LGBTI Travel Information
Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people and families travel safely each year without problems. However, laws and attitudes of some countries may affect LGBTI travelers. Tolerance and legal protections vary from country to country. Some countries may not legally recognize same-sex marriage. More than seventy-five countries consider consensual same-sex sexual relations a crime, sometimes carrying severe punishment.
Before You Travel
Research Your Destination
- Read important country information on travel.state.gov and the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate where you will be traveling.
- Find information specific to LGBTI travelers in the Special Laws & Circumstances section and HIV/AIDS entry restrictions in the Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements section.
- Some hotels, especially in rural areas, will not accept bookings from same-sex couples. Check before you go.
Update Your Passport
- To change your name, see Change or Correct your Passport.
- To update the gender marker on your passport, see the Gender Transition Applicants page.
- If you were born abroad, follow the instructions on how to Replace or Amend a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) to update gender marker.
Pack Important Documents
LGBTI travelers should take copies of important documents, especially when traveling in countries where legal rights differ from those in the United States:
- Legal and health documents (such as a living will or health care directive)
- Parentage and/or custody documents for accompanying minor children (especially if your children do not share your last name).
- Contact information for your family and lawyer in the United States, including someone who has a copy of your itinerary.
- Special documentation required by your destination country. Check the website of the foreign embassy or consulate in the United States.
- Address and phone number of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, in English and the local language.
Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service for U.S. citizens traveling to, or living in, a foreign country.
- Enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that we can send you current Travel Warnings, Alerts, and emergency messages.
- In case of emergency, include an email address or phone number where we can reach you when traveling.
While You Are There
Here are some pointers for staying safe while abroad:
- Remember you are subject to the laws and the justice system where you travel.
- Be cautious of potentially risky situations. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do at home.
- Avoid excessive physical displays of affection in public, especially in more conservative countries or regions.
- Watch out for entrapment campaigns. Police in some countries monitor websites, mobile apps, or meeting places, so be cautious connecting with the local community.
- Be wary of new-found “friends.” Criminals sometimes exploit the generally open and relaxed nature of the LGBTI scene.
- Some resorts or LGBTI neighborhoods can be quite segregated. Be aware that local residents may not approve of expressions of sexuality when you are in surrounding areas.
- You are more likely to experience difficulties in rural areas, so be discreet.
If You Need Help, Contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate
The nearest U.S. embassy or consulate may be able to help if you run into problems overseas, especially if you feel you cannot approach local police or have had difficulties already.
- Consular officers will protect your privacy and will not make generalizations, assumptions, or pass judgment.
- Let them know about any inappropriate treatment or harassment you experience.
Living Abroad with your Foreign National Spouse or Partner
- Check the website of the foreign embassy or consulate in the United States to learn about any special documentation requirements, such as work authorization or a residence visa.
Obtaining a U.S. Visa for your Foreign National Spouse or Fiancé
- For information about visas for same-sex spouses or fiancés, visit our Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) FAQ page.
- For information on filing an immigration petition for your same-sex spouse or fiancé, visit U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s Same-Sex Marriage page.
Adopting Children Overseas
- If you plan on traveling overseas to adopt, be aware that some foreign countries do not permit LGBTI individuals or same-sex couples to adopt. See Adoption by an LGBTI Parent.
Registering the Birth of your Child Born Abroad
- If your child was born abroad, he or she may be eligible for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad. Learn more about eligibility requirements and application procedures.
- Keep in mind important legal considerations for children born abroad conceived through Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART).
- Laws about the use of surrogacy and ART for LGBTI individuals and same-sex couples vary by country and can change on short notice. Some same-sex parents using a surrogate abroad had difficulties bringing their baby home after changes in local surrogacy laws.
Other useful links
- State Department LGBT Human Rights Issues Fact Sheet
- White House LGBT Fact Sheet
- Humanrights.gov LGBTI Issues Newsfeed
- Traveler’s Checklist
- IGLTA, the International Gay/Lesbian Travel Association
- International Lesbian and Gay Association
The U.S. Department of State assumes no responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the private organizations whose links appear above. The inclusion of the websites above on travel.state.gov does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of the U.S. Department of State. Additionally, the Department of State has not verified the veracity of information included on those website nor is the Department of State involved in updating the information on websites maintained by private groups or organizations.
Learn About Your Destination
Check your overseas medical insurance coverage: Ask your medical insurance company if your policy applies overseas, and if it covers emergency expenses such as medical evacuation. If it does not, consider supplemental insurance.