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Nigeria Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Nigeria and recommends that U.S. citizens avoid all travel to Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states because the security situation in northeast Nigeria remains fluid and unpredictable.

The U.S. Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens in Nigeria to consider their own personal security and to keep personal safety in the forefront of their travel planning. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning for Nigeria dated February 2, 2015.

The ability of the Mission to provide assistance to U.S. citizens in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states remains severely limited. The Department continues to recommend against all but essential travel to the following states due to the risk of kidnappings, robberies, and other armed attacks: Adamawa, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Borno, Delta, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Yobe, and Zamfara. The Department also warns against travel in the Gulf of Guinea because of the threat of piracy. Based on safety and security risk assessments, the Embassy maintains restrictions for travel by U.S. officials to those states listed above; officials must receive advance clearance by the U.S. Mission for any travel deemed as mission-essential. U.S. citizens should be aware that extremists could expand their operations beyond northern Nigeria to other areas of the country.

The U.S. Mission advises all U.S. citizens to be particularly vigilant around government security facilities; churches, mosques, and other places of worship; locations where large crowds may gather, such as hotels, clubs, bars, restaurants, markets, shopping malls; and other areas frequented by expatriates and foreign travelers. Security measures in Nigeria remain heightened due to threats posed by extremist groups, and U.S. citizens may encounter police and military checkpoints, additional security, and possible road blocks throughout the country.

Boko Haram, an extremist group based in northeast Nigeria designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the Department of State, has claimed responsibility for many attacks, mainly in northern Nigeria. Its members have killed or wounded thousands of people during the past four years. Boko Haram has targeted churches, schools, mosques, government installations, educational institutions, and entertainment venues in Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Plateau, Taraba, the Federal Capital Territory, and Yobe states. Hundreds of thousands of Nigerians have been displaced as a result of violence in the north.

2014-2015 saw an increase in attacks by Boko Haram and clashes with Nigerian government security forces in northern Nigeria. Boko Haram targeted men, women, and children for kidnapping. In April 2014, Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of over 200 school-aged girls in Borno State. Boko Haram is known to descend on whole towns, robbing banks and businesses, attacking police and military installations, and setting fire to private homes. In 2014, extremists also targeted several public markets and transportation hubs in northern Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja. In Abuja, two explosions occurred in separate attacks at a parking lot in April and May and a shopping center was bombed in June. Several other markets, schools, churches, mosques and bars were targeted throughout the north including an attack with heavy casualties at the central mosque in Kano in November. Boko Haram also claimed responsibility for a suicide attack in Lagos that used a Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device that killed four at the Apapa port facility on June 25, 2014. In January 2015, Boko Haram attacked the town of Baga in Borno state, resulting in an estimated 2,000 casualties. January - July 2015 saw attacks and suicide bombings in Adamawa, Plateau, Borno, and Kano states.

Various curfews are intermittently in effect in several states in the North. All U.S. citizens should remain aware of current situations including curfews, travel restrictions, and states of emergency in the areas they are in or plan to visit. This information is commonly announced via the news media, but at times it can change with very little notice. Please take the time to find out this information for your area.

Cell phone service has, at times, been disrupted in Nigeria, particularly in areas where a State of Emergency has been declared, and when extremists have attacked cellular telephone towers. U.S. citizens should attempt to arrange for multiple means of communication in case of need during emergencies.

Kidnappings remain a security concern throughout the country. Kidnappings are orchestrated by Islamic extremists, predominately in the North, and for ransom by criminal elements in the South. Several high-profile kidnappings occurred in 2014-2015 involving U.S. citizens and other foreign nationals. In September 2014, two U.S citizens were kidnapped in Port Harcourt in two separate incidents. In February 2015, a U.S. citizen was kidnapped in Kogi state. In May 2015, two U.S. citizens were kidnapped in Ondo and Anambra states in separate incidents. Kidnappings of foreign nationals and attacks against Nigerian police forces in Lagos state and the Niger Delta region continued to affect personal security for those traveling in these areas. Criminals or militants have abducted foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, from off-shore and land-based oil facilities, residential compounds, airports, and public roadways. Local authorities and international corporations operating in Nigeria assert that the number of kidnapping incidents throughout Nigeria remains under-reported. Attacks by pirates off the coast of Nigeria in the Gulf of Guinea have increased substantially in recent years. Armed gangs have boarded both commercial and private vessels to rob travelers. The Nigerian Navy has limited capacity to respond to criminal acts at sea.

Violent crimes occur throughout the country. U.S. citizen visitors and residents have experienced armed muggings, assaults, burglaries, armed robberies, car-jackings, rapes, kidnappings, and extortion. Home invasions also remain a serious threat, with armed robbers accessing even guarded compounds by scaling perimeter walls, accessing waterfront compounds by boat, following residents or visitors, or subduing guards to gain entry to homes or apartments. Law enforcement authorities usually respond slowly or not at all and provide little or no investigative support to victims. U.S. citizens, other foreign nationals, and Nigerians have experienced harassment and shakedowns at checkpoints and during encounters with Nigerian law enforcement officials.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Nigeria 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 Abuja, located at Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive, Central District Area, open Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos, located at 2 Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, is open Monday-Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The U.S. Embassy in Abuja can be reached by telephone, including after-hours emergencies, at +234(9) 461-4000, or by email at AbujaACS@state.gov. The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos can be reached by telephone, including after-hours emergencies, at +234(1) 460-3600 or +234 (1) 460-3400, or by email at LagosACS@state.gov. For more information, please visit the U.S. Mission in Nigeria website.
  • 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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Posted in Travel Warnings (U.S. Dept of State)

Djibouti Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Djibouti, including the risk of attack by terrorist organizations in the region.

This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning for Djibouti dated November 25, 2014.

The U.S. government remains concerned about possible attacks on U.S. citizens, whether visiting or residing in Djibouti, and perceived U.S. and foreign interests.  Attacks may target official government facilities, including embassies and military installations, as well as soft targets such as restaurants, clubs, hotels, and other commercial entities. The Government of Djibouti continues to pursue members of Al-Shabaab involved in a May 2014 terrorist attack.

On May 24, 2014, two suicide bombers attacked a restaurant popular with foreigners in Djibouti’s city center.  One person was killed and several others were severely injured.  Al-Shabaab claimed initial responsibility and stated that it intended to conduct similar attacks in Djibouti against both native and foreign targets in the future. Such threats have recurred repeatedly since 2011 following Djibouti’s commitment to contribute military forces to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

U.S. citizens in Djibouti should remain vigilant about their personal security, particularly in public places such as shopping areas, hotels, clubs, bars, restaurants, transportation hubs, and places of worship. In addition, they should remain alert while in the presence of large public gatherings. Adopt the following safe travel practices: avoid crowded venues; visit only legitimate businesses and tourist areas, preferably during daylight hours; lock all doors and windows; carry minimal cash and credit cards; do not wear flashy jewelry; memorize emergency phone numbers; do not resist or antagonize armed criminals; and always be aware of your surroundings.

U.S. citizens who travel to or reside in Djibouti despite this Travel Warning are urged to maintain proper and current travel documents at all times, including a valid U.S. passport and Djibouti visa, and to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) for the most up-to-date security information and for assistance in case of a personal emergency. U.S. citizens without Internet access may enroll directly at the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti.

The U.S. Embassy in Djibouti is located at Lotissement Haramous Lot #350B and may be reached by telephone at + (253) 21-453-000. For after-hours, truly exigent medical or police emergencies involving U.S. citizens, please call + (253) 77-877-229. Any routine consular correspondence relating to U.S. citizen services may be directed to ConsularDjibouti@state.gov.

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State’s Consular Affairs’ website where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Alerts and Travel Warnings, and Country Specific Information for Djibouti can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada or, for callers in other countries, by calling a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern-time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The U.S. Embassy also encourages U.S. citizens to review the Traveler's Checklist, which includes valuable security information for those living or traveling abroad.

Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.

Posted in Travel Warnings (U.S. Dept of State)

Niger Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Niger and specifically recommends citizens avoid travel to the Diffa region, particularly those areas adjacent to Niger’s southern and eastern border, and Lake Chad.

The entire Lake Chad region, not only Niger’s border with Nigeria, is especially vulnerable because of rising activities by the extremist group Boko Haram. This replaces the Travel Warning for Niger dated March 27, 2014, to update U.S. citizens on the current security situation in Niger.

U.S. citizens in Niger, and those considering travel to Niger, should evaluate their personal security situation in light of continuing threats to safety and security. The ability of the U.S. Embassy to provide consular services in remote and rural areas is limited. U.S. citizens should take steps to mitigate the risk of becoming a victim of violent acts, and reduce exposure to locations routinely frequented by Westerners, including markets, restaurants, bars, and places of worship. Locations such as these have been targeted in the region by violent groups and will likely be targeted in the future.

Terrorist groups in the past have called for and executed attacks against countries that supported the intervention against terrorist groups in northern Mali, including Niger. Because of terrorist and kidnapping threats, the Embassy Travel Policy requires armed Nigerien security escorts for U.S. government employees’ official travel north of the latitude of Niamey and to the east of Maradi. The areas bordering Mali and Libya, and northern Niger continue to be of serious concern. Additionally, security operations to counter Boko Haram in northern Nigeria and southeastern Niger have resulted in security degradation along the Niger-Nigeria border, primarily east of Maradi. The border is porous, and there are frequent reports of suspected terrorists and smugglers crossing into Niger.

On February 6-7, Boko Haram used mortars and suicide bombers to attack Bosso and Diffa town in the Diffa region of Niger. On February 10, the Government of Niger declared a state of emergency in the Diffa region. A curfew has been in place in Diffa region since December 2014.

In November 2014, militants mounted a successful multi-pronged attack in the Tillabery region, killing nine Nigerien security members; an unknown number of prisoners escaped from prison in connection with the attack.

In June 2013, prisoners in Niamey's main prison staged a prison break. Of the 32 prisoners who successfully escaped, several are suspected to have ties to terrorist organizations. The majority of the escapees remain at large.

In May 2013, terrorists using suicide car bombs, explosive vests, and small arms attacked a Nigerien military compound in Agadez and a uranium mining facility operated by a French company in Arlit.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a group designated as a terrorist organization by the Department of State since 2002, continues its threats to kidnap Westerners in Niger, including U.S. citizens, and has kidnapped Europeans in the region. A French family of seven was kidnapped while entering a national park in Cameroon in February 2013 and in November another French citizen was taken from Cameroon. Although there have been no kidnappings of westerners in Niger since January 2011, travelers are urged to exercise extreme caution in Niger due to the seriousness of the kidnapping threats against Westerners. Although the U.S. government places the highest priority on the safe recovery of kidnapped U.S. citizens, it is U.S. government policy not to make concessions to kidnappers.

On January 16-17, large-scale protests occurred throughout Niger, resulting in the destruction of more than 45 churches in Niamey alone. The Embassy recommends avoiding large public gatherings, and avoiding travel within the city if you hear reports of demonstrations. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational without warning. As witnessed in the past, Nigerien security services may interrupt cell and social media connection before and during protests.

The Government of Niger continues to maintain security checkpoints in Niamey to address security concerns. Be especially careful around security checkpoints, as security forces continue to be on a heightened state of alert. Do not drive away from, or through, a checkpoint until you receive clear permission to do so. If you are uncertain, please request verbal confirmation before proceeding.

Crime in Niger is a concern. Residential crime targeting homes without guards in Niamey is commonplace. This threat is easily mitigated by having 24/7 residential guards. Most crime in Niamey is non-violent and generally manifests in the form of pick-pocketing or purse-snatching; however, car-jacking and armed robbery can occur. Outside Niamey, the potential for violent crimes increases significantly. Armed bandits target travelers on roads in all parts of the country. Armed escorts are required for all Embassy travel north of Niamey and to, or east of, Maradi. For U.S. government personnel, all travel outside Niamey must occur during daylight hours. We recommend U.S. citizens follow a similar procedure, i.e., travel no earlier than after sunrise and no later than one hour prior to sunset. Throughout Niger, U.S. government travelers stay only at hotels that have armed Nigerien government security.

As a result of safety and security concerns, some organizations, including foreign companies, NGOs, and private aid organizations, have temporarily suspended operations in Niger or withdrawn some family members and/or staff.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's public website, travel.state.gov  for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Niger
  • 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 Niamey, located at 11201 Rue des Ambassades at +(227) 20-72-26-61, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +(227) 20-72-31-41.
  • 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.

Posted in Travel Warnings (U.S. Dept of State)

Ukraine Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to defer all travel to Crimea and the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, and recommends those U.S. citizens currently living in or visiting these regions to depart.

This supersedes the Travel Warning for Ukraine dated January 5 to provide updated information on the security situation in southern and eastern Ukraine.

Russia-backed separatists continue to control areas in the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. Despite the signing of a ceasefire agreement by representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE, violent clashes between combined Russian separatist forces and Ukrainian forces continue in parts of the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, resulting in thousands of injuries and deaths. The ceasefire agreement established a de facto dividing line between Ukrainian government-controlled and separatist-held areas of Ukraine, with numerous checkpoints controlled by government and separatist forces. Individuals, including U.S. citizens, have been threatened, detained or kidnapped for hours or days after being stopped at separatist checkpoints. The Government of Ukraine has stated that foreigners, including U.S. citizens, who enter Ukraine from Russia through separatist-controlled territory, will not be allowed through checkpoints into government-controlled territory.

The Department of State also warns U.S. citizens to defer all travel to the Crimean Peninsula, which is occupied by Russia. The Russian Federation is likely to take further actions in Crimea throughout the remainder of 2015 consistent with its attempted unlawful annexation and occupation of this part of Ukraine. The international community, including the United States and Ukraine, does not recognize this purported annexation. The Russian Federation maintains an extensive military presence in Crimea and along the border of eastern Ukraine. In addition, there are continuing reports of abuses against the local population by de facto authorities in Crimea, particularly against those who are seen as challenging their authority on the peninsula. The Government of Ukraine prevents foreigners, including U.S. citizens, who enter Crimea directly from any country other than Ukraine, from entering mainland Ukraine.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) continues to be concerned about the significant threat to civil aviation operating within Ukraine’s Dnepropetrovsk (UKDV) Flight Information Region (FIR) due to the ongoing attacks by combined Russian-backed separatist forces on Ukrainian forces in parts of the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. In addition, the FAA is concerned that civil aircraft operating in the Simferopol (UKFV) FIR may receive conflicting air traffic control instructions from both Ukrainian and Russian air traffic service providers as the result of the Russian Federation’s purported annexation of this area. As a result, as of 2014 the FAA prohibits U.S. civil aviation from flying in the Ukrainian Simferopol and Dnepropetrovsk FIRS. This prohibition remains in effect. For additional background information regarding FAA flight prohibitions and advisories for U.S. civil aviation, consult the FAA’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices web page.  

The situation in Ukraine is unpredictable and could change quickly. U.S. citizens throughout Ukraine should avoid large crowds and be prepared to remain indoors should protests or demonstrations escalate. U.S. citizens should especially exercise extreme vigilance in public places in the regions of Odesa and Kharkiv due to a continuing increase in small scale terrorism incidents.

U.S. Embassy Kyiv's Consular Section is open for all public services; however, in light of the ongoing unrest, the Embassy has severely restricted the travel of U.S. government personnel to Donetsk, Luhansk and the Crimean Peninsula, and occasionally limits travel to other adjacent regions. As a result, the Embassy's ability to provide consular services, including responding to emergencies, to U.S. citizens in eastern Ukraine and Ukraine's Crimean region is extremely limited.

For further information:

Posted in Travel Warnings (U.S. Dept of State)

Tunisia Travel Alert

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).
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

Posted in Travel Alerts (U.S. Dept of State)

Tunisia Travel Alert

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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Posted in Travel Alerts (U.S. Dept of State)

Potential Implications for Travel Because of Ebola in Parts of West Africa

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).
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Posted in Travel Alerts (U.S. Dept of State)

Kenya Travel Alert

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.

Posted in Travel Alerts (U.S. Dept of State)

Nepal Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Nepal and recommends that they exercise caution there following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 25.

The Department of State terminated the authorized departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel and dependents on June 30, 2015. This replaces the Travel Warning dated May 1, 2015. 

While their frequency and severity have diminished, the possibility of earthquakes or aftershocks continues.  The overall effect of the initial earthquake and its aftershocks varied greatly across the country.  Areas close to the epicenters suffered significant damage, while other areas in the country were nearly unaffected.

In Kathmandu, conditions are returning to normal.  Cleanup efforts have cleared most of the rubble from collapsed structures and walls, and demolition efforts continue to address unstable buildings.  In the worst-affected areas outside of Kathmandu, damage is more widespread and severe.  Recovery efforts in these areas are ongoing, and access to basic resources, such as food, water, fuel and communications, could be limited.

The April 25 earthquake and its aftershocks destabilized steep, mountainous areas, and severe landslides have occurred in some affected areas.  With the arrival of monsoon rains, which usually begin in June and last until September, there may be a higher occurrence of landslides than in years past. 

We encourage travelers to consult carefully with their travel and trekking agencies for current, location-specific information. 

For more information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Specific Information for Nepal.
  • 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 Nepal, located in the Maharajgunj neighborhood of Kathmandu.  U.S. citizens in Nepal who need assistance can contact the U.S. Embassy by e-mail at ConsKTM@state.gov or by phone at +977 1 423 4500. U.S. citizens in Nepal and their family and friends elsewhere should stay up to date on consular information by periodically checking Travel Information and Messages for U.S. citizens in Nepal.  
  • Emergency calls may also be placed through the Department of State at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.
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Posted in Travel Warnings (U.S. Dept of State)

Republic of South Sudan Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to the Republic of South Sudan.

The U.S. Embassy in Juba continues to operate at reduced staffing levels due to continued armed conflict outside Juba. The U.S. Embassy has little capacity to reach U.S. citizens with emergencies outside Juba due to the poor security situation and lack of critical infrastructure. Additionally, the U.S. Embassy is rarely informed of the arrest of U.S. citizens in a timely manner and consular assistance to detainees both in Juba and outside the capital is extremely limited. U.S. citizens traveling to South Sudan despite this warning should develop contingency plans prior to arrival to ensure their safety and security. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning issued January 7, 2015.

The South Sudanese government is currently engaged in an armed conflict with opposition forces led by the former vice president Riek Machar, which has led to the displacement of more than two million people. Although the conflict is primarily concentrated in Unity, Jonglei, and Upper Nile states, other areas of the country have experienced periodic fighting. Instability persists across the country due to retaliatory attacks, intercommunal violence and cattle raiding, and economic uncertainty.

Health care in South Sudan is extremely limited and poor. U.S. citizens with medical conditions should not travel to South Sudan, and all travelers should ensure their travel is covered by overseas medical insurance, including medical evacuation.

The government of South Sudan has limited capacity to deter crime or provide security to travelers, particularly outside of Juba. In addition to instability related to the current armed conflict, the risk of violent crime is high in South Sudan. The U.S. Embassy in Juba has imposed a curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. and has implemented other measures to protect U.S. government personnel living and working in South Sudan. These include requiring personnel to travel in armored government vehicles and coordinating with the host government for travel outside of Juba. Due to security concerns, spouses and family members of U.S. government personnel are not permitted to reside in South Sudan. U.S. citizens should consider those restrictions and take measures to mitigate exposure to violent crime and other threats. U.S. citizens currently working on humanitarian relief or development efforts in Juba, or elsewhere in South Sudan, should closely follow the security policies and procedures of the sponsoring organization.

Carjackings and banditry are common in South Sudan. If travel outside of Juba is necessary, it should be undertaken preferably with a minimum of two vehicles with appropriate recovery and medical equipment in case of mechanical failure or other emergency. Additionally, there are widespread fuel shortages across South Sudan, and access to gasoline and or diesel cannot be guaranteed.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for South Sudan.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). U.S. citizens who decide to travel to or remain in South Sudan despite this Travel Warning to provide their current contact information and next-of-kin information through STEP. 
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in South Sudan located on Kololo Road in Tongping next to the European Union compound, at +(211) 912-105-188 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +(211) 912-105-107.
  • 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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Posted in Travel Warnings (U.S. Dept of State)