Before visiting a foreign country, you should ensure that all your travel concerns are addressed. The State Department can help answer questions about traveling abroad.
If you would like my help with State Department issue, begin by printing and filling out a privacy authorization form and then fax or mail it to one of my offices listed below.
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620 South Taylor Street, Suite 200
T (806) 371-8844 F (806) 371-7044
Office Hours: 8:30 to 5:30 (CST)
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T (940) 692-1700 F (940) 692-0539
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Foreign Travel Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I will be traveling abroad soon. How do I find vaccination requirements for my destination country?
A: The only vaccine required by International Health Regulations is yellow fever vaccination for travel to certain countries in sub-Saharan Africa and tropical South America. Meningococcal vaccination is required by the government of Saudi Arabia for annual travel during the Hajj.
Use the Health Information for International Travel information below to determine if you will need a yellow fever certificate, and find a clinic that can give the vaccination and issue the certificate.
See Saudi Arabia Hajj Requirements, and Meningococcal Disease in Health Information for International Travel.
You can visit the State Department's vaccination page by clicking here to find more specific vaccination information for your destination country.
Ideally, you should set a vaccination appointment up 4 to 6 weeks before your trip. Most vaccines take time to become effective in your body and some vaccines must be given in a series over a period of days or sometimes weeks. If it is less than 4 weeks before you leave, you should still see your doctor. You might still benefit from shots or medications and other information about how to protect yourself from illness and injury while traveling.
Q: I am making plans to travel abroad soon. How do I find out about any traveling warnings for the country or region I am going to visit?
A: Visit the State Department's destination page to find more information about travel warnings and other travel notices for your destination country or region.
Q: What should I do if I become ill or injured while traveling abroad?
A: Below is some helpful information from the State Department. You can find more information like this by clicking here.
Before going abroad, you should become familiar with what steps to take and who to contact in case of a medical emergency while you are traveling. The following information will assist you.
See the information in Your Survival Guide to Safe and Healthy Travel.
Below are some helpful foreign travel tips directly from the State Department's website. You can find more tips by clicking here.
For detailed information about steps you can take to ensure a safe trip, see How to Have a Safe Trip. Meanwhile, here are some quick tips to make your travel easier and safer:
- Sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so the State Department can better assist you in an emergency: Let the State Department know your travel plans through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, a free online service at https://travelregistration.state.gov. This will help them contact you if there is a family emergency in the U.S., or if there is a crisis where you are traveling. In accordance with the Privacy Act, information on your welfare and whereabouts will not be released to others without your express authorization.
- Sign passport, and fill in the emergency information: Make sure you have a signed, valid passport, and a visa, if required, and fill in the emergency information page of your passport.
- Leave copies of itinerary and passport data page: Leave copies of your itinerary, passport data page and visas with family or friends, so you can be contacted in case of an emergency.
- Check your overseas medical insurance coverage: Ask your medical insurance company if your policy applies overseas, and if it covers emergency expenses such as medical evacuation. If it does not, consider supplemental insurance.
- Familiarize yourself with local conditions and laws: While in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws. The State Department web site at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1765.html has useful safety and other information about the countries you will visit.
- Take precautions to avoid being a target of crime: To avoid being a target of crime, do not wear conspicuous clothing or jewelry and do not carry excessive amounts of money. Also, do not leave unattended luggage in public areas and do not accept packages from strangers.
- Contact us in an emergency: Consular personnel at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad and in the U.S. are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide emergency assistance to U.S. citizens. Contact information for U.S. Embassies and Consulates appears on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website. Also note that the Office of Overseas Citizen Services in the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs may be reached for assistance with emergencies at 1-888-407-4747, if calling from the U.S. or Canada, or 202-501-4444, if calling from overseas.