Better Safe than Sorry – International Travelers Should Register with the Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
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.
While many travelers may be aware that every country abroad has a US embassy to contact in case of emergency, they may not be aware of a new program which is recommended and run by the US State Department for travelers who travel abroad. This new program called the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP, is a simple online registration that can prove invaluable in case of an emergency while traveling or living abroad. By informing the US Department of State about your trip or residence abroad, you help the embassy or consulate locate you when you might need them the most.
Formerly known as the “Registration with Embassies Program,”, STEP allows travelers to create an account, sign in, and make the proper consulate officers aware of their plans. This way, it is easier for them to be assisted should an emergency or difficulty arise. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. The STEP program allows travelers to enter information about their upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can better assist them in an overseas emergency.
STEP not only will be able to provide travelers with the latest safety and security announcements automatically, but will also inform the travelers family and friends. Registering in the STEP program allows a traveler to enter information about their upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can get in touch with them in an emergency. The travel and contact information a traveler enters into the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program will make it easier for consular officers in U.S. embassies and consulates around the world to contact them and their loved ones during an emergency —including situations where the travelers family or friends in the U.S. are having problems trying to contact the traveler with important news. The STEP program also allows Americans residing abroad to get routine information from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
Registering with STEP is easy, just enter your U.S. details including the name and contact information of family or friends not traveling with you. You only need to sign up once, and then you can add and delete trips from your account based on your current travel plans. Signing up is voluntary and costs nothing!
Chances are you’ll never encounter a bad situation on a trip abroad, still it makes sense to sign up and should be a big part of your travel planning and security – just to be on the safe side.
To learn more about this highly-recommended program and to find out how to register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), visit: Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.