Preparations for international travel
International travel doesn’t have to be tricky – just make sure your travel documents and required paperwork are in order. When you travel internationally, you’re responsible to make sure you have the correct documents to enter and pass through any countries during your trip, and then make your way back home.
- Everyone traveling, regardless of age, needs their own set of travel documents.
- Always use the information exactly as it appears on your passport (to book and fill out any documents).
- Check with the consulate of every country you’re entering (or passing through) to make sure you meet all travel requirements.
- Some countries require proof of return or onward travel, a visiting address and sufficient funds for your stay.
Travel requirements and documents
Make sure to check entry requirements with the consulate of the countries you plan to visit before you travel. You’re responsible for bringing the correct documents for international travel. If you don’t have the required documentation and identification, you will not be allowed to board the plane and would be responsible for any resulting costs.
A passport is required for all international travel. If you're traveling anywhere overseas, you need a passport to board an international flight and to enter the country. Passport cards will not be accepted as form of I.D. for international air travel.
Passports must be:
- Valid for at least 6 months after the date you enter a foreign country.
- Kept in good condition, free of any damage beyond normal wear and tear, and material alterations. You may be denied boarding if you travel with a passport that appears damaged or altered.
U.S. citizens can use any government-issued form of identification to travel between the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Visa and Visa Waiver Program
In addition to a passport, some countries require a visa to enter. If you’re traveling to the U.S. for a stay less than 90 days, the Department of Homeland Security requires eligible travelers to use the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), as part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). You must submit your application no later than 72 hours before departing for the U.S., but we suggest you apply for authorization when you start planning your trip. You will be denied boarding if you arrive at the airport without an approved ESTA.
An approved ESTA travel authorization is:
- Valid for up to two years or your passport expires, whichever comes first
- Valid for multiple entries into the U.S.
- Not a guarantee of admissibility to the U.S., approval only authorizes you to board a carrier for travel to the U.S.
To enter the U.S. under the VWP, each passenger must have a machine-readable passport. If you don’t have a machine-readable zone, a valid visa is required.
Each passenger traveling to the U.S. under the VWP must have a:
- Valid electronic (e-Passport) with this symbol on the passport cover
- Valid ESTA
If you present a non-electronic passport, a valid U.S. visa will be required or you’ll be denied boarding and entry into the U.S.
Travelers flying to Australia from certain countries, including the U.S., will need to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) for entry.
All visa-exempt foreign travelers who fly to, or transit through Canada now need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). The authorization is electronically linked to the traveler’s passport and is valid for five years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first.
U.S. citizens and travelers with a valid Canadian visa are exempt from this eTA requirement.
Under the VWP, Nationals of Chile traveling to the U.S. are required to have an E-passport in addition to a machine-readable passport.
All travelers entering Cuba will need to prepare additional information including a visa and health insurance.
Travelers flying to Curaçao will need to complete a digital embarkation/disembarkation card (ED Card) prior to their trip.
Australian permanent residents and all visa-exempt foreign travelers will need a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authorization (NZeTA). This requirement begins October 1, 2019 for travelers traveling to or through New Zealand.
Customers traveling to or from Peru with amounts of cash exceeding $10,000 USD or its equivalent in local or foreign currency are legally responsible for declaring such amount at airport controls to avoid sanctions and up to the confiscation of the undeclared amount, as per Article 4 of Supreme Decree 195-2013-EF.
Additionally, it is prohibited entering or leaving the country with amounts over $30,000 USD or its equivalent in local or foreign currency.
To travel, vaccinations may be required depending on where you’re traveling to and from.
Australia medication policy
- You must declare all personal medication on your arrival card.
- You must carry medical documentation to defend use of the medication.
- If you need to use syringe during your flight, you will also need a doctor's letter proving there's a medical reason to use it onboard.
- If you don't have proper documentation the medications may be confiscated.
Nicaragua: Yellow Fever vaccine requirement
When traveling to Nicaragua, a Yellow Fever shot will be required if you have departed from or connected through any of these countries in the last 30 days:
- French Guiana
- Any country in Africa
If you can't present a valid Yellow Fever vaccine certificate you'll be denied entry to Nicaragua and will have to return to where you came from on the next available flight.
Chemical sprays on international flights
Flights to and from certain countries require insecticide treatment (a process known as disinsection) inside the cabin for insect and disease control. The U.S. Department of Transportation provides full information about the spray and the countries required to use it.
You may be entitled to a refund of some taxes included in the price of your ticket if you meet the applicable criteria for exemptions and your itinerary involves:
- Travel between the U.S. and Mexico (including travel between Canada and Mexico via the U.S.)
- International travel departing Belize, Colombia or Trinidad and Tobago
- International travel arriving into Colombia
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Learn about regulations and procedures that apply to all travelers that enter or depart the United States.
Advanced Passenger Information (API)
To enhance border security, passenger information will be passed through the Advanced Passenger Information (API) system and sent to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to review passenger information before the flight arrives.
- All international flights arriving and departing the U.S. are required by law to provide API data.
- API data for American Airlines/American Eagle flights is also transmitted to Customs and Immigration agencies in other countries where required by law.
- The information sharing is mandatory as part of the U.S. Aviation and Transportation Security Act.
All visitors to the U.S., except nationals of Canada, will have their photograph and fingerprints taken, and will automatically be registered under the US-VISIT program when they pass through Customs and Border Protection.
TSA Secure Flight Passenger Data
Secure Flight Passenger Data is basic personal information the TSA requires for you to travel. The information is collected during booking or ticketing.
International travel with infants and children
To travel internationally, all children, regardless of age, must have a passport and any travel documents required by the countries visited. If you’re traveling internationally with anyone under 18, you may be required show documentary evidence of your relationship and a Letter of Consent or permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present.