Prepare for your trip
International travel doesn’t have to be tricky – just follow these steps to help you prepare for your trip.
We recommend you:
- Check if your destination has travel restrictions and entry requirements
- Come prepared with travel documents and required paperwork
- Arrive at the airport at least 3 hours before your scheduled departure time
- Documents and requirements you need to travel Opens another site in a new window that may not meet accessibility guidelines
- Travel and health restrictions by destination Opens another site in a new window that may not meet accessibility guidelines
If you travel often, skip the paperwork and lines with:
Travel documents and requirements
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. 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.
Keep in mind:
- 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.
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 to 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.
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.
Keep in mind:
- Some countries require your passport to be issued at least 6 months before the day you arrive. Check your destination’s requirements if you’re unsure.
- Passports must be 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.
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.
Contact tracing for flights to the U.S.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires all passengers flying to the United States to provide their contact information within 72 hours of departure. This information may be used by public health officials to follow up with passengers who may have been exposed to a contagious disease during travel.
- Read more information about the CDC contact tracing requirement Opens another site in a new window that may not meet accessibility guidelines.
- Submit your contact tracing information
Some countries have additional requirements for travel, so we recommend that you check the U.S. Department of State website for the latest information and sign up for their Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.
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.
If you are a permanent resident of Australia or travelling on a passport from a visa waiver country, you'll need an New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA). Some visitors and transit passengers can travel to New Zealand without a visa if they get an NZeTA before their trip.
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.
Health and testing requirements
To travel, vaccinations may be required depending on where you’re traveling to and from.
- 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.
When traveling to Nicaragua, a Yellow Fever shot will be required if you departed from or connected through any of these countries in the last 30 days:
- French Guiana
- Any country in Africa
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.
Your checked and carry-on bags may be sprayed or misted with a solution upon arrival due to local health protocols for virus and disease control. This action is performed by local authorities and not American Airlines.
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.
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 Visit the U.S. program when they pass through Customs and Border Protection.
Secure Flight Passenger Data is basic personal information the TSA requires for you to travel. The information is collected during booking or ticketing.