Wednesday, April 19, 2017

STEP Program for Overseas Travelers

One of the joys of retirement is the ability to travel virtually anytime you want. You are no longer tied down by your job's allowable vacation schedule or your children's school holidays. You can even move to another country, if you choose. However, when traveling overseas, it's not smart to simply throw caution to the wind.

Make sure you take full advantage of the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), as well as their other services.

Emergency Help from the U.S. State Department

Enrolling in the STEP program will give you the latest security updates. It will also make it easier for the local U.S. embassy or consulate to contact you if there is an emergency. You can either use the internet to enroll at https://step.state.gov/step/ or you can go to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate and enroll there.

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service which allows U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to register their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. 

According to the STEP website, the program can help you:
  • Receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans.
  • Help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.
  • Help family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.
Other State Department Services which Help Foreign Travelers

In addition to signing up for the STEP program, you should regularly check the State Department's website.  It is different from STEP.  Instead of waiting for them to contact you, it is a site where you can check out the current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Worldwide Cautions.  This could help you decide on the best or worst travel destinations before you make your reservations.  If you are planning to retire overseas, it could also help you decide which countries and areas within the countries are best for American expatriots.

One helpful page on the State Department's website is the State Department Travel page.  You can get information about passports and other travel related information there.

If you are planning to move to another country, you can contact the local consulate or embassy for information on a wide variety of services available to U.S. citizens, including passport renewal, obtaining federal benefits overseas (such as receiving your Social Security benefits in another country), transmission of citizenship to your children, documenting their birth overseas as U.S. citizens, and obtaining visas. 

Whether you are planning to spend time in another country for a week or live overseas for decades, it is important that you take full advantage of all the services available from the U.S. State Department, as well as our embassies and consulates around the world.

If you are interested in more information about traveling overseas, moving to another country, where to retire, financial planning or common medical issues, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional topics.

If you are beginning to plan your retirement, watch for my book, Retirement Awareness, which will be available in the Fall of 2017 from Griffin Publishing and Watering Seeds.

You are reading from the blog:  http://www.baby-boomer-retirement.com

Photo credit:  morguefile.com

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