Important Papers

The U.S. Government provides tips on what you should do before traveling overseas. The following is excerpted from DEPARTMENT OF STATE PUBLICATION 10217: Security Awareness Overseas, An Overview [Bureau of Diplomatic Security - United States Department of State Overseas Security Advisory Council].

For more travel safety tips check out the links on the right.

Have a safe trip!!

Preparing To Travel

Have Your Affairs in Order

Many hostages have expressed regret that their affairs were not left in better order for their families. An evacuation, illness, or death can often place a family in a similar situation. Three actions, taken before you depart, will alleviate this potential problem:
  • Discuss and plan with your family what should be done in the case of any emergency separation. All adult family members should be aware of these plans.
  • Supply family and close friends with the emergency notification numbers found on page 4. They serve both to notify you while you are overseas in the event of an illness or death in your family in the United States and to provide your family in the U.S. with information about you in case of a crisis abroad.
  • See that all important papers are up-to-date. List papers and leave originals with a family member or attorney in the United States. Carry only copies to your overseas assignment. Safe deposit boxes and bank accounts are very useful but may be sealed on the death of an owner. Therefore, make sure your representative has joint right of access.
Important Papers

Your collection of important papers might include:
  • Will
  • Birth and marriage certificates
  • Guardianship or adoption papers for children
  • Power of attorney for spouse or relative
  • Naturalization papers
  • Deeds, mortgages, stocks and bonds, car titles
  • Insurance papers-car, home, life, personal effects, medical
  • Tax records
  • Proof of termination of previous marriage(s)
  • Child support/alimony agreements
  • Proof of membership in any organization or union that entitles the estate to any benefits Useful Information An information list might include:
  • Bank account numbers and addresses
  • Passport numbers
  • Duplicate passport pictures in case passport needs to be replaced due to loss
  • U.S. and local driver's license numbers
  • Insurance policy numbers and names of carriers
  • Social Security numbers
  • Credit card numbers
  • Travelers check numbers and issuing bank
  • Medical and dental information, distinguishing marks and scars, and medicine and eyeglass prescriptions
  • Assets and debts
  • Names and addresses of business and professional contacts
  • Updated inventory of household and personal possessions with pictures/videos
  • Employment records for each family member; resumes, references, commendations
  • Personal address list
  • Fingerprints, current photos/videos, voice recording, known handwriting samples of family members
Emergency Notification
While abroad, you may need to be notified of an emergency involving someone in the United States. And during a political, social, or natural crisis abroad, your family in the United States will be anxious to get news of you.
The appropriate telephone numbers below should be given to your family for such purposes.
  • U.S. Embassy/Consulate
    (Day) (Night)
  • U.S. Corporate HQ
    (Day) (Night)
  • Corporate Security
  • Local Legal Counsel
  • Local Police
  • Airline(s)
  • Red Cross
  • Department of State
  • Host Country Embassy, Washington, D.C.
  • Local Company Office
  • Residence
  • International Operator
  • Relatives
    Before initiating calls, the caller in the United States should have the following information available:
  • Your name, company, and current location
  • Name and relationship of family member
  • In case of death-date of death
  • In case of illness-name, address, and telephone number of attending physician or hospital
Miscellaneous Tips

The corporate traveler should also consider the following, which will assist and possibly protect him/her during the actual journey:
  • Obtain International Driving Permit.
  • Prepare a wallet card identifying your blood type, known allergies, required medications, insurance company, and name of person to contact in case of emergency.
  • Remove from wallet all credit cards and other items not necessary for trip.
  • Remove unessential papers, such as reserve, military, or humorous cards, e.g., "Honorary Sheriff."
  • Put a plain cover on your passport (covers available in stationery stores);
  • Use hard, lockable luggage.
  • Be sure luggage tags contain your name, phone number, and full street address; that information is concealed from casual observation; and that company logos are not displayed on luggage.
  • Inform family member or friend of specific travel plans.
  • Give your office a complete itinerary. Be sure to notify the local company manager of your travel plans.
  • Obtain the name(s), address(es), and telephone numbers of your local office(s).
  • Obtain small amount of local currency if possible.
  • Be aware of airline safety records when booking vacation trips while overseas; do not include company name in reservation.
  • When possible, mail personal papers to yourself at the local overseas office.
  • If you do not speak the local language have the name and address of each place you may want to go to placed on a 3 x 5 card in that language, which you can show to taxi drivers if they do not understand English.
Stay informed! Check for any travel advisories pertinent to countries you plan to visit. Call the Department of State's Citizens Emergency Center (see page 35), or your company's Corporate Security Department.

[Source: The United States State Department]

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