US State Department Travel Alerts

Updated on Wednesday, August 24th, 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. Ethiopia Travel Alert
  2. Laos Travel Alert
  3. Nicaragua Travel Alert
  4. Haiti Travel Alert
  5. Hurricane and Typhoon Season 2016 Travel Alert
  6. Europe Travel Alert

1. Ethiopia Travel Alert

Posted on 19 August 2016 | 7:25 am
The State Department alerts U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling in certain regions of Ethiopia due to anti-government protests, some of which have involved violence.

Associated disruptions in telephone and internet services have hampered the U.S. Embassy’s ability to communicate with U.S. citizens in Ethiopia. This Travel Alert expires on February 18, 2017.

Since November 2015, anti-government protests, mainly in the regional states of Amhara and Oromia, have resulted in violent clashes between demonstrators and government security forces. Internet, cellular data, and phone service have been sporadically restricted or completely cut off prior to and during some of the protests, impeding the U.S. Embassy's ability to communicate with U.S. citizens.

Protests are likely to continue, and could spread to other parts of the country, including the capital, Addis Ababa. U.S. citizens in Ethiopia should increase their level of situational awareness, continuously assess their surroundings, evaluate their personal level of safety, and avoid demonstrations and large gatherings.

For further information:

2. Laos Travel Alert

Posted on 1 July 2016 | 7:25 am
The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the risks of travel in parts of Laos because the security situation remains unstable.

Reports of violence, combined with the Lao government’s use of security escort vehicles for its official travelers in these areas, have prompted the U.S. Embassy in Vientiane to continue its restrictions on Embassy personnel traveling in specified areas. This replaces the Travel Alert issued on March 30, 2016, and expires on September 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 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.

3. Nicaragua Travel Alert

Posted on 29 June 2016 | 7:25 am
The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens about increased government scrutiny of foreigners’ activities, new requirements for volunteer groups, and the potential for demonstrations during the upcoming election season in Nicaragua.

This Travel Alert expires on November 30, 2016.

Nicaragua is conducting Presidential and National Assembly elections on November 6, 2016. During the period leading up to and immediately following elections, U.S. citizens in Nicaragua should be aware of heightened sensitivity by Nicaraguan officials to certain subjects or activities, including:

  • elections,
  • the proposed inter-oceanic canal,
  • volunteer or charitable visits,
  • topics deemed sensitive by or critical of the government.

Nicaraguan authorities have denied entry to, detained, questioned, or expelled foreigners, including U.S. government officials, academics, NGO workers, and journalists, for discussions, written reports or articles, photographs, and/or videos related to these topics. Authorities may monitor and question private U.S. citizens concerning their activities, including contact with Nicaraguan citizens. This situation may persist in the post-election period.

The Government of Nicaragua has indicated it is worried about the safety and security of travelers. The government began requiring special notification for official U.S. travelers holding diplomatic or official passports. Additionally, Nicaraguan authorities now require advance coordination for any volunteer group, charitable or medical brigade, or any other assistance visit organized by NGOs, religious groups, schools, or any other group doing this type of work in Nicaragua, regardless of whether the group has worked in Nicaragua previously or has a local office. To coordinate visits from the United States contact the Embassy of Nicaragua in Washington, DC, via email to asistente.emb@embanic.org. To coordinate visits from Nicaragua, contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX), at enlace@cancilleria.gob.ni

During previous election cycles, violent demonstrations occurred involving tear gas, fireworks, rock-throwing, road blocks, burning of vehicles and tires, as well as physical altercations between law enforcement and protestors or rival political parties/individuals. Activities tend to intensify in violence beginning in the early afternoon. Stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. Avoid demonstrations and exercise caution around large gatherings near government buildings and major intersections or roundabouts.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Nicaragua.
  • 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 Nicaragua, located at Km 5 ½ C. Sur Managua, Nicaragua at +(505) 2252-7100, 7:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Monday through Friday. The American Citizen Services unit is also available by email during regular business hours at ACS.Managua@state.gov. For after-hours emergencies, call the same number and ask for the Embassy 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.

 

4. Haiti Travel Alert

Posted on 10 June 2016 | 2:15 pm
The State Department has revised the Travel Alert last updated on March 11, 2016 concerning the presidential election period in light of the announcement by Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council of a new election calendar with a first round of elections on October 9, 2016 and a second round on January 8, 2017.

This Travel Alert expires on February 15, 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 June 14, when the National Assembly is due to vote on the mandate of the Provisional President, 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:

  • 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.

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.

6. Europe Travel Alert

Posted on 31 May 2016 | 7:25 am
As part of the State Department’s continuous efforts to provide Americans travelling abroad with information about relevant events, we are alerting U.S. citizens to the risk of potential terrorist attacks throughout Europe, targeting major events, tourist sites, restaurants, commercial centers and transportation.

The large number of tourists visiting Europe in the summer months will present greater targets for terrorists planning attacks in public locations, especially at large events. This Travel Alert expires August 31, 2016.

France will host the European Soccer Championship from June 10 – July 10. Euro Cup stadiums, fan zones, and unaffiliated entertainment venues broadcasting the tournaments in France and across Europe represent potential targets for terrorists, as do other large-scale sporting events and public gathering places throughout Europe. France has extended its state of emergency through July 26 to cover the period of the soccer championship, as well as the Tour de France cycling race which will be held from July 2- 24.  

The Catholic Church’s World Youth Day event is expected to draw up to 2.5 million visitors to Krakow, Poland, between July 26 and July 31. U.S. citizens should be aware that local infrastructure may be strained due to the large number of visitors. Poland will impose border controls at all of its national borders from July 4 to August 2, and visitors to Poland during this period should be prepared to show their passport and undergo stricter security screening throughout Poland.  More information to help prepare for travel to World Youth Day can be found at U.S. Embassy Poland/World Youth Day and travel.state.gov/WorldYouthDay

U.S. citizens should also: 

  • Exercise vigilance when in public places or using mass transportation.
  • Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid crowded places.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities, especially in an emergency.
  • Monitor media and local event information sources and factor updated information into your travel plans and activities.
  • Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions. 
  • Stay in touch with your family, have a plan if you are separated and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.

European authorities continue to take steps to assure public safety and disrupt terrorist 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:

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