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Latest News: New Book on Pictorial Maps

Designed to educate, amuse, or advertise, pictorial maps were a clever and colorful component of print culture in the mid-20th century, often overlooked in studies of cartography. A new book published by the Library of Congress in association with the University of Chicago Press, “Picturing America: The Golden Age of Pictorial Maps,” by Stephen J. Hornsby, celebrates these vibrant maps, tracing their development and proliferation from the 1920s to the 1970s.

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Published: March 24th 2017

Latest News: New Chief for European Division

Grant Harris has been appointed chief of the European Division at the Library of Congress.

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Published: March 20th 2017

Latest News: Library Acquires Adelman Archives

The Library of Congress today announced the acquisition of the archives of Bob Adelman, one of the best-known photographers of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

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Watch a live announcement event on YouTube at 2 p.m. ET on March 20.

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Published: March 20th 2017

Latest News: Applications Open for Teacher-in-Residence

The Library of Congress is seeking applications from current world history or world geography teachers for a Teacher-in-Residence position within its Educational Outreach division during the 2017-18 school year.

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Published: March 10th 2017

Latest News: New Chief for Geography and Map Division

Paulette Marie Hasier has been appointed chief of the Geography and Map Division at the Library of Congress.

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Published: February 9th 2017

Latest News: Sánchez Named Law Librarian

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden today announced that Jane Sánchez, the chief of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Library of Congress, has been named Law Librarian of Congress, effective Feb. 5.

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Published: February 1st 2017

Latest News: Literacy Award Nominations Open

Award-winning author and literacy advocate Stephen King helped the Library of Congress today launch its call for nominations for the 2017 Library of Congress Literacy Awards.

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Published: January 31st 2017

Latest News: New Scholars at Kluge Center

Four distinguished scholars—David Bordwell, Timothy Breen, Jose Casanova and Wayne Wiegand—began residencies at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress on Jan. 9.

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Published: January 12th 2017

Latest News: New Software for NLS BARD Download

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), part of the Library of Congress, today released BARD Express, a Windows-based software program that will aid in the use of the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service.

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Published: January 4th 2017

Latest News: New Selections in WWI Art Exhibit

A new selection of 28 posters, prints, drawings and photographs is now on display in the ongoing Library of Congress exhibition “World War I: American Artists View the Great War.” 

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Published: December 21st 2016

Latest News: Gonzalez Named 2017 Poetry Fellow

The 21st Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress, Juan Felipe Herrera, has selected poet Ray Gonzalez for the 2017 Witter Bynner Fellowship.

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Published: December 20th 2016

Latest News: 2016 National Film Registry

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced today the annual selection of 25 motion pictures that have been inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress because of their cultural, historic or aesthetic importance.  This year’s titles range from the Disney animated blockbuster “The Lion King” and the seminal coming-of-age drama “The Breakfast Club” to the 1990 documentary “Paris Is Burning,” chronicling the pageantry of drag balls in New York City, and a collection of home movies showcasing African-American life in Oklahoma during the 1920s.

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Published: December 14th 2016

Latest News: Applications Open for Junior Fellows Program

The Library of Congress is seeking applicants for its 2017 Junior Fellows Summer Intern Program— a 10-week paid fellowship for undergraduate and graduate students. Deadline is January 27, 2017.

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Published: December 12th 2016

Latest News: Nominations for FEDLINK Library Awards

To honor the innovative ways in which federal libraries, librarians and library technicians fulfill the information demands of government, businesses, researchers, scholarly communities and the American public, the Federal Library and Information Network (FEDLINK) has opened nominations for its national awards for federal librarianship for fiscal year 2016.

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Published: December 2nd 2016

Latest News: Library, DPLA in Collaboration Agreement

The Library of Congress today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Digital Public Library of America to become a “content hub partner” and will ultimately share a significant portion of its rich digital resources with DPLA’s database of digital content records.

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Published: November 29th 2016

Latest News: Smokey Robinson Honored in Gershwin Tribute

The two-day celebration of Smokey Robinson’s 50-year career—and his selection as the 2016 recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song—began in the nation’s capital with a touching trip down the keyboard of George Gershwin’s piano and ended with a rollicking concert of his greatest hits.

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Published: November 16th 2016

Latest News: Italian Art of Papermaking

Published by the Library of Congress in association with Oak Knoll Press, "Fabriano: City of Medieval and Renaissance Papermaking" by Sylvia Rodgers Albro describes the role that this Italian city played in the craft.

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Published: November 16th 2016

Latest News: Nominations for Bobbitt Poetry Prize

The Library of Congress is accepting nominations from publishers for the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry. The 2016 prize will be awarded in winter 2017.

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Published: November 15th 2016

Latest News: New Director of VHP

Karen D. Lloyd has been appointed director of the Veterans History Project, a program of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

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Published: November 9th 2016

Latest News: 2016 Holland Prize

A drawing, by a team of Puerto Rican students, of a 19th-century health institution in Puerto Rico, Lazaretto Isla de Cabras, is the 2016 Holland Prize winner, the Library of Congress and National Park Service announced today.

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Published: November 3rd 2016

Latest News: Digital Collaboration on King George III Papers

The Library of Congress, the Royal Collection Trust and King’s College London today signed a memorandum of understanding in which they agree to share resources to aid in the digitization of the papers of King George III (1738-1820), the English monarch in power when the American colonies declared independence, creating a new nation.

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Published: October 25th 2016

Latest News: New Senior-Level Appointments

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden today announced the appointment of Maria Pallante as senior advisor for digital strategy and Karyn Temple Claggett as acting register of copyrights.

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Published: October 25th 2016

Latest News: National Press Club Recordings Online

The Library of Congress unveiled today a new curated web presentation—"Food for Thought: Presidents, Prime Ministers, and other National Press Club Luncheon Speakers, 1954-1989"—that features speeches by 25 of the world’s most important newsmakers, including presidents, international leaders and other political and cultural icons of the period.

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Published: October 18th 2016

Latest News: Ceremonial Office Opened to Public

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden today announced that the historic and architecturally beautiful Ceremonial Office in the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building will be open to the public. Previously, the room was visited only by permission.

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Published: October 12th 2016

Latest News: Poet Laureate "Catalina Neon" Project

The Library of Congress and U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera today announced the launch of Herrera’s second-term projects—an online narrative poem for second and third graders; a collaboration with high-school English teachers at Chicago Public Schools to create strategies for teaching poetry; and a writing lab in Fresno, California.

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Published: October 12th 2016

Irish Illegal Alien Found Living In Boston To Be Deported

BOSTON, MA (Irish Central News Service) – An undocumented Irish immigrant from a Gaeltacht (Gaelic speaking) parish in Connemara is to be deported from America. It’s understood that US Immigration ... [read more] More Info...
Published: March 24th 2017

Pair of Illegal Aliens Gang Rape 12-Year-Old Girl In Nation’s Capital (‘Sanctuary City’)

WASHINGTON, DC (The Washington Post) – A Montgomery County man charged with kidnapping and raping a 12-year-old girl told his friend that she was “fresh meat” before the friend raped ... [read more] More Info...
Published: March 24th 2017

Four-Time Deported Gang Member Raped 2-Year-Old Girl And Stabbed Two Women

HEMPSTEAD, NY (CBS News) – A MS-13 street gang member who had been deported from the U.S. four times stabbed two women and sexually assaulted a 2-year-old girl in a ... [read more] More Info...
Published: March 24th 2017

Police: Illegal Alien Strangled Man To Death In North Carolina

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – Federal immigration officials want to deport the Salvadoran 18-year-old charged with murdering a man whose body was found Sunday on a Raleigh greenway trail. The exact ... [read more] More Info...
Published: March 23rd 2017

Massachusetts Teacher Brutally Killed By Illegal Alien With Criminal Record

WORCESTER, MA (The Boston Globe) – A man is being held without bail Monday over allegations that he killed a a 49-year-old Worcester woman who worked in that city’s public ... [read more] More Info...
Published: March 23rd 2017

Previously Deported Child Molester Re-Arrested In Arizona

CASA GRANDE, AZ (KVOA) – Border Patrol agents from the Casa Grande Station arrested a 35-year-old Mexican man Friday near Sells, and later learned he been convicted in California for ... [read more] More Info...
Published: March 22nd 2017

Illegal Alien Charged With Murder In North Carolina

Name: Carlos Rosales Age: 21 Date of Arrest: 3/16/2017 Location: Mecklenburg County Charge(s): First-degree murder, two counts of assault w/deadly weapon, one count of conspiracy, two counts of armed robbery ... [read more] More Info...
Published: March 22nd 2017

Another Child Raped by An Illegal Alien In North Carolina

Chatham County Sheriff’s Office press release… The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office has charged Mario Sotelo, 45, of 2503 Gemena Road, Chapel Hill, with one count of felony indecent liberties with ... [read more] More Info...
Published: March 21st 2017

DREAMER Charged With Murder Of Two Teens In Colorado

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO (ABC News) – A 19-year-old man was booked on first-degree murder and kidnapping charges in the deaths of two teens who were found dead on the side ... [read more] More Info...
Published: March 21st 2017

Most Wanted: Salvadoran Child Molester Captured In Virginia

ICE press release… A previously removed El Salvadoran man wanted in his home country for aggravated violation of a child was removed from the United States Friday by deportation officers ... [read more] More Info...
Published: March 21st 2017

Comment on DREAMER Charged With Murder Of Two Teens In Colorado by Kevin

Rot in hell scumbag, and that's still to good for you, More Info...
Published: March 23rd 2017

Comment on DREAMER Charged With Murder Of Two Teens In Colorado by Bob

Too meany of these so called DREAMERS amount to nothing but NIGHTMARES. More Info...
Published: March 23rd 2017

Comment on DREAMER Charged With Murder Of Two Teens In Colorado by Gary H

He deserves nothing less than being drawn and quartered by Clydesdale horses. Made to suffer the pain and agony of his extremities being torn from his body before his death. More Info...
Published: March 22nd 2017

Comment on Most Wanted: Child-Rapist May Be On His Way Back To Mexico by MsFreedomWatch (@MsFreedomwatch)

Jose "deserves" to live among those sweet, caring elitists in Malibu, CA. Perhaps one of them will be so kind as to open up their doors to one of their humongous mansions on the ocean, and take good care of this poor, loving illegal immigrant. He would sure be a wonderful companion to their children, and proud new resident of Malibu, the shining star sanctuary city for Jose and the like. TEAR DOWN THAT WALL....around your private mansions & castles and let them all in! More Info...
Published: March 22nd 2017

Comment on Pair Of ‘DREAMERS’ Raped 14-Year-Old Girl Inside Maryland High School by TPowers

Lock them up until they're to old to get it up, then send them back to that shit-hole they crawled out of. Thanks Obama for bringing this trash here. More Info...
Published: March 22nd 2017

Comment on Illegal Alien Who Killed Florida Deputy Will Be Deported, His Anchor Babies Will Join Him by BJ

100 days served plus 7 days..are you kidding me??!!! I'm sorry, I want them out of here too, but, 107 days for killing someone is BS! I'm upset about that myself, so imagine how the deputies family feels! I think because he's an illegal ALIEN (not illegal immigrant), the maximum murder sentence should be even more harsh for him. And I believe, as well, that just because a child is born here to an illegal alien, does NOT make them a citizen, PERIOD. More Info...
Published: March 22nd 2017

Comment on Pair Of ‘DREAMERS’ Raped 14-Year-Old Girl Inside Maryland High School by Janet

I heard Sanchez-Milan was detained by Border Patrol in Texas. Is that true and is so, do you know where in Texas? More Info...
Published: March 21st 2017

Comment on DREAMER Charged With Murder Of Two Teens In Colorado by Betty Robinson

There's going to be a lot more to tell about these so tragic deaths. Marquez had been arrested in February for felony kidnapping, assault, and domestic violence....what's he doing out of jail? Court documents are sealed and the Sheriff's not commenting. How do we know he's a "Dreamer"? More Info...
Published: March 21st 2017

Mauritania Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid travel to far eastern Mauritania due to the activities of terrorist groups which are active in the neighboring regions of Mali including al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and those which pose a threat in the greater Sub-Saharan region, such as the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS).

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 for Mauritania dated February 23, 2016, to update U.S. citizens on the current security situation.

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: 

  • The eastern half of the Tagant region (east of Tidjikja)
  • The eastern half of the Adrar region (east of Ouadane)
  • The Zemmour region (other than F’Derick and Zouerat)

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 environment.  

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).  In recent years, AQIM has kidnapped and murdered private citizens and attacked foreign diplomatic and gendarme military installations in Mauritania.  Christian faith-based organizations operating in Mauritania, or individuals perceived to be proselytizing, may be targeted. 

U.S. Embassy personnel are restricted from traveling outside Nouakchott unless specifically authorized to do so, and then 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 and review your personal security plans periodically if you are in Mauritania or planning to go there. 

For further information:                                                    

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Mauritania Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. 
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Mauritania located between the Presidency and the Spanish Embassy, at + 222 4525-2660, 4525-1145, or 4525-3038, 8:00a.m – 5:00p.m. Monday – Thursday, and 8:00am – 12:00pm on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is (222) 4525-3288.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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Published: March 22nd 2017

Cameroon Travel Warning

The State Department warns U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to the North and Far North Regions and parts of the East and Adamawa Regions of Cameroon because of terrorist threats and the risk of violent crime.

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 August 19, 2016.

The Boko Haram terrorist group has actively targeted foreign residents, tourists, and government leaders in the North and Far North Region. 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 are Travel Warnings for neighboring Nigeria, Chad, and CAR.

There has been an increase in 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:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Cameroon.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. 
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon located on Avenue Rosa Parks close to the Mont Febe Golf Club in Yaounde, at +237 22220-1500 ext. 4341/4023 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +237 22220-1500 ext. 4040.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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Published: March 22nd 2017

Syria Travel Warning

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against all travel to Syria and strongly recommends that U.S. citizens remaining in Syria depart immediately.

The security situation remains dangerous and unpredictable. 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 October 11, 2016.

No part of Syria is safe from violence. Kidnappings, the use of chemical warfare, shelling, and aerial bombardment have significantly raised the risk of death or serious injury. The destruction of infrastructure, housing, medical facilities, schools, and power and water utilities has also increased hardships inside the country.

Terrorist and other violent extremist groups including ISIS and al-Qa’ida’s Syrian affiliateal-Nusrah Front (also known as Jabhat al-Nusrah, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, and other aliases), operate in Syria. Tactics for these groups include the use of suicide bombers, kidnapping, small and heavy arms, and improvised explosive devices. They have targeted major city centers, road checkpoints, border crossings, government buildings, shopping areas, and open spaces, including 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. U.S. citizens have disappeared within Syria. Public places, such as road checkpoints, border crossings, government buildings, shopping areas, and open spaces, have been targeted. 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. Although a ceasefire was announced in December 2016, fighting persists in Syria. Moreover, the ceasefire does not include ISIS or al-Nusrah Front, which have not renounced the use of violence. The ceasefire does not make the security situation in Syria any less dangerous for U.S. citizens.

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 if those individuals travel to Syria.

Fighting on behalf of or providing other forms of support to designated terrorist organizations, including ISIS and al-Nusrah Front, 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.

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. Fierce clashes between pro-government and opposition forces continue in the vicinity of the Damascus and Aleppo airports.  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 have been controlled by armed terrorist and violent extremist groups and 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 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 leave the country and contact a U.S. embassy or consulate in a neighboring country, if at all possible.  U.S. citizens who remain in 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
E-mail: Amman-ACS@state.gov

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:

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Published: March 22nd 2017

Afghanistan Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to Afghanistan because of continued instability and threats by terrorist organizations against U.S. citizens.

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:

  • See the Department of State’s Consular Affairs’ website where the Worldwide Caution, Travel Alerts and Travel Warnings can be found for the latest security information.  
  • Enroll in STEP to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy, located at Great Massoud Road (also known as Bibi Mahru or Airport Road) between Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA) and the Ministry of Public Health. The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy can be reached at 301-490-1042, ext. 8499 from the United States, or +93(0) 70-011-4000 from abroad during business hours, Sunday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Kabul time. For after-hours, truly exigent emergencies involving U.S. citizens, please contact the Embassy Duty Officer at +93-(0)70-011-4000. Any routine consular correspondence relating to services for U.S. citizens may be sent to KabulACS@state.gov.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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Published: March 21st 2017

Eritrea Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Eritrea.

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 August 26, 2016.

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:

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Published: February 21st 2017

Lebanon Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Lebanon because of the threats of terrorism, armed clashes, kidnapping, and outbreaks of violence, especially near Lebanon’s borders with Syria and Israel.

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.  

For more information:

  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. The U.S. Embassy is located in Awkar, near Antelias, Beirut, Lebanon. You can contact the Embassy by telephone at (961-4) 542-600 outside the country or 04 542-600 inside the country between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, and Friday local time. The emergency after-hours number is (961-4) 543-600. 
  • U.S. citizens seeking routine services must make appointments in advance. 
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.
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Published: February 15th 2017

El Salvador Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of travel to El Salvador due to the high rates of crime and violence.

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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Published: February 14th 2017

Nigeria Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Nigeria and recommends that U.S. citizens avoid all but essential travel to Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kano, and Yobe states because the security situation in northeast Nigeria remains fluid and unpredictable.

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 August 3, 2016.

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. Exercise extreme caution throughout the country due to the threat of indiscriminate violence. 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.

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:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution,Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Nigeria Country-Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, located at Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive, Central District Area, open Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos, located at 2 Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, is open Monday-Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The U.S. Embassy in Abuja can be reached by telephone, including after-hours emergencies, at +234 (9) 461-4176 or +234 (9) 461-4000, or by email at AbujaACS@state.gov. The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos can be reached by telephone, including after-hours emergencies, at +234 (1) 460-3600 or +234 (1) 460-3400, or by email at LagosACS@state.gov. For more information, please visit the U.S. Mission in Nigeria website.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

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Published: February 8th 2017

North Korea Travel Warning

The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to North Korea/the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) due to the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention under North Korea’s system of law enforcement.

This system imposes unduly harsh sentences for actions that would not be considered crimes in the United States and threatens 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. This notice replaces the Travel Warning dated November 9, 2016. 

At least 14 U.S. citizens have been detained in North Korea in the past ten years. North Korean authorities have detained those 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 North Korean authorities from detaining or arresting you. Efforts by private tour operators to prevent or resolve past detentions of U.S. citizens in the DPRK have not been successful.

If you decide to enter North Korea against the advice of this Travel Warning, you should have no expectation of privacy. All electronic and multimedia devices including USB drives, CDs, DVDs, mobile phones, tablets, laptops, Internet browsing histories, and cookies are subject to search for banned content.

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

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

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

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

Numerous foreigners have been held in North Korea for extended periods of time without being formally charged with any crimes. 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.

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. The Embassy of Sweden in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang is the Protecting Power for U.S. citizens in the DPRK providing limited consular services to U.S. citizens traveling in North Korea who require emergency assistance. Although the U.S.-DPRK Interim Consular Agreement stipulates that North Korea will notify the Embassy of Sweden within four days of an arrest or detention of a U.S. citizen and will allow consular visits by the Swedish Embassy within two days after a request is made, the DPRK government routinely delays or denies consular access. 

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 on the DPRK. 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 2015.

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 January 2016 and March 2016 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:

  • See the Department of State’s  travel website at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en.html for current Worldwide Cautions, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for North Korea.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive important safety and security messages via email (though you may not have access to email while in North Korea). Enrollment also makes it easier to locate you in case of an emergency.
  • U.S. citizens who plan to travel to North Korea are strongly encouraged to inform the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China by enrolling in STEP. U.S. citizens residing in China can contact the U.S. Embassy directly. The Embassy is located next to the Ladies’ Street (Nuren Jie) and Laitai Flower Market, near the Kempinski Hotel and Lufthansa Shopping Center on Tianze Road near the Liangmaqiao subway stop:

U.S. Embassy in Beijing
American Citizens Services Unit
No. 55 An Jia Lou Road
Chaoyang District
Beijing, China 100600
Telephone:  (86-10) 8531-4000
Email:  BeijingACS@state.gov
Emergency after-hours number for U.S. citizens:  (86-10) 8531-4000

  • U.S. citizens traveling to North Korea are also strongly encouraged to contact the Embassy of Sweden by email prior to travel. Please provide the Embassy of Sweden with your name, date of birth, dates of your trip, and emergency contact information: 

The Embassy of Sweden Pyongyang (U.S. Protecting Power in North Korea)
Munsu-Dong District
Pyongyang, DPRK
Telephone:  (850-2) 3817 485 (reception)
Telephone:  (850-2) 3817 904, (850-2) 3817 907 (Deputy)
Telephone:  (850-2) 3817 908 (Amb.)
Facsimile:  (850-2) 3817 663
Email:  ambassaden.pyongyang@gov.se

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

  • U.S. citizens can obtain current information on safety and security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

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Published: February 7th 2017

Iraq Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to Iraq.

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 July 6, 2016.

U.S. citizens in Iraq are at high risk for kidnapping and terrorist violence.  Numerous terrorist and insurgent groups are active in Iraq, including Da'esh (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.)  Such groups regularly attack both the Iraqi security forces and civilians.  Anti-U.S. sectarian militias may also threaten U.S. citizens and western companies throughout Iraq.  Kidnappings and attacks by means of improvised explosive devices (IED) 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 shootings using various direct fire weapons.  Such attacks often take place in public venues such as 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 Iraq 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 Da'esh, can constitute the provision of material support for terrorism, a crime in the United States that can result in penalties including prison time and large fines.

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 gained access to the International Zone (IZ) in Baghdad and attacked Iraqi government buildings.  Demonstrations in Basrah have occurred at the offices of the Provincial Council and governor.  Demonstrations in Baghdad have occurred in and around Tahrir Square, and protestors have even penetrated the IZ, actions that resulted in personal injury to both protesters and security personnel. 

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 for 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 and interruption of essential services from Mosul to Baghdad.  While it is impossible to accurately predict the likelihood of the dam failing, the Embassy has made contingency plans to relocate its personnel in such an event.  The Embassy recommends that U.S. citizens in Iraq, especially those 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 for updates. 

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 without advance notice.  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 which 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 does 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.

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Published: January 31st 2017

Libya Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to Libya and recommends that U.S. citizens currently in Libya depart immediately.

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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Published: January 27th 2017

Turkey Travel Warning

U.S. citizens are warned of increased threats from terrorist groups in Turkey.

Carefully consider the need to travel to Turkey at this time, and avoid travel to southeast Turkey due to the persistent threat of terrorism.  The Department of State has placed restrictions on official travel by U.S. government personnel to Istanbul and to certain areas in southeast Turkey.  This replaces the Travel Warning dated October 29, 2016.

In 2016, numerous 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.  The most recent attacks included a mass shooting at the Istanbul Reina nightclub on January first, and simultaneous suicide bombings near Istanbul’s Besiktas/Vodafone Soccer Stadium on December 10, 2016.  In addition, an increase in anti-American rhetoric has the potential to inspire independent actors to carry out acts of violence against U.S. citizens.

Additional attacks in Turkey could occur at major events, tourist sites, restaurants, nightclubs, commercial centers, places of worship, and transportation hubs, including aviation services, metros, buses, bridges, bus terminals, and sea transport.  Foreign and U.S. tourists and expatriates have been explicitly targeted by terrorist organizations in Turkey for kidnapping and assassination.  We remind U.S. citizens to review their personal security plans including communications preparedness/connectivity; to monitor local news for breaking events; to remain vigilant at all times; and to check in with loved ones after an attack or security incident. 

On January 4, the Turkish government extended the state of emergency through April 18, 2017 - an additional 90 days.  Under the state of emergency, security forces have expanded powers and the government has, at times, restricted internet access and media content.  U.S. citizens have been deported and/or detained and held without access to lawyers or family members under the state of emergency.  Delays or denial of consular access to U.S. citizens detained or arrested by security forces, some of whom also possess Turkish citizenship, have become more common.  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.

The October 29, 2016, decision to direct family members of employees posted to the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey to depart Turkey temporarily remains in effect.  All international and domestic official travel for U.S. government personnel to and from Istanbul requires Department of State approval.  The Department of State’s decision to order departure is based on security information indicating extremist groups are continuing frequent and aggressive efforts to attack U.S. citizens and foreign expatriates in areas of Istanbul where they reside or frequent.  This order applies only to the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul, not to other U.S. diplomatic posts in Turkey.  Our Embassy in Ankara, Consulate General in Istanbul, and Consulate in Adana remain open and are providing full services.

U.S. government personnel in Turkey remain subject to travel restrictions in the southeastern provinces of Hatay, Kilis, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Sirnak, Diyarbakir, Van, Siirt, Mus, Mardin, Batman, Bingol, Tunceli, Hakkari, Bitlis, and Elazig.  Furthermore, the U.S. Mission to Turkey may prohibit movements by its personnel to these areas on short notice for security reasons, including threats and demonstrations.  Due to recent acts of violence and the potential for reprisal attacks due to continued Turkish military activity in Syria, we urge U.S. citizens to defer travel to large urban centers near the Turkish/Syrian 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.  Individuals seeking emergency medical treatment or safety from immediate danger are assessed on a case by case basis.

For your safety:

  • Avoid travel to southeastern Turkey, in particular large, urban centers near the Turkish/Syrian border.
  • Stay away from large crowds, including at popular tourist destinations. 
  • Exercise heightened vigilance and caution when visiting public areas, especially those heavily frequented by tourists.  
  • Stay away from political gatherings and rallies.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities in an emergency. 
  • Stay at hotels with identifiable security measures in place.
  • Monitor local media.

For further detailed information regarding Turkey and travel:

 

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Published: January 25th 2017

Honduras Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of travel to the Department of Gracias a Dios in Honduras.

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.

For further information:

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Published: January 23rd 2017

Kenya Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid travel to the border area between Somalia and Kenya because of threats by the terrorist group al-Shabaab.

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 June 30, 2016.

For your safety:

  • Avoid travel in the northeastern Kenyan counties of Mandera, Wajir and Garissa, the coastal counties of Tana River and Lamu in their entirety, all areas north of Malindi in Kilifi County, and the Nairobi neighborhood of Eastleigh.
  • In Mombasa, the U.S. Embassy recommends U.S. citizens visit Old Town only during daylight hours, and avoid using the Likoni ferry due to safety concerns.

In 2016, terrorist attacks involving shootings, grenades, or other explosive devices resulted in 122 fatalities. The bulk of these incidents occurred in Wajir, Garissa, Lamu and Mandera counties.  Potential terrorist threats remain in Kenya, including within the Nairobi area, along the coast, and within the northeastern region of the country.

Terrorist targets have included Kenyan and foreign government sites, police stations and vehicles, hotels, public transportation and other infrastructure targets, nightclubs and bars, religious and academic institutions, and shopping areas. On September 11, 2016, press accounts noted that three women purportedly attacked a police station in Mombasa with knives and petrol bombs, wounding two Kenyan police officers. The next month, on October 27, 2016, an assailant with a knife attacked a police officer guarding the U.S. Embassy compound.

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 in the past.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen for Kenyan airspace. 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:

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Published: January 13th 2017

Somalia Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Somalia because of continuous activity by the al-Qaida affiliated terrorist group, al-Shabaab.

U.S. citizens should be aware of the threat of kidnapping in all parts of Somalia, including Somaliland and Puntland.  There is no U.S. embassy presence in Somalia.  This replaces the Travel Warning dated May 24, 2016.

There is a particular terrorist threat to foreigners in places where large crowds gather and Westerners frequent, including airports, government buildings, hotels, and shopping areas. In 2016, there were 14 documented attacks directed at hotels, restaurants, and the international airport in Mogadishu.  

In addition, al-Shabaab has carried out attacks in government-controlled territories. In 2016, they targeted government facilities, foreign delegations' facilities and convoys, and commercial establishments frequented by government officials, foreign nationals, and the Somali diaspora. 

Al-Shabaab has repeatedly attacked the Mogadishu Aden Adde International Airport (MGQ) with mortars and other weapons. The group has conducted attacks from within the airport’s secure perimeter, and they detonated an explosive device hidden in a laptop on an airplane shortly after it took off from the airport on February 2, 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:

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Published: January 11th 2017

Bangladesh Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of continuing threats from terrorist groups in Bangladesh and to consider the risks of travel to and throughout the country.

The Department is updating this Travel Warning to reflect the change in the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka’s status to “partially accompanied,” effective January 5, 2017, allowing only employed adult family members of U.S. government personnel to remain in or return to Dhaka.  The U.S. Embassy remains open and will provide all consular services.  This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated July 10, 2016. 

On July 1, 2016, terrorists killed more than 20 people in a restaurant frequented by foreigners in Dhaka’s diplomatic enclave, including one U.S. citizen.  Da’esh (also referred to as IS, ISIL, or ISIS) and Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) have publicly claimed credit for multiple attacks since September 2015.  In October 2016, Da’esh threatened to target “expats, tourists, diplomats, garment buyers, missionaries, and sports teams” in the most “secured zones” in Bangladesh.

The U.S. government considers the potential threat to U.S. government personnel in Bangladesh to be serious enough to require them 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. citizens should take stringent security measures, remain vigilant, and be alert to local security developments.  Be aware that U.S. government officials and their families currently are not permitted to:

  • visit public establishments or places in Bangladesh
  • travel on foot, motorcycle, bicycle, rickshaw, or other uncovered means on public thoroughfares and sidewalks in Bangladesh
  • attend large gatherings in Bangladesh

For further information:

See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Bangladesh Country Specific Information.

  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier for us to locate you in an emergency.

  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh, located at Madani Avenue, Baridhara, Dhaka, Bangladesh 1212, at (88) (02) 5566-2000, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.  Weekends and After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is (88) (02) 5566-2000 (press “0” and ask for the duty officer).

  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays)

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Published: January 5th 2017

Republic of South Sudan Travel Warning

The U.S. State Department warns U.S. citizens against travel to the Republic of South Sudan because of ongoing fighting, intercommunal violence, and violent crime.

The Department of State has terminated Ordered Departure status for Embassy Juba, and simultaneously adjusted its staffing profile to reflect new conditions on the ground.  This replaces the Travel Warning dated July 10, 2016. 

In July 2016, violent clashes between government and opposition forces broke out in Juba.  Since then, instability has continued, exacerbated by intertribal and intercommunal violence, cattle raiding, economic uncertainty, 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 high throughout South Sudan, including in Juba.  Due to the risk of carjacking and crime, 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:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for South Sudan.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). U.S. citizens who travel to or remain in South Sudan despite this Travel Warning should provide their current contact information and next-of-kin information in STEP. 
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Juba located on Kololo Road in Tongping next to the European Union compound, at +(211) 912-105-188 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +(211) 912-105-107.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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Published: January 4th 2017

Democratic Republic of the Congo Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to the DRC.

On December 23, 2016, family members of U.S. government personnel and non-emergency personnel were allowed to return to Kinshasa. This replaces the Travel Warning dated December 2, 2016.

There is ongoing instability and sporadic violence in many parts of the DRC. Very poor transportation infrastructure throughout the country and poor security conditions in eastern DRC 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. 

Armed groups, bandits, and some elements of the Congolese armed forces operate in the provinces of North and South Kivu, Bas-Uele, Haut-Uele, Ituri, Tanganyika and Haut-Lomami.  These groups have been known to kill, rape, kidnap, pillage, and carry out military or paramilitary operations in which civilians may be indiscriminately targeted. 

Congolese military and United Nations forces continue to operate throughout North and South Kivu and near the DRC's borders with the Central African Republic and the Republic of South Sudan, particularly in and around Garamba National Park.  Travelers in the region may encounter troop movements, armored vehicles and attack helicopters. Kidnapping for ransom is also common, particularly in areas north and west of Goma, North Kivu. 

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
  • U.S. citizens who travel to or remain in the DRC despite this Travel Warning are urged to provide their current contact information and next-of-kin information through STEP. 
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in the DRC, located at 310 Avenue des Aviateurs in Kinshasa, at +243-081-884-6859 or +243-081-884-4609 from 7:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday.  After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is 081-556-0151. 
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). 
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Published: December 23rd 2016

Egypt Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of threats from terrorist groups in Egypt and to consider the risks of travel to the country.

For security reasons, the U.S. Mission in Egypt prohibits diplomatic personnel from traveling to the Western Desert and the Sinai Peninsula outside the beach resort of Sharm El-Sheikh; U.S. citizens should also avoid travel to these areas.  U.S. Mission personnel are only permitted to travel to and from Sharm el-Sheikh by air – overland travel is not allowed anywhere in the Sinai Peninsula.  

The Egyptian Government maintains a heavy security presence at major tourist sites, such as Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurghada, and other beach resorts on the Red Sea and on the Mediterranean coast west of Alexandria, and at many of the temples and archaeological sites located in and around greater Cairo and in the Nile Valley, such as Luxor, Aswan, and Abu Simbel.  U.S. Mission personnel are allowed to travel to these areas.  However, terrorist attacks can occur anywhere in the country. 

There are a number of extremist organizations, including the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), operating in Egypt.  Over the past two years, terrorist attacks have targeted Egyptian government and security forces, public venues, including tourist sites, civil aviation and other modes of public transportation, and a diplomatic facility.  On December 11, a suicide bomber killed dozens of civilians in a church adjacent to the main Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo.  This incident followed two roadside bombings targeting police officers on December 9, one that killed six police officers in Giza, about three kilometers from the Pyramids, and a second that killed a civilian and injured three policeman in a rural area in the Nile Delta.  Other recent high profile incidents in or near Cairo include: the killing of an Egyptian Army Brigadier General and failed assassination attempts on a former Grand Mufti, a judge, and a Deputy Prosecutor General.

The Egyptian Military conducts active anti-terrorist operations in Egypt’s border areas with Gaza and Libya.  The northeastern Sinai Peninsula remains a particularly restive area, with frequent terrorist attacks targeting Egyptian security forces and civilians.  Terrorists are also active in Egypt’s Western Desert – the large, mostly isolated area west of greater Cairo and the Nile Valley – including in the vicinity of various oasis towns.  U.S. citizens should avoid these areas.  

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:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Egypt.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. 
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Egypt.  For non-emergency inquiries, U.S. citizens may send an email to the American Citizens Services Unit at consularcairoacs@state.gov. For emergencies during and after business hours and on weekends and holidays, U.S. citizens can contact the Embassy Duty Officer via the Embassy switchboard at +20-2-2797-3300. The Embassy is located at 5 Tawfik Diab Street (formerly known as Latin America Street), Garden City, Cairo.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

 

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Published: December 23rd 2016

Jordan Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of threats from terrorist groups throughout Jordan and to consider the risks of travel to and throughout the country.

Terrorist organizations, including the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), its affiliates, and sympathizers, have successfully conducted attacks in Jordan and continue to plot assaults in the country.  Jordan's prominent role in the counter-ISIL Coalition and its shared borders with Iraq and Syria increase the potential for future terrorist incidents.  

Travelers should be aware that both U.S. and Jordanian interests have been targeted in recent attacks.  On December 18, 10 people, including a Canadian tourist and seven Jordanian security and police officers, were killed at or near a tourist site in Karak, 130 km south of Amman.  A shootout between gunmen and Jordanian security forces occurred in the same area two days later.  On June 6, a gunman killed five Jordanian security personnel stationed at a security office in Baqaa, north of Amman.  In November 2015, a Jordanian police officer killed two U.S. citizen trainers and wounded two others in a shooting at the Jordan International Police Training Center (JIPTC) outside Amman.

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.

The Department of State reminds U.S. citizens that terrorist and extremist organizations have expressed a desire to conduct attacks targeting U.S. citizens and Westerners in Jordan.  Within the last year, Jordanian authorities have notified the U.S. Embassy of several disrupted terrorist plots targeting U.S. citizens and Westerners.  In addition, terrorist entities continue to express interest in attacking malls, hotels, restaurants, and other soft targets in country. 

For more information:

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Published: December 23rd 2016

Mali Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against all travel to Mali because of ongoing terrorist attacks and criminal violence.

Effective December 27, the Embassy will change its status to "Adult Eligible Family Members Only," meaning that no one 21 years old or younger will be allowed to accompany U.S. government employees assigned to Mali.  This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated July 1, 2016.

The security environment in Mali remains fluid, and the potential for attacks throughout the country, including in Bamako, remains high.  Locations frequented by Western visitors, including but not limited to hotels and restaurants, continue to be targets for attacks.  U.S. citizens are reminded to stay vigilant and aware of their surroundings, and exercise caution, especially at night.  

Northern Mali and parts of central Mali in particular continue to be at high risk for terrorist attacks, armed conflict, and banditry.  U.S. government personnel in Mali are restricted from these regions except for mission critical travel, and in such cases are heavily reliant on United Nations and host country security support.  U.S. citizens are highly discouraged from travel to these regions.   

Violent extremist groups targeting foreigners, including al-Qa'ida in the Lands of Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and al-Murabitoun, have claimed responsibility for multiple terrorist attacks in Mali over the past year, as well as kidnappings in Timbuktu and along the border with Burkina Faso.  Exemplifying the security challenges across the region, in October 2016, extremist groups kidnapped a U.S. citizen in Niger and reportedly took him to Mali.

Violent extremist elements continue to target Malian security forces, resulting in attacks on Malian government outposts and base camps for The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).  On March 21, 2016, heavily armed assailants attacked the European Union's Training Mission (EUTM) headquarters and primary residence in the diplomatic enclave in Bamako.  AQIM claimed responsibility for the attack.

On November 20, 2015, one U.S. citizen and 19 other foreigners were murdered when heavily armed assailants stormed the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako using gunfire and grenades.  AQIM and al-Murabitoun claimed responsibility for the attack. 

On March 7, 2015, armed gunmen attacked the La Terrasse restaurant in Bamako and killed five people, including French and Belgian citizens.  Al-Murabitoun claimed responsibility for the attack.  Following the attack, the Government of Mali declared a State of Emergency and increased its security presence in Bamako.  The State of Emergency has been extended through March 2017.  Roadblocks and random police checkpoints, especially between sundown and sun-up, are possible. 

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:

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Published: December 23rd 2016

Philippines Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to the Sulu Archipelago and through the southern Sulu Sea, and to exercise extreme caution when traveling to the island of Mindanao, due to continued terrorist threats, insurgent activities, and kidnappings.

This replaces the Travel Warning dated April 21, 2016.

Terrorist and insurgent groups based in the Sulu Archipelago continue to kidnap foreigners in the eastern Sabah province of Malaysia and the southern Sulu Sea area. This area stretches from the southern tip of Palawan, along the coast of Sabah, Malaysia and the islands of the Sulu Archipelago, up to Zamboanga City, Mindanao. 

Separatist and terrorist groups continue to carry out attacks and kidnappings against civilians, foreigners, political leaders, and Philippine security forces in Mindanao. Since January 2016, at least 13 separate kidnappings of foreigners have been reported across Mindanao. In western Mindanao, terrorist, insurgent, and criminal gangs regularly conduct kidnappings for ransom.  In central Mindanao, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) remain active in the Cotabato City area, and in the Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat provinces, where the government maintains a state of emergency and a greater police presence. 

In September 2016, a terrorist group conducted a bombing in Davao City, killing 15 and wounding 69 people.  Following the attack, the Philippine government declared a "State of National Emergency on Account of Lawless Violence in Mindanao."  There have been no reports of U.S. citizens in Mindanao targeted specifically for their nationality; however, general threats to U.S. citizens and other foreigners throughout Mindanao remain a concern.

U.S. government personnel are required to obtain special authorization from Embassy security officials before traveling to Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Philippines Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. 
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines, located at 1201 Roxas Boulevard, at +(63) (2) 301-2000, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +(63) (2) 301-2000.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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Published: December 20th 2016

Venezuela Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to Venezuela due to violent crime, social unrest, and pervasive food and medicine shortages.

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 other parts of the country. These security measures may restrict the services the Embassy can provide. Country-wide shortages of food, water, medicine, electricity, and other basic goods have led to social unrest, including violence and looting. 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. This replaces the Travel Warning issued July 15, 2016.

Venezuela has one of the world's highest crime rates, including one of the highest homicide rates. Violent crime - including murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, and carjacking - is endemic throughout the country. Armed robberies and street crime take place throughout Caracas and other cities, including in areas frequented by tourists. Heavily armed criminals are known to use grenades and assault rifles to commit crimes at banks, shopping malls, public transportation stations, and universities. Criminals may take advantage of power outages to target victims when lights and security alarms are nonfunctional. Drug traffickers and illegal armed groups are active in the Colombian border states of Zulia, Tachira, and Apure.

The political and security situation in Venezuela is unpredictable and can change quickly. Political rallies and demonstrations occur with little notice, and are expected to occur with greater frequency in the coming months in Caracas and throughout the country. Long lines to purchase basic goods are a common occurrence throughout the country and there have been reports of unrest and violence while customers wait, sometimes resulting in looted stores and blocked streets. These incidents elicit a strong police and security force response that can include the use of violence against participants; several deaths have been reported during such protests. Due to shortages of some food and medical supplies, U.S. citizens should be prepared to cover their own needs while in country. In the event that the security climate worsens, U.S. citizens should be responsible for arranging their own travel out of Venezuela.

U.S. citizens may 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 (tourism, journalism, employment, study, etc.) 

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 any anti-government activity, including observing and reporting on public health facilities.

For further information:

  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela, located at Calle F con Calle Suapure, Lomas de Valle Arriba, Caracas at +[58] 212-975-6411, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +[58] 0212-907-8400.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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Published: December 15th 2016

Ukraine Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to Crimea and the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

This supersedes the Travel Warning for Ukraine dated June 17, 2016.

Russia-backed 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 separatist-held areas of Ukraine, with a limited number of operational checkpoints controlled by government and separatist forces. There have been multiple casualties due to land mines in areas previously controlled by separatists, and both sides of the contact line are mined.  Separatist leaders have made statements indicating their desire to push the front 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. The Government of Ukraine has stated that foreigners, including U.S. citizens, who enter Ukraine from Russia through separatist-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:

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Published: December 14th 2016

Algeria Travel Warning

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to remote areas in southern and eastern Algeria, as well as isolated parts of the Kabylie region, due to a high threat of terrorist attacks and kidnapping.

This replaces the Travel Warning for Algeria dated March, 1 2016.

Terrorist groups remain active. While major cities are heavily policed, extremists have conducted attacks (often using bombs, ambushes, or false roadblocks) in the mountainous Kabylie region (provinces of Boumerdes, Tizi Ouzou, Bouira, and Bejaia) and the southern and eastern border regions, including the Chaambi mountains area, south of Souk Ahras, near the Tunisian border. 

Although most attacks are directed towards Algerian military or police, in September 2014, an ISIL-affiliated group abducted and beheaded 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:

  • avoid travel within 50 km (31 miles) of the eastern border and within 450 km (280 miles) of the southern border.
  • avoid overland travel across the Sahara.  Travel to Saharan cities only by air.
  • remain on principal highways when traveling to coastal/mountainous areas east of Algiers and the mountains immediately south of Algiers.
  • always travel with reputable Algerian travel agents who know the area.
  • avoid staying overnight outside of the main cities and tourist locations.
  • inform local police when staying in locations outside of major cities.

The Algerian government requires all foreign employees of foreign companies or organizations based in Algeria to contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before traveling in the country's interior so that the Government can evaluate need for police coordination. The Algerian government also requires U.S. Embassy employees to coordinate all staff travel outside of the Algiers wilaya (province) with the government; for this reason U.S. consular services may be limited outside of the Algiers wilaya.

For further information:

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Published: December 13th 2016

Mexico Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens about the risk of traveling to certain parts of Mexico due to the activities of criminal organizations in those areas.

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 April 15, 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 casinos, sports books, or other 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:

  • Traditional: victim is physically abducted and held captive until a ransom is paid for release.
  • Express: victim is abducted for a short time and commonly forced to withdraw money, usually from an ATM, then released.
  • Virtual: an extortion-by-deception scheme where a victim is contacted by phone and coerced by threats of violence to provide phone numbers of family and friends, and then isolated until the ransom is paid. Recently, hotel guests have been targets of such "virtual" kidnapping schemes.

U.S. citizens have been murdered in carjacking 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 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. According to the Baja State Secretariat for Public Security, the state of Baja California experienced an increase in homicide rates from January to July 2016 compared to the same period in the previous year. While most of these homicides appeared to be targeted criminal organization assassinations, turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Shooting incidents, in which innocent bystanders have been injured, have occurred during daylight hours.

Baja California Sur (includes Cabo San Lucas and La Paz): Exercise caution in the state capital of La Paz. Baja California Sur continues to experience a high rate of homicides. Many of these homicides have occurred in La Paz, where there have been ongoing public acts of violence between rival criminal organizations.

Campeche: No advisory is in effect.

Chiapas (includes Palenque and San Cristobal de las Casas): No advisory is in effect.

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. Travel between cities only on major highways and only during daylight hours.

  • Ciudad Juarez: Exercise caution in all areas. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling after dark west of Eje. Juan Gabriel and south of Boulevard Zaragoza. Defer non-essential travel to the areas southeast of Boulevard Independencia and the Valle de Juarez region.
  • Within the city of Chihuahua: Defer non-essential travel to the Morelos, Villa, and Zapata districts, where the travel of U.S. government personnel is restricted.
  • Ojinaga: When possible, travel via U.S. Highway 67 through the Presidio, Texas port-of-entry.
  • Palomas and the Nuevo Casas Grandes/Paquime region: When possible, travel via U.S. Highway 11 through the Columbus, New Mexico port-of- entry.
  • Nuevo Casas Grandes: U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling outside of city limits after dark.
  • Copper Canyon and other areas of the state of Chihuahua: U.S. citizens should defer non-essential travel.

Coahuila: Violence and criminal activity, including homicide, armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, extortion, and sexual assault, pose significant and continuing security concerns, particularly along the highways between Piedras Negras and Nuevo Laredo. U.S. citizens should defer non-essential travel to all parts of Coahuila, with the exception of travel to Saltillo, Bosques de Monterreal, and Parras de la Fuente. U.S. government personnel are only allowed to travel during daylight hours to Saltillo and Bosques de Monterreal, and must abide by an Embassy-imposed curfew of 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. U.S. government personnel may also travel to Parras de la Fuente and on toll Highway 40 to Highway 57 and only during daylight hours. State and municipal law enforcement capacity is limited in some parts of Coahuila, particularly in the north of the state.

Colima (includes Manzanillo): U.S. government personnel are prohibited from intercity travel at night, and from traveling within 12 miles of the Colima- Michoacán 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 Durango only during daylight hours on toll roads and must abide by the Embassy-imposed curfew of 1 a.m. to 6 a.m.

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 state of Guerrero, including Acapulco, is prohibited for U.S. government personnel with the exception of travel to Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo by air. In Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, U.S. government personnel must remain in tourist areas. The state of Guerrero was the most violent state in Mexico in 2015 for the third year in a row, and 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 (also 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 Marta, 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, and must return to the city of San Pedro Garza Garcia municipal boundaries to abide by the Embassy-imposed curfew of 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., except for travel to the airport after 5 a.m.

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): No advisory is in effect. However, U.S. citizens should exercise caution when traveling south of Felipe Carrillo Puerto or east of Jose Maria Morelos as cellular and internet services are virtually non-existent.

San Luis Potosi: U.S. government personnel may travel outside the city of San Luis Potosi only during daylight hours on toll roads, and must abide by the Embassy-imposed curfew of 1 a.m. to 6 a.m.

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 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.

Due to illegal activity, U.S. citizens should defer non-essential travel to:

  • The triangular region west of Nogales, east of Sonoyta, and north of Caborca (including the towns of Saric, Tubutama, and Altar).
  • The eastern edge of the state of Sonora, which borders the state of Chihuahua (all points along that border east of Federal Highway 17, the road between Moctezuma and Sahuaripa, and state Highway 20 between Sahuaripa and the intersection with Federal Highway 16).
  • South of Hermosillo, with the exception of the cities of Alamos, Guaymas and Empalme, and defer non-essential travel east of Highway 15, within the city of Ciudad Obregon, and south of the city of Navojoa.
  • Puerto Peñasco should be visited using the Lukeville, Arizona/Sonoyta, Sonora border crossing, and limit driving to daylight hours.

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: No advisory is in effect.

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, and must abide by the Embassy-imposed curfew of 1 a.m. to 6 a.m.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Mexico.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Mexico, located at Paseo de la Reforma 305, Colonia Cuauhtemoc, at +52-55-5080- 2000 x4440, (5080-2000 for calls in Mexico City, 01-55-5080-2000 for long distance calls in Mexico) 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. After- hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +52-55-5080-2000.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • Follow Twitter and Facebook.
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Published: December 8th 2016

Ethiopia Travel Warning

The State Department continues to warn U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Ethiopia due to the potential for civil unrest related to sporadic and unpredictable anti-government protests that began in November 2015.

The U.S. Embassy's ability to provide consular services in many parts of the country may be limited without warning due to the government's restrictions on mobile and internet communications and the unpredictable nature of the current security situation. This replaces the Travel Warning of October 21, 2016. 

The Government of Ethiopia declared a State of Emergency effective October 8, 2016 that includes provisions allowing for the arrest of individuals without a court order for activities they may otherwise consider routine, such as communication, consumption of media, attending gatherings, engaging with certain foreign governments or organizations, and violating curfews. Additionally, the Government of Ethiopia routinely does not inform the U.S. Embassy of detentions of U.S. citizens in Ethiopia. The full text of the decree implementing the State of Emergency is available on the U.S. Embassy's website.

Internet, cellular data, and phone services have been periodically restricted or shut down without warning throughout the country, impeding the U.S. Embassy's ability to communicate with U.S. citizens in Ethiopia. You should have alternate communication plans in place, and let your family and friends know this may be an issue while you are in Ethiopia. See the information below on how to register with the U.S. Embassy to receive security messages.

Avoid demonstrations and large gatherings, continuously assess your surroundings, and evaluate your personal level of safety. Remember 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.

If you are living in or intending to travel to Ethiopia, please refer to the Safety and Security section of the Country Specific Information for Ethiopia for additional useful information.

Due to the unpredictability of communication in the country, 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:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Ethiopia.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia, located on Entoto Street in Addis Ababa, at +251-11-130-6000 from 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is+251-11-130-6911 or 011-130-6000.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
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Published: December 6th 2016

Burundi Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to Burundi due to ongoing political tensions, armed violence, and the potential for civil unrest.

This replaces the Travel Warning dated March 11, 2016.

Political violence persists throughout Burundi in the aftermath of the country’s contested elections, an attempted coup d’etat, and debate over the President’s eligibility for a third term. Gunfire and grenade attacks by armed groups occur frequently. Police and military checkpoints throughout the country can restrict freedom of movement. Police have searched the homes of private U.S. citizens as a part of larger weapons searches.

Incursions across the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo border by rebel forces, ex-combatants, and youth gangs have resulted in occasional violent clashes, attacks on civilians, and kidnappings.

Armed criminals ambush vehicles, particularly on the roads leading out of Bujumbura. 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 Cibitoke, Gasenyi, Kamenge, Kinama, Musaga, Mutakura, and Ngagara, require advance approval.

For more information:

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Published: November 14th 2016

Haiti Travel Warning

This is an update to the Travel Warning posted on October 7, 2016, warning United States citizens about the dangers of travel to areas in the south of Haiti following the October 2016 passage of Hurricane Matthew.

U.S. citizens are advised not to travel to the southern peninsula of Haiti, commonly referred to as the “southern claw.” The U.S. Embassy has currently banned unofficial travel to the southern peninsula and allows official travel only after consultation with its security office. There is widespread devastation throughout the southern claw with the most affected areas on the western tip of the peninsula. Travelers can expect difficult travel conditions with roads made impassable by landslides, damaged roads, and bridge failures. There is also widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure, including gas stations and cell towers, loss of electricity, and shortages of food and potable water. U.S. citizens who choose to travel to the southern claw in spite of these risks should carry sufficient water, food, fuel, and medicine to last longer than their anticipated stay. 

The security environment around the southern claw is fluid and uncertain.  Some relief convoys and other vehicles have been subject to robbery at improvised roadblocks or when stopped. U.S. citizens approaching roadblocks are advised to turn back, as the situation will likely not improve beyond the first roadblock. Distribution points have also been the scenes of mob actions that have overwhelmed available security. U.S. citizens are advised to maintain a high degree of vigilance and leave any areas where crowds gather.

This Travel Warning continues to inform U.S. citizens traveling to or living in Haiti about the lack of adequate emergency medical facilities, and the security environment in Haiti. Haiti’s emergency response network, along with the continued presence of serious crime and civil unrest, should be carefully considered when planning travel. This replaces the Travel Warning dated October 7, 2016, and provides updated information regarding the changing nature of crime involving United States citizens in Haiti. 

In general, U.S. citizens already in Haiti are advised to monitor media reports about the security conditions, and follow all official instructions. U.S. citizens should carry their travel documents at all times (i.e., U.S. passport, birth certificate, photo identification, etc.). We also suggest that U.S. citizens stay in frequent contact with friends and family in the United States with updates about their welfare and whereabouts. Communication arrangements should allow for areas of limited or no cell coverage.

Crime: Reports of kidnappings of U.S. citizens have fallen off sharply, with few incidents reported to the Embassy in 2016, but kidnapping for ransom can still affect anyone in Haiti, most particularly those maintaining long-term residency in the country. Armed robbery is a very real possibility, especially in the Port-au-Prince area and in particular soon after leaving the airport.  Be circumspect in sharing specific travel plans; have your host or organization meet you at the airport upon arrival; and/or have pre-arranged airport transfers and hotels.  Exercise caution when visiting banks in Port-au-Prince. Robbery crews have been known to survey banks and rob customers as they exit. 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. 

Embassy employees are required to adhere to all security and safety measures of the Embassy’s Regional Security Office when traveling outside of Port-au-Prince, as well as restrictions on travel in certain areas or times. U.S. Embassy personnel are under an Embassy-imposed curfew from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. and must remain at home or another safe facility during curfew hours.  This may constrain the Embassy’s ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens outside of Port-au-Prince or during the night.  Additionally, in Port-au-Prince and other cities, U.S. Embassy employees are advised not to walk in any area but rather drive to a destination and park as close as possible, choosing guarded or interior parking lots.  This includes Petionville, an area of metropolitan Port-au-Prince of upscale hotels, shopping and restaurants frequented by residents and visitors. For additional details on restrictions on staff travel within Haiti, please see our Country Specific Information for Haiti.

Civil Unrest: Protests, including road and bridge blockages, are frequent and often spontaneous.  The Haitian National Police (HNP), with assistance from the United Nations’ Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), is responsible for maintaining order and rendering assistance. However, the HNP’s ability to assist U.S. citizens during disturbances is limited. U.S. government-facilitated evacuations, such as the evacuation that took place from Haiti in 2010, occur only when no safe commercial alternatives exist. Please see our website for additional information on how the Department of State assists U.S. citizens during a crisis. We urge U.S. citizens who choose to travel to Haiti to review our Country Specific Information page. 

Emergency Response: Medical care infrastructure, including road ambulance and other emergency services, is very limited in Haiti. Some U.S. citizens injured in accidents and others with serious health concerns have been unable to find necessary medical care in Haiti and have had to arrange and pay for medical evacuation to the United States. We strongly encourage travelers to Haiti to obtain medical evacuation insurance prior to arrival in country and to use evacuation organizations that have solid evacuation and medical support options in place. Moreover, those traveling in rural areas of Haiti should verify their evacuation organization provides service to where they are traveling. 

For further information:

  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, located at Boulevard du October, Route de Tabarre telephone: 509-2229-8000; after hours emergency telephone: 509-2229-8000; fax: 509-2229-8027; e-mail: acspap@state.gov; web page: http://haiti.usembassy.gov.

Anyone who missed a scheduled American Citizen Services appointment at the U.S. Embassy due to Hurricane Matthew is welcome to call 509-2229-8000, 509-2229-8900 or send us an email at the acspap@state.gov to reschedule your appointment.  For Immigrant or nonimmigrant visa cases, please contact the call center at 509-2819-2929 or by email at support-Haiti@ustraveldocs.com.

  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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Published: November 4th 2016

Chad Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of ongoing terrorist activity throughout Chad.

U.S. citizens should avoid all travel to the border regions, and exercise extreme caution elsewhere in the country.  The U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide consular services outside of N’Djamena is limited.  This replaces the Travel Warning issued on April 18, 2016.

Violent extremist organizations in the region, such as Boko Haram, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – West Africa, (ISIL-WA), and al-Qa’ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) can easily cross borders and target Westerners, local security forces, and civilians in the Lake Chad region.  Boko Haram conducted suicide attacks in N’Djamena targeting police facilities and a market in 2015 killing dozens.  Kidnapping for ransom is also a threat in the region.  Furthermore, there are minefields along the borders with Libya and Sudan, and any border crossing may close without warning.

Exercise extreme caution throughout the country due to the threat of indiscriminate violence and crime.  U.S. citizens should be vigilant at public gatherings and 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.

U.S. Embassy personnel are subject to restrictions when traveling in certain areas of N’Djamena as well as outside of the capital.  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:

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Published: November 4th 2016

Central African Republic Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid travel to the Central African Republic (CAR) due to an unpredictable security situation subject to rapid deterioration, activities of armed groups, and violent crime.

We urge U.S. citizens who are currently 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 April 14, 2016.

The potential for sectarian violence remains high. Indiscriminate violence and looting has occurred in CAR since the overthrow of the government in March 2013. Despite the peaceful election of a new president in 2016 and the continued presence of a United Nations stabilization force, the security situation remains fragile. In the event of unrest, airport, land border, and road closures may occur with little or no notice.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for the Central African Republic.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). U.S. citizens who decide to travel to or remain in the CAR despite this Travel Warning are urged to provide their current contact information and next-of-kin information through STEP.
  • U.S. citizens in CAR in need of emergency assistance should contact the U.S. Embassy in Yaounde, Cameroon; E-mail: YaoundeACS@state.gov.  Telephone: From a mobile phone dial 00-237-22220-1500 ext. 4341/4023; from a landline dial 00-237-2220-1500 ext. 4341/4023 (Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. local time).  Emergencies: From a mobile phone dial 00-237-22220-1500, ext. 4531; from a landline dial 00-237-2220-1500, ext. 4531. Please note that due to local connectivity issues, not all mobile providers may work at all times. If you cannot get through, please try another service provider.  Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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Published: October 19th 2016

Pakistan Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all non-essential travel to Pakistan.

This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated April 7, 2016.

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.  Throughout Pakistan, foreign and indigenous terrorist groups continue to pose a danger to U.S. citizens. Targeted attacks against government officials, humanitarian and non-governmental organization (NGO) employees, tribal elders, and law enforcement personnel are common.  Evidence suggests that some victims of terrorist activity have been targeted because they are Americans. Terrorists and criminal groups regularly resort to kidnapping for ransom.

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

Terrorists have targeted:

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

In 2016 a suicide bomber killed 70 people and injured 130 at a government hospital in Quetta, Balochistan; in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, attackers killed 13 people at the Mardan District Court, and gunmen attacked Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, killing 22 people; in Punjab province, a suicide bomber at a park in Lahore killed more than 70 people and injured more than 340; and in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) village of Payee Khan, a suicide bomber detonated himself in a crowded mosque, killing 28 and injuring at least 30. 

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

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

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

Travel by U.S. government personnel within Pakistan is restricted and movements by U.S. government personnel outside of Islamabad are severely restricted. U.S. government personnel may not:

  • Attend services at places of worship without prior approval.
  • Use public transportation or stay overnight at hotels in Pakistan.

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

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

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

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

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Pakistan Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier for us to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, located at Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5, Islamabad, Pakistan, by email at ACSIslamabad@state.gov.  The after-hours emergency assistance number for U.S. citizens is (92)(51) 201-4000 or (92)(51)201-5000.
  • Contact the U.S. Consulate General in Karachi, located at Plot 3-5 New TPX Area, Mai Kolachi Road.  The after-hours emergency assistance number for U.S. citizens is (92-21) 3527-5000.
  • Contact the U.S. Consulate General in Lahore, located at 50, Shahrah-e-Abdul Hameed Bin Badees, (Old Empress Road) near Shimla Hill Circle.  The after-hours emergency assistance number for U.S. citizens is (92-42)3603-4000.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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Published: October 7th 2016

Yemen Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to Yemen because of the high security threat level posed by ongoing conflict and terrorist activities.

The Department of State is updating this Travel Warning to reflect concerns regarding detentions of U.S. citizens by armed groups in Sanaa. The Department continues to urge U.S. citizens to defer any and all travel to Yemen. We urge U.S. citizens currently living in Yemen to depart when they are able to safely do so. This supersedes the Travel Warning for Yemen issued on June 28, 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 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 well over a year, U.S. citizens have not been able to contact their families or to be visited by U.S. consular personnel or international humanitarian organizations. The U.S. government is severely limited in what assistance it can directly provide to U.S. citizens in detention. 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 continue to be 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. The military conflict has also significantly damaged infrastructure, limiting the availability of electricity, clean water, and medical care, and causing travel by internal roads to be dangerous. 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. While a Coalition-led operation in April ejected AQAP from its safe haven in Mukalla in Yemen’s east, AQAP remains a significant threat. ISIL also has established a presence in Yemen, and has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly attacks in the country. The U.S. government remains extremely concerned about possible attacks on U.S. citizens (whether visiting or residing in Yemen), and U.S. facilities, businesses, and perceived U.S. and Western interests. In addition, piracy in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean is a security threat to maritime activities in the region. See our International Maritime Piracy Fact Sheet.

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. Piracy in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean remains a security threat to maritime activities in the region. See our International Maritime Piracy Fact Sheet.

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:

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Published: October 6th 2016

Tunisia Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid travel to southeastern Tunisia along the Libyan border as well as the mountainous areas in the country’s west, due to the threat of terrorism.

This replaces the Travel Warning issued April 1, 2016.

Terrorist attacks have targeted Tunisian government and security forces and popular tourist sites. A March 7, 2016, attack by ISIL-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. ISIL claimed responsibility for these attacks. Groups of militants continue to operate in the 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), ISIL, and al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

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:

  • Jendouba, Kef, and Kasserine, next to the Algerian border
  • Ben Guerdan and Medenine, next to the Libyan border
  • Gafsa and Sidi Bou Zid in central Tunisia
  • The desert south of Remada is designated as a military zone by the Government of Tunisia. If travelers wish to enter the military zone, special authorization is required.

On occasion, these travel restrictions prevent the provision of consular services in certain areas of the country.

For your safety:

  • Visit the U.S. Embassy website before traveling outside of the capital for more specific guidance and warnings;
  • Exercise caution in all parts of Tunisia when frequenting public venues, especially those heavily frequented by tourists, such as hotels, shopping centers, tourist sites, public beaches, and restaurants;
  • Exercise caution when using public transportation due to safety and security concerns; 
  • Avoid political gatherings, rallies, large crowds and demonstrations, as even demonstrations that are meant to be peaceful can be unpredictable;
  • Be alert to the possibility of kidnapping; 
  • Monitor local events and take appropriate steps to bolster personal security;
  • Remain alert to local security developments, report suspicious activity to the local police, and heed directions given by uniformed security officials;
  • Carry a copy of your passport and a cell phone or other means of communication that works in Tunisia.

Government security forces, including the army, police, and National Guard, are visibly present throughout Tunisia.  On September 19, 2016, President Beji Caid Essebsi renewed Tunisia’s state of emergency until October 17.  In place since November 24, 2015, the state of emergency grants security forces more authority to maintain civil order, enabling the government to focus on combating terrorism.  The Minister of Interior has stated that the state of emergency also assists in securing hotels and tourist areas.  

Developments in Libya continue to affect the security situation along the border areas, and the Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to Libya.  Developments in Libya continue to affect the security situation at the ports of entry at Ras Jedir and Dehiba along with the cities of Ben Guardan and Medenine, and the Libyan border is frequently closed to all traffic with short notice for extended periods. 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:

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Published: September 29th 2016

Israel, The West Bank and Gaza Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to the Gaza Strip and urges those present to depart as soon as possible when border crossings are open.

The security situation remains complex in Israel and the West Bank, and can change quickly depending on the political environment, recent events, and 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 police major tourist attractions and ensure security, particularly in areas where foreigners frequently travel. This replaces the Travel Warning issued December 15, 2015.  

Gaza is under the control of Hamas, a 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 Gaza conflict in 2014, sporadic mortar or rocket fire and corresponding Israeli military response continue to occur.

Within Israel and the West Bank, a rise in political and religious tension beginning in October 2015 led to a spike in violence in which U.S. citizens were killed and wounded. There is no indication that U.S. citizens were specifically targeted based on nationality. Perceived religious affiliation was a factor in some of the attacks.  Attacks were carried out using knives, vehicles, and guns. Israeli security forces reacted with deadly force, which resulted in some bystanders being injured or killed in the crossfire. While the frequency of attacks has abated significantly since April 2016, the possibility of random violence continues to exist and can happen without warning. U.S. citizens should stay abreast of current events and know what areas to avoid when traveling throughout the region.

For your safety, the Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens:

  • Avoid all travel to the Gaza Strip, and if you are there, leave as soon as you are able;
  • Maintain a high degree of situational awareness and exercise caution at all times;
  • Avoid demonstrations – which can turn violent – and steer clear of neighborhoods where police have restricted access;
  • Beware of and report unattended items or packages;
  • Follow the instructions of security and emergency officials;
  • Report suspicious activities or items to security officials; and
  • Learn the location of the nearest bomb shelter or other hardened shelter. 

When planning their own travel, U.S. citizens should consider the following rules that apply to U.S. government employee travel:

  • U.S. government employees are not allowed to travel to Gaza;
  • With the exception of Jericho, Bethlehem, and along Routes 1 and 90, U.S. government employees are prohibited from personal travel within the West Bank. Restrictions on personal travel by U.S. government employees may change depending on the security environment;
  • All other U.S. government travel into the West Bank outside the aforementioned areas must be for official business and conducted with enhanced security measures; 
  • U.S. government staff take additional security precautions when visiting refugee camps and “seam areas” where Israelis and Palestinians intersect and which have historically been flashpoints for violence. For example, sites with significant religious meaning to multiple faiths can be subject to violent protests or security incidents with little to no warning, especially on or around significant religious holidays;
  • U.S. government employees are prohibited from personal travel into Jerusalem’s Old City on Fridays during the Muslim month of Ramadan. The U.S. government occasionally restricts travel for its employees to the Old City based on the current security environment;
  • U.S. government employees are prohibited from using public buses and public bus terminals throughout Israel and the West Bank; and
  • U.S. government employees must provide advance notification to Embassy security officials if traveling for any reason to the following locations:

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   south of Be’er Sheva.

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:

  • In Israel, the Golan Heights, and ports of entry at Ben Gurion Airport, Haifa Port, the northern (Jordan River/Sheikh Hussein) and southern (Arava) border crossings connecting Israel and Jordan, and the border crossings between Israel and Egypt, contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. The after-hours emergency number is (972)(3)519-7575.
  • In Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, and the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge crossing between the West Bank and Jordan, contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem. The after-hours emergency number is (972)(2)622-7250. 
  • In northern Israel, contact the Consular Agency in Haifa. The after-hours emergency number is (972)(3)519-7575.
  • Enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in order to obtain the most current information on travel and security within Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
  • Up-to-date information on security conditions can also be accessed at http://israel.usembassy.govhttp://jerusalem.usconsulate.gov or on the Embassy and Consulate General Facebook pages. 
  • Up-to-date information on travel and security can be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or, for callers outside of the United States and Canada, on a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

 

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Published: August 23rd 2016

Iran Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Iran.

This replaces the Travel Warning for Iran dated March 14, 2016, to reiterate and highlight the risk of arrest and detention of U.S. citizens, particularly dual national Iranian-Americans. Foreigners, in particular dual nationals of Iran and Western countries including the United States, continue to be detained or prevented from leaving Iran. U.S. citizens traveling to Iran should very carefully weigh the risks of travel and consider postponing their travel. 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. U.S. citizens traveling to Iran should very carefully weigh the risks of travel and consider postponing their travel. U.S. citizens residing in Iran should closely follow media reports, monitor local conditions, and evaluate the risks of remaining in the country. 

The U.S. government does not have diplomatic or consular relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran and therefore cannot provide protection or routine consular services to U.S. citizens in Iran. The Swiss government, acting through its Embassy in Tehran, serves as 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 citizenship and will not allow the Swiss to provide protective services for U.S. citizens who are also Iranian nationals. The 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 denied as well. 

The Iranian government continues to repress some 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 Baluchistan border area near Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Kurdish northwest of the country, and areas 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.

The U.S. government is concerned about the risks to civil aircraft operating into, out of, within, or over Iran due to hazards from military activity associated with the conflicts in Iraq and Syria. The FAA has advised U.S. civil aviation to exercise caution when flying into, out of, within, or over the airspace over Iran. 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

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Published: August 22nd 2016

Saudi Arabia Travel Warning

The Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens carefully consider the risks of travel to Saudi Arabia due to continuing ISIL (Da’esh) directed or inspired attacks across the Kingdom.

Furthermore, continuing violence in neighboring countries such as Yemen has a high potential to spill over into Saudi Arabia. This replaces the Travel Warning issued April 11, 2016. 

Security threats continue. Terrorist groups, some affiliated with ISIL or Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), have targeted both Saudi and Western interests, including the U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah, mosques and significant religious sites (both Sunni and Shia), and places where members of the Shia-Muslim minority gather. Possible targets include mosques, pilgrimage locations, and Saudi government facilities, as well as housing compounds, hotels, restaurants, shopping areas, international schools, Western consulates and embassies, and other facilities where Westerners congregate. 

Over the past year, there have been multiple attacks on targets in Saudi Arabia, some resulting in significant loss of life. On July 4, 2016 suicide bombers launched attacks near:

  • U.S. Consulate General Jeddah
  • the Prophet’s Mosque (also known as Al-Masjid an-Nabawi) in Medina
  • a mosque in Qatif

On February 8, 2016, ISIL claimed responsibility for an explosion targeting a Saudi citizen in the Al-Azizia district of Riyadh. Media reports indicate that Saudi authorities thwarted plans to attack the Al-Janadriah festival in Riyadh, which took place in February 2016. In January 2016 a Shia mosque in Al-Ahsa in Eastern Province was attacked, as was a Shia mosque in Najran in October 2015. On October 16, 2015, a mass shooting took place at a gathering in Saihat. On August 6, 2015, a mosque in the city of Abha was bombed.  Most of the victims in that attack were members of the Saudi security forces. 

U.S. government personnel and their families are restricted from travel in the following areas:

  • within 50 miles of the Yemeni border
  • the city of Jizan
  • the city of Najran
  • Qatif in the Eastern Province and its suburbs, including Awamiyah
  • Hofuf and its suburbs in the Al Hasa Governorate                 

Read the Department of State Travel Warning for Yemen before considering travel near the Yemeni frontier. Violence sometimes spills across the border at unpredictable times and locations. The U.S. embassy remains concerned about the possibility of violence and military activity near the border with Yemen. Boundaries in some areas are not clearly defined.

If you travel despite U.S. government concerns, be aware that, in addition to border attacks noted above, terrorist and criminal elements may also be operating, including AQAP. 

Select hotels or housing compounds with careful attention to security measures and location. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and keep a low profile. Vary times and routes of travel. Exercise caution while driving, and entering or exiting vehicles. Ensure that travel documents and visas are current and valid.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Saudi Arabia Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia located at Abdullah Ibn Huthafah Al-Sahmi Street, Diplomatic Quarter, at +966 11 488 3800, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.  After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +966 11 488 3800.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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Published: July 27th 2016

Colombia Travel Warning

Tens of thousands of U.S. citizens safely visit Colombia each year for tourism, business, university studies, and volunteer work.

Security in Colombia has improved significantly in recent years, including in tourist and business travel destinations such as Bogota, Cartagena, Barranquilla, Medellin, and Cali.  However, violence linked to narco-trafficking continues to affect some rural and urban areas. Despite significant decreases in overall crime in Colombia, continued vigilance is warranted due to an increase in recent months of violent crime, including crime resulting in the deaths of American citizens.  This Travel Warning replaces the previous travel warning released on June 5, 2015.  

There have been no reports of U.S. citizens targeted specifically for their nationality. While the U.S. Embassy has no information regarding specific and credible threats against U.S. citizens in Colombia, both the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC) and National Liberation Army (ELN) terrorist groups continue to condemn any U.S. influence in Colombia.  The Department of State strongly encourages U.S. citizens to exercise caution and remain vigilant as terrorist and criminal activities remain a threat throughout the country. Explosions occur throughout Colombia on a regular basis, including in Bogota. Small towns and rural areas of Colombia can be extremely dangerous due to the presence of terrorists and  criminal elements, including armed gangs (referred to as "BACRIM" in Spanish), that are active throughout much of the country. Violence associated with the BACRIM has spilled over into many of Colombia's major cities. These groups are heavily involved in the drug trade, extortion, kidnapping, and robbery. 

Violence associated with crime is a threat throughout Colombia.  During the period November 2014 to January 2016, there were several homicides of U.S. citizens in connection with robberies, including armed robbery on streets and in taxi cabs, public transport, home invasions, and muggings.  The victims represented a mix of tourists, long-term residents and persons with dual U.S.-Colombian citizenship.    

The incidence of kidnapping in Colombia has diminished significantly from its peak in 2000.  However, kidnapping remains a threat. Terrorist groups and other criminal organizations continue to kidnap and hold civilians, including foreigners, for ransom.  No one is immune from kidnapping on the basis of occupation, nationality, or other factors. 

U.S. government officials in Colombia regularly travel to the major cities of Colombia such as Bogota, Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla, and Cartagena without incident. U.S. government officials and their families in Colombia normally are 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. U.S. government officials in Colombia and their families are restricted to traveling within certain areas. This includes using the main highways to travel between Bogota and Bucaramanga, and between Bogota and Ibague. Personnel are allowed to drive between Manizales, Pereira, and Armenia and within the “coffee country” departments of Caldas, Risaralda, and Quindío. On the Caribbean coast, personnel are restricted to driving along Highway 90 from Cartagena, through Barranquilla to Santa Marta.  Travel to all other areas of Colombia is off limits unless specific authorization is granted.  All U.S. citizens in Colombia are urged to follow these precautions and exercise extra caution outside of the aforementioned areas.

For more detailed information on staying safe in Colombia, please see the State Department's Country Specific Information for Colombia. For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Bureau of Consular Affairs' internet web site, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts can be found. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.

Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 001-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). U.S. citizens living or traveling in Colombia are encouraged to enroll with the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to obtain updated information on travel and security within Colombia. For any emergencies involving U.S. citizens in Colombia, please contact the U.S. Embassy or the closest U.S. Consulate as listed below.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Colombia.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. 
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Colombia, located at Calle 24 Bis No. 48-50 Bogota, D.C., Colombia, at (+57-1) 275-2000, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is (+57-1) 275-2701.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook
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Published: April 5th 2016

Sudan Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the continued risks of travel to Sudan.

U.S. citizens should avoid all travel to the Darfur region, Blue Nile, and Southern Kordofan states, and consider carefully the risks of travel in other areas of Sudan, due to the continued threat of terrorism, armed conflict, violent crime and kidnapping. The U.S. Embassy's ability to provide services outside of Khartoum is very limited. This replaces the Travel Warning issued on June 15, 2015.

Terrorist groups remain present in Sudan and are intent on harming Westerners and Western interests. Terrorist actions may include suicide operations, bombings, shootings, or kidnappings. The threat of violent crime targeting Westerners, including kidnappings, armed robberies, home invasions, and carjackings is particularly high in the Darfur region.  

U.S. citizens should mitigate the risk of becoming a victim of terrorism or violent crime by being vigilant and aware of their surroundings, especially at public gatherings and locations frequented by foreigners. Exercise caution at all times and monitor reliable news sources for information on the local security situation. Follow the advice of local authorities. All U.S. citizens should assess their personal security and have evacuation plans that can be carried out quickly. Do not rely solely on U.S. government assistance.

Violent flare-ups, tribal violence, and armed banditry continue in the Darfur region, along the border between Chad and Sudan, and in areas that border South Sudan. There are landmines and unexploded ordnance in Sudan, especially in the Eastern Sudan, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan regions. Hostilities between Sudanese forces and armed opposition groups continue in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states, including the disputed area of Abyei. In addition to risking injury or death, U.S. citizens who are in these areas without permission of the Sudanese government may be detained by security forces.

The U.S. Coast Guard from time to time issues Maritime Security Directives designating certain sea areas as "high risk waters" due the possibility of terrorism, piracy, or armed robbery against ships. U.S. flag vessel owners take these designations into consideration in the development of vessel security plans. In the past, the United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) advised that regional tensions increase the risk of maritime attacks being conducted against vessels operating in the Gulf of Oman, North Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and the Bab el Mandeb regions. View current advisories here.

The U.S. Embassy has implemented enhanced security measures to protect U.S. government personnel, including requiring travel in armored vehicles at all times. U.S. government personnel are not authorized to travel outside of Khartoum without advanced permission or to certain areas of Darfur without appropriate security precautions. Family members of U.S. personnel under age 21 are not allowed to reside in Sudan.

For further information:

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Published: January 21st 2016

Niger Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Niger and specifically recommends citizens avoid travel to Niger’s border regions, including the Diffa region and particularly the Lake Chad basin area.

The entire Lake Chad region is especially vulnerable because of ongoing activities by the extremist group Boko Haram. This replaces the Travel Warning for Niger dated July 17, 2015, to update U.S. citizens on the current security situation in Niger.

U.S. citizens currently in or travelling to Niger should evaluate their personal security situation. The U.S. Embassy has very limited capability to assist U.S. citizens in remote and rural areas. You should take steps to mitigate the risk of becoming a victim of violent acts, and avoid locations routinely frequented by Westerners, such as markets, hotels, restaurants, bars, and places of worship. Violent groups have targeted these kinds of venues in the past and will likely do so again. The Embassy requires that all U.S. Embassy personnel stay only in hotels having an armed Nigerien government security presence and recommends U.S. citizens follow the specific additional security guidance on the Embassy website.        

As a result of safety and security concerns, some organizations, including foreign companies, NGOs, and private aid organizations, have temporarily suspended operations in Niger or withdrawn family members and/or staff. Check with your organization’s security office before making travel plans to Niger.

Terrorist groups have called for and executed attacks against countries that supported the intervention against terrorist groups in northern Mali, including Niger. Because of terrorist and kidnapping threats, the Embassy Travel Policy requires armed Nigerien government security escorts for U.S. government employees’ official travel north of Niamey and east of Maradi. The areas bordering Mali and Libya, and northern Niger continue to be areas in which bandits, smugglers, and terrorist organizations operate. Operations to counter Boko Haram in northern Nigeria and southeastern Niger have resulted in security degradation along the Niger-Nigeria border, primarily east of Maradi. The border is porous, and there are frequent reports of suspected terrorists and smugglers crossing into Niger.

In 2015, Boko Haram used small arms fire and suicide bombers to attack Bosso, Diffa town, and other villages in the Diffa region of Niger. On February 10, 2015, the Government of Niger declared a state of emergency in the Diffa region. A curfew has been in place in Diffa region since December, 2014. 

The terrorist organization Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has kidnapped Europeans in the region and continues to threaten to kidnap Westerners, including U.S. citizens, in Niger. Exercise extreme caution in Niger due to the seriousness of this kidnapping threat. Although the U.S. government places the highest priority on the safe recovery of kidnapped U.S. citizens, it is U.S. government policy not to make concessions to kidnappers.

In 2015, large-scale protests occurred throughout Niger, which caused extensive property damage. The return of political candidate Hama Amadou to Niger sparked another large scale protest in Niamey, which resulted in the death of at least two people. You should avoid large public gatherings, and stay indoors if you hear reports of demonstrations in your area. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational without warning. Nigerien security services may interrupt cell and social media connection before and during protests. 

The Government of Niger maintains security checkpoints in Niamey. Be especially careful around these checkpoints, as the security forces may be on a heightened state of alert. Do not drive away from, or through, a checkpoint until you receive clear permission to do so. If the instructions are unclear, request verbal confirmation before proceeding.

Outside Niamey, the potential for violent crimes increases significantly. Armed bandits target travelers on roads in all parts of the country. For U.S. government personnel, all travel outside Niamey must occur during daylight hours with a minimum of a two vehicle convoy. We recommend U.S. citizens follow a similar procedure, travelling no earlier than after sunrise and no later than one hour prior to sunset. 

For further information:

 

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Published: January 21st 2016

Burkina Faso Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Burkina Faso. U.S. citizens in Burkina Faso, and those considering travel to Burkina Faso, should evaluate their personal security situation in light of continuing threats to safety and security.

The ability of the U.S. Embassy to provide consular services in remote and rural areas is limited.  U.S. citizens should take steps to mitigate the risk of becoming a victim of violent acts, and reduce exposure to locations routinely frequented by Westerners.  This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning issued on October 9, 2015. 

Citizens who decide to remain in Burkina Faso despite this travel warning should maintain situational awareness at all times and register their presence within Burkina Faso with the Embassy by enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.  

The security environment in Burkina Faso is fluid and the potential for attacks throughout the country, including in Ouagadougou, remains.  On January 15, armed assailants attacked civilians at the Splendid Hotel and Cappuccino restaurant with gunfire and explosives.  People from 18 different countries were murdered in the attack, including one U.S. citizen.  Violent extremist and militant elements, including al-Qaeda in the Lands of Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and al-Murabitun, have claimed responsibility for the attack. 

Also on January 15, two gendarmerie officers were killed in an attack on their patrol near the mining town of Tinakoff (10km from the Malian border) and two Australian citizens were kidnapped in Baraboule, near the border with Mali.  They are allegedly being held by a group with links to al-Qaeda.

In 2015, a Romanian citizen was kidnapped at the Tambao manganese mining site (near the Nigerien border) by the extremist group al-Murabitun; gendarmerie outposts in Oursi and Samorogouan were attacked and several people were killed; and a complex attack (involving improvised explosive devices, RPGs, and small arms) on a gold convoy near Djibo resulted in one death.  Investigations into these incidents are ongoing.

The U.S. Embassy has placed restrictions on official government travel to Dori, Djibo, the road that connects these cities, and all areas north of that road.  Embassy personnel are also prohibited from 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.  U.S. citizens are encouraged to follow the same guidance.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Burkina Faso.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy Ouagadougou, in Ouaga 2000, Sector 15, on Avenue Sembene Ousmane, southeast of the Monument aux Héros Nationaux, at (+226) 25-49-53-00, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday. If you are a U.S. citizen in an emergency situation after normal Embassy operating hours, please contact the Embassy, dial “1,” and ask to be connected to the duty officer.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). 

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Published: January 20th 2016

Rwandan man sentenced in Iowa to 15 years in federal prison for US naturalization fraud

In January 2016, Gervais, aka "Ken," Ngombwa was convicted of one count of unlawfully procuring, or attempting to procure, naturalization or U.S. citizenship; one count of procuring U.S. citizenship to which he was not entitled; one count of conspiracy to unlawfully procure U.S. citizenship; and one count of making a materially false statement to agents of the Department of Homeland Security. More Info...
Published: March 2nd 2017

Last of 3 defendants sentenced in Iowa to more than 8 years in federal prison for smuggling guns to Lebanon

Bassem Afif Herz, 31, of Cedar Rapids, was sentenced to 97 months in prison following his previous guilty plea to various charges related to a scheme to illegally export hundreds of firearms to Lebanon. More Info...
Published: December 12th 2016

Iowa man sentenced to 28 ½ years in federal prison for conspiracy to smuggle guns to Lebanon

Ali Afif Al Herz, 51, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, previously pleaded guilty to multiple counts that included the following crimes: conspiring to deal in firearms without a license, conspiring to illegally ship firearms in interstate and foreign commerce, conspiring to commit money laundering, violating the Arms Export Control Act, and possessing firearms after having previously been convicted of a... More Info...
Published: October 31st 2016

Iowa man indicted for child exploitation, possessing child pornography

Michael Bordman, 22, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was charged in an indictment unsealed Oct. 7 in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids. More Info...
Published: October 12th 2016

New York man sentenced to 41 months in federal prison for selling counterfeit goods in Iowa

Yahya Jawad, 57, from Binghamton, New York, was sentenced following a Sept. 29 plea agreement to one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods. More Info...
Published: February 22nd 2016

ICE joins Iowa state and local law enforcement to combat human trafficking

U.S. Attorney Kevin W. Techau held a press conference Monday at the Marion, Iowa, Police Department, in cooperation with HSI, the Iowa Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Enforcement and local non-profit Cedar Rapids Gives, to make the announcement. More Info...
Published: January 25th 2016

Former Rwandan refugee in Iowa convicted of naturalization fraud

Ken Ngombwa, 56, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was convicted of the following crimes: one count of unlawfully procuring or attempting to procure naturalization or citizenship; one count of procuring citizenship to which he was not entitled; one count of conspiracy to unlawfully procure citizenship; and one count of making a materially false statement to agents of the Department of Homeland Security. More Info...
Published: January 15th 2016

Iowa dairy farmer pleads guilty to harboring illegal aliens

Michael Thomas Millenkamp, 47, of Earlville, Iowa, was convicted on one count of harboring, encouraging and inducing aliens to reside unlawfully in the United States. More Info...
Published: August 5th 2015

4 Iowa residents indicted for conspiracy to illegally ship firearms to Middle East

Ali Afif Al Herz, 50, Bassem Herz, 30, Sarah Zeaiter, 24, and Adam Ben Ali Al Herz, 22, all related to each other, and all from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, have each been charged with conspiracy to illegally ship a container or package containing numerous firearms and ammunition to the Middle East without notice to the shipper. More Info...
Published: May 12th 2015

Iowa man sentenced to nearly 4 years in federal prison for possessing child pornography

Anthony Arn, 44, of Coralville, Iowa, was sentenced to 45 months in prison on one count of possessing child pornography. More Info...
Published: February 19th 2015

Texas man sentenced in Iowa to 9 months in federal prison for harboring an illegal alien

Roman Sanchez, 33, from Mission, Texas, was sentenced to nine months in federal prison on one count of harboring, encouraging or otherwise inducing an alien to reside illegally in the United States. Sanchez admitted his guilt in a plea agreement, which he signed Sept. 18, 2014. More Info...
Published: January 4th 2015

Illegal alien from Mexico pleads guilty in Iowa to passport fraud, identity theft, harboring and unlawfully voting in a federal election

Abel Hernandez-Labra, 44, a resident of Hampton, Iowa, was convicted of the following charges: one count of making false statements in a passport application, one count of aggravated identity theft, one count of making a false claim of U.S. citizenship to register to vote, and one count of harboring an illegal alien. More Info...
Published: November 4th 2014

Iowa man from Rwanda indicted for naturalization fraud

Ken Ngombwa, 54, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has been charged with the following crimes: one count of unlawfully procuring or attempting to procure naturalization or U.S. citizenship, one count of procuring citizenship to which he was not entitled, one count of conspiracy to unlawfully procure citizenship, and one count of making a materially false statement to agents of the United States. More Info...
Published: November 3rd 2014

Iowa man sentenced to 5 years in prison for possessing child pornography

Domenic “John” Pighetti, 70, of Polk City, Iowa, was sentenced Oct. 22 by U.S. District Court Chief Judge James E. Gritzner to five years in prison for knowingly possessing child pornography. More Info...
Published: October 21st 2014

California man charged in Iowa with sexual exploiting a minor to produce child pornography

David Anthony Lavera, 33, of San Diego, California, had his initial appearance and arraignment Oct. 7 on federal child pornography charges in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. More Info...
Published: October 6th 2014

Iowa man sentenced to 14 years in prison for possessing child pornography

Arleigh Joe Esqueda, 35, of Newton, Iowa, pleaded guilty to the charge and received an immediate sentence on one count of knowingly possessing child pornography that included images of prepubescent children under 12. More Info...
Published: July 27th 2014

Iowa man sentenced to 17 1/2 years in federal prison for possessing child pornography

Benjaman Shelabarger, 36, of Dallas Center, Iowa, was sentenced to 210 months in prison on child pornography conviction. Shelabarger was also ordered to serve five years of supervised release following his prison term. There is no parole in the federal prison system. More Info...
Published: February 20th 2014

Connecticut man convicted of drug conspiracy in Iowa

Authorities seized a 2002 Piper fixed-wing aircraft, a 2012 Volkswagen Jetta, $2,837 in U.S. currency, and about $1,000 worth of prepaid cash cards. More Info...
Published: February 10th 2014

5 Iowa men sentenced to nearly 44 years combined for trading child pornography

Five men in southern Iowa were sentenced recently in separate prosecutions to nearly 44 years in prison combined for their unrelated roles in trading online child pornography. More Info...
Published: December 17th 2013

Iowa business owner sentenced for conspiring to harbor illegal aliens

An eastern Iowa construction company owner, Thomas C. Kehoe, was sentenced in federal court Wednesday on charges of harboring illegal aliens. This sentence resulted from an investigation by ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). More Info...
Published: September 11th 2012

Iowa man sentenced to 15 years for producing child pornography

Kent Oman of Des Moines, Iowa, was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Oman admitted that between Jan. 31, 2009 and Nov. 7, 2010, he knowingly and intentionally used a hidden camera to produce videos of a minor male using a bathroom on 15 to 20 separate occasions. More Info...
Published: November 20th 2011

Iowa roofing business owner pleads guilty to harboring illegal aliens

Samira Zuniga, the owner of an eastern Iowa roofing company pleaded guilty in federal court on Monday to harboring and conspiring to harbor illegal aliens. ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) led the investigation. More Info...
Published: August 30th 2011

Iowa couple sentenced to prison for immigration, tax and fraud crimes

Chan Gia Duong and Phung Ca Long, a Vinton, Iowa couple who continued to defy the law even after they had already pleaded guilty to federal charges, was sentenced for multiple federal crimes including health care fraud, tax evasion and harboring illegal aliens. This investigation was led by U.S. ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)... More Info...
Published: July 31st 2011

First Iowa business partners with ICE, joins 'IMAGE' program

An Eastern Iowa business on Tuesday became the first in the state to be member of the nationwide "ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers" program partnership by U.S. ICE to ensure a legal and more secure work force. More Info...
Published: May 16th 2011

ICE deports fugitive alien to face charges in Mexico for raping a 6-year-old girl who later died of her injuries

U.S. ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) agents on Wednesday deported a Mexican national who is suspected of raping a 6-year-old girl, who later died as a result, in Mexico in 1997. He was escorted to the border and handed over to Mexican federal officials to face these charges after he evaded Mexican courts for more than 14 years. More Info...
Published: March 22nd 2011

ICE detainee passes away at Nebraska hospital

A Guatemalan man in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) passed away of an apparent heart attack Tuesday at St. Francis Hospital in Grand Island, Nebraska. More Info...
Published: September 28th 2016

Former Nebraska man, current California inmate, sentenced for trading in child pornography

Todd Tackwell, 39, formerly of Hastings, Nebraska, was sentenced to 156 months in prison for one count of receipt and distribution of child pornography. This sentence will run concurrently with his California prison sentence, and will be followed by a 35- to 45-year prison sentence in Nebraska for a similar crime. More Info...
Published: August 25th 2014

Nebraska, Iowa women sentenced for conspiracy to commit wire fraud

Tempest Amerson, 24, of Lincoln, Nebraska, and Rosland Starks, 45, of Council Bluffs, Iowa, were sentenced by U.S. District Judge John M. Gerrard, for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. More Info...
Published: August 20th 2014

Nebraska man sentenced to 15 years for manufacturing child pornography

Jerald Vrbas, 60, of Palisade, Nebraska, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison on a single count of producing child pornography. His sentence will be followed by an additional 15 years of supervised release. More Info...
Published: June 26th 2014

6 indicted for smuggling, selling untaxed Vietnamese cigarettes

Six people were indicted in federal court Friday for operating a smuggling ring that illegally imported cigarettes from Vietnam. More Info...
Published: May 31st 2012

Fugitive Croatian who was wanted for murder conviction is deported

A Croatian national wanted for fleeing a murder sentence in his native country was deported on Monday by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO). More Info...
Published: July 18th 2011

36 gang members and associates arrested, 69 firearms seized

OMAHA, Neb. - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, in close partnership with the Omaha Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), seized 69 firearms during an investigation that culminated Tuesday with the arrest of 36 gang members and gang associates. More Info...
Published: June 2nd 2009

ICE fugitive operations team arrests 44 absconders, illegal aliens in Nebraska

During the five-day operation, which ended June 24, ICE Fugitive Operations Team members arrested illegal aliens in Lexington (25 arrests), Grand Island (12 arrests) Broken Bow (2 arrests), and one arrest in each of the following cities: Cozad, Gibbon, Hastings, Kearney and North Platte. More Info...
Published: June 24th 2008

ICE fugitive operations teams arrest 25 absconders, illegal aliens in Nebraska

Most of those arrested - 15 - are from Guatemala; eight are from Mexico; one is from El Salvador; and one is from Iran. Eighteen of those arrested are men; seven are women. More Info...
Published: March 27th 2008

Northern California man sentenced in South Dakota to 5 years in federal prison for illegal marijuana-distribution conspiracy

Brett Aaron McFarland was indicted Sept. 10, 2013 for conspiracy to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana. More Info...
Published: February 23rd 2014

South Dakota man sentenced to 3 life terms in prison for sex trafficking

Campbell was also ordered to pay a $500 assessment to the Federal Crime Victim's Fund. More Info...
Published: May 29th 2013

South Dakota man pleads guilty to evading reporting requirements for importing foreign currency

David Olmsted pleaded guilty to evading reporting requirements for foreign currency transactions and will forfeit assets and currency worth at least $1.2 million, including about 449,000,000 Iraqi dinars (valued at $404,000). More Info...
Published: May 20th 2013

South Dakota man sentenced to 188 months for child pornography

Shawn E. Stevens, 26, of Corsica, S.D., was sentenced March 4 to 188 months in federal prison and five years supervised release. He will also be required to register as a sex offender. More Info...
Published: March 3rd 2013

First South Dakota business partners with ICE, joins 'IMAGE' program

A local business is the first South Dakota member of a nationwide program by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to ensure a legal and more secure work force. More Info...
Published: February 26th 2013

Chicago man found guilty of multiple sex trafficking charges in South Dakota

Carl Campbell was found guilty in federal court Monday on multiple counts of sex trafficking, including selling children for sex. Campbell assaulted one victim repeatedly over the course of about eight months in which he forced her to perform commercial sex acts in South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois. More Info...
Published: February 10th 2013

Florida man pleads guilty to trafficking counterfeit goods in South Dakota

Nir Giist pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to trafficking in counterfeit goods. More Info...
Published: February 7th 2013

9 South Dakota residents indicted for conspiracy to defraud US, harboring aliens

Nine people from Rapid City and the surrounding Black Hills community were indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury for conspiracy to harbor aliens and harboring aliens. Four of the nine individuals are charged with an additional count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. More Info...
Published: September 26th 2012

3 SD men, a Wash. man indicted in methamphetamine conspiracy

A Washington state man and three men from Hill City, S.D., were indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute more than a pound of methamphetamine. More Info...
Published: April 5th 2012

More than 60 arrested in Nevada ICE operation targeting criminal aliens, illegal re-entrants, and immigration fugitives

Of those arrested during the enforcement action, which concluded Friday, 55 had criminal histories, including prior convictions for sex crimes, drug offenses, and domestic violence. More Info...
Published: March 14th 2017

ICE arrests 87 in Nevada enforcement operation targeting convicted criminals

During the five-day operation, ERO officers arrested a total of 65 targets in and around Las Vegas and 22 in the Reno area. More Info...
Published: May 16th 2016

Prominent member of cybercrime ring sentenced to 9 years in prison

Alexander Kostyukov, aka “Temp”, aka “KLBS,” 30, who resided in Miami at the time of arrest, was sentenced on Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Andrew P. Gordon. The Russia-born defendant pleaded guilty to participation in a racketeer influenced corrupt organization (RICO), conspiracy to engage in a RICO, and three counts of unlawfully trafficking in and production of counterfeit identification... More Info...
Published: December 9th 2015

ICE deports accused Panamanian murderer residing in southern Nevada

Ricardo Valentino Lee Mc Carthy, 43, was repatriated under ERO escort on board a commercial flight from McCarren International Airport. Upon arrival, ERO officers turned the suspect over to authorities from the Panamanian Judicial Police. Mc Carthy is wanted in Panama for a murder that occurred Aug. 27, 2002. More Info...
Published: September 1st 2015

ICE arrests 25 convicted criminals in Nevada enforcement operation

Those arrested include: a 43-year-old previously deported Mexican national whose list of criminal history includes convictions for child molestation, and a DUI resulting in death; a 20-year old legal permanent resident from Mexico with a conviction for drug trafficking; and a previously deported 49-year old Mexican national convicted of possessing of stolen mail. More Info...
Published: July 1st 2015

ICE removes admitted MS-13 gang member wanted for murder in El Salvador

Miguel Alexander Guevara-Quintanea, 22, was repatriated on board a charter flight coordinated by ERO’s Air Operations Unit. More Info...
Published: January 20th 2015

Defendant in massive credit card and identity theft scheme extradited from Albania

Jordan Georgievski, 41, is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge George Foley Jr. at 3 p.m. He faces two criminal counts of racketeering – participating in a Racketeer Influenced Organization (RICO) and conspiring to engage in a RICO. More Info...
Published: January 11th 2015

3 defendants tied to Las Vegas-based synthetic drug ring sentenced

Joshua Michael Riley, 32, of Henderson, received a 51-month prison term followed by three years’ supervised release; Nicholas Collado, 32, of Houston, Texas, was sentenced to 37 months in prison and three years’ supervised release; and Alexandra Haardt, 28, also of Henderson, was sentenced to three years’ probation with a condition of one year of home confinement. The sentences were imposed by U.... More Info...
Published: November 16th 2014

Cybercrime ring member responsible for $50 million in online identity theft sentenced

Cameron Harrison, aka “Kilobit,” 28, of Augusta, Georgia, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Andrew P. Gordon. More Info...
Published: November 11th 2014

Las Vegas HSI special agent, federal prosecutor receive awards for work on cybercrime case

Michael P. Adams, the lead case agent in Operation Open Market, received the award Tuesday from the International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators. The award acknowledges Special Agent Adams’ cyber investigative skills, which significantly aided in the apprehension, arrest and prosecution of the suspects involved in the far-reaching scheme. More Info...
Published: August 25th 2014

Member of organization that operated online marketplace for stolen personal information sentenced to 20 years in prison

David Ray Camez, 22, also known as "Bad Man" and "doctorsex," was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Andrew P. Gordon. Camez was convicted on Dec. 6, 2013, of one count of participating in a racketeer influenced corrupt organization and one count of conspiracy to participate in a racketeer influenced corrupt organization. In addition to his prison term, he was also sentenced to serve three years of... More Info...
Published: May 14th 2014

Nevada peeping tom sentenced to 19 years for child exploitation crimes

Marcus Gabriel Henderson, 34, pleaded guilty in January to attempted production of child pornography and transportation of child pornography. Court records state Henderson came to the attention of law enforcement through an undercover child pornography investigation. More Info...
Published: May 4th 2014

Los Angeles-area man charged with transporting teen from Minnesota to California for prostitution

Laron Darrell Carter, aka 'Birdd,' 36, of Gardena, Calif., is charged in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a statutory maximum penalty of life in federal prison. More Info...
Published: April 20th 2014

Defendant in massive credit card and identity theft scheme extradited from Croatia

Sergei Litvinenko, a Ukrainian national charged as part of a multiagency federal investigation into a worldwide online marketplace for stolen personal and financial information, was arraigned in federal court Monday following his extradition Friday from Croatia. More Info...
Published: January 15th 2014

Feds win conviction of first defendant in massive credit card fraud scheme

David Ray Camez, 22, of Phoenix, Ariz., was convicted of one count of participating in a racketeer-influenced corrupt organization and one count of conspiracy to participate in a racketeer-influenced corrupt organization. Camez, whose sentencing is set for April 10, 2014, faces up to 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. More Info...
Published: December 5th 2013

Las Vegas man sentenced to 14 years on federal child pornography charges

Steven Byington, 69, who was convicted by a jury June 20 of 1 count of receiving child pornography and 1 count of possessing child pornography, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro. More Info...
Published: November 21st 2013

Nevada man who took sexually explicit photos of 7-year-old and posted them online sentenced to 20 years in prison

Investigators executed search warrants for several computers at Gregorio Evaristo Sarabia-Garcia's apartment and found pornographic photographs of the defendant's 7-year-old relative, as well as more than 150 additional images of child pornography which Sarabia-Garcia had downloaded from the Internet. More Info...
Published: September 3rd 2013

Ex-Las Vegas-area softball coach sentenced to more than 20 years on child sexual exploitation charges

In April, Albert Silva Hernandez, Jr., 44, of Las Vegas, was convicted of eight counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Clark County School District. More Info...
Published: August 5th 2013

Nevada man faces child porn charges

Marcus Gabriel Henderson, 33, is charged with production and attempted production of child pornography, involving the defendant's secretly videotaping female victims in the bathrooms of his home. More Info...
Published: July 31st 2013

Former Las Vegas-area high school softball coach convicted in federal child sexual exploitation case

Albert Silva Hernandez, Jr., 44, of Las Vegas, was found guilty of producing child pornography and exchanging sexually explicit text messages with a female minor. Hernandez previously served as a softball coach at Silverado High School and for a competitive club team. More Info...
Published: April 24th 2013

Pair who operated large-scale local counterfeit document mill sentenced

Jose Navarro-Parra and Libia Bustillos-Gonzalez, two Mexican nationals convicted of operating a large-scale counterfeit document mill and selling the phony cards at area swap meets, have been sentenced to multi-year prison terms following an undercover probe by ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Dept. More Info...
Published: March 24th 2013

Wife of senator in the Philippines sentenced for bulk cash smuggling

Marissa Tadeo Lapid, the wife of a sitting senator in the Philippines, has been sentenced to five months of home confinement and 36 months' probation after pleading guilty to charges of bulk cash smuggling resulting from a probe by ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). More Info...
Published: February 10th 2013

German fugitive wanted for role in multi-million dollar fraud scheme deported

A German national wanted in his native country for allegedly using his Florida financial firm to orchestrate a pyramid scheme that defrauded European investors out of more than $100 million was deported Friday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and turned over to German authorities. More Info...
Published: August 16th 2012

ICE deports Mexican national convicted of practicing medicine without a license

Edgar Eduardo Orozco-Abundis, a Mexican national convicted in Nevada for practicing medicine without a license who is also wanted in his native country for fraud, was turned over to Mexican authorities Thursday by officers from ICE's Enforcement Removal Operations (ERO). More Info...
Published: August 1st 2012

International fugitive wanted in a financial scheme defrauding investors of more than $100 million captured in Las Vegas

Ulrich Felix Anton Engler, a German man wanted by law enforcement authorities in Germany for using his Florida financial firm to defraud numerous investors of more than $100 million in a pyramid scheme, was arrested last night by special agents and officers of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), ICE's Enforcement Removal Operations (ERO). More Info...
Published: July 25th 2012

Missouri woman sentenced to 2 years in federal prison for $90 million online counterfeit cellphone scheme

Sherrie Householder, 59, of Nixa, Missouri, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips to two years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Householder to pay $8,866,069 in restitution. Wang “Frank” Luo, a Chinese citizen, owned Flash Tech, while Householder managed the company’s activities in the United States. More Info...
Published: January 19th 2017

2 Missouri men charged with federal sex trafficking

Calvin Anthony Miller, aka “Serious,” 34, and his cousin, Henry Dailey, 36, were charged with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking in a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City. Miller and Dailey remain in federal custody pending a detention hearing on Oct. 20. More Info...
Published: October 18th 2016

RAC St. Louis' Missouri Gateway Task Force receives 2016 OCDETF Director's Award

Members of the HSI-led Missouri Gateway Task Force were recently awarded the prestigious 2016 OCDETF Director’s Award for Group Achievements. The award was presented Sept. 29 at the RAC St. Louis office by OCDETF Assistant U.S. Attorney James C. Delworth, Eastern District of Missouri. More Info...
Published: October 5th 2016

Missouri man indicted for receiving, distributing child pornography

Michael V. Lucas, 31, of Springfield, Missouri, was charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury. This indictment replaces a federal criminal complaint that was filed against Lucas Sept. 21. More Info...
Published: September 28th 2016

ICE Kansas City special agent honored at law enforcement seminar for investigating a Philippines-based child exploitation operation

Special Agent James D. Holdman, an HSI special agent based in Springfield, Missouri, was honored at the 14th Annual Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee (LECC) Training Seminar in Springfield, Missouri. More Info...
Published: August 19th 2016

Missouri man pleads guilty to conspiracy to distribute synthetic drugs

Alexander Vladimir McMillin, aka “Shasha,” 32, of Columbia, Missouri, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Matt J. Whitworth to participating in a conspiracy to commit mail fraud between March 1, 2011 and Oct. 2, 2013. More Info...
Published: July 18th 2016

ICE arrests 34 in St. Louis area during month-long enforcement action

In the St. Louis area, ERO officers arrested 34 individuals. Twenty-eight of the 34 have been convicted of crimes in the United States including: drugs, aggravated DUI, domestic battery, larceny and hit and run. The remaining six are agency enforcement priorities as recent border crossers. Eight of the 34 were previously deported from the United States and illegally re-entered. More Info...
Published: June 17th 2016

Former NBA player indicted in Missouri for charity fraud scheme

This indictment alleges that Kermit Alan Washington, 64, used a charity he founded and operated, called Project Contact Africa (PCA), to defraud donors, eBay and PayPal, and the IRS. In order to induce individuals, including former professional athletes, to make donations to PCA, Washington falsely represented that 100 percent of the donations would go to Africa. However, Washington diverted... More Info...
Published: May 25th 2016

Central Missouri man sentenced to 5 years in federal prison for child pornography conviction

Dustin Clay Trail, 35, of Jefferson City, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough to five years in federal prison. More Info...
Published: May 16th 2016

Missouri man pleads guilty to producing child pornography

Brett Corcoran, 26, of Ava, Missouri, pleaded guilty to the charge contained in a Sept. 30, 2015, federal indictment. Corcoran has been in federal custody since his Oct. 6 arrest. More Info...
Published: March 29th 2016

Missouri sex offender pleads guilty to paying for child sex shows online from the Philippines

Paul L. Sipeer, 65, of Duenweg, Missouri, pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography via the Internet. Sipeer has been held in federal custody without bond since his Jan. 28 arrest. More Info...
Published: March 29th 2016

Former Missouri junior high school teacher indicted for receiving child pornography

Evert Henry, 41, of Lebanon, Missouri, was charged in an indictment returned Feb. 22 by a federal grand jury in Springfield. More Info...
Published: February 23rd 2016

2 Illinois men each sentenced in Missouri to 12 ½ years in federal prison for trafficking in synthetic drugs

Anwer Rao, 36, and Michael Lentsch, 36, both from of O’Fallon, Illinois, were each sentenced to 150 months in prison on numerous counts related to conspiracy to sell synthetic drugs, commonly known as “bath salts.” More Info...
Published: February 19th 2016

Previously convicted sex offender sentenced in Missouri to 135 years for producing child pornography, sexually abusing a child for 4 years

Charles R. Burge, 36, of Kansas City, Missouri, was sentenced after pleading guilty to the following charges: three counts of first-degree statutory rape, one count of sexually exploiting a minor, one count of enticing a child, and one count of endangering the welfare of a child. More Info...
Published: February 18th 2016

Missouri child sex offender charged with viewing international online sex shows featuring children in the Philippines

Paul L. Sipeer, 65, of Duenweg, Missouri, was charged in a criminal complaint alleging he received child pornography via the Internet. Sipeer had his initial court appearance Jan. 27 and remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing Feb. 2. More Info...
Published: January 27th 2016

Missouri man charged with distributing child pornography

Cody Lee Davidson, 18, of Raytown, Missouri, was charged in a criminal complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City. Davidson was arrested Jan. 26 and had his initial court appearance the following day. More Info...
Published: January 26th 2016

6 defendants plead guilty in Missouri to $100 million software-piracy scheme

Rex Yang, 37, of Seattle, waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief District Judge Greg Kays Dec. 16 to a federal information that charged him with participating in a criminal conspiracy from Jan. 1, 2009 to Dec. 10, 2014. More Info...
Published: December 17th 2015

Missouri man convicted of drug trafficking, illegally possessing firearms

Marcus McIntosh, 59, was found guilty of the charges contained in an Aug. 26, 2014 federal indictment, which identified his role in a conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine between April 1 and Aug. 8, 2014. More Info...
Published: December 2nd 2015

Special agent, combat veteran, mother of 3 and Bronze Star Medal recipient recounts her experience in Iraq

Wensink, a Sergeant First Class in the U.S. Army, volunteered to drive the trail vehicle in the convoy while she was serving in Iraq. Wensink explained that the trail vehicle is the last in the convoy and it maintains security and keeps the other vehicles safe. More Info...
Published: November 4th 2015

Missouri woman sentenced to 20 years for producing child pornography

Chelese Penn, 25, of Hartville, Missouri, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison without parole. The court also sentenced Penn to a lifetime of supervised release following incarceration. More Info...
Published: October 22nd 2015

Missouri man sentenced to 10 years for child pornography

Frank Edwin Ness, 45, of Joplin, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison without parole. The court also sentenced Ness to a lifetime of supervised release following incarceration, and ordered him to pay $5,000 in restitution to one of his victims. More Info...
Published: October 22nd 2015

Missouri man indicted in federal court for producing child pornography

Brett Corcoran, 25, of Ava, Missouri, was charged in an indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Springfield Sept. 30. That indictment was unsealed and made public Tuesday upon Corcoran’s arrest and initial court appearance. Corcoran remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing Oct. 8. More Info...
Published: October 6th 2015

Missouri man sentenced to 17½ years in federal prison for producing child pornography

David Albert, 50, of Springfield, pleaded guilty March 11 to sexually exploiting a child to produce child pornography. More Info...
Published: September 9th 2015

Missouri man, West Texas woman plead guilty to marriage fraud conspiracy

Oleksandr Nikolayevich Druzenko, aka “Alex,” 35, a Jefferson City resident, pleaded guilty Aug. 20 to conspiracy to commit marriage fraud. Co-defendant Patricia Anne Ewalt, 63, of El Paso, Texas, pleaded guilty to the same charge Aug. 5. More Info...
Published: August 20th 2015

Missouri resident from Mexico sentenced to nearly 21 years for drug conspiracy

Marcelino Ruiz-Reyes, 37, a citizen of Mexico living in Independence, Missouri, was sentenced to 20 years and eight months in federal prison without parole on various charges, including: participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, and participating in a money-laundering conspiracy. More Info...
Published: August 18th 2015

ICE arrests former Colombian Army commander

Retired Lt. Col. Hector Alejandro Cabuya de León, 52, was arrested by special agents from HSI’s Dallas office. He is wanted in his native country on criminal charges for forced disappearance, homicide of a protected person, and weapons and ammunition trafficking. More Info...
Published: March 6th 2017

ICE arresta antiguo comandante del ejército colombiano

El teniente coronel (Tcnl.) retirado Héctor Alejandro Cabuya de León, 52, fue arrestado por agentes especiales de HSI en Dallas. Él es buscado en su país natal por cargos criminales de desaparición forzada, homicidio de una persona protegida y tráfico de armas y munición. More Info...
Published: March 6th 2017

South Texas couple pleads guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, identity theft

Jessica Rivas, 37 and Eric Job Alva, 39, from San Antonio admitted that between March and May 2015, the couple conspired to collect legal fees from incarcerated illegal aliens and/or their families under false pretenses. More Info...
Published: March 2nd 2017

Houston man sentenced to 80 years in prison for multiple counts involving child pornography

William Lee Niver, 49, of Houston, was sentenced Feb. 17 by U.S. District Judge Gray Miller to 360 months in prison for the sexual exploitation of a child, otherwise known as production of child pornography. More Info...
Published: February 17th 2017

Denaturalization lawsuit filed against alleged human rights abuser originally from El Salvador residing in North Texas

Arnoldo Antonio Vasquez, a native of El Salvador, is alleged to have concealed and misrepresented his involvement in the extra-judicial killing of 10 civilians in San Sebastian, El Salvador, in September 1988, when he was an officer in the Salvadoran military. More Info...
Published: February 10th 2017

US Army soldier sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for alien smuggling

Joseph Edmond Cleveland, 25, of El Paso, Texas, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Janis to 15 months in prison. In handing down the sentence, Judge Jack noted an aggravating factor that Cleveland attempted to use his status as a serviceman to avoid detection. More Info...
Published: February 9th 2017

Former Houston-area sheriff’s deputy arrested on charges of producing child pornography

Andrew Craig Sustaita, 30, of Spring, Texas, was indicted by a federal grand jury Feb. 1 on charges of producing child pornography. More Info...
Published: February 9th 2017

El Paso duo sentenced to federal prison for an estimated $2 million Ponzi scheme

Clarence Counterman, 59, owner of an income tax return preparation business known as Taxrite, was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release. Counterman’s co-defendant, Robert Loya, 52, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release. More Info...
Published: February 3rd 2017

Kansas man indicted in Houston on child pornography, sex tourism charges

Jebediah Dishman, 70, of Freedonia, Kansas, was arrested Nov. 8 in Houston and originally charged by criminal complaint. More Info...
Published: February 2nd 2017

'Operation Team Player' nets $20 million in fake sports merchandise

The results from Operation Team Player, a year-round effort developed by the HSI-led National IPR Center to crackdown on the illegal importation of counterfeit sports apparel and merchandise, were revealed at a press conference hosted by the NFL with participation from ICE, CBP, Houston Police Department, Harris County District Attorney’s Office and Harris County Constable’s Office. More Info...
Published: February 2nd 2017

Indicted Mexican drug trafficking leader extradited; faces federal charges in Dallas for cocaine and methamphetamine distribution, money laundering conspiracies

Arnoldo Rueda-Medina, 47, known by several aliases including “La Minsa,” made his initial appearance in federal court in Dallas Jan 27 before U.S. Magistrate Judge David L. Horan on charges outlined in a second superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of Texas in September 2010. More Info...
Published: January 27th 2017

Member of Los Zetas criminal organization sentenced in San Antonio to 15 years in federal prison for cocaine trafficking

Sergio Heredia, aka Keko, aka Sobrino, of Piedras Negras, Mexico, was sentenced Jan. 26 to 180 months in federal prison. Heredia pleaded guilty in August 2015 to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. More Info...
Published: January 26th 2017

Southeast Texas man pleads guilty to 3 child pornography charges

Miguel Jimenez Jr., from Freeport, Texas, came to the attention of authorities after they believed he was uploading and storing child pornography into a virtual storage account. A search warrant was executed at his residence, at which time law enforcement located and seized various computers and cellphones. Forensic analysis of the phones, computers and virtual storage accounts revealed 658 child... More Info...
Published: January 25th 2017

US Marine Corps pilot sentenced to more than 7 years in federal prison for possessing child pornography

U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Jason Michael Ehret, 44, an active-duty officer serving as an aviation flight instructor, was sentenced to 87 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Janis Graham.  Ehret was further ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.  He must also serve the rest of his life on supervised release, during which time he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict... More Info...
Published: January 25th 2017

El Paso man sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for sex trafficking scheme

In addition to his 15-year prison sentence, David Milner, 29, was also ordered to be placed on supervised release for five years after completing his prison term. More Info...
Published: January 25th 2017

Fort Worth woman sentenced to 6 years in federal prison following her convictions of forced labor and harboring illegal aliens

Olga Sandra Murra, 64, was sentenced to 72 months in federal prison and ordered to pay a total of $795,000 in restitution to her two victims.  Murra has been in federal custody since her conviction in August 2016 on two counts of forced labor and two counts of harboring illegal aliens.  More Info...
Published: January 24th 2017

East Texas man sentenced to 35 years in prison for producing child pornography

Steven Wayne Robinson, 40, of Daisetta, Texas, was sentenced Jan. 19 to 420 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Marcia Crone for two counts of producing child pornography. He pleaded guilty Sept. 1, 2016. More Info...
Published: January 19th 2017

ICE en San Antonio deporta a fugitivo mexicano por homicidio de 2002

Roberto Clemente Martínez-Guerrero, 44, es acusado de un homicidio ocurrido en el año 2002 en el Estado de Jalisco, México. Martínez-Guerrero fue escoltado por oficiales de ICE a la frontera de Estados Unidos y México en Laredo, Texas y transferido a las autoridades mexicanas el 18 de enero. More Info...
Published: January 18th 2017

ICE San Antonio removes Mexican fugitive wanted for 2002 homicide

Roberto Clemente Martinez-Guerrero, 44, is accused of a 2002 homicide that occurred in the State of Jalisco, Mexico.  Martinez-Guerrero was escorted by ICE officers to the U.S.-Mexico border at Laredo, Texas, and transferred to Mexican authorities Jan. 18. More Info...
Published: January 18th 2017

Agreement reached to ensure destruction of timber believed to have been harvested in violation of Peruvian law

The timber was seized Dec. 20, 2015 by HSI at the Port of Houston, Texas for violation of the Lacey Act and customs law. It was destroyed in accordance with a settlement agreement reached by the United States and the importer of the timber, Oregon-based Popp Forest Products Inc. More Info...
Published: January 18th 2017

Fort Worth man sentenced to 20 years in federal prison on child pornography conviction

Jose Diego Gonzales, 30, of Fort Worth, Texas, has been in custody since his arrest in July 2016 in Fort Worth. More Info...
Published: January 18th 2017

South Texas jury convicts alien smuggler who caused the death of a smuggled woman

The jury returned its verdict against Galdino Jose Ruiz-Hernandez Jan. 11 after a two-day trial. Ruiz-Hernandez was initially arrested for illegally re-entering the United States after having been previously deported; he was later charged with alien smuggling as well. More Info...
Published: January 11th 2017

2 energy-industry businessmen plead guilty in Houston to foreign bribery charges in connection with Venezuelan contract scheme

Juan Jose Hernandez Comerma (Hernandez), 51, of Weston, Florida, pleaded guilty in federal court in Houston to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and one count of violating the FCPA. Charles Quintard Beech III, 46, of Katy, Texas, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA. More Info...
Published: January 10th 2017

North Texas man sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for producing child pornography

On Dec. 30, 2016, U.S. District Judge John McBryde sentenced Robert Eugene Sanders, 74, of Hood County, Texas, to 360 months in federal prison, fined him $10,000, and ordered him to pay nearly $65,000 in restitution. Sanders pleaded guilty in July 2016 to one count of producing child pornography. More Info...
Published: January 4th 2017

4 businessman, 2 foreign officials plead guilty in connection with bribes paid to Mexican aviation officials

In total, Ray, Valdez Pinon, Ramnarine, Perez and their co-conspirators paid more than $2 million in bribes to Mexican officials, including Hernandez Montemayor and Nevarez, in order to secure aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul contracts. More Info...
Published: December 28th 2016