US State Department Travel Alerts
Updated on Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
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.
- Potential Implications for Travel Because of Ebola in Parts of West Africa
- Russian Federation Travel Alert
- 2014 Hurricane and Typhoon Season
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 in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.
This Travel Alert will expire on February 27, 2015.
Due to an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (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 for those three countries advising against non-essential travel and provided guidance to reduce the potential for spread of EVD. The CDC also issued a Level 2 Travel Alert for Nigeria to notify travelers of the Ebola outbreak in that country. 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. Measures can include screening, medical evaluation, movement restrictions up to 21 days, and infection control precautions. Travelers who exhibit symptoms indicative of possible Ebola infection may be prevented from boarding and restricted from traveling for the 21-day period. 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 require it. For questions about quarantine, please visit the CDC website that addresses quarantine and isolation issues.
The cost for a medical evacuation is very expensive. We encourage U.S. citizens travelling to Ebola-affected countries to purchase travel insurance that includes medical evacuation for Ebola Virus Disease (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 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 Warning and 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.
The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens in Russia to the ongoing tensions along the border with Ukraine and the potential for increased clashes between pro-Russian groups and Ukrainian forces.
This supersedes the Travel Alert dated June 12 to provide updated information on the security situation along Russia’s border with Ukraine and will expire on October 21, 2014.
The U.S. government currently has no information concerning active armed clashes inside Russia or that there are any threats specific to U.S. citizens. However, all U.S. citizens located in or considering travel to the border region of the Russian Federation, specifically the districts immediately bordering Ukraine in parts of Bryansk, Kursk, Belgorod, Voronezh, and Rostov Oblasts and Krasnodar Krai, should be aware that the tensions described in the State Department’s Travel Warning for Ukraine have the potential to jeopardize the safety and security of U.S. citizens traveling or living in those regions
A state of emergency, declared by the Russian government, is in effect in the Rostov Oblast bordering Ukraine. The situation along the border is unpredictable and could change quickly. Armed, pro-Russian groups are reportedly traveling illegally across the border into Ukraine and could increase the potential for clashes in Russia near the border, and pose a heightened risk for kidnapping and hostage taking. There have been some claims of artillery falling on the Russian side of the border. Given the volatility of the situation, U.S. citizens are strongly advised against traveling by land from Russia to Ukraine through this region.
Following the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine, the Federal Aviation Administration has prohibited flight operations by U.S. operators within the Simferopol and Dnepropetrovsk flight information regions managed by Ukraine. The International Civil Aviation Organization has also advised air operators of a potentially unsafe situation in the Simferopol region. U.S. citizen travelers in Russia should be alert to the potential for disruptions to commercial air traffic into and out of Russia and throughout the region, including flight cancellations or changes.
U.S. citizens considering travel to the border region in Russia should evaluate their personal security situation in light of these current political tensions, and the possibility of violence or anti-U.S. actions directed against U.S. citizens or U.S. interests. U.S. citizens who choose to remain in areas where Russia has declared a state of emergency or other border regions should maintain a low profile and avoid large crowds and gatherings.
The Department of State advises U.S. citizens in Russia to avoid all public demonstrations, whether properly authorized by local officials or not, and avoid any large crowds and public gatherings that lack enhanced security measures. U.S. diplomatic facilities in Russia have been the target of frequent demonstrations. Demonstrations related to the conflict may appear anywhere throughout Russia, at any time. These demonstrations may increase the possibility of confrontation and violence. Review your personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings, including local events, and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.
We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Russia enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at https://step.state.gov/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 at http://travel.state.gov, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution, and read the Country Specific Information for the Russian Federation. 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.
The American Citizen Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow assists U.S. citizens in Russia. The Unit can help you with passport issuance and renewal, absentee voting, notarials, and registering a child born abroad. It also provides emergency services for U.S. citizens in the event of a disaster or in case of illness, arrest, death, or destitution while in Russia.
Appointments are required for all non-emergency services; you can make an appointment by calling the ACS unit at (+7) (495) 728-5577, or you may click here to schedule an appointment online. If you have questions, contact the Unit by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Embassy's website.
Emergency Contact Information in Russia:
U.S. Embassy Moscow:
U.S. citizens with an emergency during regular office hours (M-F 9am-6pm, excluding Russian and U.S. holidays) are welcome to visit the ACS unit at the U.S. Embassy, 21 Novinsky Blvd., Moscow. Tel: (+7) (495) 728-5577 - 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., weekdays.
For after-hours emergencies, call (+7) (495) 728-5000 after 6:00 pm, and on weekends and holidays.
U.S. Consulate General St. Petersburg:
The U.S. Consulate General in St. Petersburg is located at 15 Furshatskaya Street, Tel: (+7) (812) 331-2600. You may contact the Consulate’s ACS unit by e-mail at StPetersburgACS@State.gov, or by fax at (+7) (812) 331-2646, or visit the Consulate website.
For after-hours emergencies, call (+7) (812) 331-2600 and listen to the recorded message for the Duty Officer’s cell phone number.
U.S. Consulate General Vladivostok
The U.S. Consulate General is located at 32 Puskinskaya Street, Vladivostok, Russia 690001
Tel.: +7 (423) 230-0070, fax: +7 (423) 230-0091
Emergency telephone: +7 914-791-0067 (24 hours)
U.S. Consular Agency Yuzho-Sakhalinsk:
The Consular Agency in Yuzho-Sakhalinsk is located at Lada Hotel Suite 210, 154 Komsomolskaya Street, Tel: (+7) (424) 242-4917. You may contact the Consular Agency by e-mail at email@example.com
For after-hours emergencies, call (+7) 914-704-0867.
U.S. Consulate General Yekaterinburg:
The U.S. Consulate General in Yekaterinburg is located at 15 Gogolya Street, Tel: (+7) (343) 793-001. You may contact the Consulate’s ACS Unit by e-mail at COnsulYekat@state.gov or by fax at (+7) (343) 379-4515, or visit the Consulate’s website at http://yekaterinburg.usconsulate.gov.
For after-hours emergencies, you may call the Duty Officer at (+7) (917) 569-3549.
The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the upcoming Hurricane and Typhoon Seasons in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico.
Hurricane Season in the Atlantic begins June 1 and ends November 30. The Typhoon Season will last through the end of 2014, 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, 2014.
The Atlantic Basin, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Carribean Sea: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center expects to see a near-normal or below-normal hurricane season this year with a 50 percent chance of a below-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 10 percent chance of an above-normal season. NOAA predicts a likely development of El Nino during the summer or early fall and a 70 percent chance of 8 to 13 named storms, of which three to six are predicted to strengthen to a hurricane (with top winds of 74 mph or higher). Of those, one to two 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: Hurricane season began May 15 and ends November 30. NOAA expects a near- or above-normal season, with a 50 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 10 percent chance of a below normal season. NOAA predicts a 70 percent chance of 14 to 20 named storms, of which six to eleven are expected to become hurricane strength. Of those, three to six are expected to become major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale).
Western and Central Pacific: Typhoon season begins June 1 and ends November 30. NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) predicts a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, a 40 percent chance of an above- normal season, and a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season. CPHC expects four to seven tropical cyclones to affect the central Pacific this season. 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. 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 hurricane, travelers should be aware that they 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 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 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.