In the spirit of Buffalo’s recent extreme weather conditions, we’d like to provide information about a special program offered through the Department of State (DOS) that warns travelers about potentially dangerous conditions in their upcoming travel destinations, among other things.
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service that allows U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. After signing up, users automatically receive the most current information that the DOS has compiled about the countries in which they will be traveling or living. Users can add and delete trips from their accounts as their travel plans change.
STEP also issues updates, travel warnings and alerts about travel destinations as they arise. These notifications involve everything from security issues, like terrorism and civil unrest, to natural disasters, like typhoons and earthquakes. STEP also facilitates users in the case of an emergency, such as loss or theft of a passport while traveling abroad. If an urgent family matter arises while a user is abroad, STEP can also help with that. During any of these crises, the travel and contact information you enter into your STEP account will make it easier for consular officers in U.S. embassies and consulates around the world to contact you and your loved ones during an emergency. This even includes situations where your family or friends in the U.S. are having problems trying to contact you with important news.
In dangerous situations, STEP helps U.S. citizens and nationals to reach safety as quickly as possible. For example, after the earthquake in Haiti, STEP helped the DOS evacuate over 16,700 U.S. citizens and family members. During the civil unrest in Lebanon in 2006, it also assisted nearly 15,000 U.S. citizens and family members.
If you would like to sign up for STEP, please click here.
Berardi Immigration Law is glad to answer any questions you may have about this program or about the conditions in your upcoming travel destinations. Please call or email our office today.