US State Department Travel Alerts

Updated on Monday, April 27th, 2015

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. Nepal Travel Alert
  2. Nigeria Travel Alert
  3. Lesotho Travel Alert
  4. Potential Implications for Travel Because of Ebola in Parts of West Africa
  5. Burkina Faso Travel Alert
  6. South Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season - 2014 - 2015

1. Nepal Travel Alert

Posted on 25 April 2015 | 7:25 am
The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Nepal and recommends that U.S. citizens in Nepal exercise caution when traveling in or planning departure from the country following the 7.9 magnitude earthquake on April 25.

The possibility for aftershocks of significant magnitude persists.  In Kathmandu and elsewhere, some buildings are collapsed and some roads are impassable. Cell phone and internet service are intermittent. Many roads are crowded with people and transportation is difficult. If you are in a safe location, the best option might be to shelter in place. Avoid large crowds, as they can turn violent with little notice.  This Travel Alert expires on August 1, 2015.

The U.S. Department of State encourages U.S. citizens in Nepal, and their friends and family who might be located elsewhere, to closely monitor the media as well as the Nepal Crisis Page to determine next steps.  In some situations, making evacuation or departure plans might be best.  In some situations, however, it might be safer to shelter in place.

If you are in Nepal and are safe, please contact your family and friends to let them know your situation.  The U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu is located in the Maharajgunj neighborhood of Kathmandu.  U.S. citizens in Nepal who need assistance can contact the U.S. Embassy by e-mail at ConsKTM@state.gov or by phone at +977 423 4100.  U.S. citizens in Nepal and their family and friends elsewhere should stay up to date on consular information by periodically checking Travel Information and Messages for U.S. citizens in Nepal.  

U.S. citizens in Nepal should limit nonessential travel within the country, make their own contingency emergency plans, enroll their presence in Nepal through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), and provide their current contact information and next-of-kin or emergency contact information. You may inform the Department of State of U.S. citizens located in Nepal by visiting https://tfa.state.gov/ccd, selecting “2015 Nepal Earthquake,” and providing as much information as possible.  You can also contact us at 1-888-407-4747 (from the U.S. & Canada), +1-202-501-4444 (from overseas), and NepalEmergencyUSC@state.gov if you have additional questions or concerns.

For additional information, U.S. citizens should consult the Department of State's Country Specific Information for Nepal. Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well. 

2. Nigeria Travel Alert

Posted on 25 February 2015 | 7:25 am
The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Nigeria and urges caution while traveling within Nigeria during the general and gubernatorial elections on March 28 and April 11, 2015, respectively.

The elections, originally scheduled for February 14 and February 28, were postponed for six weeks due to security concerns related to Boko Haram. This Travel Alert expires on May 25, 2015.

The upcoming elections are closely contested. Nigeria last held national elections in April 2011 and, although the elections themselves remained largely peaceful, violence temporarily erupted in many northern states after the announcement of results in the presidential race. The 2015 elections again present a possibility of violence. U.S. citizens are encouraged to exercise caution during the election process, particularly in and around polling locations in the weeks before and after the elections. There is presently no reason to believe that U.S. citizens would be specifically targeted in the event of election-related violence.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Nigeria enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you do not have internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, including the Travel Warning for Nigeria, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Nigeria. For additional information, refer to the Traveler’s Checklist.

Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You may also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free from within the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy in Abuja, located at Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive, Central District Area, is 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) 461-4000, 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.

3. Lesotho Travel Alert

Posted on 13 February 2015 | 7:25 am
The State Department alerts U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Lesotho to the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for February 28, 2015.

U.S. citizens are urged to exercise caution and remain abreast of the security situation throughout the electoral period. This Travel Alert expires on March 21, 2015.

As a result of a political and security crisis in late 2014, Lesotho’s political parties agreed to hold early elections in February 2015. Although Lesotho’s 2012 parliamentary elections were generally orderly and peaceful, the State Department recommends U.S. citizens maintain a high level of security awareness during the electoral period and avoid political rallies, demonstrations, polling stations, and crowds of any kind. Instances of unrest related to the election are possible, and U.S. citizens should be aware that even peaceful gatherings and demonstrations can turn violent. Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. 

Local stores, including grocery stores, may be closed over the electoral weekend. U.S. citizens are reminded that as a general matter of emergency preparedness, you should maintain adequate supplies of food, water, essential medicines, and other supplies that will allow you to shelter in place for at least 72 hours. Additional recommendations on emergency preparedness are available in Mission South Africa’s recently-posted “Message for U.S. Citizens: Emergency Preparedness for U.S. Citizens Living Abroad.”

 We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Lesotho enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at travel.state.gov. STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy or nearest U.S. Consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department's travel website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and any current Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Lesotho. For additional information, refer to the “Traveler’s Checklist” on the State Department’s website.

Contact the U.S. Embassy for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow travel.state.gov on Twitter and Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy in Maseru is located at 254 Kings Way, Maseru and is open Monday-Thursday 7:30 a.m. – 5:00a.m. and Friday 7:30AM – 1:30PM +(266) 2231-2666. If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance outside of business hours, the emergency after-hours number for the U.S. Embassy/Consulate is +(266) 5888-4035. 

4. Potential Implications for Travel Because of Ebola in Parts of West Africa

Posted on 2 February 2015 | 6:41 pm
The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to screening procedures, travel restrictions, and reduced aviation transportation options in response to the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

This Travel Alert will expire on June 2, 2015.

Due to an outbreak of EVD in the West African nations of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone  the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued Level 3 Travel Warnings advising against non-essential travel to these countries  and to practice enhanced precautions for avoidance of contact with ill individuals. The Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website prominently features an Ebola Fact Sheet and links to the CDC Health Travel Warnings, Travel Alert, and general guidance about Ebola.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and CDC have also published and provided interim guidance to public health authorities, airlines, and other partners in West Africa for evaluating risk of exposure of persons coming from countries affected by EVD.  Travelers should consult the U.S. Department of Homeland Security website for the most up-to-date information regarding enhanced screening procedures at five U.S. airports (Newark, New York JFK, O’Hare, Atlanta, and Dulles) for all people entering the United States from or who have traveled through the Ebola-affected countries.  Travelers who exhibit symptoms indicative of possible Ebola infection may be prevented from boarding and restricted from traveling for the 21-day period.  Moreover, CDC’s guidelines outline the minimum recommended procedures, and state and local governments have the power to implement more stringent procedures. Please note neither the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs nor the U.S. Embassy have authority over quarantine issues and cannot prevent a U.S. citizen from being quarantined should local health authorities overseas, or in the United States, require it.  For questions about quarantine, please visit the CDC website that addresses quarantine and isolation issues.

Medical evacuation from Ebola-affected countries is very difficult, even for non-Ebola illnesses.  The cost for a medical evacuation flight can exceed $150,000.  We encourage U.S. citizens travelling to Ebola-affected countries to purchase travel insurance and ensure this insurance includes medical evacuation for EVD.  Policy holders should confirm the availability of medical care and evacuation services at their travel destinations prior to travel. 

Some local, regional, and international air carriers have curtailed or temporarily suspended service to or from Ebola-affected countries.  U.S. citizens planning travel to or from these countries, in accordance with the CDC Health Travel Warnings and Health Travel Alert, should contact their airline to verify seat availability, confirm departure schedules, inquire about screening procedures, and be aware of other airline options.

The Department is aware that some countries have put in place procedures relating to the travel of individuals from or who have traveled through the affected countries, including complete travel bans.  Changes to existing procedures may occur with little or no notice.  Please consult your airline or the embassy of your destination country for additional information.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling or residing abroad enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment allows you to receive the Department’s safety and security updates, and makes it easier for the nearest U.S. embassy or U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency.  If you do not have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department’s website  where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution, and read the Country Specific Information for your destination countries.  For additional information, refer to the "Traveler's Checklist" on the State Department's website.  Current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free from within the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).  Follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.

5. Burkina Faso Travel Alert

Posted on 31 October 2014 | 7:25 am
The State Department alerts U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to or residing in Burkina Faso and recommends U.S. citizens defer all non-essential travel.

This Travel Alert will expire on January 29, 2015.  

On October 31, Burkina Faso’s President Compaore resigned.  The status of a transitional government remains unclear.  There are incidents of looting throughout the capital city of Ouagadougou, Bobo-Dioulasso, and other parts of the country. 

The situation is dynamic and closures or openings of border and airports are likely to change and remain unpredictable for some time.  Currently, land and air borders have been closed.  U.S. citizens should stay informed and abreast of local media reports for land border and airport updates.

U.S. citizens in Burkina Faso may find that at times sheltering in place may be the only and best security option. 

U.S. citizens residing in Burkina Faso should remain vigilant and utilize appropriate personal security practices.  Avoid large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations; maintain situational awareness and exercise good judgment; be alert and remain aware of your surroundings; and stay abreast of the situation through media outlets.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens who have travelled to, or are residents of, Burkina Faso enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to contact you in an emergency.  If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department's website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution.  Read the Country Specific Information for Burkina Faso.  For additional information, refer to the Traveler's Checklist on the State Department’s website.

Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions.  You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy Ouagadougou is located in Ouaga 2000, Sector 15, on Avenue Sembene Ousmane, southeast of the Monument aux Héros Nationaux.  If you are a U.S. citizen in an emergency situation after normal Embassy operating hours, please contact the Embassy’s main number at (+226) 50-49-53-00, dial “1,” and ask to be connected to the duty officer.

 

6. South Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season - 2014 - 2015

Posted on 10 October 2014 | 6:41 pm
The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to the South Pacific region about the ongoing threat of tropical cyclones affecting the area.

While tropical cyclones in the South Pacific may occur throughout the year, the current South Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season begins on November 1, 2014, and ends April 30, 2015.  U.S. citizens living in or traveling to the region should monitor local weather reports and take other appropriate action as needed.  This Travel Alert expires on April 30, 2015.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recommends that people living or traveling in regions prone to tropical storms and tropical cyclones be prepared.  For further information about tropical cyclone preparedness, please visit NOAA's Tropical Cyclones Preparedness Guide.  For further information on tropical cyclone warnings in the South Pacific region, please consult the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Honolulu the National Weather Service's Central Pacific Hurricane Center, Fiji's regional meteorological center responsible for tropical cyclone warnings in the South Pacific region, or the Government of Australia's Bureau of Meteorology.

During and after some previous storms, U.S. citizens traveling abroad encountered dangerous and often uncomfortable conditions that lasted for several days while they awaited transportation to the United States.  In the past, many U.S. citizens were forced to delay travel (including return travel to the United States) due to infrastructure damage to airports and limited flight availability.  Roads were also washed out or obstructed by debris, adversely affecting access to airports and land routes out of affected areas.  Reports of looting and sporadic violence in the aftermath of natural disasters have occurred.  Security personnel may not always be readily available to assist.  In the event of a cyclone, you should be aware that you may not be able to depart the area for 24-48 hours or longer, particularly if you are residing in or visiting a South Pacific Island country where air service is limited.

You also may encounter uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous conditions after storms pass.  In many places, tropical cyclones are often accompanied by damaging high tides and flooding.  If you are living near or staying close to the ocean or other bodies of water, you may be at higher risk.  Landslides and mudslides are also a serious concern during heavy rains.  Be sure to check with local authorities for safety and security updates.  Weather conditions or damage to infrastructure may delay or prevent needed assistance from U.S. embassy and host country security personnel.

If you are living in or traveling to storm-prone regions overseas during the cyclone season, we recommend you consider obtaining travel insurance to cover unexpected expenses during an emergency, as well as medical insurance with provision for emergency medical evacuations to the United States.  In some instances, commercial medical evacuations can cost 100,000 USD or more and may not be covered by your regular medical insurance. 

If the damage in the aftermath of a storm requires evacuation, the Department of State will work with commercial airlines to ensure that U.S. citizens may 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.

Monitor local radio, local media, and the National Weather Service to be aware of weather developments.  Minor tropical cyclones 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 that U.S. citizens traveling abroad enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to contact you in an emergency.  If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department's website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution.  For additional information, refer to the Traveler's Checklist on the State Department’s website.

Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions.  You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips.

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