On October 21, the State Department issued a Travel Advisory for Lebanon. The advisory is a Level 3 Reconsider Travel due to to crime, terrorism, armed conflict and civil unrest. Excerpt:
U.S. citizens who choose to travel to Lebanon should be aware that consular officers from the U.S. Embassy are not always able to travel to assist them. The Department of State considers the threat to U.S. government personnel in Beirut sufficiently serious to require them to live and work under strict security restrictions. The internal security policies of the U.S. Embassy may be adjusted at any time and without advance notice.
The Lebanese government cannot guarantee the protection of U.S. citizens against sudden outbreaks of violence. Family, neighborhood, or sectarian disputes can escalate quickly and can lead to gunfire or other violence with no warning. Armed clashes have occurred along the Lebanese borders, in Beirut, and in refugee settlements. The Lebanese Armed Forces have been brought in to quell the violence in these situations.
People across Lebanon have been protesting for 5 days against corruption and the economic crisis. Hundreds of thousands marched in Beirut, its biggest protests in 10+ years: pic.twitter.com/uNjShO0EVo
— AJ+ (@ajplus) October 21, 2019
This is how many people were in central Beirut today.
Are you getting their message? pic.twitter.com/PwTLm2RbFq
— Jad Chaaban د. جاد شعبان (@JadChaaban) October 20, 2019
— Rami Rizk (@rami_rizk) October 20, 2019
— Ali Hashem علي هاشم (@alihashem_tv) October 22, 2019
More sights and sounds of Beirut protests pic.twitter.com/utkwue8hjd
— Dion Nissenbaum (@DionNissenbaum) October 21, 2019
On September 17, the State Department issued a Level 2 Travel Advisory (Exercised Increased Caution) for Saudi Arabia due to “terrorism and the threat of missile and drone attacks on civilian targets.” It previously issued a Level 2 Travel Advisory on June 26, 2019 but the advisory was reissued “with updates to security information.”
Exercise increased caution in Saudi Arabia due to terrorism and the threat of missile and drone attacks on civilian targets.
Do not travel to:
Within 50 miles of the border with Yemen due to terrorism and armed conflict.
Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Saudi Arabia. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. Terrorists have targeted both Saudi and Western government interests, mosques and other religious sites (both Sunni and Shia), and places frequented by U.S. citizens and other Westerners.
Regional actors hostile to Saudi Arabia have conducted destructive and sometimes lethal attacks against a variety of targets including critical infrastructure, military facilities, airports, and energy facilities throughout the country, as well as vessels in Red Sea shipping lanes. Riyadh, Yanbu, areas in proximity to Jeddah, the civilian airport in Abha, military installations in the south, and specific oil and gas facilities are examples of recent targets. The Islamic Republic of Iran has supplied Yemen-based Houthis and other regional proxy groups with weapons, including drones, missiles, and rockets. Houthi militants continue to plan and conduct attacks against locations in Saudi Arabia. Violence associated with Iran-supported groups represents a significant threat. U.S. citizens living and working near military bases and critical civilian infrastructure, particularly in the Eastern Province and areas near the border with Yemen, are at heightened risk of missile and drone attack.
The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in the following locations, as U.S. Mission personnel and their families are restricted from travel to:
- Within 50 miles of the Saudi-Yemen border, including the cities of Jizan and Najran, and
- Qatif in the Eastern province and its suburbs, including Awamiyah.
U.S. Mission personnel and their families are not permitted to use the airport in Abha without Chief of Mission approval.
Due to risks to civil aviation operating within the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman region, including Saudi Arabia, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued an advisory Notice to Airmen (NOTAM). For more information U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.
Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.
If you decide to travel to Saudi Arabia:
- Stay alert in locations frequented by Westerners.
- Obtain comprehensive medical insurance that includes medical evacuation.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
- Review the Crime and Safety Reports for Saudi Arabia.
- U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
Violence in Yemen has spilled over into Saudi Arabia on a number of occasions. Rebel forces in Yemen fire artillery at Saudi border towns and launch cross-border attacks against Saudi military personnel. Civilians who are near the border with Yemen are at risk.
The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens within 50 miles of the Saudi-Yemen border as U.S. government personnel and their families are restricted from travel to this area.
Visit our website for information on travel to high-risk areas.
ALSO THIS: Who’s going to do it, and what kind of props will he/she bring to the United Nations? The last time one of our guys did it, he brought a vial he said could contain anthrax as he presents evidence of Iraq’s alleged weapons programs to the United Nations Security Council in 2003.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) September 18, 2019
- Travel Advisory: Saudi Arabia – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution Wed, 26 Jun 2019
- Security Alert – U.S. Consulate General JeddahWed, 12 Jun 2019
- Security Alert – U.S. Mission Saudi ArabiaWed, 12 Jun 2019
Here’s something we don’t see everyday but we may soon start seeing more and more. Amnesty International has issued a Travel Advisory for the United States of America. Uruguay has also issued a Travel Alert for the United States.
The Amnesty International travel advisory for the country of the United States of America calls on people worldwide to exercise caution and have an emergency contingency plan when traveling throughout the USA. This Travel Advisory is being issued in light of ongoing high levels of gun violence in the country.
Updated: May 10, 2019: Note that while Mexico is listed as a “Level 2: Exercised Increased Caution” country, the following five states in Mexico are considered “Level 4: Do Not Travel ” locations:
- Colima state
- Guerrero state
- Michoacán state
- Sinaloa state
- Tamaulipas state
We understand that Mexico is the only country that the State Department breaks down this way.
Updated: On April 26, 2019, the Department of State ordered the departure of all school-age family members of U.S. government employees in Kindergarten through 12th grade. The Department also authorized the voluntary departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees and family members.
On April 21, the State Department increased the Travel Advisory for Sri Lanka to Level 2 (Exercise Increased Caution) after multiple attacks throughout the country. Explosions reportedly occurred at the Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury hotels in Colombo and churches in Kochchikade, Katuwapitiya and Batticaloa; the blasts killed 290 people and wounded 500. Arrests have been made and investigations are ongoing according to media reports.
The Advisory says in part:
Exercise increased caution in Sri Lanka due to terrorism. Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Sri Lanka. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas.
The U.S. Embassy in Colombo also announced that it will be closed to the public on April 22. The American Center in Colombo & all American Spaces will also be closed. Emergency American Citizen Services will be available (see contact number below). In a statement to the press, the secretary of state confirmed that “several U.S. citizens were among those killed” in Sri Lanka attacks,
— U.S. Embassy Colombo (@USEmbSL) April 21, 2019
Deeply saddened by the senseless attacks in Sri Lanka today. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. We stand with Sri Lanka’s people at this terrible moment.
— Ambassador Teplitz (@USAmbSLM) April 21, 2019
More than 200 people (including as many as 30 foreigners) were killed when explosions ripped through Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday in the worst episode of violence the country has seen since the end of their civil war a decade ago pic.twitter.com/11GwBwIrcH
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) April 21, 2019
— BBC News Sinhala (@bbcsinhala) April 21, 2019
Posted: 7:06 pm PST
Updated: 8:23 pm PST
After about a week of protests in Haiti, the State Department issued a mandatory and voluntary departure orders for some family members of non-emergency staff at the US Embassy in Haiti. See U.S. Embassy Haiti Now on Mandatory Evacuation For Diplomatic Family Members Under the Age of 18, “Authorized Departure” Also On.
On February 14, the US Embassy issued a Security Alert noting about “reports of armed men in the area near U.S. Embassy personnel housing compounds.” Post instructed embassy personnel “to remain indoors.”
We understand that post had requested the full “ordered departure” for non-emergency staff within the last 24 hours. An official statement on the status of non-emergency personnel in country has now gone out. The mandatory evacuation is for all non-essential staff, and for all family members. As of this writing, the Haiti Travel Advisory is still dated February 12, and has not been updated to reflect the updated “ordered departure” status for non-essential personnel.
Updated: When we look at travel.state.gov again at 8:23 pm PST, the February 14 updated Level 4 Do Not Travel Advisory for Haiti is up. The Advisory notes the crime and civil unrest in the country, the mandatory evacuation of non-emergency staff and family members, and the U.S. government’s limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Haiti.
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) February 15, 2019
#Haiti Security Alert: Reports of armed men in the area near U.S. Embassy personnel housing compounds. Embassy personnel have been instructed to remain indoors. Security situation remains very unstable with demonstrations very likely. https://t.co/UtU6CArKjh pic.twitter.com/oILmo35ots
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) February 14, 2019
Ottawa warns Canadians to avoid all travel to Haiti. Says 'the security situation could further deteriorate quickly. You should consider leaving by commercial means while they are available.'
— CBC News Alerts (@CBCAlerts) February 15, 2019
— travel.gc.ca (@TravelGoC) February 15, 2019
— Miami Herald (@MiamiHerald) February 15, 2019
The State Department’s Level 4 – Do Not Travel advisory category is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance. The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to the country or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so.
As of January 4, 2019, there are eleven countries designated as Level 4 “do not travel” countries.
In Somalia, the U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens due to the lack of permanent consular presence in the country.
In North Korea, the State Department says that the U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in North Korea as it does not have diplomatic or consular relations with North Korea. Sweden serves as the protecting power for the United States in North Korea, providing limited emergency services. However, the North Korean government routinely delays or denies Swedish officials access to detained U.S. citizens.
In South Sudan, U.S. government personnel are under a strict curfew. The advisory says personnel “must use armored vehicles for nearly all movements in the city, and official travel outside Juba is limited. Due to the critical crime threat in Juba, walking is also restricted; when allowed, it is limited to a small area in the immediate vicinity of the Embassy and must usually be conducted in groups of two or more during daylight hours. Family members cannot accompany U.S. government employees who work in South Sudan.”
In Iraq, the U.S. government’s ability to provide routine and emergency services to U.S. citizens is “extremely limited.” On October 18, 2018, the Department of State ordered the temporary suspension of operations at the U.S. Consulate General in Basrah.
In Iran, the U.S. government does not have diplomatic or consular relations. “The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Iran. Switzerland serves as the protecting power for U.S. citizens in Iran, providing limited emergency services.”
In CAR, the U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel outside the Embassy compound.
The U.S. Embassy in Damascus in Syria suspended its operations in February 2012. “The U.S. government does not have diplomatic or consular relations with Syria. The Czech Republic serves as the protecting power for the United States in Syria. The range of consular services that the Czech Republic provides to U.S. citizens is extremely limited, and the U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Syria.”
In Mali, the U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in the northern and central regions of Mali as U.S. government employees travel to these regions is restricted due to security concerns.
In Libya, the U.S. government is unable to provide emergency or routine assistance to U.S. citizens as the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli suspended its operations in July 2014.
In Afghanistan: The U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide routine and emergency services to U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is severely limited, particularly outside of Kabul. Evacuation options from Afghanistan are extremely limited due to the lack of infrastructure, geographic constraints, and the volatile security situation. Family members cannot accompany U.S. government employees who work in Afghanistan. Unofficial travel to Afghanistan by U.S. government employees and their family members is restricted and requires prior approval from the Department of State. U.S. Embassy personnel are restricted from traveling to all locations in Kabul except the U.S. Embassy and other U.S. government facilities unless there is a compelling U.S. government interest in permitting such travel that outweighs the risk. Additional security measures are needed for any U.S. government employee travel and movement through Afghanistan.
The U.S. Embassy in Sana’a suspended its operations in February 2015. The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Yemen.
|Somalia Travel Advisory | AF||Level 4: Do |
|North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) Travel Advisory | EAP||Level 4: Do |
|South Sudan Travel Advisory | AF||Level 4: Do |
|Iraq Travel Advisory | NEA||Level 4: Do |
|October 18, 2018|
|Iran Travel Advisory | NEA||Level 4: Do |
|October 10, 2018|
|Central African Republic Travel Advisory ||
|Level 4: Do |
|October 3, |
|Syria Travel Advisory | NEA||Level 4: Do |
|September 10, 2018|
|Mali Travel Advisory | AF||Level 4: Do |
|August 13, 2018|
|Libya Travel Advisory | NEA||Level 4: Do |
|August 8, |
|Afghanistan Travel Advisory | SCA||Level 4: Do |
|July 9, 2018|
|Yemen Travel Advisory | NEA||Level 4: Do Not Travel||July 5, 2018|
On December 14, the State Department issued a Level 3 Travel Advisory for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) urging American travelers to reconsider travel there due to “crime and civil unrest.” The advisory also announced that the Embassy’s non-emergency personnel and their family members were on mandatory evacuation order.
We’re not sure if the staff/family members will be safehavened in the region or if they were ordered to return to the U.S. We will update if we know more. If you’re in the FS community and in the DC area, you may check with AAFSW; they may need help. The group runs an Evacuee Support Network that offers assistance to Foreign Service employees and family members evacuated from posts overseas through a dedicated network of volunteers in the Washington, DC area.
Reconsider travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) due to crime and civil unrest. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
Do not travel to:
- Eastern DRC and the three Kasai provinces due to armed conflict.
Violent crime, such as armed robbery, armed home invasion, sexual assault, and physical assault, is common. Assailants may pose as police or security agents. Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious crime.
Many cities throughout the country experience demonstrations, some of which have been violent. The government has responded with heavy-handed tactics that have resulted in civilian casualties and arrests.
On December 14, 2018, the Department ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees and family members.
The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens outside of Kinshasa due to extremely limited infrastructure and poor security conditions, notably in eastern DRC and Kasais.
More here: https://cd.usembassy.gov/news-events/
An Embassy Security Alert dated December 16 “strongly urges U.S. citizens to depart the country and take advantage of departing commercial flights.” The Embassy’s once more emphasized that its ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in the DRC is severely limited, particularly outside of Kinshasa. It also notes that “elections are scheduled to take place on December 23 and could trigger large-scale demonstrations which could further limit the services of consular staff even in Kinshasa.”