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Two-Step Verification: Before You Travel

Two-Step Verification enhances your security because, in addition to entering your PennKey password, you must also verify your identity by entering a verification code. If you need to access PennKey-protected resources while traveling domestically or internationally, being enrolled in Two-Step Verification will not interfere with your access:

  • If you’re enrolled with Duo Mobile, you don’t need a cellular or Wi-Fi connection. However, depending on your local Internet connectivity or location, the Duo push feature may not work. To manually generate a code, open the Duo application, tap on the "University of Pennsylvania" account and enter the code that appears in the Two-Step Verification screen.
  • Google Authenticator will continue to work even while traveling. Just launch your Google Authenticator app on your mobile device to get a verfication code. Google Authenticator generates codes using a time-based algorithm. As long as the time is correct on your mobile device, you will not have any issues.
  • Key fobs will continue to work while traveling, too. They also rely on a time-based algorithm to generate codes.
  • The Call or Text me a Code option at the Two-Step screen will continue to work so long as your phone is able to receive calls or text messages. Keep in mind that additional fees may apply if you are out of the country. Check with your mobile service provider if there are any international text or voice fees when you receive texts or phone calls abroad.

Depsite this, you are at an increased risk of accidental damage, loss, and theft while traveling which can pose a problem unless you've taken a few precautionary steps beforehand. Prior to traveling, we recommend that you:

  • Generate and print backup codes. While Two-Step should still work, it never hurts to be prepared and have printed backup codes to use, in case you lose access to your mobile phone or key fob. Log in to the Two-Step enrollment application at and click the Generate Codes option to print twenty (20) recovery codes. Use them in order and enter the codes when prompted to authenticate a Two-Step session.
  • Review your designated Two-Step Friends and confirm they will be available to help you authenticate while you are traveling. If you've exhausted other means to get verification codes, you can request help with the Call a Friend button from the Two-Step Verification screen. If few or none of your friends will be available, consider adding others.
  • Contact the IT support staff of your school or center. In addition to helping you prepare to use Two-Step while traveling, your IT support staff may have additional resources available to help you while you are away from campus and may have other travel recommendations for you unrelated to Two-Step.

If you do encounter issues with Two-Step while traveling and find yourself unable to access PennKey-protect websites, here are some ways you can help yourself:

  • Use the backup codes you printed prior to traveling. Just remember that the backup codes must be used in order.
  • Use the "Call a friend" feature to get assistance from one of the Two-Step friends you configured in advance. After selecting the option to Authorize Friend(s) to retrieve a single-use verification code, your friend will receive an email with instructions to retrieve a single-use verification code, which they can give you after you contact them.
  • Call the Two-Step Verification Code Hotline. If you are unable to obtain a verification code using either your primary or backup methods, the Two-Step Verification Code Hotline may be able to assist during normal operating hours.
  • Contact the IT support staff of your school or center for assistance. The IT organization of your school or center may have a Two-Step Administrator who may be able to assist you.

Lastly, please keep in mind that unless you take your laptop with you when you travel, you're likely to use untrusted web browsers. If so, be sure not to click the Trust this browser checkbox on the Two-Step screen. Otherwise, the next person to use that web browser may be able to access your Penn WebLogin session if you don't fully log out and quit the browser properly.

Follow these guidelines and using Two-Step Verification should be a breeze, even while traveling! Additional resources may be available from your School/Center. Contact your IT support staff if you have any questions or need assistance in preparing to travel.