Faith-based travel includes a wide variety of activities -- from pilgrimages to service projects, from missionary work to cruises. Millions of U.S. citizens participate safely in some type of religious travel every year. However, U.S. faith-based travelers in some destinations encounter challenging conditions –- including poor medical facilities, high rates of violent crime, and risk of terrorism -- and in some countries it is a crime to conduct religious activities. You need to know the laws and conditions in the places you will be living and traveling.
Visit our Traveler’s Checklist and review our country information pages for details on visa requirements and to learn about local laws. Enroll in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive safety information about your destination.
Additional Resources for faith-based travelers:
Here are a few things to consider when researching a sponsoring organization:
Remember, you are subject to the laws and the justice system of the countries you are visiting.
Many countries have laws that restrict religious expression. These may include restrictions on:
These laws may be applied more or less severely to foreign visitors, so be sure to research the local laws and customs of your destination country.
When possible, coordinate with members of the faith community in your destination country, to make sure planned activities are culturally and legally appropriate.
If you run into problems while overseas, contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
Always carry the address and phone number with you, in English and the local language. Consular officers in the American Citizens Services office may be able to help if you run into problems overseas, especially if you feel you cannot approach local police, or if you need help communicating with local authorities. Consular officers will protect your privacy and will not make generalizations, assumptions, or pass judgment.