Registration of Americans Abroad – FAQ
Why should I enroll in STEP?
Protecting the lives and interests of U.S. citizens abroad is a core mission of U.S. Embassies and Consulates. We encourage all U.S. citizens traveling or residing overseas to notify the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate of their contact information so that, in an emergency, we can contact them to provide important safety and security information, or support during a crisis. Enrolling in STEP is an easy way to send your contact information to us online. Alternatively, you can visit the Embassy or Consulate in person to enroll, or fill out a paper enrollment form and mail it to the appropriate embassy or consulate, or the Department of State.
How can the embassy or consulate assist me while I am abroad?
Consular officers at Embassies and Consulates can assist U.S. citizens who encounter serious legal, medical, or financial difficulties overseas. For example, if your passport is stolen while traveling, we can assist you with obtaining a replacement so you can continue your trip. We can also provide the names of English-speaking doctors or local attorneys, provide loans to destitute U.S. citizens, and provide information about dangerous conditions affecting your overseas travel or residence.
We also perform non-emergency services, helping with routine passport applications, absentee voting, selective service registration, receiving federal benefits, and filing U.S. tax forms. Consular officers can notarize documents, issue passports, and register U.S. citizen children born abroad. Most embassies and consulates have web sites with more information about their citizen services.
In a crisis such as a natural disaster or severe political instability, the Department of State often takes an active role in providing information and assistance to U.S. citizens in the affected area. Visit travel.state.gov for more information.
*Please note that STEP enrollment is NOT considered proof of U.S. citizenship. If you apply for any services from the Embassy or Consulate while abroad, you will be asked by the consular staff to provide proof of U.S. citizenship. (If you are seeking assistance because your passport has been lost or stolen, we will work with you to obtain alternative proof of citizenship and identification.)
How do I enroll?
If you are a frequent traveler, or if you want to have the ability to modify your travel information in the future, select “Create an Account” and enter the information requested.
To enroll a single trip only, select the “Enroll a trip?” option (first section on left) on the STEP homepage. (Please note that if you do not create an account, you will not have the ability to modify the information later.)
Why should I create an account?
Creating an account is quick and easy, and will allow you to log back in to modify your information later if needed. It will also allow you to enroll in future trips more quickly since you will not have to re-enter your name and contact information.
I’m traveling with my family. Does each person need to enroll separately?
If you are traveling with immediate family members (for example, your spouse, children, parents, or siblings) who will be together for the entire trip, one person can enroll the trip and then list the others in the “accompanying travelers” section.
If you are traveling with non-family companions (for example, a group of friends), you could also choose to enroll one person and list the others as “accompanying travelers.” However, we would encourage each adult traveler to enroll separately so that we have the most complete emergency contact information for each person. Travelers should also enroll separately if they will NOT be traveling together the entire time (e.g. different itineraries or arrival/departure dates).
How do I enroll a large group of travelers?
Select “Create Organization/Group Account” at the bottom of the homepage. After creating an account, you can quickly enroll a large group of travelers by uploading a spreadsheet of the travelers’ information.
It’s not working. How can I get technical assistance?
Click the “Contact Us” link at the bottom of the homepage.
Can I enroll if I’m a U.S. legal permanent resident (green card holder)?
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program is intended for U.S. citizens. Please contact the Embassy or Consulate of your country of citizenship for assistance. For U.S. legal permanent residents who will be traveling with U.S. citizen family members, we suggest you create the enrollment in the name of the citizen family member and then list the other travelers in the “Accompanying Travelers” section.
Where do I enroll in my trip to the USA?
The Smart Traveler Enrollment program is intended for U.S. citizens traveling or living abroad. If you are not a U.S. citizen but plan to visit the United States and would like to submit your information online to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to receive travel authorization under the Visa Waiver Program for visits to the U.S.A., please visit https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/esta.html.
How can I learn more about the country (or countries) where I will be traveling?
Visit travel.state.gov for detailed information about your destination country. Check out our Traveler’s Checklist for information that can help you prepare in advance for a safe and secure trip abroad.
What is the difference between a Travel Advisory and an Alert?
The State Department issues Travel Advisories for every country in the world. These advisories provide one of four standard levels of advice and provide clear actions for U.S. citizens to take. Alerts are messages that are sent by an embassy or consulate to inform U.S. citizens of specific safety and security concerns in a country, such as demonstrations, crime trends, and weather events.
Where can I find all Department of State Travel Advisories?
For a complete list, visit HERE for current Travel Advisories. You can also see a color-coded visual representation of Travel Advisory levels throughout the world by clicking on “View Larger Map” on any country page at travel.state.gov/destination
If I don’t enroll, but I need assistance while I am traveling, will the Embassy still help me?
Yes, of course. But we will not be able to proactively contact you if the Embassy or Consulate has important information about safety or security conditions in the area you are traveling. If there is a crisis or an emergency, it is much easier for us to assist travelers who have previously enrolled their trip information with us.
I already subscribed to receive Travel Advisories by email. Why do I *also* need to enroll my specific travel plans in STEP?
In addition to Travel Advisories, U.S. embassies and consulates often send out Alerts about emerging situations in a country. If you are in or planning to travel to a foreign country, Alerts can provide extremely useful local information that could affect your safety and security. You will only receive Alerts if you provide the details of your trip because they are tailored to your dates of travel and specific destination information.
I cannot see the Privacy Act Information and I am receiving an error message stating that I have not read and agreed to the Privacy Act Information. How can I fix this?
If you are using Internet Explorer 11, you need to enable your “Compatibility View” settings. To do so, please take the following steps:
- Open the Internet Explorer browser and navigate to the STEP website at https://step.state.gov/step/
- If the Internet browser menu is not displayed, press the ALT key to view the menu bar near the top of the browser
- Select “Compatibility View Settings” under the “Tools” menu bar
- Once the Compatibility View Settings modal window appears, please click the “Add” button
- Confirm that “state.gov” has been added to the “Websites you’ve added to Compatibility View” section and select the “Close” button to save your changes.
- Close all browser windows and reopen a new window to access the STEP website.