College of Undergraduate Studies

Travel Safety and Emergencies

Students traveling abroad will be asked to enroll in STEP (The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program), a free service which allows U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip/study abroad with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Students will be asked to enroll in the program prior to their departure to overseas countries.

Through the STEP program, students will receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in their destination country, helping them make informed decisions about their travel plans.

The STEP program will also help the U.S. Embassy contact students in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency. It will also help family and friends get in touch with students in an emergency.

The assistance offered by the State Department depends upon the nature of the crisis. Regularly scheduled commercial flights or transportation are always the best option when local communications and transportation infrastructure are intact and operating normally, even if all U.S. citizens have been advised to leave. The State Department’s efforts are devoted to keeping the local U.S. citizen community informed of developments and travel options.

What happens during an evacuation?

Each evacuation depends on the nature of the crisis. In extreme situations, where local infrastructure is damaged or severely compromised, the State Department works with the host government, other countries, and other U.S. government agencies to arrange chartered or non-commercial transportation for U.S. citizens seeking to depart. This could include transportation by air, land, or sea. While members of the State Department partner closely with the Department of Defense, military options are only used as a last resort. Students abroad should not expect the U.S. military to assist them when a Travel Warning has been issued.

How can I receive updated information during a crisis?

Students who plan to be overseas for a significant amount of time are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). It is important that students abroad keep their contact information up-to-date so that they or their designated emergency contacts can be notified of developments and provided with valuable information.

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