Getting Ready to Move Overseas
|Moving overseas can be one of the most exciting times
you will experience. The opportunities to learn and be
exposed to new cultures and languages can only broaden
your life in a positive way. Here are some general guidelines
about preparing yourself for your upcoming international
Before you Move
|Learn as much as possible about the country where you
plan to live. Read about the nation's culture, customs,
people, and history to make your stay more comfortable
and meaningful. One of the best ways to learn about living
in a foreign country is to get advice from U.S. citizens
already living there. the Consular Section of the U.S.
Embassy or consulate may e able to assist you in finding
organizations or clubs of U.S. expatriates that could
give you information.
Consular Information Program
|the U.S. Department of State
issues fact sheets on every country in the world called
Consular Information Sheets. the sheets contain information
on crime and security conditions, areas of instability
and other details relevant to travel in a particular country.
the Department of state also issues Travel Warnings
and Public Announcements. Travel Warnings are issued
when the State Department recommends deferral of travel
by Americans to a country because of civil unrest, dangerous
conditions, terrorist activity and/or because the U.S.
has no diplomatic relations with the country and cannot
assist an American in distress. Public Announcements
are issued as a means to disseminate information quickly
about terrorist threats and other relatively short-term
and/or transnational condition that would pose significant
risks to American travelers.
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To Access Consular Information Sheets, Travel Warnings
and Public Announcements:
By Phone or Mail:
Consular Information Sheets, Travel Warnings and Public
Announcements may be heard any time by dialing the Office
of Overseas Citizens Services at (202) 647-5225 from
a touchtone phone. the recording is updated as new information
becomes available. they are also available at any of
the 13 regional passport agencies, and U.S. embassies
and consulates abroad, or, by sending a self-addresses,
stamped envelope and indicating the desired country
to the Office of Overseas Citizens Services, Bureau
of Consular Affairs, Room 4811, U.S. Department of State,
Washington, D.C. 20520-4818.
From your fax machine, dial (202) 647-3000, using the
handset as you would a regular telephone. the system
prompts you on how to proceed.
Information about travel and consular services is not
http://travel.state.gov. Visitors to this website
will find Travel Warnings, Public Announcements and
Consular Information Sheets, passport and visa information,
travel publications, background on international adoption
and international child abduction services, international
legal assistance, and the consular Affairs mission statement.
Tips for Travelers Series
|the Department of State publishes
a series of pamphlets on travel to specific regions of
the world. the brochures cover topics such as currency
and customs regulations, import and export controls, dual
nationality, and photography restrictions. the following
publications are available for $1 - $1.50 each from the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing
Office (GPO), Washington, D.C. 20402. (Availability and
prices are subject to change without notice. Please check
with the GPO before ordering at (202) 512-1800.)
- Tips for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa
- Tips for Travelers to the Caribbean
- Tips for Travelers to Canada
- Tips for Travelers to Central and South America
- Tips for Travelers to the People's Republic of China
- Tips for Travelers to Mexico
- Tips for Travelers to the Middle East and North
- Tips for Travelers to Russia and the Newly Independent
- Tips for Travelers to South Asia
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Applying in Person:
In the United States, application for a U.S. passport
may be presented in person at a passport agency or at
one of the several thousand Federal or state courts
or post offices that accept passport applications. If
you are overseas, you may apply at the nearest U.S.
embassy or consulate.
If you do not meet the requirements for applying by
mail (see below), you must appear in person and need
to bring proof of U.S. citizenship such as a certified
copy of your birth certificate, a Consular Report of
Birth Abroad of a U.S. citizen, a Certificate of Naturalization,
or a previous U.S. passport. this should be accompanied
by a completed DSP-11, Passport Application, two recent
2 x 2 inch identical photographs, proof of identity
(a valid driver's license or other valid photo ID will
suffice), and the appropriate application fee (on application).
Passports by Mail:
You can apply for a passport by mail (without a personal
appearance) if you meet the following requirements:
- You have had a passport issued within 12 years prior
to the date of a new application;
- You are able to submit your most recent U.S. passport
with your new application; and
- Your previous passport was issued on or after your
For further information and to obtain Form DSP-82,
Application for Passport by Mail, contact the nearest
U.S. passport agency or, if you are overseas, consult
the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Not all embassies
and consulates abroad are authorized to accept passport
applications by mail or via a third party courier. Contact
the U.S. embassy or consulate in your consular district
to find out if it accepts passport applications by mail
or via a third party courier.
|All governments require foreigners
to have an appropriate visa to reside in their country.
this endorsement or stamp placed in your passport by a
foreign government permits you to enter that country for
a specified purpose. If you are planning to reside in
a country for an indefinite period of time, most countries
will require you to seek residence status.
Applying for a Visa
In most cases, you must obtain the necessary visa before
you leave the United States. Apply for your visa directly
from the embassy or nearest consulate of the country
in which you plan to reside. A listing of foreign embassies
and consulates in the U.S. should be available at your
local library or by ordering the publication Foreign
Consular Offices in the United States from the U.S.
Government Printing Office. You can write or call them
at Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing
Office, Washington, D.C. 20402; telephone (202) 512-1800
to check pricing and stock information.
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|A work permit is usually required and is a separate
document from your visa or residency permit. It is necessary
if you plan on working in a foreign country. It may be
obtained either before you leave the U.S. or after you
arrive in the foreign country, depending on the laws of
the particular country. It is usually applied for at the
same time as the residency permit or visa.
|You might need documents other than a passport or visa
to enter the host country. the consulate for the country
to which you are moving can tell you the documents that
are required. As soon as you know when and where you are
moving, contact this person to obtain these documents.
It can sometimes take months to process these documents;
so the sooner you get them, the better.
|Many countries do not recognize a U.S. driver's license.
Some, however, will accept an international driver's permit,
but it would be a good idea to qualify for an in-country
driver's license as soon as possible. International driver's
permits are not always valid in every country for the
length of your stay. It is usually only a matter of courtesy
that the holder of the permit is allowed to drive with
it for any length of time.
|the pamphlet Know Before You Go contains information
about U.S. Customs regulations and procedures. Single
copies are available for any U.S. Customs office abroad
or by writing to U.S. Customs, P.O. Box 7407, Washington,
Registration at U.S. Embassies or Consulates
|As soon as you arrive at your permanent residence abroad,
you should register in person or by telephone with the
nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Registration will make
your presence and whereabouts known in case it is necessary
to contact you in an emergency. In accordance with the
Privacy Act, information on your welfare or whereabouts
may not be released to inquirers without your expressed
written authorization. If you register in person, you
should bring your U.S. passport with you. Your passport
data will be recorded at the embassy or consulate, thereby
making it easier for you to apply for a replacement passport
should it be lost or stolen.
Under the International Health Regulations adopted
by the World Health Organization, some countries require
International Certificates of Vaccination against yellow
fever from international travelers. A few countries
still require a certificate of cholera immunization
as well. A helpful guide to immunizations and preventive
measures for international travel is the booklet, Health
Information for International Travel. It is available
for $14 from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government
Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402. Specific information
may also be obtained form local and state health departments,
physicians, or travel clinics that advise international
travelers. You may also reach the Centers for Disease
Control & Prevention on (404) 332-4559 or via their
Internet address at
http://www.cdc.gov for immunization recommendations.
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