If you’re making a relocation to London, you’ve already got enough to think about, surely, but safety should be a #1 priority at all times. When it comes to searching for apartments to rent, your London Relocation agent will only show you properties in safe neighborhoods so that your every day can feel secure. When it comes to all those fabulous international trips you’ll be taking after your move, you should likewise take care via travel registration.
I was just having lunch yesterday with a fellow expat who moved to London from the US, and she educated me on the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP is a service provided by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. If you’re an American citizen, by registering online, you can submit the details of your upcoming international trips so that, in case of emergency, the US government can provide you with assistance. The service also provides routine information from the London US Embassy for Americans moving here. You can enroll and submit your travel details at the following site: https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/
More often than not, your trip should go smoothly. But the fact that there are any chances of illness, accidents, crime, terrorism, natural disaster, financial difficulties, or civil unrest while you’re traveling abroad (or perhaps occurring at home and loved ones need to contact you) warrants travel registration so the US Department of State can find you and assist. At the time of applying for help if in need, you will need to have evidence of your US citizenship via your passport or birth certificate—online registration through STEP alone does not prove your citizenship to the government.
If you’re an American relocating to live here for a while, you will register as a “Long-Term Traveler.” This then allows you to provide the address of your apartment rental and receive local embassy/consulate information in addition to your foreign travels. Use this address as your “Personal Information Address” if, following your relocation, you will no longer have a US address. If, on the other hand, you will be maintaining a permanent US address as many American expats moving to London only temporarily often do, you would instead register that US address as your Personal Information Address and list your London apartment address as “Long-Term Trip Address.”
If, on the other hand, you only want travel information for any given trip, you don’t have to register—relevant information (like travel advisories, announcements, and consular information sheets) can be found at http://travel.state.gov.
Sorry to add another item to your lengthy international relocation checklist, but it’s worthwhile for your safety’s sake if you’re an American moving and want peace of mind while living and traveling abroad.