PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
Planning to take leave and travel overseas? Several military members with good intentions have lost money and faced disappointment because they were unaware of Foreign Clearance Guide stipulations.
Military personnel planning to travel outside the continental United States on leave are bound by the stipulations, procedures and restrictions identified in the FCG https://www.fcg.pentagon.mil/fcg.cfm
. Complying with the instructions outlined within the FCG is a must before finalizing travel arrangements to avoid Article 92 implications, embarrassment or forfeiture of money spent on travel. All personnel need to understand their responsibilities when it comes to traveling overseas. Before planning your trip, the installation antiterrorism officer recommends going to www.Travel.State.Gov
for valuable information.
Notify your supervisor and consult with your Anti-Terrorism Representative at least 60 days before submitting a leave request or making travel arrangements for a trip outside the contiguous United States, otherwise known as OCONUS. When traveling abroad, countries require a passport. If you don't have a passport, give yourself enough time to apply for one. It could take four to six weeks to process the application. For more information regarding passports, go to Travel.State.Gov and click the "passports" tab.
Aside from obtaining a passport, most countries require country and/or theater clearance from the combatant commander for all active-duty military (including activated Reserve and National Guard personnel). The installation antiterrorism officer recommends reviewing the FCG to see if a country and/or theater clearance is required, and if so, how to submit. Lead time for these clearances can be up to 45 days for approval. Do not request a clearance within the lead time specified in the FCG unless an exceptional situation arises, in which case proper justification must be provided. In some instances a theater commander may even require military travelers to submit an antiterrorism plan of action. Again, stipulations for military travelers vary by country and are identified in the FCG.
Here are some more recommended tips to help you plan a successful overseas trip: Sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which is managed by the State Department. SMART is a free online service that helps both the member and the State Department in case of an emergency or crisis abroad. This service helps the State Department contact you in case of a family emergency stateside, or if there is a crisis where you are traveling. Go to https://travelregistration.state.gov
to register. Sign and fill in the emergency information page on your passport, leave copies of itineraries, passport data pages, and visa with family, ask your medical insurance company if your policy applies overseas, familiarize yourself with local laws and conditions, try to blend in with the locals (i.e. clothing, money, etc.) to avoid being targeted, be knowledgeable of U.S. Customs restrictions, and save contact information for the local U.S. Embassy.