US State Department Travel Alerts

Updated on Friday, July 31st, 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. Tunisia Travel Alert
  2. Potential Implications for Travel Because of Ebola in Parts of West Africa
  3. Kenya Travel Alert
  4. 2015 Hurricane and Typhoon Season
  5. Burundi Travel Alert
  6. Lesotho Travel Alert

1. Tunisia Travel Alert

Posted on 16 July 2015 | 7:25 am
The U.S. Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the risks of travel to Tunisia and recommends that U.S. citizens in Tunisia maintain a high level of vigilance in light of recent terrorist attacks on sites frequented by tourists.

The Tunisian government has shown its commitment to addressing security concerns and has visibly augmented its security presence at tourist locations, but challenges remain.  On July 4, President Caid Essebsi declared a 30-day state of emergency that grants security forces more authority to maintain civil order, enabling the government to focus on combating terrorism.  The Minister of Interior stated on July 6 that the state of emergency will assist in securing the hotels and tourist areas.  This Travel Alert expires on August 31, 2015.  

U.S. citizens should exercise extreme caution in Tunisia when frequenting public venues that are visited by large numbers of foreigners, such as:  hotels, shopping centers, tourist sites, and restaurants.  Two recent attacks targeting tourists killed a number of foreign nationals: March 18, 2015, at the Bardo Museum in Tunis; and June 26, 2015 near Sousse at the Riu Imperial Marhaba and Riu Bellevue Park hotels.  The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for both attacks.  U.S. citizens should also be alert to the possibility of kidnapping.

Terrorist organizations have also targeted Tunisian security forces and government installations.  The Tunisian government officially designated the group Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia (AAS-T), a group with known anti-U.S. and anti-Western sentiments, as a terrorist organization on August 27, 2013.  The Tunisian government continues security force operations against AAS-T, ISIL, and al Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Protests, demonstrations, and civil unrest can occur with little warning throughout the country.  U.S. citizens should avoid large crowds and demonstrations, as even demonstrations that are meant to be peaceful have the potential to become unpredictable.  When the last significant protests took place in Tunisia in the summer of 2013, they were non-violent and not directed against U.S. citizens or foreigners.  U.S. citizens should be aware of anti-U.S. and anti-Western sentiment held by several groups in country.  U.S. citizens should also be alert and aware of their surroundings.  Travelers should monitor local events, report suspicious activity to the local police, and take appropriate steps to bolster personal security.

Travelers contemplating trips to the interior of the country should assess local conditions and routes when making travel plans.  In particular, all travel south of the designated military zone in the south must be coordinated in advance with Tunisian authorities.  Also, travel to either border should be avoided, if possible, given the periodic security incidents along the border regions, including the Mount Chaambi region near the Algerian border where security operations continue against armed extremists.  The Tunisian National Guard encourages persons traveling into the desert to register their travel beforehand.  For details on how and where to register, please visit the U.S. Embassy’s desert travel page.  No special authorization is required to travel to the desert as far south as Remada.  The desert south of Remada is designated as a military zone by the Government of Tunisia.  If travelers wish to enter the military zone, for example to travel to Borma, a special authorization is required.  Please visit the U.S. Embassy’s desert travel page.

Tunisia shares borders with Algeria and Libya.  Developments in Libya continue to affect the security situation along the border areas, and the Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to Libya.  Due to tighter security, backups of several hours can occur on the Tunisian side of the border.  The Ras Jedir and Dehiba border crossings with Libya may be closed occasionally, and access to both crossings is strictly controlled by Tunisian security forces.  Travelers should consult local authorities before travelling to the Libyan border, and should read the Department of State’s Travel Warning for Libya, as well as the Department of State’s Country Specific Information and other international travel safety and security information for Libya and Algeria.  Travelers should consult local authorities before travelling to the Algerian border and read the Department of State’s Travel Warning for Algeria.  Some crossings may be closed occasionally and access is strictly controlled by Tunisian and Algerian security forces.

Government security forces, including the army, police, and National Guard, are visibly present throughout Tunisia.  Under the state of emergency, the Ministry of Interior is granted broad powers and may ban rallies and demonstrations.  The Minister of Interior, as well as local governors, have the prerogative to put any individual under house arrest, if considered a threat to national and public security; and to search houses and conduct other activities without requiring prior judicial authorization.  Security personnel, including plain clothes officials, may at times place foreign visitors under surveillance.  It is against Tunisian law to photograph government offices and other security facilities.  Suspicious incidents or problems should be reported immediately to Tunisian authorities and the U.S. Embassy.  Travelers should remain alert to local security developments and heed directions given by uniformed security officials.  U.S. citizens are urged to always carry a copy of their passport as proof of nationality and identity and, if moving about alone, a cell phone or other means of communication that works in Tunisia.

The U.S. government considers the potential threat to U.S. Embassy personnel assigned abroad sufficiently serious to require them to live and work under security restrictions which vary by country of assignment.  Embassy Tunis travel regulations require advance notification to Embassy security officials of travel outside greater Tunis.  These measures occasionally prevent the movement of U.S. Embassy officials and the provision of consular services in certain areas of the country.

Unless otherwise indicated in a public announcement, the U.S. Embassy is open for all routine American Citizens Services by appointment.  U.S. citizens needing emergency assistance do not need an appointment.  The Embassy will notify U.S. citizens as quickly as possible of any closing and the types of emergency consular services that will be available.  Visit the Embassy website to check the latest changes to Embassy hours or services. 

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Tunisia.
  • 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 Tunisia located at North East Zone Berges du Lac, North of Tunis 2045 La Goulette, at +216 71 107 000, 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +216 71 107 000.
  • 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).
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2. Potential Implications for Travel Because of Ebola in Parts of West Africa

Posted on 14 July 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 January 1, 2016.

Due to an outbreak of EVD in the West African nations of Guinea and Sierra Leone, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued Level 3 Travel Warnings against non-essential travel and urged travelers to practice enhanced precautions for avoidance of contact with ill individuals. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Liberia to be free from EVD transmission on May 9; however, a small number of additional EVD cases have been identified since June 29. Although CDC is no longer advising against nonessential travel to Liberia, it recommends that all persons practice enhanced precautions when traveling to Liberia. 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.

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.

  • 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. If you do not have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
  • 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.

3. Kenya Travel Alert

Posted on 13 July 2015 | 7:25 am
The State Department alerts U.S. citizens that the Sixth Annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) is scheduled to take place July 24 – 26, 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya.

As with all large public events, there is the opportunity for criminal elements to target participants and other visitors. Large-scale public events such as this Summit can also be a target for terrorists. U.S. citizens should maintain a high level of security awareness, and enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive pertinent safety and security information. This Travel Alert expires on July 30, 2015.

For additional information, read the Country Specific Information for Kenya, the Kenya Travel Warning, and the Global Entrepreneurship Summit Fact Sheet, which are available on the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs 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).

The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi is located on United Nations Avenue, Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya; telephone (+254) (20) 363-6000; fax (+254) (20) 363-6410. In the event of an after-hours emergency, contact the Embassy duty officer at (+254) (20) 363-6000.

4. 2015 Hurricane and Typhoon Season

Posted on 3 June 2015 | 6:41 pm
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 will last through November 2015, 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, 2015.

The Atlantic Basin, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea:  Hurricane Season in the Atlantic began June 1.  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 70 percent chance of a below-normal season, a 20 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 6 to 11 named storms, which includes TS Ana that formed in May.  Of those, three to six storms are predicted to strengthen to a hurricane (with top winds of 74 mph or higher) and 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 in the Eastern Pacific began on May 15.  NOAA expects a near- or above-normal season, with a 70 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 25 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 5 percent chance of a below normal season.  NOAA predicts a 70 percent chance of 15 to 22 named storms, of which seven to twelve are expected to become hurricane strength.  Of those, five to eight are expected to become major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale).   

Western and Central Pacific:  Typhoon season in the Western and Central Pacific began on June 1. NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) predicts a 70 percent change of an above normal season, a 25 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 5 percent chance of a below-normal season.  CPHC expects five to eight 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 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.

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.

5. 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

6. 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. 

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