Update on Post Pandemic Travel

We’ve just participated in a webinar with the US Department of State identifying what services a citizen can expect when international travel resumes. The two main takeaways were; preparation & personal responsibility.

First, foreign countries will most likely add the COVID vaccine to the list of vaccines one must have to enter, and require proof upon entry at Border Patrol. Be prepared to provide documentation for contact tracing and possible quarantines. Travelers should budget accordingly for added costs.

Second, the United States Department of State is limited in what embassies/consulates can and cannot do for a US citizen while abroad, which became a serious issue last spring for foreign service personnel and travelers all over the world. Keep in mind foreign service personnel are legally bound to maintain the privacy of a US citizen at all times. Register for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP,) the easiest way to get up to date information from the local embassy, and have your family at home register too. Resources like https://travel.state.gov, and https://www.ready.gov/ will aid in your planning exercises. Travelers should purchase travel insurance that contains security evacuation.

Lastly, re-entry into the US will bring about much greater scrutiny for citizens than what we were used to experiencing from US Border Patrol. Upon arrival, there may be layers of digital and in person scrutiny depending upon point of entry. US Border Patrol will want to know where you have been and what you have been doing-including any exposures. Be prepared for those expenses as you return to the US, including testing and possible quarantines.

Preparation and personal responsibility will be critical themes to making sure you have the appropriate means to navigate an emergency while abroad, and should include evacuation insurance. The State Department is clear that commercial flights are the best and most cost effective means of leaving a country once they have issued an evacuation warning. Many lessons were learned during the early days of the COVID pandemic, and changes have been implemented as a result.

If you would like more information, do contact the Office of Study Abroad so we can help you plan accordingly.

The United State Department of State…

…CAN assist a US Citizen overseas …CANNOT assist a US citizen overseas
  • Provide information & resources
  • Provide in-country transport
  • Emergency assistance (USDS definition of what is an emergency may differ from your definition)
  • Protect your person
  • Financial assistance in the form of high-interest loans
  •   Pay your bills