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Chad Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Chad and recommends citizens avoid travel to eastern Chad and border regions.

U.S. citizens should be particularly vigilant when visiting hotels, restaurants, markets, and easily accessible public areas that expatriates and foreign travelers frequent. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning for Chad dated October 10, 2013 to update U.S. citizens on the current security situation in Chad.

The U.S. Embassy in Chad reviews all proposed travel by official U.S. government personnel to areas outside of the capital, N'Djamena, and its immediate surroundings before approving such arrangements because of security concerns. U.S. citizens affiliated with humanitarian relief efforts similarly should review security precautions and consider measures to mitigate exposure to violent crime and other threats. U.S. citizens residing in Chad should exercise caution throughout the country. The security situation in Chad has steadily improved since the conclusion of an effective peace agreement between Sudan and Chad in early 2010. Despite recent stability, the security environment is historically volatile and could deteriorate unexpectedly, particularly in border areas in light of recent conflict in neighboring Central African Republic.

While there are presently no known specific threats against U.S. citizens in Chad, there are violent extremist organizations in the region, such as Boko Haram and al-Qai’da in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), who are intent on harming westerners and western interests and are able to cross borders easily. The U.S. Embassy, therefore, advises all U.S. citizens to exercise caution and be prepared to implement their personal evacuation or safe haven plans on short notice should the situation warrant. U.S. citizens in Chad should closely monitor news media and register with the U.S. Embassy in N'Djamena as well as monitor its website.

Incidents of robbery, carjacking at gunpoint, and murder have been reported throughout the country and recently in N’Djamena. While there are no reports of kidnapping for ransom in Chad since 2010, regional trends suggest this remains a potential threat. Violence is occasionally associated with car accidents and other events that have caused injury to Chadian nationals. Robbery victims have been beaten or killed, and law enforcement and military personnel have been implicated in violent crime. In addition, armed groups may reemerge with little warning. The Government of Chad has limited means to guarantee the safety of visitors in rural Chad.

U.S. citizens affiliated with humanitarian relief efforts in rural Chad are strongly urged to adhere closely to the policies and procedures of their host organizations to mitigate risks from violent crime. The Government of Chad requires all individuals traveling to or residing in areas hosting refugee populations in Chad to obtain movement permits issued by the Ministry of Interior and Public Security in N'Djamena.  U.S. citizens intending to enter Cameroon, Central African Republic, Libya, Niger, Nigeria, or Sudan from Chad should consult the Department's Travel Warnings for those countries and obtain any requisite visas or travel permits prior to traveling.

The U.S. Embassy communicates with U.S. citizens residing in Chad through its warden system; however, in the case of an emergency, including an evacuation, the support that can be offered to those in remote and rural areas is limited. All U.S. citizens affiliated with humanitarian relief efforts in eastern Chad should have an evacuation plan developed with the United Nations agency coordinating their work. 

Medical services in Chad are limited. U.S. citizens entering Chad are strongly encouraged to verify their coverage extends to traveling within Chad – including medical evacuation – prior to arrival. International SOS and EuropAssistance are two clinics in Chad that offer an international standard of care and provide medical evacuation services. The preceding information is provided for informational purposes only and in no way constitutes an endorsement, expressed or implied, by the United States Department of State.

Embassy updates are available at the U.S. Embassy N'Djamena web site and Facebook page. The current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information, as well as global updates, are available at the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs. Travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada, or from other countries on a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. Follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and on Facebook.

U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Chad are encouraged to inform the Department prior to traveling through enrollment in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). By enrolling in STEP, the Department can keep travelers apprised of important safety and security announcements. Enrolling in STEP will also make for easier communication in the event of an emergency. Travelers should remember to keep all of their information in STEP up to date; it is particularly important to include a current phone number and e-mail address in order to receive the Embassy's emergency messages.

The U.S. Embassy is located on Avenue Felix Eboué in N’Djamena; the Embassy's mailing address is BP 413 N’Djamena Chad. Embassy telephone numbers are 235 2251-62-11, 2251-70-09, 2251-77-59, 2251-90-52, 2251-92-18, and 2251-92-33. The Embassy fax number is 235 2251-56-54. For after-hours emergencies, U.S. citizens in Chad should call 235 6662-2100 and ask to speak with the duty officer. 

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

Colombia Travel Warning

The Department of State has issued this Travel Warning to inform U.S. citizens about the security situation in Colombia.

Tens of thousands of U.S. citizens safely visit Colombia each year for tourism, business, university studies, and volunteer work. Security in Colombia has improved significantly in recent years, including in tourist and business travel destinations such as Bogota and Cartagena, but violence linked to narco-trafficking continues to affect some rural areas and parts of large cities. This Travel Warning replaces the one released on October 11, 2013, with no substantive changes.

There have been no reports of U.S. citizens being targeted specifically because of their nationality. While the U.S. Embassy possesses no information concerning specific and credible threats against U.S. citizens in Colombia, we strongly encourage you to exercise caution and remain vigilant as terrorist and criminal activities remain a threat throughout the country. Explosions occur throughout Colombia on a regular basis, including some in Bogota itself. Small towns and rural areas of Colombia can still be extremely dangerous due to the presence of terrorists and narco-traffickers, including armed criminal gangs (referred to as "BACRIM" in Spanish), that are active throughout much of the country. Violence associated with the BACRIM has spilled over into many of Colombia's major cities. These groups are heavily involved in the drug trade.

Although the incidence of kidnapping in Colombia has diminished significantly from its peak in 2000, it remains a threat, and is of particular concern in rural areas. Terrorist groups and other criminal organizations continue to kidnap and hold civilians, including foreigners, for ransom or as political bargaining chips. No one is immune from kidnapping on the basis of occupation, nationality, or other factors. The U.S. government places the highest priority on the safe recovery of kidnapped U.S. citizens, but it is U.S. policy not to make concessions to or strike deals with kidnappers.

U.S. government officials in Colombia regularly travel to the major cities of Colombia without incident. However, U.S. government officials and their families in Colombia normally are only permitted to travel to major cities by air. They may not use inter- or intra-city bus transportation, or travel by road outside urban areas at night. U.S. government officials and their families in Colombia must file a request to travel to any area in Colombia outside of two general areas. The first area is outlined by the cities of Bogota, Anolaima, Cogua, and Sesquile. The second area is on the Highway 90 corridor that connects Cartagena, Barranquilla, and Santa Marta. All U.S. citizens in Colombia are urged to follow these precautions and exercise extra caution outside of the aforementioned areas.

For more detailed information on staying safe in Colombia, please see the State Department's Country Specific Information for Colombia. For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Bureau of Consular Affairs' internet web site, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts can be found. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.

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 outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 001-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). U.S. citizens living or traveling in Colombia are encouraged to enroll with the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to obtain updated information on travel and security within Colombia. For any emergencies involving U.S. citizens in Colombia, please contact the U.S. Embassy or the closest U.S. Consulate as listed below.

The U.S. Embassy is located at Calle 24 Bis No. 48-50 Bogota, D.C., Colombia. Mailing address: Carrera 45 No. 24B-27 Bogota, D.C., Colombia. In case of a serious emergency that jeopardizes the health or safety of a U.S. citizen in Colombia, please call the Embassy at (571) 275-2000; Embassy fax: (571) 275-4501; Consular Section phone: (571) 275-4900. The Embassy's American Citizens Services office provides routine information at http://bogota.usembassy.gov. For questions not answered there, inquiries may be sent by email to ACSBogota@state.gov.

The U.S. Consular Agency in Barranquilla, which accepts passport applications and performs notarial services, is located at Calle 77B, No. 57-141, Piso 5, Centro Empresarial Las Americas, Barranquilla, Atlantico, Colombia; telephone (575) 369-0419; fax (57-5) 353-5216. In case of an emergency in the Barranquilla/north coast area, please contact the Embassy in Bogota at (571) 275-2000 which will forward the call to our Consular Agent.

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

Sudan Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to Sudan, urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to the Darfur region of Sudan, the Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states, and advises you to consider carefully the risks of travel in other areas of Sudan.

This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning for Sudan dated October 11, 2013. 

On September 14, 2012, the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum was attacked during a protest demonstration, resulting in a six-month ordered departure of all non-essential staff and accompanying family members.

On March 13, 2013, after six months without security incidents or demonstrations targeted at U.S. citizens or the United States government in Sudan, the State Department lifted its ordered departure status.  All U.S. government personnel and all adult family members employed by the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum have returned to Khartoum.  

While the Government of Sudan has taken some steps to limit the activities of terrorist groups, elements of these groups remain in Sudan and have threatened to attack Western interests. Terrorist actions may include suicide operations, bombings, or kidnappings.  You should be aware of the risk of indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets in public places, including tourist sites and locations where westerners are known to congregate, as well as commercial operations associated with U.S. or Western interests.  The terrorist threat level throughout Sudan, and particularly in the Darfur region, remains critical, and the U.S. Embassy has implemented enhanced security measures to protect U.S. government personnel assigned to Sudan.  These measures include requiring U.S. government personnel to travel in armored government vehicles at all times, and to obtain advance permission for travel outside of Khartoum.  In addition, family members of U.S. personnel under age 21 are not allowed to reside in Sudan.

If you are traveling or residing anywhere in Sudan, you should exercise caution at all times and closely monitor local and international news from reliable sources.  Violent flare-ups break out between various armed militia groups and Sudanese military forces with little notice, particularly in the Darfur region, along the border between Chad and Sudan, and in areas on the border with South Sudan.  Near the border with Ethiopia and Eritrea, landmines and unmarked minefields are a critical threat.  There are occasional clashes with local tribes, particularly those known for weapons and human trafficking, along with the threats of Ethiopian gangs crossing the border to rob people along the highway.  Hostilities between Sudanese forces and armed opposition groups in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states, including the disputed area of Abyei, present real and immediate dangers to travelers.  In addition, U.S. citizens found in these areas without permission from the Government of Sudan face the possibility of detention by government security forces.  You should avoid all public demonstrations and political rallies, as even demonstrations that seem peaceful can turn confrontational and become violent with little or no notice.  Demonstrations occur periodically, mostly in Khartoum.  In September 2013, Khartoum and other urban areas witnessed violent confrontations between authorities and demonstrators protesting economic austerity measures.  You should keep a low profile, vary your times and routes of travel, exercise care while driving, and ensure that your passport and Sudanese visa are always valid and up to date.

The threat of violent crime, including kidnappings, armed robberies, home invasions, and carjackings, is particularly high in the Darfur region of Sudan, as the Government of Sudan has limited capacity to deter crime in that region.  In addition, Janjaweed militia and heavily armed Darfuri rebel groups are known to have carried out criminal attacks against foreigners.  In May 2010, a U.S. citizen working for a humanitarian relief organization was kidnapped in Darfur and held for more than three months before being released.  More recently, a number of other foreign nationals have been abducted and held for ransom by criminal groups in Darfur.  Due to the fluid security situation, U.S. government personnel are not authorized to travel to Darfur except to certain areas deemed acceptable at the time of travel and with appropriate security precautions.

The United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) has advised that regional tensions entail the risk of maritime attacks being conducted against vessels operating in the Gulf of Oman, North Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and the Bab el Mandeb regions.

MARAD recommends vessels at anchor, operating in restricted maneuvering environments, or at slow speeds should be especially vigilant, and report suspicious activity.  U.S. flag vessels that observe suspicious activity in the area are advised to report such suspicious activity or any hostile or potentially hostile action to COMUSNAVCENT battlewatch captain at phone number 973-1785-3879.  Report all suspicious activities and events to the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center at the following toll free telephone: 1-800-424-8802, direct telephone 202-267-2675, or TDD 202-267-4477.  The complete advisory is available on the MARAD website at www.MARAD.DOT.gov.

We recommend that all U.S. citizens visiting or residing in Sudan maintain safehaven plans, as well as plans to evacuate the country on short notice should the situation warrant.  If the security situation worsens or if specific threats affecting the safety of U.S. citizens are discovered, we will make this information available through the U.S. Embassy website and by messages communicated through our warden system.  Emergency Messages for U.S. Citizens in Sudan can be found online here.

The ability of the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum to provide services to U.S. citizens in emergency situations outside of the Khartoum area is limited, and dependent on security conditions. The ability to provide assistance is particularly limited in southern Sudan and in Darfur.

You can stay in touch and get updates by checking the U.S. Embassy website. U.S. citizens can also obtain global updates from the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website, where you can find the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information.  Current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States, or for callers from other countries, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.  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 the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.  

If you are going to live in or travel to Sudan despite this Travel Warning, please take the time to tell us about your trip by enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  By enrolling in STEP, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. Enrolling in STEP will also make it easier for us to contact you in the event of an emergency. You should remember to keep all of your information in STEP up to date; it is particularly important when you enroll or update your information to include a current phone number and e-mail address. U.S. citizens in Sudan without internet access may enroll directly at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum by completing and submitting a registration form.

The U.S. Embassy is located at U.S. Embassy Road, Kilo 10, Soba, Khartoum. U.S. citizens may obtain the latest security information by contacting the Embassy consular section at ACSKhartoum@state.gov, or by visiting the U.S. Embassy website. In the event of an emergency involving a U.S. citizen, contact the Embassy by calling 0187-022-000 (from inside Sudan) or 249 187-022-000 (from outside Sudan) and ask to be connected to the Embassy duty officer.

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

Kenya Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Kenya.

U.S. citizens in Kenya, and those considering travel to Kenya, should evaluate their personal security situation in light of continuing and recently heightened threats from terrorism and the high rate of violent crime in some areas. The levels of risk vary throughout the country. This replaces the Travel Warning of September 27, 2013, to update information about the current security situation.

The U.S. government continues to receive information about potential terrorist threats aimed at U.S., Western, and Kenyan interests in Kenya, including in the Nairobi area and in the coastal cities of Mombasa and Diani. Terrorist acts can include suicide operations, bombings – to include car bombings - kidnappings, attacks on civil aviation, and attacks on maritime vessels in or near Kenyan ports. Although the pursuit of those responsible for previous terrorist activities continues, many of those involved remain at large and still operate in the region. Travelers should consult the Worldwide Caution for further information and details.

Kenya initiated military action against al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab by crossing into Somalia on October 16, 2011, and on June 2, 2012, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) whereby it formally joined the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Kenyan troops within AMISOM are now actively pursuing al-Shabaab in southeastern Somalia. In response to the Kenyan intervention, al-Shabaab and its sympathizers have conducted retaliatory attacks against civilian and government targets in Kenya.

On September 21, 2013, suspected members of the al-Shabaab terrorist organization, an Al-Qaeda affiliate, attacked the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, killing scores of innocent people, both Kenyan and foreign, and wounding many others. The siege at the mall continued for several days and five U.S. citizens were confirmed injured in the attack. 

In the past year and a half, there have been numerous attacks involving shootings, grenades, or other explosive devices in Kenya in addition to the attacks described above. In total, over 100 people have been killed in these attacks, and hundreds have been injured. Approximately 53 of these attacks occurred in northeastern Kenya, mainly in Dadaab, Wajir, Garissa, and Mandera counties. Five attacks occurred in Mombasa. Most recently, on March 23, 2014, three unknown gunmen opened fire on a church service in Likoni, which is in the Mombasa area, killing six people and wounding 18 others. On January 2, 2014, 10 people were wounded in a grenade attack on a night club in Diani, a popular resort area on Kenya’s south coast near Mombasa. Fifteen grenade and improvised explosive device (IED) attacks have occurred in Nairobi, illustrating an increase in the number of attacks and an advance in the sophistication of attacks. In the most recent grenade attack, on March 31, six people were killed in Eastleigh. An attack also occurred on January 16, 2014, at a restaurant at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport; no injuries were reported. Other targets in the past have included police stations and police vehicles, nightclubs and bars, churches, a mosque, a religious gathering, a downtown building of small shops, and a bus station. On December 14, 2013, an IED exploded on a passenger bus near the Eastleigh neighborhood, killing six people and injuring 30.

Kenyan law enforcement has disrupted several terrorist plots throughout the country. On March 17, 2014, police discovered a large and sophisticated car bomb in the Mombasa area, as reported in the local media. It is unclear what the intended target was.

Ethnic clashes sometimes occur in areas of northern Kenya. In Marsabit, over 50 people have been killed and 50,000 displaced by ongoing ethnic clashes that began in July 2013. In October 2013, a local Muslim cleric with alleged ties to al-Shabaab was killed in a drive-by shooting in Mombasa, prompting a day of rioting in Mombasa, which resulted in the deaths of four persons and an arson attack that damaged a church. While this violence is not directed at foreigners, protests and ethnic clashes are unpredictable. U.S. citizens are advised to check conditions and monitor local media reports before traveling to these areas.

Multiple kidnappings of Westerners have occurred in Kenya. On June 29, 2012, four international aid workers (from Canada, Pakistan, Norway, and the Philippines) were kidnapped in the Dadaab refugee camp in northeastern Kenya. All were rescued on July 1, 2012. In October 2011, two Spanish nationals working for a non-governmental organization (NGO) were also kidnapped in Dadaab. They were released on July 18, 2013.

The Government of Kenya directive of December 2012 ordering all urban refugees to relocate to refugee camps was overturned by court order and is not being implemented; however, U.S. citizens of Somali descent should be aware that they may encounter interruptions in their travel due to increased police scrutiny based on this directive. It is very important to carry at all times proof of identity and legal status in Kenya (i.e., valid visa). If you are detained by police or immigration officials, you should request to speak to someone from the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi.

As a result of these recent events and threats, U.S. Embassy personnel are prohibited from traveling to northeastern Kenya, including the cities of El Wak, Wajir, Garissa, Mandera, and Liboi. U.S. Embassy personnel are also restricted from traveling to the coastal area north of Pate Island, including Kiwavu and north to Kiunga on the Kenya-Somalia border.

Although these restrictions do not apply to travelers not associated with the U.S. government, U.S. citizens in Kenya should take these restrictions into account when planning travel. The Embassy regularly reviews the security of these areas for possible modification.

There are no restrictions on U.S. embassy employee travel to Kenya's most popular tourist destinations such as Masai Mara, Amboseli, Lake Nakuru, Tsavo, Lamu Island, Hell's Gate, Samburu, Mount Kenya, and Malindi. However, as with the prohibited travel destinations listed above, the Embassy regularly reviews the security of these unrestricted areas for possible modification. Travelers should keep informed of local developments by following local press, radio, and television reports prior to their visits. Visitors should also consult their hosts, including U.S. and Kenyan business contacts, hotels, tour guides, and travel organizers.

Violent and sometimes fatal criminal attacks, including armed carjackings, grenade attacks, home invasions and burglaries, and kidnappings can occur at any time and in any location, particularly in Nairobi. U.S. citizens, including U.S. Embassy employees, have been victims of such crimes within the past year.

U.S. citizens in Kenya should be extremely vigilant with regard to their personal security, particularly in crowded public places such as clubs, hotels, resorts, shopping centers, restaurants, bus stations, and places of worship. U.S. citizens should also remain alert in residential areas, at schools, and at outdoor recreational events. U.S. citizens should use commonsense precautions at all times, to include the following practices: avoid crowded transportation venues; visit only legitimate businesses and tourist areas only during daylight hours; use well-marked taxis and be sure to lock vehicle doors and keep windows up; lock all lodging doors and windows; carry minimal amounts of cash and credit cards; do not wear jewelry which attracts undue attention; know emergency phone numbers; do not resist or antagonize armed criminals; and always be aware of your surroundings. These measures can help ensure your travel to Kenya is safe and enjoyable.

U.S. citizens who travel to or reside in Kenya are urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in order to receive the most up-to-date security information. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly with the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi.

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, the Embassy duty officer may be contacted at (+254) (20) 363-6000. Travelers may also consult the U.S. Embassy Nairobi website for more information.

U.S. citizens should also consult the Department of State's Country Specific Information for Kenya, as well as Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, which are all available on the U.S. Department of State's, Bureau of Consular Affairs website. Travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.

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

Burundi Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to Burundi.

This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning for Burundi dated October 11, 2013, to reiterate existing security concerns and to note updated security restrictions on travel for Embassy personnel.

Because Burundi participates in peacekeeping operations in Somalia, the terrorist organization al-Shabaab, based in Somalia, has threatened to conduct terror attacks in Burundi.  It may also target U.S. interests in Burundi.

The Burundian civil war that lasted from 1993 to 2006 often involved non-governmental and non-combatant targets.  In 2009, the government and the last rebel group signed their final cease-fire agreement in which the rebel group agreed to demobilize and register as a political party.  Burundi held general elections in 2010 which were generally considered credible.  However, political tensions ran high and there were incidents of violence during the campaign period.  Low-level political violence persists throughout Burundi. 

There are confirmed reports of armed groups operating in Burundi.  Weapons are easy to obtain and some ex-combatants have turned to crime or political violence.  Crime, often committed by groups of armed bandits or street children, poses the highest risk for foreign visitors to both Bujumbura and Burundi in general.  Exchanges of gunfire and grenade attacks are common even in densely populated urban areas.  Stay indoors, in a ground floor interior room, if gunfire or explosions occur nearby.  Common crimes include muggings, burglaries, and robberies.  Visitors should keep vehicle doors locked and windows up, and be careful when stopped in heavy traffic, due to the threat of robbery and theft.  The U.S. Embassy has received reports of armed criminals ambushing vehicles, particularly on the roads leading out of Bujumbura.  The U.S. Embassy prohibits U.S. government personnel from walking on the streets after dark and from using local public transportation at any time.  Due to a lack of resources, local authorities in any part of Burundi are often unable to provide timely assistance during an emergency.

U.S. citizens should be aware that even gatherings and demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn violent.  U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Burundi are reminded to maintain a high level of security awareness at all times and avoid political rallies, demonstrations, and crowds of any kind.  Even seemingly peaceful sporting events can become politicized and turn violent.  U.S. citizens should routinely monitor local media sources and the Internet for reports of demonstrations and unrest. 

The U.S. Embassy continues to caution U.S. citizens that travel outside the capital, Bujumbura, presents significant risks, especially after nightfall.  The U.S. Embassy restricts the travel of its personnel in Burundi.  The Embassy's Regional Security Officer (RSO) must pre-approve all Embassy personnel travel beyond a 30-km radius of Bujumbura.  Employees must check in with the Embassy throughout their travel, must have at least two people in the vehicle, and must be equipped with satellite phones, GPS, and emergency equipment.  All employee movement outside the city from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. is forbidden; the Embassy recommends that U.S. citizens not travel on national highways from dusk to dawn. 

Corruption is endemic in Burundi and contributes to an environment where the rule of law is not respected.  Government officials may ask for bribes for providing routine services.  Travelers are frequently stopped, questioned, and asked for bribes by security forces at numerous official and unofficial road blocks throughout the country.  Likewise, criminals who have paid off local officials may operate without fear of prosecution.

U.S. citizens who travel to or remain in Burundi despite this Travel Warning are urged to contact the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura for information on the latest Embassy security guidance, and to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) so they can receive the most up-to-date security information.  Please keep all of your information in STEP current.  It is important when enrolling or updating information to include multiple phone numbers and email addresses to facilitate communication in the event of an emergency.

U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura at Avenue des Etats-Unis.  The hours for non-emergency American Citizens Services are 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays, and 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Fridays.  The Embassy Consular section can be reached by telephone, including for after-hours emergencies, at +257-22-20-7000, or by fax at +257-22-22-2926.  Security information for U.S. citizens in Burundi is posted on Embassy Bujumbura's website.

For further information, consult the Department of State's Country Specific Information for Burundi and the current Worldwide Caution, available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website.  Current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, a regular toll line at-1-202-501-4444 for callers 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).

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.

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. On June 13, 2013, the Department of State approved authorized departure for family members of Embassy personnel because of extensive problems with the electrical power grid in Niger and associated difficulties guaranteeing a potable water supply for Embassy personnel and their family dependents. Since that time, circumstances have improved and, as of July 12, the U.S. Embassy in Niger is no longer on authorized departure status. This replaces the Travel Warning for Niger dated July 15, 2013, to update information about the current security situation.

The Government of Niger continues to maintain security checkpoints in Niamey to address security concerns. The Embassy recommends that citizens traveling in Niger remain 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 are given clear permission to do so. If you are unsure of what to do, please request verbal confirmation before proceeding.

On June 1, 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.

On May 23, 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.

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 travel north of the latitude of Niamey and east of Zinder for official U.S. government employees.  The areas bordering Mali and Libya, and northern Niger continue to be of serious concern. Additionally, Nigerian operations to counter Boko Haram in northern Nigeria have resulted in security degradation along the Niger-Nigeria border, primarily east of Zinder. The border is porous, and there are frequent reports of suspected terrorists and smugglers crossing into Niger. The Government of Niger increased its security forces at border crossings, but the situation remains tenuous, and travel to most border areas is not advised. The U.S. Embassy in Niamey will continue to monitor this situation closely and update U.S. citizens via "Security Messages for U.S. Citizens." These security messages are posted on U.S. Embassy Niamey's website.

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. On January 7, 2011, two French nationals were kidnapped in the capital city of Niamey. They were found dead less than 24 hours later following a rescue attempt by French and Nigerien military forces. In September 2010, seven people, including five French citizens, a Togolese, and a Malagasy were kidnapped by AQIM from the northern mining town of Arlit. The last four were released in November 2013. Although there have been no kidnappings of Westerners in Niger since January 2011, the Department of State Worldwide Caution dated September 25, 2013 reminds U.S. citizens to maintain a high-level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness when traveling in the region.

Crime in Niger is also a concern. Residential crime in Niamey for unguarded houses is commonplace in certain areas. This is easily mitigated by having 24/7 residential guards. Most crime in Niamey is non-violent in the form of pick-pocketing or purse-snatching; however, car-jackings and armed robbery can occur. Outside Niamey, the potential for violent crimes increases significantly. Armed bandits target travelers on roads in the northern parts of the country. Armed escorts are required for all Embassy travel north of Niamey and east of Zinder. For U.S. government personnel, all travel outside Niamey must be 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.

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

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.

The U.S. Embassy in Niamey strongly encourages U.S. citizens who travel to or remain in Niger despite this Travel Warning to enroll in the Smart Travel Enrollment Program (STEP), so as to receive the most up-to-date security information. Please keep all of your information in STEP current. It is important when enrolling or updating information to include multiple phone numbers and email addresses to facilitate communication in the event of an emergency.

U.S. citizens should consult the Country Specific Information for Niger and the Worldwide Caution, both located on the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs website. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well. If you don't have internet access, current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers from other countries, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. 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 Niamey is located on Rue des Ambassades. The Embassy's telephone number is (227) 20-72-26-61. You can contact the Embassy after-hours for emergencies at telephone: (227) 20-72-31-41. Click here to visit the Embassy website.

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.

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. On June 13, 2013, the Department of State approved authorized departure for family members of Embassy personnel because of extensive problems with the electrical power grid in Niger and associated difficulties guaranteeing a potable water supply for Embassy personnel and their family dependents. Since that time, circumstances have improved and, as of July 12, the U.S. Embassy in Niger is no longer on authorized departure status. This replaces the Travel Warning for Niger dated July 15, 2013, to update information about the current security situation.

The Government of Niger continues to maintain security checkpoints in Niamey to address security concerns. The Embassy recommends that citizens traveling in Niger remain 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 are given clear permission to do so. If you are unsure of what to do, please request verbal confirmation before proceeding.

On June 1, 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.

On May 23, 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.

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 travel north of the latitude of Niamey and east of Zinder for official U.S. government employees.  The areas bordering Mali and Libya, and northern Niger continue to be of serious concern. Additionally, Nigerian operations to counter Boko Haram in northern Nigeria have resulted in security degradation along the Niger-Nigeria border, primarily east of Zinder. The border is porous, and there are frequent reports of suspected terrorists and smugglers crossing into Niger. The Government of Niger increased its security forces at border crossings, but the situation remains tenuous, and travel to most border areas is not advised. The U.S. Embassy in Niamey will continue to monitor this situation closely and update U.S. citizens via "Security Messages for U.S. Citizens." These security messages are posted on U.S. Embassy Niamey's website.

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. On January 7, 2011, two French nationals were kidnapped in the capital city of Niamey. They were found dead less than 24 hours later following a rescue attempt by French and Nigerien military forces. In September 2010, seven people, including five French citizens, a Togolese, and a Malagasy were kidnapped by AQIM from the northern mining town of Arlit. The last four were released in November 2013. Although there have been no kidnappings of Westerners in Niger since January 2011, the Department of State Worldwide Caution dated September 25, 2013 reminds U.S. citizens to maintain a high-level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness when traveling in the region.

Crime in Niger is also a concern. Residential crime in Niamey for unguarded houses is commonplace in certain areas. This is easily mitigated by having 24/7 residential guards. Most crime in Niamey is non-violent in the form of pick-pocketing or purse-snatching; however, car-jackings and armed robbery can occur. Outside Niamey, the potential for violent crimes increases significantly. Armed bandits target travelers on roads in the northern parts of the country. Armed escorts are required for all Embassy travel north of Niamey and east of Zinder. For U.S. government personnel, all travel outside Niamey must be 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.

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

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.

The U.S. Embassy in Niamey strongly encourages U.S. citizens who travel to or remain in Niger despite this Travel Warning to enroll in the Smart Travel Enrollment Program (STEP), so as to receive the most up-to-date security information. Please keep all of your information in STEP current. It is important when enrolling or updating information to include multiple phone numbers and email addresses to facilitate communication in the event of an emergency.

U.S. citizens should consult the Country Specific Information for Niger and the Worldwide Caution, both located on the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs website. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well. If you don't have internet access, current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers from other countries, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. 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 Niamey is located on Rue des Ambassades. The Embassy's telephone number is (227) 20-72-26-61. You can contact the Embassy after-hours for emergencies at telephone: (227) 20-72-31-41. Click here to visit the Embassy website.

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

Mali Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens to consider carefully the risks of travel to Mali, given continuing aspirations of terrorists to conduct attacks.

We strongly warn against travel to the northern parts of the country and along the border with Mauritania, particularly in areas that are not patrolled and where there is little to no security presence.  There remains ongoing conflict in northern Mali and continuing threats of attacks on and kidnappings of westerners and others.  While the security situation in Bamako and southern Mali remains relatively stable, the potential for attacks throughout the country, including in Bamako, remains.  There are also ongoing security concerns and military operations taking place in the northern and western parts of the country.  Mali continues to face challenges including food shortages, internally displaced persons, and the presence in northern Mali of extremist and militant factions.  This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning for Mali dated July 18, 2013.  

Mali held peaceful presidential and legislative elections in the summer and fall of 2013, with high voter turnout and minimal reports of conflict, launching a substantial improvement in what had been a tenuously fluid political situation during the transition.  Despite these positive events, substantial concerns remain regarding the security situation throughout Mali. 

Extremist and militant elements, including al Qaeda in the Lands of Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar al-Dine, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad (MUJAO), and other groups continue to be present in northern Mali, although they have been mostly dislodged from major population centers, including Gao and Timbuktu.  In January 2014, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the militant leader responsible for the attack on the In Amenas gas facility in Algeria, declared his continued intention to attack France and her allies for the ongoing military intervention in northern Mali.  The security situation in the north remains fluid as evidenced by multiple rocket attacks near Gao and the February 17, 2014 launching of three rockets near Timbuktu airport.  Terrorist groups have stepped up their rhetoric calling for additional attacks or kidnapping attempts on westerners and others, particularly those linked to support for international military intervention.  Affiliates of AQIM claimed responsibility for the November 2, 2013 abductions and murder of two French journalists in Kidal, and violent incidents involving suicide bombings, explosives, and land mines in various locations in the north continue to occur.  On December 14, 2013 a suicide car bomb killed two Senegalese U.N. peacekeepers and destroyed the only operating bank in Kidal.  A MUJAO leader recently claimed credit for the February 8, 2014 abduction of four International Red Cross Committee members and another NGO aid worker who were driving between Gao and Kidal.  On February 26, 2014, two aid workers were seriously injured when they struck a mine as they drove from Kidal to the airport.  Additionally, periodic public demonstrations continue to occur throughout Mali; these have largely been peaceful, if sometimes of a confrontational nature in northern locations and at university locations in the south.  

Most organizations that temporarily suspended operations in Mali, or withdrew some family members and/or staff following the spring 2012 coup and counter coup, have now recommenced operations and allowed family members and staff to return, but continue to exercise caution and impose varying levels of security restrictions.  The U.S. Embassy, which allowed dependents to return on July 18, 2013, continues to operate normally.  The Embassy will continue to monitor the security situation closely, and will update U.S. citizens via Security or Emergency Messages for U.S. Citizens posted on the Embassy's website.

The U.S. Embassy has instructed Embassy employees and their family members to be cautious when traveling within Bamako and to authorized locations outside of Bamako, generally in the southern parts of the country.  It encourages U.S. citizens to exercise caution, remain vigilant, maintain situational awareness at all times, and take appropriate security precautions to ensure personal safety.  U.S. citizens throughout Mali should develop personal contingency plans and travel on main roads.  Malian security forces are regularly updating security safeguards, including checkpoints and other controls on movement in Bamako and around the country.  A United Nations peacekeeping mission has also been deployed in Mali and is programmed to have more than 12,000 personnel in Mali when fully operational.

The Government of Mali may periodically impose or lift curfews or impose other restrictions, such as a ban on public demonstrations, as security needs dictate, although it has not done so since the 2013 presidential elections.  U.S. citizens should stay attuned to local news announcing such potential measures, and comply when they are in effect.  For internal safety and security reasons, the U.S. Embassy may also, without advance notice, periodically impose a temporary curfew or other restrictions on U.S. Embassy employees should the need arise.  Such advice and restrictions will be shared with the private U.S. citizen community and posted on the Embassy's website.  U.S. citizens should carefully consider adopting similar safety measures.

U.S. citizens should also note that the Embassy has restricted travel by U.S. government employees and their dependents in Mali.  Travel is generally permitted in Bamako; the northern Koulikoro Region along National Roads 1, 4, and 14 (RN1, RN4, and RN14) from Kolokani to Banamba through Mourdiah; all southern parts of the Koulikoro Region; all of the Sikasso region; parts of the Segou Region, from the cities of Souba, Segou, and San along National Road 6 (RN6); and areas in that region to the south.  Prior notification to the Embassy’s Security Officer is required only for overnight travel within these zones, though general road safety and security precautions for travel are still advised.  The travel policy reflects the Embassy’s assessment of the current security situation in this region of Mali.  Travel to all other areas for personal or official purposes remains restricted or prohibited, and is approved solely on a case-by-case basis after a careful security review.  The Embassy reviews its travel restrictions on a regular basis.  If you plan to travel to Mali, particularly to destinations outside of Bamako, you should consult the U.S. Embassy's website or your host organization(s) for the most recent security assessment of the areas where you plan to travel.

Senou International Airport in Bamako is open for business and scheduled flights are proceeding normally.  Some international flights have occasionally been canceled due to low travel volume, but travelers have typically been notified in advance.  Travelers wishing to depart the country should check with commercial airlines for the airport's operational status, and flight and seat availability, before going to the airport.

The U.S. Embassy reminds all U.S. citizens of the potential risk of terrorist activity throughout Mali.  U.S. citizens are urged to exercise caution, to be particularly alert to their surroundings, and to avoid crowds, demonstrations, or any other form of public gathering.  U.S. citizens are further encouraged to exercise prudence if choosing to visit locations frequented by westerners in and around Bamako. 

The U.S. Embassy may close temporarily from time to time, except for emergency business, to review its security posture in response to warnings or events.  U.S. citizens currently in Mali despite this Travel Warning should enroll in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  By enrolling, you’ll receive security updates, and the Embassy can contact you more easily in case of emergency.

U.S. citizens should consult the Country Specific Information for Mali and the Worldwide Caution, both located on the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs website.  Current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or a regular toll line at 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).

Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.  Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well. 

The U.S. Embassy in Bamako is located in ACI 2000 at Rue 243, Porte 297.  The Embassy's mailing address is B.P. 34, Bamako, Mali.  The telephone number, including for after-hour emergencies, is 223 2070-2300.  The consular fax number is 223 2070-2340.

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

Egypt Travel Alert

The U.S. Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the risks of traveling to Egypt due to continuing political and social unrest.

This Travel Alert supersedes the Travel Alert issued on February 21, 2014, and will expire on June 18, 2014.  

Based on an assessment of the security situation in Egypt, the Department of State lifted the ordered departure status for U.S. Embassy personnel on November 6, 2013.  The State Department lifted ordered departure status for U.S. Consulate General Alexandria on December 16, 2013.  However, Consulate General personnel are based out of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo while required facility security upgrades are made.

Political unrest, which intensified after the July 2013 change of government, is likely to continue in the near future. Demonstrations have on numerous occasions resulted in violent clashes between security forces and protesters and between protesters supporting rival factions, some of which have resulted in deaths and injuries to those involved and in property damage.  Participants have generally thrown rocks, and Molotov cocktails, with security forces responding with tear gas.  However, police on occasion have used live ammunition as a crowd control measure and in response to live ammunition used by demonstrators against police.  Most violent protests have occurred in major metropolitan areas, including Cairo and its suburbs, Alexandria, and Port Said.  Gender-based violence in and around protest areas, where women have been the targets of sexual assault, poses an ongoing concern. There has been a recent and notable increase in the use of explosive devices to target police or other government institutions or individuals, which have resulted in casualties and damage to infrastructure.  Additionally, police officers have frequently been the targets of drive-by shootings that endanger bystanders as well.

The security situation in Sinai, particularly in the north and including the major east-west coastal highway and the towns of El Arish, Shaykh Zuwayd, El Gorah and Rafah, has been marked by ongoing violent attacks on Egyptian security personnel and by continuing, and frequently intense, security operations against the sources of violence.  The Rafah gate from Egypt into Gaza is frequently closed, stranding travelers on both sides of the border. On February 16, 2014 a bomb was detonated on a tourist bus, killing four persons in Taba, a Sinai resort near the Israeli border.  The U.S. Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid travel to North Sinai and to carefully monitor local security developments and Department guidance when planning travel to anywhere in the Sinai Peninsula or to other major tourist sites on the Red Sea or in the Nile Valley.

The U.S. Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all demonstrations in Egypt, as even peaceful ones can quickly become violent, and a foreigner could become a target of harassment or worse.  On June 28, 2013, a U.S. citizen was killed during a demonstration in Alexandria.  U.S. citizens have also been arrested and deported for proximity to demonstrations and for taking pictures of demonstrations, police and military.  Foreign journalists, credentialed or not, have also been increasingly targeted by both security forces and Egyptian citizens while attempting to cover demonstrations or gain access to restricted areas.  Several have been detained for prolonged periods as a result of their activities, and others have been subjected to verbal or physical assault by citizens suspicious about the reason for their presence.

Because of the proximity of the U.S. Embassy to Tahrir Square and other demonstration locations in Cairo, the U.S. Embassy has sometimes been closed to the public on short notice due to violent protests.  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.  Should security forces block off the area around the U.S. Embassy during demonstrations, U.S. citizens should contact the American Citizens Services section before attempting to come to the U.S. Embassy during that time.  U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to carry identification and, if moving about alone, a cell phone or other means of communication that works in Egypt.

The U.S. Embassy restricts its employees and their family members from traveling to specific areas listed in the Country Specific Information Sheet, and advises all U.S. citizens to do the same.  Depending on the current security situation, the U.S. Embassy may also restrict the movements of its employees and their families within Cairo itself.  We continue to urge U.S. citizens to stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times.  Please check our Country Specific Information Sheet for further security guidance. Remain alert to local security developments and be vigilant regarding your personal security; know the locations of police and fire stations, hospitals, and the U.S. Embassy.

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.  Visit the Embassy website to check the latest changes to Embassy hours or services.  U.S. citizens with routine phone inquiries may call the Embassy's American Citizens Services section at 2797-2301, Sunday to Thursday from 9:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. For emergencies after business hours and on weekends and holidays, U.S. citizens can contact the Embassy Duty Officer via the Embassy switchboard on 2797-3300.  The U.S. Embassy is closed on U.S. federal holidays.  U.S. citizens in Egypt are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State's Internet website where the Worldwide Caution, Country Specific Information for Egypt, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts can be found.  Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.

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 outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.  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 Egypt is located at 5 Tawfik Diab Street (formerly known as Latin America Street), Garden City, Cairo.  For emergencies after business hours and on weekends and holidays, U.S. citizens can contact the Embassy Duty Officer via the Embassy switchboard on 2797-3300.

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

Russian Federation Travel Alert – Events in Ukraine

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens in Russia to the ongoing tensions in Ukraine and the potential for increased public demonstrations and anti-American actions in Russia in connection with Russian actions in the Crimea.

The Department of State also alerts U.S. citizens in Russia to the heightened military presence and on-going military exercises of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation along the border region with Ukraine.  This Travel Alert expires on June 13, 2014.  The Department of State strongly recommends that all U.S. citizens residing or traveling abroad enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in order to receive pertinent safety and security information. 

The U.S. government currently has no information concerning active military conflict inside Russia as a result of regional tensions or of any threat specific to U.S. citizens.  However, all U.S. citizens located in or considering travel to the border region, specifically the regions bordering Ukraine in Bryansk, Kursk, Belgorod, Voronezh, and Rostov Oblasts and Krasnodar Krai, should be aware of the potential for escalation of tensions, military clashes (either accidental or intentional), or other violence, and the potential for threats to safety and security.  Media accounts note there has been a sizable Russian military build-up in those regions and there are reports of an increased presence of Russian neo-Nazi and radical nationalist and extremist groups in those regions.

U.S. citizens considering travel to Russia should evaluate their personal security situation in light of current political tensions and the possibility of violence or anti-U.S. actions directed against U.S. citizens or U.S. interests.  

The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens should avoid all public demonstrations, whether properly authorized by local officials or not, and avoid any large crowds and public gatherings that lack enhanced security measures.  Demonstrations related to the conflict may appear anywhere throughout Russia, at any time.  These demonstrations may increase the possibility of confrontation and violence.  Review your personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings, including local events, and monitor local news stations for updates.  Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.  

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Russia enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  STEP enrollment allows you to receive the Department’s safety and security updates, and makes it easier for the nearest U.S. embassy or U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency.  If you do not have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution, and read the Country Specific Information for the Russian Federation.  For additional information, refer to the "Traveler's Checklist" on the State Department's website.  Current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free from within the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).  Follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.

The American Citizen Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow assists U.S. citizens in Russia. We can help you with passport issuance and renewal, voter assistance, notarials, and registering a child born abroad. We also provide emergency services for U.S. citizens in case of a disaster or in case of illness, arrest, death or destitution while in Russia. 

Appointments are required for all non-emergency services; you can make an appointment by calling the ACS unit at 7 (495) 728-5577, or you may click here to schedule an appointment online.  To contact us with questions, please write to moscowwarden@state.gov or visit the Embassy website.

Emergency Contact Information in Russia:

U.S. Embassy Moscow:
U.S. citizens with an emergency during regular office hours (M-F 9am-6pm, excluding Russian and U.S. holidays) are welcome to visit the ACS unit at the U.S. Embassy, 21 Novinsky Blvd., Moscow.
Tel: (7) (495) 728-5577 - 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, weekdays
For after-hours emergencies, call (7) (495) 728-5000 after 6:00 pm, and on weekends and holidays.

U.S. Consulate General St. Petersburg:
The U.S. Consulate General in St. Petersburg is located at 15 Furshatskaya Street, Tel: (+7) (812) 331-2600.  You may contact the Consulate’s ACS unit by e-mail at StPetersburgACS@State.gov, or by fax at (+7) (812) 331-2646, or visit the Consulate website.
For after-hours emergencies, call (812) 331-2600 and listen to the recorded message for the Duty Officer’s cell phone number.

U.S. Consulate General Vladivostok:
Tel: (+7) (4232) 30-00-70

U.S. Consulate General Yekaterinburg:
Tel: (+7) (3432) 793-001

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