LGBTI Travelers

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) travelers can 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. 

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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). 

Update Your Passport

Some transgender travelers have reported difficulties entering a country on a passport bearing a name and photo that no longer correspond to their gender identity. 

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 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 Program

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 time abroad so that we can send you current Travel Advisories and Alerts. 
  • In case of emergency, include an email address or phone number where we can reach you when traveling.
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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.
  • 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 generalizationsassumptions, 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.
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Other Issues

Living Abroad with your Foreign National Spouse or Partner

Obtaining a U.S. Visa for your Foreign National Spouse or Fiancé

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 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.
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Other useful links

Disclaimer

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.

Last Updated: June 11, 2018