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Afghanistan Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to Afghanistan because of continued instability and threats by terrorist organizations against U.S. citizens.

This replaces the Travel Warning issued November 19, 2015. 

Travel to all areas of Afghanistan remains unsafe due to the ongoing risk of kidnapping, hostage taking, military combat operations, landmines, banditry, armed rivalry between political and tribal groups, militant attacks, direct and indirect fire, suicide bombings, and insurgent attacks, including attacks using vehicle-borne or other improvised explosive devices (IED). Attacks may also target official Afghan and U.S. government convoys and compounds, foreign embassies, military installations, commercial entities, restaurants, hotels, airports, and educational centers.

Extremists associated with various Taliban networks, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province (ISKP), and members of other armed opposition groups are active throughout the country. ISKP has shown its operational capability, having attacked both Afghan and foreign government facilities. The Taliban and its affiliates routinely attack Afghan, Coalition and U.S. targets with little regard for civilian casualties. In April 2016 insurgents conducted a complex attack targeting the Afghan Department of High Protection headquarters in Kabul City, killing 47 people and wounding over 200. Subsequently, a Taliban suicide bomber attacked a bus carrying provincial appellate court staff, killing ten and wounding four in Kabul City. Additionally, the Taliban attacked the provincial court of Pul-i-Alam, Logar Province, resulting in seven people killed and 23 wounded.

There have been attacks on Coalition convoys in Kabul using vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED) targeting U.S. citizens, such as the May 25, 2016 attack on a NATO convoy and the kidnapping of an Australian Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) worker in Jalalabad in April. Additionally, a National Public Radio journalist was killed when the Afghan army unit he was traveling with came under attack in Helmand Province.

Due to security concerns, unofficial travel to Afghanistan by U.S. government employees and their family members is restricted and requires prior approval from the Department of State. Furthermore, U.S. Embassy personnel are restricted from traveling to all locations in Kabul except the U.S. Embassy and other U.S. government facilities unless there is a compelling government interest in permitting such travel that outweighs the risk.

Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Afghanistan, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For further background information regarding FAA flight advisories and prohibitions for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

The U.S. Embassy's ability to provide emergency consular services to U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is severely limited, particularly outside of Kabul. U.S. citizens are encouraged to defer non-essential travel within Afghanistan and note that evacuation options from Afghanistan are extremely limited due to the lack of infrastructure, geographic constraints, and other security concerns.

For further information:

  • See the Department of State’s Consular Affairs’ website where the Worldwide Caution, Travel Alerts and Travel Warnings can be found for the latest security information.
  • Enroll in STEP to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy, located at Great Massoud Road (also known as Bibi Mahru or Airport Road) between Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA) and the Ministry of Public Health. The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy can be reached at 301-490-1042, ext. 8499 from the United States, or +93(0) 700-108-499 from abroad during business hours, Sunday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Kabul time. For after-hours, truly exigent emergencies involving U.S. citizens, please contact the Embassy Duty Officer at +93-(0)700-108-001.  Any routine consular correspondence relating to services for U.S. citizens may be sent to KabulACS@state.gov.
  • 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).

 

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 December 14, 2015.

Russia-backed separatists continue to control areas in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, where violent clashes have resulted in over 9,000 deaths. A 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. The Department of State warns all U.S. citizens to defer all travel to the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. There have been multiple casualties due to land mines in areas previously controlled by separatists, and separatist leaders have made statements indicating their desire to push the front line to the administrative borders of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Artillery and rocket attacks near the line of contact continue to occur regularly. 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 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibits U.S. civil aviation from flying in the Ukrainian Simferopol (UKFV) and Dnipropetrovsk (UKDV) Flight Information Regions. This prohibition remains in effect.  For further background information regarding FAA flight advisories and prohibitions for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

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. 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 and Luhansk oblasts and Crimea, and occasionally limits travel to 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 security information in Ukraine:

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

Haiti Travel Alert

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

This Travel Alert expires on February 15, 2017.

Haiti’s unfinished presidential electoral process has made the political and security environment more uncertain, with possible demonstrations causing disruption to traffic and access to key locations in Port-au-Prince.

Tensions remain high and we urge U.S. citizens to exercise caution and remain abreast of the security situation as the electoral process progresses. In addition to the dates mentioned above, possible points when demonstrations could occur include June 14, when the National Assembly is due to vote on the mandate of the Provisional President, and the dates on which provisional and definitive results of the above mentioned election rounds are announced.   

During elections, restrictions on traffic circulation, either imposed by the authorities or caused by political rallies may be expected. As a general matter of emergency preparedness, U.S. citizens should maintain adequate supplies of food, water, essential medicines, and other supplies that will allow them to shelter in place for at least 72 hours.

U.S citizens should monitor local media for any changes in the election schedule. The U.S. Embassy may update this Travel Alert as the schedule or circumstances change. 

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Haiti.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Haiti, located at Boulevard du 15 Octobre, Tabarre 41, Tabarre, Haiti, at +(509) 2229-8000, 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +(509) 2229-8122.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Posted in Travel Alerts (U.S. Dept of State)

Haiti Travel Alert

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

This Travel Alert expires on February 15, 2017.

Haiti’s unfinished presidential electoral process has made the political and security environment more uncertain, with possible demonstrations causing disruption to traffic and access to key locations in Port-au-Prince.

Tensions remain high and we urge U.S. citizens to exercise caution and remain abreast of the security situation as the electoral process progresses. In addition to the dates mentioned above, possible points when demonstrations could occur include June 14, when the National Assembly is due to vote on the mandate of the Provisional President, and the dates on which provisional and definitive results of the above mentioned election rounds are announced.   

During elections, restrictions on traffic circulation, either imposed by the authorities or caused by political rallies may be expected. As a general matter of emergency preparedness, U.S. citizens should maintain adequate supplies of food, water, essential medicines, and other supplies that will allow them to shelter in place for at least 72 hours.

U.S citizens should monitor local media for any changes in the election schedule. The U.S. Embassy may update this Travel Alert as the schedule or circumstances change. 

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Haiti.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Haiti, located at Boulevard du 15 Octobre, Tabarre 41, Tabarre, Haiti, at +(509) 2229-8000, 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +(509) 2229-8122.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Posted in Travel Alerts (U.S. Dept of State)

Libya Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to Libya and recommends that U.S. citizens currently in Libya depart immediately.

The security situation in Libya remains unpredictable and unstable, and extremist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests. If in Libya, make contingency emergency plans and maintain security awareness at all times. This supersedes the Travel Warning issued on September 16, 2015.

On July 26, 2014 the U.S. Embassy suspended operations in Libya. The Department of State has extremely limited capacity to assist U.S. citizens in Libya.

Government authorities lack control over much of the country, and local police and security services may have limited to no capacity to respond to emergencies or requests for assistance. Crime levels remain high, including the threat of kidnapping, and various groups have called for attacks against U.S. citizens and U.S. interests in Libya. Hotels frequented by westerners have been attacked by armed groups and terrorists. Violent extremist activity in Libya remains high. Foreigners may be targeted by violent extremist groups seeking to injure, kidnap or kill anyone associated with the United States.

Most international airports are closed, and flights out of operational airports are sporadic and may be cancelled without warning. Military-grade weapons remain in the hands of private individuals, U.S. and UN-designated terrorists, and other armed groups in Libya. These include antiaircraft weapons that may be used against civilian aviation. The U.S. government prohibits U.S. commercial aviation operations within Libyan airspace. Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Libya, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For further background information regarding FAA flight advisories and prohibitions for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices

Seaports and roads can close with little or no warning. U.S. mariners are advised to exercise extreme caution while transiting in or near Libyan territorial waters. The Libyan National Army announced on January 7, 2015 that all vessels in Libyan waters require army approval for transit, following the January 4, 2015 bombing of a Greek-operated oil tanker that killed two crewmen near Derna, Libya. Vessels are advised to proceed with extreme caution when approaching all Libyan oil terminals and ports, and are encouraged to adhere to the recommendations in the U.S. Coast Guard’s Port Security Advisory 1-14 issued April 1, 2014. Mariners planning travel to Libya should check the U.S. Coast Guard Homeport website for any Port Security Advisory Updates and the NGA Broadcast Warnings Website (select “Broadcast Warnings”) for any special warnings or Maritime Administration Advisories before arrival.

Various militias have supplanted the police in maintaining internal security. Militia members operate checkpoints within and between major cities.  Militia groups sometimes detain travelers for arbitrary or unclear reasons, without access to a lawyer or legal process, and without allowing detainees to inform others of their status. You should carry proof of citizenship and valid immigration status at all times, though these documents do not guarantee fair treatment. Militias in control of Libya’s airports have arbitrarily detained and held U.S. citizen travelers for weeks at a time before being released. The State Department has extremely limited capacity to assist U.S. citizens who are detained by militia groups.

If travel in desert and border regions of Libya is critically necessary, exercise caution and comply with local regulations. Militia groups control many border crossings, and recent terrorist attacks have occurred in the border region, where extremists have kidnapped Westerners.  Please note the travel warnings and alerts for neighboring countries, Algeria, Tunisia, Chad, Niger, and Sudan.

For more information:

 

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

Hurricane and Typhoon Season 2016 Travel Alert

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the Hurricane and Typhoon Seasons in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico.

Hurricane and Typhoon Season lasts through November 2016, though most tropical cyclones typically develop between May and October. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recommends that those in hurricane- and typhoon-prone regions begin preparations for the upcoming seasons now. This Travel Alert expires on December 1, 2016.

The Atlantic Basin, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea:  Hurricane Season in the Atlantic began June 1 and runs through November 30. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center expects the 2016 season to be near normal. There is a 45 percent chance of a near-normal season, a 30 percent chance of an above-normal season, and a 25 percent chance of a below-normal season. NOAA is forecasting a 70 percent chance that La Nina—which favors more hurricane activity—will be present during the peak months of the hurricane season, August through October, and a 70 percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms, which includes TS Alex which formed in January. Of those, four to eight storms are predicted to strengthen to a hurricane (with top winds of 74 mph or higher) and one to four are expected to become major hurricanes (with top winds of 111 mph or higher, ranking Category 3, 4, or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale). NOAA recommends that those in hurricane-prone regions begin preparations for the upcoming season now.

The Eastern Pacific:  NOAA’s outlook for the Eastern Pacific hurricane season calls for a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, a 30 percent chance of an above-normal season, and 30 percent chance of a below-normal season. NOAA’s outlook calls for a 70 percent probability of 13 to 20 named storms, of which six to 11 are expected to become hurricanes, including three to six major hurricanes.

Western and Central Pacific:  NOAA’s central Pacific hurricane outlook calls for an equal 40 percent chance of a near-normal or above-normal season, with four to seven tropical cyclones likely. For information on typhoon warnings, please consult the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Honolulu, the National Weather Service's Central Pacific Hurricane Center, and the Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC) Tokyo - Typhoon Center.

During and after some previous storms, U.S. citizens traveling abroad encountered dangerous and often uncomfortable conditions that lasted for several days while awaiting transportation back to the United States. You may be forced to delay travel (including return travel to the United States) due to infrastructure damage to airports and limited flight availability. Roads may be washed out or obstructed by debris, adversely affecting access to airports and land routes out of affected areas. Looting and sporadic violence in the aftermath of natural disasters is not uncommon, and security personnel may not always be readily available to assist.  In the event of a hurricane, be aware that you may not be able to depart the area for 24-48 hours or longer.

If you live in or travel to these areas during the hurricane or typhoon season, we recommend you obtain travel insurance to cover unexpected expenses during an emergency. If a situation requires an evacuation from an overseas location, the U.S. Department of State may work with commercial airlines to ensure that U.S. citizens can depart as safely and efficiently as possible. Commercial airlines are the Department's primary source of transportation in an evacuation; other means of transport are utilized only as a last resort, are often more expensive, and will provide you with fewer destination options. U.S. law requires that any evacuation costs are your responsibility. For those in financial need, the U.S. Department of State has the authority to provide crisis evacuation and repatriation loans. For more information, please visit the Emergencies Abroad page on our website.

If you live in or are traveling to storm-prone regions, prepare for hurricanes and tropical storms by organizing a kit in a waterproof container that includes a supply of bottled water, non-perishable food items, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, any medications taken regularly, and vital documents (especially your passport and other identification). Emergency shelters often provide only very basic resources and may have limited medical and food supplies.  NOAA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have additional tips on their websites located here and here.

Monitor local radio, local media, and the National Weather Service to be aware of weather developments. Minor tropical storms can develop into hurricanes very quickly, limiting the time available for a safe evacuation. Inform family and friends of your whereabouts and remain in close contact with your tour operator, hotel staff, transportation providers (airlines, cruise lines, etc.), and local officials for evacuation instructions during a weather emergency.

We strongly encourage U.S. citizens to enroll with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate through the U.S. Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). By enrolling, you will receive the most recent security and safety updates during your trip. Enrollment also ensures that you can be reached during an emergency. While we will do our utmost to assist you in a crisis, be aware that local authorities bear primary responsibility for the welfare of people living or traveling in their jurisdictions.

Additional information on hurricanes and storm preparedness can be found on the Department’s "Hurricane Season - Know Before You Go" webpage. You can get updated information on travel to your destination from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States and Canada or, from outside the United States and Canada, 1-202-501-4444. We also encourage you to check the Country Specific Information and the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate with consular responsibilities for the territory you will be visiting. Follow us on Twitter and become a fan of the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ page on Facebook as well.

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

Europe Travel Alert

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

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

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

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

U.S. citizens should also: 

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

European authorities continue to take steps to assure public safety and disrupt terrorist plots. We work closely with our allies and will continue to share information with our European partners that will help identify and counter terrorist threats. 

For further information:

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

Somalia Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Somalia because of continuous threats by the al-Qaida affiliated terrorist group, al-Shabaab.

U.S. citizens should also be aware of the risks of kidnappings in all parts of Somalia, including Somaliland and Puntland. There is no U.S. embassy presence in Somalia.   This replaces the Travel Warning dated October 1, 2015.

The security situation in Somalia remains unstable and dangerous. Terrorist operatives and armed groups in Somalia continue to attack Somali authorities, the troops from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and other non-military targets. Kidnapping, bombings, murder, illegal roadblocks, banditry, and other violent incidents are common throughout Somalia, including Somaliland and Puntland. Al-Shabaab remains intent on conducting attacks against popular restaurants, hotels, locations known to be popular with Westerners, and convoys carrying Somali and other government officials. Last year, there were at least eight prominent hotel attacks located in the heart of Mogadishu, the Somali capital. One U.S. citizen was killed during one of these attacks. Munitions caches and unexploded ordnance exist in various parts of the country and remain a danger to civilians. 

In addition, al-Shabaab has demonstrated the capability to carry out attacks in government-controlled territories, with particular emphasis on targeting government facilities, foreign delegations' facilities and movements, and commercial establishments frequented by government officials, foreign nationals, and the Somali diaspora. There is a particular threat to foreigners in places where large crowds gather and Westerners frequent, including airports, government buildings, and shopping areas. Inter-clan and inter-factional fighting can flare up with little or no warning. 

There are continuing threats of attacks against airports and civil aviation, especially in Mogadishu. Al-Shabaab continues to conduct attacks against the Mogadishu Aden Adde International Airport (MGQ) using mortars and other standoff weapons. The group also has conducted attacks from within the airport’s secure perimeter and successfully detonated an explosive device concealed in a laptop on an airplane shortly after take-off. 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) containing information on the U.S. prohibition against U.S. civil aviation operations in airspace over Somalia due to security risks toward civil aviation. For further background information regarding FAA flight prohibitions and advisories for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices

U.S. citizens are urged to avoid sailing near the coast of Somalia. Merchant vessels, fishing boats, and recreational craft all risk seizure and detention by pirates in the waters off the Horn of Africa, especially in the international waters near Somalia. Pirates and other criminals have specifically targeted and kidnapped foreigners working in Somalia, including two U.S. citizens in the past several years. Consult the Maritime Administration's Horn of Africa Piracy page for information on maritime advisories, self-protection measures, and naval forces in the region. 

For further information:

 

 

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

North Korea Travel Warning

The State Department strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to North Korea due to the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention under North Korea’s system of law enforcement, which imposes unduly harsh sentences, including for actions that in the United States would not be considered crimes.

This notice replaces the Travel Warning dated November 20, 2015. 

At least 14 U.S. citizens have been detained in the DPRK in the past ten years.  North Korea has detained those who traveled independently and those who were part of organized tours.  Being a member of a group tour or using a tour guide will not prevent North Korean authorities from detaining or arresting you.  Efforts by private tour operators to prevent or resolve past detentions of U.S. citizens in the DPRK have not been successful.

If you decide to enter North Korea against the advice of this Travel Warning, you should have no expectation of privacy.  All electronic and multimedia devices including USB drives, CDs, DVDs, mobile phones, tablets, laptops, Internet browsing histories and cookies are subject to search for banned content.

If DPRK authorities permit you to keep your mobile phone when you enter the country, it will not function unless you use the DPRK mobile service, which will enable DPRK authorities to monitor your calls.  GPS-trackers and satellite phones are not allowed. 

Possession of any media, either physical or electronic, criticizing the DPRK government or its leaders is considered a criminal act punishable by long-term detention in hard labor camps and heavy fines. 

In North Korea, the following – whether done knowingly or unknowingly – have been treated as crimes:

  • Showing disrespect to the country’s former leaders, Kim Il Sung or Kim Jong Il, or for the country’s current leader, Kim Jong Un, including but not limited to tampering with or mishandling materials bearing their names or images;
  • Entering North Korea without proper travel documentation;
  • Possessing material that is in any way critical of the DPRK government;
  • Proselytizing or carrying out religious activities, including activities that may be construed as such, like leaving behind religious materials;
  • Engaging in unsanctioned political activities;
  • Traveling without authorization, even for short distances;     
  • Having unauthorized interaction with the local population;
  • Exchanging currency with an unauthorized vendor;
  • Taking unauthorized photographs;
  • Bringing pornography into the country;
  • Shopping at stores not designated for foreigners; and
  • Removing or tampering with political slogans and signs or pictures of political leaders.

Numerous foreigners have been held in North Korea for extended periods of time without being formally charged with any crimes.  Detained foreigners have been questioned daily for several weeks without the presence of counsel and have been compelled to make public statements and take part in public trials.

Since the United States does not maintain diplomatic or consular relations with North Korea, the U.S. government has no means to provide normal consular services to U.S. citizens in North Korea.  The Embassy of Sweden in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang is the Protecting Power for U.S. citizens in the DPRK and provides limited consular services to U.S. citizens traveling in North Korea who require emergency assistance.  The U.S.-DPRK Interim Consular Agreement stipulates that North Korea will notify the Embassy of Sweden within four days of an arrest or detention of a U.S. citizen and will allow consular visits by the Swedish Embassy within two days after a request is made.  However, the DPRK government routinely delays or denies consular access. 

The DPRK remains one of the most heavily sanctioned countries in the world.  U.S. citizens traveling to North Korea should familiarize themselves with all applicable sanctions relating to the country, particularly U.S. sanctions on the DPRK.  To learn more about U.S. sanctions on the DPRK, see the Federal Register.

The State Department remains deeply concerned about the DPRK’s ongoing, systematic, and widespread human rights violations.  To learn more about North Korea’s deplorable human rights situation, see the DPRK Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2015.

The United States and the United Nations Security Council have expressed grave concern regarding North Korea’s recent nuclear tests, ballistic missile launches, and other activities prohibited by United Nations Security Council Resolutions.  UN Security Council statements from January 2016 and March 2016 are posted on the UN website. 

As a result of concerns arising from unannounced missile launch activities and GPS navigation systems interference and/or disruption, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Prohibition and Advisory notice to U.S. airmen and operators.  The FAA has issued Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 79 which prohibits U.S. civil aviation from flying in the Pyongyang Flight Information Region (FIR) (ZKKP) west of 132 degrees east longitude, and the FAA has advised those flying in and around the Pyongyang FIR (ZKKP) east of 132 degrees east longitude to be aware of possible GPS interruptions.  For more information, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website at travel.state.gov for current Worldwide Cautions, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for North Korea.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive important safety and security messages via email (though you may not have access to email while in North Korea).  Enrollment also makes it easier to locate you in case of an emergency.
  • U.S. citizens who plan to travel to North Korea are strongly encouraged to inform the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China by enrolling in STEP.  U.S. citizens residing in China can contact the U.S. Embassy directly.  The Embassy is located next to the Ladies’ Street (Nuren Jie) and Laitai Flower Market, near the Kempinski Hotel and Lufthansa Shopping Center on Tianze Road near the Liangmaqiao subway stop:

           U.S. Embassy in Beijing
           American Citizens Services Unit
           No. 55 An Jia Lou Road
           Chaoyang District
           Beijing, China 100600
           Telephone:  (86-10) 8531-4000
           Email:  BeijingACS@state.gov 
           Emergency after-hours number for U.S. citizens:  (86-10) 8531-4000

  • U.S. citizens traveling to North Korea are also strongly encouraged to contact the Embassy of Sweden by telephone or email prior to travel.  Please provide the Embassy of Sweden with your name, date of birth, dates of your trip, and emergency contact information: 

           The Embassy of Sweden Pyongyang (U.S. Protecting Power in North                Korea)
           Munsu-Dong District
           Pyongyang, DPRK
           Telephone:  (850-2) 3817 485 (reception)
           Telephone:  (850-2) 3817 904, (850-2) 3817 907 (Deputy)
           Telephone:  (850-2) 3817 908, (850-2) (Amb)
           Facsimile:  (850-2) 3817 663
           Email:  ambassaden.pyongyang@gov.se

If you provide information to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing or the Swedish             Embassy in Pyongyang, officials will be able to locate you more easily in             an emergency.  Take note of and keep the contact details for the Swedish           embassy for easy access in case of an emergency.

  • U.S. citizens can obtain current information on safety and security conditions by calling 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).
Posted in Travel Warnings (U.S. Dept of State)

North Korea Travel Warning

The State Department strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to North Korea due to the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention under North Korea’s system of law enforcement, which imposes unduly harsh sentences, including for actions that in the United States would not be considered crimes.

This notice replaces the Travel Warning dated November 20, 2015. 

At least 14 U.S. citizens have been detained in the DPRK in the past ten years.  North Korea has detained those who traveled independently and those who were part of organized tours.  Being a member of a group tour or using a tour guide will not prevent North Korean authorities from detaining or arresting you.  Efforts by private tour operators to prevent or resolve past detentions of U.S. citizens in the DPRK have not been successful.

If you decide to enter North Korea against the advice of this Travel Warning, you should have no expectation of privacy.  All electronic and multimedia devices including USB drives, CDs, DVDs, mobile phones, tablets, laptops, Internet browsing histories and cookies are subject to search for banned content.

If DPRK authorities permit you to keep your mobile phone when you enter the country, it will not function unless you use the DPRK mobile service, which will enable DPRK authorities to monitor your calls.  GPS-trackers and satellite phones are not allowed. 

Possession of any media, either physical or electronic, criticizing the DPRK government or its leaders is considered a criminal act punishable by long-term detention in hard labor camps and heavy fines. 

In North Korea, the following – whether done knowingly or unknowingly – have been treated as crimes:

  • Showing disrespect to the country’s former leaders, Kim Il Sung or Kim Jong Il, or for the country’s current leader, Kim Jong Un, including but not limited to tampering with or mishandling materials bearing their names or images;
  • Entering North Korea without proper travel documentation;
  • Possessing material that is in any way critical of the DPRK government;
  • Proselytizing or carrying out religious activities, including activities that may be construed as such, like leaving behind religious materials;
  • Engaging in unsanctioned political activities;
  • Traveling without authorization, even for short distances;     
  • Having unauthorized interaction with the local population;
  • Exchanging currency with an unauthorized vendor;
  • Taking unauthorized photographs;
  • Bringing pornography into the country;
  • Shopping at stores not designated for foreigners; and
  • Removing or tampering with political slogans and signs or pictures of political leaders.

Numerous foreigners have been held in North Korea for extended periods of time without being formally charged with any crimes.  Detained foreigners have been questioned daily for several weeks without the presence of counsel and have been compelled to make public statements and take part in public trials.

Since the United States does not maintain diplomatic or consular relations with North Korea, the U.S. government has no means to provide normal consular services to U.S. citizens in North Korea.  The Embassy of Sweden in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang is the Protecting Power for U.S. citizens in the DPRK and provides limited consular services to U.S. citizens traveling in North Korea who require emergency assistance.  The U.S.-DPRK Interim Consular Agreement stipulates that North Korea will notify the Embassy of Sweden within four days of an arrest or detention of a U.S. citizen and will allow consular visits by the Swedish Embassy within two days after a request is made.  However, the DPRK government routinely delays or denies consular access. 

The DPRK remains one of the most heavily sanctioned countries in the world.  U.S. citizens traveling to North Korea should familiarize themselves with all applicable sanctions relating to the country, particularly U.S. sanctions on the DPRK.  To learn more about U.S. sanctions on the DPRK, see the Federal Register.

The State Department remains deeply concerned about the DPRK’s ongoing, systematic, and widespread human rights violations.  To learn more about North Korea’s deplorable human rights situation, see the DPRK Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2015.

The United States and the United Nations Security Council have expressed grave concern regarding North Korea’s recent nuclear tests, ballistic missile launches, and other activities prohibited by United Nations Security Council Resolutions.  UN Security Council statements from January 2016 and March 2016 are posted on the UN website. 

As a result of concerns arising from unannounced missile launch activities and GPS navigation systems interference and/or disruption, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Prohibition and Advisory notice to U.S. airmen and operators.  The FAA has issued Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 79 which prohibits U.S. civil aviation from flying in the Pyongyang Flight Information Region (FIR) (ZKKP) west of 132 degrees east longitude, and the FAA has advised those flying in and around the Pyongyang FIR (ZKKP) east of 132 degrees east longitude to be aware of possible GPS interruptions.  For more information, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website at travel.state.gov for current Worldwide Cautions, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for North Korea.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive important safety and security messages via email (though you may not have access to email while in North Korea).  Enrollment also makes it easier to locate you in case of an emergency.
  • U.S. citizens who plan to travel to North Korea are strongly encouraged to inform the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China by enrolling in STEP.  U.S. citizens residing in China can contact the U.S. Embassy directly.  The Embassy is located next to the Ladies’ Street (Nuren Jie) and Laitai Flower Market, near the Kempinski Hotel and Lufthansa Shopping Center on Tianze Road near the Liangmaqiao subway stop:

           U.S. Embassy in Beijing
           American Citizens Services Unit
           No. 55 An Jia Lou Road
           Chaoyang District
           Beijing, China 100600
           Telephone:  (86-10) 8531-4000
           Email:  BeijingACS@state.gov 
           Emergency after-hours number for U.S. citizens:  (86-10) 8531-4000

  • U.S. citizens traveling to North Korea are also strongly encouraged to contact the Embassy of Sweden by telephone or email prior to travel.  Please provide the Embassy of Sweden with your name, date of birth, dates of your trip, and emergency contact information: 

           The Embassy of Sweden Pyongyang (U.S. Protecting Power in North                Korea)
           Munsu-Dong District
           Pyongyang, DPRK
           Telephone:  (850-2) 3817 485 (reception)
           Telephone:  (850-2) 3817 904, (850-2) 3817 907 (Deputy)
           Telephone:  (850-2) 3817 908, (850-2) 3817 905 (Amb.)
           Facsimile:  (850-2) 3817 663
           Email:  ambassaden.pyongyang@gov.se

If you provide information to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing or the Swedish             Embassy in Pyongyang, officials will be able to locate you more easily in             an emergency.  Take note of and keep the contact details for the Swedish           embassy for easy access in case of an emergency.

  • U.S. citizens can obtain current information on safety and security conditions by calling 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).
Posted in Travel Warnings (U.S. Dept of State)