US State Department Travel Alerts

Updated on Saturday, May 23rd, 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. Ethiopia Travel Alert
  2. Burundi Travel Alert
  3. Lesotho Travel Alert
  4. Potential Implications for Travel Because of Ebola in Parts of West Africa
  5. Burkina Faso Travel Alert

1. Ethiopia Travel Alert

Posted on 15 May 2015 | 7:25 am
The State Department alerts U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Ethiopia of the upcoming elections scheduled for May 24, 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 June 30, 2015.

The State Department recommends U.S. citizens maintain a high level of security awareness during the electoral period and avoid political rallies, polling centers, demonstrations, and crowds of any kind as instances of unrest can occur. Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Although there have been no specific incidents of violence targeting U.S. citizens, U.S. citizens are urged to exercise caution and stay current with media coverage of local events. Election results are scheduled to be announced June 22, 2015.

During previous elections, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) required all diplomats and international organization staff living in Addis Ababa to receive an official pass from the MFA if they planned to travel outside of Addis Ababa during the election season. While not in effect this election, the U.S. Embassy continues to urge U.S. citizens to be aware of election sensitivities. We especially recommend avoiding public polling stations on the day of the election, including schools and other public buildings. In Addis Ababa alone there will be nearly 1,600 polling stations – roughly one polling station for every kilometer.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Ethiopia 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 do not have Internet access, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to enroll directly.

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

The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa is located at Entoto Street, P.O. Box 1014. The Consular Section of the Embassy may be reached by telephone: +251-111-306000 or e-mail at consacs@state.gov, and is open Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. For after-hours emergencies, U.S. citizens should call +251-111-306911 or 011-130-6000 and ask to speak with the duty officer.

2. Burundi Travel Alert

Posted on 8 May 2015 | 7:25 am
The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the risks of traveling to Burundi and urges caution during its election season which could extend from May through September 2015.

  Political protests and demonstrations related to these elections have resulted in several incidents of violence.  Tensions and incidents are likely to increase further in the run-up to, during, or immediately after the May 26 legislative and the June 26 presidential elections. Though previous national elections also witnessed episodes of political violence, this election period is likely to generate violence in excess of 2010 elections.  U.S. citizens are, therefore, urged to exercise caution and remain abreast of the security situation throughout the electoral period. This Travel Alert expires on September 30, 2015.

U.S. citizens should maintain a high level of security awareness during the electoral period and avoid political rallies, demonstrations, polling stations, and crowds of any kind in the weeks before and after the elections. Even peaceful gatherings and demonstrations can suddenly turn violent or confrontational. There is presently no reason to believe U.S. citizens would be specifically targeted in the event of election-related violence. We urge U.S. citizens to monitor local news stations for updates. Instances of civic unrest through the election period are possible.

U.S. citizens should maintain adequate supplies of food, water, essential medicines, and other supplies to shelter in place for at least 72 hours should this become necessary. Additional recommendations on emergency preparedness are available on the Travel.State.gov web page “Emergencies Abroad.”

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Burundi.
  • 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 Bujumbura, located on the corner of Avenue des Etats-Unis and Avenue du Cinquantenaire, at +257-22-20-7000, 7:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +257-22-20-7318, or +257-79-93-88-41.
  • 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. 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.

 

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