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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Preparing for Your Trip Abroad

Apply early for your passport and, if necessary, any visas: Passports are required to enter and/or depart most countries around the world. Apply for a passport as soon as possible. Some countries also require U.S. citizens to obtain visas before entering. Most countries require visitors who are planning to study or work abroad to obtain visas before entering. Check with the embassy of the foreign country that you are planning to visit for up-to-date visa and other entry requirements. (Passport and visa information is available on the Internet at .)

Learn about the countries that you plan to visit. Before departing, take the time to do some research about the people and their culture, and any problems that the country is experiencing that may affect your travel plans. The Department of State publishes Background Notes on about 170 countries. These brief, factual pamphlets contain information on each country''s culture, history, geography, economy, government, and current political situation. Background Notes are available at .

Read the Country Specific Information. Country Specific Information provide up-to-date travel information on any country in the world that you plan to visit. They cover topics such as entry regulations, the crime and security situation, drug penalties, road conditions, and the location of the U.S. embassy, consulates, and consular agencies.

Check for Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts. Travel Warnings recommend U.S. citizens defer travel to a country because of dangerous conditions. Travel Alerts provide fast-breaking information about relatively short-term conditions that may pose risks to the security of travelers.

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