Pay particular attention to state by state recommendations for travel within Mexico as listed in the Travel Warning.
- Receive CISI insurance coverage for the duration of the program.
- Carry a cell phone and the contact details for on-site staff, University of Minnesota, and emergency contacts in the US with them at all times.
- Confirm the emergency communication plan and details with the Learning Abroad Center and on-site staff.
- Follow all US Department of State and embassy warning and security messages as well as University of Minnesota, on-site staff and local government recommendations including, but not limited to, those indicating that Americans should avoid areas of a city, country or regions, exercise caution generally and as a result of demonstrations, offensives or threats on specific dates and during specific times.
- Not travel to the states of Coahuila*, Colima, Guerrero*, Michoacán, Sinaloa*, Sonora*, and Tamaulipas, and all areas to which it is advised to "defer non-essential travel” in the Warning including Acapulco. (*see exceptions listed in Travel Warning)
- Submit written information about their travel plans at least 2 days in advance if they plan to leave Cuernavaca overnight including date of departure, date of return, destination, name of hotel, name of other people traveling with the students, and means of transportation.
- Maintain a low profile.
- Exercise special caution during times when demonstrations are announced, avoid areas where demonstrations are occurring or crowds are forming.
- Exercise a high degree of caution in public places frequented by foreigners such as clubs, hotels, resorts, upscale shopping centers, restaurants, and places of worship.
- Avoid casinos, sports books, or other gambling establishments and adult entertainment establishments specifically these establishments in the states of Coahuila, Durango, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosi, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Jalisco, Colima and Nayarit.
- Remain alert in residential areas, at schools, and at outdoor recreational events.
- Avoid crowded bus stops or stations.
- Call taxi dispatch for taxis, instead of hailing them, and only take registered taxis with metal license plates.
- Cooperate at all government checkpoints along Mexican roads and highways when traveling by car or bus.
- Practice good personal security when moving about and adhere to local cultural expectations of behavior and dress.
- Not walk or travel alone under any circumstance, but especially after dark.
- Not drive motor vehicles including but not limited to scooters, motorbikes, motorcycles and cars.
- Avoid carrying large sums of cash or wearing expensive looking jewelry.
- Be cautious of unattended baggage in public places, including airports and bus depot.
- Be aware of and comply with the university policies regarding education abroad. Refer to GPS Alliance's Travel Approval page.
ITRAAC maintains the authority to suspend an education abroad opportunity sponsored by the University, including any previously approved, when a significant health or safety concern is raised regarding the opportunity. For more information on this, visit GPS Alliance's Travel Approval page.
In addition to the travel restrictions required by ITRAAC, students on the Learning Abroad Center program in Mexico are not allowed to travel to the cities of Acapulco, Ixtapa, and Zihuatanejo or any area that the US State Department travel warning recommends that US citizens defer non-essential travel to.
We are confident that Cuernavaca remains a safe place for students. We will keep students posted as we continue to monitor the situation in Cuernavaca and other parts of Mexico and receive updates from our on-site staff and the State Department.
Students and parents can email Ellen Reid or call 612.626.7134 or 612.626.9000 with questions or concerns about safety on the Study Abroad in Mexico program.
Students on Affiliated programs in Mexico must submit an individual petition to ITRAAC and can contact their Learning Abroad Center program team if they have questions.