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Iran Travel Warning

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

This replaces the Travel Warning for Iran dated August 22, 2016, to reiterate and highlight the risk of arrest and detention for U.S. citizens, particularly dual national Iranian-Americans. Foreigners, in particular dual nationals of Iran and other countries, including the United States, continue to be detained or prevented from leaving Iran. U.S. citizens should very carefully weigh the risks of and consider postponing planned travel to Iran. U.S. citizens residing in Iran should closely follow media reports, monitor local conditions, and evaluate the risks of remaining in the country.  

Iranian authorities continue to unjustly detain and imprison U.S. citizens, particularly Iranian-Americans, including students, journalists, business travelers, and academics, on charges including espionage and posing a threat to national security. Iranian authorities have also prevented the departure, in some cases for months, of a number of Iranian-American citizens who traveled to Iran for personal or professional reasons.

In June 2017, the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that it would take “reciprocal action” in response to the implementation of Executive Order 13780.  This Executive Order prohibits the issuance of U.S. visas to nationals of Iran and five other countries unless they are either exempt or are issued a waiver. The Department of State has received reports that Iran is denying visas to U.S. citizens in response. 

The U.S. government does not have diplomatic or consular relations with Iran and, therefore, cannot provide protection or routine consular services to U.S. citizens there. The Swiss government, acting through its Embassy in Tehran, serves as the protecting power for U.S. interests in Iran. The range of consular services provided by the Foreign Interests Section at the Swiss Embassy is limited and may require significantly more processing time than at U.S. embassies or consulates. 

The Iranian government does not recognize dual nationality and will not allow the Swiss to provide protective services for U.S. citizens who are also Iranian nationals.  Iranian authorities make the determination of a dual national’s Iranian citizenship without regard to the dual national’s personal wishes. Consular access to detained U.S. citizens without dual nationality is often delayed. 

The Iranian government continues to repress minority religious and ethnic groups, including Christians, Baha'i, Arabs, Kurds, Azeris, and others. Consequently, some areas within the country where these minorities reside, including the province of Sistan-Baluchistan near the border with Pakistan and Afghanistan and the provinces of Kurdistan and East-Azerbaijan in the northwest of the country near the Iraqi border, remain unsafe. Iranian authorities have detained and harassed U.S. citizens, particularly those of Iranian origin. Former Muslims who have converted to other religions, religious activists, and persons who encourage Muslims to convert are subject to arrest and prosecution. See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report and Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for more information on the treatment of religious and ethnic minorities in Iran.

The U.S. government is concerned about the risks to civil aircraft flying into, out of, within, or over Iran due to hazards from military activity associated with the conflicts in Iraq and Syria. 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

The U.S. government’s ability to assist U.S. citizens in Iran in the event of an emergency is extremely limited. U.S. citizens in Iran should ensure that they have updated documentation at all times and make their own plans in the event of an emergency. For more information, see "What the Department of State Can and Can't Do in a Crisis" at the Department's website

For further information:

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

North Korea Travel Warning

The Department of State strongly warns U.S. citizens not to travel to North Korea/the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Due to the serious and mounting risk of arrest and long-term detention of U.S. citizens, the Secretary of State restricted the use of U.S. passports to travel into, in, or through North Korea effective Friday, September 1, 2017, per C.F.R. 51.63. Persons who wish to travel to North Korea on a U.S. passport after that time must obtain a special passport validation under 22 C.F.R. 51.64, and such validations will be granted only under very limited circumstances.

 

This notice includes information about the restriction on the use of U.S. passports to travel to, through, or in North Korea effective September 1, 2017, and replaces the Travel Warning dated May 9, 2017.

North Korean authorities have imposed unduly harsh sentences for actions that would not be considered crimes in the United States and have threatened U.S. citizen detainees with being treated in accordance with “wartime law of the DPRK.” 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.  Sweden serves as the protecting power for the United States in North Korea, providing limited emergency consular services to U.S. citizens traveling in North Korea. The DPRK still routinely delays or denies consular access to U.S. citizens, even when requested by the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang, and despite North Korea and the United States both being signatories to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

At least 16 U.S. citizens have been detained in North Korea in the past ten years. North Korean authorities have detained individuals 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 detention or arrest. Efforts by private tour operators to prevent or resolve past detentions in the DPRK have not been successful.

Pursuant to the Secretary of State’s determination, published in the Federal Register on August 2, 2017, that North Korea’s arbitrary system of law enforcement poses an imminent danger to the physical safety of U.S. nationals, U.S. passports may be used to travel into, through, or from North Korea after September 1, 2017, only if they contain a special validation. The Department of State will publish information on how to apply for a passport with a special validation on travel.state.gov when the Office of Management and Budget approves the geographic travel restriction. Using a U.S. passport in violation of these restrictions could result in criminal penalties. In addition, the Department may revoke a passport used in violation of these restrictions. For additional information on the validation see the Federal Register published here. If you decide to enter North Korea, 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, that is critical of 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 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 a crime. 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.

The DPRK funnels revenue from a variety of sources to its nuclear and weapons programs, which it prioritizes above everything else, often at the expense of the well-being of its own people. It is entirely possible that money spent by tourists in the DPRK goes to fund these programs.  We would urge all travelers, before travelling to the DPRK, to consider what they might be supporting.   

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. To learn more about U.S. sanctions on the DPRK, see the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

The Department of State 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 2016.

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 May 2017 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) west of 132 degrees east longitude, and the FAA has advised those flying in and around the Pyongyang (FIR)  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 Department of State’s  travel website, 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 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 (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 the contact details for the Swedish embassy 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).

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Posted in Travel Warnings (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 widespread terrorist and criminal activity.

Militants associated with both the al-Qaida-affiliated terrorist group, al-Shabaab, and the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) operate with relative impunity throughout large parts of the country, including Mogadishu, and attack civilian, military, and government targets. U.S. citizens should be aware that kidnapping, bombings, murder, illegal roadblocks and other violent incidents are common throughout Somalia, including Somaliland. There is no U.S. embassy presence in Somalia. This replaces the Travel Warning dated January 11, 2017.  

There is a particular terrorist threat in places where large crowds gather and Westerners frequent, including airports and seaports, government buildings, hotels, restaurants, and shopping areas. Somali government, military, and Western convoys are also regularly targeted for attack. There have been numerous attacks on hotels, restaurants, and the international airport in Mogadishu.                                                                                                        

Al-Shabaab has repeatedly attacked Mogadishu’s international airport complex with improvised vehicle bombs, mortars, and direct weapons fire. The group has conducted attacks from within the airport’s secure perimeter and detonated an explosive device hidden in a laptop on an airplane shortly after it took off from the airport on February 2, 2016.

ISIS’s demonstrated capabilities in Somalia have steadily increased since rising to public prominence in late 2015. Since that time, adherents based in Puntland claimed credit for a suicide bombing targeting regional security forces at a checkpoint in Bosasso, took responsibility for a raid at a popular hotel in that city, and conducted several other attacks against government officials in Puntland in the months prior. The group briefly occupied the coastal town of Qandala in late 2016.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) containing information on the U.S. prohibition against U.S. civil aviation operations in airspace over Somalia. 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 should avoid sailing near the coast of Somalia due to the risk of pirate attacks. 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. See the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.

For further information:

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

North Korea Travel Alert

The Secretary of State published a Notice on Wednesday, August 2, 2017 that will restrict the use of U.S. passports to travel into, in, or through North Korea/the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), effective Friday, September 1, 2017.

The Secretary has authorized the restriction due to the serious and mounting risk of arrest and long-term detention of U.S. citizens under North Korea’s system of law enforcement, per 22 C.F.R. 51.63. Persons who wish to travel to North Korea on a U.S. passport must obtain a special passport validation under 22 C.F.R. 51.64, and such validations will be granted only under very limited circumstances. The Department of State will publish information on how to apply for a passport with a special validation on travel.state.gov when OMB approval is effective. Since OMB issues the approval, the Department cannot provide any further information as to timing. More information on how to apply for the special validation is available on the Federal Register notice published here

Persons currently in North Korea on a U.S. passport should depart North Korea before the travel restriction enters into effect on Friday, September 1, 2017.  Persons, including those currently in North Korea, who believe they meet the criteria for a limited-validity passport and special passport validation under 22 C.F.R. 51.64 should apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate. 

For information about the dangers of traveling to North Korea, please see the current Travel Warning for the DPRK.

For further information:

  • See the Department of State’s travel website for information regarding the travel restriction and Country Specific Information for North Korea
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive important safety and security messages via email and make it easier to locate you in case of an emergency.
  • Inform U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China by enrolling in STEP, if you have a limited validity passport and special validation for travel to North Korea.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
  • Inform the Embassy of Sweden in Pyongyang by email if you have received a limited passport and special validation for travel to North Korea.  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 (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.

  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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Posted in Travel Alerts (U.S. Dept of State)

Venezuela Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to Venezuela due to social unrest, violent crime, and pervasive food and medicine shortages.

This travel warning also informs U.S. citizens that on July 27, the Department ordered the departure of family members and authorized the voluntary departure of U.S. government employees from the U.S. Embassy in Caracas.  

All U.S. direct-hire personnel and their families assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Caracas are subject to an embassy movement policy that limits their travel within Caracas and many parts of the country.  Inter-city travel by car during hours of darkness (6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.) is strongly discouraged and in some cases may be prohibited.  U.S. government personnel must also request approval for travel outside of Caracas.  These security measures may limit the U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide services.  This replaces the Travel Warning issued December 15, 2016.

The political and security situation in Venezuela is unpredictable and can change quickly.  Since April 2017, political rallies and demonstrations occur daily throughout the country, often with little notice.  Disruptions to traffic and public transportation are common.  Demonstrations typically elicit a strong police and security force response that includes the use of tear gas, pepper spray, water cannons and rubber bullets against participants, and occasionally devolve into looting and vandalism. Armed motorcycle gangs associated with the government frequently use violence to intimidate demonstrators.  Clashes between these groups have resulted in serious injuries and over 70 deaths.  U.S. citizens have reported being arrested, detained, and robbed while in close proximity to protests.

Security forces have arrested individuals, including U.S. citizens, and detained them for long periods with little or no evidence of a crime.  The U.S. Embassy may not be notified of the detention of a U.S. citizen and consular access to detainees may be denied or severely delayed.  The detained citizen may be denied access to proper medical care, clean water, and food.

Violence and criminal activity – including homicide, armed robbery, kidnapping, and carjacking – pose significant and continuing security concerns.  Indiscriminate violent crime is endemic throughout the country and can occur anywhere at any time.  There are reports of authorities (e.g., police, airport, immigration) and criminals posing as authorities participating in robbery and extortion.  Drug traffickers and illegal armed groups are active in the Colombian border states of Zulia, Tachira, and Apure.

The Simón Bolívar International Airport, in Maiquetía, is located in an extremely high-risk area for armed robbery and kidnappings.  Do not take unregulated taxis from this airport and avoid ATMs in this area.  Travel between the Simón Bolívar International Airport and Caracas only during daylight hours, as armed bandits frequently target night-time motorists along this route.

Due to shortages of medicine and medical supplies, U.S. citizens should be prepared to cover their own needs for over-the-counter and prescription medicines while in country.  You should have medical evacuation plans in place that do not rely solely on U.S. government assistance.  Comprehensive medical evacuation insurance is strongly advised for all travelers.

U.S. citizens may also be detained and/or deported by Venezuelan immigration officials for not complying with visa or immigration regulations.  U.S. citizens traveling to Venezuela must have a valid visa that is appropriate for their specific type of travel (journalism, employment, study, etc.) or risk being detained or deported.  Journalists must possess the appropriate accreditation and work visa from the Venezuelan authorities before arriving. International journalists are closely scrutinized and have been expelled and/or detained for lacking appropriate permissions to work in Venezuela or for participation in what could be seen as anti-government activity, including observing and reporting on public health facilities.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Venezuela Specific Information.

  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela, located at Calle F con Calle Suapure, Lomas de Valle Arriba, Caracas at +[58] 212-975-6411, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The after-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +[58] 0212-907-8400 or, or 0212-907-8400 from within Venezuela.

  • To reach the Department of State’s Overseas Citizen Services, call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

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

Jordan Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens to consider the risks of travel to and throughout Jordan due to persistent terrorist threats.

The self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS), its affiliates, sympathizers, and other violent extremist groups have successfully conducted attacks in Jordan and continue to plot against local security forces, U.S. and Western interests, and “soft” targets. Jordan's prominent role in the counter ­ISIS Coalition and its shared borders with Iraq and Syria increase the potential for future terrorist incidents. This replaces the Travel Warning issued December 23, 2016.  

U.S., Western, and official Jordanian interests remain priority targets for ISIS and other violent extremist organizations. Within the last year, Jordanian authorities have notified the U.S. Embassy of several disrupted terrorist plots targeting U.S. citizens and Westerners in Jordan. In addition, on December 18, 2016, terrorists killed 10 people, including a Canadian citizen and seven Jordanian security and police officers, at or near a tourist site in Karak, 130 km south of Amman. Two days later, in the same area, a shootout between a different terrorist group and Jordanian security forces occurred. Terrorist entities continue to express interest in attacking other “soft” targets, such as high-profile public events, hotels, places of worship, restaurants, schools, and malls.

Travelers to Jordan should avoid the country's border with Syria and Iraq given the continued threat of cross-­border attacks. All U.S. government personnel on official travel must receive prior permission to visit any area within 10 km from the Jordan-­Syria border, which includes the town of Ramtha. The 10 km area does not include the tourist site of Umm Qais or the city of Irbid. U.S. government personnel must also have permission for official travel on Highway 10 east of the town of Ruwayshid toward the Iraq border. U.S. government employees on personal travel are not permitted to visit the border areas or refugee camps, and the Embassy advises U.S. citizens to avoid both locations. On occasion, the U.S. Embassy temporarily makes other areas within Jordan off limits to its staff based on the security situation. 

For more information:

  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Amman. The U.S. Embassy is located on Al-Umayyaween Street, Abdoun neighborhood, Amman 11118. You can contact the Embassy by telephone at +(962) (6) 590-6000. The emergency after-hours number is +(962)(6) 590-6500.  U.S. citizens in Jordan may also contact the consular section by email at Amman-ACS@state.gov. U.S. citizens seeking routine services must make appointments in advance.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.
Posted in Travel Warnings (U.S. Dept of State)

Republic of South Sudan Travel Warning

The U.S. State Department warns U.S. citizens against travel to the Republic of South Sudan because of ongoing fighting, intercommunal violence, and violent crime.

This replaces the Travel Warning dated January 4, 2017.  

In July 2016, violent clashes between government and opposition forces broke out in Juba, resulting in the expulsion of opposition forces from the capital.  Since then, armed conflict has expanded throughout the country, leading to continued instability that is exacerbated by intercommunal violence, cattle raiding, economic collapse, and an increase in violent crime. Aid workers, including U.S. citizens, have been the targets of shootings, ambushes, violent assaults, harassment, and robberies. All U.S. citizens in South Sudan should have evacuation plans that do not rely on U.S. government assistance, and should carry medical evacuation insurance.

The risk of violent crime is critical throughout South Sudan, including in Juba.  Due to the risk of carjacking, crime, and unpredictable armed violence, travel outside of Juba should be undertaken with a minimum of two vehicles and appropriate recovery and medical equipment in case of mechanical failure or other emergency. 

Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of South Sudan, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM). 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.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for South Sudan.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). U.S. citizens who travel to or remain in South Sudan despite this Travel Warning should provide their current contact information and next-of-kin information in STEP. 
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Juba located on Kololo Road in Tongping next to the European Union compound, at +(211) 912-105-188 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +(211) 912-105-107.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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Posted in Travel Warnings (U.S. Dept of State)

Republic of South Sudan Travel Warning

The U.S. State Department warns U.S. citizens against travel to the Republic of South Sudan because of ongoing fighting, intercommunal violence, and violent crime.

This replaces the Travel Warning dated January 4, 2017.  

In July 2016, violent clashes between government and opposition forces broke out in Juba, resulting in the expulsion of opposition forces from the capital.  Since then, armed conflict has expanded throughout the country, leading to continued instability that is exacerbated by intercommunal violence, cattle raiding, economic collapse, and an increase in violent crime. Aid workers, including U.S. citizens, have been the targets of shootings, ambushes, violent assaults, harassment, and robberies. All U.S. citizens in South Sudan should have evacuation plans that do not rely on U.S. government assistance, and should carry medical evacuation insurance.

The risk of violent crime is critical throughout South Sudan, including in Juba.  Due to the risk of carjacking, crime, and unpredictable armed violence, travel outside of Juba should be undertaken with a minimum of two vehicles and appropriate recovery and medical equipment in case of mechanical failure or other emergency. 

Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of South Sudan, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM). 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.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for South Sudan.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). U.S. citizens who travel to or remain in South Sudan despite this Travel Warning should provide their current contact information and next-of-kin information in STEP. 
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Juba located on Kololo Road in Tongping next to the European Union compound, at +(211) 912-105-188 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +(211) 912-105-107.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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Posted in Travel Warnings (U.S. Dept of State)

Egypt Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens to consider the risks of travel to Egypt due to threats from terrorist and violent political opposition groups.

This replaces the Travel Warning issued on December 23, 2016. A number of terrorist groups, including ISIS, have committed multiple deadly attacks in Egypt, targeting government officials and security forces, public venues, tourist sites, civil aviation and other modes of public transportation, and a diplomatic facility. Terrorists continue to threaten Egypt’s religious minorities and have attacked sites and people associated with the Egyptian Coptic Church.

Terrorist attacks can occur anywhere in the country, including major metropolitan areas. In early May, ISIS media threatened that places associated with Westerners, Christians, the Egyptian military or police, and Egyptian government facilities could be struck at any time. The northeastern Sinai Peninsula remains a particularly dangerous area, with frequent attacks on security forces and civilians. There are also reports of attacks on security forces in Egypt’s Western Desert, the large, mostly uninhabited area west of the Nile Valley, and in Egypt’s border areas. The Egyptian Military frequently conducts counterterrorism operations in these areas.

For security reasons, U.S. Mission personnel are prohibited from traveling to the Western Desert and the Sinai Peninsula. Overland travel is not allowed anywhere in the Sinai Peninsula, but U.S. Mission personnel are permitted to travel to and from Sharm El-Sheikh by air. Mission personnel are prohibited from visiting religious sites outside greater Cairo.

The Egyptian Government maintains a heavy security presence at major tourist sites in and around greater Cairo and Alexandria; at Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurghada, Marsa Alam and other beach resorts on the Red Sea and the Mediterranean coast; and at many of the major temples and archaeological sites located in and around the Nile Valley cities of Luxor and Aswan, including Abu Simbel.

Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Egypt, 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.

For further detailed information and assistance:

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

Philippines Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to the city of Marawi, Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago including the southern Sulu Sea, and to exercise extreme caution when traveling to other regions of Mindanao, due to terrorist threats, insurgent activities, and kidnappings.

Similar threats also occurred throughout the Philippines in 2017. This replaces the Travel Warning dated December 20, 2016. 

There is a threat of kidnappings-for-ransom of foreigners, including U.S. citizens, from terrorist and insurgent groups based in the Sulu Archipelago and in the southern Sulu Sea area. This area stretches from the southern tip of Palawan, along the coast of eastern Sabah, Malaysia and the islands of the Sulu Archipelago, up to Zamboanga City, Mindanao. The U.S. Embassy requires U.S. government personnel to obtain special authorization before traveling to Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago.

Separatist and terrorist groups continue to attack and kidnap civilians, foreigners, political leaders, and Philippine security forces in Mindanao. On May 23, 2017, the Philippine government declared martial law throughout the Mindanao region.  Review the following information: 

  • In September 2016, a terrorist group detonated a bomb in Davao City, killing 14 and wounding at least 70 people. Following the attack, the Philippine government declared a "State of National Emergency on Account of Lawless Violence in Mindanao." 
  • In May 2017, an ongoing conflict erupted between terrorist groups and Philippine security forces in Marawi City, Mindanao, resulting in multiple dead and injured.
  • In central Mindanao, extremist groups aligned with the Islamic State, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and other armed groups have carried out attacks on local government institutions, civilians, and security forces in the Cotabato City area, and in the Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat provinces, where the government maintains a state of emergency and a greater police presence. 
  • In Mindanao, terrorists, insurgents, and criminal gangs regularly conduct kidnappings for ransom. Since January 2017, at least six separate kidnappings have been reported.
  • In western Mindanao, terrorists, insurgents, and criminal gangs regularly conduct kidnappings for ransom. 
  • The U.S. Embassy has restricted U.S. government personnel travel to Mindanao. 
  • There have been no reports of U.S. citizens in Mindanao targeted specifically for their nationality; however, general threats to U.S. citizens and other foreigners throughout Mindanao remain a concern.

Recent terrorist threats, kidnappings, and bombings have occurred throughout the Philippines. U.S. Embassy Manila received credible information that terrorists planned to conduct kidnappings in Palawan, Cebu, and Bohol provinces in 2017. In November 2016, a terrorist group planted an Improvised Explosive Device near the U.S. Embassy in Metro Manila. In April and May 2017, bombings in Quiapo, Manila killed two and injured twenty.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Philippines Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. 
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines, located at 1201 Roxas Boulevard, at +(63) (2) 301-2000, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +(63) (2) 301-2000.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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Posted in Travel Warnings (U.S. Dept of State)