International Travel and COVID-19 Testing

November 6, 2020

To: International Students
From: Nick Seamons, Director, Office of International Affairs, and Blake Wilcox, Executive Director, COVID-19 Testing Program
Subject: International Travel and COVID-19 Testing
Date: November 6, 2020


We know many of you are planning to travel internationally at the end of Autumn Quarter and may be required to provide documentation of a negative COVID-19 test within a specified timeframe prior to departure or upon arrival. We are writing to provide you with information on the COVID-19 testing options available to you to fulfill this requirement.

The COVID-19 tests performed by UChicago Medicine and the University of Chicago COVID-19 Surveillance Testing Program meet the requirements for international travel. Testing is available to you at no cost. Your test results will be available in your MyChart account and can be used as your COVID-19 test documentation. 

It is your responsibility to understand the pre-travel testing necessary for your destination, and to determine when you need to be tested based on those requirements. Please familiarize yourself with your destination-specific requirements prior to requesting a test date. It may take up to 48 hours for your test results to be released.

Requesting a COVID-19 Test (SARS-CoV-2 nucleic)

At least a week before your departure, use the process below to request a pre-travel COVID-19 test:

  • Mandatory and Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program Participants: Students who are participants in the University of Chicago Mandatory or Voluntary Surveillance Testing Programs should email to schedule an additional pre-travel test if required by your travel itinerary. Please use the subject line “International Travel Test Appointment” and include your requested test date in the email.  Any additional questions about your pre-travel test should be directed to as well.
  • Other Students: Students who are not participating in the University’s Surveillance Testing Program should call UChicago Student Wellness at 773-834-WELL to make an appointment for a pre-travel COVID-19 test. If you are not an existing patient with UChicago Student Wellness, they will initiate a MyChart health portal activation for you. You must complete the MyChart activation process in order to receive your results. Call 773-834-WELL with any additional questions about your pre-travel test.

Prior to your test, please make sure your MyChart health portal is active. We strongly recommend you print or have an electronic copy of your pre-travel COVID-19 test results from MyChart to take with you for either pre-flight inspection or to present upon arrival. 

Pre-travel COVID-19 tests will be conducted at the 950 E. 61st St. (formerly known as Woodlawn Social Services Center) testing depot. When you arrive at the testing site, please indicate that you scheduled a pre-travel COVID-19 test.  

When determining your requested test date, please keep in mind that the Student Wellness Center and the Surveillance Testing Program test site will be closed for several days for the Thanksgiving holiday. 

  • The Student Wellness Center will be closed starting at noon on Wednesday, November 25, through Sunday, November 29.
  • The Surveillance Testing Program test site at 950 E. 61st St. will be closed starting at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, November 25, through Sunday, November 29. 

If students need a pre-travel test between November 26-30, the only University option is at the UChicago Medicine curbside testing clinic on Saturday, November 28.  Tests at the UCM curbside testing clinic alternate location must be scheduled by a staff member of UChicago Student Wellness before noon on November 25. Please call 773-834-WELL and let the staff member know your requested pre-travel COVID-19 test date. It may take up to 48 hours for your tests results to be released.

Obtaining a COVID-19 Antibody Test

In addition to a negative COVID-19 test, some international destinations may require a negative antibody test.  This test requires that a blood sample be taken, which can be done by appointment in the Student Wellness Center.  If you need this test performed for purposes of travel, please call 773-834-WELL for an appointment.  This test cannot be performed at the same location as the COVID-19 nasal swab test, and must be scheduled separately.  Some international locations may require an antibody test that is not performed on campus.  We encourage you to know the exact type of antibody test that is required by your destination and then call Student Wellness for consultation.

If your pre-travel COVID-19 test returns a positive result, you should not travel and should immediately begin isolating. UChicago Student Wellness staff will contact you to provide guidance on your next steps. The Office of International Affairs staff will also be available to assist you.

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