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INFORMATION FOR TRAVELERS

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

December 2010

The State Department recently launched a secure online travel registration website which will allow you, as an American citizen, to record foreign trip and residence information that the Department of State can use to communicate with you and assist you in case of an emergency.

  • U.S. citizens around the world who travel or reside abroad can access this site either through a link on Travel.State.gov or directly at the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program home page. We invite you to register yourself and your family and get acquainted with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.
  • The new Smart Traveler Enrollment Program for American citizens allows you to enroll and update your contact information on the Internet at any time, making it easier for you to keep your information current. The site also provides you with up-to-date travel information customized to your unique travel agenda and itinerary. The data you provide is secured behind Department of State firewalls, accessed only by cleared personnel in Embassies, Consulates, and the Department of State, and releasable only under the provisions of the Privacy Act.

Let us know how you like the new site. If you encounter any difficulties or have any questions about our travel registration website, please send an e-mail to CAIBRS@state.gov.  If you have specific questions about your enrollment with U.S. Embassy Panama City, please contact us at Panama-ACS@state.gov.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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Q:  Why have you renamed the "Registration with Embassies" program the "Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)?"

A:  Our goal is to encourage all U.S. citizens traveling or residing abroad to let us know their contact information so that, in an emergency, we can contact them.  By changing the name of the process and designating it the "Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)," we hope to encourage more U.S citizens to utilize the service.

Q:  I have used this service before.  Will I have problems using it now that the name has changed?

A:  No.  If you have previously registered online with the U.S. Department of State, you will notice that the change of the name to the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program will not affect your ability to continue to utilize the service, nor will it affect your previous data.

Q:  Why should I sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program?

A:  Millions of Americans travel abroad every year and encounter no difficulties.  However, U.S. embassies and consulates assist nearly 200,000 Americans each year who are victims of crime, accident, or illness, or whose family and friends need to contact them in an emergency.  When an emergency happens, or if natural disaster, terrorism, or civil unrest strikes during your foreign travel, the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate can be your source of assistance and information.  By informing us about your trip or residence abroad, you help the embassy or consulate locate you when you might need them the most.  Signing up is voluntary and costs nothing, but it should be a big part of your travel planning and security.

Q:  How do I sign up?

A:  First, you will create an account by clicking on the "Create an Account" link and following the instructions provided.  This allows you to select a username and password so that you can access your travel data at any time.  The account will also contain your personal information so that it can be saved and used again whenever you travel abroad.  The personal information section includes basic information about you, and also an emergency contact who is not traveling with you.  Once you have created an account, you can view your profile and add trips or overseas residences to sign up with a specific U.S. embassy or consulate.  Click on the "Add Trip" button or "Add Overseas Residence" buttons to add this information.  Follow through the pages, and complete as much information as you have available. There are very few required fields, but thorough information enables us to help you more efficiently. You will receive a confirmation email to ensure that you are signed up correctly.

Q:  How can the embassy or consulate assist me while I am abroad?

A:  U.S. consular officers assist U.S. citizens who encounter serious medical, financial, or legal difficulties abroad.  Although consular officers cannot act as your legal counsel or representative, they can provide the names of local attorneys and doctors, provide loans to destitute U.S. citizens, and provide information about dangerous conditions affecting your overseas travel or residence.  Consular officers also perform non-emergency services, helping U.S. citizens with absentee voting, selective service registration, receiving federal benefits, and filing U.S. tax forms.  Consular officers can notarize documents, issue passports, and document American children born abroad.  Most embassies and consulates have web sites with more information.

Q:  If I sign up, does that mean it proves I am a U.S. citizen?

A:  No, signing up through this website is NOT considered proof of U.S. citizenship.  If you apply for any American citizen services from the embassy or consulate while abroad, you will be asked by the consular staff to provide proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a U.S. passport or American birth certificate.

Q:  I am a U.S. citizen residing abroad who is planning to travel to the United States.  Should I inform the Department of State?

A:  Please note that the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program is intended for U.S. citizens to inform us of their contact information when traveling or living abroad.  It is not intended nor can it be used for informing us of your trips to the United States.