US State Department Travel Alerts

Updated on Saturday, April 30th, 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. Laos Travel Alert
  2. Djibouti Travel Alert
  3. Europe Travel Alert
  4. Republic of Congo Travel Alert
  5. Haiti Travel Alert
  6. Bangladesh Travel Alert
  7. South Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season - 2015 - 2016

1. Laos Travel Alert

Posted on 30 March 2016 | 7:25 am
The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to shooting attacks targeting vehicles traveling the “new road” northwest of Kasi in Luang Prabang Province at about 9:00p.m. on March 23, 2016.

A charter bus and a pickup truck were both hit by automatic weapons fire on this heavily traveled route between the towns of Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng, two of Laos’ most popular tourist destinations. One person was killed, and six wounded.

Due to this incident, U.S. Embassy Vientiane has restricted official travel by Embassy staff on the “new road” between the Kasi junction and the Road 4 junction. Both roads connecting the towns of Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng are now subject to Embassy travel restrictions. This Travel Alert supersedes the March 7, 2016, Travel Alert concerning Road 13 and Xaisomboun province and it expires on June 30, 2016.

The Embassy restricted official travel along Road 13 from Km 220 north of Kasi in Vientiane Province to Km 270 at the Phou Khoun junction in Luang Prabang Province following similar shooting attacks on vehicles in recent weeks. The Embassy also restricts official travel to Xaisomboun Province in its entirety because of the unpredictable nature of violence in the area and the lack of official information regarding possible motives or a Lao government response.

The Embassy still permits its personnel to travel between Vientiane and Vang Vieng on Road 13, and to travel to the town of Luang Prabang by air. Travel by road from the town of Luang Prabang northward is also not affected by these restrictions. Nevertheless, 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 State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and 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 Laos, located at Thadeua Road Km 9, Ban Somvang Tai, Hatsayfong District, at +856-21-48-7000, 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. weekdays, excluding U.S. and Lao holidays. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is also +856-21-48-7000. 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.

2. Djibouti Travel Alert

Posted on 28 March 2016 | 7:25 am
The U.S. Department of State alerts U.S. citizens traveling to or living in Djibouti that a presidential election has been scheduled for April 8, 2016.

There is a possibility that spontaneous protests will occur during the election cycle and some could turn violent.  This Travel Alert expires on April 30.  

During this time, U.S. citizens should avoid:

  • Voter polling places
  • Demonstrations
  • Political rallies
  • Large crowds of any kind.

Even gatherings intended to be peaceful can turn violent with little or no warning, as violent clashes at a religious celebration in Balbala on December 21, 2015, demonstrated.  At times, the U.S. Embassy may restrict U.S. government personnel from traveling to an area where protests may occur, due to security concerns.

The U.S. Embassy in Djibouti is closely monitoring election activity throughout Djibouti and will provide updates as the situation warrants on the Embassy website and via Facebook and Twitter. Please follow these sites as well as local media, be aware of your surroundings, and exercise good judgment in the coming weeks. General information on preparing for emergencies is available on U.S. Embassy Djibouti’s website.

For further information:

3. Europe Travel Alert

Posted on 22 March 2016 | 7:25 am
The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to potential risks of travel to and throughout Europe following several terrorist attacks, including the March 22 attacks in Brussels claimed by ISIL.

Terrorist groups continue to plan near-term attacks throughout Europe, targeting sporting events, tourist sites, restaurants, and transportation.  This Travel Alert expires on June 20, 2016.

U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using mass transportation. Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid crowded places. Exercise particular caution during religious holidays and at large festivals or events.

U.S. citizens should also: 

  • Follow the instructions of local authorities, especially in an emergency.
  • 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.
  • Register in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

European governments continue to guard against terrorist attacks and conduct raids to disrupt plots. We work closely with our allies and will continue to share information with our European partners that will help identify and counter terrorist threats.

For further information:

4. Republic of Congo Travel Alert

Posted on 17 March 2016 | 7:25 am
The State Department alerts U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to The Republic of the Congo regarding the upcoming presidential elections scheduled for March 20.

U.S. citizens should maintain a high level of security awareness due to the potential for political unrest leading up to, during, and following the election period.  This Travel Alert expires on April 15, 2016.

 

Political protests and demonstrations may occur in this timeframe. Although there is no indication that U.S. citizens may be targets of violence, U.S. citizens should avoid political rallies, polling centers, demonstrations, and crowds of any kind as gatherings intended to be peaceful can turn violent.  Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates, including any changes in the election schedule.  Presidential election results are expected to be announced within a week of the election.

For more information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Congo.
  • 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 Brazzaville, located at 70-83 Boulevard Denis Sassou Nguesso, Brazzaville, Congo, at +242-06-612-2000, 8.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. from Monday - Thursday; 8.00 a.m. to 12.00 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is (+242) 06-612-2010.
  • 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. Haiti Travel Alert

Posted on 11 March 2016 | 7:25 am
The State Department has revised the Travel Alert issued on January 11, 2016 concerning the election period.

The latest announced date for the twice-postponed elections is April 24, 2016.  This Travel Alert expires on June 10, 2016.

 

Tensions remain high and we strongly urge U.S. citizens to exercise caution and remain abreast of the security situation as the electoral process progresses to a resolution.  Particular possible flashpoints would be the period leading up to and immediately following the date of the election, the date results are announced, and the inauguration of a new President – now set for May 14, 2016. 

You can expect there to be restrictions on traffic circulation, either imposed by the authorities or caused by ad hoc political rallies. The Embassy Security Office has advised Embassy employees not involved in election monitoring to avoid unnecessary movement outside of their residences on the day of elections.  Because of this, and 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.

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:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Haiti.
  • 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 Haiti, located at Boulevard du 15 Octobre, 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.

6. Bangladesh Travel Alert

Posted on 12 February 2016 | 7:25 am
The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the ongoing potential for extremist violence in Bangladesh. This Travel Alert supersedes the November 10, 2015 alert and expires on May 15, 2016.

Reports suggest that terrorist attacks could occur against foreigners in Bangladesh, especially in large gatherings.  Since September 2015, Bangladesh has experienced a series of increasingly sophisticated violent attacks.  These include the murders of two foreign nationals, as well as bombs and other attacks against gatherings of religious groups and security forces.  The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) publicly claimed credit for many of these attacks.  Additionally, groups saying they represent Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) claimed responsibility for a series of threats and terrorist attacks targeting writers, publishers, and others in the media, including the murder of a U.S. citizen blogger.  The U.S. government assesses that the terrorist threat remains real and credible, and further attacks are possible.

The Government of Bangladesh has taken steps to pursue extremists and strengthen security, and thousands of U.S. citizens visit each year without incident. Nevertheless, U.S. citizens should take precautions, remain vigilant, and be alert to local security developments. Although U.S. government officials in Bangladesh continue to conduct official business without incident, U.S. government officials and their families currently are not permitted to:

  • visit many public places;
  • travel on foot, motorcycle, bicycle, rickshaw, or other uncovered means on public thoroughfares and sidewalks;
  • attend large gatherings in Bangladesh, including events at international hotels. 

The Embassy encourages U.S. citizens to adopt similar security measures.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and 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 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).
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

7. South Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season - 2015 - 2016

Posted on 14 October 2015 | 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, 2015, and ends April 30, 2016.  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, 2016.

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.

Tropical cyclones can create dangerous and uncomfortable conditions that can prevent travel for days.  Tropical cyclones are often accompanied by damaging winds, 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.  Roads can be washed out or obstructed by debris, adversely affecting access to airports and land routes out of affected areas.  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.  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 travel service is limited. 

Be sure to check with local authorities for safety and security updates.  Reports of looting and sporadic violence in the aftermath of natural disasters have occurred.  Security personnel and medical services may not always be readily available, as weather conditions or damage to infrastructure may delay or prevent emergency assistance.

If you live in or travel to these areas during the tropical cyclone 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 on a reimbursable basis.  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 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 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.

For further information:

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