If you are a US citizen planning a trip abroad, you may wonder how you will get help if an emergency occurs in your destination country. For many years, the US Department of State has offered travelers a way to register their trips so that embassy and consulate employees can find them if a natural disaster or civil unrest occurs. This program, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), has three components.
Personal Profile and Access Permission
First you will need to set up a personal profile, which includes your name, address, telephone number, email address, points of contact and a unique password. You will also need to decide who else might need to find you or your contact information in case of international emergency. You can choose any combination of family, friends, legal or medical representatives, members of the media or Congress.
Tip: If you do not authorize disclosure of your information prior to your trip, State Department employees will not be able to tell anyone where you are, under the terms of the Privacy Act.
You may enter information about an upcoming trip; this information will enable State Department employees to find and assist you if a disaster or uprising occurs. You may register multiple trips.
Tip: You will not be able to enter trip information if 1) your destination country does not have a US embassy or consulate or 2) you do not have contact information, such as a hotel address or friend's telephone number, available.
Travel Warning, Alert and Information Update Subscription
If you wish, you may also sign up to receive email updates, including Travel Alerts, Travel Warnings and country-specific information issued by the State Department. You can do this either as part of the trip registration process or as a separate email subscription.
The Bottom Line
Registering your trip will help the State Department assist you if problems occur in your destination country. The process is quick and easy, particularly once you have set up your profile. Why not visit the STEP website and get started today?