Smart Traveler Enrollment Program Explained

smater travelerSeasoned travelers know that when you travel a lot, the unexpected can occur. Some areas of the world are more challenging than others, and it’s helpful to know where to turn if a problem arises. If you have an issue while traveling abroad, U.S. embassies all around the globe can be valuable resources.

The U.S. State Department offers a free service called the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP. It’s an excellent way for travelers to Stay Informed, Connected, and Safe.

Benefits include:

• Relevant alerts and travel warnings sent to you via phone call or text message.
• Reports on potential dangers that could affect your travel plans.
• Assistance if you lose your passport.
• Access to local doctors and attorneys.
• Access to loans.

There are also a number of non-emergency benefits available like assistance with absentee voting, passports, document notarization, the registration of American children born abroad and receiving federal benefits.

STEP Enrollment:

There are five online pages to complete for enrollment:

Personal: Name, address, telephone, email and other contact info.

Passport: Enter your passport number and the date of issue.

Contact Information: This page is for your emergency contact information (names and phone numbers.)

Privacy Policy: This section allows you to detail how information about your condition should be disclosed, i.e. to family members, friends, legal representatives, media, members of Congress, a medical representative, etc.

Confirm: Confirm your details and then click Finish.

Once the form is completed, you’ll be routed to the home page where you’ll be able to add your specific upcoming travel information via another five-step form:

Itinerary: Your destination country, travel dates, purpose of your visit, etc.

Travelers — List any additional travelers plus their contact and passport information.

Email — Set up an email address where alerts, travel warnings and consular information sheets can be sent.

Travel Info — If a travel warning is currently in effect for your destination country, it will be displayed.

Confirm — Shows all the details you’ve provided for the form and allows you to set your travel plans.

Is STEP for Me?

The STEP forms ask for quite a bit of personal information. The program’s privacy policy is visibly displayed, but some find it disagreeable. It’s up to you to decide if STEP is for you. Many travelers find that the benefits of the program far outweigh any privacy concerns.

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