U.S. citizens should avoid all travel to the Darfur states, Blue Nile state, and Southern Kordofan state and consider carefully before planning travel to other areas of Sudan due to the risks of terrorism, armed conflict, and violent crime. The U.S. Embassy's ability to provide services outside of Khartoum is extremely limited. This replaces the Travel Warning issued on March 30, 2017.
Terrorist groups are present in Sudan and have stated their intent to harm Westerners and Western interests through suicide operations, bombings, shootings, and kidnappings. Violent crimes targeting Westerners, including kidnappings, armed robberies, home invasions, and carjacking can occur anywhere in Sudan, but are particularly prevalent in the Darfur states. Several aid workers and private citizens have been kidnapped and held hostage for ransom in the Darfur states over the last year.
U.S. citizens who choose to travel to Sudan should be vigilant and aware of their surroundings at all times, especially when at public gatherings and locations frequented by foreigners. Exercise extreme caution, monitor reliable news sources for information on the local security situation, and follow the instructions of local authorities. All U.S. citizens in Sudan should periodically assess their personal security and have evacuation plans that do not rely on U.S. government assistance.
Despite a significant reduction in the past year in military conflict between the Government of Sudan and opposition forces in Darfur, Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states, tensions in the Darfur states, along the border between Chad and Sudan, and in areas that border South Sudan, including the disputed area of Abyei remain high and violence continues. In addition to risking injury or death, U.S. citizens who go to these areas without the permission of the Sudanese government may be detained by security forces.
The U.S. Embassy requires U.S. government personnel in Sudan to use armored vehicles for official travel, and prohibits most travel outside of Khartoum without advance permission and extra security precautions. Family members of U.S. government employees assigned to Sudan must be at least 21 years old in order to live there.
For further information:
Violent conflict between government and armed anti-government groups continues throughout the country. There is a serious risk for kidnappings, bombings, murder, and terrorism. This replaces the Travel Warning dated March 22, 2017.
No part of Syria is safe from violence. Small arms fire, improvised explosives, artillery shelling, airstrikes, kidnappings, arbitrary arrests, and the use of chemical weapons transpire with little or no warning, significantly raising the risk of death or serious injury. While there have been internationally supported efforts to de-escalate the conflict, violence still persists in many parts of the country. The Syrian government has demonstrated reluctance to comply with ceasefire agreements in East Ghouta, Homs, and Idlib. In addition, Russian and/or Syrian forces continue to conduct airstrikes in Idlib province, which have recently resulted in dozens of civilian casualties and the death of medical personnel. Moreover, the Syrian government and its partners continue to prohibit the free flow of humanitarian aid into besieged areas, resulting in severe food shortages.
Terrorist and other violent extremist groups including ISIS and al-Qa’ida-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (dominated by al-Qa’ida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusrah, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization), operate in Syria. In July 2017, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham consolidated power in Idlib province after it clashed with other armed actors. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham control over Idlib threatens the ability of NGOs and states to deliver humanitarian aid to Syrians residing in Idlib. Moreover, Russia and/or the Syrian government initiated airstrikes in Idlib in September, which resulted in significant damage to medical facilities and dozens of civilian casualties. Tactics of ISIS, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, and other violent extremist groups include the use of suicide bombers, kidnapping, small and heavy arms, improvised explosive devices, and chemical weapons. They have targeted major city centers, road checkpoints, border crossings, government buildings, shopping areas, and open spaces, in Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr provinces. These groups have murdered and kidnapped U.S. citizens, both for ransom and political purposes; in some instances U.S. citizens have disappeared within Syria. Because of the security situation in Syria, the U.S. government’s ability to help U.S. citizens kidnapped or taken hostage is very limited.
The U.S. government particularly warns private U.S. citizens against traveling to Syria to engage in armed conflict. U.S. citizens who undertake such activity face extreme personal risks, including kidnapping, injury, or death. The U.S. government does not support this activity, and our ability to provide consular assistance to individuals who are injured or kidnapped, or to the families of individuals who die in the conflict, is extremely limited. Individuals who demonstrate an interest in groups opposing ISIS, including on social media, could open themselves to being targeted by ISIS itself, especially if those individuals travel to Syria.
Fighting on behalf of or providing other forms of support to designated terrorist organizations, including ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusrah (also known as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham), can constitute the provision of material support for terrorism, which is a crime under U.S. law that can result in penalties including prison time and large fines.
The destruction of infrastructure, housing, medical facilities, schools, and power and water utilities has also increased hardships inside the country. Communications in Syria are difficult as phone and internet connections are unreliable. U.S. citizens have reported 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. Opposition-held land border checkpoints should not be considered safe, as they are targeted by regime attacks and some armed groups have sought funding through kidnappings for ransom. Border areas are frequent targets of shelling and other attacks and are crowded because of internally-displaced refugees. Errant attacks will occasionally hit border towns just outside the borders as well. Road checkpoints controlled by armed terrorist and violent extremist groups have been utilized to conduct kidnappings, including of U.S. citizens.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibits U.S. civil aviation from flying 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. In addition, U.S. government personnel in Lebanon are prohibited from taking flights that pass through the Damascus FIR. 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. 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 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 the 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 U.S. passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, may require significantly more processing time than at U.S. embassies or consulates outside Syria. U.S. citizens in Syria who seek consular services should try to quickly and safely leave the country and contact a U.S. embassy or consulate in a neighboring country, if at all possible. U.S. citizens who are unable to safely leave Syria and require consular services 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 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
For additional information about U.S. citizens' services in Syria from the Office of Overseas Citizens' Services in Washington, e-mail: SyriaEmergencyUSC@state.gov.
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 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:
Very poor transportation infrastructure throughout the DRC, and poor security conditions in the Eastern Congo and Kasais, make it difficult for the U.S. Embassy to provide consular services anywhere outside of Kinshasa. All U.S. citizens should have evacuation plans that do not rely solely on U.S. government assistance. This replaces the Travel Warning dated March 29, 2017.
Armed groups operate in the provinces of North and South Kivu, Bas-Uele, Haut-Uele, Ituri, Tanganyika, Haut-Lomami, and the Kasai region. These groups have been known to kill, rape, kidnap, pillage, and carry out operations in which civilians may be indiscriminately targeted.
Congolese military and United Nations forces continue to operate throughout North and South Kivu, Tanganyika, Ituri, and near the DRC's borders with the Central African Republic and the Republic of South Sudan, particularly in and around Garamba National Park and the Kasai regions. Travelers in these regions may encounter troop movements, rebel groups, or militias. Kidnapping for ransom is also common, particularly in North and South Kivu.
For further information:
The U.S. Embassy in Nouakchott is able to provide only very limited consular services in remote and rural areas of Mauritania. This replaces the Travel Warning of March 22, 2017.
The government of Mauritania has designated the following areas as a restricted Security Zone, and you must have permission from Mauritanian authorities to travel there:
Additionally, there is a risk of kidnapping and other violent crime in the Hodh El Charghi region near the southern and eastern border with Mali. Aside from the security risks, these areas are dangerous due to their remoteness and harsh environments.
ISIS, AQIM, and al-Murabitun terrorist organizations and affiliates have declared their intention to attack foreign targets in North and West Africa, particularly the Sahel region south of the Sahara. AQIM and related groups launched a series of attacks in Mauritania between 2005 and 2011, murdering foreign tourists and aid workers, attacking diplomatic and government facilities, and ambushing Mauritanian soldiers and gendarmes. Christian faith-based organizations operating in Mauritania, or individuals perceived to be proselytizing, may be targeted.
U.S. Embassy personnel are not allowed to travel outside Nouakchott unless specifically authorized, and, if authorized, they must travel only during daylight hours. Due to an increase in criminal activity, the Embassy has directed its official staff not to walk to, or from, work; to avoid walking whenever possible; and not to walk alone. Consider these restrictions carefully and review your personal security plans periodically if you are in Mauritania or planning to go there.
For further information:
The U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide consular services in remote and rural areas of Cameroon is extremely limited. This replaces the Travel Warning dated March 23, 2017.
The Boko Haram terrorist group has actively targeted foreign residents, tourists, and government leaders in the North and Far North Regions. Thirty-seven foreigners have been reported kidnapped since 2013. Since July 2015, the group has carried out dozens of suicide bombings in the North and Far North Regions, including the city of Maroua. The U.S. Embassy restricts U.S. official personnel travel to the North, Far North, and East Regions of Cameroon, as well as any travel to the north or east of Ngaoundere in the Adamawa Region.
U.S. citizens should exercise extreme caution if traveling within 60 miles of the border with Nigeria’s Adamawa State in the North and Adamawa Regions of Cameroon, the border area with Chad, and the border areas with the Central African Republic (CAR) due to violence, criminal activity, and military operations that sometimes cross into Cameroon.
There has been periodic unrest in the Northwest and Southwest Regions since November 2016. U.S. citizens should exercise caution when travelling to these regions, and avoid demonstrations anywhere in the country. Monitor the Embassy’s Security Messages for updates on protests and communication restrictions in these regions. Disruptions in communication services may limit the U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide consular or emergency services in these regions.
For further information:
Over the past several months, numerous U.S. Embassy Havana employees have been targeted in specific attacks. These employees have suffered significant injuries as a consequence of these attacks. Affected individuals have exhibited a range of physical symptoms including ear complaints and hearing loss, dizziness, headache, fatigue, cognitive issues, and difficulty sleeping.
The Governments of the United States and Cuba have not yet identified the responsible party, but the Government of Cuba is responsible for taking all appropriate steps to prevent attacks on our diplomatic personnel and U.S. citizens in Cuba. Because our personnel's safety is at risk, and we are unable to identify the source of the attacks, we believe U.S. citizens may also be at risk and warn them not to travel to Cuba. Attacks have occurred in U.S. diplomatic residences and hotels frequented by U.S. citizens. On September 29, the Department ordered the departure of nonemergency U.S. government employees and their family members to protect the safety of our personnel.
Due to the drawdown in staff, the U.S. Embassy in Havana has limited ability to assist U.S. citizens. The Embassy will provide only emergency services to U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens in Cuba in need of emergency assistance should contact the Embassy by telephone at +(53)(7) 839-4100 or the Department of State at 1-202-501-4444. U.S. citizens should not attempt to go to the U.S. Embassy as it suffered severe flood damage during Hurricane Irma.
Travelers should apprise family and friends in the United States of their whereabouts, and keep in close contact with their travel agency and hotel staff.
For further information:
Due to the persistent threat of terrorism, the U.S. government restricts travel by U.S. government personnel to certain areas in southeast Turkey and limits the activities of U.S. government personnel and their family members while in Istanbul and Adana. We recommend U.S. citizens carefully consider the need to travel to Turkey at this time, and avoid travel to southeast Turkey. This replaces the travel warning dated March 28, 2017.
In 2016 and 2017, numerous coordinated and spontaneous terrorist attacks involving shootings, suicide bombings, and vehicle-borne bombings in tourist areas, public spaces, private celebrations, sporting events, and government, police, and military facilities throughout Turkey resulted in hundreds of deaths. Examples from 2017 include: A fatal attack on a Turkish National Police officer in Istanbul on August 13; a bombing of a police facility in Diyarbakir on April 12; an attack against a courthouse in Izmir by two armed assailants on January 5; and a mass shooting at an Istanbul nightclub on January 1.
Additional attacks in Turkey could occur without warning at major sporting and/or cultural spectator events, tourist sites, restaurants, nightclubs, commercial centers, places of worship, and transportation hubs, including aviation services, metros, buses, bridges, bus terminals, and sea transport. Terrorist organizations in Turkey have explicitly targeted U.S. and other foreign tourists and expatriates for kidnapping and assassination. Heightened anti-American rhetoric has the potential to inspire independent actors to carry out acts of violence against U.S. citizens. We remind U.S. citizens to review their personal security plans including communications preparedness/connectivity; monitor local news for breaking events; remain vigilant at all times; and check in with loved ones after an attack or security incident.
Following a failed coup attempt in July 2016, the government of Turkey declared a state of emergency, which remains in effect. Under the state of emergency, security forces have expanded powers, including the authority to detain any person at any time. The Turkish government has, at times, restricted internet access, restricted political gatherings, and blocked media content. Turkish authorities have detained U.S. citizens without granting access to lawyers or family members. Several U.S. citizens who were not physically detained have been either deported or legally banned from departing Turkey; most of those prevented from departing Turkey also possess Turkish citizenship.
Delays or denial of consular access to U.S. citizens detained or arrested by security forces have become more common, and U.S. Mission Turkey does not have consular access to arrested U.S. citizens who also possess Turkish citizenship. U.S. citizen employees of some non-governmental organizations in Turkey have also recently experienced increased scrutiny and denials of their residence permit applications. The Department continues to monitor the security environment for potential impact on the safety and well-being of U.S. citizens in Turkey and urges U.S. citizens to register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) on travel.state.gov to stay informed. For questions about aviation security enhancements, such as the types of electronic devices allowed on U.S.-bound flights, please contact your air carrier and the Department of Homeland Security.
Under state of emergency provisions, authorities have regularly prohibited public events, especially those of a political nature. Under the current state of emergency, participation in unpermitted gatherings, protests, and/or demonstrations can result in detention or arrest. The Department recommends that U.S. citizens avoid all gatherings, protests, or demonstrations in Turkey, regardless of their purpose, due to the potential for violence or personal injury.
U.S. government personnel and their family members residing in or visiting Istanbul are restricted from congregating or traveling in large groups and are not permitted to visit these Istanbul locations without prior approval from the Consulate:
U.S. government personnel living in or visiting Turkey continue to require approval from the U.S. Embassy to visit the southeastern provinces of Hatay, Kilis, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Sirnak, Diyarbakir, Van, Siirt, Mus, Mardin, Batman, Bingol, Tunceli, Hakkari, Bitlis, and Elazig. Travel within Adana by U.S. government personnel may also be subject to restriction. Furthermore, the U.S. Embassy may prohibit movements by personnel, including those at U.S. Consulates, to these areas on short notice for security reasons. Due to recent acts of violence and the potential for reprisal attacks by terrorist groups due to continued Turkish military activity in Syria, we urge U.S. citizens to defer travel to large urban centers near the Turkey-Syria border. U.S. citizens should also be aware that the Government of Turkey has closed its border with Syria. The Government of Turkey prohibits border crossings from Syria into Turkey, even if the traveler entered Syria from Turkey. Turkish authorities may consider permitting the passage of individuals seeking emergency medical treatment or safety from immediate danger on a case by case basis.
For your safety:
For further detailed information regarding Turkey and travel:
The Government of Eritrea restricts the travel of all foreign nationals in the country, including U.S. diplomats. These restrictions make it difficult for the U.S. Embassy to provide emergency consular services to U.S. citizens outside the city of Asmara. This replaces the Travel Warning dated February 22, 2017.
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. In June 2016, fighting in this region resulted in numerous deaths. U.S. citizens should also avoid travel to the contested Eritrea-Djibouti border region, where military troops patrol and tensions are high.
For further information:
U.S. citizens are informed that the U.S. Embassy has resumed normal operations following Hurricane Irma. The authorized departure of non-emergency employees was lifted September 12, 2017. This is an update to Travel Warning issued on September 05, 2017.
Rates of kidnapping, murder, and rape rose in 2016. While there is no indication that U. S. citizens are specifically targeted, kidnapping for ransom can affect anyone in Haiti, particularly long-term residents. 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. Be cautious when visiting 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. 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 and some regions of the country, 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.
The U.S. Embassy remains concerned about the security situation in the southern peninsula departments of Grand Anse and Sud following the devastation of Hurricane Matthew. Embassy employees are not permitted to travel to those departments without special approval for and official trips only.
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.
The authorized departure of non-emergency employees has been lifted. This is an update to Travel Warning issued on September 05, 2017.
For further information:
U.S. citizens should also be aware of potential terrorist threats and the high risk of crime throughout the country. This replaces the Travel Warning dated January 13, 2017.
For your safety:
Over the past year, terrorist attacks involving improvised explosive devices and shootings occurred in Kenya’s border areas with Somalia and along northern portions of the Kenyan coast. Though the threat from terrorism continues to be most pronounced in these areas, a broader terrorism risk throughout the rest of Kenya remains, including within the Nairobi area.
Terrorist targets have included Kenyan and foreign government sites, police stations, police and military vehicles, hotels, public transportation and other infrastructure targets, nightclubs and bars, religious and academic institutions, and shopping areas.
Violent and sometimes fatal crimes, including armed carjackings, muggings, home invasions and burglaries, and kidnappings can occur at any time. U.S. citizens and U.S. Embassy employees have been victims of such crimes. There has been an increase in armed incursions by herders on private farms and wildlife conservancies in Laikipia, Baringo, and Samburu counties in central Kenya. If you intend to visit the area, monitor local media and request the latest information and the level of security provided at your specific destination.
On February 26, 2017, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) extended its Notice to Airmen for Kenyan Airspace for one year. 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.
To be safe, you should review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings and local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance, take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security, and follow instructions of local authorities.
For further information:
There continue to be reports of unrest, particularly in the Gondar region and Bahir Dar in Amhara State, and parts of Oromia State. This replaces the Travel Warning of June 13, 2017.
The Government of Ethiopia has demonstrated its ability and willingness to restrict or shut down internet, cellular data, and phone services, impeding the U.S. Embassy’s ability to communicate with U.S. citizens in Ethiopia and limiting the Embassy’s ability to provide consular services. Additionally, the Government of Ethiopia does not inform the U.S. Embassy of detentions or arrests of U.S. citizens in Ethiopia.
Avoid demonstrations and large gatherings, continuously assess your surroundings, and evaluate your personal level of safety. Be aware that the government may use force and live fire in response to demonstrations, and that even gatherings intended to be peaceful can be met with a violent response or turn violent without warning. U.S. citizens in Ethiopia should monitor their security situation and have contingency plans in place in case you need to depart suddenly.
Given the unpredictable security situation, U.S. citizens in Ethiopia should have alternate communication plans in place, and let family and friends know that communication may be limited while you are in Ethiopia. The Department of State strongly advises U.S. citizens to register your mobile number with the U.S. Embassy to receive security information via text or SMS, in addition to enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
For further information:
The Department is updating this travel warning to reflect the change in the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka’s status to “partially accompanied,” effective August 24, 2017, allowing all spouses/partners of U.S. government personnel to remain in or return to Dhaka. Previously, only adult family members employed by the U.S. government were permitted to remain or return to Dhaka. Minor dependents are still prohibited from residing in Dhaka. The U.S. Embassy remains open and will provide all consular services. This travel warning replaces the travel warning dated January 5, 2017.
While Bangladeshi security forces continue to identify and counter terrorist elements, the Islamic State of Iraq and ash Sham (ISIS) and al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) persist in their efforts to plot and/or carry out terrorist attacks throughout the country. In March, two suicide bombing attempts occurred at Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport and an explosion in the city of Sylhet killed seven people. These incidents were the first notable attacks since July 1, 2016, when terrorists killed more than 20 people, including one U.S. citizen, in a restaurant frequented by foreigners in Dhaka's diplomatic enclave.
In October 2016, ISIS threatened to target "expats, tourists, diplomats, garment buyers, missionaries, and sports teams" in the most "secured zones" in Bangladesh. Recurring threats and periodic terrorist activities have prompted the Embassy to require U.S. government personnel in Bangladesh to live, work, and travel under strict security guidelines. The internal security policies of the U.S. Mission in Bangladesh may be changed or adjusted at any time and without advance notice.
U.S. government officials and their adult family members are not permitted to travel on foot, motorcycle, bicycle, rickshaw, or other uncovered means on public thoroughfares and sidewalks in Bangladesh. In addition, U.S. government officials and their family members remain severely restricted in their ability to visit public establishments and places or to attend large gatherings in Bangladesh. U.S. citizens should take stringent security measures, remain vigilant, and be alert to local security developments.
For further information:
U.S. citizens have been the victims of violent crimes, including homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery in various Mexican states. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning for Mexico issued December 8, 2016.
For information on security conditions in specific regions of Mexico, see our state-by-state assessments below. U.S. government personnel and their families are prohibited from personal travel to all areas to which the Department recommends “defer non-essential travel” in this Travel Warning. As a result of security precautions that U.S. government personnel must take while traveling to parts of Mexico, our response time to emergencies involving U.S. citizens may be hampered or delayed.
Gun battles between rival criminal organizations or with Mexican authorities have taken place on streets and in public places during broad daylight. The Mexican government dedicates substantial resources to protect visitors to major tourist destinations and has engaged in an extensive effort to counter criminal organizations that engage in narcotics trafficking and other unlawful activities throughout Mexico. There is no evidence that criminal organizations have targeted U.S. citizens based on their nationality. Resort areas and tourist destinations in Mexico generally do not see the level of drug-related violence and crime that are reported in the border region or in areas along major trafficking routes.
U.S. government personnel are prohibited from patronizing adult clubs and gambling establishments in the states of Coahuila, Durango, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosi, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Jalisco, Colima, and Nayarit.
Kidnappings in Mexico take the following forms:
U.S. citizens have been murdered in carjackings and highway robberies, most frequently at night and on isolated roads. Carjackers use 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, but drivers of old sedans and buses coming from the United States are also targeted. U.S. government personnel are not permitted to drive from the U.S.-Mexico border to or from the interior parts of Mexico. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from intercity travel after dark in many areas of Mexico. U.S. citizens should use toll roads (cuotas) whenever possible. In remote areas, cell phone coverage is limited or non-existent.
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.
State-by-State Assessment: 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, U.S. citizens should exercise caution throughout Mexico as crime and violence can still occur. For general information about travel and other conditions in Mexico, see our Country Specific Information.
Aguascalientes: Intercity travel at night is prohibited for U.S. government personnel.
Baja California (includes Tijuana, Rosarito, Ensenada, Tecate, and Mexicali): Exercise caution in the northern state of Baja California, particularly at night. Criminal activity and violence, including homicide, remain an issue throughout the state. According to the Baja California State Secretariat for Public Security, the state of Baja California experienced an increase in homicide rates compared to the same period in 2016. 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 injuring innocent bystanders have occurred during daylight hours. Due to poor cellular service and general road conditions, U.S. government personnel are only allowed to travel on “La Rumorosa” between Mexicali-Tijuana on the toll road during daylight hours.
Baja California Sur (includes Los Cabos and La Paz): Criminal activity and violence, including homicide, remain an issue throughout the state. Exercise caution as Baja California Sur continues to experience a high rate of homicides. According to Government of Mexico statistics, the state of Baja California Sur experienced an increase in homicide rates compared to the same period in 2016. 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.
Campeche: No advisory is in effect.
Chiapas (includes Palenque and San Cristobal de las Casas): U.S. government personnel must remain in tourist areas and are not allowed to use public transportation.
Chihuahua (includes Ciudad Juarez, the city of Chihuahua, Ojinaga, Palomas, Nuevo Casas Grandes and Copper Canyon): Criminal activity and violence remains an issue throughout the state of Chihuahua and its major cities. If you plan to drive in the state of Chihuahua, you should limit travel to daylight hours on major highways and follow the recommendations below.
Coahuila: U.S. citizens should defer non-essential travel to Coahuila, with the exception of Saltillo, Bosques de Monterreal, and Parras de la Fuente, because of the high incidence of violent crime, particularly along the highways between Piedras Negras and Nuevo Laredo. State and municipal law enforcement capacity is limited in some parts of Coahuila, particularly in the north. U.S. government personnel are allowed to travel during daylight hours to Saltillo, Bosques de Monterreal, and Parras de la Fuente, using the most direct routes and maximizing the use of toll highways. Between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., U.S. government personnel must abide by the Embassy-imposed curfew and remain within Saltillo, Bosques de Monterreal, or Parras de la Fuente.
Colima (includes Manzanillo): U.S. government personnel are prohibited from intercity travel at night, from traveling within 12 miles of the Colima-Michoacán border, and from traveling on Route 110 between La Tecomaca and the Jalisco border. U.S. citizens should defer non-essential travel to this border region, including the city of Tecoman.
Durango: Violence and criminal activity along the highways are a continuing security concern. U.S. government personnel may travel outside of the city of Durango only during daylight hours on toll roads. Between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., U.S. government personnel must abide by the Embassy-imposed curfew and remain within the city of Durango.
Estado de Mexico (includes Toluca and Teotihuacan): U.S. citizens should defer all non-essential travel to the municipalities of Coacalco, Ecatepec, Nezahualcoyotl, La Paz, Valle del Chalco, Solidaridad, Chalco, Ixtapaluca, and Tlatlaya due to high rates of crime and insecurity, unless traveling directly through the areas on major thoroughfares. Avoid traveling on any roads between Huitzilac, Morelos, and Santa Martha, Estado de Mexico, including the Lagunas de Zempoala National Park and surrounding areas.
Guanajuato (includes San Miguel de Allende and Leon): No advisory is in effect.
Guerrero (includes Acapulco, Ixtapa, Taxco, and Zihuatanejo): Personal travel to the entire state of Guerrero, including Acapulco, is prohibited for U.S. government personnel. 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 (includes Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, and Lake Chapala): U.S. citizens should defer non-essential travel to areas that border the states of Michoacán and Zacatecas because of continued instability. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from personal travel to areas of Jalisco that border Zacatecas, intercity travel after hours, and from using Highway 80 between Cocula and La Huerta. 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 or Ocotlan for any reason.
Mexico City (formerly known as the Federal District): No advisory is in effect.
Michoacan (includes Morelia): U.S. citizens should defer non-essential travel to the state of Michoacan, except the cities of Morelia and Lazaro Cardenas, and the area north of federal toll road 15D. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling by land in Michoacan except on federal toll road 15D during daylight hours. Flying into Morelia and Lazaro Cardenas is permitted for U.S. government personnel.
Morelos (includes Cuernavaca): U.S. citizens should defer non-essential travel on any roads between Huitzilac in the northwest corner of the state and Santa Martha, Estado de Mexico, including the Lagunas de Zempoala National Park and surrounding areas.
Nayarit (includes the Riviera Nayarit coast, including the cities of Tepic, Xalisco, and San Blas): U.S. government personnel may travel to Riviera Nayarit, San Blas, Santa María del Oro, Tepic, and Xalisco using major highways. Intercity travel at night is prohibited for U.S. government personnel. Defer non-essential travel to other areas of the state.
Nuevo Leon (includes Monterrey): U.S. government personnel may travel outside the city of Monterrey only during daylight hours on toll roads. Between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., U.S. government personnel must abide by the Embassy-imposed curfew and remain within the municipal boundaries of San Pedro Garza Garcia or Santa Catarina (south of the Santa Catarina river). Travel to and from Monterrey airport is permitted at any time.
Oaxaca (includes Oaxaca, Huatulco, and Puerto Escondido): U.S. government personnel must remain in tourist areas and are not allowed to use public transportation in Oaxaca City. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling on Highway 200 throughout the state, except to transit between the airport in Huatulco to hotels in Puerto Escondido and Huatulco, and they are not permitted to travel to the El Istmo region. The El Istmo region is defined by Highway 185D to the west, Highway 190 to the north, and the Oaxaca/Chiapas border to the east and includes the towns of Juchitan de Zaragoza, Salina Cruz, and San Blas.
Puebla: No advisory is in effect.
Queretaro: No advisory is in effect.
Quintana Roo (includes Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, and Tulum): U.S. citizens should be aware that according to Government of Mexico statistics, the state of Quintana Roo experienced an increase in homicide rates compared to 2016. 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 or killed, have occurred.
San Luis Potosi: U.S. government personnel may travel outside the city of San Luis Potosi only during daylight hours on toll roads. Between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., U.S. government personnel must abide by the Embassy-imposed curfew and remain within the city of San Luis Potosi.
Sinaloa (includes Mazatlan): 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. Defer non-essential travel to the state of Sinaloa, except the cities of Mazatlan, Los Mochis, and the Port of Topolobampo. Travel in Mazatlan should be limited to Zona Dorada, the historic town center, as well as direct routes to and from these locations and the airport. Travel in Los Mochis and Topolobampo is restricted to the city and the port, as well as direct routes to/from these locations and the airport.
Sonora (includes Nogales, Puerto Peñasco, Hermosillo, and San Carlos): Sonora is a key region in the international drug and human trafficking trades. U.S. citizens traveling throughout Sonora are encouraged to limit travel to main roads during daylight hours and exercise caution on the Highway 15 corridor from Nogales to Empalme. Puerto Peñasco should be visited using the Lukeville, Arizona/Sonoyta, Sonora border crossing, and limit driving to daylight hours.
Due to illegal activity, U.S. citizens should defer non-essential travel to:
Tabasco (includes Villahermosa): No advisory is in effect.
Tamaulipas (includes Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa, and Tampico): U.S. citizens should defer all non-essential travel to the state of Tamaulipas due to violent crime, including homicide, armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, extortion, and sexual assault. The number of reported kidnappings in Tamaulipas is among the highest in Mexico. State and municipal law enforcement capacity is limited to nonexistent in many parts of Tamaulipas. Violent criminal activity occurs more frequently along the northern border and organized criminal groups may target public and private passenger buses traveling through Tamaulipas. These groups sometimes take all passengers hostage and demand ransom payments. U.S. government personnel 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.
Tlaxcala: No advisory is in effect.
Veracruz: U.S. government personnel must remain in tourist areas and are not allowed to use public transportation. Road travel should be limited to daylight hours only.
Yucatan (includes Merida and Chichen Itza): No advisory is in effect.
Zacatecas: U.S. government personnel may travel outside the city of Zacatecas only during daylight hours on toll roads. Between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., U.S. government personnel must abide by the Embassy-imposed curfew and remain within the city of Zacatecas.
For further information:
This replaces the Travel Warning for Iran dated August 22, 2016, to reiterate and highlight the risk of arrest and detention for U.S. citizens, particularly dual national Iranian-Americans. Foreigners, in particular dual nationals of Iran and other countries, including the United States, continue to be detained or prevented from leaving Iran. U.S. citizens should very carefully weigh the risks of and consider postponing planned travel to Iran. U.S. citizens residing in Iran should closely follow media reports, monitor local conditions, and evaluate the risks of remaining in the country.
Iranian authorities continue to unjustly detain and imprison U.S. citizens, particularly Iranian-Americans, including students, journalists, business travelers, and academics, on charges including espionage and posing a threat to national security. Iranian authorities have also prevented the departure, in some cases for months, of a number of Iranian-American citizens who traveled to Iran for personal or professional reasons.
In June 2017, the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that it would take “reciprocal action” in response to the implementation of Executive Order 13780. This Executive Order prohibits the issuance of U.S. visas to nationals of Iran and five other countries unless they are either exempt or are issued a waiver. The Department of State has received reports that Iran is denying visas to U.S. citizens in response.
The U.S. government does not have diplomatic or consular relations with Iran and, therefore, cannot provide protection or routine consular services to U.S. citizens there. The Swiss government, acting through its Embassy in Tehran, serves as the protecting power for U.S. interests in Iran. The range of consular services provided by the Foreign Interests Section at the Swiss Embassy is limited and may require significantly more processing time than at U.S. embassies or consulates.
The Iranian government does not recognize dual nationality and will not allow the Swiss to provide protective services for U.S. citizens who are also Iranian nationals. Iranian authorities make the determination of a dual national’s Iranian citizenship without regard to the dual national’s personal wishes. Consular access to detained U.S. citizens without dual nationality is often delayed.
The Iranian government continues to repress minority religious and ethnic groups, including Christians, Baha'i, Arabs, Kurds, Azeris, and others. Consequently, some areas within the country where these minorities reside, including the province of Sistan-Baluchistan near the border with Pakistan and Afghanistan and the provinces of Kurdistan and East-Azerbaijan in the northwest of the country near the Iraqi border, remain unsafe. Iranian authorities have detained and harassed U.S. citizens, particularly those of Iranian origin. Former Muslims who have converted to other religions, religious activists, and persons who encourage Muslims to convert are subject to arrest and prosecution. See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report and Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for more information on the treatment of religious and ethnic minorities in Iran.
The U.S. government is concerned about the risks to civil aircraft flying into, out of, within, or over Iran due to hazards from military activity associated with the conflicts in Iraq and Syria. 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.
The U.S. government’s ability to assist U.S. citizens in Iran in the event of an emergency is extremely limited. U.S. citizens in Iran should ensure that they have updated documentation at all times and make their own plans in the event of an emergency. For more information, see "What the Department of State Can and Can't Do in a Crisis" at the Department's website.
For further information:
Due to the serious and mounting risk of arrest and long-term detention of U.S. citizens, the Secretary of State restricted the use of U.S. passports to travel into, in, or through North Korea effective Friday, September 1, 2017, per C.F.R. 51.63. Persons who wish to travel to North Korea on a U.S. passport after that time must obtain a special passport validation under 22 C.F.R. 51.64, and such validations will be granted only under very limited circumstances.
This notice includes information about the restriction on the use of U.S. passports to travel to, through, or in North Korea effective September 1, 2017, and replaces the Travel Warning dated May 9, 2017.
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 will not prevent detention or arrest. Efforts by private tour operators to prevent or resolve past detentions in the DPRK have not been successful.
Pursuant to the Secretary of State’s determination, published in the Federal Register on August 2, 2017, that North Korea’s arbitrary system of law enforcement poses an imminent danger to the physical safety of U.S. nationals, U.S. passports may be used to travel into, through, or from North Korea after September 1, 2017, only if they contain a special validation. Please see Passport for Travel to North Korea for more information. Using a U.S. passport in violation of these restrictions could result in criminal penalties. In addition, the Department may revoke a passport used in violation of these restrictions. For additional information on the validation see the Federal Register published here. If you 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:
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).
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. UN Security Council statements from May 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. The FAA has issued 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. For more information, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.
For further information:
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.
Militants associated with both the al-Qaida-affiliated terrorist group, al-Shabaab, and the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) operate with relative impunity throughout large parts of the country, including Mogadishu, and attack civilian, military, and government targets. U.S. citizens should be aware that kidnapping, bombings, murder, illegal roadblocks and other violent incidents are common throughout Somalia, including Somaliland. There is no U.S. embassy presence in Somalia. This replaces the Travel Warning dated January 11, 2017.
There is a particular terrorist threat in places where large crowds gather and Westerners frequent, including airports and seaports, government buildings, hotels, restaurants, and shopping areas. Somali government, military, and Western convoys are also regularly targeted for attack. There have been numerous attacks on hotels, restaurants, and the international airport in Mogadishu.
Al-Shabaab has repeatedly attacked Mogadishu’s international airport complex with improvised vehicle bombs, mortars, and direct weapons fire. The group has conducted attacks from within the airport’s secure perimeter and detonated an explosive device hidden in a laptop on an airplane shortly after it took off from the airport on February 2, 2016.
ISIS’s demonstrated capabilities in Somalia have steadily increased since rising to public prominence in late 2015. Since that time, adherents based in Puntland claimed credit for a suicide bombing targeting regional security forces at a checkpoint in Bosasso, took responsibility for a raid at a popular hotel in that city, and conducted several other attacks against government officials in Puntland in the months prior. The group briefly occupied the coastal town of Qandala in late 2016.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) containing information on the U.S. prohibition against U.S. civil aviation operations in airspace over Somalia. 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 should avoid sailing near the coast of Somalia due to the risk of pirate attacks. Merchant vessels, fishing boats, and recreational craft all risk seizure and detention by pirates in the waters off the Horn of Africa, especially in the international waters near Somalia. See the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
For further information:
This travel warning also informs U.S. citizens that on July 27, the Department ordered the departure of family members and authorized the voluntary departure of U.S. government employees from the U.S. Embassy in Caracas.
All U.S. direct-hire personnel and their families assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Caracas are subject to an embassy movement policy that limits their travel within Caracas and many parts of the country. Inter-city travel by car during hours of darkness (6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.) is strongly discouraged and in some cases may be prohibited. U.S. government personnel must also request approval for travel outside of Caracas. These security measures may limit the U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide services. This replaces the Travel Warning issued December 15, 2016.
The political and security situation in Venezuela is unpredictable and can change quickly. Since April 2017, political rallies and demonstrations occur daily throughout the country, often with little notice. Disruptions to traffic and public transportation are common. Demonstrations typically elicit a strong police and security force response that includes the use of tear gas, pepper spray, water cannons and rubber bullets against participants, and occasionally devolve into looting and vandalism. Armed motorcycle gangs associated with the government frequently use violence to intimidate demonstrators. Clashes between these groups have resulted in serious injuries and over 70 deaths. U.S. citizens have reported being arrested, detained, and robbed while in close proximity to protests.
Security forces have arrested individuals, including U.S. citizens, and detained them for long periods with little or no evidence of a crime. The U.S. Embassy may not be notified of the detention of a U.S. citizen and consular access to detainees may be denied or severely delayed. The detained citizen may be denied access to proper medical care, clean water, and food.
Violence and criminal activity – including homicide, armed robbery, kidnapping, and carjacking – pose significant and continuing security concerns. Indiscriminate violent crime is endemic throughout the country and can occur anywhere at any time. There are reports of authorities (e.g., police, airport, immigration) and criminals posing as authorities participating in robbery and extortion. Drug traffickers and illegal armed groups are active in the Colombian border states of Zulia, Tachira, and Apure.
The Simón Bolívar International Airport, in Maiquetía, is located in an extremely high-risk area for armed robbery and kidnappings. Do not take unregulated taxis from this airport and avoid ATMs in this area. Travel between the Simón Bolívar International Airport and Caracas only during daylight hours, as armed bandits frequently target night-time motorists along this route.
Due to shortages of medicine and medical supplies, U.S. citizens should be prepared to cover their own needs for over-the-counter and prescription medicines while in country. You should have medical evacuation plans in place that do not rely solely on U.S. government assistance. Comprehensive medical evacuation insurance is strongly advised for all travelers.
U.S. citizens may also be detained and/or deported by Venezuelan immigration officials for not complying with visa or immigration regulations. U.S. citizens traveling to Venezuela must have a valid visa that is appropriate for their specific type of travel (journalism, employment, study, etc.) or risk being detained or deported. Journalists must possess the appropriate accreditation and work visa from the Venezuelan authorities before arriving. International journalists are closely scrutinized and have been expelled and/or detained for lacking appropriate permissions to work in Venezuela or for participation in what could be seen as anti-government activity, including observing and reporting on public health facilities.
For further information:
The self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS), its affiliates, sympathizers, and other violent extremist groups have successfully conducted attacks in Jordan and continue to plot against local security forces, U.S. and Western interests, and “soft” targets. Jordan's prominent role in the counter ISIS Coalition and its shared borders with Iraq and Syria increase the potential for future terrorist incidents. This replaces the Travel Warning issued December 23, 2016.
U.S., Western, and official Jordanian interests remain priority targets for ISIS and other violent extremist organizations. Within the last year, Jordanian authorities have notified the U.S. Embassy of several disrupted terrorist plots targeting U.S. citizens and Westerners in Jordan. In addition, on December 18, 2016, terrorists killed 10 people, including a Canadian citizen and seven Jordanian security and police officers, at or near a tourist site in Karak, 130 km south of Amman. Two days later, in the same area, a shootout between a different terrorist group and Jordanian security forces occurred. Terrorist entities continue to express interest in attacking other “soft” targets, such as high-profile public events, hotels, places of worship, restaurants, schools, and malls.
Travelers to Jordan should avoid the country's border with Syria and Iraq given the continued threat of cross-border attacks. All U.S. government personnel on official travel must receive prior permission to visit any area within 10 km from the Jordan-Syria border, which includes the town of Ramtha. The 10 km area does not include the tourist site of Umm Qais or the city of Irbid. U.S. government personnel must also have permission for official travel on Highway 10 east of the town of Ruwayshid toward the Iraq border. U.S. government employees on personal travel are not permitted to visit the border areas or refugee camps, and the Embassy advises U.S. citizens to avoid both locations. On occasion, the U.S. Embassy temporarily makes other areas within Jordan off limits to its staff based on the security situation.
For more information:
This replaces the Travel Warning dated January 4, 2017.
In July 2016, violent clashes between government and opposition forces broke out in Juba, resulting in the expulsion of opposition forces from the capital. Since then, armed conflict has expanded throughout the country, leading to continued instability that is exacerbated by intercommunal violence, cattle raiding, economic collapse, and an increase in violent crime. Aid workers, including U.S. citizens, have been the targets of shootings, ambushes, violent assaults, harassment, and robberies. All U.S. citizens in South Sudan should have evacuation plans that do not rely on U.S. government assistance, and should carry medical evacuation insurance.
The risk of violent crime is critical throughout South Sudan, including in Juba. Due to the risk of carjacking, crime, and unpredictable armed violence, travel outside of Juba should be undertaken with a minimum of two vehicles and appropriate recovery and medical equipment in case of mechanical failure or other emergency.
Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of South Sudan, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM). For further background information regarding FAA flight advisories and prohibitions for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.
For further information:
This replaces the Travel Warning issued on December 23, 2016. A number of terrorist groups, including ISIS, have committed multiple deadly attacks in Egypt, targeting government officials and security forces, public venues, tourist sites, civil aviation and other modes of public transportation, and a diplomatic facility. Terrorists continue to threaten Egypt’s religious minorities and have attacked sites and people associated with the Egyptian Coptic Church.
Terrorist attacks can occur anywhere in the country, including major metropolitan areas. In early May, ISIS media threatened that places associated with Westerners, Christians, the Egyptian military or police, and Egyptian government facilities could be struck at any time. The northeastern Sinai Peninsula remains a particularly dangerous area, with frequent attacks on security forces and civilians. There are also reports of attacks on security forces in Egypt’s Western Desert, the large, mostly uninhabited area west of the Nile Valley, and in Egypt’s border areas. The Egyptian Military frequently conducts counterterrorism operations in these areas.
For security reasons, U.S. Mission personnel are prohibited from traveling to the Western Desert and the Sinai Peninsula. Overland travel is not allowed anywhere in the Sinai Peninsula, but U.S. Mission personnel are permitted to travel to and from Sharm El-Sheikh by air. Mission personnel are prohibited from visiting religious sites outside greater Cairo.
The Egyptian Government maintains a heavy security presence at major tourist sites in and around greater Cairo and Alexandria; at Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurghada, Marsa Alam and other beach resorts on the Red Sea and the Mediterranean coast; and at many of the major temples and archaeological sites located in and around the Nile Valley cities of Luxor and Aswan, including Abu Simbel.
Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Egypt, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For further background information regarding FAA flight advisories and prohibitions for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.
For further detailed information and assistance:
Similar threats also occurred throughout the Philippines in 2017. This replaces the Travel Warning dated December 20, 2016.
There is a threat of kidnappings-for-ransom of foreigners, including U.S. citizens, from terrorist and insurgent groups based in the Sulu Archipelago and in the southern Sulu Sea area. This area stretches from the southern tip of Palawan, along the coast of eastern Sabah, Malaysia and the islands of the Sulu Archipelago, up to Zamboanga City, Mindanao. The U.S. Embassy requires U.S. government personnel to obtain special authorization before traveling to Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago.
Separatist and terrorist groups continue to attack and kidnap civilians, foreigners, political leaders, and Philippine security forces in Mindanao. On May 23, 2017, the Philippine government declared martial law throughout the Mindanao region. Review the following information:
Recent terrorist threats, kidnappings, and bombings have occurred throughout the Philippines. U.S. Embassy Manila received credible information that terrorists planned to conduct kidnappings in Palawan, Cebu, and Bohol provinces in 2017. In November 2016, a terrorist group planted an Improvised Explosive Device near the U.S. Embassy in Metro Manila. In April and May 2017, bombings in Quiapo, Manila killed two and injured twenty.
For further information:
U.S. citizens in Mali are reminded to stay vigilant, remain aware of their surroundings, and exercise caution, especially at night. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated December 23, 2016.
The potential for terrorist attacks in Bamako is high. Locations frequented by Westerners and other expatriates, including but not limited to night clubs, hotels, restaurants, places of worship, and Western diplomatic missions are targets for attacks. On June 18, 2017 terrorists attacked a hotel/resort complex 24 km east of Bamako city center, a site frequented primarily by Westerners and other expatriates. This was the fourth attack on such a site in the Bamako region since 2015.
On April 28, 2017 the Government of Mali extended the State of Emergency by six months. Roadblocks and random police checkpoints, especially between sundown and sun-up, are common in Bamako and throughout the country.
Northern and Central Mali are high risk areas for terrorist attacks, armed conflict, and armed robbery. U.S. government personnel in Mali are restricted from these regions except for travel deemed to be mission critical.
Violent extremist groups targeting foreigners have claimed responsibility for multiple terrorist attacks throughout Mali over the past 12 months. In March 2017, four Al-Qa’ida-linked groups merged under the name of Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM or “Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims”). Terrorist groups are likely to continue, if not escalate, attacks on United Nations and Western targets throughout the Sahel.
Westerners have been kidnapped for profit and/or ideological motives. Several Western hostages are believed to be captive in Mali, including a U.S. citizen who was kidnapped in Niger in October, 2016.
Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Mali, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For further background information regarding FAA flight advisories and prohibitions for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult FAA's Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.
For further information:
This supersedes the Travel Warning for Ukraine dated December 14, 2016.
Russian-led separatists continue to control areas in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, where violent clashes have resulted in over 9,000 deaths. A ceasefire agreement established a de facto dividing line between Ukrainian government-controlled and non-government controlled areas of Ukraine, with a limited number of operational checkpoints controlled by government and Russian-led separatist forces. There have been multiple casualties due to land mines in areas previously controlled by the Russian-led separatists, and both sides of the contact line are mined. So-called “separatist leaders” have made statements indicating their desire to push the contact line to the administrative borders of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Artillery and rocket attacks near the line of contact continue to occur regularly. Individuals, including U.S. citizens, have been threatened, detained, or kidnapped for hours or days after being stopped at separatist checkpoints, and one U.S. citizen working for OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine was killed inside the non-government controlled area of Luhansk. The Government of Ukraine has stated that foreigners, including U.S. citizens, who enter Ukraine from Russia through non-government controlled territory, will not be allowed through checkpoints into government-controlled territory.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibits U.S. civil aviation from flying in the Ukrainian Simferopol (UKFV) and Dnipropetrovsk (UKDV) Flight Information Regions. For further background information regarding FAA flight advisories and prohibitions for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.
The situation in Ukraine is unpredictable and could change quickly. U.S. citizens throughout Ukraine should avoid large crowds and be prepared to remain indoors should protests or demonstrations escalate.
U.S. Embassy Kyiv's Consular Section is open for all public services; however, in light of the ongoing unrest, the Embassy has severely restricted the travel of U.S. government personnel to Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and Crimea, and occasionally limits travel to adjacent regions. As a result, the Embassy's ability to provide consular services, including responding to emergencies, to U.S. citizens in eastern Ukraine and Ukraine's Crimean region is extremely limited.
For further security information in Ukraine:
This replaces the Travel Warning dated November 15, 2016.
The political situation in Burundi is tenuous, and there is sporadic violence throughout the country, including frequent gunfire and grenade attacks by armed groups. Police and military checkpoints throughout the country restrict freedom of movement, and police have searched the homes of private U.S. citizens as a part of larger weapons searches. U.S. citizens should take these facts into consideration when developing their personal safety plans.
Rebel forces, ex-combatants, and youth gangs have crossed into Burundi from the Democratic Republic of Congo and attacked and kidnapped civilians. Armed criminals have ambushed vehicles, particularly on the roads leading out of Bujumbura. Use caution if traveling by car, and travel with multiple vehicles when possible.
U.S. Embassy personnel are subject to restrictions when traveling in certain areas of Burundi and may be subject to other constraints as security conditions warrant. U.S. Embassy personnel are prohibited from traveling outside of Bujumbura at night, and trips to the Bujumbura neighborhoods of Bwiza, Cibitoke, Gasenyi, Kamenge, Kinama, Musaga, Mutakura, and Ngagara require advance approval.
For more information:
This replaces the Travel Warning for Algeria dated December 13, 2016.
While violence has reduced significantly in recent years, terrorist groups remain active in some parts of the country. Although major cities are heavily policed, the possibility of terrorist acts in urban areas cannot be excluded. Extremists have conducted attacks in the following areas:
Although most attacks are directed towards Algerian military or police, in September 2014, an ISIL-affiliated group abducted and killed a French citizen in the Kabylie region. In January 2013, an Al-Qaeda-linked organization attacked a gas production facility near In Amenas, Algeria, near the Libyan border, holding foreign and Algerian workers hostage, with dozens killed, including three U.S. citizens.
U.S. citizens should:
The Algerian government requires foreign diplomats and most foreign workers to contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when traveling between wilayas (provinces) so that the government can evaluate the need for police coordination, to include escorts. This requirement to coordinate travel may also limit the availability of U.S. consular services outside of the Algiers wilaya.
For further information:
U.S. citizens should exercise caution, as violence linked to domestic insurgency, narco-trafficking, crime, and kidnapping occur in some rural and urban areas. This replaces the previous travel warning dated April 5, 2016.
Organized political and criminal armed groups are active throughout much of the country and their methods include the use of explosives and bomb threats in public spaces. Violence associated with the armed groups occurs in rural areas as well as Colombia's major cities, including in the capital. These groups are heavily involved in the drug trade, extortion, kidnapping, and robbery. On November 30, 2016, the Colombian government approved a peace accord with the largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The peace agreement is in the process of being implemented and does not include other active armed groups.
Violent crime is a threat throughout Colombia. Kidnapping remains a threat, although U.S. citizens are not specifically targeted. Violent political groups and other criminal organizations occasionally kidnap and hold civilians, including foreigners, for ransom.
U.S. government officials and their families are generally permitted to travel to major cities only by air. They may not use inter- or intra-city bus transportation or travel by road outside urban areas at night. During daylight, they are permitted to use only the following routes:
All other travel by U.S. government personnel and their families requires a security review and specific authorization.
If you do travel to Colombia, review your personal security plans, remain alert to your surroundings, and learn more about staying safe on our Country Specific Information page for Colombia. U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have contingency plans for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
For further information:
Travel within Iraq remains very dangerous, and the ability of the Embassy to assist U.S. citizens facing difficulty is extremely limited. This supersedes the Travel Warning dated January 31, 2017.
U.S. citizens in Iraq are at high risk for kidnapping and terrorist violence. Numerous terrorist and insurgent groups are active in Iraq, including ISIS (also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, Islamic State and Iraq ash-Sham, or Da'esh). Such groups regularly attack both Iraqi security forces and civilians. Anti-U.S. sectarian militias may also threaten U.S. citizens and western companies throughout Iraq. Attacks by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) occur frequently in many areas of the country, including Baghdad. U.S. citizens should pay particular attention to the possibility of terrorist attacks around religious and civic holidays.
Methods of attack have included explosively formed penetrators, magnetic IEDs placed on vehicles, human and vehicle-borne IEDs, mines placed on or concealed near roads, mortars and rockets, and gunfire. Such attacks often take place in public places, including cafes and markets. Facilities of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the U.S. government, and western interests remain possible targets.
The U.S. government particularly warns private U.S. citizens against traveling to or transiting through Iraq, or entering Syria, to engage in armed conflict. In addition to the extreme personal risks of kidnapping, injury, or death posed by such actions, legal risks include arrest, fines, and expulsion. Since the closure of the border between Syria and the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR), the KRG has stated that it will impose prison sentences of up to ten years on individuals who illegally cross the border. U.S. citizens are reminded that fighting on behalf of or providing other forms of support to designated terrorist organizations, including ISIS, can constitute providing material support for terrorism, a crime that can result in penalties, including prison time and large fines in the United States.
The Embassy urges U.S. citizens in Iraq to avoid protests and large gatherings. Iraqi authorities have responded forcefully when violence has occurred, including on two occasions in 2016 when protestors entered the International Zone (IZ) in Baghdad and attacked Iraqi government buildings. These incursions resulted in personal injury to both protesters and security personnel. Demonstrations in Baghdad have also occurred in and around Tahrir Square. Demonstrations in Basrah have occurred at the offices of the Provincial Council and governor.
The Department of State strongly cautions U.S. citizens not to travel near the Syrian, Turkish, or Iranian borders with Iraq, which are especially dangerous and not always clearly defined. U.S. citizens traveling near border areas may encounter aerial or artillery bombardments, unmarked minefields, border skirmishes with smugglers, and large refugee flows. Neighboring governments, including Iran, have detained U.S. citizens who approach these borders.
The Government of Iraq strictly enforces regulations regarding visas and entry, authorizations for weapons, and movements through checkpoints. U.S. citizens traveling to Iraq without the proper authorization or whose purpose of travel is not readily apparent have been detained without warning. For more information on entry/exit requirements, please see our Country Specific Information page for Iraq.
The Government of Iraq has begun to improve the structural integrity of the Mosul Dam. However, a dam failure could cause significant flooding, loss of life, and interruption of essential services from Mosul to Baghdad. While it is impossible to accurately predict the likelihood of the dam’s failing, the Embassy has made contingency plans to relocate its personnel in such an event. The Embassy recommends that U.S. citizens in Iraq who reside in the floodplain of the Tigris River prepare their own contingency plans, have valid U.S. passports, and stay informed of local media reports and Embassy security messages.
The U.S. government considers the potential personal security threats 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. The internal security policies of the U.S. Mission in Iraq may change at any time. The Mission will regularly restrict or prohibit movements by its personnel, often on short notice, for security threats or demonstrations.
U.S. citizens who come to Iraq despite this warning should have medical insurance that provides coverage in Iraq, as well as supplemental medevac insurance to provide medical transport out of the country. The U.S. government does not pay medical bills or medical transport fees for U.S. citizens. Medicare and Medicaid do not cover medical costs outside the United States. Travelers should expect no medical assistance from the U.S. government.
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.
For more information:
The ability of the U.S. Embassy to provide consular services in remote and rural areas of the country is limited. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning issued on January 20, 2016.
The security environment in Burkina Faso is fluid and attacks are possible anywhere in the country, including Ouagadougou. ISIS, al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and al-Murabitun terrorist organizations and affiliates have declared their intention to attack foreign targets in North and West Africa. In January 2016, armed assailants attacked civilians at the Splendid Hotel and Cappuccino restaurant in Ouagadougou, killing 30 people, including one U.S. citizen. AQIM and al-Murabitun claimed responsibility for the attack. Violent extremist groups increased their activities in Burkina Faso’s Sahel region in 2016 and 2017, attacking police stations, customs offices, military posts, and schools in Koutougou, Intangom, Markoye, Tinakoff, Nassoumbou, Kourfayel, and Baraboule.
In the border regions shared by Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso, extremist groups and linked criminal networks have targeted Westerners for kidnapping. These northern regions are extremely remote, and the ability of the governments of either Burkina Faso or the United States to provide emergency assistance there is very limited.
Due to the risk of attacks throughout the Sahel region, the U.S. Embassy has placed restrictions on official government travel to Dori and Djibo, the road that connects these cities, and all areas north of that road. Embassy personnel traveling to or staying at Parc National du W (Parc W), the regional national park located on Burkina Faso’s southeastern border with Niger and Benin, must arrange armed escort with Burkina Faso security forces. U.S. citizens are encouraged to follow the same guidance.
U.S. citizens who choose to visit or remain in Burkina Faso should maintain situational awareness at all times, and have evacuation plans that do not rely on U.S. government assistance. Take steps to mitigate the risk of becoming a victim of violence, including limiting trips to locations frequented by Westerners.
For further information:
U.S. citizens should avoid all travel to the border regions, particularly the Lake Chad region, and exercise extreme caution elsewhere in the country. U.S. Embassy personnel are subject to restrictions when traveling in certain areas of N’Djamena as well as outside of the capital, including the Lake Chad Basin. The U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide consular services outside of N’Djamena is limited. This replaces the Travel Warning issued on November 4, 2016.
Violent extremist organizations in the region, such as Boko Haram and the Islamic State of Iraq and Ash-Sham –West Africa (ISIS-WA), can easily cross borders and target foreigners, local security forces, and civilians. In May 2017, Boko Haram attacked a Chadian military base in the Lake Chad region. A radicalized Chadian fired shots outside the U.S. Embassy building in November 2016. Kidnapping for ransom is common - in March 2017 a French citizen was abducted in eastern Chad and held for more than six weeks. There are also minefields along the Libyan and Sudanese borders.
Exercise extreme caution throughout the country due to the threat of indiscriminate crime. U.S. citizens should be vigilant at public gatherings and any locations frequented by foreigners, including markets, hotels, restaurants, bars, and places of worship. Maintain situational awareness and avoid crowds, as even peaceful gatherings can turn violent unexpectedly. Border crossings may close without notice.
U.S. citizens affiliated with humanitarian relief efforts should develop an evacuation plan with the United Nations agency coordinating their work. All U.S. citizens should have evacuation plans that do not rely solely on U.S. government assistance.
For further information:
We urge U.S. citizens who are in CAR to consider departing. U.S. citizens in CAR who require consular assistance should contact the U.S. Embassy in Yaounde, Cameroon. This replaces the Travel Warning dated October 19, 2016.
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:
This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated April 12, 2017.
Consular services provided by the American 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. Evidence suggests that some victims of terrorist activity have been targeted because they are U.S. citizens. 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:
In 2017, an improvised explosive device placed in a marketplace in Kurram Valley in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) killed at least 25 people and injured at least 87 others; in Lahore, in an attack that militants said was directed at senior police officials, a suicide bomber detonated himself outside the Punjab Assembly killing at least 14 people and injuring at least 87; in Sindh province, a suicide bomber detonated himself in the Sufi Shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, killing at least 88 people and injuring over 350; in Parachinar in the FATA, a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated outside a Shia congregation, killing at least 25 people and injuring at least 90; and in Balochistan, a suicide bomber detonated himself on the N-25 National Highway, reportedly targeting a senior politician’s convoy, killing at least 28 people and injuring at least 40 others.
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:
Travel by U.S. government personnel within Pakistan is restricted and movements by U.S. government personnel outside of Islamabad are severely restricted. U.S. government personnel may not:
If you choose to live or travel in Pakistan despite this warning, you should:
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:
The Department of State updated this Travel Warning in October 2016 to reflect concerns regarding detentions of U.S. citizens by armed groups in Sanaa, and this threat remains unchanged. The Department continues to urge U.S. citizens to defer all travel to Yemen. We urge U.S. citizens currently living in Yemen to depart as soon as they are able to safely do so. This supersedes the Travel Warning for Yemen issued on October 6, 2016.
Since the beginning of the conflict in March 2015, rebel groups in Sanaa have systematically detained U.S. citizens. Reports indicate that U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, are being targeted by virtue of their citizenship, regardless of the amount of time they have spent in Yemen, their established connections with the rebel groups, or their connections with local businesses or humanitarian organizations aimed at providing relief to those in need. During their detentions, which in some cases have lasted over a year, U.S. citizens have not been able to contact their families or be visited by U.S. consular personnel or international humanitarian organizations. The U.S. government’s ability to assist U.S. citizens in detention is severely limited. There is no U.S. government presence on the ground following the rebel takeover of Sanaa. The Department of State suspended embassy operations and U.S. Embassy Sanaa American staff relocated out of the country in February 2015. All consular services, routine and/or emergency, are suspended until further notice.
In addition to the threat of detention by rebel groups, there are other risks due to ongoing conflict and heightened terrorist activity, including kidnappings for ransom. In March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition initiated an air campaign in support of the exiled Yemeni government. A nationwide cessation of hostilities deteriorated in August 2016, and high levels of violence, to include armed conflict, artillery shelling, and air strikes, now persist in areas throughout the country. There are also reports of land mines being placed in areas vacated by withdrawing forces, as well as mining of Red Sea ports. Military conflict has caused significant damage to infrastructure, limiting the availability of electricity, clean water, and medical care. This instability often hampers the ability of humanitarian organizations to deliver critically needed food, medicine, and water.
In addition, the threat posed by violent extremist groups in Yemen remains high. Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) expanded its influence in Yemen since the beginning of the conflict. Because of the instability and violence in Yemen, the internationally recognized government cannot effectively enforce counterterrorism measures and a large security vacuum persists. AQAP, in particular, has benefitted from the conflict by significantly expanding its presence in the southern and eastern governorates. ISIL also has established a presence in Yemen, and has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly attacks in the country. AQAP and ISIL-Y terrorists carried out hundreds of attacks throughout Yemen in 2016. Methods included suicide bombers, VBIEDs, ambushes, kidnappings, and targeted assassinations. 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.
Vessels in the region of the Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, and the Gulf of Aden should operate under a heightened state of alert as increasing tensions in the region escalate the potential for direct or collateral damage to vessels transiting the region. These threats may come from a variety of different sources such as missiles, projectiles, or waterborne improvised explosive devices. Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for an October 1, 2016, attack on a UAE vessel, and missiles were fired at the USS Mason from Houthi-held territory that same month. A maritime advisory is currently in effect for Yemen as a result of regional tensions. Piracy is also a concern in the area.
The United States is also concerned about the risks to civil aviation operating in specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) Flight Information Region (FIR) due to the ongoing military operations, political instability, and violence from competing armed groups involved in combat operations and other military-related activity. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has prohibited U.S. civil aviation from flying in specific areas within the Sanaa 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.
For U.S. citizen inquiries, you may send an email to YEMENEMERGENCYUSC@state.gov.
For further information:
This replaces the Travel Warning issued September 29, 2016.
The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid travel to southeastern Tunisia along the Libyan border as well as certain mountainous areas in the country’s west, due to the threat of terrorism. This replaces the Travel Warning issued September 29, 2016.
Terrorist attacks have previously targeted Tunisian government and security forces and popular tourist sites. On March 7, 2016, an attack by ISIS-affiliated militants in the southeastern border town of Ben Guerdan resulted in the deaths of 12 Tunisian security officials and civilians. Two attacks in 2015 targeted tourists: the Bardo Museum in Tunis on March 18 and two beach hotels near Sousse on June 26. ISIS claimed responsibility for these attacks. Groups of militants continue to operate in certain mountains of Western Tunisia, including Jebel Chaambi, Sammama, and Selloum. The Tunisian government continues security force operations against Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia (AAS-T), ISIS, and al-Qa’ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
U.S. Embassy Tunis regulations require advance notification to Embassy security officials of travel by Embassy personnel outside greater Tunis. Certain cities and governorates in Tunisia have a fluid and unpredictable security environment, and these areas require additional scrutiny before U.S. government personnel may travel to them. U.S. citizens should avoid the following areas due to the unpredictable security environment:
On occasion, these travel restrictions prevent the provision of consular services in certain areas of the country.
For your safety:
Government security forces, including the army, police, and National Guard, are visibly present throughout Tunisia. On November 24, 2015, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi issued a State of Emergency, which grants security forces more authority to maintain civil order and enables the government to focus on combating terrorism. The state of emergency is still in effect. The Minister of Interior has said that the state of emergency also assists in securing hotels and tourist areas.
Developments in Libya continue to affect the security situation along the Tunisian-Libyan border in areas such as Ras Jedir and Dehiba along with the cities of Ben Guerdan and Medenine. The Libyan border is frequently closed to all traffic with short notice for extended periods. The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to Libya and advises those in Libya to depart immediately. Travelers should avoid all travel to and through the Libyan border and should read the Department of State’s Travel Warning for Libya, as well as the Department of State’s Country Specific Information and other international travel safety and security information for Libya and Algeria. The Embassy regularly reviews the security of these areas for possible modification.
For further information:
The security situation remains complex in Israel and the West Bank and can change quickly depending on the political environment, recent events, and particular geographic location. U.S. citizens should exercise caution and remain aware of their surroundings when traveling to areas where there are heightened tensions and security risks. The Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority both make considerable efforts to ensure security, particularly in areas where foreigners frequently travel. This replaces the Travel Warning issued August 23, 2016.
Gaza is under the control of Hamas, a U.S. government-designated foreign terrorist organization. The security environment within Gaza and on its borders is dangerous and volatile. Violent demonstrations and shootings occur on a frequent basis and the collateral risks are high. While Israel and Hamas continue to observe the temporary cease-fire that ended the latest Gaza conflict in 2014, sporadic mortar or rocket fire and corresponding Israeli military responses continue to occur.
Within Israel and the West Bank, the possibility of random violence continues to exist and can happen without warning. The frequency of attacks has declined significantly since a rise in political and religious tensions led to a spike in violence in October 2015. U.S. citizens have been killed and wounded in recent attacks, though there is no indication they were specifically targeted based on nationality. Perceived religious affiliation was a factor in some of the attacks, and the majority of recent attacks have targeted uniformed Israeli security forces often in proximity to checkpoints throughout Jerusalem and the West Bank or near religious sites significant to multiple faiths. Attacks were carried out using knives, vehicles, and guns. Israeli security forces reacted with deadly force, which has resulted in some bystanders being injured or killed in the crossfire. U.S. citizens should stay abreast of current events in order to know what areas to avoid when traveling throughout the region.
For your safety, the Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens:
When planning their own travel, U.S. citizens should consider the following rules that apply to U.S. government employee travel:
o within 7 miles of the Gaza demarcation line;
o within 1.5 miles of the Lebanon border;
o on or east of Route 98 in the Golan; and
o within 1.5 miles of the Egypt border along the Sinai (including all portions of Route 10 and portions of Route 12).
U.S. citizens planning to travel to Israel, the West Bank, or Gaza should consult the detailed information concerning entry and exit difficulties in the Country Specific Information (CSI). The CSI also provides detailed guidance on crime and safety conditions within Israel, Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza.
For further detailed information and assistance:
The Department recommends U.S. citizens avoid travel to Niger’s border regions, particularly the Malian border area, Diffa region and Lake Chad Basin area because of activity by extremist groups including al-Qa’eda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham – Islamic State West Africa, and Boko Haram. Due to security concerns and travel restrictions, the U.S. Embassy’s ability to assist U.S. citizens in remote and rural areas is very limited. This replaces the Travel Warning dated January 21, 2016.
Terrorist organizations, armed robbers and smugglers operate in the areas bordering Mali, Libya, and throughout northern Niger. Mali-based extremist groups have crossed the border and carried out multiple lethal attacks on Nigerien security forces.
The government of Niger has maintained a state of emergency in the Diffa region since February 10, 2015, and a curfew has been in place in the Diffa region since December 2014. The Nigerien government declared a state of emergency on March 3, 2017 for seven departments of the Tillaberi and Tahoua regions bordering Mali after a spate of deadly attacks.
There is significant potential for violent crime outside Niamey, and armed robbers target travelers throughout the country. Outside the city of Niamey, all U.S. Embassy personnel are required to travel only during daylight hours in a minimum two-vehicle convoy accompanied by armed Nigerien government security escorts.
There is a high threat of kidnapping by terrorist groups including AQIM, which has kidnapped Westerners and threatened U.S. citizens in Niger. As a result of safety and security concerns some organizations, including foreign companies, NGOs and private aid organizations, have suspended operations in Niger or withdrawn family members and/or staff.
For further information:
Very poor transportation infrastructure also makes it difficult for the U.S. Mission to provide consular services in these states. All U.S. citizens should have evacuation plans that do not solely rely on U.S. government assistance. Due to the risk of kidnappings, robberies, and other armed attacks, U.S. citizens should also avoid all but essential travel to: Bayelsa, Delta, Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, and Zamfara states. This replaces the Travel Warning dated February 8, 2017.
Boko Haram, an extremist group based in the northeast, has targeted churches, schools, mosques, government installations, educational institutions, and entertainment venues in Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Plateau, Taraba, the Federal Capital Territory, and Yobe states. Hundreds of thousands of Nigerians have been displaced as a result of violence in the north. Islamic State West Africa, which is now a distinct group from Boko Haram, is present in Nigeria, and may seek to attack locations frequented by westerners including major population centers.
U.S. citizens should be vigilant at public gatherings and locations frequented by foreigners. Markets, hotels, restaurants, bars, and places of worship may become targets for terrorist attacks. Exercise extreme caution throughout the country due to the threat of indiscriminate violence.
Travel to the Gulf of Guinea should also be avoided because of the threat of piracy.
U.S. Mission personnel are subject to restrictions when traveling in Nigeria, with the exception of local areas of Abuja and Lagos, and may be subject to other constraints as security conditions warrant.
For further information:
Furthermore, violence in Yemen has spilled over into Saudi Arabia on a number of occasions. This warning supersedes the Travel Warning issued July 27, 2016.
Threat of Terrorism – Terrorist groups, including ISIS and its affiliates, have targeted both Saudi and Western government interests, mosques and significant religious sites (both Sunni and Shia), and places frequented by U.S. citizens and other Westerners.
Saudi authorities have announced that 34 terrorist attacks, some resulting in significant loss of life, occurred in Saudi Arabia in 2016. These included three coordinated bombings on July 4, 2016, in Medina, Qatif, and near the American Consulate General in Jeddah.
The Saudi authorities continue to vigorously counter terrorist activities and have announced that they thwarted over a dozen terrorist attacks over the past year. On February 16, 2017, Saudi security forces arrested 18 men in four cities on charges of supporting terrorist activities. On January 21, 2017, during a police raid in Jeddah, two men linked to ISIS died when their suicide vests exploded prematurely, and 16 other suspects were arrested. On January 7, 2017, two men linked to ISIS died in a shootout with Saudi security forces in Riyadh. On October 11, 2016, the Saudi Ministry of Interior announced that it successfully prevented a terrorist attack targeting a soccer match at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah.
Conflict in Yemen – On a number of occasions, violence from the ongoing conflict in Yemen has spilled over into Saudi Arabia. Saudi media outlets have reported that since March 2015, more than 40,000 projectiles have been launched into Saudi territory from Yemen, including at least 30 missiles.
U.S. government personnel and their families are restricted from travel in the following areas:
Read the Department of State Travel Warning for Yemen before considering travel near the Yemen frontier.
For further information:
This replaces the Travel Warning issued October 5, 2016.
Travel to all areas of Afghanistan remains unsafe due to the ongoing risk of kidnapping, hostage taking, military combat operations, landmines, banditry, armed rivalry between political and tribal groups, militant attacks, direct and indirect fire, suicide bombings, and insurgent attacks, including attacks using vehicle-borne or other improvised explosive devices (IED). Attacks may also target official Afghan and U.S. government convoys and compounds, foreign embassies, military installations, commercial entities, non-governmental organization (NGO) offices, restaurants, hotels, airports, and educational centers.
Extremists associated with various Taliban networks, ISIS, and members of other armed opposition groups are active throughout the country. ISIS has demonstrated its operational capability, having attacked both Afghan and foreign government facilities. These terrorist groups routinely attack Afghan, Coalition, and U.S. targets with little regard for or the express intent to cause civilian casualties. On January 12, 2017, the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham-Khorosan (ISIS-K) carried out a suicide bomb attack on a mosque, killing 30 and wounding 70. On February 7, 2017, the Afghan Supreme Court was attacked by an insurgent who detonated a suicide vest, killing more than 20 people. On March 1, 2017, Taliban insurgents conducted a complex attack on two separate Afghan police stations in the Kabul area, killing seven and wounding 24. On March 8, 2017, ISIS-K conducted a complex attack on the Afghan National Army Hospital in Kabul City killing more than 50 and wounding more than 90.
Two professors, one American and one Australian, from the American University in Afghanistan were reported kidnapped in Kabul in August 2016. One Australian and one Spanish NGO worker were kidnapped in November and December 2016. A U.S citizen journalist working for National Public Radio and his Afghan assistant were killed when they came under attack in Helmand Province in June 2016, and in August 2016, insurgents fired a rocket at a bus carrying EU and U.S. citizen tourists in Herat Province, wounding six people.
Due to security concerns, unofficial travel to Afghanistan by U.S. government employees and their family members is restricted and requires prior approval from the Department of State. Furthermore, U.S. Embassy personnel are restricted from traveling to all locations in Kabul except the U.S. Embassy and other U.S. government facilities unless there is a compelling U.S. government interest in permitting such travel that outweighs the risk.
Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Afghanistan, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For further background information regarding FAA flight advisories and prohibitions for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.
The U.S. Embassy's ability to provide emergency consular services to U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is severely limited, particularly outside of Kabul. U.S. citizens are encouraged to defer non-essential travel within Afghanistan and note that evacuation options from Afghanistan are extremely limited due to the lack of infrastructure, geographic constraints, and other security concerns.
For further information:
U.S. citizens living and working in Lebanon should be aware of the risks of remaining in the country and should carefully consider those risks. This supersedes the Travel Warning issued on July 29, 2016.
In the event that the security climate in Lebanon worsens, U.S. citizens will be responsible for arranging their own travel out of Lebanon. The Embassy does not offer protection services to U.S. citizens 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.
There is potential for death or injury in Lebanon because of terrorist bombings and attacks. Violent extremist groups operate in Lebanon, including U.S. government-designated terrorist organizations Hizballah, ISIL (Da’esh), Al-Nusrah Front (ANF), Hamas, and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades (AAB). ISIL and ANF have claimed responsibility for suicide bombings in Lebanon. U.S. citizens have been the targets of terrorist attacks in Lebanon in the past. The threat of anti-Western terrorist activity persists, as does the risk of death or injury as a non-targeted bystander.
The Lebanese government cannot guarantee the protection of U.S. citizens against sudden outbreaks of violence, which can occur at any time in Lebanon. Armed clashes have occurred along the Lebanese borders and in Beirut. On August 31, 2016, a bomb exploded on a main road near the eastern Lebanese city of Zahleh, killing at least one person and wounding 11 others. On June 27, 2016, a series of blasts caused by suicide bombers in Qa’a, a town along Lebanon’s northeastern border, killed five people and injured many others. On June 12, 2016, an explosion occurred outside a commercial bank in the central Beirut area of Verdun, causing major damage to the building and injuring two people. On November 12, 2015, twin suicide bombings in a commercial and residential area of the Burj al-Barajneh neighborhood in Beirut’s southern suburbs killed 43 people and wounded 239 others. On January 21, 2017, Lebanese security forces thwarted an attempted suicide attack at a busy café on Hamra Street in downtown Beirut. The Lebanese Armed Forces are routinely brought in to quell the violence in these situations.
Family, neighborhood, or sectarian disputes can escalate quickly and can lead to gunfire or other violence with no warning. Also, celebratory gunfire in Lebanon has resulted in accidental injuries and deaths. In Tripoli, the neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen remain tense. Armed clashes have resulted in deaths and injuries in these neighborhoods in the past, and there are potentially large numbers of weapons in the hands of non-governmental elements.
Public demonstrations can occur with little warning and could become violent. You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution in the vicinity of any large gatherings. Protesters have blocked major roads to gain publicity for their causes, including the primary road between downtown Beirut and Rafiq Hariri International Airport. Access to the airport may be cut off if the security situation deteriorates.
Kidnapping, whether for ransom, political motives, or family disputes, has occurred in Lebanon. Suspects in kidnappings may have ties to terrorist or criminal organizations. The U.S. government’s ability to help U.S. citizens kidnapped or taken hostage is limited. Although the U.S. government places the highest priority on the safe recovery of kidnapped U.S. citizens, it is U.S. policy not to make concessions to hostage takers. U.S. law makes it illegal to provide material support to terrorist organizations.
AREAS OF SPECIAL CONCERN
Avoid the Lebanon-Syria border region: U.S. citizens in Lebanon should monitor political and security developments in both Lebanon and Syria. The U.S. Embassy strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid the Lebanese-Syrian border region. There have been incidents of cross-border shelling and air strikes of Lebanese villages from Syria, resulting in deaths and injuries. There have been episodic clashes between the Lebanese Army and Syrian-based extremists along the border with Syria since August 2014. On March 24, 2016, a roadside bomb targeting a Lebanese Armed Forces patrol killed a Lebanese soldier and wounded several others in Lebanon’s restive northeast border town of Arsal. On November 5, 2015, a deadly blast ripped through Arsal, killing at least four people and wounding several others. The November attack, caused by a suicide bomber using a motorbike, targeted a meeting in the al-Sabil neighborhood of the Committee of Qalamoun Scholars. The next day, a Lebanese Armed Forces patrol in al-Sabil was targeted by a roadside explosive device. There have also been reports of armed groups from Syria kidnapping or attacking Lebanese citizens living in border areas.
Avoid the Lebanon-Israel border region: There are border tensions to the south with Israel, and the U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to avoid this border. 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. There have been sporadic rocket attacks from southern Lebanon into Israel in connection with the violence between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. These attacks, normally consisting of rockets fired at northern Israel, often provoke a prompt Israeli military response. 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.
Avoid the Bekaa Valley: Clashes between Lebanese authorities and criminal elements continue to occur in areas of the Bekaa Valley and border regions. Hizballah maintains a strong presence in the Bekaa Valley, in addition to areas in southern Lebanon and south Beirut. Hizballah has been the target of attacks by other extremist groups for their support of the Asad regime in Syria.
Avoid travel to refugee camps: Violence within refugee camps has resulted in shootings and explosions. U.S. citizens should avoid travel to refugee camps. Palestinian groups hostile to both the Lebanese government and the United States operate autonomously in formal and informal refugee camps in different areas of the country. On April 12, 2016, a car bomb explosion killed a senior Palestinian official near the Ein al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in the southern port city of Sidon.
The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risk of traveling on airlines that fly over Syria. 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 flights that pass through Syrian airspace. U.S. government personnel in Lebanon have been prohibited from taking flights that pass through Syrian airspace.
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, refugee camps, and southern Lebanon.
U.S. government-facilitated evacuations, such as the evacuation that took place from Lebanon in 2006, occur only when no safe commercial alternatives exist, and they are not guaranteed even when commercial travel options are limited or non-existent. Evacuation assistance is provided on a cost-recovery basis, which means the traveler must reimburse the U.S. government for travel costs. U.S. citizens in Lebanon should ensure that they have valid U.S. passports, as lack of documentation could hinder U.S. citizens' ability to depart the country. Additional information on the Department’s role during emergencies is provided on the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website.
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El Salvador has one of the highest homicide levels in the world and crimes such as extortion, assault and robbery are common. This replaces the Travel Warning for El Salvador dated January 15, 2016.
Gang activity is widespread in El Salvador. There are thousands of gang members operating in the country, including members of Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Eighteenth Street (M18). Gangs (maras) focus on extortion, violent street crime, narcotics and arms trafficking. Muggings following ATM or bank withdrawals are common, as are armed robberies at scenic-view stops (miradores). While the majority of the violence occurs between rival gangs and there is no information to suggest U.S. citizens are specifically targeted, its pervasiveness increases the chance of being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Due to armed robberies in national parks, we strongly recommend that hikers in back country areas engage local guides certified by the national or local tourist authority. The National Civilian Police (PNC) has a special tourist police force (POLITUR) to provide security and assistance to visitors. More information can be found on POLITUR’s website.
Remain alert to your surroundings, especially when entering or exiting homes, hotels, cars, garages, schools, and workplaces. When possible, travel in groups. U.S. Embassy personnel are advised not to walk, run, or cycle in unguarded streets and parks, even in groups. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry, and do not carry large sums of money or display cash, ATM/credit cards, or other valuables. Avoid walking at night in most areas of El Salvador. Motorists should avoid traveling at night. Drive with windows up and doors locked to deter robberies. Avoid travel on public transportation, especially buses, both within and outside the capital. Only use radio-dispatched taxis or those stationed in front of major hotels.
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On July 26, 2014, the U.S. Embassy suspended all embassy operations in Libya and relocated staff outside of the country because of violence between Libyan militias. The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli remains closed, and the security situation in Libya remains unpredictable and unstable. U.S. citizens in Libya should make contingency emergency plans and maintain situational awareness at all times. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning issued on June 9, 2016.
On July 26, 2014 the U.S. Embassy suspended operations in Libya. The Department of State has extremely limited capacity to assist U.S. citizens in Libya.
Please direct inquiries regarding U.S. citizens in Libya to LibyaACS@state.gov. Callers in the United States and Canada may dial the toll free number 1-888-407-4747. Callers outside the United States and Canada may dial 1-202-501-4444.
Recent worldwide terrorism alerts, including the Department of State’s Worldwide Caution, have stated that extremist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in the Middle East region, including Libya.
Tripoli and other cities have witnessed fighting between armed groups and government forces as well as terrorist attacks. Hotels frequented by westerners have been caught in the crossfire. Militia controlled checkpoints are common. Militia groups sometimes detain travelers for arbitrary reasons, do not grant detainees access to a lawyer or legal process, and do not allow detainees to inform others of their status. U.S. citizens should carry proof of citizenship and valid immigration status at all times but be aware that these documents do not guarantee fair treatment. The Department of State has extremely limited capacity to assist U.S. citizens who are detained in Libya.
Most international airports are closed, and flights out of operational airports are sporadic and may be cancelled without warning. On December 23, 2016 an airplane traveling from Sabha to Tripoli was hijacked and diverted to Malta by armed men threatening to blow up the plane. The U.S. government is very concerned about the targeting of commercial transportation in Libya, and prohibits U.S. commercial aviation operations within Libyan airspace. Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Libya, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For further background information regarding FAA flight advisories and prohibitions for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.
Seaports and roads can also close with little or no warning. Violence in Libya against civilian commercial interests raises serious concerns about the safety of maritime vessels and their crews. The Libyan National Army (LNA) announced on January 7, 2015 that all vessels in Libyan waters require LNA approval for transit, following the January 4, 2015 bombing of a Greek-operated oil tanker that killed two crewmen near Derna, Libya. Vessels are advised to proceed with extreme caution when approaching all Libyan oil terminals and ports. Mariners planning travel to Libya should check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Updates may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings website (select “broadcast warnings”) advisories.
Violent extremist activity in Libya remains high, and extremist groups have made threats against U.S. government officials, citizens, and interests. Threats against U.S. citizens may include murder or kidnapping. ISIL claimed responsibility for two vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices in Tripoli in September 2016.
U.S. citizens should avoid areas of demonstrations and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings or protests, as even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. Crime levels in Libya remain high, including the threat of kidnapping for ransom.
If travel in the desert or border regions of Libya is critically necessary, exercise caution and comply with local regulations. Terrorist organizations, including Islamic State-affiliated groups and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, continue to threaten the region. Recent terrorist attacks have occurred in the border region, where extremists have kidnapped Westerners, most recently two Italians and a Canadian citizen in September 2016. Please note the travel warnings and alerts for neighboring countries, Algeria, Tunisia, Chad, Niger, and Sudan.
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In addition, the greater urban areas of San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa, and La Ceiba have notably high crime and violence rates. This replaces the Honduras Travel Warning dated August 5, 2016.
The U.S. Embassy restricts U.S. government staff from traveling to the Department of Gracias a Dios due to frequent criminal and drug trafficking activity. Infrastructure is weak, government services are limited, and police or military presence is scarce. Those who choose to travel to, or currently reside in, Gracias a Dios should remain alert to local conditions and signs of danger.
Criminals, acting both individually and in gangs, in and around certain areas of Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, and La Ceiba engage in murder, extortion, and other violent crimes. About 70% of U.S. citizen homicides since 2010 occurred in these urban areas. San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa rank as two of the most violent cities in the world.
With one of the highest murder rates in the world and criminals operating with a high degree of impunity, U.S. citizens are reminded to remain alert at all times when traveling in Honduras.
To be safe, you should review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings and local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance, take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security, and follow instructions of local authorities. For more information on how to travel safely in Honduras, please review the Country Specific Information for Honduras.
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