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Burkina Faso Travel Alert

The U.S. Department of State alerts U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Burkina Faso of the upcoming presidential and legislative elections scheduled for November 29.

U.S. citizens are reminded of the risks of travel to Burkina Faso and urged to exercise caution while traveling within Burkina Faso during the election season.  This Travel Alert expires on January 23, 2016.

Campaigning, which began on November 8, will continue until elections are held on November 29.  A second round of elections could occur if no candidate obtains an absolute majority in the first round.

There is potential for sporadic civil disruptions throughout the presidential and legislative election period, including demonstrations, which can be spontaneous and occur with little or no advance warning throughout Burkina Faso.

U.S. citizens in Burkina Faso should remain vigilant and utilize appropriate personal security practices.  Avoid political rallies, campaign events, polling stations, demonstrations, protests, and other large gatherings in the weeks before and after elections; maintain situational awareness and exercise good judgment; stay alert and aware of your surroundings at all times; and stay abreast of the situation through media outlets.  U.S. citizens should maintain adequate supplies of food, water, essential medicines, and other supplies to shelter in place for at least 72 hours should this become necessary.  Additional recommendations on emergency preparedness are available on the Travel.State.gov web page Emergencies Abroad.

For further information:

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

Worldwide Travel Alert

The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats.

Current information suggests that ISIL (aka Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions.  These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests.  This Travel Alert expires on February 24, 2016.

Authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of ISIL/Da’esh return from Syria and Iraq.  Additionally, there is a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis.  Extremists have targeted large sporting events, theatres, open markets, and aviation services.  In the past year, there have been multiple attacks in France, Nigeria, Denmark, Turkey, and Mali.  ISIL/Da’esh has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt. 

U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation.  Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowded places.  Exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events.  U.S. citizens should monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.  Persons with specific safety concerns should contact local law enforcement authorities who are responsible for the safety and security of all visitors to their host country.  U.S. citizens should:

  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.  Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.  
  • Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
  • Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.
  • Register in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

Foreign governments have taken action to guard against terrorist attacks, and some have made official declarations regarding heightened threat conditions.  Authorities continue to conduct raids and disrupt terror plots.  We continue to work closely with our allies on the threat from international terrorism.  Information is routinely shared between the United States and our key partners in order to disrupt terrorist plotting, identify and take action against potential operatives, and strengthen our defenses against potential threats.

For further information:

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

North Korea Travel Warning

The Department of State strongly recommends against all travel by U.S. citizens to North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or DPRK).

This replaces the Travel Warning for North Korea of April 15, 2015, to reiterate and highlight the risk of arrest and long-term detention due to the DPRK’s inconsistent application of its criminal laws.

Travel by U.S. citizens to North Korea is not routine, and U.S. citizens have been subject to arrest and long-term detention for actions that would not be cause for arrest in the United States or other countries.  North Korean authorities have arrested U.S. citizens who entered the DPRK legally on valid DPRK visas as well as U.S. citizens who accidentally or intentionally crossed into DPRK territory without valid visas. The Department of State has received reports of DPRK authorities detaining U.S. citizens without charges and not allowing them to depart the country.  North Korea has even detained several U.S. citizens who were part of organized tours.  Do not assume that joining a group tour or using a tour guide will prevent North Korean authorities from detaining you or arresting you.  Efforts by private tour operators to prevent or resolve past detentions of U.S. citizens in the DPRK have not succeeded in gaining their release.

The Government of North Korea has detained, arrested, and imposed extremely heavy fines on persons who violated DPRK laws, such as entering the country illegally. Travelers to North Korea must enter the DPRK with a valid passport and valid DPRK visa.  Foreign visitors to North Korea may be arrested, detained, or expelled for activities that would not be considered criminal outside North Korea, including involvement in unsanctioned religious and/or political activities (whether those activities took place inside or outside North Korea), unauthorized travel, or unauthorized interaction with the local population.

North Korean security personnel may regard as espionage unsanctioned religious or political activities, unauthorized or unescorted travel inside North Korea and unauthorized attempts to speak directly to North Korean citizens.  North Korean authorities may fine or arrest travelers for exchanging currency with an unauthorized vendor, for taking unauthorized photographs, or for shopping at stores not designated for foreigners.  It is a criminal act in North Korea to show disrespect to the country's former leaders, Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung, or to the current leader, Kim Jong Un.

DPRK customs officials will inspect USB drives, CDs, DVDs, mobile phones, tablets, laptops, or other electronic and multimedia devices brought into the country.  Internet browsing histories and cookies on travelers’ computers and other electronic devices are subject to search for banned content, including pornography or material critical of the DPRK government.  Possession of any media, either printed or electronic, criticizing the DPRK government is a criminal act.  Bringing pornography into the country is also a criminal act.

Please be sure that the information contained on those devices does not violate the laws or regulations of the DPRK, as penalties for knowingly or unknowingly violating North Korea's laws may be much harsher than U.S. penalties for similar offenses.  Sentences for crimes can include years of detention in hard labor camps or death.

If DPRK authorities permit you to keep your cell phone upon entry into the country, please keep in mind that you have no right to privacy in North Korea and should assume your communications are monitored. 

GPS-trackers and satellite phones are not allowed.

Since the United States does not maintain diplomatic or consular relations with the DPRK, the U.S. government has no means to provide normal consular services to U.S. citizens in North Korea.  The Embassy of Sweden, the U.S. Protecting Power in the DPRK capital of Pyongyang, provides limited consular services to U.S. citizens traveling in North Korea who are ill, injured, arrested, or who have died while there.  The U.S.-DPRK Interim Consular Agreement provides 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.

U.S. citizens who plan to travel to North Korea are strongly encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China, about their trip by enrolling in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.  If you enroll in this program, the State Department can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements via email messages (though you may not have access to email while in the DPRK).  Enrollment also makes it easier for friends and family to get in touch with you via the U.S. Embassy in case of an emergency.

U.S. citizens residing in China can contact the U.S. Embassy in Beijing 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 Beijing
American Citizens Services Unit
No. 55 An Jia Lou Road
Chaoyang District
Beijing, China 100600
Telephone: (86-10) 8531-4000
Facsimile: (86-10) 8531-3300
Email: amcitbeijing@state.gov
Emergency after-hours telephone: (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:

Swedish Embassy  (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 (Ambassador)
Facsimile: (850-2) 3817 663

U.S. citizens should also consult the Department of State's Country Specific Information for North Korea, and the current Worldwide Caution, which are located on the Department's travel website at travel.state.gov.  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, from outside the United States and Canada, +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).

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.

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

Afghanistan Travel Warning

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Afghanistan.

The security situation in Afghanistan is extremely unstable, and the threat to all U.S. citizens in Afghanistan remains critical.  This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning for Afghanistan issued on May 22, 2015. 

The U.S. government remains highly concerned about possible attacks on U.S. citizens (whether visiting or residing in Afghanistan), U.S. facilities, businesses, and perceived U.S. and foreign interests.  Attacks may target official government convoys and compounds, including Afghan and U.S. government facilities, foreign embassies and military installations, as well as restaurants, hotels, airports, non-governmental organization (NGO) offices, international organizations, religious institutions, educational centers, foreign guest houses, and other commercial entities.

Travel to all areas of Afghanistan remains unsafe due to ongoing military combat operations, landmines, banditry, armed rivalry between political and tribal groups, and insurgent attacks, including attacks using vehicle-borne or other improvised explosive devices (IED).  Extremists associated with various Taliban networks, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province (ISIL-KP), and members of other armed opposition groups are active throughout the country.  Violent and deadly clashes between insurgent groups and Afghan security forces have occurred throughout the country.  On September 28, 2015, the Taliban attacked the provincial capital of Kunduz, causing as many as 100,000 residents to flee their homes.  A strong possibility exists throughout the country for hostile acts, either targeted or random, against U.S. and other foreign nationals at any time. 

Kabul remains at high risk for militant attacks, including vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED), direct and indirect fire, and suicide bombings. The same risks also exist in other major cities in Afghanistan, to include, but not limited to, Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif, Kunduz, Lashkar Gah, Maimana, Ghazni, and Jalalabad. An ongoing risk of kidnapping and hostage taking exists throughout Afghanistan. 

Militant attacks throughout the country continue, with many of these attacks specifically targeting U.S. and other foreign citizens and entities.  Examples include the October 11, 2015 bombing of a Coalition convoy in Kabul using a suicide vehicle borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED), which wounded three Afghan civilians, the August 22 SVBIED attack on a convoy in Kabul that killed three U.S. citizens, and the August 17, 2015, kidnapping for ransom of a German citizen working for the German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ). 

Riots and civil disturbances can occur anywhere in Afghanistan, often without warning.  U.S. citizens should avoid all rallies and demonstrations.  Protests intended to be peaceful can become confrontational and escalate into violence at any point.  The size of these demonstrations has ranged from as small as 20 to as large as 3,000 people.  The issues that typically prompt demonstrations include grievances against the government or coalition forces, as well as spontaneous public expressions of social, political, and ethnic tensions. 

U.S. citizens representing foreign interests in property or contract disputes – a common problem for foreign companies doing business in Afghanistan – have reported that local parties to the disputes have threatened their lives or held them or their employees captive under extrajudicial conditions while awaiting payouts or intervention by local authorities.  U.S. citizens who find themselves in such situations should not assume that local law enforcement or the U.S. Embassy will be able to assist them in resolving such disputes or intervene on their behalf with Afghan officials.

The Department of State considers the threat to U.S. government personnel in Afghanistan sufficiently critical to require them to live and work under strict security restrictions.  All locations outside the U.S. Embassy and other U.S. government facilities are considered off-limits to Embassy personnel unless there is a compelling government interest in permitting such travel that outweighs the risk.  The internal security policies of the U.S. Embassy may be changed or adjusted at any time, without advance notice.  The Embassy will regularly restrict or prohibit movements by its personnel, often on short notice, for reasons such as terrorist attacks, security threats, or demonstrations.  Because of security concerns, unofficial travel to Afghanistan by U.S. government employees and their family members is also restricted, and requires prior approval from the Department of State.

The U.S. Embassy's ability to provide emergency consular services to U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is severely limited, particularly for those persons outside of Kabul.  U.S. citizens who choose to visit or remain in Afghanistan despite this Travel Warning are encouraged to limit nonessential travel within Afghanistan, formulate personal contingency plans, monitor the Embassy’s website, and enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in order to obtain the most current information on travel and security within Afghanistan.  Enrollment in STEP makes it easier for the Embassy to contact U.S. citizens in case of an emergency.  U.S. citizens without Internet access may enroll directly with the U.S. Embassy.

U.S. government-facilitated evacuations occur only when no safe, commercial alternatives exist. Evacuation assistance is provided on a cost-recovery basis, which means the traveler must reimburse the U.S. government for travel costs.  The lack of a valid U.S. passport and Afghan visa may hinder a U.S. citizen’s ability to depart the country and may slow the U.S. Embassy's ability to assist.  U.S. citizens in Afghanistan should ensure that they have proper and current documentation at all times. Evacuation options from Afghanistan are extremely limited due to the lack of infrastructure, geographic constraints, and other security concerns.  The U.S. government typically evacuates U.S. citizens to a safe haven, and travelers are responsible for making their own onward travel plans.  U.S. citizens should not expect to be evacuated to the United States and should always maintain medevac insurance while living or traveling abroad in case they need emergency medical evacuation back to the United States, which can be a significant expense.  For more information, see "What the Department of State Can and Can't Do in a Crisis."

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

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 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 from8:00 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)

Kenya Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risk of traveling to Kenya.

U.S. citizens in Kenya, and those considering travel to Kenya, should be aware of continuing and recently heightened threats from terrorism and the high rate of violent crime in some areas.  This replaces the Travel Warning of May 13, 2015, to update information regarding the change of travel restrictions for United States government personnel within the country. 

Although thousands of U.S. citizens visit Kenya each year without incident, caution and keen awareness of one’s personal security situation is vitally important.  The U.S. government continues to receive information about potential terrorist threats aimed at U.S., Western, and Kenyan interests in Kenya, including within the Nairobi area, along the coast, and within the northeastern region of the country.  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.  Travelers should consult the Worldwide Caution webpage for further information and details.

Al-Qaeda and its affiliate, Al-Shabaab, have attacked targets in Kenya for years.  Since late 2013, there have been numerous attacks involving shootings, grenades, or other explosive devices in Kenya, killing hundreds and causing injury to hundreds more within the Nairobi area, along the coast, and in the northeastern region of the country.  Most of these attacks occurred in northeastern Kenya, mainly in Wajir, Garissa, and Mandera counties.  The most deadly of these took place on April 2 at the Garissa University College, where al-Shabaab terrorists killed almost 150 people, primarily students, and wounded many others.  Al-Shabaab targets have included government sites, such as police stations and police vehicles, and soft targets including public transportation, nightclubs and bars, religious institutions, universities, and shopping areas.

Grenade and improvised explosive device attacks have occurred in Nairobi, including the January 2014 attack at a restaurant in the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.  In 2014 and 2015, the Mombasa area had at least eight such attacks.  Two occurred in May 2014, one of which targeted a local resort frequented by Westerners.

In September 2013, al-Shabaab attacked the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, killing at least 67 people, both Kenyan and non-Kenyan nationals, and wounding approximately 200 hundred others, including five U.S. citizens. 

Kenyan security services have disrupted several other terrorist plots throughout the country, which may have prevented additional deaths and injury from terrorist attacks.  Although the pursuit of those responsible for previous terrorist activities continues, some of those involved remain at large and still operate in the region.

Ethnic clashes sometimes occur in various parts of Kenya, primarily in the rural areas of the country.  These clashes are often fueled by disagreements over land or ownership of cattle.  While this violence is not directed at foreigners, ethnic clashes and protests are unpredictable and may affect non-Kenyans.  U.S. citizens are advised to check conditions and monitor local media reports before traveling to these areas.

Kidnappings of Westerners have occurred in Kenya in the past.  In April 2014, gunmen ambushed a convoy vehicle and attempted to kidnap an international humanitarian staff member at the Dadaab refugee complex.  While the kidnapping attempt was unsuccessful, one Kenyan staff member was injured in the attack.

As part of a wide-ranging security operation that began in 2014, refugees, primarily Somalis, in Nairobi and other cities were ordered to report to established refugee camps.  U.S. citizens of Somali descent should be aware that they may encounter interruptions in their travel due to increased police scrutiny based on the encampment policy.  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.

The U.S. Embassy has lifted travel restrictions for U.S. government personnel to certain locations along the coast that were imposed in June 2014.  Travel is now permitted to Malindi city in Kilifi County south through Mombasa and Kwale counties to the Tanzanian border.  U.S. government personnel, however, are prohibited from using the Likoni ferry in Mombasa and visits to the Old Town in Mombasa are restricted to daylight hours only.  Travel restrictions to the following areas remain in place:  the Nairobi neighborhood of Eastleigh; the area of Kilifi County from Malindi north; the coastal counties of Tana River and Lamu; and northeastern Kenya, including the cities of El Wak, Wajir, Garissa, Mandera, and Liboi.  Travel to these restricted areas by any U.S. Embassy personnel must be pre-approved by appropriate Embassy offices.  U.S. citizens in Kenya should always remain vigilant and be aware of their own personal security, and take appropriate precautions for travel in and to any location within the country.

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.  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.

The Embassy continues to consider carefully all U.S. government-sponsored regional conferences and trainings in Nairobi and the number of temporary duty personnel coming to the country for official purposes.  In addition, the Embassy relocated some staff to other countries in June and July of 2014 due to the security situation.  As of July 2014, the Peace Corps suspended its volunteer activities in Kenya and all Peace Corps Volunteers in Kenya departed the country due to the security situation. 

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 prevent a “wrong place, wrong time” scenario in the event of an attack as well as ensuring that your travel to Kenya is safe and enjoyable.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Kenya.
  • 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 Nairobi located on United Nations Avenue, Gigiri, Nairobi, at  telephone (+254) (20) 363-6000, 7:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Friday.  In the event of an after-hours emergency, contact the Embassy duty officer at (+254) (20) 363-6000. 
  • 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)

Chad Travel Warning

This Travel Warning informs U.S. citizens that the Department of State has terminated the Authorized Departure status for non-emergency personnel and dependents, who had previously departed Chad.

These individuals may now return to the Embassy. The State Department nevertheless continues to warn U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Chad. This replaces the Travel Warning issued on October 2.

U.S. citizens already in Chad should continue to avoid all travel to border regions, particularly those areas adjacent to Chad’s eastern border and the Lake Chad region. The U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide consular services is limited in remote and rural areas. All U.S. citizens should review their personal security and have evacuation plans that can be carried out quickly. Do not rely solely on U.S. government assistance. 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.

Violent extremist organizations in the region, such as Boko Haram (The Islamic State in the West Africa Province) and al-Qai’da in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb, are intent on harming Westerners and Western interests and are able to cross borders easily. On June 15 and July 11, Boko Haram conducted suicide attacks in N’Djamena targeting a police station and a market. The group continues to be extremely active in Chad, targeting local security forces and civilians in the Lake Chad region. Kidnapping for ransom is also a threat in the region.

Chad’s security environment is volatile and can deteriorate unexpectedly, especially along the border areas. There are Travel Warnings for neighboring CameroonCentral African Republic (CAR), LibyaNigerNigeria, and Sudan. U.S. citizens should also note there are minefields along the borders with Libya and Sudan, and that borders can close without warning.

U.S. citizens should take steps to mitigate the risk of becoming a victim of violent crime or terrorism by being vigilant and aware of their surroundings, especially at public gatherings and locations frequented by foreigners, such as markets, restaurants, bars, and places of worship. Avoid crowds, especially those associated with car accidents, since these incidents can become confrontational. Similarly, avoid demonstrations because even peaceful assemblies can turn violent.

All U.S. government personnel require authorization from the U.S. Embassy to travel outside of N'Djamena, and may be subject to other restrictions, including curfews, as security situations warrant. U.S. citizens should consider taking similar precautions when making travel plans. Exercise caution throughout the country, especially at night.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Chad.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Be sure to provide your current contact and next-of-kin information in STEP.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in N’Djamena, located on Avenue Felix Eboue, at +(235) 2251-62-11, 2251-70-09, 2251-77-59, 2251-90-52, 2251-92-18, and 2251-92-33 from 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 +235 6662-2100.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Bangladesh Travel Alert

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to concerns about the ongoing potential for extremist violence in Bangladesh. U.S. citizens who travel to Bangladesh are urged to exercise appropriate caution and maintain a high level of vigilance in light of recent violent attacks.

Although thousands of U.S. citizens visit each year without incident, U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Bangladesh are urged to exercise caution while in the country. This Travel Alert expires on February 2, 2016.

There is reliable information to suggest that terrorist attacks could occur against foreigners in Bangladesh, including against large gatherings of foreigners. Since September, Bangladesh has experienced violent attacks directed at individual foreigners and minority communities, including the September 28 murder of an Italian national, the October 3 murder of a Japanese national, and the October 24 bombings of a religious procession of Shia Muslims. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) publicly claimed all three attacks. Additionally, during 2015 there has been a series of threats and terrorist attacks targeting writers, publishers, and others in the media, including the murder of a U.S. citizen blogger. The U.S. government assesses that the terrorist threat remains real and credible, and further attacks are possible.

U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Bangladesh should take precautions, remain vigilant about their personal security, and be alert to local security developments. Although U.S. government officials in Bangladesh continue to conduct official business without incident, the Embassy has imposed strict restrictions on personnel movement. U.S. government officials and their families are not permitted to be in most public places and are also prohibited from traveling on foot, motorcycle, bicycle, rickshaw, or other uncovered means on all public thoroughfares and sidewalks. They are also restricted from attending large gatherings in Bangladesh, including events at international hotels. The Embassy encourages U.S. citizens to adopt similar security measures.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh, located at Madani Avenue, Baridhara, Dhaka, Bangladesh 1212, at (88) (02) 5566-2000, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Weekends and After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is (88) (02) 5566-2000 (press “0” and ask for the duty officer).
  • 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)

Burundi Travel Warning

The State Department continues to warn U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Burundi and recommends U.S. citizens avoid non-essential travel.

This Travel Warning also informs U.S. citizens that the Department of State has terminated the Ordered Departure status, allowing eligible family members and non-emergency personnel who departed Burundi to return.  This replaces the Travel Warning issued on May 14.

Political violence persists throughout Burundi in the aftermath of the country’s contested elections, an attempted coup d’etat, and the debate over the President standing for a third term.  Exchanges of gunfire and grenade attacks are common but are typically not directed at foreigners and are usually limited to specific areas of the capital, Bujumbura.  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.

Demonstrations, gatherings, and even sporting events that are intended to be peaceful can turn violent without advance warning.  For this reason, U.S. citizens should routinely monitor local media sources and the Internet for reports of demonstrations and unrest, and avoid political rallies, demonstrations, and crowds of any kind.

Travel outside Bujumbura presents significant risks, especially after nightfall.  The U.S. embassy limits and monitors the travel of its personnel in Burundi.  All movement by embassy employees outside the city from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. is prohibited.  Likewise, U.S. citizens should not travel on national highways from dusk to dawn.  Armed criminals ambush vehicles, particularly on the roads leading out of Bujumbura.  Keep vehicle doors locked and windows up when stopped in heavy traffic.

Corruption is endemic in Burundi and contributes to an environment where the rule of law is not respected.  Criminals who have bribed local officials may operate with impunity.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Burundi.
  • See Embassy Bujumbura’s website for the latest emergency and security messages for U.S. citizens.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. 
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura, located on the corner of Avenue des Etats-Unis and Avenue du Cinquantenaire, at +257-22-20-7000, 7:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +257-22-20-7318, or +257-79-93-88-41.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Honduras Travel Warning

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens that the level of crime and violence in Honduras remains critically high, although it has declined in the past two years.

This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning dated March 2015 and includes additional information on crime and security in Honduras.

Crime and violence are serious problems throughout the country.  The Government of Honduras lacks sufficient resources to properly respond to, investigate, and prosecute cases.  As a result, criminals operate with a high degree of impunity throughout Honduras.  

Since 2010, Honduras has had one of the highest murder rates in the world, and the U.S. Embassy has recorded 42 murders of U.S. citizens during the same time period, with 10 recorded since January 2014.  However, official statistics from the Honduran Observatory on National Violence show Honduras’ homicide rate has decreased to 66 per 100,000 in 2014, down from its peak of 86.5 per 100,000 in 2011, and mid-year estimates in July 2015 predict a lower rate for 2015. 

U.S. citizens are victims of crime at levels similar to those of the local population and do not appear to be targeted based on their nationality.  The Government of Honduras added additional police in areas frequented by tourists, such as the Copan Mayan ruins and Roatan.  The Honduran Government is implementing similar programs for other locations, including La Ceiba and Trujillo, and major hotels and other tourist installations have private and police security. 

Tourists traveling with group tours report fewer criminal incidents.  Honduran law enforcement reports frequent highway assaults and carjackings, including remote areas of Choluteca, Olancho, Colon and Copan Departments.  Reporting indicates that these assaults are frequently executed by criminals posing as Honduran law enforcement.  This criminal activity occurs frequently enough to present security challenges for anyone traveling in remote areas. 

Kidnappings and extortion are common in Honduras.  Since January 2012, four cases of kidnapped U.S. citizens were reported to the U.S. Embassy and the kidnapping victims were all subsequently released after paying ransoms.  As families of kidnapping victims often pay ransoms without reporting these crimes to police out of fear of retribution, kidnapping figures may be underreported.

Transnational criminal organizations conduct narcotics trafficking and other unlawful activities throughout the country and use violence to control drug trafficking routes and carry out criminal activity.  Other criminals, acting both individually and in gangs in Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, and other large cities, are known to commit crimes such as murder, kidnapping, extortion, carjacking, armed robbery, rape, and other aggravated assaults.

Sexual assault is a concern in Honduras.  Most Honduran local police and medical staff do not have the capacity to properly handle evidence collection and medical care of sexual assault cases.

Roatan & Bay Islands

Roatan and the Bay Islands experience lower crime rates than the Honduras mainland.  The national government of Honduras, Roatan authorities, and businesses took measures in 2014 to improve tourism security.  As on the mainland, thefts, break-ins, assaults, rapes, and murders do occur, and rates are still high by international standards.  You should exercise caution, especially at night.  If staying at a hotel resort, book tours and sightseeing through the resort or reputable tour companies.  Coxen Hole on the island of Roatan should be avoided after dark. 

If you are traveling on a cruise ship, you should take safety precautions, avoid unfamiliar areas, and take care to book only with reputable tour companies during your stopover in Honduras.  Cruise lines and port agencies work with approved tour companies to offer packages.  The port agencies at Mahogany Bay and Towne Center have worked to improve taxi service to and from the ports.  The vast majority of cruise line passengers in Honduras experience no problems, but incidents of armed robbery and carjacking have been reported.

Precautions While in Honduras

Be vigilant of your surroundings at all times and in all locations, especially when entering or exiting your home/hotel, car, garage, school, and workplace.  Whenever possible, travel in groups of two or more.  Avoid wearing jewelry, carrying large sums of money, or displaying cash, ATM/credit cards, or other valuables.  Avoid walking at night in most areas of Honduras or walking alone on beaches, in historic ruins, and on trails.  Several U.S. citizens have reported being robbed while walking on isolated beaches.  Motorists should avoid traveling between cities at night and always drive with the doors locked and windows up to deter potential robberies at traffic lights and on congested downtown streets.  Arriving U.S. citizens are strongly urged to exercise caution in discussing travel plans in public since criminals may conduct crimes based on tips from sources at airport arrival areas. 

The location and timing of criminal activity is unpredictable in Honduras.  All travelers should exercise caution when traveling anywhere in the country; however, certain areas of the country demonstrate higher levels of criminal activity than others.  Most of Honduras’ major cities (Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, and others), as well as several Honduran “departments” (a geographic designation similar to U.S. states) have homicide rates higher than the national average for 2014, including:

DEPARTMENT                      CAPITAL

Atlántida                               La Ceiba
Colón                                   Trujillo
Cortés                                  San Pedro Sula
Francisco Morazan                  Tegucigalpa
Yoro                                     Yoro

Travelers to the department of Gracias a Dios should note that it is a remote location where narcotics trafficking is frequent, infrastructure is weak, government services are limited, and police or military presence is scarce.  The U.S. Embassy has restricted U.S. government personnel travel to Gracias a Dios due to credible threat information against U.S citizens by criminal and drug trafficking organizations.  U.S. citizens traveling to Gracias a Dios should consider postponing their travel.  Those who choose to travel or currently reside in Gracias a Dios should remain alert to local conditions and for signs of danger, be extra cautious, maintain a high level of vigilance, and take appropriate steps to enhance personal security.

Getting Informed before Traveling

For more detailed information regarding personal security, please see the State Department's Country Specific Information for Honduras. For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ web site for the latest Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts.

The Embassy strongly encourages U.S. citizens living or traveling in Honduras to sign up for the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to obtain updated information on travel and security within Honduras.  Travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States or outside the United States and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.  Stay up to date by bookmarking the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ web site, which contains Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, as well as the Worldwide Caution.

Contact Information

If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime in Honduras, you should contact the local police and the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa.  If you are in the two major cities of Tegucigalpa or San Pedro Sula, you can reach the local police by dialing 911; other smaller cities or rural areas have their own local police assistance numbers.

The U.S. Embassy is located on Avenida La Paz in Tegucigalpa and can be reached at:

Telephone:      (504) 2236-9320/2238-5114
Fax:               (504) 2236-9037
After Hours:    (504) 2236-8497
Website:         http://honduras.usembassy.gov

The Embassy's American Citizens Services Unit is open to walk-in services Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 11:30 am and can be reached directly at:

Telephone:       (504) 2238-5114 ext. 4400
After Hours:      (504) 2238-5114/2236-9320 ext.4100
Fax:                 (504) 2238-4357
Email:              usahonduras@state.gov
Facebook:         www.facebook.com/acstegucigalpa

The U.S. Consular Agency in San Pedro Sula is located on the eleventh floor of the Banco Atlantida building (across from Central Park).   The agency is open to walk-in services on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12:00 to 4:00 pm and can be reached at telephone: (504) 2558-1580.

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

Hurricane Patricia

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has downgraded Hurricane Patricia to a Tropical Depression.

(see http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/graphics_ep5.shtml?5-daynl#contents) Heavy rainfall continues in some of the affected areas, and some highways, including the Colima-Manzanillo Road, have been affected by landslides.  The Government of Mexico continues its damage assessments, but early reports are that damage to transportation infrastructure is much lighter than expected.  The Government is closing public shelters, and local airports are re-opening, with U.S.-Mexico flights expected to resume later today.  We advise U.S. citizens to maintain vigilance, however, due to the continued threat of landslides, and they should verify travel plans prior to travel, as some hotels remain closed and some flights may have been cancelled.

You can alert us to U.S. citizens affected by the storm, including yourself, by visiting our Task Force Alert site, selecting “2015 Hurricane Patricia,” and providing as much information as possible.  You may also contact us at 1-888-407-4747 (From the United States and Canada), +1-202-501-4444 (From all other countries), and email PatriciaEmergencyUSC@state.gov if you have additional questions or concerns.

Please see the Emergency Message on the homepage of the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara (http://guadalajara.usconsulate.gov) for links to various websites that provide further information about the progress of the storm, as well as contact information for the Consulate and the U.S. Department of State.

The safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas is a top priority of the Department of State.  We encourage U.S. citizens traveling and residing abroad to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at www.travel.state.gov, and to read the Country Specific Information also found on the site.

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