Registering for Travel Abroad - Canada & US

by Female Abroad

One thing I find people never do is to register their travel with the Canadian or US governments. Why would you want to? With all the random terrorist activities and the horrible natural disasters going on, wouldn't you want to know about these emergencies and if there are any evacuation plans because the government knows you are there during that time? Sounds like a good thing to me. Most people won't do it as "the Government is spying on me" and "I don't want more people to know I'm not home" but these are not valid reasons for not doing it.

The Canadian specifics:

The information you provide to the Registration of Canadians Abroad service may be used by Government of Canada or a third party, when necessary, to contact, protect and assist you and your co-travellers in case of an emergency.

Government of Canada does not charge a fee for this service and will only contact you in case of an emergency, or if you ask to receive messages upon arrival at your destination. Please note that your mobile carrier may charge a fee for roaming outside of Canada and/or for receiving text messages. Check with your mobile carrier for information on how this might affect you.

I've done it several times and I've never been contacted so I guess that's a good thing! Your personal information isn't sold and it's destroyed after 18 months as well in accordance to Canada's Privacy Act.

To register and for more information visit Registrations of Canadians Abroad section of the Government of Canada here.

For the American's, you guy's have STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) which is:

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Benefits of Enrolling in STEP

Receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans.

Help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.

Help family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.

The US side of things do not seem so clear about how long they will hold your information for but they do provide a link to the privacy policy on the website if you'd like to dive in.

To register and for more information visit the STEP program website here.