LGBTQI+ Travelers

LGBTQI+ travelers can face special challenges abroad. Laws and attitudes in some countries may affect safety and ease of travel. Many countries do not recognize same-sex marriage. About 70 countries consider consensual same-sex relations a crime. In some of these countries, individuals who engage in same-sex sexual relations may face severe punishment.


Before You Travel

Research Your Destination

Visit our Traveler’s Checklist. Review the country information page for your destination(s). These pages contain information specific to LGBTQI+ travelers. Check for this in the “Local Laws & Special Circumstances” section. 

Information for Travelers with an X Gender Marker on their passport

  • U.S. citizens can select an X as their gender marker on their U.S. passport application. Information about X gender marker passports and changing your U.S. passport to an X gender marker can be found here.
  • Although the U.S. government issues passports with the X gender marker, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. Some countries do not recognize the X gender marker. In these countries, you may face entry restrictions. Check with the foreign embassy or consulate in the United States before you travel.

Pack Important Documents

Bring copies of important documents. This is especially helpful in countries whose laws 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. This is especially important if your children do not share your last name. It is also especially important if only one parent is traveling with the children.
  • Contact information for your family and/or attorney in the United States. This includes someone who has a copy of your itinerary.
  • Address and phone number of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Have it in English and the local language.

Consider Buying Insurance

Travel insurance can help you during emergencies. It can also help if you need medical evacuation. Some insurance companies have products specifically for LGBTQI+ travelers. Check that any insurance you buy will cover all family members who travel.

Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service. It is for U.S. citizens traveling to or living in a foreign country. 

  • We encourage all travelers to enroll in STEP.
  • Enter information about your upcoming time abroad. This lets us 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.
  • Note: More technological updates are needed for the X gender marker option to be available in STEP. But gender is not a required field on the enrollment form. We will continue the process of updating our systems to include the X gender marker. We appreciate your patience as we do this.

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 some countries, same-sex marriage and consensual same-sex relations are illegal. Some countries also ban public gatherings of or in support of LGBTQI+ communities. They may also ban sharing pro-LGBTQI+ material. For more details, read the country information page for your destination. See the “Local Laws & Special Circumstances” section.
  • Watch out for entrapment campaigns. Police in some countries watch websites and apps. They may also watch meeting places. Be careful about connecting with locals.
  • Be wary of new-found “friends.” Criminals may target or attempt to extort foreigners who are perceived to be LGBTQI+.
  • Some resorts or neighborhoods are welcoming to LGBTQI+ travelers. The broader community might have different attitudes. Be aware: attitudes in nearby areas may be much less accepting. Be aware when planning excursions outside of the resort or area.
  • In particular, LGBTQI+ youth might, in some countries, be subjected to dangerous practices like so-called “conversion therapy practices.” The use of so-called “Conversion Therapy Practices” can be common in certain countries abroad.
    • The term “Conversion Therapy Practices” includes discredited efforts to suppress or change an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression that research indicates can cause significant harm, including higher rates of suicide-related thoughts, and behaviors by LGBTQI+ youth and young adults. Please review the United Nations Human Rights Report for more information on this issue.
    • For information on conversion therapy practices in specific countries, please review the Human Rights report or country information page for that location.

Living Abroad with your Foreign National Spouse or Partner

  • Check the website of the foreign embassy or consulate in the United States. You can find out there whether same-sex relationships are legal. You can also find out about any special documentation required. This includes work authorization or a residence visa.  

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 have problems overseas. This is especially true if you feel you cannot approach local police. Or, if you have already had difficulties with them.

  • Consular officers will protect your privacy. They will not make generalizations. They will not make assumptions or pass judgment.
  • Tell them about any poor treatment or harassment you have experienced.
  • If the police arrest you, immediately request them to notify the U.S. Embassy.

Other useful links


The information above is provided for general information only and may not be applicable in a particular case. You should ask private legal counsel about interpreting specific U.S. or foreign laws.

This site is managed by the U.S. Department of State. External links to other Internet sites and listings of private entities on this page are provided as a convenience and should not be construed as the U.S. Department of State or U.S. government endorsement of the entity, its views, the products or services it provides, or the accuracy of information contained therein. The order in which links appear has no significance, and the listings or links may be removed at any time at the discretion of the Department.

Last Updated: May 3, 2024