Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

What Is the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program?

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program is a service that allows travelers to register their trip with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service offered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs to U.S. citizens and nationals traveling out of the country.

The program provides enrollees with important safety and security information and updates from the Embassy about safety conditions in their destination country. It also helps the U.S. embassy, friends, and family contact enrollees in case of an emergency, such as natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.

Key Takeaways

  • The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program is a free service offered by the U.S. State Department for people planning a trip abroad.
  • Travelers can register their trip with whichever U.S. embassy or consulate is nearest to their travel destination.
  • The program provides travelers with updates about any safety or security issues in the country or region that they are planning to visit.

How the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program Works

Infrequent travelers can enroll a single trip on the STEP homepage by clicking the “TRAVELING? Enroll a trip” option. Those who travel often can create an account by clicking the “FREQUENT TRAVELER? Create an account” option. An account allows travelers to quickly modify their travel information and enroll in additional trips in the future. A large group of travelers can be enrolled by selecting the “Create Organization/Group Account” option at the bottom of the homepage.

Travel Warnings and Alerts

All travelers can access the travel warnings and alerts issued by the U.S. Department of State. Travelers to any destination should check for notices before leaving the country and while abroad, if possible. Travelers do not have to enroll in the STEP program to get assistance while abroad; however, the U.S. Department of State advises that it is unable to proactively contact travelers who are not enrolled if its embassy or consulate has important information about local safety or security conditions.

In addition to these travel warnings and alerts, U.S. embassies and consulates may send out specific messages that include safety, security, and practical information for that locale; however, only travelers who are enrolled in STEP will receive these messages.

Travel warnings are used to recommend postponing travel due to ongoing civil unrest, dangerous conditions, or terrorist activity—or in situations where the U.S. has no diplomatic relations with a country, which could make it difficult to provide assistance to U.S. citizens. Travel alerts are issued for short-term, abrupt events that could pose risks to travelers and affect their plans. Examples include strikes, demonstrations, or confirmation of an elevated risk of terrorist attacks.

Travel Advisories

As a first step in planning any trip abroad, check the Travel Advisories for your intended destination. You can see the world on this color-coded map.

Note that conditions can change rapidly in a country at any time. To receive updated Travel Advisories and Alerts, choose the method that works best for you at travel.state.gov/stayingconnected.

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  1. U.S. Department of State. "Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)." Accessed Feb. 11, 2021.