Americans Traveling Abroad
The following information is taken from and can be found at Travel.State.Gov U.S. Department of State-Bureau of Consular Affairs
Traveling abroad doesn’t have to be confusing if you know the right things before you go. This section provides information and a link to background and requirements for Americans traveling abroad. Click on the link below to access our alphabetical listing of countries to view specific entry requirements. The link below also includes information on passports, visas, immunizations, medical information, additional fees, and conditions abroad that may affect your safety and security.
- Safety and Security Information: Read the Travel Advisory and Alerts for the countries you will be visiting at travel.state.gov/destination. Review entry/exit requirements, visas, local laws, customs, medical care, road safety, etc. Write down contact details for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to carry with you in case of emergency while traveling.
- Crisis Planning: Read Crisis Abroad: Be Ready and make an evacuation plan that does not rely on the U.S. government. Consider buying emergency evacuation insurance. If a crisis occurs while you are abroad, check in with loved ones and update your social media status so family and friends know you are okay.
- Health Precautions: Read Your Health Abroad and check out recommendations for vaccinations and other health considerations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).
- Money Matters: Before going abroad, notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel, and check exchange rates. For information about using cash, debit/credit cards, and ATMs overseas, read information about your destination.
Get Required Documents
Safeguard Your Documents! Make two copies of all your travel documents in case of emergency. Leave one copy with a trusted friend or relative at home and carry the other separately from your original documents. To help prevent theft, do not carry your passport in your back pocket, and keep it separate from your money.
- Passport: Apply several months in advance for a new passport. If you already have one, it should be valid for at least six months after you return home and have two or more blank pages, depending on your destination. Otherwise, some countries may not let you enter.
- Children’s passports: Passports issued for children under age 16 are valid for only five years, not 10 years like adult passports. Check passport expiration dates carefully and renew early.
- Europe Travel via Canada and UK: Europe’s 26 Schengen countries strictly enforce the six-month validity rule. If you are transiting through Canada or the UK : which do not have that requirement : your passport must be valid at least six months, or airlines may not let you board your onward flight to Europe.
- Visas: You may need to get a visa before you travel to a foreign destination. Contact the embassy of the countries you will be visiting for more information.
- Medications: Some prescription drugs, including narcotics and some U.S. over-the-counter medications, are illegal in other countries. Check with the embassy of your destination(s) about regulations and documentation before you travel.
- Consent for Travel with Minors: If you are traveling alone with children, foreign border officials may require custody documents or notarized written consent from the other parent. Check with the embassy of your foreign destination before traveling to see what you may need.
- International Driving Permit: Many countries do not recognize a U.S. driver’s license, but most accept an International Driving Permit (IDP). You may also need supplemental auto insurance. Read more about driving and road safety abroad before you go.
- Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP): Enroll for free at STEP.state.gov to receive travel and security updates about your destination, and to help us reach you in an emergency. Groups or organizations can create an account and upload a spreadsheet with contact details for multiple travelers.
- Twitter and Facebook: Follow TravelGov on Twitter and Facebook https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages.htm
A passport is a U.S. citizen’s key to international travel. Due to a surge in passport applications, you should apply several months in advance, especially if you need visas for your foreign destinations. Travelers should make sure their passport is valid at least six months after returning home and has two or more blank pages, or some countries may not let them enter. Note that passports for children under 16 are valid five years and adult passports 10 years, so check expiration dates carefully. We recommend all cruise ship passengers have their passport with them in case of emergency, even if not required.
- Get My Passport Fast
- Where to Apply
- Report my Passport Lost or Stolen
- Passport Photos
- Life-or-Death Emergencies
- Processing Times
- Application Status
- S. Travelers in Europe
It is especially important for all travelers to be ready in case of a crisis abroad and have an evacuation plan that does not rely on U.S. government assistance.
- Country Information
- Travel Advisories
- Traveler’s Checklist
- Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
- Your Health Abroad
- Crisis Abroad: Be Ready
- Customs and Import Restrictions
- Travelers With Firearms
Emergency assistance abroad
The safety and security of U.S. citizens abroad is one of our highest priorities. Our U.S. embassies and consulates around the world are available to help with emergencies 24/7.
- Arrest or Detention of a U.S. Citizen Abroad
- Help for U.S. Citizen Victims of Crime
- Death Abroad
- S. Citizens Missing Abroad
- What the Department of State Can and Can’t Do in a Crisis
Travelers with Special Considerations
- Adventure Travel
- S. Travelers in Europe
- High-Risk Area Travelers
- Travelers with Dual Nationality
- Journalist Travelers
- Faith-Based Travelers
- Pilgrimage Travelers (Hajj and Umrah)
- S. Students Abroad
- Cruise Ship Passengers
- LGBTI Travelers
- Women Travelers
- Travelers with Disabilities
- Older Travelers
- S. Volunteers Abroad
- Travelers with Pets
Other Information for U.S. Citizen Travelers
- Travel to High-Risk Areas
- Traveling with firearms
- Traveling with a pet
- Travel during tropical storm season
- FBI Safety and Security Information for U.S. Students Traveling Abroad
- Customs and import restrictions
- Global Entry
- TSA Pre-check
Sometimes, in spite of careful planning, things still go wrong during a trip abroad. We provide help for emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate overseas or our Washington, D. C. office (888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444).
The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the entities or individuals whose names appear on or are linked to the above page. Inclusion of private groups on this page is in no way an endorsement by the Department or the U.S. government. The order in which names appear has no significance. The Department is not in a position to vouch for the information.