News | Aug. 17, 2016

Foreign-travel employee requirements and tips

By Tim Kwak, DLA Security & Emergency Services

Are you going on temporary duty travel to a foreign country?

If so, are you aware there are more requirements than just completing your travel orders in the Defense Travel System? 

The DoD Foreign Clearance Guide outlines all the requirements you must complete before traveling. The requirements vary by combatant command and country. And they change continually, based on current threats.

The DoD FCG is broken down by CCMD and the countries in each one. For some countries, requirements for countries include:

  • Completion of country clearance in the Aircraft and Personnel Automated Clearance System;
  • Completion of Level I Antiterrorism within 12 months before travel;
  • Completion of Isolated Personnel Report training within 12 months before travel;
  • Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training within 36 months of travel; and
  • Receiving a travel threat briefing from an antiterrorism officer.

Links to all the training requirements are below.

The traveler must complete all requirements before travel and should begin to complete the requirements 45-60 days in advance. The lead time for completing the country clearance in APACS varies by country and ranges from 21 to 45 days. All DTS orders for foreign travel are routed to the local ATO, who certifies that the traveler has received a travel-threat briefing for each country.

“With recent events around the world, the required training reminds travelers to maintain awareness of their surroundings while traveling,” said Jeff Benton, a physical security specialist at DLA Security & Emergency Services.

Employees with a top secret/sensitive compartmented information clearance have additional requirements for travel (whether official or personal) and should consult their special security officer with questions.

For those traveling to a foreign country for pleasure, there are also resources available. It is not required, but you are highly encouraged to receive a travel-threat briefing from your local ATO.

Also consider visiting the State Department’s website for travel alerts and warnings for countries with an elevated threat. The site also has information on the embassies and consulates; entry, exit and visa requirements; local laws and special circumstances; and health and medical facilities for every country.

The State Department also encourages citizens to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program before traveling. This allows you to receive important information from the embassy and to be contacted in the event of a natural disaster, civil unrest or family emergency. Enrollment can also can help family or friends get in touch with you in an emergency.

“With the Smart Traveler, it can be a reassuring thought knowing the U.S. Embassy is aware you are in the country which ensures that your location is accounted for during any type of emergency,” Benton noted.

Helpful Links:

DoD Foreign Clearance Guide

Aircraft and Personnel Automated Clearance System (APACS)

State Department Travel Website

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

ISOPREP Training

SERE Training