Congratulations on your upcoming journey!
Here are some important steps to take before traveling outside the United States.
- Review your passport requirements & expiration dates
- Register for STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program)
- Review Travel Protection, Insurance and other Health needs
- Have an emergency back up plan
The following information has been provided by the Bureau of Consular Affairs. Links and FAQ are for your convenience. Ultimately, you are responsible for ensuring all travel documents and criteria has been met prior to travel.
PASSPORTS | A passport is a U.S. citizen’s key to international travel. Due to a surge in passport applications, your family should apply several months in advance, especially if they need visas for their 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.
- How to apply for a passport
- Where to apply for a passport
- Lost or Stolen Passports
- Passport photo requirements
- Get your passport in a hurry
- Life or death emergencies
- Current processing times
- Passport fees
- Application status
- National Passport Information Center contact information
- Schengen area travel
- Obtian bulk quanities of passport applications
PREPARING FOR A TRIP ABROAD | For any trip abroad, it is important to be prepared. Before traveling, your family should follow our Traveler’s Checklist to get information about their destination, have required documents, sign up for our free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive updates about their destination while traveling, and get insurance for the unexpected. 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.
- Traveler’s Checklist
- Learn about your destination
- Find a U.S. Embassy abroad
- Travel Alerts and Warnings
- Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
- Vaccinations and insurance
- What can you do in a crisis?
- Travel during tropical storm season
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.
- Emergency contact numbers for U.S. citizens abroad
- Medical emergencies
- Victims of crime
- Death abroad
- How to locate a missing person abroad
- What the State Department can and cannot do in a crisis abroad
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES | There are special considerations for some U.S. citizens traveling abroad:
- Cruise passengers
- Older travelers
- Travelers with disabilities
- Women travelers
- LGBTI travelers
- Faith-Based Travel
Further useful information for U.S. travelers:
- Customs and import restrictions
- Traveling with firearms
- Traveling with a pet
- Global Entry
- TSA Pre-check
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I apply for a passport? | How to apply for a passport, fees, processing times.
- Do my children need passports? | For Children under 16
- How long does it take to get a passport? | Processing times vary depending on time of year and current travel patterns, review this site for the current time frame
- Other FAQ
How long is a passport valid and is it true that it needs to have at least 6 months of validity remaining?
- If you were age 16 or older when your passport was issued, your passport is valid for 10 years.
- If you were age 15 or younger when your passport was issued, your passport is valid for 5 years.
- The Issue Date of your passport can be found on the data page of your Passport Book or on the front of your Passport Card.
Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six months beyond the dates of your trip. Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement is not met. Consider the following scenario: A country requires that you have at least six months of validity on your passport. You currently have seven months of validity on your passport. However, your trip is two months from now. At that point, you will only have five months of validity remaining on your passport which is not enough to satisfy that country’s entry requirements. In this situation, you would need to renew your passport before you can make your trip.
- Check our Country Specific Information to learn about entry and exit requirements for the country or countries in which you are traveling. Watch this short YouTube video about why you need at least six months of validity on your U.S. passport!
- If your passport has already expired, you may still be able to renew your passport by mail. See How to Renew Your U.S. Passport.
Why can’t I use the passport card to fly to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, or Bermuda?
The passport card was designed for the specific needs of northern and southern U.S. border communities with residents that cross the border frequently by land. The passport book is the only document approved for international travel by air.
Quick Passport Facts For Children
Who Needs One: Every child regardless of age traveling overseas must have a valid passport
Valid For: 5 years
Passport applications for children under age 16, who have or have not had a passport in the past, must be submitted in person at a passport agency or authorized passport application acceptance facility. The child must be present. Both parents or guardians should appear with the child. If both parents/guardians cannot be present, see parental consent for additional document requirements.
Traveling with a Minor
When traveling with a minor where one parent or both parents (or legal guardians) are not cruising, we strongly recommend bringing an original signed letter from the absent parent(s) (or legal guardians) authorizing the minor to travel with you. This will expedite processing by the Department of Homeland Security.
PLEASE NOTE a word about air travel:
Federal law forbids the carriage of certain hazardous materials, such as aerosols, fireworks, and flammable liquids, aboard the aircraft. If you do not understand these restrictions, contact your airline or go to http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/hazmat_safety
Disclaimer: Embrace Travel, LLC and affiliated Journey Planners provide these external links solely for our clients’ information and convenience. Every effort has been made to provide accurate and complete information. However, we cannot guarantee that there will be no errors. Neither Embrace Travel, LLC nor the affiliated Journey Planners assumes any legal liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product, or process disclosed herein, or represents that use of such information, product, or process would not infringe on privately owned rights. The best resource to answer your questions regarding foreign travel is US Passports & International Travel office/website.