US State Department Travel Alerts

Updated on Friday, December 9th, 2016

Travel Alerts are issued to disseminate information about short-term conditions, generally within a particular country, that pose imminent risks to the security of U.S. citizens.

Latest Warnings

  1. Europe Travel Alert
  2. Haiti Travel Alert
  3. South Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season - Travel Alert
  4. Laos Travel Alert
  5. Hurricane and Typhoon Season 2016 Travel Alert

1. Europe Travel Alert

Posted on 21 November 2016 | 7:25 am
The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the heightened risk of terrorist attacks throughout Europe, particularly during the holiday season.

U.S. citizens should exercise caution at holiday festivals, events, and outdoor markets.  This Travel Alert expires on February 20, 2017.

Credible information indicates the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or Da'esh), al-Qa'ida, and their affiliates continue to plan terrorist attacks in Europe, with a focus on the upcoming holiday season and associated events.  U.S. citizens should also be alert to the possibility that extremist sympathizers or self-radicalized extremists may conduct attacks during this period with little or no warning. Terrorists may employ a wide variety of tactics, using both conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests. 

While extremists have carried out attacks in Belgium, France, Germany, and Turkey in the past year, the Department remains concerned about the potential for attacks throughout Europe.  If you are traveling between countries in Europe, please check the website of the U.S. Embassy or consulate in your destination city for any recent security messages.

U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when attending large holiday events, visiting tourist sites, using public transportation, and frequenting places of worship, restaurants, hotels, etc.  Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds, when possible.  Review security information from local officials, who are responsible for the safety and security of all visitors to their host country.  U.S. citizens should:

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

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

For further information:

2. Haiti Travel Alert

Posted on 16 November 2016 | 2:15 pm
The State Department has revised the Travel Alert last updated on June 10, 2016, concerning the presidential election period in light of the announcement by Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council of a new election calendar, revised due to Hurricane Matthew, with a first round of elections now scheduled for November 20, 2016, and a second round scheduled for January 29, 2017.

This new electoral calendar aims to have an elected president installed by the end of February 2017. This Travel Alert expires on March 31, 2017.

Haiti’s unfinished presidential electoral process has made the political and security environment more uncertain, with possible demonstrations causing disruption to traffic and access to key locations in Port-au-Prince.

Tensions remain high and we urge U.S. citizens to exercise caution and remain abreast of the security situation as the electoral process progresses. In addition to the dates mentioned above, possible points when demonstrations could occur include February 7, 2017, the date many hold that the Haitian constitution requires a president to be inaugurated, and the dates on which provisional and definitive results of the above-mentioned election rounds are announced. 

During elections, restrictions on traffic circulation, either imposed by the authorities or caused by political rallies may be expected. As a general matter of emergency preparedness, U.S. citizens should maintain adequate supplies of food, water, essential medicines, and other supplies that will allow them to shelter in place for at least 72 hours.

U.S. citizens should monitor local media for any changes in the election schedule. The U.S. Embassy may update this Travel Alert as the schedule or circumstances change.

For further information:

  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Haiti, located at Boulevard du 15 October, Tabarre 41, Tabarre, Haiti, at +(509) 2229-8000, 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +(509) 2229-8122.
  • 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

3. South Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season - Travel Alert

Posted on 6 October 2016 | 7:25 am
The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to the South Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season, which begins November 1, 2016, and ends April 30, 2017.

This Travel Alert expires on April 30, 2017.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recommends that people living or traveling in regions prone to tropical storms and tropical cyclones be prepared.  Minor tropical cyclones can develop into typhoons very quickly, limiting the time available for a safe evacuation. Inform family and friends of your whereabouts and remain in close contact with your tour operator, hotel staff, transportation providers (airlines, cruise lines, etc.), and local officials for evacuation instructions during a weather emergency. For further information about tropical cyclone preparedness, please visit our Tropical Season – Know Before You Go and Natural Disaster webpages, and NOAA's Tropical Cyclones Preparedness Guide.

While we do our best to assist U.S. citizens in a crisis, local authorities bear primary responsibility for the safety and well-being of people living or traveling in their countries.  For more information, please visit our What the State Department Can and Can’t Do in a Crisis page.  

For further information on tropical cyclone warnings in the South Pacific region, consult the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, the National Weather Service's Central Pacific Hurricane Center, the Government of Fiji's Regional Specialized Meteorological Center, or the Government of Australia's Bureau of Meteorology.

For further information:

4. Laos Travel Alert

Posted on 5 October 2016 | 7:25 am
The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the risks of travel in parts of Laos due to the unpredictable security situation.

U.S. Embassy personnel are restricted from traveling in certain areas due to reports of violence, combined with the unusually heavy presence of Lao government security forces in some areas.  This replaces the Travel Alert issued on July 1, 2016, and expires on December 30, 2016.

The U.S. Embassy in Vientiane continues to restrict Embassy staff from travel in the following areas:

  • Road 13 from Km 220 north of Kasi in Vientiane Province to Km 270 at the Phou Khoun junction in Luang Prabang Province 
  • the “new road” from the Kasi junction to the Road 4 junction between Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng
  • all of Xaisomboun Province

 The Embassy continues to permit personnel to:

  • travel between Vientiane and Vang Vieng on Road 13
  • travel northward from Luang Prabang
  • travel by air to Luang Prabang 

U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Laos should take precautions, remain vigilant about their personal security, and be alert to local security developments.

For further information:

  • See the Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Laos Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and to make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Laos, located at Thadeua Road Km 9, Ban Somvang Tai, Hatsayfong District, at +856-21-487-7000, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, excluding U.S. and Lao holidays.  After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is also +856-21-7000.  Non-emergency services are provided by appointment only.
  • 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

5. Hurricane and Typhoon Season 2016 Travel Alert

Posted on 3 June 2016 | 7:25 am
The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the Hurricane and Typhoon Seasons in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico.

Hurricane and Typhoon Season lasts through November 2016, though most tropical cyclones typically develop between May and October. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recommends that those in hurricane- and typhoon-prone regions begin preparations for the upcoming seasons now. This Travel Alert expires on December 1, 2016.

The Atlantic Basin, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea:  Hurricane Season in the Atlantic began June 1 and runs through November 30. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center expects the 2016 season to be near normal. There is a 45 percent chance of a near-normal season, a 30 percent chance of an above-normal season, and a 25 percent chance of a below-normal season. NOAA is forecasting a 70 percent chance that La Nina—which favors more hurricane activity—will be present during the peak months of the hurricane season, August through October, and a 70 percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms, which includes TS Alex which formed in January. Of those, four to eight storms are predicted to strengthen to a hurricane (with top winds of 74 mph or higher) and one to four are expected to become major hurricanes (with top winds of 111 mph or higher, ranking Category 3, 4, or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale). NOAA recommends that those in hurricane-prone regions begin preparations for the upcoming season now.

The Eastern Pacific:  NOAA’s outlook for the Eastern Pacific hurricane season calls for a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, a 30 percent chance of an above-normal season, and 30 percent chance of a below-normal season. NOAA’s outlook calls for a 70 percent probability of 13 to 20 named storms, of which six to 11 are expected to become hurricanes, including three to six major hurricanes.

Western and Central Pacific:  NOAA’s central Pacific hurricane outlook calls for an equal 40 percent chance of a near-normal or above-normal season, with four to seven tropical cyclones likely. For information on typhoon warnings, please consult the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Honolulu, the National Weather Service's Central Pacific Hurricane Center, and the Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC) Tokyo - Typhoon Center.

During and after some previous storms, U.S. citizens traveling abroad encountered dangerous and often uncomfortable conditions that lasted for several days while awaiting transportation back to the United States. You may be forced to delay travel (including return travel to the United States) due to infrastructure damage to airports and limited flight availability. Roads may be washed out or obstructed by debris, adversely affecting access to airports and land routes out of affected areas. Looting and sporadic violence in the aftermath of natural disasters is not uncommon, and security personnel may not always be readily available to assist.  In the event of a hurricane, be aware that you may not be able to depart the area for 24-48 hours or longer.

If you live in or travel to these areas during the hurricane or typhoon season, we recommend you obtain travel insurance to cover unexpected expenses during an emergency. If a situation requires an evacuation from an overseas location, the U.S. Department of State may work with commercial airlines to ensure that U.S. citizens can depart as safely and efficiently as possible. Commercial airlines are the Department's primary source of transportation in an evacuation; other means of transport are utilized only as a last resort, are often more expensive, and will provide you with fewer destination options. U.S. law requires that any evacuation costs are your responsibility. For those in financial need, the U.S. Department of State has the authority to provide crisis evacuation and repatriation loans. For more information, please visit the Emergencies Abroad page on our website.

If you live in or are traveling to storm-prone regions, prepare for hurricanes and tropical storms by organizing a kit in a waterproof container that includes a supply of bottled water, non-perishable food items, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, any medications taken regularly, and vital documents (especially your passport and other identification). Emergency shelters often provide only very basic resources and may have limited medical and food supplies.  NOAA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have additional tips on their websites located here and here.

Monitor local radio, local media, and the National Weather Service to be aware of weather developments. Minor tropical storms can develop into hurricanes very quickly, limiting the time available for a safe evacuation. Inform family and friends of your whereabouts and remain in close contact with your tour operator, hotel staff, transportation providers (airlines, cruise lines, etc.), and local officials for evacuation instructions during a weather emergency.

We strongly encourage U.S. citizens to enroll with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate through the U.S. Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). By enrolling, you will receive the most recent security and safety updates during your trip. Enrollment also ensures that you can be reached during an emergency. While we will do our utmost to assist you in a crisis, be aware that local authorities bear primary responsibility for the welfare of people living or traveling in their jurisdictions.

Additional information on hurricanes and storm preparedness can be found on the Department’s "Hurricane Season - Know Before You Go" webpage. You can get updated information on travel to your destination from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States and Canada or, from outside the United States and Canada, 1-202-501-4444. We also encourage you to check the Country Specific Information and the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate with consular responsibilities for the territory you will be visiting. Follow us on Twitter and become a fan of the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ page on Facebook as well.

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