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Warnings and Alerts


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The latest travel warnings and alerts from the government

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all non-essential travel to Pakistan. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated May 22, 2017.

Consular services provided by the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, the Consulate General in Karachi, and the Consulate General in Lahore are often limited due to the security environment. At this time, the Consulate General in Peshawar is not providing consular services.

Pakistan continues to experience significant terrorist violence, including sectarian attacks. Targeted attacks against government officials, humanitarian and non-governmental organization (NGO) employees, tribal elders, and law enforcement personnel are common. Throughout Pakistan, foreign and indigenous terrorist groups continue to pose a danger to U.S. citizens. Terrorists have targeted U.S. diplomats and diplomatic facilities in the past, and evidence suggests they continue to do so. Terrorists and criminal groups have resorted to kidnapping for ransom.

The Government of Pakistan maintains heightened security measures, particularly in major cities, following attacks or in response to threats.

Terrorists continue to target:

  • Heavily guarded facilities, such as military and government installations and airports 
  • Universities, schools, and hospitals
  • Places of worship of various faiths
  • Rallies, public parks, and sports venues
  • Hotels, markets, shopping malls, and restaurants

In Balochistan, insurgent and terrorist groups conducted numerous suicide bombings, hand grenade attacks, and ambushes on Pakistani security forces and civilians over the past six months. A suicide bomber in Quetta targeted senior police officers near Shuhada Chowk, killing 14 people and wounding 30. In Chaman, a suicide bomber attacked a police convoy, killing three police officials and injuring 20 others. Two hand grenade attacks in Gwadar and Mastung injured 41 people. In Quetta, a suicide bomber killed 21 people and wounded 45 in an attack on the Pishin bus terminal. A suicide bomber in Jhal Magsi attacked worshippers at the Sufi shrine of Pir Rakhyal Shah in the Fatehpur area, killing 19 and injuring 30. A suicide bomber in Quetta attacked a police convoy on the Sibbi Road in the Saryab mill area, killing seven and wounding 23.

In Punjab province, three suicide bombings targeting police and military officials in Lahore killed at least 47 and injured more than 100 others.

In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and the Federally Administered Tribal areas (FATA), there have been numerous recent attacks by insurgent and terrorist groups targeting government officials, NGO/Aid workers, religious minorities, and civilians to include over 67 improvised explosive devices (IED), 148 reported occurrences of small arms fire, 28 known assassination attempts, and 17 kidnappings. Assassination and kidnapping attempts are common throughout these areas. Terrorist organizations operating in the area have not discriminated between government officials and civilians. 

Since May 2017, the following significant attacks have occurred: in Parachinar, an IED targeting the Tori Market killed 67 civilians and injured 75; in Jamrud, an IED attack targeting peace committee workers killed at least five civilians; in Charsadda, at least five IEDs exploded, injuring 14 people; IEDs targeting Peshawar Hospital injured five people; and in Peshawar the detonation of a “toy bomb” killed one child and injured six.

Sectarian violence remains a serious threat throughout Pakistan, and the Government of Pakistan continues to enforce blasphemy laws. Religious minority communities have been victims of targeted killings and accusations of blasphemy. 

The local government restricts access for foreigners to many areas, including:

  • the FATA near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border,
  • Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province,
  • the area adjacent to the Line of Control in the disputed territory of Kashmir,
  • Much of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and Balochistan.

Travel by U.S. government personnel within Pakistan is restricted, and movements by U.S. government personnel outside of U.S. diplomatic facilities in Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar are sometimes severely restricted depending on local circumstances and security conditions, which can change suddenly.

If you choose to live or travel in Pakistan despite this warning, you should:

  • Vary travel routes and timing, especially for routine trips.
  • Minimize the duration of trips to public markets, restaurants, government and military institutions, and other locations.
  • Minimize the number of U.S./western nationals congregating in any one location at any time.
  • Avoid hotels that do not apply stringent security measures.
  • Take a photo of your passport, entry stamp, and Pakistani visa, and keep it with you at all times. Keep digital copies of these documents in a secure, electronically accessible place.

Advisory Notice to Airmen (NOTAM): The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a NOTAM concerning the risks to civil aviation operating in Pakistan, particularly at low altitude, during the arrival and departure phases of flight, and when on the ground, due to extremist/militant activity. The Advisory NOTAM does not prohibit U.S. operators or airmen from operating in the specified area, as it is strictly an advisory notice. 

For background information on FAA flight prohibitions and advisories for U.S. civil aviation, see the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Pakistan Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier for us to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, located at Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5, Islamabad, Pakistan, by email at ACSIslamabad@state.gov. The after-hours emergency assistance number for U.S. citizens is (92)(51) 201-4000 or (92)(51)201-5000. https://pk.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/islamabad/
  • Contact the U.S. Consulate General in Karachi, located at Plot 3-5 New TPX Area, Mai Kolachi Road. The after-hours emergency assistance number for U.S. citizens is (92-21) 3527-5000. https://pk.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/karachi/
  • Contact the U.S. Consulate General in Lahore, located at 50, Shahrah-e-Abdul Hameed Bin Badees, (Old Empress Road) near Shimla Hill Circle. The after-hours emergency assistance number for U.S. citizens is (92-42)3603-4000. https://pk.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/lahore/
  • Contact the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar, located at 11 Hospital Road, Peshawar Cantonment, at +92 91 526 8800. (Calling within Pakistan, dial 091 526 8800.) This number is available 24 hours a day for emergencies involving U.S. citizens in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). See also Consulate General Peshawar’s section on the Mission Pakistan webpage: https://pk.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/peshawar/
  • 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).
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Posted: December 8, 2017, 12:00 am

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of traveling to Haiti due to its current security environment and lack of adequate medical facilities and response. This is an update to the Travel Warning issued on September 12, 2017.  

Kidnapping remains a threat, and armed robberies and violent assaults reported by U.S. citizens have risen in recent years. Do not share specific travel plans with strangers. Be aware that newly arrived travelers are targeted. Arrange to have your host or organization meet you at the airport upon arrival or pre-arranged airport to hotel transfers. Embassy personnel are prohibited from visiting public banks and ATMs, which are often targeted by criminals. Fewer incidents of crime are reported outside of Port-au-Prince, but Haitian authorities' ability to respond to emergencies is limited and in some areas nonexistent.  U.S. Embassy employees are discouraged from walking in city neighborhoods, including in Petionville, during daylight, and are prohibited from walking in city neighborhoods, including Petionville, after dark. Visit only establishments with secured parking lots. U.S. Embassy personnel are under a curfew from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Embassy personnel must receive permission from the Embassy security officer to travel to some areas of Port-au-Prince, thus limiting the Embassy’s ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens. 

Protests, including tire burning and road blockages, are frequent and often spontaneous. Avoid all demonstrations. The Haitian National Police's ability to assist U.S. citizens during disturbances is limited. Have your own plans for quickly exiting the country if necessary. 

Medical care infrastructure, ambulances, and other emergency services are limited throughout Haiti. Check that your organization has reliable infrastructure, evacuation, and medical support in place. Comprehensive medical evacuation insurance is strongly advised for all travelers. 

For further information:

Posted: December 7, 2017, 12:00 am

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to postpone or cancel unnecessary travel to mainland Honduras due to ongoing political protests and the potential for violence. There is an increase in demonstrations and disruptions as a result of an election dispute. The Bay Islands of Honduras (Roatan, Utila, and Guanaja) are not significantly impacted at this time. Though current demonstrations have largely remained peaceful, demonstrations can be volatile and dangerous, and have included rock throwing, assaults, and tire burning. Moreover, rioting and looting have occurred in many cities throughout Honduras. Road closures result in extreme traffic delays, thereby possibly limiting access to airports throughout mainland Honduras. This Travel Alert expires on December 31, 2017.

As of December 5 and through Monday, December 11, 2017, the Honduran government is imposing a curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. on parts of mainland Honduras. There is no curfew in effect on the Bay Islands and the mainland cities of Tela and Trujillo. As of December 8, the Honduran government has lifted the curfew in the departments of Choluteca, Valle, El Paraiso, Ocotopeque, Copan, Lempira, Santa Barbara, Olancho, Gracias a Dios, and Comayagua (though the curfew remains in effect in the city of Siguatapeque). We advise U.S. citizens to observe local law enforcement requirements and remain inside during restricted hours.   

U.S. citizens are reminded that large public gatherings may become unruly or violent quickly. U.S. citizens in Honduras should take extra precautions and follow instructions issued by local officials.

  • Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings.
  • Have a communications plan that does not rely solely on cellular data.
  • If you cannot postpone or delay travel within Honduras, avoid crowds and remain alert when traveling in the country.
  • Contact your airline for the latest information regarding flights to and from Honduras.
  • Monitor media and local information sources regarding protest-related developments, and have flexible plans for personal travel and activities.
  • Report specific safety concerns to local law enforcement authorities.
  • Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.

For further information:

Posted: December 6, 2017, 12:00 am

December 6, 2017

As part of the Department of State’s continuous efforts to provide U.S. citizens traveling abroad with information about safety and security events, we are updating the Worldwide Caution with information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions, political violence, and criminal activity against U.S. citizens and interests abroad. This replaces the Worldwide Caution dated September 14, 2017.      

As terrorist attacks, political upheaval, and violence often take place without any warning, U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness when traveling. To better prepare for possible emergencies, U.S. citizens are encouraged to read Country Specific Information pages, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts on travel.state.gov before planning a trip.

In addition to concerns stemming from terrorism, travelers should be alert to the possibility of political unrest, violence, demonstrations, and criminal activities when traveling. Country-specific information pages and Travel Warnings should be consulted to obtain the latest data on such threats. 

Travelers are urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. The Department uses these security messages to convey information about terrorist threats, security incidents, planned demonstrations, natural disasters, etc. In an emergency, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate or call the following numbers: 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. 

U.S. government facilities worldwide remain in a heightened state of alert. These facilities may temporarily close or periodically suspend public services to assess their security posture. In those instances, U.S. embassies and consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens abroad are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. 

Terrorist groups including ISIS, al-Qa’ida, their associates, and those inspired by such organizations, are intent on attacking U.S. citizens wherever they are. Extremists may use conventional or non-conventional weapons to target U.S. government and private interests. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack to more effectively target crowds, including the use of edged weapons, pistols, and vehicles as weapons. Extremists increasingly aim to assault “soft” targets, such as:

  • high-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
  • hotels, clubs, and restaurants
  • places of worship
  • schools
  • parks
  • shopping malls and markets
  • tourism infrastructure
  • public transportation systems
  • airports

In multiple regions, terrorists, guerrilla groups, and criminals seek to kidnap U.S. citizens to finance their operations or for political purposes. The Department also remains concerned that terrorists could again seek to down aircraft using concealed explosives or hijack commercial flights

Private U.S. citizens should not travel to any country to participate in armed conflict. U.S. citizens are reminded that fighting on behalf of or providing other forms of support to designated terrorist organizations can constitute the provision of material support for terrorism, which is a serious crime that can result in penalties, including prison time and large fines. 

Below, we provide information specific to different regions and countries. Please consult travel.state.gov for additional information. 

AFRICA: There are terrorist, guerilla, and insurgent groups in some parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, and the potential for al-Qa’ida or ISIS-inspired attacks is high in several West African countries and countries bordering Somalia. These groups have been known to take hostages, kill civilians, and deliberately target Westerners on occasion. There is political instability and civil unrest in some African countries. Under these conditions, the level of consular assistance available to U.S. citizens may be limited.

If you are planning to travel to any of the following countries, please read our advisories carefully:

Burkina Faso

Burundi

Cameroon

Central African Republic

Chad

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Eritrea

Ethiopia

Kenya

Mali

Mauritania

Niger

Nigeria

Somalia

Republic of South Sudan

Sudan 

EAST ASIA and PACIFIC: Armed terrorist and criminal groups are operating in the East Asian and Pacific region and may attempt to target U.S. citizens, particularly for kidnapping in the coastal areas and outlying islands of the eastern part of the Malaysian state of Sabah and the southern Philippines.  Indonesia has witnessed an increase in terrorist-related arrests and foiled plots, and several small-scale attacks and attempted attacks have occurred.  Periodic acts of violence in Thailand remain a concern. U.S. citizens are strongly warned to avoid all travel to North Korea/the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) due to the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention under North Korea’s system of law enforcement. A travel restriction on the use of U.S. passports to travel to, in, or from North Korea became effective in early September 2017.   

If you are planning to travel to any of the following countries, please read our advisories carefully:

North Korea

Philippines

EUROPE: Terrorist groups continue to plot attacks in Europe as foreign fighters return home from Syria and Iraq, while other individuals may be radicalized or inspired by ISIS propaganda. European authorities continue to warn of additional attacks on major events, tourist sites, restaurants, commercial centers, places of worship, and the transportation sector, frequently prompting heightened security at notable public venues and coordinated counterterrorism operations.  

If you are planning to travel to any of the following countries, please read our advisories carefully:

Turkey

Ukraine

MIDDLE EAST and NORTH AFRICA: Terrorist groups are very active in the Middle East and North Africa. The U.S. government remains highly concerned about possible attacks against U.S. citizens, facilities, businesses, and perceived U.S. and Western interests in the region. Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Libya are considered violent and unpredictable war zones, and there is no official U.S. diplomatic presence in the latter three countries. U.S. citizens should avoid these areas. Terrorist groups have demonstrated capability to conduct attacks throughout the region, posing both a direct and indirect threat to U.S. citizens. Government officials throughout the region are concerned about the potential return of foreign fighters following ISIS’s territorial losses in Iraq, Syria, and Libya. 

If you are planning to travel to any of the following countries, please read our advisories carefully:

Algeria

Egypt

Iran

Iraq

Israel, The West Bank, and Gaza

Jordan

Lebanon

Libya

Saudi Arabia

Syria

Tunisia

Yemen

SOUTH and CENTRAL ASIA: The U.S. government assesses terrorist groups in South Asia may be planning attacks in the region, possibly against U.S. facilities, citizens, and interests. U.S. citizens should avoid travel to Afghanistan, as no region in the country is immune from violence. A number of established terrorist organizations, indigenous sectarian groups, and other militants pose a danger to U.S. citizens in Pakistan. Extremist elements are also active in India, as outlined in a recent emergency message. Terrorists have hit a wide variety of targets and institutions in Bangladesh. 

If you are planning to travel to any of the following countries, please read our advisories carefully:

Afghanistan

Bangladesh  

Pakistan 

Western Hemisphere: Insurgent groups, armed criminal gangs, and indigenous terrorists remain active in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada.  U.S. citizens are particularly vulnerable to kidnap-for-ransom attempts and violent crimes of opportunity while visiting a variety of countries. Gang- and narcotics-related violence is of concern in several countries throughout the region. Political protests are common throughout the region, and in some countries they can devolve into violence. Haiti is particularly vulnerable to violent political protest activity, some of which has directly targeted U.S. interests. Venezuela’s current political crisis has turned violent on numerous occasions in 2017, including near-daily protests between April and August that have cost more than 100 people their lives.

If you are planning to travel to any of the following countries, please read our advisories carefully:

Colombia

Cuba

El Salvador

Haiti

Honduras

Mexico

Venezuela

For further information:

Posted: December 6, 2017, 12:00 am

The State Department warns U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of travel to Saudi Arabia due to continuing threats from terrorist groups and the threat of ballistic missile attacks on civilian targets by rebel forces in Yemen. This Travel Warning supersedes the previous version issued on March 29, 2017. 

Terrorist threats persist throughout Saudi Arabia, including in major cities such as Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dhahran, and attacks can occur without warning anywhere in the country. Terrorist groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and its affiliates have targeted both Saudi and Western government interests, mosques and other religious sites (both Sunni and Shia), and places frequented by U.S. citizens and other Westerners.  On October 7, a terrorist attacked a Saudi government installation in Jeddah.  Since May, sectarian issues in the Qatif region in the Eastern Province resulted in several attacks against Saudi forces conducting security operations there.  

Saudi security forces continue to vigorously counter terrorist activities, having successfully disrupted multiple terrorist attacks and killed or detained several high-profile ISIS members.  On June 23, Saudi authorities announced they had foiled an attack on the Grand Mosque in Mecca when a suicide bomber blew himself up during a security operation.  On September 11, Saudi authorities announced the arrest of several suspects in possession of suicide belts and materials for construction of improvised explosive devices intended for use in an attack on the Ministry of Defense in Riyadh.

Violence from the ongoing conflict in Yemen continues to spill over into Saudi Arabia.  In the past year, rebels have fired several long-range missiles into Saudi Arabia capable of reaching the vicinities of Riyadh and Jeddah, and they have publicly stated their intent to continue doing so.  The most recent attack on November 4 resulted in debris falling near King Khalid International Airport north of Riyadh. 

Yemeni forces also routinely fire artillery at Saudi border towns and launch cross-border attacks against Saudi military personnel.  U.S. government personnel and their families are prohibited from traveling to any area within 50 miles of the Saudi-Yemeni border, including the cities of Jizan and Najran.  As a result, the U.S. Mission’s ability to provide consular assistance in this region is limited, and U.S. citizens should not travel to this area.

Due to security concerns, U.S. government personnel and their families are also restricted from traveling to: 

  • Qatif and its suburbs, in the Eastern Province
  • Hofuf and its suburbs, in the Al-Ahsa governorate

U.S. citizens should avoid travel to these areas. 

Read the Department of State Travel Warning for Yemen before considering travel near the Yemen frontier. 

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Saudi Arabia Country Specific Information.
  • 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 Saudi Arabia located at Abdullah Ibn Huthafah Al-Sahmi Street, Diplomatic Quarter, at +966 11 488 3800, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.  The after-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +966 11 488 3800.
  • 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 Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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Posted: November 21, 2017, 12:00 am

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid travel to the Central African Republic (CAR) due to an unpredictable security situation subject to rapid deterioration, the activities of armed groups, and violent crime.  We urge U.S. citizens who are in CAR to consider departing. The U.S. government’s ability to provide consular services in CAR is extremely limited.  U.S. citizens in CAR who require consular assistance should contact the U.S. Embassy in Yaounde, Cameroon. This replaces the Travel Warning dated May 26, 2017.

The potential for intercommunal violence in CAR is high. Despite the presence of a United Nations stabilization force, the security situation is fragile. Large areas of the country are controlled by armed groups who regularly kidnap, injure and/or kill civilians. In the event of unrest, airport, land border, and road closures may occur with little or no notice. 

The U.S. Embassy restricts the travel of its personnel outside of Embassy facilities, and also imposes a curfew.  U.S. citizens who choose to remain in CAR should have safety and evacuation plans that do not rely on assistance from the U.S. government.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for the Central African Republic.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). U.S. citizens who decide to travel to or remain in the CAR despite this Travel Warning are urged to provide their current contact information and next-of-kin information through STEP.
  • U.S. citizens in CAR in need of emergency assistance should contact the U.S. Embassy in Yaounde, Cameroon; E-mail: YaoundeACS@state.gov.  Telephone: From a mobile phone dial 00-237-22220-1500 ext. 4341/4023; from a landline dial 00-237-2220-1500 ext. 4341/4023 (Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. local time).  Emergencies: From a mobile phone dial 00-237-22220-1500, ext. 4531; from a landline dial 00-237-2220-1500, ext. 4531. Please note that due to local connectivity issues, not all mobile providers may work at all times. If you cannot get through, please try another service provider.  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).
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Posted: November 21, 2017, 12:00 am

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the heightened risk of terrorist attacks throughout Europe, particularly during the holiday season. U.S. citizens should exercise caution at holiday festivals and events. This Travel Alert expires on January 31, 2018.

Recent, widely-reported incidents in France, Russia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Finland demonstrate that the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS or Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, and their affiliates have the ability to plan and execute terrorist attacks in Europe. Last year, mass casualty attacks occurred at a Christmas market in Berlin, Germany in December and a nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey on New Year’s Eve. While local governments continue counterterrorism operations, the Department remains concerned about the potential for future terrorist attacks. U.S. citizens should always be alert to the possibility that terrorist sympathizers or self-radicalized extremists may conduct attacks with little or no warning. 

Extremists continue to focus on tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities as viable targets. In addition, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, high-profile events, educational institutions, airports, and other soft targets remain priority locations for possible attacks. U.S. citizens should exercise additional vigilance in these and similar locations.

Terrorists persist in employing a variety of tactics, including firearms, explosives, using vehicles as ramming devices, and sharp-edged weapons that are difficult to detect prior to an attack.

If you are traveling between countries in Europe, please check the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate in your destination city for any recent security messages. Review security information from local officials, who are responsible for the safety and security of all visitors to their host country. U.S. citizens should also:

  • Follow the instructions of local authorities. Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.
  • Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
  • Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.
  • Have an emergency plan of action ready.
  • Register in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

We continue to work closely with our European partners and allies on the threat from international terrorism. Information is routinely shared between the United States and our key partners to disrupt terrorist plotting, identify and take action against potential operatives, and strengthen our defenses against potential threats.

For further information:

Posted: November 16, 2017, 12:00 am

The Department of State strongly warns U.S. citizens not to travel to North Korea/the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).  Due to the serious and mounting risk of arrest and long-term detention of U.S. citizens, effective September 1, 2017, U.S. passports were invalidated for travel into, in, or through North Korea.  Persons who wish to travel to North Korea on a U.S. passport must obtain a special validation passport.  Information on how to apply for a passport with a special validation is available on the Department of State’s website.  Such validations are issued by the Department of State and are granted only under very limited circumstances.  Further, obtaining a special validation does not diminish the bearer’s risk of harassment, arrest, or long term detention as a result of traveling to the DPRK. This notice replaces the Travel Warning dated August 10, 2017 to update the Geographical Travel Restriction and the sections on Sanctions, and the Federal Aviation Administrations’ flight prohibition.

North Korean authorities have imposed unduly harsh sentences for actions that would not be considered crimes in the United States and have threatened U.S. citizen detainees with being treated in accordance with “wartime law of the DPRK.”  Since the United States does not maintain diplomatic or consular relations with North Korea, the U.S. government has no means to provide normal consular services to U.S. citizens in North Korea.  Sweden serves as the protecting power for the United States in North Korea, providing limited emergency consular services to U.S. citizens traveling in North Korea.  The DPRK still routinely delays or denies consular access to U.S. citizens, even when requested by the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang, and despite North Korea and the United States both being signatories to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

At least 16 U.S. citizens have been detained in North Korea in the past ten years.  North Korean authorities have detained individuals who traveled independently and those who were part of organized tours.  Being a member of a group tour or using a tour guide has not prevented detention or arrest.  Efforts by private tour operators to prevent or resolve past detentions in the DPRK have not been successful.

If you obtain a special validation and decide to enter North Korea, you should have no expectation of privacy.  All electronic and multimedia devices including USB drives, CDs, DVDs, mobile phones, tablets, laptops, Internet browsing histories, and cookies are subject to search for banned content.

If DPRK authorities permit you to keep your mobile phone when you enter the country, it will not function unless you use the DPRK mobile service, which will enable DPRK authorities to monitor your calls.  GPS-trackers and satellite phones are not allowed. 

Possession of any media, either physical or electronic, that is critical of the DPRK government or its leaders is considered a criminal act punishable by long-term detention in hard labor camps and heavy fines. 

In North Korea, the following – whether done knowingly or unknowingly – have been treated as crimes:

  • Showing disrespect to the country’s former leaders, Kim Il Sung or Kim Jong Il, or the country’s current leader, Kim Jong Un, including but not limited to tampering with or mishandling materials bearing their names or images;
  • Entering North Korea without proper travel documentation;
  • Possessing material that is in any way critical of the DPRK government;
  • Proselytizing or carrying out religious activities, including activities that may be construed as such, like leaving behind religious materials;
  • Engaging in unsanctioned political activities;
  • Traveling without authorization, even for short distances;
  • Having unauthorized interaction with the local population;
  • Exchanging currency with an unauthorized vendor;
  • Taking unauthorized photographs;
  • Bringing pornography into the country;
  • Shopping at stores not designated for foreigners; and
  • Removing or tampering with political slogans and signs or pictures of political leaders.

Numerous foreigners have been held in North Korea for extended periods of time without being formally charged with a crime.  Detained foreigners have been questioned daily for several weeks without the presence of counsel and have been compelled to make public statements and take part in public trials.

The DPRK funnels revenue from a variety of sources to its nuclear and weapons programs, which it prioritizes above everything else, often at the expense of the well-being of its own people.  It is entirely possible that money spent by tourists in the DPRK goes to fund these programs.  We would urge all travelers, before travelling to the DPRK, to consider what they might be supporting.   

The DPRK remains one of the most heavily sanctioned countries in the world.  U.S. citizens traveling to North Korea should familiarize themselves with all applicable sanctions relating to the country, particularly U.S. sanctions.  To learn more about U.S. sanctions on the DPRK, see the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) page.

The Department of State remains deeply concerned about the DPRK’s ongoing, systematic, and widespread human rights violations.  To learn more about North Korea’s deplorable human rights situation, see the DPRK Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2016.

The United States and the United Nations Security Council have expressed grave concern regarding North Korea’s recent nuclear tests, ballistic missile launches, and other activities prohibited by United Nations Security Council Resolutions.  In response to North Korea’s actions, on September 11, the international community succeeded in achieving unanimous adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2375, including by China and Russia, which imposes the strongest sanctions on the DPRK to date.  UN Security Council statements from September 2017 are posted on the UN website.

As a result of concerns arising from unannounced missile launch activities and GPS navigation systems interference and/or disruption, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Prohibition and Advisory notice to U.S. airmen and operators,  Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 79 which prohibits U.S. civil aviation from flying in the Pyongyang Flight Information Region (FIR) west of 132 degrees east longitude, and the FAA has advised those flying in and around the Pyongyang (FIR)  east of 132 degrees east longitude to be aware of possible GPS interruptions.  On November 3, 2017, the FAA expanded its flight prohibition to include all operations in the Pyongyang (ZKKP) FIR East of 132 degrees East Longitude which were previously allowed under special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 79.  For more information, consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

For further information:

  • See the Department of State’s  travel website, travel.state.gov, for current Worldwide Cautions, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for North Korea.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive important safety and security messages via email (though you may not have access to email while in North Korea).  Enrollment also makes it easier to locate you in case of an emergency.
  • U.S. citizens who plan to travel to North Korea are strongly encouraged to inform the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China by enrolling in STEP.  U.S. citizens residing in China can contact the U.S. Embassy 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 in Beijing
American Citizens Services Unit
No. 55 An Jia Lou Road
Chaoyang District
Beijing, China 100600
Telephone:  (86-10) 8531-4000
Email:  BeijingACS@state.gov
Emergency after-hours number for U.S. citizens:  (86-10) 8531-4000

  • U.S. citizens who obtain a special validation to travel to North Korea are also strongly encouraged to contact the Embassy of Sweden by 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)
Munsu-Dong District
Pyongyang, DPRK
Telephone:  (850-2) 3817 485 (reception)
(850-2) 3817 904, (850-2) 3817 907 (Deputy)
Telephone:  (850-2) 3817 908 (Amb.)
Facsimile:  (850-2) 3817 663
Email:  ambassaden.pyongyang@gov.se

If you provide information to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing or the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang, officials will be able to locate you more easily in an emergency.  Take note of the contact details for the Swedish embassy in case of an emergency.

  • 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 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).

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Posted: November 9, 2017, 12:00 am

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to reoccurring political protests throughout Togo, some of which have been violent, especially in the northern city of Sokodé.  This Travel Alert expires on January 29, 2018.

Many protesters and security force members have been injured, and some killed, during the demonstrations, which began in August 2017. Security forces have used excessive force to disperse crowds. There are reports that government-sponsored vigilantes are using violence and the threat of violence to disrupt protests and intimidate civilians.

Police often use tear gas to disperse demonstrations that cause traffic disruptions in city centers and along National Route 1 and arrest demonstrators. Authorities have also interrupted internet and cellular data services, making communications difficult and less predictable.

Rallies, demonstrations, and protests may occur with little notice and without authorization from government authorities. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. You should avoid area of demonstrations and exercise caution in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.

  • Have a communications plan that does not rely solely on cellular data.
  • Avoid crowds and remain alert when traveling around the country.
  • Monitor media and local information sources regarding protest-related developments, and have flexible plans for personal travel and activities.
  • Report specific safety concerns to local law enforcement authorities.
  • Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.

For further information:

Posted: November 7, 2017, 12:00 am

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to the South Pacific region about the ongoing threat of tropical cyclones affecting the area.  While tropical cyclones in the South Pacific may occur throughout the year, the current South Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season begins on November 1, 2017, and ends April 30, 2018. U.S. citizens living in or traveling to the region should monitor local weather reports and take other appropriate actions as needed. This Travel Alert expires on April 30, 2018.

For further information on tropical cyclone warnings in the South Pacific region, please consult the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Honolulu, the National Weather Service's Central Pacific Hurricane Center, Fiji's regional meteorological center responsible for tropical cyclone warnings in the South Pacific region, or the Government of Australia's Bureau of Meteorology

In the past, U.S. citizens were forced to delay travel (including return travel to the United States) due to infrastructure damage to airports and limited flight availability. If you are planning to travel to regions of the world often affected by hurricanes, typhoons, or cyclones, visit our Tropical Storm Season – Know Before You Go page for more information about the potential dangers and inconveniences associated with your travel before finalizing plans.  

 For further information:

Posted: October 24, 2017, 12:00 am

 

Check out additional information on our travel page.

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