Lebanon Travel Warning
The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to Lebanon because of ongoing safety and security concerns.
U.S. citizens living and working in Lebanon should understand that they accept the risks of remaining in the country and should carefully consider those risks. In the past two years, two U.S. citizens have died in bombings, and two have been kidnapped, according to information available to the U.S. government. This supersedes the Travel Warning issued on November 26, 2014.
In August 2014, extremists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and al-Nusrah Front (ANF) attacked the Lebanese military in the Bekaa valley town of Arsal, along the border with Syria. There have been episodic clashes between the Lebanese army and Syrian-based extremists along the border with Syria since August 2014. U.S. citizens in Lebanon should monitor ongoing political and security developments in both Lebanon and Syria. There have also been incidents of cross-border shelling and air strikes of Lebanese villages from Syria, which resulted in deaths and injuries. There have been reports of armed groups from Syria who kidnapped or attacked Lebanese citizens living in the border area. Clashes between Lebanese authorities and criminal elements occurred in areas of the Bekaa Valley and border regions. Similar incidents could occur again without warning. With the potential for violence and abductions, the U.S. Embassy strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid the Lebanese-Syrian border region.
There are border tensions to the south with Israel as well. In January 2015, hostilities between Israel and Hizballah flared in the Golan Heights and Shebaa Farms area, and the potential for wider conflict remains. South of the Litani River, Hizballah has stockpiled large amounts of munitions in anticipation of a future conflict with Israel. In addition, during the summer of 2014 there were sporadic rocket attacks from southern Lebanon into Israel in connection with the violence between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. These attacks, normally consisting of a few unsophisticated rockets fired at northern Israel, often provoke a prompt Israeli military response in the form of artillery fire. The rocket attacks and responses can occur without warning. Landmines and unexploded ordnance pose significant dangers throughout southern Lebanon, particularly south of the Litani River, as well as in areas of the country where fighting was intense during the civil war. More than 40 civilians have been killed and more than 300 injured by unexploded ordnance since the 2006 Israel-Hizballah war. Travelers should watch for posted landmine warnings and strictly avoid all areas where landmines and unexploded ordnance may be present.
Sudden outbreaks of violence can occur at any time in Lebanon, and armed clashes have occurred in major cities. After the implementation of the security plan in Tripoli, the neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbanehand Jabal Mohsen remain tense. Two suicide bombers struck a café in Jabal Mohsen in January 2015, causing dozens of casualties. Armed clashes have resulted in numerous deaths and injuries in the past, and there are potentially large numbers of weapons in the hands of non-governmental elements. The Lebanese Armed Forces are routinely brought in to quell the violence in these situations. The Lebanese government cannot guarantee protection for U.S. citizens or visitors to the country in the event violence occurs suddenly. Public demonstrations occur with little warning and have become violent in some instances. Family, neighborhood, or sectarian disputes can escalate quickly and can lead to gunfire or other violence with no warning. U.S. citizens have died in such incidents. The ability of U.S. government personnel to reach travelers or provide emergency services is severely limited. Protesters have blocked major roads to gain publicity for their causes, including the primary road between downtown Beirut and Rafiq Hariri International Airport temporarily without warning. Access to the airport may be cut off if the security situation deteriorates.
Extremist groups operate in Lebanon, including Hizballah, ISIL, ANF, and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades (AAB). The U.S. government has designated all of these groups as terrorist organizations. ISIL and ANF have claimed responsibility for suicide bombings in Lebanon, and these groups are active in northern Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley, and in border areas with Syria. U.S. citizens have been the target of terrorist attacks in Lebanon in the past, and the threat of anti-Western terrorist activity remains. U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Lebanon despite this Travel Warning should keep a low profile, assess their personal security, and vary times and routes for all required travel. U.S. citizens also should pay close attention to their personal security at locations where Westerners generally are known to congregate, and should avoid demonstrations and large gatherings. They should consider avoiding areas where bombings have taken place recently. The most recent Security Messages are posted on theU.S. Embassy Beirut website.
There is potential for death or injury in Lebanon because of terrorist bombings. Many of the attacks have targeted specific individuals or venues, but nearly all cases have resulted in death and injuries to innocent bystanders. Although there is no evidence that these attacks were directed specifically at U.S. citizens, there is a real possibility of “wrong place, wrong time” harm. The last wave of bombings in Beirut began in June 2013 and ended in mid-2014 with hundreds of dead and injured, including at least two U.S. citizens killed. The security services have made great progress in improving their capacity to detect and intercept terrorist attacks, resulting in a marked decline in suicide and car bombs, but many extremist groups remain actively engaged in planning attacks. These regularly involve suicide bombers, many of whom have detonated their vests or vehicles short of their targets.
Hizballah maintains a strong presence in parts of south Beirut, the Bekaa Valley, and areas in southern Lebanon. Hizballah has been the target of attacks by other extremist groups for their support of the Asad regime in Syria. The potential for violence between Hizballah and other extremist groups throughout the country remains a strong possibility. Hizballah and other groups have at times detained and extensively interrogated U.S. citizens or other foreigners for political motivations.
Palestinian groups hostile to both the Lebanese government and the United States operate autonomously in refugee camps in different areas of the country. Intra-communal violence within the camps has resulted in shootings and explosions. U.S. citizens should avoid Palestinian refugee camps.
Kidnapping, whether for ransom or political motives, remains a problem in Lebanon, and U.S. citizens have been victims of such acts in recent years. Kidnappers have abducted business people under the guise of coming to Lebanon for meetings. Suspects in kidnappings sometimes have ties to terrorist or criminal organizations. The U.S. government’s ability to help U.S. citizens kidnapped or taken hostage is very limited. Although the U.S. government places the highest priority on the safe recovery of kidnapped U.S. citizens, it is U.S. policy to not make concessions to hostage takers. U.S. law also makes it illegal to provide material support to terrorist organizations.
The U.S. Department of State wishes to warn U.S. citizens of the risk of traveling on airlines that fly over Syria. As we have seen in the recent past, commercial aircraft are at risk when flying over regions in conflict. We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens considering air travel overseas evaluate the route that their proposed commercial flight may take and avoid any that pass through Syrian airspace. U.S. government personnel in Lebanon have been prohibited from taking flights that pass through Syrian airspace. Flight paths are subject to change, so travelers should check with their airline to verify their flight’s route before traveling.
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. These practices limit, and may prevent, access by U.S. Embassy officials to certain areas of the country, especially to parts of metropolitan Beirut, Tripoli, the Bekaa Valley, and southern Lebanon. Because of security concerns, unofficial travel to Lebanon by U.S. government employees and their family members is strictly limited, and requires the Department of State’s prior approval.
In the event that the security climate in Lebanon worsens, U.S. citizens will be responsible for arranging their own travel out of Lebanon. U.S. citizens should be aware that the Embassy does not offer protection services to individuals who feel unsafe. U.S. citizens with special medical or other needs should be aware of the risks of remaining given their condition, and should be prepared to seek treatment in Lebanon if they cannot arrange for travel out of the country.
U.S. government-facilitated evacuations, such as the evacuation that took place from Lebanon in 2006, occur only when no safe commercial alternatives exist. Evacuation assistance is provided on a cost-recovery basis, which means the traveler must reimburse the U.S. government for travel costs. The lack of a valid U.S. passport may hinder U.S. citizens' ability to depart the country and may slow the U.S. Embassy's ability to provide assistance. U.S. citizens in Lebanon should therefore ensure that they have proper and current documentation at all times. U.S. Legal Permanent Residents should consult with the Department of Homeland Security before they depart the United States to ensure they have proper documentation to re-enter. Further information on the Department’s role during emergencies is provided on the Bureau of Consular Affairs’website.
U.S. citizens living or traveling in Lebanon should enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), on the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website, Travel.State.Gov, to receive the latest travel updates and information and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Lebanon. U.S. citizens without Internet access may enroll directly with the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located in Awkar, near Antelias, Beirut, Lebanon. Public access hours for U.S. citizens are Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. U.S. citizens must makeappointmentsin advance. U.S. citizens who require emergency services outside these hours may contact the Embassy by telephone at any time. The Embassy’s telephone numbers are (961-4) 542-600, (961-4) 543-600, and fax (961-4) 544-209 (Note: the (961) is only necessary when dialing from outside the country. When dialing inside the country, use ‘0’ before the number, e.g., 04 542-600).
Information on consular services and enrollment in STEP can also be found at theU.S. Embassy in Beirut's website, or by phone at the above telephone numbers between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday local time. U.S. citizens in Lebanon may also contact the consular section by email atBeirutACS@state.gov.
Up-to-date information on travel and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
For additional information, U.S. citizens should consult the Department of State’s Country Specific Information for Lebanon. Travelers can also stay up to date by bookmarking ourBureau of Consular Affairs website,Travel.State.Gov, which also contains currentTravel Warnings and Travel Alerts. Follow us onTwitterand the Bureau of Consular Affairs page onFacebook.
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Afghanistan Travel Warning
The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Afghanistan.
The security situation in Afghanistan is extremely unstable, and the threat to all U.S. citizens in Afghanistan remains critical. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning for Afghanistan issued on September 5, 2014.
The U.S. government remains highly concerned about possible attacks on U.S. citizens (whether visiting or residing in Afghanistan), U.S. facilities, businesses, and perceived U.S. and foreign interests. Attacks may target official government convoys and compounds, including Afghan and U.S. government facilities, foreign embassies and military installations, as well as restaurants, hotels, airports, non-governmental organization (NGO) offices, international organizations, religious institutions, educational centers, foreign guest houses, and other commercial entities.
Extremists associated with various Taliban networks and members of other armed opposition groups are active in every province of the country. Despite numerous security operations and checkpoints by Afghan and coalition forces in and around the capital, Kabul is at high risk for militant attacks, including vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED), direct and indirect fire, and suicide bombings.The same risks also exist in other major cities in Afghanistan, including Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif, and Kandahar. A strong possibility for hostile acts exists throughout the country at all times, either targeted or random, against both U.S. and other foreign nationals. An ongoing risk of kidnapping exists throughout Afghanistan. Travel to all areas of Afghanistan remains unsafe due to ongoing military combat operations, landmines, banditry, armed rivalry between political and tribal groups, and the possibility of insurgent attacks, including attacks using vehicle-borne or other improvised explosive devices (IED).
Militant attacks throughout the country continue, with many of these attacks specifically targeting U.S. and other foreign citizens and entities. On May 17, 2015, a suicide bomber used a VBIED in Kabul to attack a European Union Police Mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL) convoy, killing three including one British citizen. On May 13, 2015, an attack on the Park Palace Hotel killed 14 people including ten foreigners, one of whom was a U.S. citizen. In that incident, several other foreigners, including U.S. citizens, were held hostage at the hotel until the situation was resolved. On April 10, 2015, a suicide bomber used a VBIED to target a NATO military convoy in Jalalabad, killing four Afghan civilians nearby. On April 8, 2015, an Afghan soldier opened fire at the provincial governor’s compound in Jalalabad, killing one U.S. soldier and wounding eight others. On February 26, 2015, an attack in Kabul on a Turkish diplomatic vehicle killed one Turkish national. Militants later claimed that their intended target was actually an American military convoy. On January 29, 2015, an Afghan soldier attacked four U.S.-citizen contractors at a military base connected to Kabul’s International Airport, killing three and seriously wounding one.
On December 11, 2014, a suicide-bombing at a French-funded school and cultural center in Kabul targeted foreigners and students attending a performance, killing one German national and wounding several others. A lengthy assault on the Kabul headquarters of a U.S.-based NGO and guesthouse on November 29, 2014, resulted in the deaths of the South African head of the organization and his two children, as well as a local Afghan employee. On November 27, 2014, a suicide attack against a British government convoy in Kabul killed five people, including a British national, and wounded more than 30. Later that day, militants conducted a separate attack in Kabul’s Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood, a normally secure area comprising other foreign embassies, foreign guesthouses, and international agencies that is adjacent to the more secure zone housing the U.S. Embassy. A November 24, 2014, bombing targeted a NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) convoy in Kabul, killing two U.S. soldiers. A foreign security guard was killed in an October 26, 2014, attack against an international organization and guesthouse in Kabul’s diplomatic zone. On October 13, 2014, a suicide bomber struck an ISAF convoy in Kabul, wounding three foreigners and killing one civilian. Two U.S.-citizen military personnel, one additional foreign military official, and 13 civilians were killed in a September 16, 2014, attack carried out against an ISAF convoy.
On August 20, 2014, an assailant fatally stabbed a U.S. soldier near Kabul International Airport. A lone gunman opened fire on a group of high-level military officers inspecting Marshal Fahim National Defense University on August 5, 2014, killing a U.S. two-star General and wounding twelve others, which included U.S. citizens. On July 22, 2014, a suicide bomber attacked a U.S. base near the Kabul International Airport, killing six guards and wounding ten. On July 17, 2014, a group of insurgents detonated a VBIED and occupied a building north of Kabul International Airport, targeting the airport with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades. On April 24, 2014, an Afghan guard at Kabul’s Cure Hospital killed three U.S. doctors and wounded another U.S. doctor and nurse. On March 28, 2014, four insurgents armed with small arms infiltrated and attacked the Serena Hotel, killing ten civilians including four foreigners, one of whom was a U.S. citizen. Also, on March 20, 2014, a suicide bomber and three insurgents attacked the compound of an international NGO, killing two Afghan citizens and wounding ten.
Riots and incidents of civil disturbance can occur in Afghanistan, often without warning. U.S. citizens should avoid all rallies and demonstrations. Protests intended as peaceful can become confrontational and escalate into violence at any point. The size of these demonstrations has ranged from as small as 20 to as large as 3,000 people. The issues that typically prompt demonstrations include grievances against the government and coalition forces, as well as spontaneous, public expressions of social, political, and ethnic tensions.
U.S. citizens representing various foreign interests in property or contract disputes – a common problem for foreign companies doing business in Afghanistan – have reported that local parties to the disputes have threatened their lives or held them or their employees captive under extrajudicial conditions while awaiting payouts or intervention by local authorities. U.S. citizens who find themselves in such situations should not assume that local law enforcement or the U.S. Embassy will assist them in resolving such disputes or intervene on their behalf with Afghan officials.
The Department of State considers the threat to U.S. government personnel in Afghanistan sufficiently critical to require them to live and work under strict security restrictions. All locations outside the U.S. Embassy and other U.S. government facilities are considered off limits to Embassy personnel unless there is a compelling government interest in permitting such travel that outweighs the risk. In addition, the internal security policies of the U.S. Embassy may be changed or adjusted at any time and without advance notice. The Embassy will regularly restrict or prohibit movements by its personnel, often on short notice and for reasons such as terrorist attacks, security threats, or demonstrations. Because of security concerns, unofficial travel to Afghanistan by U.S. Government employees and their family members is also restricted, and requires prior approval from the Department of State.
The U.S. Embassy's ability to provide emergency consular services to U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is severely limited, particularly for those persons outside of Kabul. U.S. citizens who choose to visit or remain in Afghanistan despite this Travel Warning are encouraged to limit nonessential travel within Afghanistan, formulate personal contingency plans, monitor the Embassy’s website, and enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in order to obtain the most current information on travel and security within Afghanistan. Enrollment in STEP makes it easier for the Embassy to contact U.S. citizens in case of emergency. U.S. citizens without Internet access may enroll directly with the U.S. Embassy.
U.S. government-facilitated evacuations occur only when no safe, commercial alternatives exist. Evacuation assistance is provided on a cost-recovery basis, which means the traveler must reimburse the U.S. government for travel costs. The lack of a valid U.S. passport and Afghan visa may hinder a U.S. citizen’s ability to depart the country and may slow the U.S. Embassy's ability to assist. U.S. citizens in Afghanistan should ensure that they have proper and current documentation at all times. Evacuation options from Afghanistan are extremely limited due to the lack of infrastructure, geographic constraints, and other security concerns. The U.S. government typically evacuates U.S. citizens to a safe haven, and travelers are responsible for making their own onward travel plans. U.S. citizens should not expect to be evacuated to the United States and should always maintain medevac insurance while living or traveling abroad in case they need emergency medical evacuation back to the United States, which can be a significant expense. For more information, see "What the Department of State Can and Can't Do in a Crisis."
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul is located at Great Massoud Road (also known as Bibi Mahru or Airport Road) between Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA) and the Ministry of Public Health. The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy can be reached at 301-490-1042, ext. 8499 from the United States, or +93(0) 700-108-499 from abroad during business hours, Sunday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Kabul time. For after-hours, truly exigent emergencies involving U.S. citizens, please contact the Embassy Duty Officer at +93-(0)700-108-001. Any routine consular correspondence relating to services for U.S. citizens may be sent to KabulACS@state.gov.
The U.S. Embassy often receives threat information concerning U.S. citizens and interests in Afghanistan. For the latest security information, U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State’s Consular Affairs’ website where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Alerts and Travel Warnings, and Country Specific Information for Afghanistan can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada or, for callers in other countries, by calling a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
The U.S. Embassy also encourages U.S. citizens to review the Traveler's Checklist, which includes valuable security information for those living or traveling abroad. Follow us on Twitterand the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.
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Philippines Travel Warning
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to the Philippines, in particular to the Sulu Archipelago, certain regions and cities of the island of Mindanao, and the southern Sulu Sea area.
This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated November 20, 2014, and reflects continuing threats in those areas due to terrorist and insurgent activities.
U.S. citizens should continue to defer non-essential travel to the Sulu Archipelago, due to the high threat of kidnapping of international travelers and violence linked to insurgency and terrorism there.
Based on a history of kidnappings and attempted kidnappings of foreigners in the Eastern Sabah province of Malaysia and in the southern Sulu Sea area by terrorist or insurgent groups based in the Sulu Archipelago, U.S. citizens should continue to exercise extreme caution if considering travel in the southern Sulu Sea region from the southern tip of Palawan, along the coast of Sabah, Malaysia and the islands of the Sulu Archipelago, up to Zamboanga City, Mindanao.
U.S. citizens should also continue to exercise extreme caution if traveling to certain regions and cities of the island of Mindanao. Separatist and terrorist groups continue to conduct bombings, kidnappings and attacks against civilians, political leaders, and Philippine security forces. In particular, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) remain active in the Cotabato City area, and in the Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat provinces, where the government maintains a state of emergency and a greater police presence. There have been no recent reported terrorist threats or incidents within the Davao City or Surigao city limits. There have been no reports of U.S. citizens in Mindanao targeted specifically for their nationality; however, general threats to U.S. citizens and other foreigners throughout Mindanao remain a concern.
Although U.S. government officials in the Philippines travel to Mindanao for official business without incident, the Embassy has imposed a strict restriction on all but the most essential travel to the area, and Embassy employees must receive special authorization from Embassy security officials to travel to any location in Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago.
We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in the Philippines enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
Regularly monitor the State Department's website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for the Philippines. For additional information, refer to the Traveler's Checklist on the State Department’s website.
Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips.
The U.S. Embassy is located at: 1201 Roxas Boulevard, Manila, Philippines, tel. 63-2-301-2000. The American Citizens Services (ACS) section's fax number is 63-2-301-2017, and you may reach the ACS Section by email at ACSinfoManila@state.gov. The ACS Section's website includes consular information and the most recent messages to the U.S. citizen community in the Philippines.
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Burundi Travel Warning
The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to Burundi and recommends that U.S. citizens currently in Burundi depart as soon as it is feasible to do so.
As a result of the deteriorating security situation, the Department of State ordered the departure of dependents of U.S. government personnel and non-emergency U.S. government personnel from Burundi on May 14. The U.S. Embassy is able to offer only very limited emergency services to U.S. citizens in Burundi. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning issued on May 11, 2015.
The security situation remains fluid and volatile because of military and security forces activity in Bujumbura. There have been increased political tensions and civil disturbances related to these actions. Airport and land borders are reportedly closed. U.S. citizens should shelter in place until it is safe to move about, ensure that your travel documents are up-to-date, and confirm that air and land borders are open before attempting to depart the country.
The terrorist organization al-Shabaab, based in Somalia, has threatened to conduct terror attacks in Burundi. It may also target U.S. interests in Burundi. Political violence persists throughout Burundi, a carryover of the Burundian civil war. Armed groups operate in Burundi. Weapons are easy to obtain and some ex-combatants have turned to crime or political violence. Crime, often committed by groups of armed bandits or street children, poses the highest risk for foreign visitors. Exchanges of gunfire and grenade attacks have increased but are usually not directed at foreigners. If you encounter such a situation, stay indoors in a ground floor interior room away from doors and windows. Common crimes include muggings, burglaries, and robberies. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from walking on the streets after dark and from using local public transportation at any time. Local authorities in any part of Burundi are often unable to provide timely assistance during an emergency.
Demonstrations, gatherings, and even sporting events that are intended to be peaceful can turn violent without advance warning. For this reason, U.S. citizens should routinely monitor local media sources and the Internet for reports of demonstrations and unrest, and avoid political rallies, demonstrations, and crowds of any kind.
Travel outside the capital, Bujumbura, presents significant risks, especially after nightfall. Note the U.S. embassy limits and monitors the travel of its personnel in Burundi. All movement by embassy employees outside the city from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. is prohibited. Likewise, U.S. citizens should not travel on national highways from dusk to dawn. Armed criminals ambush vehicles, particularly on the roads leading out of Bujumbura. Keep vehicle doors locked and windows up when stopped in heavy traffic.
Corruption is endemic in Burundi and contributes to an environment where the rule of law is not respected. Government officials may ask for bribes for providing routine services. Travelers are frequently stopped, questioned, and asked for bribes by security forces at numerous official and unofficial roadblocks throughout the country. Likewise, criminals who have paid off local officials may operate with impunity.
For further information:
- See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Burundi.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Contact the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura, located on the corner of Avenue des Etats-Unis and Avenue du Cinquantenaire, at +257-22-20-7000, 7:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +257-22-20-7318, or +257-79-93-88-41.
- Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- Follow us onTwitterand Facebook.
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Kenya Travel Warning
The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Kenya.
U.S. citizens in Kenya, and those considering travel to Kenya, should be aware of continuing and recently heightened threats from terrorismand the high rate of violent crime in some areas. This replaces the Travel Warning of June 19, 2014, to update information about the current security situation.
Although thousands of U.S. citizens visit Kenya each year without incident, caution and keen awareness of one’s personal security situation is vitally important. The U.S. government continues to receive information about potential terrorist threats aimed at U.S., Western, and Kenyan interests in Kenya, including within the Nairobi area, along the coast, and within the northeastern region of the country. Terrorist acts can include suicide operations, bombings – to include car bombings - kidnappings, attacks on civil aviation, and attacks on maritime vessels in or near Kenyan ports. Travelers should consult the Worldwide Caution for further information and details.
Al-Qaeda and its affiliate, Al-Shabaab, have attacked targets in Kenya for years. Since late 2013, there have been numerous attacks involving shootings, grenades, or other explosive devices in Kenya, killing hundreds and causing injury to hundreds more within the Nairobi area, along the coast, and in the northeastern region of the country. Most of these attacks occurred in northeastern Kenya, mainly in Wajir, Garissa, and Mandera counties. The most deadly of these took place on April 2 at the Garissa University College, where al-Shabaab terrorists killed 148 people, primarily students, and wounded many others. Al-Shabaab targets have included government sites, such as police stations and police vehicles, and soft targets including public transportation, nightclubs and bars, religious institutions, universities, and shopping areas.
Grenade and improvised explosive device attacks have occurred in Nairobi, inculding the January 2014 attack at a restaurant in the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. In 2014 and 2015, the Mombasa area had at least eight such attacks. Two occurred in May 2014, one of which targeted a local resort frequented by Westerners.
In September 2013, al-Shabaab attacked the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, killing at least 67 people, both Kenyan and non-Kenyan nationals, and wounding hundreds of others, including five U.S. citizens who were confirmed injured.
Kenyan security services have disrupted several other terrorist plots throughout the country, which may have prevented additional deaths and injury from terrorist attacks. Although the pursuit of those responsible for previous terrorist activities continues, some of those involved remain at large and still operate in the region.
Ethnic clashes sometimes occur in various parts of Kenya, primarily in the rural areas of the country. These clashes are often fueled by disagreements over land or ownership of cattle. While this violence is not directed at foreigners, ethnic clashes and protests are unpredictable and may affect non-Kenyans. U.S. citizens are advised to check conditions and monitor local media reports before traveling to these areas.
Kidnappings of Westerners have occurred in Kenya in the past. In April 2014, gunmen ambushed a convoy vehicle and attempted to kidnap an international humanitarian staff member at the Dadaab refugee complex. While the kidnapping attempt was unsuccessful, one national staff member was injured in the attack.
As part of a wide-ranging security operation that began in 2014, refugees, primarily Somalis, in Nairobi and other cities were ordered to report to established refugee camps. U.S. citizens of Somali descent should be aware that they may encounter interruptions in their travel due to increased police scrutiny based on the encampment policy. It is very important to carry at all times proof of identity and legal status in Kenya (i.e., valid visa). If you are detained by police or immigration officials, you should request to speak to someone from the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi.
As a result of these events and threats, the U.S. Embassy has restricted travel for U.S. government personnel to the Nairobi neighborhood of Eastleigh, to all coastal counties – Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu - and the coastal portion only of Tana River County, the coastal area north of Pate Island, including Kiwavu and north to Kiunga on the Kenya-Somalia border, and northeastern Kenya, including the cities of El Wak, Wajir, Garissa, Mandera, and Liboi. Travel to these restricted areas by any U.S. Embassy personnel must be pre-approved by appropriate Embassy offices. The Embassy continues to consider carefully all U.S. government-sponsored regional conferences and trainings in Nairobi and the number of temporary duty personnel coming to the country for official purposes. In addition, the Embassy relocated some staff to other countries in June and July of 2014 due to the security situation. As of July 2014, the Peace Corps suspended its volunteer activities in Kenya and all Peace Corps Volunteers in Kenya departed the country due to the security situation. The Peace Corps will continue to assess the security situation in Kenya and return when conditions permit.
Although these restrictions do not apply to travelers not associated with the U.S. government, U.S. citizens in Kenya should take these restrictions into account when planning travel. The Embassy regularly reviews the security of these areas for possible modification. Travelers should keep informed of local developments by following local press, radio, and television reports prior to their visits. Visitors should also consult their hosts, including U.S. and Kenyan business contacts, hotels, tour guides, and travel organizers.
Violent and sometimes fatal criminal attacks, including armed carjackings, grenade attacks, home invasions and burglaries, and kidnappings can occur at any time and in any location, particularly in Nairobi. U.S. citizens, including U.S. Embassy employees, have been victims of such crimes within the past year.
U.S. citizens in Kenya should be extremely vigilant with regard to their personal security, particularly in crowded public places such as clubs, hotels, resorts, shopping centers, restaurants, bus stations, and places of worship. U.S. citizens should also remain alert in residential areas, at schools, and at outdoor recreational events. U.S. citizens should use commonsense precautions at all times, to include the following practices: avoid crowded transportation venues; visit only legitimate businesses and tourist areas only during daylight hours; use well-marked taxis and be sure to lock vehicle doors and keep windows up; lock all lodging doors and windows; carry minimal amounts of cash and credit cards; do not wear jewelry which attracts undue attention; know emergency phone numbers; do not resist or antagonize armed criminals; and always be aware of your surroundings. These measures can help prevent a “wrong place, wrong time” scenario in the event of an attack as well as ensuring that your travel to Kenya is safe and enjoyable.
U.S. citizens who travel to or reside in Kenya are urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in order to receive the most up-to-date security information. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly with the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi.
The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi is located on United Nations Avenue, Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya; telephone (+254) (20) 363-6000; fax (+254) (20) 363-6410. In the event of an after-hours emergency, contact the Embassy duty officer at (+254) (20) 363-6000.
U.S. citizens should also consult the Department of State's Country Specific Information for Kenya, as well as Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, which are all available on the U.S. Department of State's, Bureau of Consular Affairs website. The most recent security and emergency messages can be found on U.S. Embassys Nairobi’s website. Travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.
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Mali Travel Warning
The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Mali.
We especially warn against travel to the northern parts of the country and along the border with Mauritania because of ongoing military operations and threats of attacks and kidnappings targeting westerners. Mali faces significant security challenges because of the presence in northern Mali of extremists and militant factions. The potential for attacks throughout the country, including in Bamako, remains. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated January 13, 2015.
Violent extremist and militant elements, including al- Qaeda in the Lands of Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar al-Dine, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad (MUJAO), and al-Murabitun are present in northern Mali. While these extremist elements have been mostly dislodged from the major population centers of Gao and Timbuktu, they continue to conduct attacks targeting security forces in and around these locations.
During the past year, there has been an increase in attacks targeting the United Nations peacekeepers of the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Rocket attacks targeting MINUSMA camps in various northern locations were reported. In addition, separate violent incidents involving suicide bombings, explosives, and land mines have occurred. The majority of these incidents resulted in numerous injuries and casualties.
Terrorist groups have increased their rhetoric calling for additional attacks or kidnapping attempts on westerners and others, particularly those linked to support for international military intervention.
While the security situation in Bamako and southern Mali has been relatively stable, on March 7, there was an armed attack on La Terrasse, a nightclub in the Hippodrome area of Bamako, in which a French citizen, a Belgian citizen, and three Malian citizens were killed. The Government of Mali has increased security in the capital, but the potential for additional attacks targeting Westerners in the capital city and throughout the country remains. Police harassment and violent crime in Bamako persist, including several armed carjacking incidents, one of which resulted in the death of a French citizen.
Following the 2012 unrest, most international organizations resumed operations and allowed family members and staff to return, but with renewed focus on exercising caution and putting into place varying levels of security restrictions. While the U.S. Embassy is operating normally, it is closely monitoring the situation and will update U.S. citizens of any major security changes. Our Security and Emergency Messages for U.S. Citizens are available on the Embassy's website.
The U.S. Embassy reminds U.S. citizens of the potential for terrorist activity throughout Mali. U.S. citizens are urged to exercise caution, be alert to their surroundings, and avoid crowds, demonstrations, or any other form of public gatherings when visiting locations frequented by westerners, in and around Bamako. Periodic public demonstrations occur throughout Mali. While most demonstrations are peaceful, a few have become confrontational. U.S. citizens throughout Mali should develop a personal security plan. We recommend you vary your daily routine, and travel only on main roads to the extent this is possible. Malian security forces regularly update security safeguards, including checkpoints and other movement control measures, without prior notice.
The Government of Mali may periodically impose curfews and other restrictions as security needs dictate. U.S. citizens should monitor local news broadcasts regarding these measures. The U.S. Embassy may also impose temporary curfews or other restrictions on U.S. Embassy employees as needed and, from time to time, close to review its security posture in response to particular warnings or events. Such actions will be shared with the private U.S. citizen community through the Embassy's website.
U.S. citizens planning to travel to Mali despite this Travel Warning, particularly to destinations outside of Bamako, should consult the U.S. Embassy's website or your host organization for the most recent security assessment of the areas where you plan to travel.
Citizens should also note that the U.S. government is concerned about the risks to civil aircraft operating into, out of, within, or over Mali due to hazards associated with ongoing fighting involving military forces, militant groups, and the unstable security situation in the country. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has advised U.S. civil aviation to avoid flying below a certain altitude in the airspace over Mali. For further background information regarding FAA flight prohibitions and advisories for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions, and Notices.
In late 2014, Mali saw its first Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) case. However, there was limited transmission of EVD in Mali, and, on January 6, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) removed the Travel Notice for Mali regarding EVD. On January 18, the World Health Organization declared Mali EVD-free. Persons whose travel originated in Mali will no longer be subject to enhanced screening and monitoring when entering the United States, nor will they be required to enter the country through designated airports. The CDC has also removed the Alert Level 2 Travel Notice for Mali, which advised travelers to practice enhanced precautions when visiting Mali. For further health information for Travelers to Mali, visit the CDC website.
Travelers departing Mali via Senou International Airport in Bamako should, however, be aware that the Government of Mali continues to conduct outbound airport screening procedures because of the recent presence of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Mali. Travelers should consider arriving at the airport at least three hours in advance of their flight and consult relevant authorities, including the Department of Homeland Security, for the most up-to-date information. Travelers are encouraged to check with their airline for any changes and cancellations prior to travelling to the airport.
U.S. citizens who travel to or reside in Mali despite this Travel Warning should enroll in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). By enrolling, you will receive security updates, and the Embassy can contact you more easily in case of emergency.
U.S. citizens should consult the Country Specific Information for Maliand the Worldwide Caution, both located on the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs website. Current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warningsand Travel Alertsas well as the Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitterand the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebookas well.
The U.S. Embassy in Bamakois located in ACI 2000 at Rue 243, Porte 297. The Embassy's mailing address is B.P. 34, Bamako, Mali. The telephone number, including for after-hour emergencies, is 223 2070-2300. The consular fax number is 223 2070-2340.
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Eritrea Travel Warning
The U.S. Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Eritrea.
The Government of Eritrea continues to restrict the travel of all foreign nationals, including U.S. diplomats posted in Asmara. Consequently, the U.S. Embassy cannot guarantee its ability to provide emergency consular assistance outside of Asmara. In addition, contrary to its obligations under the Vienna Convention, the Government of Eritrea does not notify the U.S. Embassy when a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested. U.S. citizens of Eritrean ethnicity are often subject to the same laws and obligations as Eritrean nationals, particularly those who enter the country using their Eritrean identity card in lieu of a U.S. passport with an Eritrean visa. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning for Eritrea dated September 12, 2014.
The Eritrean government continues to restrict the travel of all foreign nationals. These restrictions require all visitors and residents, including U.S. diplomats, to apply 10 days in advance for permission to travel beyond 25 kilometers (15 miles) of Asmara’s city limits. While permission is often granted for popular tourist destinations such as Massawa and Keren, requests to travel near the border areas, particularly with Ethiopia and Djibouti, are regularly denied. Requests by U.S. diplomats to travel to areas outside of Asmara are also routinely turned down, thus impairing the ability of consular officers to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in areas outside Asmara.
Travelers should be aware that travel permits are valid for the approved final destination only, and do not allow for stops along the way to or in the proximity of the approved destination. In addition, travel to religious institutions, such as monasteries, requires separate travel permissions even when such facilities are located in or near approved destination cities. Foreign travelers not adhering strictly to the terms of travel permits have reported being detained by law enforcement authorities.
U.S. citizens are strongly advised to avoid travel near the Eritrean-Ethiopian border and the Southern Red Sea Region because of the presence of large numbers of Eritrean and Ethiopian troops along the contested border area, and because of the military tensions between the two countries. U.S. citizens should also avoid travel to the contested Eritrea-Djibouti border region, where troops from Qatar patrol this area and tensions remain high.
Landmines and unexploded ordnance remain a serious problem in parts of the country. Some areas still have not been certified free of mines and unexploded ordnance following the 30-year war of independence and the subsequent 1998-2000 border conflict with Ethiopia. Visitors should avoid walking alone and hiking in riverbeds or areas that local government officials have not certified as safe.
Eritrea has complicated citizenship laws and does not recognize renunciation of Eritrean citizenship. U.S. citizens born in Eritrea to Eritrean parents or who in other ways may have Eritrean origins are required by the Government of Eritrea to register with the Immigration and Nationality Office in Asmara within seven business days of their entry into the country. The Eritrean government sometimes subjects U.S. citizens of Eritrean ethnicity to the same entry/exit requirements as Eritrean citizens, including obtaining an exit permit. Dual nationals, who enter the country on Eritrean travel documents, including a national ID, are treated as Eritrean citizens, regardless of their dual citizenship status and may be subject to additional obligations. Dual nationals may not be able to obtain Eritrean civil documents, such as birth and death certificates, marriage and divorce documents, educational transcripts, or property ownership records, without proof of payment of the two percent government diaspora tax.
U.S. citizens choosing to travel to Eritrea despite this Travel Warning must obtain an Eritrean visa before their arrival. Persons arriving in Eritrea without a visa are generally refused admission and returned to their point of origin on the next flight unless prior arrangements were made for an airport visa.
In connection with the May 24 Independence Day holiday, travelers will notice an increase in the presence of military and police personnel throughout Asmara during the months of April and May. It is during these two months that military and police personnel most frequently check documentation.
Although there have been no specific incidents of violence targeting U.S. citizens, U.S. citizens are urged to exercise caution, stay current with media coverage of local events, and be aware of their surroundings at all times.
Piracy on the Red Sea continues to occur and recreational vessels are strongly encouraged to avoid the region. Commercial vessels without explicit agreements with Eritrean authorities are urged to avoid Eritrean territorial waters. The Eritrean government has, as recently as December 2013, seized ships which do not hold such agreement. These seizures have resulted in lengthy detentions of international crew members, including U.S. nationals. U.S. citizens are cautioned that commercial/tourist ships are not allowed to dock at some Eritrean ports, even to refuel. The Eritrean government has not granted the U.S. Coast Guard access to Eritrean ports to assess safety and security conditions despite repeated requests to do so. U.S. citizens should consult the Maritime Administration'sHorn of Africa Piracy pagefor information on maritime advisories, self-protection measures, and naval forces in the region.
Modern telecommunications options are limited in Eritrea and cannot be counted upon in an emergency. International cell phone service plans do not work on Eritrean networks. Local cellular phone service is tightly controlled by the Eritrean government and difficult to obtain. When available, international cell phone calls are extremely expensive and only available using pre-paid minutes. Internet cafés are widespread but sometimes lack power, and internet service is often very slow, unreliable, and does not support Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services such as Skype.
The U.S. Embassy in Asmara urges citizens who travel or remain in Eritrea despite this travel warning to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), so you can receive the most up-to-date security information. Please keep all of your information in STEP current.
U.S. citizens should consult the Country Specific Information for Eritreaand the Worldwide Caution, both located on the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs website. Current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warningsand Travel Alertsas well as the Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitterand the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebookas well.
The consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Asmara is open for all U.S. citizen services on Thursday afternoon by appointment only. In the case of an emergency, please contact the Embassy for an emergency appointment. The U.S. Embassy in Asmara is located at 179 Alaa Street, P.O. Box 211, Asmara, Eritrea; telephone (291) (1) 120-004, available 24 hours a day in case of emergency; fax (291) (1) 124-255 and (291) (1) 127-584.
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Mexico Travel Warning
The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens about the risk of traveling to certain places in Mexico due to threats to safety and security posed by organized criminal groups in the country.
U.S. citizens have been the victims of violent crimes, such as kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery by organized criminal groups in various Mexican states. For information on security conditions in specific regions of Mexico, which can vary, travelers should reference the state-by-state assessments further below. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning for Mexico, issued April 13, 2015, to update information about the security situation and to advise the public of additional restrictions on the travel of U.S. government (USG) personnel.
Millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year for study, tourism, and business, including more than 150,000 who cross the border every day. The Mexican government dedicates substantial resources to protect visitors to major tourist destinations, and there is no evidence that organized criminal groups have targeted U.S. visitors or residents based on their nationality. Resort areas and tourist destinations in Mexico generally do not see the levels of drug-related violence and crime that are reported in the border region or in areas along major trafficking routes.
Nevertheless, U.S. travelers should be aware that the Mexican government has been engaged in an extensive effort to counter organized criminal groups that engage in narcotics trafficking and other unlawful activities throughout Mexico. Crime and violence are serious problems and can occur anywhere, and U.S. citizens have fallen victim to criminal activity, including homicide, gun battles, kidnapping, carjacking, and highway robbery. While many of those killed in organized crime-related violence have themselves been involved in criminal activity, innocent persons have also been killed. The number of U.S. citizens reported to the Department of State as murdered in Mexico was 81 in 2013 and 100 in 2014.
Gun battles between rival criminal organizations or with Mexican authorities have taken place in towns and cities in many parts of Mexico, and have occurred in broad daylight on streets and in other public venues, such as restaurants and clubs. During some of these incidents, U.S. citizens have been temporarily prevented from leaving the area.Criminal organizations have used stolen cars, buses, and trucks to create roadblocks on major thoroughfares, preventing the military and police from responding to criminal activity. The location and timing of future armed engagements is unpredictable. We recommend that you defer travel to the areas specifically identified in this Travel Warning and exercise extreme caution when traveling throughout the other areas for which advisories are in effect.
The number of kidnappings throughout Mexico is of particular concern and appears to be on the rise. According to statistics published by the Mexican Secretaria de Gobernacion (SEGOB), in 2013 kidnappings nationwide increased 20 percent over the previous year. While kidnappings can occur anywhere, according to SEGOB, during this timeframe, the states with the highest numbers of kidnappings were Tamaulipas, Guerrero, Michoacán, Estado de Mexico, and Morelos. Additionally, according to a widely publicized study by the agency responsible for national statistics (INEGI, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography), Mexico suffered an estimated 105,682 kidnappings in 2012; only 1,317 were reported to the police. Police have been implicated in some of these incidents. Both local and expatriate communities have been victimized. More than 130 kidnappings of U.S. citizens were reported to the U.S. Embassy and consulates in Mexico between January and November of 2014.
U.S. citizens are encouraged to lower their personal profiles and to avoid displaying indicators of wealth such as expensive-looking jewelry, watches, or cameras. U.S. citizens are encouraged to maintain awareness of their surroundings and avoid situations in which they may be isolated or stand out as potential victims.
Kidnappings in Mexicohave included traditional, "express," and "virtual" kidnappings. Victims of traditional kidnappings are physically abducted and held captive until a ransom is paid for release. "Express" kidnappings are those in which a victim is abducted for a short time and forced to withdraw money, usually from an ATM, then released. A "virtual" kidnapping is anextortion-by-deception scheme wherein a victim is contacted by phone and convinced to isolate themselves fromfamily and friends until a ransom is paid. The victim is coerced (by threat of violence)to remain isolated and to provide phone numbers for the victim's family orloved ones. The victim's family is then contactedand a ransom for the "kidnapped" extracted. Recently, some travelers to Mexico staying at hotels as guests have been targets of such "virtual"kidnapping schemes.
Of particular safety concern are casinos, sports books, or other gambling establishments and adult entertainment establishments. U.S. government personnel are specifically prohibited from patronizing these establishments in the states of Coahuila, Durango, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosi, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Jalisco, Colima and Nayarit.
Carjacking and highway robbery are serious problems in many parts of the border region, and U.S. citizens have been murdered in such incidents. Most victims who complied with carjackers' demands have reported that they were not physically harmed. Carjackers have shot at vehicles that have attempted to flee. Incidents have occurred during the day and at night, and carjackers have used a variety of techniques, including roadblocks, bumping/moving vehicles to force them to stop, and running vehicles off the road at high speeds. There are indications that criminals target newer and larger vehicles, especially dark-colored SUVs. However, even drivers of old sedans and buses coming from the United States have been targeted. While violent incidents can occur anywhere and at any time, they most frequently occur at night and on isolated roads. To reduce risk when traveling by road, we strongly urge you to travel between cities throughout Mexico only during daylight hours, to avoid isolated roads, and to use toll roads ("cuotas") whenever possible.
The Mexican government has deployed federal police and military personnel throughout the country as part of its efforts to combat organized criminal groups. U.S. citizens traveling on Mexican roads and highways by car or bus may encounter government checkpoints, staffed by military or law enforcement personnel. In some places, criminal organizations have erected their own unauthorized checkpoints, at times wearing police and military uniforms, and have killed or abducted motorists who have failed to stop at them. You should cooperate at all checkpoints.
Demonstrations are common and occur in all parts of the country. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. Protesters in Mexico may block traffic on roads, including major thoroughfares, or take control of toll booths on highways. U.S. citizens are urged to avoid areas of demonstrations, and to exercise caution if in the vicinity of any protests. Travelers who encounter protestors demanding unofficial tolls are generally allowed to pass upon payment. Travelers are urged not to exit from major highways.U.S. Citizens should avoid participating in demonstrations and other activities that might be deemed political by the authorities as the Mexican Constitution prohibits political activities by foreigners; such actions may result in detention and/or deportation.
The Department imposes restrictions on U.S. government employees' travel in Mexico. Since July 2010, USG employees are prohibited from driving on non-official travel from the U.S.-Mexico border to or from the interior of Mexico or Central America. Personal travel by motor vehicle is permitted during daylight hours on Highway 15 toll road between Hermosillo and Nogales, on Highway 45 between Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua City, and on the main roads between Palomas, Chihuahua and Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua.
U.S. government personnel and their families are prohibited from personal travel to all areas to which it is advised to "defer non-essential travel.” When travel for official purposes is essential, it is conducted with extensive security precautions. U.S. government personnel and their families are allowed to travel for personal reasons to the areas where no advisory is in effect or where the advisory is to exercise caution. While the general public is not forbidden from visiting places categorized under "defer non-essential travel," U.S. government personnel will not be able to respond quickly to an emergency situation in those areas due to security precautions that must be taken by U.S. government personnel to travel to those areas. Travel at night is prohibited for U.S. government personnel in some states as indicated below.
For more information on road safety and crime along Mexico's roadways, see the Department of State'sCountry Specific Information.
Below is a state-by-state assessment of security conditions throughout Mexico. Travelers should be mindful that even if no advisories are in effect for a given state, crime and violence can still occur. For general information about travel and other conditions in Mexico, see ourCountry Specific Information.
Aguascalientes:Exercise caution when traveling to the areas of the state that border the state of Zacatecas, as criminal organization activity in that region continues.
Baja California:Tijuana, Rosarito, Ensenada and Mexicali are major cities/travel destinations in the state of Baja California-Exercise caution in the northern state of Baja California, particularly at night. Criminal activity along highways is a continuing security concern. According to the Baja State Secretariat for Public Security, from January to October 2014 Tijuana and Rosarito experienced increasing homicide rates compared to the same period in the previous year. While most of these homicides appeared to be targeted criminal organization assassinations, turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Shooting incidents, in which innocent bystanders have been injured, have occurred during daylight hours.
Baja California Sur:Cabo San Lucas and La Paz are major cities/travel destinations in the state of Southern Baja California–Exercise caution in the state capital of La Paz. According to the Department of Interior of Mexico, in 2013 Baja California Sur registered its highest homicide rate since 1997. Many of these homicides occurred in La Paz, where there has been an increase in organized crime-related violence.
Campeche:No advisory is in effect.
Chiapas:Palenque and San Cristobal de las Casas are major cities/travel destinations in Chiapas-No advisory is in effect.
Chihuahua:Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua City, and Copper Canyon are major cities/travel destinations in Chihuahua-Exercise caution in traveling to: the business and shopping districts in the northeast section of Ciudad Juarez and its major industrial parks, the central downtown section and major industrial parks in the city of Chihuahua, the town of Palomas, the urban area of the city of Ojinaga, and the towns of Nuevo Casas Grandes and Casas Grandes and their immediate environs.Travel to the Nuevo Casas Grandes area should be through the Palomas port of entry (POE) on U.S. Highway 11, continuing south until reaching Mexico Highway 2 west to Nuevo Casas Grandes. Travel to Ojinaga should be on the U.S. side via U.S. Highway 67 through the Presidio POE. Defer non-essential travel to other areas in the state of Chihuahua and travel between cities only on major highways and only during daylight hours. Crime and violence remain serious problems throughout the state of Chihuahua, particularly in the southern portion of the state and in the Sierra Mountains, including Copper Canyon.
Coahuila:Defer non-essential travel to the state of Coahuila except the city of Saltillo, where you should exercise caution. Violence and criminal activity along the highways are continuing security concerns, particularly along the northern border between Piedras Negras and Nuevo Laredo. The state of Coahuila continues to experience high rates of violent crime, including murder, kidnapping, and armed carjacking.
Colima:Manzanillo is a major city/travel destination in Colima- Defer non-essential travel to the areas of the state of Colima that border the state of Michoacán, including the city of Tecoman. The security situation along the Michoacán border continues to be the most unstable in the state, and personal travel by U.S. government personnel is not permitted in this area.
Durango:Exercise caution in the state of Durango. Violence and criminal activity along the highways are a continuing security concern. Several areas in the state continue to experience high rates of violence and remain volatile and unpredictable. U.S. government personnel may travel outside the city of Durango only during daylight hours on toll roads, and must return to the city of Durango to abide by a curfew of 1 a.m. to 6 a.m.
Estado de Mexico:Toluca and Teotihuacan are major travel destinations in Estado de Mexico-Exercise caution in the State of Mexico. Many areas of the state have seen high levels of crime and insecurity as organized criminal groups have expanded their activities from the states of Guerrero and Michoacán, and have also experienced high levels of street crime. The September 2014INEGI crime victimization survey indicated that the State of Mexico had the highest incidence of crime in Mexico, with 47,778 victimsper 100,000. Due to high rates of crime and insecurity, defer non-essential travel to the municipalities of Coacalco, Ecatepec, Nezahualcoyotl, La Paz, Valle del Chalco, Solidaridad, Chalco, and Ixtapaluca, which are eastern portions of the greater Mexico City metropolitan area, located just to the east of the Federal District of Mexico and Benito Juarez airport, unless traveling directly through the areas on major thoroughfares. Defer non-essential travel to the municipality of Tlatlaya in the southwest portion of the state and non-essential travel on any roads between Santa Marta in the southeast portion of the state and Huitzilac in the state of Morelos, including the Lagunas de Zempoala National Park and surrounding areas, due to high rates of crime and insecurity.
Guanajuato: San Miguel de Allende and Leon are major cities/travel destinations in Guanajuato-No advisory is in effect.
Guerrero: Acapulco, Ixtapa, Taxco and Zihuatanejo are major cities/travel destinations in Guerrero- Defer non-essential travel to all parts of the state, except for the cities of Acapulco, Ixtapa, and Zihuatanejo. Travel to Acapulco and Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo only by air or cruise ship, exercise caution, and remain in tourist areas. Travel in and out of Acapulco by air and cruise ship is permitted for U.S. government personnel. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling within Guerrero state by land, including via the 95D toll road (“cuota”) to/from Mexico City and Acapulco, as well as highway 200 between Acapulco and Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo. In Acapulco, defer non-essential travel to areas further than two blocks inland of the Costera Miguel Aleman Boulevard, which parallels the popular beach areas. Lodging for U.S. government personnel is limited to the hotel zone (“zona hotelera”) of Acapulco, beginning from the Krystal Beach Acapulco hotel in the north and going south through Puerto Marquez, including the Playa Diamante area and ending at The Resort at Mundo Imperial hotel. In general, the popular tourist area of Diamante, just south of the city, has been less affected by violence. Any activity outside the hotel zone for U.S. government personnel is limited to the coastal area from La Quebrada to the beginning of the hotel zone and only during daylight hours. The state of Guerrero was the most violent state in Mexico in 2013, with 2,087 homicides and 207 reported cases of kidnapping, according to the Mexican Secretariado Ejecutivo Nacional de Seguridad Publica. Self-defense groups operate independently of the government in many areas of Guerrero. Armed members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and, although not considered hostile to foreigners or tourists, are suspicious of outsiders and should be considered volatile and unpredictable.
Hidalgo:No advisory is in effect.
Jalisco:Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, and Lake Chapala are major cities/travel destinations in Jalisco–Exercise caution throughout the state, particularly in rural areas and when using secondary highways. Violent clashes between criminal organizations and government authorities, and related disturbances including barricades of burning vehicles blocking major roads and highways, are ongoing concerns that typically occur without notice. Defer non-essential travel to areas of the state that border the states of Michoacán and Zacatecas. The security situation along the Michoacán and Zacatecas borders continues to be unstable. U.S. government personnel are authorized to use Federal toll road 15D for travel to Mexico City; however, they may not stop in the town of La Barca for any reason. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from personal travel to areas of Jalisco that border Zacatecas, and are prohibited from intercity travel at night.
Mexico City (also known as the Federal District):No advisory is in effect. See also the discussion in the section on Estado de Mexico for areas within the greater Mexico City metropolitan area.
Michoacán:Morelia is a major city/travel destination in Michoacán- Defer non-essential travel to the state of Michoacán except the cities of Morelia and Lázaro Cardenas and the area north of federal toll road 15D, where you should exercise caution. U.S. government employees are prohibited from traveling by land in Michoacán except on federal toll road 15D during daylight hours. Flying into Morelia and Lázaro Cardenas is the recommended method of travel. Attacks on Mexican government officials, law enforcement and military personnel, and other incidents of organized crime-related violence, have occurred throughout Michoacán. Armed members of some self-defense groups maintain roadblocks and, although not considered hostile to foreigners or tourists, are suspicious of outsiders and should be considered volatile and unpredictable. Some self-defense groups in Michoacán are reputed to be linked to organized crime.
Morelos:Cuernavaca is a major city/travel destination in Morelos- Exercise caution in the state of Morelos due to the unpredictable nature of organized crime violence. You should also defer non-essential travel on any roads between Huitzilac in the northwest corner of the state and Santa Marta in the state of Mexico, including the Lagunas de Zempoala National Park and surrounding areas. Numerous incidents of organized crime-related violence have also occurred in the city of Cuernavaca.
Nayarit: The Riviera Nayarit coast, including the cities of Tepic, Xalisco, and San Blas, is a major travel destination in Nayarit-Defer non-essential travel to areas of the state of Nayarit that border the states of Sinaloa or Durango, as well as all rural areas and secondary highways.
Nuevo Leon: Monterrey is a major city/travel destination in Nuevo Leon– Exercise caution in the state of Nuevo Leon. Although the level of organized crime-related violence and general insecurity in Monterrey has decreased dramatically within the last two years, sporadic incidents of violence have occurred. Security services in and around Monterrey are robust and have proven responsive and effective in combating violent crimes; however, instances of violence remain a concern in the more remote regions of the state. U.S. government personnel and their dependents may travel outside the city of Monterrey only during daylight hours on toll roads, and must return to the city of San Pedro Garza Garcia municipal boundaries to abide by a curfew of 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., except for travel to the airport after 5 a.m.
Oaxaca: Oaxaca, Huatulco and Puerto Escondido are major cities/travel destinations in Oaxaca-No advisory is in effect.
Puebla:No advisory is in effect.
Queretaro:No advisory is in effect.
Quintana Roo: Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya and Tulum are major cities/travel destinations in Quintana Roo- No advisory is in effect.
San Luis Potosi:Exercise caution in the state of San Luis Potosi. U.S. government personnel may travel outside the City of San Luis Potosi only during daylight hours on toll roads, and must return to the city of San Luis Potosi to abide by a curfew of 1 a.m. to 6 a.m.
Sinaloa: Mazatlan is a major city/travel destination in Sinaloa-Defer non-essential travel to the state of Sinaloa except the city of Mazatlan, where you should exercise caution, particularly late at night and in the early morning. One of Mexico's most powerful criminal organizations is based in the state of Sinaloa, and violent crime rates remain high in many parts of the state. Travel off the toll roads in remote areas of Sinaloa is especially dangerous and should be avoided. We recommend that any travel in Mazatlan be limited to Zona Dorada and the historic town center, as well as direct routes to/from these locations and the airport.
Sonora: Nogales, Puerto Peñasco, Hermosillo, and San Carlos are major cities/travel destinations in Sonora-Sonora is a key region in the international drug and human trafficking trades and can be extremely dangerous for travelers. Travelers throughout Sonora are encouraged to limit travel to main roads during daylight hours. The region west of Nogales, east of Sonoyta, and from Caborca north, including the towns of Saric, Tubutama, and Altar, and the eastern edge of Sonora bordering Chihuahua, are known centers of illegal activity, and non-essential travel between these cities should be avoided. Travelers should also defer non-essential travel to the eastern edge of the state of Sonora, which borders the state of Chihuahua (all points along that border east of the northern city of Agua Prieta and the southern town of Alamos), and defer non-essential travel within the city of Ciudad Obregon and south of the city of Navojoa. You should exercise caution while transiting Vicam in southern Sonora due to roadblocks that can be institutedad hocby local indigenous and environmental groups. U.S. citizens visiting Puerto Peñasco should use the Lukeville, Arizona/Sonoyta, Sonora border crossing, and limit driving to daylight hours.
Tabasco: Villahermosa is a major city/travel destination in Tabasco-No advisory is in effect.
Tamaulipas: Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa, and Tampico are major cities in Tamaulipas.Defer all non-essential travel to the state of Tamaulipas. Throughout the state violent crime, including homicide, armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, extortion, and sexual assault, pose significant safety risks. State and municipal law enforcement capacity is limited to nonexistent in many parts of Tamaulipas. Violent conflicts between rival criminal elements and/or the Mexican military can occur in all parts of the region and at all times of the day. Violent criminal activity occurs more frequentlyalong the northern border. While no highway routes through Tamaulipas are considered safe, the highways between Matamoros-Ciudad Victoria, Reynosa-Ciudad Victoria, Ciudad Victoria-Tampico, Monterrey-Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros-Reynosa, and Monterrey-Reynosa, are more prone to criminal activity. Organized criminal groups sometimes target public and private passenger buses traveling through Tamaulipas. These groups sometimes take all passengers hostage and demand ransom payments. In Tamaulipas, U.S. government employees are subject to movement restrictions and a curfew between midnight and 6 a.m. Matamoros, Reynosa, Nuevo Laredo, and Ciudad Victoria have experienced numerous gun battles and attacks with explosive devices in the past year. The number of reported kidnappings in Tamaulipas is among the highest in Mexico, and the number of U.S. citizens reported to the consulates in Matamoros and Nuevo Laredo as being kidnapped, abducted, or disappearing involuntarily in 2014 has also increased.
Tlaxcala:No advisory is in effect.
Veracruz:Exercise caution when traveling in the state of Veracruz. The state of Veracruz continues to experience violence among rival criminal organizations.
Yucatan:Merida and Chichen Itza are major cities/travel destinations in Yucatan-No advisory is in effect.
Zacatecas:Exercise caution in the state of Zacatecas. Robberies, carjackings, and organized criminal activity remain a concern. U.S. government personnel may travel outside the city of Zacatecas only during daylight hours on toll roads, and must return to the city of Zacatecas to abide by a curfew of 1 a.m. to 6 a.m.
For more detailed information on staying safe in Mexico, please see the State Department'sCountry Specific Informationfor Mexico.
For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor theState Department's internet web site, where the currentWorldwide Caution,Travel Warnings, andTravel Alertscan be found. Follow us onTwitterand the Bureau ofConsular Affairs page on Facebookas well. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 001-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). U.S. citizens traveling or residing overseas are encouraged to enroll with the State Department'sSmart Traveler Enrollment Program. For any emergencies involving U.S. citizens in Mexico, please contact the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate with responsibility for that person's location in Mexico. For information on the ten U.S. consular districts in Mexico, complete with links to Embassy and Consulate websites, please consult the Mexico U.S. Consular Districtmap. The numbers provided below for the Embassy and Consulates are available around the clock. The U.S. Embassy is located in Mexico City at Paseo de la Reforma 305, Colonia Cuauhtemoc, telephone from the United States: 011-52-55-5080-2000; telephone within Mexico City: 5080-2000; telephone long distance within Mexico 01-55-5080-2000.U.S. citizens may also contact the Embassy bye-mail.
Consulates (with consular districts):
- Ciudad Juarez (Chihuahua): Paseo de la Victoria 3650, telephone. (011)(52)(656) 227-3000.
- Guadalajara (Nayarit, Jalisco, Aguas Calientes, and Colima): Progreso 175, telephone (011)(52)(333) 268-2100.
- Hermosillo (Sinaloa and the southern part of the state of Sonora): Avenida Monterrey 141, telephone (011)(52)(662) 289-3500.
- Matamoros (the southern part of Tamaulipas with the exception of the city of Tampico): Avenida Primera 2002, telephone (011)(52)(868) 812-4402.
- Merida (Campeche, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo): Calle 60 no. 338-K x 29 y 31, Col. Alcala Martin, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico 97050, telephone (011)(52)(999) 942-5700 or 202-250-3711 (U.S. number).
- Monterrey (Nuevo Leon, Durango, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, and the southern part of Coahuila):Prolongacion Ave. Alfonso Reyes No. 150, Col. Valle Poniente, Santa Catarina, Nuevo Leon, 66196, telephone (011)(52)(818) 047-3100.
- Nogales (the northern part of Sonora): Calle San Jose, Nogales, Sonora, telephone (011)(52)(631) 311-8150.
- Nuevo Laredo (the northern part of Coahuila and the northwestern part of Tamaulipas): Calle Allende 3330, Col. Jardin, telephone (011)(52)(867) 714-0512.
- Tijuana (Baja California Norte and Baja California Sur): Paseo de Las Culturas s/n Mesa de Otay, telephone (011) (52) (664) 977-2000.
- All other Mexican states, the Federal District of Mexico City, and the city of Tampico, Tamaulipas, are part of the Embassy's consular district.
- Acapulco: Hotel Emporio, Costera Miguel Aleman 121 – Suite 14, telephone (011)(52)(744) 481-0100 or (011)(52)(744) 484-0300.
- Cancún: Blvd. Kukulcan Km 13 ZH Torre La Europea, Despacho 301 Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico C.P. 77500, telephone (011)(52)(998) 883-0272.
- Los Cabos:Las Tiendas de Palmilla Local B221, Carretera Transpeninsular Km. 27.5, San José del Cabo, BCS, Mexico 23406telephone, (624) 143-3566 Fax: (624) 143-6750.
- Mazatlán: Playa Gaviotas #202, Zona Dorada, telephone (011)(52)(669) 916-5889.
- Oaxaca: Macedonio Alcalá no. 407, interior 20, telephone (011)(52)(951) 514-3054, (011) (52)(951) 516-2853.
- Piedras Negras: Abasolo #211, Zona Centro, Piedras Negras, Coah., telephone, (011)(52)(878) 782-5586.
- Playa del Carmen: "The Palapa," Calle 1 Sur, between Avenida 15 and Avenida 20, telephone (011)(52)(984) 873-0303 or 202-370-6708(a U.S. number).
- Puerto Vallarta: Paradise Plaza, Paseo de los Cocoteros #1, Local #4, Interior #17, Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, telephone (011)(52)(322) 222-0069.
- San Miguel de Allende: Centro Comercial La Luciernaga, Libramiento Manuel Zavala (Pepe KBZON), telephone (011)(52)(415) 152-2357.
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Central African Republic Travel Warning
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to the Central African Republic (CAR).
The Government of Chad closed its border with CAR May 12, 2014. Only citizens of Chad returning home will be able to cross the Chad-CAR border. U.S. citizens who have decided to stay in CAR despite this warning should review their personal security situation and seriously consider departing. This replaces the Travel Warning of November 5, 2014, to reflect the risk of remaining in CAR and continued lack of security.
In March 2013, the Seleka rebel group overthrew the government of the Central African Republic. Despite the eventual creation of a transitional government in January 2014, an on-going peace and political transition process, and the presence of international peacekeepers, the security situation remains highly unstable. The sudden outbreak of violence in October 2014 serves as a reminder that the security situation is subject to rapid deterioration. Instability may be heightened as the political transition process unfolds around the upcoming Bangui Forum, constitutional referendum, and elections. Secretary Kerry announced the resumption of limited operations at the U.S. Embassy in Bangui on September 15, 2014. However, Embassy Bangui cannot provide consular services to U.S. citizens in CAR at this time. U.S. citizens in need of routine assistance should contact the U.S. Embassy in Yaounde, Cameroon by email to YaoundeACS@state.gov.
U.S. citizens in CAR in need of emergency assistance should contact the U.S. Embassy in Yaounde, Cameroon; Telephone: 237 2220-1500 ext. 4341/4023 (Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. local time) Emergencies: 237 2220-1500, ext. 4531 or 237 2222-25-89; E-mail:YaoundeACS@state.gov.
If you seek information about U.S. citizen services in CAR from the Office of Overseas Citizens Services in Washington, please e-mail: CARemergencyUSC@state.gov.
If you are going to live in or travel to the Central African Republic despite this Travel Warning, please take the time to enroll in theSmart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). By enrolling in STEP, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. Enrolling in STEP will also make it easier for us to contact you in the event of an emergency. You should remember to keep all of your information in STEP up to date; it is particularly important when you enroll or update your information to include a current phone number and e-mail address in order to receive emergency messages.
For information on general crime and security issues, you should also consult the Department of State Country Specific Information for the Central African Republic; as well asthe Worldwide Caution; located on theBureau of Consular Affairswebsite. Follow us on Twitterand the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips. Travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada, or from other countries on a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444.
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Nepal Travel Warning
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Nepal and recommends that they defer non-essential travel there following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 25.
On May 2, 2015, the Department of State approved authorized departure for non-emergency U.S. government personnel and dependents. The U.S. Department of State also recommends that U.S. citizens in Nepal exercise caution when traveling in or planning departure from the country. The possibility for aftershocks of significant magnitude persists.Steep, mountainous areas have been destabilized after the earthquake, and significant landslides have occurred. Landslides and avalanches are possible in such areas, particularly in light of heavy monsoon rains which are expected to begin in June. Infrastructure is fragile and access to basic resources, including healthcare, could be limited. Cell phone and internet service are intermittent. In Kathmandu and elsewhere, some buildings are collapsed and some roads are impassable, making transportation difficult. Some areas of the city are crowded with displaced persons. Kathmandu and Lukla airports have been re-opened since the earthquake. However, the airports may close temporarily without notice due to aftershocks or inclement weather. We encourage travelers to contact their airlines to confirm flight availability before departing for the airport. This replaces the Travel Alert dated April 27, 2015.
The U.S. Department of State encourages U.S. citizens in Nepal, and their friends and family who might be located elsewhere, to closely monitor the media as well as the Nepal Crisis Page to determine next steps.
The CDC has posted a warning to avoid nonessential travel to Nepal. Health information for Nepal is available from the CDC website.
If you are in Nepal and are safe, please contact your family and friends to let them know your situation.
The U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu is located in the Maharajgunj neighborhood of Kathmandu. U.S. citizens in Nepal who need assistance can contact the U.S. Embassy by e-mail at ConsKTM@state.gov or by phone at +977 1 423 4500. U.S. citizens in Nepal and their family and friends elsewhere should stay up to date on consular information by periodically checking Travel Information and Messages for U.S. citizens in Nepal.
U.S. citizens in Nepal should limit nonessential travel within the country, make their own contingency emergency plans, enroll their presence in Nepal through theSmart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), and provide their current contact information and next-of-kin or emergency contact information. You may inform the Department of State of U.S. citizens located in Nepal by visiting https://tfa.state.gov/ccd, selecting “2015 Nepal Earthquake,” and providing as much information as possible. You can also contact us at NepalEmergencyUSC@state.govif you have additional questions or concerns. You can also contact us at 1-888-407-4747 (from the U.S. & Canada), +1-202-501-4444 (from overseas).
For additional information, U.S. citizens should consult the Department of State's Country Specific Information for Nepal. Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.
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Iraq Travel Warning
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all but essential travel to Iraq. Travel within Iraq remains dangerous given the security situation.
The Embassy in Baghdad and the Consulates General in Basrah and Erbil are open and operating. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning dated August 10, 2014.
U.S. citizens in Iraq remain at high risk for kidnapping and terrorist violence. Terrorists’ methods of attack have included roadside improvised explosive devices (IEDs), including explosively formed penetrators (EFPs); magnetic IEDs placed on vehicles; human and vehicle-borne IEDs; mines placed on or concealed near roads; mortars and rockets; and shootings using various direct fire weapons. When such attacks occur, they frequently take place in public gathering places such as cafes, markets, and other public venues.
Numerous insurgent groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), remain active and terrorist activity and violence persists in many areas of the country. ISIL controls Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, as well as significant territory in northern, western, and central Iraq, particularly along the Tigris and Euphrates valleys, and the group continues to attack Iraqi security forces in those areas. Terrorist attacks within the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR) occur less frequently than in other parts of Iraq, although the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and western interests remain likely targets. In addition, several anti-U.S. sectarian militia groups, such as the Shia Kataib Hezbollah (KH) and Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) are operating throughout Iraq and may present a threat to U.S. citizens.
Due to the potential for political protests and demonstrations to become violent, U.S. citizens in Iraq are strongly urged to avoid protests and large gatherings.
The U.S. government considers the potential threat to U.S. government personnel in Iraq to be serious enough to require them to live and work under strict security guidelines. All U.S. government employees under the authority of the U.S. Chief of Mission must follow strict safety and security procedures when traveling outside the Embassy and Consulates. State Department guidance to U.S. businesses in Iraq advises the use of protective security details. Detailed security information is available on the U.S. Embassy website.
The U.S. Embassy is located in the International Zone (IZ) in Baghdad. The IZ is a restricted access area. Iraqi authorities are responsible for control of the IZ. Travelers to the IZ should be aware that Iraqi authorities may require special identification to enter the IZ or may issue IZ-specific access badges. Individuals residing and traveling within the IZ should continue to exercise good personal safety precautions.
Increasingly, many U.S. and third-country business people travel throughout much of Iraq; however, their movement is restricted and they travel with security advisors and protective security teams.
The Government of Iraq strictly enforces requirements regarding visas and stamps for entry and exit, vehicle registration, authorizations for weapons, and movements through checkpoints. The Embassy highly recommends that all U.S. citizens in Iraq carefully review the status of their travel documents and any necessary licenses and government authorizations to ensure that they are current and valid. U.S. citizens are urged to immediately correct any deficiencies in their travel documents. U.S. citizens are strongly advised against entering or traveling within Iraq with invalid documents. For more information about entry/exit requirements for U.S. citizens, please see our Country Specific Information page for Iraq.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has determined that U.S. civil aviation flying in Iraqi airspace is at risk from ongoing combat operations involving military forces (military aerial combat operations and other militarily-related activity) and militant groups. As a result, the FAA currently prohibits U.S. civil aviation from operating in or overflying Iraqi airspace with very limited exceptions. Foreign airlines operating in Iraq may cancel their operations without warning due to the security environment or other factors. Travelers should remain vigilant and reconfirm all flight schedules with their airline prior to commencing any travel. For further background information regarding FAA prohibitions on U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices website.
U.S. citizens should avoid areas near the Syrian, Turkish, or Iranian borders, which are especially dangerous and not always clearly defined. The Governments of Turkey and Iran continue to carry out military operations against insurgent groups in the mountainous regions bordering Iraq. These operations have included troop movements and both aerial and artillery bombardments. Extensive unmarked minefields also remain along these borders. Border skirmishes with smugglers have become commonplace. Unrest in Syria has resulted in large numbers of people seeking refuge in the area. Iranian authorities previously detained, for an extended period, U.S. citizens who were hiking in the IKR in the vicinity of the Iranian border. The resources available to the U.S. Embassy to assist U.S. citizens who venture close to or cross Iraq’s border with Iran are extremely limited. The Department of State discourages travel in close proximity to the Iranian border.
The ability of the U.S. Embassy to provide consular services to U.S. citizens throughout Iraq, including Baghdad, is extremely limited given the security environment. The U.S. Consulate General in Basrah cannot provide routine services such as passport applications, notary services, or Consular Reports of Birth Abroad. U.S. citizens in need of these services in Erbil must make an appointment with the Consulate on-line, either through the Embassy's website or the website for the Consulate General in Erbil. The Embassy's website includes consular information and the most recent messages to U.S. citizens in Iraq. U.S. citizens in Iraq who need emergency assistance should call 0770-443-1286 or 0770-030-4888.
For information on "What the Department of State Can and Can't Do in a Crisis," please visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs' Emergencies and Crisis page. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
U.S. citizens who choose to visit or reside in Iraq despite this Travel Warning are urged to take responsibility for their own personal security and belongings and should be aware that Iraqi authorities have arrested or detained U.S. citizens whose purpose of travel is not readily apparent. Persons also have been detained for taking photographs of buildings, monuments, or other sites, especially in the International Zone in Baghdad, where photography is forbidden.
All U.S. citizens in Iraq, including those working on contract for the U.S. government, are urged to inform the U.S. Embassy of their presence in Iraq by enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in order to obtain updated travel information. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it possible for the Embassy to provide updated security information or to contact them in emergencies. The Embassy also offers SMS text alerts delivered to your mobile phone when new security and emergency messages are released.
U.S. citizens may obtain the latest security information or other information about Iraq by contacting the U.S. Embassy, located in the International Zone, via email, or by accessing U.S. Embassy Baghdad's website. The after-hours emergency numbers are 011-964-770-443-1286 or 011-964-770-030-4888 (from the United States) or 0770-443-1286 or 0770-030-4888 (within Iraq). As cell phone service is unreliable in Iraq, emergency calls may also be placed through the Department of State at 1-888-407-4747.
Stay up-to-date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website at www.travel.state.gov, which contains current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.
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North Korea Travel Warning
The Department of State strongly recommends against all travel by U.S. citizens to North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or DPRK).
This replaces the Travel Warning for North Korea of May 14, 2014, to reiterate and highlight the risk of arrest and possibly lengthy detention due to the DPRK’s inconsistent application of its criminal laws.
Travel by U.S. citizens to North Korea is not routine, and U.S. citizens have been subject to arrest and long-term detention for actions that would not be cause for arrest in the United States or other countries. North Korean authorities have arrested U.S. citizens who entered the DPRK legally on valid DPRK visas as well as U.S. citizens who accidentally or intentionally crossed into DPRK territory without valid visas. The Department of State has received reports of DPRK authorities detaining U.S. citizens without charges and not allowing them to depart the country. North Korea has even detained several U.S. citizens who were part of organized tours. Do not assume that joining a group tour or using a tour guide will prevent North Korean authorities from detaining you or arresting you. Efforts by private tour operators to prevent or resolve past detentions of U.S. citizens in the DPRK have not succeeded in gaining their release.
The Government of North Korea has detained, arrested, and imposed extremely heavy fines on persons who violated DPRK laws, such as entering the country illegally. Travelers to North Korea must enter the DPRK with a valid passport and valid DPRK visa. Foreign visitors to North Korea may be arrested, detained, or expelled for activities that would not be considered criminal outside North Korea, including involvement in unsanctioned religious and/or political activities (whether those activities took place inside or outside North Korea), unauthorized travel, or unauthorized interaction with the local population.
North Korean security personnel may regard as espionage unsanctioned religious or political activities, unauthorized or unescorted travel inside North Korea and unauthorized attempts to speak directly to North Korean citizens. North Korean authorities may fine or arrest travelers for exchanging currency with an unauthorized vendor, for taking unauthorized photographs, or for shopping at stores not designated for foreigners. It is a criminal act in North Korea to show disrespect to the country's former leaders, Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung, or to the current leader, Kim Jong Un.
If DPRK authorities permit you to keep your cell phone upon entry into the country, please keep in mind that you have no right to privacy in North Korea and should assume your communications are monitored. GPS-trackers and satellite phones are not allowed. It is a criminal act to bring printed or electronic media criticizing the DPRK government into the country. If you bring electronic media, including USB drives, CD-ROMs, DVDs, or laptops into the country, you must assume that North Korean authorities will review the information on those devices. Please be sure that the information contained on those devices does not violate the laws or regulations of the DPRK, as penalties for knowingly or unknowingly violating North Korea's laws are much harsher than U.S. penalties for similar offenses. Sentences for crimes can include years of detention in hard labor camps or death.
Since the United States does not maintain diplomatic or consular relations with the DPRK, the U.S. government has no means to provide normal consular services to U.S. citizens in North Korea. The Embassy of Sweden, the U.S. Protecting Power in the DPRK capital of Pyongyang, provides limited consular services to U.S. citizens traveling in North Korea who are ill, injured, arrested, or who have died while there. The U.S.-DPRK Interim Consular Agreement provides that North Korea will notify the Embassy of Sweden within four days of an arrest or detention of a U.S. citizen and will allow consular visits by the Swedish Embassy within two days after a request is made. However, the DPRK government routinely delays or denies consular access.
U.S. citizens who plan to travel to North Korea are strongly encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China, about their trip by enrolling in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. If you enroll in this program, the State Department can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements via email messages (though you may not have access to email while in the DPRK). Enrollment also makes it easier for friends and family to get in touch with you in an emergency via the U.S. Embassy.
U.S. citizens residing in China can contact the U.S. Embassy in Beijing directly. The Embassy is located next to the Ladies' Street (Nuren Jie) and Laitai Flower Market, near the Kempinski Hotel and Lufthansa shopping Center on Tianze Road near the Liangmaqiao subway stop.
U.S. Embassy Beijing
American Citizens Services Unit
No. 55 An Jia Lou Road
Beijing, China 100600
Telephone: (86-10) 8531-4000
Facsimile: (86-10) 8531-3300
Emergency after-hours telephone: (86-10) 8531-4000
U.S. citizens traveling to North Korea are also strongly encouraged to contact the Embassy of Sweden by telephone or email prior to travel. Please provide the Embassy of Sweden with your name, date of birth, dates of your trip, and emergency contact information:
The Embassy of Sweden Pyongyang (U.S. Protecting Power in North Korea)
Telephone: (850-2) 3817 485 (reception)
Telephone: (850-2) 3817 904, (850-2) 3817 907 (Deputy)
Telephone: (850-2) 3817 908, (850-2) 3817 905 (Ambassador)
Facsimile: (850-2) 3817 663
U.S. citizens should also consult the Department of State's Country Specific Information for North Korea and the current Worldwide Caution, which are located on the Department's travel website at travel.state.gov. U.S. citizens can obtain current information on safety and security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, from outside the United States and Canada, 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alertsas well the Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitterand the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebookas well.
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Yemen Travel Warning
The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the high security threat level in Yemen due to terrorist activities and civil unrest.
OnFebruary 11, 2015 due to the deteriorating security situation in Sanaa, the Department of State suspended embassy operations and U.S. Embassy Sanaa American staff have been relocated out of the country. All consular services, routine and/or emergency, have been suspended until further notice. The Department urges U.S. citizens to defer travel to Yemen and those U.S. citizens currently living in Yemen to depart when you are able to safely do so. This supersedes the Travel Warning for Yemen issued on February 11, 2015.
The level of instability and ongoing threats in Yemen remain severe. There are no plans for a U.S. government-coordinated evacuation of U.S. citizens at this time. We encourage all U.S. citizens to shelter in a secure location until they are able to depart safely. U.S. citizens wishing to depart should do so via commercial transportation options when they become available. Keep vital records and travel documents close at hand; U.S. citizens should be prepared to depart at a moment’s notice. The airports are currently closed, but may open unexpectedly; other unforeseen opportunities to depart may also suddenly arise.
Additionally, some foreign governments may arrange transportation for their nationals and may be willing to offer assistance to others. There is no guarantee that foreign governments will assist U.S. citizens in leaving Yemen. U.S. citizens who choose to seek foreign government assistance in leaving Yemen should only do so if they can safely make their way to the point of embarkation and have received confirmation that there is space available. Even if assured there is space aboard transportation, U.S. citizens should be aware that there is no guarantee that they will be permitted to board the transport, or may have to wait an indefinite period until they can do so. There is also no guarantee of where travelers will go. For U.S. citizen inquiries, you may send an email to YEMENEMERGENCYUSC@state.gov.
Terrorist organizations, including Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), continue to be active throughout Yemen. The U.S. government remains extremely concerned about possible attacks on U.S. citizens (whether visiting or residing in Yemen), and U.S. facilities, businesses, and perceived U.S. and Western interests. In addition, piracy in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean is a security threat to maritime activities in the region. See our International Maritime Piracy Fact Sheet.
The U.S. government is concerned about the risks to civil aircraft operating in Yemen’s Sanaa Flight Information Region (FIR) due to ongoing military operations, political instability, and violence from competing armed groups involved in combat operations and other military-related activity associated with the unrest. The fighting and instability spans a large area of Yemen, which creates a significant risk to the safe operation of U.S. civil aviation. FAA prohibits U.S. civil flight operations in the Sanaa FIR, which includes the entire country of Yemen and extends into adjacent international airspace, at all altitudes.
For further background information regarding FAA flight prohibitions and advisories for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.
U.S. citizens remaining in Yemen despite this Travel Warning should limit nonessential travel within the country, make their own contingency emergency plans, enroll their presence in Yemen through theSmart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), and provide their current contact information and next-of-kin or emergency contact information. You may inform the Department of State of U.S. citizens located in Yemen by visiting https://tfa.state.gov/ccd, selecting “2015 Yemen Unrest,” and providing as much information as possible. You can also contact us at 1-888-407-4747 (from the U.S. & Canada), +1-202-501-4444 (from overseas), and YemenEmergencyUSC@state.gov if you have additional questions or concerns.
For the latest security information, U.S. citizens living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the State Department'sBureau of Consular Affairs websitewhere the currentWorldwide Caution,Travel Alerts and Travel Warnings, andCountry Specific Informationfor Yemen can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada or, for callers in other countries, by calling a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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Syria Travel Warning
The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against all travel to Syria and strongly recommends that U.S. citizens remaining in Syria depart immediately.
This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning dated November 12, 2014, to remind U.S. citizens that the security situation remains dangerous and unpredictable as a civil war between government and armed anti-government groups continues throughout the country, along with an increased risk of kidnappings, bombings, murder, and terrorism.
No part of Syria should be considered safe from violence. The potential for hostile acts exists throughout the country, including kidnappings and the use of chemical warfare against civilian populations. Indiscriminate shelling and aerial bombardment, including of densely populated urban areas, have significantly raised the risk of death or serious injury. The destruction of infrastructure, housing, medical facilities, schools, and power and water utilities has also increased hardships inside the country.
There is a terrorist threat from violent extremist groups including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, (ISIL), formerly known as al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQ), the al-Nusrah Front, and others. Tactics for these groups include the use of suicide bombers, kidnapping, use of small and heavy arms, and improvised explosive devices in major city centers, including Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr. U.S. citizens have been kidnapped, both for ransom and political purposes, and murdered by members of terrorist and violent extremist groups in Syria. U.S. citizens have disappeared within Syria. Public places, such as road checkpoints, border crossings, government buildings, shopping areas, and open spaces, have been targeted. Due to the security situation in Syria, the U.S. government’s ability to help U.S. citizens kidnapped or taken hostage is very limited.
Communications in Syria are difficult as phone and internet connections have become increasingly unreliable. The Department of State has received reports that U.S. citizens are experiencing difficulty and facing dangers traveling within the country and when trying to leave Syria via land borders, given the diminishing availability of commercial air travel out of Syria. Fierce clashes between pro-government and opposition forces continue in the vicinity of the Damascus and Aleppo airports. Land border checkpoints held by opposition forces should not be considered safe, as they are targeted by regime attacks and some armed groups have sought to fund themselves through kidnappings for ransom. Border areas are frequent targets of shelling and other armed conflict and are crowded because of internally-displaced refugees. Errant attacks will occasionally hit border towns just outside the borders as well. Road checkpoints have been controlled by armed terrorist and violent extremist groups and have been utilized to conduct kidnappings of individuals, including U.S. citizens.
The U.S. Department of State is concerned about the risks to civilaviation operating in the Damascus Flight Information Region (FIR) because of the ongoing armed conflict and volatile security environment. This FIR includes all the airspace over Syria and extends into adjacent international airspace. A number of armed extremist groups are known to be equipped with a variety of antiaircraft weapons that have the capability to threaten civil aircraft. TheFederal Aviation Administration (FAA) has prohibited U.S. civil aviationfrom flying in the Damascus FIR. In addition, U.S. government personnel in Lebanon have been prohibited from taking flights that pass through the Damascus FIR.For additional background information regarding FAA flight prohibitions and advisories for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.
The U.S. Embassy in Damascus suspended its operations in February 2012 and therefore cannot provide protection or routine consular services to U.S. citizens in Syria. The Government of the Czech Republic, acting through its Embassy in Damascus, serves as Protecting Power for U.S. interests in Syria.The range of consular services the Czech Republic provides to U.S. citizens is extremely limited, and those services, including for U.S. passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, may require significantly more processing time than at U.S. embassies or consulates outside of Syria. U.S. citizens in Syria who seek consular services should leave the country and contact a U.S. embassy or consulate in a neighboring country if at all possible.U.S. citizens in Syria who seek consular services in Syria may contact the U.S. Interests Section of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Damascus at USIS_damascus@embassy.mzv.cz.
U.S. citizens in Syria who are in need of emergency assistance in Syria, and are unable to reach the U.S. Interests Section of the Embassy of the Czech Republic or must make contact outside business hours, should contact the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan:
Telephone: +962 (6) 590-6950 (Daily 2-3:30 local time)
Emergencies: +962 (6) 590-6500
If you seek information about U.S. citizens' services in Syria from the Office of Overseas Citizens' Services in Washington, please e-mail: SyriaEmergencyUSC@state.gov.
The Department of State urges those U.S. citizens who decide to remain in Syria despite this Travel Warning to provide their current contact information and next-of-kin information through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
For information on "What the Department of State Can and Can't Do in a Crisis," please visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs' Emergencies and Crisis link at www.travel.state.gov. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
For additional information, U.S. citizens should consult the Department of State's Country Specific Information for Syria. Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.
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Honduras Travel Warning
The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens that the level of crime and violence in Honduras remains critically high, although it has declined in the past two years.
This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning dated June 2014 and includes additional information on crime and security in Honduras, as well as updated contact information.
The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens that the level of crime and violence in Honduras remains critically high, although it has declined in the past two years. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning dated June 2014 and includes additional information on crime and security in Honduras, as well as updated contact information.
Tens of thousands of U.S. citizens visit Honduras each year for study, tourism, business, and volunteer work without incident. However, crime and violence are serious problems throughout the country. The Government of Honduras lacks sufficient resources to properly investigate and prosecute cases, and police often lack vehicles or fuel to respond to calls for assistance. The police may take hours to arrive at the scene of a violent crime or may not respond at all. Members of the Honduran National Police have been arrested, tried, and convicted for criminal activities. Many more are under investigation. As a result, criminals operate with a high degree of impunity throughout Honduras. The Honduran government is still in the early stages of substantial reforms to its criminal justice institutions.
Honduras has had one of the highest murder rates in the world for the last five years. The U.S. Embassy has recorded more than 100 murders of U.S. citizens since 2002. Many cases over the last 14 years are still awaiting trial. The vast majority of serious crimes in Honduras, including those against U.S. citizens, are never solved. In 2014, there were ten murders of U.S. citizens reported to the U.S. Embassy with seven of the ten resulting in arrests or prosecutions.
U.S. citizens are victims of crime at levels similar to those of the local population, and they do not appear to be targeted based on their nationality. The Government of Honduras has special police forces in areas frequented by tourists, such as the Copan Mayan ruins and Roatan. The Honduran Government is implementing similar programs for other locations, including La Ceiba and Trujillo, and major hotels and other tourist installations have increased private and police security. Most resort areas and tourist destinations have lower levels of crime and violence than other areas of the country; however, thefts, break-ins, assaults, rapes, and murders do occur, and rates are still high by international standards.
Tourists traveling with group tours also report fewer criminal incidents. However, the San Pedro Sula area has seen armed robberies against tourist vans, minibuses, and cars traveling from the airport to area hotels, and there have also been armed robberies along the road to Copan. Armed men have forced vehicles transporting tourists off the road and robbed the victims, occasionally assaulting the driver or passengers. In past years, several U.S. citizens have been murdered in San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba shortly after arriving in the country. Assaults in these areas may be based on tips from sources at airport arrival areas, so visitors are strongly urged to exercise caution in discussing travel plans in public. Exercise particular caution walking on isolated beaches, especially at night. Several U.S. citizens have reported being robbed while walking on isolated beaches.
Kidnappings and disappearances are an ongoing concern throughout the country as well. Kidnapping affects both the local and expatriate communities, with victims sometimes paying large ransoms for the prospect of release. Kidnapping is believed to be underreported. Since January 1, 2012, four cases of kidnapped U.S. citizens were reported to the U.S. Embassy; the kidnapping victims were all subsequently released.
Transnational criminal organizations also conduct narcotics trafficking and other unlawful activities throughout the country and use violence to control drug trafficking routes and carry out criminal activity. Other criminals, acting both individually and in gangs in Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, and other large cities, are known to commit crimes such as murder, kidnapping, extortion, carjacking, armed robbery, rape, and other aggravated assaults.
Roatan & Bay Islands
Roatan and the Bay Islands are geographically separated from Honduras and experience lower crime rates than the Honduras mainland. The national government of Honduras, Roatan authorities, and businesses took measures in 2014 to improve tourism security. However, as on the mainland, thefts, break-ins, assaults, rapes, and murders do occur, and you should exercise caution, especially at night. If staying at a hotel resort, book tours and sightseeing through the resort or reputable tour companies. Coxen Hole on the island of Roatan should be avoided after dark.
If you are traveling on a Cruise ship, you should also take safety precautions, avoid unfamiliar areas, and take care to book only with reputable tour companies during your stopover in Honduras. Cruise lines and port agencies work with approved tour companies to offer packages. Additionally, the port agencies at Mahogany Bay and Towne Center have worked to improve taxi service to and from the ports. The vast majority of cruise line passengers in Honduras experience no problems, but incidents of armed robbery and carjacking have been reported.
Precautions While in Honduras
Be vigilant of your surroundings at all times and in all locations, especially when entering or exiting your home, hotel, car, garage, school, and workplace. Whenever possible, travel in groups of two or more. You should also avoid wearing jewelry and carrying large sums of money or displaying cash, ATM/credit cards, or other valuables. Avoid walking at night in most areas of Honduras or walking alone on beaches, historic ruins, and trails. Incidents of crime along roads, including carjacking and kidnapping, are also common in Honduras. Motorists should avoid traveling at night and always drive with the doors locked and windows up to deter potential robberies at traffic lights and on congested downtown streets.
The location and timing of criminal activity is unpredictable in Honduras. All travelers should exercise caution when traveling anywhere in the country; however, certain areas of the country demonstrate higher levels of criminal activity than others. Most of Honduras’ major cities (Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, and others), as well as several Honduran “departments” (a geographic designation similar to U.S. states) have homicide rates higher than the national average for 2014, including:
Atlántida La Ceiba
Cortés San Pedro Sula
Francisco Morazan Tegucigalpa
There are no reliable statistics for the department of Gracias a Dios; however, travelers to the area should note that it is a remote location where narcotics trafficking is frequent, infrastructure is weak, government services are limited, and police or military presence is scarce.
Getting Informed before Traveling
For more detailed information regarding personal security, please see the State Department's Country Specific Information for Honduras. For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ web site for the latest Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts.
The Embassy strongly encourages U.S. citizens living or traveling in Honduras to sign up for the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to obtain updated information on travel and security within Honduras. Travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States or outside the United States and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. Stay up to date by bookmarking the Bureau of Consular Affairs Web site, which contains Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts,as well as the Worldwide Caution.
If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime in Honduras, you should contact the local police and the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa. If you are in the two major cities of Tegucigalpa or San Pedro Sula, you can reach the local police by dialing 911; other smaller cities or rural areas have their own local police assistance numbers.
The U.S. Embassy is located on Avenida La Paz in Tegucigalpa and can be reached at:
Telephone: (504) 2236-9320/2238-5114
Fax: (504) 2236-9037
After Hours:(504) 2236-8497
The Embassy's American Citizens Services Unit is open to walk-in services Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 11:30 am and can be reached directly at:
Telephone: (504) 2238-5114 ext. 4400
After Hours:(504) 2238-5114 / 2236-9320 ext.4100
Fax: (504) 2238-4357
The U.S. Consular Agency in San Pedro Sula is located on the eleventh floor of the Banco Atlantida building (across from Central Park). The agency is open to walk-in services on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12:00 to 4:00 pm and can be reached at Telephone: (504) 2558-1580.
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Chad Travel Warning
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Chad and recommends citizens avoid travel to all border regions, particularly those areas adjacent to Chad’s eastern border and the Lake Chad region.
The entire Lake Chad region, not only along Chad’s border with Nigeria, is especially vulnerable because of rising activities by the extremist terrorist group Boko Haram. Chad’s historically volatile security environment can deteriorate unexpectedly, especially along the border areas. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning for Chad, dated January 6, 2015, to update U.S. citizens on the current security situation in Chad.
The ability of the U.S. embassy to provide consular services in remote and rural areas is limited. U.S. citizens should take steps to mitigate the risk of becoming a victim of violent crime, and maintain caution at public gathering spaces and locations frequented by foreigners, including markets, restaurants, bars, and places of worship.
The Government of Chad requires all individuals traveling to or residing in areas hosting refugee populations in Chad to obtain movement permits (autorisation de circuler) from the Ministry of Interior and Public Security in N'Djamena. All U.S. citizens affiliated with humanitarian relief efforts in eastern Chad should have an evacuation plan developed with the United Nations agency coordinating their work. In addition, U.S. citizens are strongly urged to adhere closely to the policies and procedures of their host organizations to mitigate risks of becoming the victim of violent crime. All U.S. citizens should prepare personal evacuation or safe-haven plans and be prepared to implement those plans on short notice. U.S. citizens intending to enter Cameroon, Central African Republic, Libya, Niger, Nigeria, or Sudan from Chad should consult the Department's Travel Warnings for those countries and obtain any requisite visas or travel permits prior to traveling.
The Government of Chad has limited means to guarantee the safety of visitors in rural Chad. Incidents of robbery, carjacking at gunpoint, and murder have been reported in N’Djamena and throughout the country. Violence is also associated with car accidents where crowds may form. If involved in an accident, it is essential to call the police. While there are presently no known specific threats against U.S. citizens in Chad, there are violent extremist organizations in the region, such as Boko Haram and al-Qai’da in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which are intent on harming westerners and western interests and are able to cross borders easily. Kidnapping for ransom is a potential threat in the region.
All U.S. government personnel require authorization to travel to areas outside of the capital, N'Djamena, and may be subject to restrictions within the capital. As security situations warrant, the U.S. Embassy may periodically impose further travel restrictions, including curfews, on U.S. government personnel. While private U.S. citizens are not required to follow these practices, U.S. citizens should consider taking similar precautions when making travel plans. Review security precautions and consider measures to mitigate exposure to violent crime and other threats. U.S. citizens residing in Chad should exercise caution throughout the country, especially at night.
Medical services in Chad are limited. U.S. citizens entering Chad are strongly encouraged to verify their medical coverage extends to traveling within Chad – including medical evacuation – prior to arrival.
U.S. citizens who travel to or remain in Chad despite this Travel Warning are urged to contact the U.S. Embassy in N'Djamena for information on the latest Embassy security guidance, and to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in order to receive the most up-to-date security information. Please be sure to keep information in STEP current, including proposed date of departure. It is important when enrolling or updating information to include multiple phone numbers and email addresses to facilitate communication in the event of an emergency.
U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy in N’Djamena located on Avenue Felix Eboue in N’Djamena; the Embassy's mailing address is BP 413 N’Djamena Chad. Embassy telephone numbers are +(235) 2251-62-11, 2251-70-09, 2251-77-59, 2251-90-52, 2251-92-18, and 2251-92-33. For after-hours emergencies, U.S. citizens in Chad should call +235 6662-2100 and ask to speak with the duty officer.
For further information, consult the Department of State website which contains the Country Specific Information for Chad and the current Worldwide Caution. Current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, a regular toll line at-1-202-501-4444 for callers from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains current travel warnings and travel alerts. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook.
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Algeria Travel Warning
The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to the Kabylie region and remote areas of southern and eastern Algeria.
This replaces the Travel Warning for Algeria dated August 13, 2014, to update information on the current security situation in Algeria.
The Department of State urges U.S. citizens who travel to Algeria to evaluate carefully the risks posed to their personal safety. There is a high threat of terrorism and kidnappings in Algeria, as noted in the Department of State's latest Worldwide Caution. Although the major cities are heavily policed, attacks are still possible. The majority of terrorist attacks, including bombings, false roadblocks, kidnappings, and ambushes occur in the mountainous areas to the east of Algiers (Kabylie region and eastern wilayas) and in the expansive Saharan desert regions of the south and southeast. In September, the ISIL-affiliated Jund al-Khalifa (Soldiers of the Caliphate) abducted and beheaded a French citizen, in the Kabylie region.
Al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) are also both active in Algeria and the region. In January 2013, an AQIM-linked organization “Those Who Sign in Blood”, led by Moktar Belmoktar, attacked a gas production facility near In Amenas, Algeria, near the Libyan border, holding foreign and Algerian workers hostage for four days with dozens killed, including three U.S. citizens. Mokhtar Belmokhtar and AQIM’s emir, Abdelmalik Droukdel, remain a threat and are at-large in the region. In addition, there have been kidnappings for ransom by terrorist groups operating in the trans-Sahara region. There are also extremists along the Algeria/Tunisia border in the Chaambi mountains area, south of Souk Ahras, and Algerian and Tunisian security forces are conducting ongoing security operations there.
The Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens avoid overland travel to the areas east of Algiers or in the Sahara. It is prudent to be cautious when traveling outside of Algiers and to ensure reliable and experienced transportation and logistical support. All employees of foreign companies or organizations based in Algeria who are not Algerian citizens must contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before engaging in any travel within the interior of the country; the Ministry will notify local police of the planned travel and the police may choose to assign escorts for that travel. Travelers should avoid mountainous regions located in less populated and less traveled areas where Algerian security services do not have a significant presence.
The U.S. government considers the potential threat to U.S. Embassy personnel assigned to Algiers sufficiently serious to require them to live and work under security restrictions. The U.S. Department of State permits U.S. diplomats in Algeria to be accompanied only by adult family members, and children under age 12. Embassy travel restrictions limit and occasionally prevent the movement of U.S. Embassy officials and the provision of consular services in certain areas of the country. Likewise, the Government of Algeria requires U.S. Embassy personnel to seek permission to travel outside the wilaya of Algiers and provides police escorts. Travel to the military zone established around the Hassi Messaoud oil center requires Government of Algeria authorization.
For additional information on travel to Algeria, see the U.S. Department of State’s Country-Specific Information for Algeria.
U.S. citizens living or traveling in Algeria are encouraged to enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program(STEP) to receive the latest travel updates and to obtain updated information on security within Algeria. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.
For the latest security information, U.S. citizens living abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Alerts, Travel Warnings, and Country Specific Information can be found. Follow us onTwitterand the Bureau of Consular Affairs page onFacebookas well.
Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
The U.S. Embassyis located at 5 Chemin Cheikh Bachir El-Ibrahimi in the El Biar district of Algiers, and can be reached by telephone at (213) 770 08 20 00. The consular section email is ACSAlgiers@state.gov.
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Saudi Arabia Travel Warning
The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of traveling to Saudi Arabia.
There have been recent attacks on U.S. citizens and other Western expatriates, an attack on Shi’ite Muslims outside a community center in the Eastern Province on November 3, 2014, and continuing reports of threats against U.S. citizens and other Westerners in the Kingdom. This replaces the Travel Warning issued August 8, 2014.
Security threats are increasing and terrorist groups, some affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), have targeted both Saudi and Western interests. Possible targets include housing compounds, hotels, shopping areas, international schools, and other facilities where Westerners congregate, as well as Saudi government facilities and economic/commercial targets within the Kingdom.
On January 30, 2015, two U.S. citizens were fired upon and injured in Hofuf in Al Hasa Governorate (Eastern Province). The U.S. Embassy has instructed U.S. government personnel and their families to avoid all travel to Al Hasa Governorate, and advises all U.S. citizens to do the same. On October 14, 2014, two U.S. citizens were shot at a gas station in Riyadh. One was killed and the other wounded.
Attacks on other nationalities have increased. On November 29, 2014, a Canadian national was assaulted by a lone attacker with a cleaver at a shopping mall in Dhahran. On November 22, 2014, a Danish national was shot and injured in Riyadh by alleged ISIL supporters. On November 3, 2014, armed assailants attacked a community center in Dalwah in the Al Hasa Governorate, killing at least seven people and injuring several others. ISIL claimed responsibility for the attack. On the night of January 13, 2014, unknown gunmen attacked the vehicle of two German Embassy officials who were traveling through the Awamiyah section of the Al Qatif Governorate in the Eastern Province. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling to Awamiyah, and we recommend private U.S. citizens avoid the area as well.
Armed assailants have attacked border checkpoints in the north and south. Two Saudi security forces were killed and one wounded during an attack on January 5, 2015 in Arar, along the border with Iraq. Further, on July 5, 2014, media reported that members of Al-Qaida attacked a border checkpoint between Yemen and Saudi Arabia on July 4, leading to the deaths of several of the attackers, as well as four members of the Saudi security forces. The rugged border area dividing Yemen and Saudi Arabia remains porous in some areas and portions are not clearly defined. U.S. government personnel are restricted from traveling within 50 miles of the border, which includes the cities of Jizan and Najran, without permission from Embassy security officials. Visitors, who choose to travel to these areas despite U.S. government concern, should be aware that terrorist and criminal elements may be operating there, including AQAP. U.S. citizens are strongly urged to read the Department of State Travel Warning for Yemen before traveling to areas near the Yemeni frontier.
U.S. citizens in Saudi Arabia are strongly encouraged to select hotels or housing compounds with careful attention to security measures and location. U.S. citizens should be aware of their surroundings at all times and are advised to keep a low profile; vary times and routes of travel; exercise caution while driving, and entering or exiting vehicles; and ensure that travel documents and visas are current and valid.
If the security threat changes or specific threats affecting U.S. citizens are discovered, this information will be made available through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) and U.S. Mission websites. Emergency Messages, Security Messages, and Messages for U.S. Citizens can be found on the U.S. Embassy Riyadh website.
The Department of State encourages U.S. citizens living overseas or planning to travel abroad to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly with the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh or the Consulates General in Dhahran or Jeddah.
U.S. Embassy Riyadh
Telephone: (966) (11) 488-3800
Fax: (966) (11) 483-0773
Emergency after-hours telephone: (966) (11) 488-3800
U.S. Consulate General Dhahran
Telephone: (966) (13) 330-3200
Fax: (966) (13) 330-0464
Emergency after-hours telephone: (966) (13) 330-3200
U.S. Consulate General Jeddah
Telephone: (966) (12) 667-0080
Fax: (966) (12) 669-3098
Emergency after-hours telephone: (966) (12) 667-0080
Up-to-date information on travel and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers from other countries, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alertsas well as the Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitterand the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebookas well.
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Pakistan Travel Warning
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to defer all non-essential travel to Pakistan.
This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated August 8, 2014, to remind U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns in Pakistan.
The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad and the U.S. Consulate General in Karachi continue to provide consular services for all U.S. citizens in Pakistan.The U.S. Consulate General in Peshawar no longer offers consular services and the U.S. Consulate General in Lahore remains temporarily closed for public services.
The presence of several foreign and indigenous terrorist groups poses a danger to U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan. Across the country, terrorist attacks frequently occur against civilian, government, and foreign targets. Attacks have included armed assaults on heavily guarded sites, including Pakistani military installations and airports. The Government of Pakistan maintains heightened security measures, particularly in the major cities, and these measures may vary from day to day. Threat reporting indicates terrorist groups continue to seek opportunities to attack locations where U.S. citizens and Westerners are known to congregate or visit. Terrorists and criminal groups regularly resort to kidnapping for ransom.
Protests against the United States are not uncommon and have the potential to turn violent. U.S. citizens in Pakistan are strongly advised to avoid all protests and large gatherings.
There have been many terrorist attacks in recent years targeting civilians and security personnel. On December 16, 2014, armed militants wearing paramilitary uniforms and suicide vests attacked an Army-run school in Peshawar, killing at least 140, mostly children. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility. On November 2, a suicide bomber killed at least 60 people at the Wagah border crossing with India.Pakistani Taliban splinter group Jamaat-ul-Ahraar claimed responsibility. On September 6, Pakistani naval security thwarted a terrorist attack on Karachi Naval Dockyard.One sailor and two attackers died in a firefight, while security forces captured four attackers.The terrorists reportedly planned to hijack a naval frigate.
On June 24, 2014, gunmen fired on an international flight during landing at Peshawar’s International Airport, killing one passenger and injuring two flight attendants. On June 8, a terrorist attack over the course of nearly two days on Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport killed 19 people. On June 4, a suicide bomber attacked an Army vehicle at a railway crossing in Feteh Jang, some 15 miles from Islamabad, killing five persons, including two lieutenant colonels. On May 25, armed men attacked a check-post along the Quetta-Karachi Highway in Wadh tehsil of Khuzdar District, Balochistan, killing at least eight Balochistan Levies officials and injuring three others.
On May 25, 2014, a bomb attack on a security convoyin the Pandiyali tehsil of Mohmand Agency killed six security personnel and injured three others. On April 9, a bomb detonated at a fruit and vegetable market in Islamabad, killing 24 people and injuring 116. On March 3, a bomb and firearm attack on a courthouse in Islamabad killed 11 people. On February 13, a suicide bomber targeted a bus of police officers, killing at least 13 and injuring 58 others near Razzakabad Police Training Center in Shah Latif Town, Karachi. On January 21, a bomb attack on a bus of Hazara pilgrims killed at least 24 and injured 40 others in Mastung District, Balochistan.
In 2013, there were 355 distinct terror incidents throughout Pakistan.
Targeted killings continue unabated in Karachi as a result of ethno-political and criminal rivalries. Targeted attacks against government officials, humanitarian and non-governmental organization (NGO) employees, tribal elders, and law enforcement personnel continue throughout the country, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan Provinces. Suicide bomb attacks have occurred at Islamabad universities, schools, rallies, places of worship, and major marketplaces in Lahore and Peshawar.
Members of minority communities have been victims of targeted killings and accusations of blasphemy, a crime that carries the death penalty in Pakistan. Places of worship have frequently been targeted for attack by terrorists. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from attending services at places of worship in Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar, and outside of the diplomatic enclave in Islamabad without prior approval. Foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, on valid missionary visas have encountered increased scrutiny from local authorities since early 2011.
TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS FOR GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL
U.S. government personnel travel within Pakistan is often restricted based on security or other reasons. Movements by U.S. government personnel assigned to the Consulates General are severely restricted, and consulate staff cannot drive personally-owned vehicles.Embassy staff is permitted at times to drive personally-owned vehicles in the greater Islamabad area.
U.S. officials in Islamabad are instructed to limit the frequency of travel and minimize the duration of trips to public markets, restaurants, and other locations. Official visitors are not authorized to stay overnight in local hotels. Depending on ongoing security assessments, the U.S. Mission sometimes places areas such as hotels, markets, and restaurants off-limits to official personnel. U.S. officials are not authorized to use public transportation.
Access to many areas of Pakistan, including the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the Afghan border, the Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, and the area adjacent to the Line of Control (LOC) in the disputed territory of Kashmir, is restricted by local government authorities for non-Pakistanis. Travel to any restricted region requires official permission from the Government of Pakistan. Failure to obtain such permission in advance can result in arrest and detention by Pakistani authorities. Due to security concerns, the U.S. government currently allows only essential travel within the FATA by U.S. officials. Travel to much of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and Balochistan is also restricted.
GENERAL SAFETY AND SECURITY
Rallies, demonstrations, and processions occur regularly throughout Pakistan on very short notice. Demonstrations might take on an anti-U.S. or anti-Western character, and U.S. citizens are urged to avoid large gatherings. Anti-U.S. protests in September 2012 attracted large crowds outside U.S. diplomatic facilities in all major cities and caused casualties and significant property damage. The Mission reminds U.S. citizens that even peaceful demonstrations might become violent and advises U.S. citizens to avoid demonstrations. Given multiple demands for resources, local authorities may have limited capacity to respond to requests for assistance.
The U.S. Consulate in Karachi frequently receives reports from U.S. citizens who have been the victims of robberies at gunpoint.Many calls involve robberies during transit between Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport and the city. Some of the calls allege involvement by law enforcement.
The Mission reiterates its advice to all U.S. citizens to maintain good situational awareness, avoid large crowds, and keep a low profile, particularly when visiting locations frequented by Westerners. U.S. citizens in Pakistan are strongly urged to avoid hotels that do not apply stringent security measures, and to vary times and routes for all travel.
U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan have also been kidnapped for ransom or for personal reasons such as family disputes over property. In December 2013, a U.S. citizen was released after being kidnapped for two months from his neighborhood outside of Peshawar. In May 2013, a U.S. citizen was rescued by local police after being kidnapped for ransom. U.S. citizens have also been abducted by terrorists, or abducted by criminal elements and then sold to terrorists, and held hostage for multiple years. The kidnapping of Pakistani citizens and other foreign nationals, usually for ransom, continues to increase nationwide. U.S. citizens who feel they are in danger, or whose security is at risk, are strongly urged to depart Pakistan as soon as possible.
U.S. citizens seeking services from the U.S. Consulate General in Karachi might also encounter harassment from host government officials. Citing security concerns, host-government intelligence officials frequently stop U.S. citizens outside the Consulate and obtain their personal information before allowing them to proceed. U.S. citizens might later be visited at their homes or offices and questioned about the nature of their business in Pakistan and the purpose of their visit to the Consulate.
U.S. citizens should ensure that their travel documents and visas are valid before travelling to Pakistan and at all times while in Pakistan. All U.S. citizens regardless of age must have a valid passport and visa for Pakistan, unless they have a Pakistani passport. U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan have been arrested, deported, harassed, and detained for overstaying their Pakistani visas or for traveling to Pakistan without the appropriate visa classification. U.S. citizens who attempt to renew or extend their visas while in Pakistan have been left without legal status for an extended period of time and subjected to harassment or interrogation by local authorities. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates General can provide very limited assistance to U.S. citizens who have overstayed their Pakistani visas. Since 2011, the number of U.S. citizens arrested, detained, and prosecuted for visa overstays has increased across the country.
U.S. citizens occasionally notify the Embassy that they are unable to depart the country because their names have been added to the Exit Control List (ECL). The U.S. Embassy is unable to assist in such cases, which must be resolved through Pakistani legal channels.
Security threats might, on short notice, temporarily restrict the ability of the U.S. Missions to provide routine consular services. All U.S. citizens are encouraged to apply for renewal of travel documents at least three months prior to expiration.
U.S. citizens who travel to or remain in Pakistan despite this Travel Warning are encouraged to enroll with the Embassy in Islamabad or the Consulate General in Karachi. This enrollment can be completed online through the Department of State'sSmart Traveler Enrollment Program(STEP) available on the Department of Statewebsite. U.S. citizens without internet access should contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate General for information on registering in person. Enrollment enables citizens to obtain updated information on travel and security within Pakistan via the emergency alert system.
TheU.S. Embassy in Islamabadis located at Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5, and can be reached by telephone at (92-51) 208-0000; Consular Section telephone (92-51) 208-2700; and fax (92-51) 282-2632.
You may make an American Citizens Services appointment with the Consular Section in Islamabad through the following link:http://islamabad.usembassy.gov/service/appointmemts.html.
U.S. citizens requiring emergency services should contact the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad at telephone (92-51) 208-0000. Note that our ability to provide emergency services outside Islamabad could be limited by travel restrictions and security conditions.
TheU.S. Consulate General in Karachiis located at Plot 3-5 New TPX Area, Mai Kolachi Road. U.S. citizens requiring emergency assistance should call the Consular Section in Karachi at (92-21) 3527-5000. The fax number is (92-21) 3561-2420.
You may make an American Citizens Services appointment with the Consular Section in Karachi through the following linkhttp://karachi.usconsulate.gov/service.html.
Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
For further information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should consult the Department of State'sCountry Specific Information for Pakistan. Stay up to date by bookmarking ourBureau of Consular Affairs website which contains the currentTravel WarningsandTravel Alertsas well as theWorldwide Caution. Follow us onTwitterand theBureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebookas well.
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Israel, The West Bank and Gaza Travel Warning
The security environment remains complex in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, and U.S. citizens need to be aware of the continuing risks of travel to these areas, particularly to areas described in this Travel Warning where there are heightened tensions and security risks.
The security situation can change day to day, depending on the political situation, recent events, and geographic area. A rise in political tensions and violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank has resulted in injuries to and deaths of U.S. citizens. In view of the ongoing security situation, the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority make considerable efforts to police major tourist attractions and ensure security in areas where foreigners frequently travel. Although threat mitigation efforts by authorities are not 100 percent effective, hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens safely visit Israel and the West Bank each year for study, tourism, and business.
The Department of State strongly warns U.S. citizens against travel to the Gaza Strip; U.S. government employees are not allowed to conduct official or personal travel there. U.S. government personnel require special security arrangements if traveling inside Israel within seven kilometers of the Gaza demarcation line. With the exception of Jericho and Bethlehem, U.S. government employees are prohibited from personal travel to the West Bank. Due to security concerns, U.S. government employees are prohibited from using public buses throughout Israel and the West Bank, and must obtain advance approval if they wish to travel within 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) of the Lebanon border, or travel on or east of Route 98 in the Golan Heights. U.S. citizens should take into consideration the following information, including the rules governing travel in this region by U.S. government employees. This replaces the Travel Warning issued September 10, 2014.
Major Metropolitan Areas
Personal safety conditions in major metropolitan areas, including Tel Aviv and Haifa and surrounding regions, are comparable to other major global cities. Nonetheless, the July-August 2014 Gaza conflict (see below) and subsequent political and religious tension associated with access to the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem led to increased levels of violence, particularly in Jerusalem and West Bank environs, not seen in those areas in a decade. Attacks on individuals and groups have occurred in East and West Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Bethlehem, as well as various places in the West Bank. We have no indication that U.S. citizens have been specifically targeted based on their nationality, however U.S. citizens have been directly affected. Six U.S. citizen residents of Israel and the West Bank were killed and others injured in multiple attacks in 2014. U.S. citizens involved in or observing political demonstrations have sustained serious injuries and the Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens avoid all demonstrations for their ownsafety. Due to security concerns, U.S. government employees are prohibited from using public buses in Israel and the West Bank. See below for specific safety and security information regarding Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and near Israel’s northern borders.
Travelers should be aware of the risks presented by the potential for military conflict between Hamas and Israel. During the conflict in Gaza in July and August 2014, long-range rockets launched from Gaza reached many locations in Israel and the West Bank – including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and other cities in the north and south. The Government of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system successfully intercepted many rockets. However, missile impacts also caused deaths, injuries, and property damage. There have been additional small arms fire and mortar and rocket launches from Gaza into southern Israel on several occasions between September and December 2014 that resulted in limited property damage.
Visitors to and residents of Israel and the West Bank should familiarize themselves with the location of the nearest bomb shelter or other hardened site.Consult municipality websites, such as those forJerusalemandTel Aviv, for locations of public bomb shelters and other emergency preparedness information. Visitors should seek information on shelters from hotel staff or building managers. We advise all U.S. citizens to take note of guidance on proper procedures in the event of rocket attacks or other crisis events by visiting the website of the government of Israel'sHome Front Command.
Travelers should also be aware of the heightened state of alert maintained by Israeli authorities along Israel's border with Egypt. There have been cross-border incidents from Egypt, including rocket attacks and ground incursions, such as attacks that took place in August 2013, January 20 and October 22, 2014. Rockets and mortars were launched from Sinai in the direction of Eilat and Israel’s Negev region in January, July, and August 2014.
Visitors should observe appropriate personal security practices to reduce their vulnerability to crime, particularly late at night or in isolated areas, including in the countryside. Visitors are advised to avoid large gatherings or demonstrations and keep current with local news, which is available through numerous English language sources.
U.S. citizens visiting and living in Jerusalem should be aware of the numerous political, cultural, and religious tensions that permeate the city. These sensitivities have the potential to fuel protests, civil unrest, acts of terrorism, and retaliatory attacks against groups and individuals. There have been frequent clashes between protesters and Israeli authorities, particularly in East Jerusalem neighborhoods. Travelers should be aware that protest activities and violence have occurred across Jerusalem, including in West Jerusalem, within the Old City, and in East Jerusalem neighborhoods such as Sheikh Jarrah, Shufat, Beit Hanina, Mt. of Olives, As Suwaneh, Abu Deis, Silwan, Shuafat Refugee Camp, Issawiyeh, and Tsur Baher. The intensity and number of these violent events, which have caused the deaths of bystanders, remained at high levels during October and November. Such events often increase following Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif access restrictions, in retaliation for random attacks, or during Israel National Police (INP) operations in predominantly Palestinian neighborhoods. The INP often deploys a heavy presence in many of the neighborhoods that have seen clashes and may restrict vehicular traffic to some of these neighborhoods without notice. U.S. citizens are advised not to enter any neighborhoods while restricted by the INP and to avoid any locations with active clashes.
To date, the clashes and violence have not been anti-American in nature. However, politically motivated violence in Jerusalem claimed the lives of U.S. citizens in October and November 2014, including a terror attack inside a synagogue. Other U.S. citizens have also been injured in such attacks. Travelers are reminded to exercise caution at Muslim religious sites on Fridays and on holy days, particularly during the holy month of Ramadan. The INP often imposes restrictions on visitors to the Old City’s Temple Mount/ Haram al-Sharif. Travelers should be aware that the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif is often closed without warning by the INP. U.S. government employees are prohibited from entering the Old City on Fridays during Ramadan due to congestion and security-related access restrictions.
U.S. citizens are advised to avoid public parks in Jerusalem after dark, due to numerous reports of criminal activity associated with these parks.
Northern Israeland Golan Heights
Rocket attacks into Israel from Lebanon have occurred without warning along the Israeli-Lebanese border. Tensions have increased along portions of the Disengagement Zone with Syria in the Golan Heights as a result of the internal conflict occurring in Syria. Sporadic gunfire has occurred along the border region. There have been several incidents of mortar shells and light arms fire impacting on the Israeli-controlled side of the zone as a result of spillover from the fighting in Syria. Travelers should be aware that cross-border gunfire can occur without warning. Furthermore, there are active land mines in areas of the Golan Heights, so visitors should walk only on established roads or trails. The Syrian conflict is sporadic and unpredictable. Because of concerns about security on Israel’s northern borders, U.S. government personnel must obtain advance approval if they wish to travel within 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) of the Lebanon border, or travel on or east of Route 98 in the Golan Heights.
The West Bank
The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to exercise caution when traveling to the West Bank. In October 2014, a U.S. citizen teenager was killed in an encounter with Israeli security forces in Silwad, and in June 2014, three Israeli teenagers, including a dual U.S. citizen, were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas-affiliated individuals while hitchhiking near Hebron. Demonstrations and violent incidents can occur without warning, and vehicles are sometimes damaged by rocks, Molotov cocktails, and gunfire on West Bank roads. U.S citizens have been killed in such attacks in the past. There have also been an increasing number of violent incidents involving Israeli settlers and Palestinian villagers in the corridor stretching from Ramallah to Nablus, including attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinian villages in which U.S. citizens have suffered injury or property damage, as well as attacks by Palestinians on settlements. U.S. citizens can be caught in the middle of potentially dangerous situations, and some U.S. citizens involved in political demonstrations in the West Bank have sustained serious injuries. The Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens avoid all demonstrations for their own safety. During periods of unrest, the Israeli government may restrict access to the West Bank, and some areas may be placed under curfew. All persons in areas under curfew should remain indoors to avoid arrest or injury. Security conditions in the West Bank may hinder the ability of U.S. government officials to offer timely assistance to U.S. citizens.
Personal travel in the West Bank by U.S. government personnel and their families is permitted to the towns of Bethlehem and Jericho and on Routes 1, 443, and 90 after completing certain security procedures. The Rachel’s Tomb checkpoint between Jerusalem and Bethlehem has seen an increase in public demonstrations, which have the potential to become violent. U.S. government officials may also engage in personal travel to Qumran off Route 90 by the Dead Sea and to the Allenby Bridge crossing to Jordan, as well as stops at roadside facilities along Routes 1 and 90. All other personal travel by U.S. government personnel in the West Bank is prohibited. U.S. government personnel routinely travel to the West Bank for official business, but do so with special security arrangements.
The Gaza Strip
The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to the Gaza Strip, which is under the control of Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization. U.S. citizens in Gaza are advised to depart immediately. U.S. government U.S. citizen employees are not allowed to travel to Gaza, in either personal or professional capacities. U.S. government travel within seven kilometers of the Gaza demarcation requires special security arrangements. The security environment within Gaza, including its border with Egypt and its seacoast, is dangerous and volatile. Exchanges of fire between the Israel Defense Forces and militant groups in Gaza take place regularly, and civilians have been caught in the crossfire in the past. Since late October 2014, Egyptian authorities have closed the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt for extended periods with no indication regarding when it will reopen for normal traffic. When operating, the Rafah crossing normally allows for some passenger travel, however, prior coordination with local authorities - which could take days or weeks to process - may be required and crossing points may be closed for days or weeks. Travelers who enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing must also exit through the Rafah crossing, and those entering the Gaza Strip may not be able to depart at a time of their choosing. Many U.S. citizens have been unable to exit Gaza or faced lengthy delays while attempting to exit Gaza. Furthermore, the schedule and requirements for exiting through the Rafah crossing are unpredictable and can involve significant expense. The ability of U.S. government personnel to offer timely assistance to U.S. citizens, including assistance departing Gaza, is extremely limited. The Consulate General and Embassy are often unable to assist U.S. citizens to exit Gaza via the Erez crossing to Israel. U.S. citizens who choose to travel to Gaza cannot normally rely on the U.S. government to assist them in departing Gaza.
Some U.S. citizens holding Israeli nationality, possessing a Palestinian identity card, or who are of Arab or Muslim origin have experienced significant difficulties in entering or exiting Israel or the West Bank. U.S. citizens planning to travel to Israel, the West Bank, or Gaza should consult the detailed information concerning entry and exit difficulties in theCountry Specific Information.
U.S. citizens seeking to depart Israel, the West Bank, or Gaza are responsible for making their own travel arrangements. The lack of a valid U.S. passport may hinder U.S. citizens' ability to depart the country and may slow the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General's ability to provide assistance.
Travelers should check the status of border crossings before embarking on trips.
Contact theConsular Section of the U.S. Embassyfor information and assistance in Israel, the Golan Heights, and ports of entry at Ben Gurion Airport, Haifa Port, the northern (Jordan River/Sheikh Hussein) and southern (Arava) border crossings connecting Israel and Jordan, and the border crossings between Israel and Egypt. An embassy officer can be contacted at (972) (3) 519-7575 from Monday through Friday during working hours. The after-hours emergency number is (972) (3) 519-7551.
Contact theConsular Section of the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalemfor information and assistance in Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge crossing between the West Bank and Jordan, at (972) (2) 630-4000 from Monday through Friday during working hours. The after-hours emergency number is (972) (2) 622-7250.
For More Information
The Department of State urges those U.S. citizens who live in or travel to Israel, the West Bank or Gaza to enroll in the Department of State’sSmart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)in order to obtain the most current information on travel and security within Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Enrollment in STEP makes it easier for the Embassy or Consulate General to contact U.S. citizens in case of emergency. For information on "What the Department of State Can and Can't Do in a Crisis," please visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs'Emergencies and Crisis linkatwww.travel.state.gov.
For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor theDepartment of State’s Internet websitewhere the Worldwide Caution,Country Specific Information for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza,Travel Warnings, andTravel Alertscan be found, including the currentTravel Warning for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. You can also follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs onTwitterand onFacebook. Up-to-date information on security conditions can also be accessed athttp://israel.usembassy.gov,http://jerusalem.usconsulate.govor onthe EmbassyandConsulate GeneralFacebook pages.
Up-to-date information on travel and security in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or, for callers outside of the United States and Canada, on a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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While every care has been taken in preparing this travel information for travelers, neither ineedahotel.com nor its agents or employees including any member of the ineedahotel.com staff, can accept liability for injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained therein.