International Travel Issues for Americans
Find helpful resources for Americans before traveling outside of the U.S., including how to exchange money, get visas for certain countries, and sign-up for government travel programs and safety alerts. Learn how to apply for an international driver's permit.
COVID-19 International Travel Advisories
COVID-19 international travel rules change frequently. Check with the Department of State for travel advisories and get recommendations from the CDC before making any international travel plans to or from the U.S.
COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine Rules for Everyone Entering the U.S.
Whether you are entering the U.S. by air, land, or sea:
U.S. Citizens Traveling to a Country Outside the U.S.
For country-specific COVID-19 travel rules including testing and quarantine, check the embassy's website.
See the CDC's COVID-19 guidance for international travel including:
Passport Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Find the most up-to-date information from the Department of State about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting passport services. This includes in-person appointments and how much time to allow for receiving a new or updating an existing passport.
Visas for U.S. Citizens Traveling Abroad
U.S. citizens may need a visa to enter a foreign country. Before traveling to another country, contact its embassy or consulate as far in advance as possible to find out:
- Whether you must apply for a visa to visit the country, and when.
- If the country has any other requirements you must meet before you can enter.
Find additional information in the U.S. Department of State's information document for the country.
Trusted Traveler Programs
The Trusted Traveler Program helps you enter or exit the United States from international travel. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offers several options based on how you are traveling between the U.S. and other countries and how often you travel outside the U.S.
- TSA PreCheck - for departure from U.S. airports
- Global Entry - entry to the U.S. from other countries
- Nexus - entry to the U.S. from Canada
- Sentri - entry to the U.S. from Mexico
- FAST - entry and exiting the U.S. from Mexico and Canada. Applies to commercial drivers only.
Use DHS's online tools to compare the programs or start your application.
Citizenship Requirements for Trusted Travel Programs
U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents can apply for the Trusted Traveler programs. People with other residency status can apply for some of the programs:
Citizens of the countries on this list may also apply for Global Entry.
Nexus and FAST
Citizens and permanent residents of Canada are eligible for Nexus. Mexican nationals are also eligible.
All foreign nationals can apply for Sentri.
Americans Driving Outside the United States
When visiting another country:
- You may need an International Driving Permit (IDP) or similar document in addition to your license to legally drive.
- Your American driver's license is good in the U.S. and Canada. For all other countries, check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are planning to visit.
- If you are planning to rent a car, contact the rental car company to learn about local driving and auto insurance requirements.
Get an International Driving Permit (IDP):
Note: The AAA also offers an Inter-American Driving Permit required in Brazil, Uruguay, and other countries in the Western Hemisphere.
Emergency Help for Americans Abroad
If you’re a U.S. citizen abroad or a relative of an American citizen needing help abroad, contact the closest U.S. Embassy for assistance. You can also visit "Get Help in an Emergency" on the Department of State (DOS) website.
Learn How the Department of State Can Help in an Emergency
Embassies can help with:
Learn more about the forms of assistance the Department of State (DOS) can and can't provide U.S. Citizens in a foreign crisis.
Find Help Getting Money in an Emergency Abroad
The Department of State can assist you in an emergency if you need money transferred or wired. If you have no other way to get money, you may be able to get a temporary loan through the DOS or a U.S. Embassy or consulate.
Note: If you get a loan through DOS or a U.S. Embassy or consulate, you must repay it. You can repay your loan online using Pay.gov. Call 1-800-521-2116 from the U.S. or 843-746-0592 from abroad if you have any questions.
Stay Safe When Traveling Abroad
To keep safe when traveling abroad:
Travel to U.S. Territories or Freely Associated States
If you are a U.S. Citizen traveling to and from:
- Guam - Bring your American passport, but on a case-by-case basis, photo I.D. and proof of citizenship may be accepted.
- American Samoa - You need an American passport.
- Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands - Does not require an American passport.
- U.S. Virgin Islands - Does not require an American passport if coming from the U.S. mainland or from Puerto Rico.
- Puerto Rico - Does not require an American passport if coming from within the U.S.
Non-U.S. Citizens have to present a valid passport or other valid travel documents.
Freely Associated States
Countries that used to be administered by the United States are considered "Freely Associated States." They are considered foreign countries and U.S. citizens will need passports to travel there:
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Last Updated: June 13, 2022