How to Get Travel Agent License in the United States

One of the things you need to consider if you aspire to become a professional travel agent in the United States is getting a travel agent license.

For those with a passion for travel and a desire to help others explore the world, becoming a licensed travel agent in the United States can open doors to a rewarding and exciting career.

A travel agent license not only enhances your credibility in the industry but also ensures that you are well-equipped to provide valuable services to your clients.

In this article on Daily Migrant, we will guide you through the process of How To get travel Agent license in the United States.


Why get a travel agent certificate from a reputable organization?

Why get a travel agent certificate from a reputable organization

Having a certification as a travel agent can present you as being more legitimate and confident.

It shows that you are skilled in your field and have the know-how to give your customers excellent service.

Additionally, having a travel agent certification from organizations such as the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), The Travel InstituteCareers on Vacation, or other recognized organizations can make travel agents more competitive in the travel industry, increase their chances of success, and make them more attractive to potential clients.

Some more benefits of having a travel agent certification include;

  • Access to Exclusive Benefits and Resources:

Many reputable certification organizations provide their members with exclusive benefits and resources, such as networking opportunities, industry training programs, and access to discounted travel services.

  • Continuous Professional Development:

The pursuit of certification demonstrates your commitment to continuous learning and professional development.  This commitment to personal growth is highly valued in the travel industry.

  • Establishing Expertise in Specific Travel Niches:

Many certification programs focus on specific travel niches, such as luxury travel, destination specialties, or cruise expertise.

Earning a niche-specific certification can position you as an expert in a particular area of travel.

  • Building a Strong Professional Network:

Certification programs often provide opportunities to connect with like-minded professionals, fostering a strong network of colleagues who can share knowledge, expertise, and support.

ALSO READ: How To Become An Independent Travel Agent


Understand the Requirements for getting a travel agent license

Requirements for getting a travel agent license

The licensing requirements in the US for travel agents are not much of a licensing process. 

There is no testing, training, or qualification process needed. 

All that is required is to complete a simple form, pay a small fee, and just like that, you can start selling travel in the United States. 

There are certain states however that have their individual “Seller Of Travel Requirements.” 

These states are California, Florida, Iowa, Washington, and Hawaii. 

We will look at the individual licensing requirements later on in this article for those looking to trade in travel products and services in any of those 5 states. 

Before embarking on the journey to become a licensed travel agent, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the requirements set by the regulatory authorities. 

In the United States, the primary organization overseeing travel agency licensing is the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC).

ARC regulates the sale of airline tickets and sets certain standards for travel agents.


US Travel Agency Licensing Requirements in Some States

US Travel Agency Licensing Requirements in Some States

While it’s very easy to launch and operate a travel business nationwide in the United States, certain states have their own registration requirements that could make things even more complicated.

So, there are laws about sellers of travel in five states. 

These states include California, Florida, Washington, Iowa, and Hawaii.

These regulations, which are referred to as extraterritorial laws, also apply to those who are not inhabitants of the aforementioned states but are selling travel to those residents from outside the states.

For instance, if you intend to establish your travel business in the State of Delaware, you will require an occupational license, which can be acquired for a small charge of $25.

Although it doesn’t appear to be followed, the identical process is allegedly in place in Louisiana. 

Delaware and Louisiana are hardly discussed when it comes to regulations for Sellers of Travel Licenses. 

So, the five main states that were just mentioned above require careful consideration.

Hawaii Seller Of Travel Requirements

According to Hawaii’s seller of travel legislation, anyone wishing to sell travel-related goods or services must first register with the Hawaii Travel Agent.

Licensing program before serving as a middleman between a buyer and a seller.

After every odd-numbered year, registration is mandatory for all Hawaii-based travel companies and chartered tour operators. 

There is a biannual registration fee of $140.

To offer trade-in travel-related goods and services in the state of Hawaii, an individual who does not already reside in Hawaii but wants to conduct business there must apply for a Certificate of Authority

The registration cost is $25 per year. For full details of these and other requirements, contact the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

California Seller Of Travel Requirements

It is necessary to register as a California Seller of Travel if one sells, consults, or provides travel-related services and products within the state of California or from an office there.

Anyone who distributes or sells travel certificates, coupons, vouchers, or tickets must also abide by the state laws in California regarding the sale of travel. 

So, penalties, a cease-and-desist order, and potential criminal charges could arise from failing to register with the State of California before selling travel services.

Travel agencies based in California have access to two different registration programs. 

A couple of them include the California Seller of Travel Program (CST), which is overseen and managed by the California Attorney General, and the Travel Consumer Restitution Corporation, which handles the transfer of consumer funds. 

The CST registration is the only requirement for out-of-state organizations. 

Travel agencies doing business must display their CST number on all marketing materials that promote their ability to provide travel services in the State of California. 

This is because the California Seller of Travel Law is severely enforced.

Florida Seller Of Travel Requirements

Anyone wishing to offer travel-related services or goods in the state of Florida must register with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. 

The requirements for Sellers of Travel registration apply to anyone providing pre-arranged travel packages, services relating to tourism, and guided tours on land, air, and sea.

Also, to obtain a Seller of Travel license, the state demands detailed disclosures and a bond of $50,000. 

Although they must fulfill the other standards, independent travel agents are exempt from posting the bond requirement.


Iowa Seller of Travel Requirements

It is a requirement in the state of Iowa that all sellers of travel register with the Department of Economic Development. This applies to anyone selling or offering consultation for travel products and travel-related services.

According to THE LICENCE COMPANY, as of June 2020, Iowa no longer requires travel agencies to obtain a Seller of Travel license.

However, Iowa-based travel agencies must still register their business with the Secretary of State. 

Additionally, Iowa travel agencies may be required to register in other states, such as California, Florida, Washington, and Hawaii, if they are selling travel to or from residents and/or soliciting customers in those states.

Here are the steps on how to register your travel agency with the Iowa Secretary of State:

  1. Complete the Registration Statement for a Travel Agency (Form 9D-1).
  2. File the completed registration statement with the Secretary of State’s office.
  3. Pay the required registration fee.
  4. Provide proof of financial responsibility. This can be done by submitting a surety bond or a certificate of deposit.
  5. Submit a written, irrevocable consent to service of process. This form appoints the Secretary of State as your agent for the service of the legal process.

Once you have completed these steps, your travel agency will be registered with the Iowa Secretary of State.

Also, you will be required to renew your registration every two years.

Please note that these are just the general requirements for registering a travel agency in Iowa. 

There may be additional requirements depending on the type of travel services you offer.

So, you should contact the Secretary of State’s office for more information.


How much does it cost to get an Iowa Travel Agency License?

One of the least expensive states in which to register as a travel agent is Iowa. 

This is because the state application cost is just $15. 

Considering how little it costs, obtaining a license is a no-brainer to avoid the penalties and charges related to running an unregistered travel agency.


Washington Seller Of Travel Requirements

The Department of Licensing handles the seller of travel registration requirements for the State of Washington. 

Additionally, there are certain security and financial standards that must be met. 

If specific business requirements are fulfilled and funds, including customer funds acquired for travel, are correctly held, a travel agency may be released from these costs.

In the state of Washington, all sellers of travel are required to register with the Department of Licensing (DOL). 

This applies to any person or business that sells or arranges travel services for Washington residents.

The information below was obtained from the WASHINTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF LICENSING website.


Registration Requirements

To register as a seller of travel in Washington, you must complete the following steps:

1. Submit a Seller of Travel Registration Addendum (Form 1044) to the DOL.

2. Pay a registration fee of $100.

3. Provide proof of financial responsibility. This can be done by submitting a surety bond of $10,000 or a trust account agreement with a Washington bank.

4. Submit a written, irrevocable consent to service of process. This form appoints the DOL as your agent for the legal process.


Financial Requirements

In addition to the registration requirements, sellers of travel in Washington must also meet the following financial requirements:

  • Maintain a surety bond of $10,000 or a trust account agreement with a Washington bank.
  • Deposit all customer funds collected for travel into the trust account.
  • Keep accurate records of all customer funds.
  • Reimburse customers within 30 days if a trip is canceled or if there is a breach of contract.


Business Standards

Sellers of travel in Washington must also meet certain business standards.

These standards include:

  • Disclosing all material facts about a trip to customers before they book
  • Providing customers with a written confirmation of their booking.
  • Handling customer complaints promptly and fairly.

Exemption from Fees

A travel business can be exempt from the registration fees if certain business standards are met and the funds and consumer funds collected for travel are held properly. These business standards include the following:

  • Having a net worth of at least $100,000.
  • Maintaining a surety bond of at least $50,000.
  • Having a trust account agreement with a Washington bank
  • Depositing all customer funds collected for travel into the trust account.
  • Keeping accurate records of all customer funds.
  • Reimburse customers within 30 days if a trip is canceled or if there is a breach of contract.

Additional Information

For more information on the seller of travel registration requirements in Washington, please visit the DOL’s website or contact the DOL’s Travel Services Unit at 360-664-6536.

RELATED: How To Become A Travel Agent In The United States


Educational background needed to become a Travel Agent in the United States.

Educational background needed to become a Travel Agent in the United States

In the United States, there is no set educational prerequisite for becoming a travel agent. 

Nevertheless, it can be an added advantage to have experience in travel and tourism or a similar industry. 

To improve your professional abilities and obtain a deeper grasp of the travel and tourism sector, you can think about obtaining a degree or certification in the field.

Here’s a summary of the benefits of obtaining a travel and tourism education:

  • Enhanced Knowledge and Understanding
  • Professional Skills Development
  • Industry Recognition and Credibility
  • Networking Opportunities
  • Career Advancement Potential


Gain Industry Experience to get a travel Agent License in the United States

Gain Industry Experience to get a travel Agent License in the United States

Gaining real-world experience in the travel business is crucial to being a successful travel agent. 

Take into consideration getting experience in a comparable industry, like customer service or hospitality, or working for a reputable travel company. 

In addition to improving your abilities, this practical experience will help you become eligible for a license as a travel agent.

Working for an established travel agency offers a comprehensive learning experience.

You will be exposed to various aspects of the travel industry, including:

  • Itinerary Planning
  • Destination Research
  • Travel Arrangements
  • Customer Service
  • Industry Networking

Gaining experience in related fields can also provide valuable transferable skills that enhance your travel agent qualifications.

Consider exploring opportunities in:

  • Hospitality: Working in the hospitality industry, such as hotels or resorts, will familiarize you with customer service, accommodation management, and guest satisfaction practices.
  • Customer Service: Experiences in any customer service-oriented role, such as retail or call centers, will hone your communication, problem-solving, and conflict-resolution skills.
  • Sales: Working in a sales environment will develop your negotiation, persuasion, and closing skills, which are essential for closing travel deals.

ALSO READ: How Do You Become A Travel Agent


Establishing Your Business as a Travel Agency in the United States

Establishing Your Business as a Travel Agency in the United States

If you plan to operate as an independent travel agent or start your own travel agency, you may need to establish a business entity. 

Consult with legal professionals to determine the appropriate structure for your business, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company (LLC).

Establishing a business as a travel agency in the United States involves several crucial steps to ensure legal compliance and lay the foundation for a successful venture.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to navigating the process, as curated by Daily Migrant:

Choose a Business Structure

The first step is to determine the most suitable business structure for your travel agency. The three primary options are:

  • Sole Proprietorship: The simplest structure, where you own and operate the business without any legal distinction between you and the business.
  • Partnership: A business formed by two or more individuals who share ownership and management responsibilities.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC): A hybrid business structure that offers the limited liability protection of a corporation while retaining the flexibility of a partnership

Obtain Business Licenses and Permits

Depending on your state and local requirements, you may need to obtain specific business licenses and permits to operate as a travel agency. These may include:

  • State Business License: Most states require a general business license to conduct commercial activities.
  • Seller of Travel Registration: In certain states, travel agencies must register with the relevant regulatory agency.
  • Home-Based Business License: If you operate your travel agency from home, you may need a home-based business permit from your municipality.

Secure Business Funding

Launching a travel agency requires financial resources to cover startup costs, such as office space, equipment, software, and marketing expenses. 

Consider options like personal savings, loans, grants, or crowdfunding to secure the necessary funding.

Establish Business Banking and Accounting

Separate your business finances from your personal finances by opening a dedicated business bank account and establishing a reliable accounting system.

This will help you manage cash flow, track expenses, and prepare accurate tax filings.

Obtain Travel Agent Insurance

Protect your business from potential risks by acquiring appropriate insurance coverage. 

This may include professional liability insurance, general liability insurance, and errors and omissions (E&O) insurance.


Build a Strong Online Presence

Create a professional website showcasing your travel agency’s services, destinations, and expertise. 

Utilize social media platforms to engage with potential clients, share travel inspiration, and promote your offerings.

Establish Strong Industry Partnerships

Collaborate with travel suppliers, airlines, tour operators, and other industry partners to expand your network, access exclusive deals, and provide clients with a wider range of travel options.

Network and Build Relationships

Attend industry events, conferences, and networking opportunities to connect with fellow travel agents, potential clients, and industry professionals. 

Building strong relationships will enhance your reputation and generate business leads.

Continuously Educate and Upskill

The travel industry is dynamic and ever-evolving. Stay informed about new trends, destinations, and regulations by attending training courses, webinars, and educational events.

Provide Exceptional Customer Service

Prioritize exceptional customer service by responding promptly to inquiries, addressing concerns effectively, and going the extra mile to create memorable travel experiences for your clients.

Word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied customers can significantly boost your business’s growth.

Remember, establishing a successful travel agency requires dedication, hard work, and a commitment to providing outstanding customer service. 

Finally, when looking to get licensing to sell travel, the best thing to do is thoroughly research the laws in your local area.

This is another place where the value of a host agency comes into play.

By contacting a host agency, they will not only be able to save you time and money in the licensing and registration process, but they will also be able to provide you with a lot of the information you are looking for.



This article on “How to Get Travel Agent License in the United States” has revealed to you many things you need to know about getting a travel license in the United States.

Becoming a licensed travel agent in the United States is a multi-step process that involves a combination of education, experience, and meeting regulatory requirements.

By understanding and fulfilling these steps, you can embark on a fulfilling career in the travel industry, helping clients create memorable and seamless travel experiences.

Remember to stay informed about industry trends and regulations to ensure ongoing success in your travel agent journey.



  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
  2. American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA):
  3. The Travel Institute:
  4. U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA):
  5. Travel Weekly:
  6. American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA):
  7. The Travel Institute:
  8. How to Obtain Your Travel Agent License:
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