NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- France, Spain, and Australia are just a few of the places Sailors can visit to enjoy some rest and relaxation, but they require a lot more effort than traveling within the continental United States.
Sailors aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) who are interested in foreign travel leave should visit security department’s intranet page for valuable information about traveling abroad.
“If Sailors follow the guidelines we have laid out on our intranet page, step-by-step, they will have no problems with taking their leave and getting it approved,” said Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Betty Lowman, from Columbus, Georgia, the assistant foreign travel coordinator for George Washington. “After you complete all of the steps, Sailors just have to bring all of the required documents in a blue folder to either myself or MA1 [Master-at-Arms 1st Class] Tanner. We will go through it right then and there, and we will verify that everything is there, and if they are missing something we will let them know so that they can get it taken care of and bring it right back to us.”
Although the process makes taking foreign travel leave easier, Sailors should plan ahead and get started with the process as early as possible so there are no issues with the paperwork.
“Make sure you start the process about 90 days in advance,” said Lowman. “For Sailors who don’t already have a passport, you may want to start the process a little earlier, since getting your passport can take a little while.”
Lowman said that most Sailors have difficulty with the Isolated Personnel Report (ISOPREP) portion of the process.
However, the form only takes a few minutes to fill out, and George Washington’s media department can get help Sailors with the photograph requirement.
“The easiest part for me was the ISOPREP process,” said Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kristen Cheyenne Yarber, from Troutdale, Virginia, a Sailor assigned to the media department aboard the George Washington. “We take the photographs for the form in our department, so if anybody needs an ISOPREP photograph taken, they can come in during normal working hours, and we’ll get it done in about ten minutes.”
During the process, Sailors should also go to Navy’s foreign clearance guide website, located at https://www.fcg.pentagon.mil/fcg.cfm, to look up the rules, regulations, and requirements of the country they are traveling to.
“A lot of foreign countries do things way differently than we do here in the United States,” said Lowman. “They have certain courtesies and customs that we don’t even acknowledge here. That’s why we tell people to go on the foreign travel website and look up the country that they are going to visit and read and learn about the way they do things over there so that they can be respectful while they are there and keep themselves out of trouble.”
Even though the process may feel overwhelming, traveling and getting out of a comfort zone can be very rewarding.
“I know some people get overwhelmed and don’t take foreign travel leave because of the amount of paperwork that has to be done, but it really is worth it,” said Yarber. “Traveling is a huge stress reliever for me, and I think everyone should take the opportunity to get away for a while and learn about another culture. It’s just nice to get away and relax for a while, even if there’s a lot of paperwork that goes along with it.”
Sailors shouldn’t let the process of filling out all of the forms required to take foreign travel leave to be the reason why they don’t travel the world. Sailors who plan and take the time to follow the step-by-step guide provided by the security department will not have any issues when it comes to taking foreign travel leave.
For more news from USS George Washington (CVN 73), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn73/.