LGBTI Travel Information
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) travelers face unique challenges when traveling abroad. Laws and attitudes in some countries may affect safety and ease of travel. Legal protections vary from country to country. Many countries do not legally recognize same-sex marriage. More than seventy countries consider consensual same-sex sexual relations a crime, sometimes carrying severe punishment.
Before You Travel
Research Your Destination
Visit our Traveler’s Checklist. Review our country information pages for information specific to LGBTI travelers (under Special Laws & Circumstances) and HIV/AIDS entry restrictions (under Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements).
Update Your Passport
Some travelers have reported difficulties entering a country on a passport bearing a name and photo that no longer corresponds to their gender presentation.
- To change your name only, see Change or Correct a Passport.
- To update the gender designation on your passport, see the Gender Designation Change 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/or lawyer in the United States, including someone who has a copy of your itinerary.
- Address and phone number of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, in English and the local language.
Consider buying travel insurance
Travel insurance can cover your costs during emergencies, including in cases where medical evacuation may be required. Some insurance companies have products specifically tailored to LGBTI travelers. Verify that any insurance you purchase will cover all traveling family members.
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 of the country where you travel. In many countries, consensual same-sex sexual activity, public gathering, or dissemination of pro-LGBTI material may be illegal. Read the country information for your destination for more details.
- 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 may target or attempt to extort LGBTI foreigners.
- Some resorts or LGBTI neighborhoods can be quite segregated. Be aware attitudes in surrounding areas can be much less accepting.
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.
- If you are arrested, immediately ask the police to notify the U.S. Embassy.
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 Post-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 Marriages 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 Resources for LGBTI Adoption.
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) and surrogacy.
- Laws about the use of surrogacy and ART for LGBTI individuals and same-sex couples vary by country. Some same-sex parents using a surrogate abroad have had difficulties bringing their baby home after changes in local surrogacy laws.
Other useful links
- TSA Transgender Passenger information
- The Global Database on HIV-related travel and residence restrictions.
- Traveler’s Checklist
- IGLTA, the International Gay/Lesbian Travel Association
- International Lesbian and Gay Association
- Equaldex collaborative LGBT knowledge base.
- The Trevor Project is a private organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTI young people ages 13-24.
- National Center for Transgender Equality travel page.
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 websites 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.