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Israel, The West Bank and Gaza Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to the Gaza Strip and urges those present to depart as soon as possible when border crossings are open.

The security situation remains complex in Israel and the West Bank, and can change quickly depending on the political environment, recent events, and geographic location. U.S. citizens should exercise caution and remain aware of their surroundings when traveling to areas where there are heightened tensions and security risks. The Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority both make considerable efforts to police major tourist attractions and ensure security, particularly in areas where foreigners frequently travel. This replaces the Travel Warning issued December 15, 2015.  

Gaza is under the control of Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization. The security environment within Gaza and on its borders is dangerous and volatile. Violent demonstrations and shootings occur on a frequent basis and the collateral risks are high. While Israel and Hamas continue to observe the temporary cease-fire that ended the Gaza conflict in 2014, sporadic mortar or rocket fire and corresponding Israeli military response continue to occur.

Within Israel and the West Bank, a rise in political and religious tension beginning in October 2015 led to a spike in violence in which U.S. citizens were killed and wounded. There is no indication that U.S. citizens were specifically targeted based on nationality. Perceived religious affiliation was a factor in some of the attacks.  Attacks were carried out using knives, vehicles, and guns. Israeli security forces reacted with deadly force, which resulted in some bystanders being injured or killed in the crossfire. While the frequency of attacks has abated significantly since April 2016, the possibility of random violence continues to exist and can happen without warning. U.S. citizens should stay abreast of current events and know what areas to avoid when traveling throughout the region.

For your safety, the Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens:

  • Avoid all travel to the Gaza Strip, and if you are there, leave as soon as you are able;
  • Maintain a high degree of situational awareness and exercise caution at all times;
  • Avoid demonstrations – which can turn violent – and steer clear of neighborhoods where police have restricted access;
  • Beware of and report unattended items or packages;
  • Follow the instructions of security and emergency officials;
  • Report suspicious activities or items to security officials; and
  • Learn the location of the nearest bomb shelter or other hardened shelter. 

When planning their own travel, U.S. citizens should consider the following rules that apply to U.S. government employee travel:

  • U.S. government employees are not allowed to travel to Gaza;
  • With the exception of Jericho, Bethlehem, and along Routes 1 and 90, U.S. government employees are prohibited from personal travel within the West Bank. Restrictions on personal travel by U.S. government employees may change depending on the security environment;
  • All other U.S. government travel into the West Bank outside the aforementioned areas must be for official business and conducted with enhanced security measures; 
  • U.S. government staff take additional security precautions when visiting refugee camps and “seam areas” where Israelis and Palestinians intersect and which have historically been flashpoints for violence. For example, sites with significant religious meaning to multiple faiths can be subject to violent protests or security incidents with little to no warning, especially on or around significant religious holidays;
  • U.S. government employees are prohibited from personal travel into Jerusalem’s Old City on Fridays during the Muslim month of Ramadan. The U.S. government occasionally restricts travel for its employees to the Old City based on the current security environment;
  • U.S. government employees are prohibited from using public buses and public bus terminals throughout Israel and the West Bank; and
  • U.S. government employees must provide advance notification to Embassy security officials if traveling for any reason to the following locations:

o   within 7 miles of the Gaza demarcation line;

o   within 1.5 miles of the Lebanon border; 

o   on or east of Route 98 in the Golan; and

o   south of Be’er Sheva.

U.S. citizens planning to travel to Israel, the West Bank, or Gaza should consult the detailed information concerning entry and exit difficulties in the Country Specific Information (CSI). The CSI also provides detailed guidance on crime and safety conditions within Israel, Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza.

For further detailed information and assistance:

  • In Israel, the Golan Heights, and ports of entry at Ben Gurion Airport, Haifa Port, the northern (Jordan River/Sheikh Hussein) and southern (Arava) border crossings connecting Israel and Jordan, and the border crossings between Israel and Egypt, contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. The after-hours emergency number is (972)(3)519-7575.
  • In Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, and the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge crossing between the West Bank and Jordan, contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem. The after-hours emergency number is (972)(2)622-7250. 
  • In northern Israel, contact the Consular Agency in Haifa. The after-hours emergency number is (972)(3)519-7575.
  • Enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in order to obtain the most current information on travel and security within Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
  • Up-to-date information on security conditions can also be accessed at http://israel.usembassy.govhttp://jerusalem.usconsulate.gov or on the Embassy and Consulate General Facebook pages. 
  • Up-to-date information on travel and security can be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or, for callers outside of the United States and Canada, on a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

 

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

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 March 14, 2016, to reiterate and highlight the risk of arrest and detention of U.S. citizens, particularly dual national Iranian-Americans. Foreigners, in particular dual nationals of Iran and Western countries including the United States, continue to be detained or prevented from leaving Iran. U.S. citizens traveling to Iran should very carefully weigh the risks of travel and consider postponing their travel. 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. U.S. citizens traveling to Iran should very carefully weigh the risks of travel and consider postponing their travel. U.S. citizens residing in Iran should closely follow media reports, monitor local conditions, and evaluate the risks of remaining in the country. 

The U.S. government does not have diplomatic or consular relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran and therefore cannot provide protection or routine consular services to U.S. citizens in Iran. The Swiss government, acting through its Embassy in Tehran, serves as 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 citizenship and will not allow the Swiss to provide protective services for U.S. citizens who are also Iranian nationals. The 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 denied as well. 

The Iranian government continues to repress some 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 Baluchistan border area near Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Kurdish northwest of the country, and areas 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.

The U.S. government is concerned about the risks to civil aircraft operating into, out of, within, or over Iran due to hazards from military activity associated with the conflicts in Iraq and Syria. The FAA has advised U.S. civil aviation to exercise caution when flying into, out of, within, or over the airspace over Iran. 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)

Cameroon Travel Warning

The State Department warns U.S. citizens of the high risk of violent crime, including murder and kidnapping, and terrorist threats including suicide bombings, and recommends U.S. citizens avoid all travel to the North and Far North Regions and parts of the East and Adamawa Regions of Cameroon.

The U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide consular services in remote and rural areas is extremely limited. This replaces the Travel Warning dated December 22, 2015.

The Boko Haram terrorist group has actively targeted foreign residents, tourists, and government leaders in the North and Far North Region. Thirty-seven foreigners have been reported kidnapped since 2013. Since July 2015, the group has carried out 38 suicide bombings in the North and Far North Regions, including the city of Maroua. The U.S. Embassy continues to maintain restrictions on travel by U.S. official personnel to the North, Far North, and East Regions of Cameroon, as well as any travel to the north or east of Ngaoundere in the Adamawa Region. Additionally, the threat of piracy is present in the waters of the Bakassi peninsula in the Gulf of Guinea.

U.S. citizens should exercise extreme caution when traveling within 60 miles/100 kilometers of the border with Nigeria’s Adamawa State in the North and Adamawa Regions of Cameroon, the border area with Chad, and the border areas with the Central African Republic (CAR) due to violence, banditry, and military operations that sometimes cross into Cameroon. There are Travel Warnings for neighboring Nigeria, Chad, and CAR.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Cameroon.
  • 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 Cameroon located on Avenue Rosa Parks close to the Mont Febe Golf Club in Yaounde, at +237 22220-1500 ext. 4341/4023 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 +237 22220-1500 ext. 4040.
  • 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)

Ethiopia Travel Alert

The State Department alerts U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling in certain regions of Ethiopia due to anti-government protests, some of which have involved violence.

Associated disruptions in telephone and internet services have hampered the U.S. Embassy’s ability to communicate with U.S. citizens in Ethiopia. This Travel Alert expires on February 18, 2017.

Since November 2015, anti-government protests, mainly in the regional states of Amhara and Oromia, have resulted in violent clashes between demonstrators and government security forces. Internet, cellular data, and phone service have been sporadically restricted or completely cut off prior to and during some of the protests, impeding the U.S. Embassy's ability to communicate with U.S. citizens.

Protests are likely to continue, and could spread to other parts of the country, including the capital, Addis Ababa. U.S. citizens in Ethiopia should increase their level of situational awareness, continuously assess their surroundings, evaluate their personal level of safety, and avoid demonstrations and large gatherings.

For further information:

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

North Korea Travel Warning

The State Department strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to North Korea/the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) 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 and which threaten U.S. citizen detainees with being treated in accordance with “wartime law of the DPRK.”

This notice replaces the Travel Warning dated May 16, 2016. 

At least 14 U.S. citizens have been detained in North Korea in the past ten years. North Korean authorities have 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, 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 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 providing limited consular services to U.S. citizens traveling in North Korea who require emergency assistance. Although 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, 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 Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) website.

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, (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)

Democratic Republic of the Congo Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of ongoing instability and sporadic violence, including armed robbery, murder, and kidnapping, in the provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu; the new provinces of Bas-Uele, Haut-Uele and Ituri (northeastern part of the former Oriental Province); and Tanganyika and Haut-Lomami (northeastern and central parts of the former province of Katanga).

U.S. citizens should avoid travel to these regions and exercise extreme caution elsewhere in the DRC. Very poor transportation infrastructure throughout the country and poor security conditions in eastern DRC make it difficult for the U.S. Embassy to provide consular services anywhere outside of Kinshasa. This replaces the Travel Warning dated December 4, 2015.

Armed groups, bandits, and some elements of the Congolese armed forces, primarily located in the North Kivu, South Kivu, and the provinces of Bas-Uele, Haut Uele, Tanganyika, Haut-Lomami, and the eastern part of Maniema Province, are known to kill, rape, kidnap, pillage, steal vehicles, and carry out military or paramilitary operations in which civilians can be indiscriminately targeted. Kidnapping for ransom is common, particularly in areas north and west of Goma, North Kivu. Congolese military and United Nations forces continue to operate throughout North and South Kivu and near the DRC’s borders with the Central African Republic and the Republic of South Sudan, particularly in and around Garamba National Park. Travelers in the region may encounter troop movements, armored vehicles and attack helicopters.

Travelers are frequently detained and questioned by poorly trained security forces at numerous official and unofficial roadblocks and border crossings throughout the country, especially near government buildings and installations in Kinshasa. Requests for bribes are extremely common, and security forces have occasionally injured or killed people who refuse to pay. If stopped at a roadblock, remain cautious. In the past year, several U.S. citizens have been illegally detained by government forces or robbed of their valuables while being searched.

 For further information:

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 kidnapping, crime, and violence in Honduras remains critically high.

This Travel Warning supersedes the October 2015 Travel Warning.

Criminal activity is a serious problem throughout the country and 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.  

Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the world. The U.S. Embassy has recorded 37 murders of U.S. citizens since 2011, with three recorded since January 2016. Official statistics from the Honduran Observatory on National Violence show Honduras’ homicide rate was 60 per 100,000 in 2015. The majority of homicide cases in Honduras have no resolution. 

Honduran law enforcement frequently report highway assaults and carjackings by criminals posing as Honduran law enforcement throughout Honduras, including remote areas of Choluteca, Olancho, Colon, and Copan Departments.  These criminals set up road blocks or checkpoints and wear some elements of police uniforms and equipment, but are often mismatched and inconsistent.  Reports of kidnappings of U.S. citizens are not common; since 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 investigate, handle evidence collection, and/or provide medical care for sexual assault victims.

Roatan & Bay Islands: Roatan and the Bay Islands experience lower crime rates than the Honduran mainland. While the national government of Honduras, Roatan authorities, and businesses took measures in 2014 to improve tourism security, thefts, break-ins, assaults, rapes, and murders do occur.  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 on a shore excursion from a cruise ship, take care to book only with reputable tour companies during your stopover in Honduras. The port agencies at Mahogany Bay and Towne Center have worked to improve taxi service to and from the ports.

Gracias a Dios: Travelers to the department 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.

For further information about security in Honduras, see the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Honduras 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 Honduras, located at Avenida La Paz, at (504) 2236-9320/2238-5114, 8:00am to 11:30am Monday through Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +(504) 2238-5114, or +(504) 2236-9320.

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.

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 Monday thru Thursday 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)

Nigeria Travel Warning

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

The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens in Nigeria to consider their own personal security and to keep personal safety in the forefront of their travel planning. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning for Nigeria dated February 5, 2016.

The ability of the Mission to provide assistance to U.S. citizens in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states remains severely limited. The Department recommends against all but essential travel to the following states due to the risk of kidnappings, robberies, and other armed attacks:  Bauchi, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Niger, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, and Zamfara. The Department also warns against travel in the Gulf of Guinea because of the threat of piracy. Based on safety and security risk assessments, the Embassy maintains restrictions for travel by U.S. officials to the states listed above; officials must receive advance clearance by the U.S. Mission for any travel to those states. 

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

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

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

Kidnappings remain a security concern throughout the country. Criminal elements throughout Nigeria orchestrate kidnappings for ransom; Islamic extremists, operating predominantly in the North, also have been known to conduct kidnappings. Criminals or militants have abducted foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, from off-shore and land-based oil facilities, residential compounds, airports, and public roadways.

Separatist groups have staged demonstrations in Abia, Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Enugu, Imo, Lagos, and Rivers states, some of which have turned violent. 

Militant groups have destroyed oil production infrastructure in Bayelsa and Delta states.  U.S. citizens are advised to avoid the areas of these states where these incidents have occurred.

Attacks by pirates off the coast of Nigeria in the Gulf of Guinea have increased substantially in recent years.  Armed gangs have boarded both commercial and private vessels to rob travelers. The Nigerian Navy has limited capacity to respond to criminal acts at sea.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution,Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Nigeria Country-Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, located at Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive, Central District Area, open Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos, located at 2 Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, is open Monday-Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  The U.S. Embassy in Abuja can be reached by telephone, including after-hours emergencies, at +234(9) 461-4000, or by email at AbujaACS@state.gov.  The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos can be reached by telephone, including after-hours emergencies, at +234(1) 460-3600 or +234 (1) 460-3400, or by email atLagosACS@state.gov.  For more information, please visit the U.S. Mission in Nigeria website.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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Posted in Travel Warnings (U.S. Dept of State)

Lebanon Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Lebanon because of the threats of terrorism, armed clashes, kidnapping, and outbreaks of violence near Lebanon’s borders with Syria and Israel.

U.S. citizens living and working in Lebanon should understand that they accept the risks of remaining in the country and should carefully consider those risks. This supersedes the Travel Warning issued on December 11, 2015.

There is potential for death or injury in Lebanon because of terrorist bombings.  Violent extremist groups operate in Lebanon, including Hizballah, ISIL (Da’esh), ANF, Hamas, and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades (AAB). The U.S. government has designated all of these groups as terrorist organizations. ISIL and ANF have claimed responsibility for suicide bombings in Lebanon, and these groups are active throughout Lebanon. U.S. citizens have been the targets of terrorist attacks in Lebanon in the past, and the threat of anti-Western terrorist activity remains, as does the risk of death or injury as a non-targeted bystander.

Sudden outbreaks of violence can occur at any time in Lebanon, and armed clashes have occurred along the Lebanese borders and in Beirut. On June 27, 2016, a series of blasts caused by suicide bombers in Qa’a, a town along Lebanon’s northeastern border killed five people and injured many others.  On the evening of June 12, 2016, an explosion occurred outside a commercial bank in the central Beirut area of Verdun, causing major damage to the building and injuring two people. On November 12, 2015, twin suicide bombings in a commercial and residential area of the Burj al-Barajneh neighborhood in Beirut’s southern suburbs killed 43 people and wounded 239 others.  ISIL claimed responsibility for the bombings. The Lebanese Armed Forces are routinely brought in to quell the violence in these situations.

The Lebanese government cannot guarantee the protection of U.S. citizens in the country against sudden outbreaks of violence. Protesters have blocked major roads to gain publicity for their causes, including the primary road between downtown Beirut and Rafiq Hariri International Airport. Access to the airport may be cut off if the security situation deteriorates.  Family, neighborhood, or sectarian disputes can escalate quickly and can lead to gunfire or other violence with no warning. In Tripoli, the neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen remain tense. Armed clashes have resulted in deaths and injuries in these neighborhoods in the past, and there are potentially large numbers of weapons in the hands of non-governmental elements.  Celebratory gunfire in Lebanon has resulted in accidental injuries and deaths. The ability of U.S. government personnel to reach travelers or provide emergency services can be severely limited. 

Kidnapping, whether for ransom, political motives, or family disputes, is a problem in Lebanon. A U.S. citizen was kidnapped in a family dispute in January 2016. Suspects in kidnappings sometimes have ties to terrorist or criminal organizations. The U.S. government’s ability to help U.S. citizens kidnapped or taken hostage is very limited.  Although the U.S. government places the highest priority on the safe recovery of kidnapped U.S. citizens, it is U.S. policy not to make concessions to hostage takers.  U.S. law also makes it illegal to provide material support to terrorist organizations.

Clashes between Lebanese authorities and criminal elements continue to occur in areas of the Bekaa Valley and border regions. The U.S. Embassy strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid the Lebanese-Syrian border region.  There have been episodic clashes between the Lebanese Army and Syrian-based extremists along the border with Syria since August 2014. On March 24, 2016, a roadside bomb targeting a Lebanese Armed Forces patrol killed a Lebanese soldier and wounded several others in Lebanon’s restive northeast border town of Arsal.  On November 5, 2015, a deadly blast ripped through Arsal, killing at least four people and wounding several others. The November attack, caused by a suicide bomber using a motorbike, targeted a meeting in the al-Sabil neighborhood of the Committee of Qalamoun Scholars. The next day, a Lebanese Armed Forces patrol in al-Sabil was targeted by a roadside explosive device.

U.S. citizens in Lebanon should monitor political and security developments in both Lebanon and Syria. There have been incidents of cross-border shelling and air strikes of Lebanese villages from Syria, resulting in deaths and injuries.  There have been reports of armed groups from Syria kidnapping or attacking Lebanese citizens living in border areas.

There are border tensions to the south with Israel, and the U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to avoid this border. In January 2015, hostilities between Israel and Hizballah flared in the Golan Heights and Shebaa Farms area, and the potential for wider conflict remains. South of the Litani River, Hizballah has stockpiled large amounts of munitions in anticipation of a future conflict with Israel.  In the past, there have been sporadic rocket attacks from southern Lebanon into Israel in connection with the violence between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. These attacks, normally consisting of rockets fired at northern Israel, often provoke a prompt Israeli military response. The rocket attacks and responses can occur without warning. Landmines and unexploded ordnance pose significant dangers throughout southern Lebanon, particularly south of the Litani River, as well as in areas of the country where fighting was intense during the civil war. More than 40 civilians have been killed and more than 300 injured by unexploded ordnance since the 2006 Israel-Hizballah war. Travelers should watch for posted landmine warnings and strictly avoid all areas where landmines and unexploded ordnance may be present.

Hizballah maintains a strong presence in parts of south Beirut, the Bekaa Valley, and areas in southern Lebanon. Hizballah has been the target of attacks by other extremist groups for their support of the Asad regime in Syria. 

Palestinian groups hostile to both the Lebanese government and the United States operate autonomously in formal and informal refugee camps in different areas of the country. Intra-communal violence within the camps has resulted in shootings and explosions. On April 12, 2016, a car bomb explosion killed a senior Palestinian official near the Ein al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in the southern port city of Sidon. U.S. citizens should avoid travel to refugee camps.

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risk of traveling on airlines that fly over Syria. Commercial aircraft are at risk when flying over regions in conflict. We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens considering air travel overseas evaluate the route that their proposed commercial flight may take and avoid any flights that pass through Syrian airspace. U.S. government personnel in Lebanon have been prohibited from taking flights that pass through Syrian airspace. 

The Department of State considers the threat to U.S. government personnel in Beirut sufficiently serious to require them to live and work under strict security restrictions. The internal security policies of the U.S. Embassy may be adjusted at any time and without advance notice. These practices limit, and may prevent, access by U.S. Embassy officials to certain areas of the country, especially to parts of metropolitan Beirut, Tripoli, the Bekaa Valley, refugee camps, and southern Lebanon. 

In the event that the security climate in Lebanon worsens, U.S. citizens will be responsible for arranging their own travel out of Lebanon. The Embassy does not offer protection services to U.S. citizens who feel unsafe.  U.S. citizens with special medical or other needs should be aware of the risks of remaining given their condition, and should be prepared to seek treatment in Lebanon if they cannot arrange for travel out of the country.

U.S. government-facilitated evacuations, such as the evacuation that took place from Lebanon in 2006, occur only when no safe commercial alternatives exist, and they are not guaranteed even when commercial travel options are limited or non-existent.  Evacuation assistance is provided on a cost-recovery basis, which means the traveler must reimburse the U.S. government for travel costs.   U.S. citizens in Lebanon should ensure that they have valid U.S. passports, as lack of documentation could hinder U.S. citizens' ability to depart the country.  U.S. Legal Permanent Residents should consult with the Department of Homeland Security before they depart the United States to ensure they have proper documentation to re-enter.  Further information on the Department’s role during emergencies is provided on the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website

For more information:

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

Lebanon Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Lebanon because of the threats of terrorism, armed clashes, kidnapping, and outbreaks of violence near Lebanon’s borders with Syria and Israel.

U.S. citizens living and working in Lebanon should understand that they accept the risks of remaining in the country and should carefully consider those risks. This supersedes the Travel Warning issued on December 11, 2015.

There is potential for death or injury in Lebanon because of terrorist bombings.  Violent extremist groups operate in Lebanon, including Hizballah, ISIL (Da’esh), ANF, Hamas, and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades (AAB). The U.S. government has designated all of these groups as terrorist organizations. ISIL and ANF have claimed responsibility for suicide bombings in Lebanon, and these groups are active throughout Lebanon. U.S. citizens have been the targets of terrorist attacks in Lebanon in the past, and the threat of anti-Western terrorist activity remains, as does the risk of death or injury as a non-targeted bystander.

Sudden outbreaks of violence can occur at any time in Lebanon, and armed clashes have occurred along the Lebanese borders and in Beirut. On June 27, 2016, a series of blasts caused by suicide bombers in Qa’a, a town along Lebanon’s northeastern border killed five people and injured many others.  On the evening of June 12, 2016, an explosion occurred outside a commercial bank in the central Beirut area of Verdun, causing major damage to the building and injuring two people. On November 12, 2015, twin suicide bombings in a commercial and residential area of the Burj al-Barajneh neighborhood in Beirut’s southern suburbs killed 43 people and wounded 239 others.  ISIL claimed responsibility for the bombings. The Lebanese Armed Forces are routinely brought in to quell the violence in these situations.

The Lebanese government cannot guarantee the protection of U.S. citizens in the country against sudden outbreaks of violence. Protesters have blocked major roads to gain publicity for their causes, including the primary road between downtown Beirut and Rafiq Hariri International Airport. Access to the airport may be cut off if the security situation deteriorates.  Family, neighborhood, or sectarian disputes can escalate quickly and can lead to gunfire or other violence with no warning. In Tripoli, the neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen remain tense. Armed clashes have resulted in deaths and injuries in these neighborhoods in the past, and there are potentially large numbers of weapons in the hands of non-governmental elements.  Celebratory gunfire in Lebanon has resulted in accidental injuries and deaths. The ability of U.S. government personnel to reach travelers or provide emergency services can be severely limited. 

Kidnapping, whether for ransom, political motives, or family disputes, is a problem in Lebanon. A U.S. citizen was kidnapped in a family dispute in January 2016. Suspects in kidnappings sometimes have ties to terrorist or criminal organizations. The U.S. government’s ability to help U.S. citizens kidnapped or taken hostage is very limited.  Although the U.S. government places the highest priority on the safe recovery of kidnapped U.S. citizens, it is U.S. policy not to make concessions to hostage takers.  U.S. law also makes it illegal to provide material support to terrorist organizations.

Clashes between Lebanese authorities and criminal elements continue to occur in areas of the Bekaa Valley and border regions. The U.S. Embassy strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid the Lebanese-Syrian border region.  There have been episodic clashes between the Lebanese Army and Syrian-based extremists along the border with Syria since August 2014. On March 24, 2016, a roadside bomb targeting a Lebanese Armed Forces patrol killed a Lebanese soldier and wounded several others in Lebanon’s restive northeast border town of Arsal.  On November 5, 2015, a deadly blast ripped through Arsal, killing at least four people and wounding several others. The November attack, caused by a suicide bomber using a motorbike, targeted a meeting in the al-Sabil neighborhood of the Committee of Qalamoun Scholars. The next day, a Lebanese Armed Forces patrol in al-Sabil was targeted by a roadside explosive device.

U.S. citizens in Lebanon should monitor political and security developments in both Lebanon and Syria. There have been incidents of cross-border shelling and air strikes of Lebanese villages from Syria, resulting in deaths and injuries.  There have been reports of armed groups from Syria kidnapping or attacking Lebanese citizens living in border areas.

There are border tensions to the south with Israel, and the U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to avoid this border. In January 2015, hostilities between Israel and Hizballah flared in the Golan Heights and Shebaa Farms area, and the potential for wider conflict remains. South of the Litani River, Hizballah has stockpiled large amounts of munitions in anticipation of a future conflict with Israel.  In the past, there have been sporadic rocket attacks from southern Lebanon into Israel in connection with the violence between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. These attacks, normally consisting of rockets fired at northern Israel, often provoke a prompt Israeli military response. The rocket attacks and responses can occur without warning. Landmines and unexploded ordnance pose significant dangers throughout southern Lebanon, particularly south of the Litani River, as well as in areas of the country where fighting was intense during the civil war. More than 40 civilians have been killed and more than 300 injured by unexploded ordnance since the 2006 Israel-Hizballah war. Travelers should watch for posted landmine warnings and strictly avoid all areas where landmines and unexploded ordnance may be present.

Hizballah maintains a strong presence in parts of south Beirut, the Bekaa Valley, and areas in southern Lebanon. Hizballah has been the target of attacks by other extremist groups for their support of the Asad regime in Syria. 

Palestinian groups hostile to both the Lebanese government and the United States operate autonomously in formal and informal refugee camps in different areas of the country. Intra-communal violence within the camps has resulted in shootings and explosions. On April 12, 2016, a car bomb explosion killed a senior Palestinian official near the Ein al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in the southern port city of Sidon. U.S. citizens should avoid travel to refugee camps.

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risk of traveling on airlines that fly over Syria. Commercial aircraft are at risk when flying over regions in conflict. We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens considering air travel overseas evaluate the route that their proposed commercial flight may take and avoid any flights that pass through Syrian airspace. U.S. government personnel in Lebanon have been prohibited from taking flights that pass through Syrian airspace. 

The Department of State considers the threat to U.S. government personnel in Beirut sufficiently serious to require them to live and work under strict security restrictions. The internal security policies of the U.S. Embassy may be adjusted at any time and without advance notice. These practices limit, and may prevent, access by U.S. Embassy officials to certain areas of the country, especially to parts of metropolitan Beirut, Tripoli, the Bekaa Valley, refugee camps, and southern Lebanon. 

In the event that the security climate in Lebanon worsens, U.S. citizens will be responsible for arranging their own travel out of Lebanon. The Embassy does not offer protection services to U.S. citizens who feel unsafe.  U.S. citizens with special medical or other needs should be aware of the risks of remaining given their condition, and should be prepared to seek treatment in Lebanon if they cannot arrange for travel out of the country.

U.S. government-facilitated evacuations, such as the evacuation that took place from Lebanon in 2006, occur only when no safe commercial alternatives exist, and they are not guaranteed even when commercial travel options are limited or non-existent.  Evacuation assistance is provided on a cost-recovery basis, which means the traveler must reimburse the U.S. government for travel costs.   U.S. citizens in Lebanon should ensure that they have valid U.S. passports, as lack of documentation could hinder U.S. citizens' ability to depart the country.  U.S. Legal Permanent Residents should consult with the Department of Homeland Security before they depart the United States to ensure they have proper documentation to re-enter.  Further information on the Department’s role during emergencies is provided on the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website

For more information:

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