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Burundi Travel Warning

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

This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated April 3, 2014, reiterates existing security concerns, and notes updated security restrictions on travel for Embassy personnel.

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.  Low-level political violence persists throughout Burundi– a carryover of the Burundian civil war.

Armed groups operate in Burundi.  Weapons are easy to obtain and some ex-combatants have turned to crime or political violence.  Crime, often committed by groups of armed bandits or street children, poses the highest risk for foreign visitors to both Bujumbura and Burundi in general.  Exchanges of gunfire and grenade attacks are not uncommon but are usually not directed at foreigners.  If you encounter such a situation, stay indoors, in a ground floor interior room and away from doors and windows.  Common crimes include muggings, burglaries, and robberies.  Keep vehicle doors locked and windows up, and be careful when stopped in heavy traffic, due to the threat of robbery and theft.  U.S. government personnel are prohibited from walking on the streets after dark and from using local public transportation at any time.  Local authorities in any part of Burundi are often unable to provide timely assistance during an emergency.

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

Travel outside the capital, Bujumbura, presents significant risks, especially after nightfall. Note the U.S. Embassy limits and monitors the travel of its personnel in Burundi.  All movement outside the city from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. is forbidden.  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.

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

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

U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura at Avenue des Etats-Unis.  The hours for non-emergency American Citizens Services are 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays.  The Embassy Consular section can be reached by telephone, including for after-hours emergencies, at +257-22-20-7000, or by fax at +257-22-22-2926.  Security information for U.S. citizens in Burundi is posted on Embassy Bujumbura's website.

For further information, consult the Department of State's Country Specific Information for Burundi and the current Worldwide Caution, located on the Department of State's website.  Current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, a regular toll line at-1-202-501-4444 for callers from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).  Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts.  Follow us on Twitter and the bureau of consular affairs page on Facebook as well.

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

Somalia Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to Somalia.

This replaces the Travel Warning dated February 7, 2014, to update information on security concerns.

There is at this time no U.S. Embassy or other formal U.S. diplomatic presence in Somalia.  Consequently, the U.S. government is not in a position to assist or effectively provide services to U.S. citizens in Somalia.  In light of this and continuous security threats, the U.S. government recommends that U.S. citizens avoid all travel to Somalia.

The security situation inside Somalia remains unstable and dangerous.  Terrorist operatives and armed groups in Somalia have demonstrated their intent to attack Somali authorities, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and other non-military targets.  Kidnapping, bombings, murder, illegal roadblocks, banditry, and other violent incidents and threats to U.S. citizens and other foreign nationals can occur in any region of Somalia.  In addition, there is a particular threat to foreigners in places where large crowds gather and westerners frequent, including airports, government buildings, and shopping areas.  Inter-clan and inter-factional fighting can flare up with little or no warning.  This type of violence has resulted in the deaths of Somali nationals and the displacement of more than one million people.

While some parts of south/central Somalia are now under Somali government control with the military support of African Union forces, al-Shabaab has demonstrated the capability to carry out attacks in government-controlled territory with particular emphasis on targeting government facilities, foreign delegations’ facilities and movements, and commercial establishments frequented by government officials, foreign nationals, and the Somali diaspora.  In February 2012, al-Shabaab announced that it had merged with Al-Qaida.

Al-Shabaab-planned assassinations, suicide bombings, and indiscriminate armed attacks in civilian populated areas are frequent in Somalia.  On May 24, 2014, al-Shabaab stormed Somalia's Parliament and killed at least 10 security officers in a bomb and gun assault.  On April 7, 2014, two staff members associated with the United Nations were assassinated at the Galkayo airport.  On

April 21 and 22, 2014, al-Shabaab attacked a member of parliament in Mogadishu.  In February 2014, al-Shabaab carried out a bombing followed by a suicide gunman attack against the presidential place which left 16 dead.  On February 21, 2014, al-Shabaab conducted an attack against Villa Somalia resulting in several casualties.  On February 13, 2014, al-Shabaab detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device targeting a United Nations convoy in close proximity to the Mogadishu International Airport entrance.  On January 1, 2014, al-Shabaab carried out a bombing against a popular Mogadishu hotel.  Kidnappings remain a daily threat in Mogadishu and elsewhere in addition to larger assaults, assassinations, and grenade attacks.  Beyond the high profile attacks noted above, al-Shabaab has also claimed responsibility for other regional terrorist attacks.

Pirates and other criminals have specifically targeted and kidnapped foreigners working in Somalia.  In January 2012, a U.S. citizen was kidnapped while on work related travel in Somalia and in October 2011, a U.S. citizen aid worker living in Somalia was also kidnapped.  In both cases, as well as in recent kidnappings of other westerners, the victims took precautionary measures by hiring local security personnel, but those hired to protect them may have played a role in the abductions.  A strong familiarity with Somalia and/or extensive prior travel to the region does not reduce travel risk.  U.S. citizens contemplating travel to Somalia, including Somaliland and Puntland, are advised to obtain kidnap and recovery insurance, as well as medical evacuation insurance, prior to travel.

Additionally, U.S. citizens are urged to avoid sailing close to the coast of Somalia as attacks have occurred as far as 1,000 nautical miles off the coast in international waters.  Merchant vessels, fishing boats, and recreational craft all risk seizure by pirates and having their crews held for ransom in the waters off the Horn of Africa, especially in the international waters near Somalia.  Somali pirates captured and killed four U.S. citizens aboard their boat on February 22, 2011.  If transit around the Horn of Africa is necessary, it is strongly recommended that vessels travel in convoys, maintain good communications contact at all times, and follow the guidance provided by the Maritime Security Center – Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA).  You should consult the Maritime Administration’s Horn of Africa Piracy page for information on maritime advisories, self-protection measures, and naval forces in the region.

U.S. citizens who choose to travel to Somalia despite this Travel Warning are strongly urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in order to receive the most up-to-date security information and be included in our emergency communication system.  Travelers to Somalia should enroll with the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.  U.S. citizens traveling by sea to the area of high threat are urged to inform MSC-HOA by emailing POSTMASTER@MSCHOA.ORG, with the subject line 'Yacht Vessel Movement.'  The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi is located on United Nations Avenue, Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya; telephone (254)(20) 363-6000; after-hours emergencies (254)(20) 363-6170.  The mailing address is P.O. Box 606 Village Market 00621, Nairobi, Kenya.

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

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

Potential Implications for Travel Because of Ebola in Parts of West Africa

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to screening procedures, travel restrictions, and reduced aviation transportation options in response to the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.

This Travel Alert will expire on April 22, 2015.

As of October 22, the Department of Homeland Security requires that all persons traveling to the United States from the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea enter the U.S. through either New York's Kennedy, Newark’s Liberty, Washington's Dulles, Chicago's O'Hare, or Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airports and undergo EVD screening.

Passengers traveling from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea who are not scheduled to pass through one of these airports must rebook their flights to make entry through one of these designated airports.

Due to an outbreak of EVD in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued Level 3 Travel Warnings for those three countries advising against non-essential travel and provided guidance to reduce the potential for spread of EVD. The CDC Level 2 Travel Alert for Nigeria was removed because Nigeria has been declared Ebola free. The Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website prominently features an Ebola Fact Sheet and links to the CDC Health Travel Warnings, Travel Alert, and general guidance about Ebola.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and CDC have also published and provided interim guidance to public health authorities, airlines, and other partners in West Africa for evaluating risk of exposure of persons coming from countries affected by EVD. Measures can include screening, medical evaluation, movement restrictions up to 21 days, and infection control precautions. Travelers who exhibit symptoms indicative of possible Ebola infection may be prevented from boarding and restricted from traveling for the 21-day period. Please note neither the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs nor the U.S. Embassy have authority over quarantine issues and cannot prevent a U.S. citizen from being quarantined should local health authorities require it. For questions about quarantine, please visit the CDC website that addresses quarantine and isolation issues.

The cost for a medical evacuation is very expensive. We encourage U.S. citizens travelling to Ebola-affected countries to purchase travel insurance that includes medical evacuation for EVD. Policy holders should confirm the availability of medical care and evacuation services at their travel destinations prior to travel. 

Some local, regional, and international air carriers have curtailed or temporarily suspended service to or from Ebola-affected countries. U.S. citizens planning travel to or from these countries, in accordance with the CDC Health Travel Warnings and Health Travel Alert, should contact their airline to verify seat availability, confirm departure schedules, inquire about screening procedures, and be aware of other airline options. 

The Department is aware that some countries have put in place procedures relating to the travel of individuals from the affected countries, including complete travel bans. Changes to existing procedures may occur with little or no notice. Please consult your airline or the embassy of your destination country for additional information. 

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

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

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

Russian Federation Travel Alert

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens in Russia to the on-going tensions along the border with Ukraine and the potential for clashes between pro-Russian groups and Ukrainian forces.

This supersedes the Travel Alert dated July 22 to provide updated information on the security situation along Russia’s border with Ukraine and will expire on December 31, 2014.

The U.S. government currently has no information concerning active armed clashes inside Russia or that there are any threats specific to U.S. citizens.  However, all U.S. citizens located in or considering travel to the border region of the Russian Federation, specifically the districts immediately bordering Ukraine in parts of Bryansk, Kursk, Belgorod, Voronezh, and Rostov Oblasts and Krasnodar Krai, should be aware that the tensions described in the State Department’s Travel Warning for Ukraine have the potential to jeopardize the safety and security of U.S. citizens traveling or living in those regions

A state of emergency, declared by the Russian government, continues to be in effect in the Rostov Oblast bordering Ukraine.  The situation along the border is unpredictable and could change quickly. Armed, pro-Russian groups are reportedly traveling illegally across the border into Ukraine and could increase the potential for clashes in Russia near the border, and pose a heightened risk for kidnapping and hostage taking.  Negotiations and discussions between Ukraine and Russia are on-going regarding the integrity and control of the international border between the two countries.  A formal, permanent mechanism to guarantee security on the border has not yet been established.  Given the on-going volatility of the situation, U.S. citizens are strongly advised against traveling by land from Russia to Ukraine through this region.

U.S. citizens considering travel to the border region in Russia should evaluate their personal security situation in light of these political tensions, and the possibility of violence or anti-U.S. actions directed against U.S. citizens or U.S. interests.  U.S. citizens who choose to remain in areas where Russia has declared a state of emergency or other border regions should maintain a low profile and avoid large crowds and gatherings.

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

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

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

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

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

Emergency Contact Information in Russia:

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

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

U.S. Consulate General Vladivostok
The U.S. Consulate General is located at 32 Puskinskaya Street, Vladivostok, Russia 690001
Tel.: +7 (423) 230-0070, fax: +7 (423) 230-0091
Emergency telephone:  +7 914-791-0067 (24 hours)
E-mail:  vladcons@state.gov

U.S. Consular Agency Yuzho-Sakhalinsk:
The Consular Agency in Yuzho-Sakhalinsk is located at Lada Hotel Suite 210, 154 Komsomolskaya Street, Tel:  (+7) (424) 242-4917.  You may contact the Consular Agency by e-mail at conagentsakhalin@yahoo.com
For after-hours emergencies, call (+7) 914-704-0867.

U.S. Consulate General Yekaterinburg:
The U.S. Consulate General in Yekaterinburg is located at 15 Gogolya Street, Tel: (+7) (343) 793-001.  You may contact the Consulate’s ACS Unit by e-mail at COnsulYekat@state.gov or by fax at (+7) (343) 379-4515, or visit the Consulate’s website at http://yekaterinburg.usconsulate.gov.
For after-hours emergencies, you may call the Duty Officer at (+7) (917) 569-3549.

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

South Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season – 2014 – 2015

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to the South Pacific region about the ongoing threat of tropical cyclones affecting the area.

While tropical cyclones in the South Pacific may occur throughout the year, the current South Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season begins on November 1, 2014, and ends April 30, 2015.  U.S. citizens living in or traveling to the region should monitor local weather reports and take other appropriate action as needed.  This Travel Alert expires on April 30, 2015.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recommends that people living or traveling in regions prone to tropical storms and tropical cyclones be prepared.  For further information about tropical cyclone preparedness, please visit NOAA's Tropical Cyclones Preparedness Guide.  For further information on tropical cyclone warnings in the South Pacific region, please consult the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Honolulu the National Weather Service's Central Pacific Hurricane Center, Fiji's regional meteorological center responsible for tropical cyclone warnings in the South Pacific region, or the Government of Australia's Bureau of Meteorology.

During and after some previous storms, U.S. citizens traveling abroad encountered dangerous and often uncomfortable conditions that lasted for several days while they awaited transportation to the United States.  In the past, many U.S. citizens were forced to delay travel (including return travel to the United States) due to infrastructure damage to airports and limited flight availability.  Roads were also washed out or obstructed by debris, adversely affecting access to airports and land routes out of affected areas.  Reports of looting and sporadic violence in the aftermath of natural disasters have occurred.  Security personnel may not always be readily available to assist.  In the event of a cyclone, you should be aware that you may not be able to depart the area for 24-48 hours or longer, particularly if you are residing in or visiting a South Pacific Island country where air service is limited.

You also may encounter uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous conditions after storms pass.  In many places, tropical cyclones are often accompanied by damaging high tides and flooding.  If you are living near or staying close to the ocean or other bodies of water, you may be at higher risk.  Landslides and mudslides are also a serious concern during heavy rains.  Be sure to check with local authorities for safety and security updates.  Weather conditions or damage to infrastructure may delay or prevent needed assistance from U.S. embassy and host country security personnel.

If you are living in or traveling to storm-prone regions overseas during the cyclone season, we recommend you consider obtaining travel insurance to cover unexpected expenses during an emergency, as well as medical insurance with provision for emergency medical evacuations to the United States.  In some instances, commercial medical evacuations can cost 100,000 USD or more and may not be covered by your regular medical insurance. 

If the damage in the aftermath of a storm requires evacuation, the Department of State will work with commercial airlines to ensure that U.S. citizens may depart as safely and efficiently as possible.  Commercial airlines are the Department’s primary source of transportation in an evacuation; other means of transport are utilized only as a last resort, are often more expensive, and will provide you with fewer destination options.  U.S. law requires that any evacuation costs are your responsibility.  For those in financial need, the U.S. Department of State has the authority to provide crisis evacuation and repatriation loans.  For more information, please visit the Emergencies Abroad page on our website.

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

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

We strongly encourage that U.S. citizens traveling abroad enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to contact you in an emergency.  If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department's website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution.  For additional information, refer to the Traveler's Checklist on the State Department’s website.

You will find additional information on cyclones and storm preparedness on the Bureau of Consular Affairs' Hurricane Season – Know Before You Go website.  Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions.  You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips.

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

Mexico Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens about the risk of traveling to certain places in Mexico due to threats to safety and security posed by organized criminal groups in the country.

U.S. citizens have been the target of violent crimes, such as kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery by organized criminal groups in various Mexican states.  For information on security conditions in specific regions of Mexico, which can vary, travelers should reference the state-by-state assessments further below. 

This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning for Mexico, issued August 15, 2014, to update information about the security situation and to advise the public of additional restrictions on the travel of U.S. government (USG) personnel.

This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning for Mexico, issued August 15, 2014, to update information about the security situation and to advise the public of additional restrictions on the travel of U.S. government (USG) personnel. 

General Conditions: 

Millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year for study, tourism, and business, including more than 150,000 who cross the border every day.  The Mexican government dedicates substantial resources to protect visitors to major tourist destinations, and there is no evidence that organized criminal groups have targeted U.S. visitors or residents based on their nationality.  Resort areas and tourist destinations in Mexico generally do not see the levels of drug-related violence and crime that are reported in the border region or in areas along major trafficking routes. 

Nevertheless, U.S. travelers should be aware that the Mexican government has been engaged in an extensive effort to counter organized criminal groups that engage in narcotics trafficking and other unlawful activities throughout Mexico.  The groups themselves are engaged in a violent struggle to control drug trafficking routes and other criminal activity.  Crime and violence are serious problems and can occur anywhere.  U.S. citizens have fallen victim to criminal activity, including homicide, gun battles, kidnapping, carjacking, and highway robbery.  While many of those killed in organized crime-related violence have themselves been involved in criminal activity, innocent persons have also been killed.  The number of U.S. citizens reported to the Department of State as murdered in Mexico was 71 in 2012 and 81 in 2013. 

Gun battles between rival criminal organizations or with Mexican authorities have taken place in towns and cities in many parts of Mexico.  Gun battles have occurred in broad daylight on streets and in other public venues, such as restaurants and clubs.  During some of these incidents, U.S. citizens have been trapped and temporarily prevented from leaving the area. Criminal organizations have used stolen cars, buses, and trucks to create roadblocks on major thoroughfares, preventing the military and police from responding to criminal activity. The location and timing of future armed engagements is unpredictable.  We recommend that you defer travel to the areas specifically identified in this Travel Warning and exercise extreme caution when traveling throughout the other areas for which advisories are in effect. 

The number of kidnappings throughout Mexico is of particular concern and appears to be on the rise.  According to statistics published by the Mexican Secretaria de Gobernacion (SEGOB), in 2013 kidnappings nationwide increased 20 percent over the previous year.  While kidnappings can occur anywhere, according to SEGOB, during this timeframe, the states with the highest numbers of kidnappings were Tamaulipas, Guerrero, Michoacán, Estado de Mexico, and Morelos.  Additionally, according to a widely publicized study by the agency responsible for national statistics (INEGI, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography), Mexico suffered an estimated 105,682 kidnappings in 2012; only 1,317 were reported to the police.  Police have been implicated in some of these incidents.  Both local and expatriate communities have been victimized.  Nearly 70 kidnappings of U.S. citizens were reported to the U.S. Embassy and consulates in Mexico between January and June of 2014.

U.S. citizens are encouraged to lower their personal profiles and to avoid displaying indicators of wealth such as expensive or expensive-looking jewelry, watches, or cameras.  U.S. citizens are encouraged to maintain awareness of their surroundings and avoid situations in which they may be isolated or stand out as potential victims.

Kidnappings in Mexico have included traditional, "express," and "virtual" kidnappings. Victims of traditional kidnappings are physically abducted and held captive until a ransom is paid for release.  "Express" kidnappings are those in which a victim is abducted for a short time and forced to withdraw money, usually from an ATM, then released.  A "virtual" kidnapping is an extortion-by-deception scheme wherein a victim is contacted by phone and convinced to isolate themselves from family and friends until a ransom is paid.  The victim is coerced (by threat of violence) to remain isolated and to provide phone numbers for the victim's family or loved ones.  The victim's family is then contacted and a ransom for the "kidnapped" extracted.  Recently, some travelers to Mexico staying at hotels as guests have been targets of such "virtual" kidnapping schemes.

Of particular safety concern are casinos, sportsbooks, or other gambling establishments and adult entertainment establishments.  U.S. government personnel are specifically prohibited from patronizing these establishments in the states of Coahuila, Durango, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosi, Nuevo Leon, and Tamaulipas. 

Carjacking and highway robbery are serious problems in many parts of the border region, and U.S. citizens have been murdered in such incidents.  Most victims who complied with carjackers' demands have reported that they were not physically harmed.  Carjackers have shot at vehicles that have attempted to flee.  Incidents have occurred during the day and at night, and carjackers have used a variety of techniques, including roadblocks, bumping/moving vehicles to force them to stop, and running vehicles off the road at high speeds.  There are indications that criminals target newer and larger vehicles, especially dark-colored SUVs.  However, even drivers of old sedans and buses coming from the United States have been targeted.  While violent incidents can occur anywhere and at any time, they most frequently occur at night and on isolated roads.  To reduce risk when traveling by road, we strongly urge you to travel between cities throughout Mexico only during daylight hours, to avoid isolated roads, and to use toll roads ("cuotas") whenever possible. 

The Mexican government has deployed federal police and military personnel throughout the country as part of its efforts to combat organized criminal groups.  U.S. citizens traveling on Mexican roads and highways by car or bus may encounter government checkpoints, staffed by military or law enforcement personnel.  In some places, criminal organizations have erected their own unauthorized checkpoints, at times wearing police and military uniforms, and have killed or abducted motorists who have failed to stop at them.  You should cooperate at all checkpoints. 

The Department imposes restrictions on U.S. government employees' travel in Mexico.  Since July 2010, USG employees are prohibited from driving on non-official travel from the U.S.-Mexico border to or from the interior of Mexico or Central America.  One exception is that personal travel by motor vehicle is permitted on Highway 15 toll road between Hermosillo and Nogales during daylight hours.  

U.S. government personnel and their families are prohibited from personal travel to all areas to which it is advised to "defer non-essential travel".  When travel for official purposes is essential, it is conducted with extensive security precautions.  U.S. government personnel and their families are allowed to travel for personal reasons to the areas where no advisory is in effect or where the advisory is to exercise caution.  While the general public is not forbidden from visiting places categorized under "defer non-essential travel," U.S. government personnel will not be able to respond quickly to an emergency situation in those areas due to security precautions that must be taken by U.S. government personnel to travel to those areas. 

For more information on road safety and crime along Mexico's roadways, see the Department of State's Country Specific Information

State-by-State Assessment: 

Below is a state-by-state assessment of security conditions throughout Mexico.  Travelers should be mindful that even if no advisories are in effect for a given state, crime and violence can still occur.  For general information about travel and other conditions in Mexico, see our Country Specific Information.  

Aguascalientes: You should exercise caution when traveling to the areas of the state that border the state of Zacatecas, as criminal organization activity in that region continues.  There is no advisory in effect for daytime travel to the areas of the state that do not border Zacatecas; however, intercity travel at night is not recommended.   

Baja California: Tijuana, Rosarito, Ensenada and Mexicali are major cities/travel destinations in the state of Baja California - Exercise caution in the northern state of Baja California, particularly at night.  Criminal activity along highways and at beaches is a continuing security concern.  In 2013, homicide rates in Tijuana and Rosarito increased 48 percent and 67 percent compared to the previous year, according to the Baja State Secretariat for Public Security, and both cities experienced further increases in homicide rates during the first half of 2014.  While most of these homicides appeared to be targeted criminal organization assassinations, turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens.  Shooting incidents, in which innocent bystanders have been injured, have occurred during daylight hours.  

Baja California (Sur): Cabo San Lucas and La Paz are major cities/travel destinations in the state of Southern Baja California - No advisory is in effect. 

Campeche: No advisory is in effect. 

Chiapas: San Cristobal de las Casas is a major city/travel destination in Chiapas - No advisory is in effect. 

Chihuahua: Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua City, and Copper Canyon are major cities/travel destinations in Chihuahua - Exercise caution in traveling to the business and shopping districts in the northeast section of Ciudad Juarez and its major industrial parks, and the central downtown section and major industrial parks in Chihuahua City.  U.S. citizens should defer non-essential travel to other areas of these cities and anywhere else in the state of Chihuahua and travel during daylight hours between cities.  In Ciudad Juarez, personal travel by U.S. government employees outside the north/central and northeast portion of the city near the Consulate General is restricted and private U.S. citizens should defer non-essential travel to those areas as well.  In Chihuahua City, U.S. government personnel and their family members are permitted to travel only to the central business districts and the city's airport.  Personal vehicular travel during daylight hours by U.S. government personnel and family members is authorized between Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua using the Highway 45 toll road.  Although homicide rates in Ciudad Juarez have decreased markedly from a peak several years ago, the city still has one of the highest homicide rates in Mexico.  Crime and violence remain serious problems throughout the state of Chihuahua, particularly in the southern portion of the state and in the Sierra Mountains, including Copper Canyon.  U.S. citizens do not, however, appear to be targeted based on their nationality.  

Coahuila
: Defer non-essential travel to the state of Coahuila except the city of Saltillo, where you should exercise caution.  Violence and criminal activity along the highways are continuing security concerns, particularly along the northern border between Piedras Negras and Nuevo Laredo.  The state of Coahuila continues to experience high rates of violent crimes and narcotics-related murders.  Criminal organizations continue to compete for territory and coveted border crossings to the United States.  Violent crime, including murder, kidnapping, and armed carjacking, continues to be a concern. 

Colima: Manzanillo is a major city/travel destination in Colima
- Defer non-essential travel to the areas of the state of Colima that border the state of Michoacán, including the city of Tecoman.  The security situation along the Michoacán border continues to be the most unstable in the state, with gun battles occurring between rival criminal groups and with Mexican authorities.  Intercity travel at night is not recommended.

Durango: Defer non-essential travel to the state of Durango except the city of Durango, where you should exercise caution.  Violence and criminal activity along the highways are a continuing security concern.  Several areas in the state continue to experience high rates of violence and remain volatile and unpredictable.  U.S. government personnel may not travel outside the city of Durango and must abide by a curfew of 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. within a secured venue. 

Estado de Mexico: Toluca and Teotihuacan are major travel destinations in Estado de Mexico - Defer non-essential travel to the municipalities of Coacalco, Ecatepec, Nezahualcoyotl, La Paz, Valle del Chalco, Solidaridad, Chalco, and Ixtapaluca, which are eastern portions of the greater Mexico City metropolitan area, located just to the east of the Federal District of Mexico and Benito Juarez airport, unless traveling directly through the areas on major thoroughfares.  These areas have seen high rates of crime and insecurity.  You should also defer non-essential travel on any roads between Santa Marta in the southeast portion of the state and Huitzilac in the state of Morelos, including the Lagunas de Zempoala National Park and surrounding areas. 

Guanajuato: San Miguel de Allende and Leon are major cities/travel destinations in Guanajuato - No advisory is in effect. 

Guerrero: Acapulco, Ixtapa, Taxco and Zihuatanejo are major cities/travel destinations in Guerrero - Defer non-essential travel to all parts of the state, except for the cities of Acapulco, Zihuatanejo, Ixtapa, Taxco, and the caves at Grutas de Cacahuamilpa.  Even in these tourist-friendly cities, you should exercise caution and stay within tourist areas.  If driving to Taxco, only use federal toll road (“cuota”) 95D, exit at Puente de Ixtala/Iguala 91 and use 95 Cuernavaca-Iguala; return using the same route.  Do not stop between the 95D toll road and Taxco.  Gas refueling and rest breaks should be planned accordingly.  You should also exercise caution and travel only during daylight hours on highway 95/95D between Mexico City and Acapulco.  Use the toll road towards the Playa Diamante area and avoid the highway running through the city of Acapulco for travel to and from Acapulco.  In Acapulco, defer non-essential travel to areas further than 2 blocks inland of the Costera Miguel Aleman Boulevard, which parallels the popular beach areas. Lodging for U.S. government personnel is limited to the hotel zone (“zona hotelera”) of Acapulco, beginning from the Hotel Avalon Excalibur Acapulco in the north and going south through Puerto Marquez including the Playa Diamante area.  Any activity outside the hotel zone for U.S. government personnel is limited to the coastal area from La Quebrada to the beginning of the hotel zone and only during daylight hours.  In general, the popular tourist area of Diamante, just south of the city, has been less affected by violence.  Flying into the coastal cities in southern Guerrero remains the preferred method of travel.  You should defer non-essential travel by land between Acapulco and Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa; travel to Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa only by air, and exercise caution while in Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa.  The state of Guerrero was the most violent state in Mexico in 2013, with 2,087 homicides and 207 reported cases of kidnapping, according to the Mexican Secretariado Ejecutivo Nacional de Seguridad Publica.  Self-defense groups operate independently of the government in many areas of Guerrero.  Armed members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and, although not considered hostile to foreigners or tourists, are suspicious of outsiders and should be considered volatile and unpredictable. 

Hidalgo: No advisory is in effect. 

Jalisco: Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, and Lake Chapala are major cities/travel destinations in Jalisco - Defer non-essential travel to areas of the state that border the states of Michoacán and Zacatecas.  The security situation along the Michoacán and Zacatecas borders continues to be unstable and gun battles between criminal groups and authorities occur.  Concerns include roadblocks placed by individuals posing as police or military personnel and recent gun battles between rival criminal organizations involving automatic weapons.  You should exercise caution in rural areas and when using secondary highways, particularly along the northern border of the state.  Except for the areas of the state that border Michoacán, there is no advisory in effect for daytime travel within major population centers or major highways in the state of Jalisco.  Intercity travel at night is not recommended.  There is no recommendation against travel to Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta.  There is also no recommendation against travel on principal highways in Jalisco between Guadalajara including the portions that cross into the southern portions of the state of Nayarit. 

Mexico City (also known as the Federal District): No advisory is in effect.  See also the discussion in the section on Estado de Mexico for areas within the greater Mexico City metropolitan area. 

Michoacán: Morelia is a major city/travel destination in Michoacán - Defer non-essential travel to the state of Michoacán except the cities of Morelia and Lázaro Cardenas and the area north of federal toll road 15D, where you should exercise caution.  U.S. government employees are prohibited from traveling by land in Michoacán except on federal toll road 15D during daylight hours.  Flying into Morelia and Lázaro Cardenas is the recommended method of travel.  Attacks on Mexican government officials, law enforcement and military personnel, and other incidents of organized crime-related violence, have occurred throughout Michoacán.  Federal authorities deployed some 9,000 federal security forces to Michoacán in January 2014 to address rising insecurity, particularly in the entire western part of the state.  Due to criminal activity in Lázaro Cardenas, the Mexican military assumed direct control of the port in late 2013.  Government authorities incorporated some of the self-defense groups that had operated independently of the government in recent months into a new state police unit in May.  Armed members of some other self-defense groups maintain roadblocks and, although not considered hostile to foreigners or tourists, are suspicious of outsiders and should be considered volatile and unpredictable.  Some groups in Michoacán are reputed to be linked to organized crime. 

Morelos: Cuernavaca is a major city/travel destination in Morelos - Exercise caution in the state of Morelos due to the unpredictable nature of organized crime violence.  You should also defer non-essential travel on any roads between Huitzilac in the northwest corner of the state and Santa Marta in the state of Mexico, including the Lagunas de Zempoala National Park and surrounding areas.  On August 24, 2012, two U.S. government employees were injured after being fired upon by Federal Police officers on a non-toll road north of Tres Marias, Morelos.  Numerous incidents of organized crime-related violence have also occurred in the city of Cuernavaca. 

Nayarit: Defer non-essential travel to areas of the state of Nayarit that border the states of Sinaloa or Durango, as well as all rural areas and secondary highways.  There is no recommendation against travel to the Vallarta-Nayarit area in the southern portion of the state known as the Riviera Nayarit, Tepic, Xalisco, and San Blas, or to principal highways in the southern portion of the state used to travel from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta.  Intercity travel at night is not recommended.

Nuevo Leon: Monterrey is a major city/travel destination in Nuevo Leon - Defer non-essential travel to the state of Nuevo Leon except the metropolitan area of Monterrey, where you should exercise caution.  Although the level of organized crime-related violence and general insecurity in Monterrey has decreased dramatically within the last 18 months, sporadic incidents of violence have occurred in the greater Monterrey area.  Security services in and around Monterrey are robust and have proven responsive and effective in combating violent crimes; however, instances of violence remain a concern in the more remote regions of the state.  Criminal organizations have kidnapped, and in some cases murdered, U.S. citizens, even when ransom demands are met.  As a result of a Department of State assessment of the overall security situation, U.S. government personnel and their dependents may not travel outside the San Pedro Garza Garcia municipal boundaries between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., except for travel to the airport after 5 a.m.  

Oaxaca: Oaxaca, Huatulco and Puerto Escondido are major cities/travel destinations in Oaxaca - No advisory is in effect. 

Puebla: No advisory is in effect. 

Queretaro: No advisory is in effect. 

Quintana Roo: Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya and Tulum are major cities/travel destinations in Quintana Roo - No advisory is in effect. 

San Luis Potosi: Defer non-essential travel to the state of San Luis Potosi, except the city of San Luis Potosi, where you should exercise caution.  Violence and criminal activity along highways are continuing security concerns.  U.S. government personnel may not travel outside the City of San Luis Potosi and must abide by a curfew of 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. within a secured venue. 

Sinaloa: Mazatlan is a major city/travel destination in Sinaloa - Defer non-essential travel to the state of Sinaloa except the city of Mazatlan, where you should exercise caution, particularly late at night and in the early morning.  One of Mexico's most powerful criminal organizations is based in the state of Sinaloa, and violent crime rates remain high in many parts of the state.  Travel off the toll roads in remote areas of Sinaloa is especially dangerous and should be avoided.  We recommend that any travel in Mazatlan be limited to Zona Dorada and the historic town center, as well as direct routes to/from these locations and the airport. 

Sonora: Nogales, Puerto Peñasco, Hermosillo, and San Carlos are major cities/travel destinations in Sonora - Sonora is a key region in the international drug and human trafficking trades and can be extremely dangerous for travelers.  Travelers throughout Sonora are encouraged to limit travel to main roads during daylight hours.  The region west of Nogales, east of Sonoyta, and from Caborca north, including the towns of Saric, Tubutama, and Altar, and the eastern edge of Sonora bordering Chihuahua, are known centers of illegal activity, and non-essential travel between these cities should be avoided.  Travelers should also defer non-essential travel to the eastern edge of the state of Sonora, which borders the state of Chihuahua (all points along that border east of the northern city of Agua Prieta and the southern town of Alamos), and defer non-essential travel within the city of Ciudad Obregon and south of the city of Navojoa.  You should exercise caution while transiting Vicam in southern Sonora due to roadblocks that can be instituted ad hoc by local indigenous and environmental groups.  U.S. citizens visiting Puerto Peñasco should use the Lukeville, Arizona/Sonoyta, Sonora border crossing, and limit driving to daylight hours. 

Tabasco: Villahermosa is a major city/travel destination in Tabasco - No advisory is in effect. 

Tamaulipas: Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa, and Tampico are major cities/travel destinations in Tamaulipas -  Defer non-essential travel to the state of Tamaulipas.  All U.S. government employees are prohibited from personal travel on Tamaulipas highways outside of Matamoros, Reynosa, and Nuevo Laredo due to the risks posed by armed robbery and carjacking, particularly along the northern border.  Traveling outside of cities after dark is not recommended.  While no highway routes through Tamaulipas are considered safe, the highways between Matamoros-Ciudad Victoria, Reynosa-Ciudad Victoria, Ciudad Victoria-Tampico, Monterrey-Nuevo Laredo, and Monterrey-Reynosa, are more prone to criminal activity.  In Matamoros, U.S. government employees are subject to movement restrictions between midnight and 6 a.m. 

Matamoros, Reynosa, Nuevo Laredo, and Ciudad Victoria have experienced numerous gun battles and attacks with explosive devices in the past year.  Violent conflicts between rival criminal elements and/or the Mexican military can occur in all parts of the region and at all times of the day.  The number of reported kidnappings for Tamaulipas is among the highest in Mexico, and the number of U.S. citizens reported to the consulates in Matamoros and Nuevo Laredo as being kidnapped, abducted, or disappearing involuntarily in the first half of 2014 has also increased.  In May 2014, a Mexican state and federal security initiative was announced focused on combating increased violence in the state.

Tlaxcala: No advisory is in effect. 

Veracruz: Exercise caution when traveling in the state of Veracruz.  The state of Veracruz continues to experience violence among rival criminal organizations.  Mexican federal security forces continue to assist state and local security forces in providing security and combating organized crime.  

Yucatan: Merida and Chichen Itza are major cities/travel destinations in Yucatan - No advisory is in effect. 

Zacatecas: Defer non-essential travel to areas of Zacatecas near the border with other Mexican states.  Exercise caution in the interior of the state including the city of Zacatecas.  Robberies, carjackings, and organized criminal activity remain a concern.  Gun battles between criminal groups and authorities have occurred in the area of the state bordering the state of Jalisco.  Extreme caution should be taken when traveling in the remainder of the state.  U.S. government personnel may not travel outside the city of Zacatecas after dark and must abide by a curfew of 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. within a secured venue. 

Further Information 

For more detailed information on staying safe in Mexico, please see the State Department's Country Specific Information for Mexico. 

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the State Department's internet web site, where the current Worldwide CautionTravel Warnings, and Travel Alerts can be found.  Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.  Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 001-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).  U.S. citizens traveling or residing overseas are encouraged to enroll with the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.  For any emergencies involving U.S. citizens in Mexico, please contact the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate with responsibility for that person's location in Mexico.  For information on the ten U.S. consular districts in Mexico, complete with links to Embassy and Consulate websites, please consult the Mexico U.S. Consular District map.  The numbers provided below for the Embassy and Consulates are available around the clock.  The U.S. Embassy is located in Mexico City at Paseo de la Reforma 305, Colonia Cuauhtemoc, telephone from the United States: 011-52-55-5080-2000; telephone within Mexico City: 5080-2000; telephone long distance within Mexico 01-55-5080-2000. U.S. citizens may also contact the Embassy by e-mail

Consulates (with consular districts):

  • Ciudad Juarez (Chihuahua): Paseo de la Victoria 3650, telephone. (011)(52)(656) 227-3000.
  • Guadalajara (Nayarit, Jalisco, Aguas Calientes, and Colima): Progreso 175, telephone (011)(52)(333) 268-2100.
  • Hermosillo (Sinaloa and the southern part of the state of Sonora): Avenida Monterrey 141, telephone (011)(52)(662) 289-3500.
  • Matamoros (the southern part of Tamaulipas with the exception of the city of Tampico): Avenida Primera 2002, telephone (011)(52)(868) 812-4402.
  • Merida (Campeche, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo): Calle 60 no. 338-K x 29 y 31, Col. Alcala Martin, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico 97050, telephone (011)(52)(999) 942-5700 or 202-250-3711 (U.S. number).
  • Monterrey (Nuevo Leon, Durango, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, and the southern part of Coahuila):Prolongacion Ave. Alfonso Reyes No. 150, Col. Valle Poniente, Santa Catarina, Nuevo Leon, 66196, telephone (011)(52)(818) 047-3100.
  • Nogales (the northern part of Sonora): Calle San Jose, Nogales, Sonora, telephone (011)(52)(631) 311-8150.
  • Nuevo Laredo (the northern part of Coahuila and the northwestern part of Tamaulipas): Calle Allende 3330, Col. Jardin, telephone (011)(52)(867) 714-0512.
  • Tijuana (Baja California Norte and Baja California Sur): Paseo de Las Culturas s/n Mesa de Otay, telephone (011) (52) (664) 977-2000.
  • All other Mexican states, the Federal District of Mexico City, and the city of Tampico, Tamaulipas, are part of the Embassy's consular district. 

Consular Agencies:

  • Acapulco: Hotel Emporio, Costera Miguel Aleman 121 – Suite 14, telephone (011)(52)(744) 481-0100 or (011)(52)(744) 484-0300.
  • Cancún: Blvd. Kukulcan Km 13 ZH Torre La Europea, Despacho 301 Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico C.P. 77500, telephone (011)(52)(998) 883-0272.
  • Los Cabos: Las Tiendas de Palmilla Local B221, Carretera Transpeninsular Km. 27.5, San José del Cabo, BCS, Mexico 23406 telephone, (624) 143-3566 Fax: (624) 143-6750.
  • Mazatlán: Playa Gaviotas #202, Zona Dorada, telephone (011)(52)(669) 916-5889.
  • Oaxaca: Macedonio Alcalá no. 407, interior 20, telephone (011)(52)(951) 514-3054, (011) (52)(951) 516-2853.
  • Piedras Negras: Abasolo #211, Zona Centro, Piedras Negras, Coah., telephone, (011)(52)(878) 782-5586.
  • Playa del Carmen: "The Palapa," Calle 1 Sur, between Avenida 15 and Avenida 20, telephone (011)(52)(984) 873-0303 or 202-370-6708(a U.S. number).
  • Puerto Vallarta: Paradise Plaza, Paseo de los Cocoteros #1, Local #4, Interior #17, Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, telephone (011)(52)(322) 222-0069.
  • San Miguel de Allende: Centro Comercial La Luciernaga, Libramiento Manuel Zavala (Pepe KBZON), telephone (011)(52)(415) 152-2357.
Posted in Travel Warnings (U.S. Dept of State)

Lesotho Travel Warning

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to carefully consider the potential risks of traveling to Lesotho due to ongoing security concerns.

After review of current security conditions, the U.S. Department of State lifted the ordered departure status of non-working eligible family members of the U.S. Embassy in Maseru. The U.S. Embassy in Maseru, Lesotho is open for normal services. This replaces the Travel Warning issued on September 18, 2014.

Following a violent confrontation between police and the army on Saturday August 30, the Lesotho police have returned to normal duties, but command and control of the army remains unresolved.

The U.S. Embassy in Maseru, Lesotho is open for normal services. U.S. citizens should be aware that, depending on the security situation, the U.S. Embassy may suspend operations without advance notice. The international airport in Maseru is operating as usual; however, flights may be suspended if the security situation deteriorates. Land borders are also open at this time, but may close without warning. While no specific areas of Lesotho are off-limits, it is recommended that all travelers consult local media sources and follow all official instructions prior to travel outside of Maseru. Traveling alone or at night outside of Maseru City is particularly dangerous, due to limited street lighting and undeveloped road conditions. We further encourage U.S. citizens to exercise caution, be alert to their surroundings, and avoid crowds, demonstrations, or any other form of public gathering.

U.S. citizens should carry their travel documents (i.e., U.S. passport, birth certificate, picture IDs, etc.) with them at all times or secure them in a safe, waterproof location. Additionally, all U.S. citizens in the area are reminded to stay in contact with friends and family in the United States to keep them apprised of their whereabouts.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or remaining in Lesotho despite this Travel Warning enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) so you can receive the most up-to-date security information. Please keep all of your information in STEP current. It is important when enrolling or updating information to include multiple phone numbers and email addresses to facilitate communication in the event of an emergency.

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

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

Yemen Travel Warning

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the high security threat level in Yemen due to terrorist activities and civil unrest.

The Department urges U.S. citizens to defer travel to Yemen and those U.S. citizens currently living in Yemen to depart. This supersedes the Travel Warning for Yemen issued on July 21, 2014. 

On September 24, 2014, the Department of State ordered a reduction of U.S. government personnel from Yemen out of an abundance of caution due to the continued civil unrest and the potential for military escalation. The Embassy’s ability to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency and provide routine consular services may be limited. Embassy officers are restricted in their movements and cannot travel outside of Sana’a. In addition, movements within Sana’a are severely constrained and may be further constrained by the fluid security situation.

The security threat level in Yemen is extremely high. The Embassy is subject to frequent unannounced closures.  In May 2014, the Embassy was closed for almost five weeks because of heightened security threats.

Demonstrations continue to take place in various parts of the country and may quickly escalate and turn violent. U.S. citizens are urged to avoid areas of demonstrations, and to exercise extreme caution if within the vicinity of a demonstration.

Terrorist organizations, including Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), continue to be active throughout Yemen. The U.S. government remains highly concerned about possible attacks on U.S. citizens (whether visiting or residing in Yemen), and U.S. facilities, businesses, and perceived U.S. and Western interests. An ongoing risk of kidnapping exists throughout Yemen. In the last year, international and local media have reported several kidnappings of Westerners. Violent crime is also a growing problem; local media reported the murder of two U.S. citizens in Taiz and Aden in 2013. In addition, piracy in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean is a security threat to maritime activities in the region. See our International Maritime Piracy Fact Sheet.

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 may hinder U.S. citizens' ability to depart the country and may slow the U.S. Embassy's ability to provide assistance. U.S. citizens in Yemen should ensure that they have proper and current documentation at all times. For more information, see "What the Department of State Can and Can't Do in a Crisis" on the Department's Internet website. Evacuation options from Yemen 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. Travelers should not expect to be evacuated to the United States.

U.S. citizens remaining in Yemen despite this Travel Warning should limit nonessential travel within the country, make their own contingency emergency plans, enroll their presence in Yemen through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), and provide their current contact information and next-of-kin or emergency contact information. If you wish to depart Yemen, you should make plans and depart as soon as possible. The airport is open and commercial flights are operating. There are no current plans for U.S. government-sponsored evacuations. U.S. citizens seeking to depart Yemen are responsible for making their own travel arrangements.

The U.S. Embassy in Sana'a is located at Dhahr Himyar Zone, Sheraton Hotel District, P.O. Box 22347. The telephone number of the Consular Section is (967)(1)755-2000, extension 2153 or 2266. For after-hours emergencies involving U.S. citizens, please call (967)(1)755-2000 (press zero for extension) or (967) 733-213-509. From time to time the Embassy may temporarily close or suspend public services for security reasons. Emergency assistance to U.S. citizens during non-business hours (or when public access is restricted) is available through Embassy duty personnel.

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs website where the current Worldwide CautionTravel Alerts and Travel Warnings, and Country Specific Information for Yemen 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).

The U.S. Embassy also encourages U.S. citizens to review the Traveler's Checklist which includes valuable security information for those living and traveling abroad. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.

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

Mozambique Travel Alert

The U.S. Department of State alerts U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Mozambique that general elections will take place on Wednesday, October 15, 2014.

Official campaigning began on August 31. As with all elections, the U.S. Embassy in Maputo urges U.S. citizens to exercise caution during the election period, review recent Security Messages on the Embassy’s website, and carefully consider whether travel is necessary during this period, namely in the week prior to the elections and the days following. This Travel Alert will expire on October 31.

Although widespread violence is not anticipated, electoral periods typically result in localized demonstrations that can turn violent, the possible use of force by security services to handle demonstrations or incidents of public disorder, and disruption of transportation services. Depending on election results, unrest and the potential for violence may increase immediately following the election.

We remind U.S. citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. U.S. citizens in Mozambique are strongly urged to avoid voter polling places, demonstrations, political rallies, or large crowds of any kind during the election period.

The U.S. Embassy is closely monitoring election activity throughout Mozambique, and will provide updates as the situation warrants on the Embassy website and via Facebook and Twitter. U.S. citizens should regularly monitor these sites and local media outlets for updates. U.S. citizens should also be aware of their surroundings and exercise good judgment in the coming weeks. General information on preparing for emergencies is available on U.S. Embassy Maputo’s website.

As a general reminder, U.S. citizens are further advised to review personal security plans; remain aware of surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security and follow instructions from local authorities.

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

Regularly monitor the State Department's website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Mozambique. For additional information, refer to the “Traveler’s Checklist” on the State Department’s website.

The U.S. Embassy is located in Maputo at 193 Avenida Kenneth Kaunda, telephone (258) 21 492797. Non-emergency American Citizens Services are offered via the online appointment system. The after-hours telephone numbers for use in emergencies are (258) 21 49 0723 and 21 49 2797. The Consular Section's e-mail address is consularmaputo@state.gov. The U.S. Embassy's website is http://maputo.usembassy.gov/.

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

Mozambique Travel Alert

The U.S. Department of State alerts U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Mozambique that general elections will take place on Wednesday, October 15, 2014.

Official campaigning began on August 31. As with all elections, the U.S. Embassy in Maputo urges U.S. citizens to exercise caution during the election period, review recent Security Messages on the Embassy’s website, and carefully consider whether travel is necessary during this period, namely in the week prior to the elections and the days following. This Travel Alert will expire on October 31.

Although widespread violence is not anticipated, electoral periods typically result in localized demonstrations that can turn violent, the possible use of force by security services to handle demonstrations or incidents of public disorder, and disruption of transportation services. Depending on election results, unrest and the potential for violence may increase immediately following the election.

We remind U.S. citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. U.S. citizens in Mozambique are strongly urged to avoid voter polling places, demonstrations, political rallies, or large crowds of any kind during the election period.

The U.S. Embassy is closely monitoring election activity throughout Mozambique, and will provide updates as the situation warrants on the Embassy website and via Facebook and Twitter. U.S. citizens should regularly monitor these sites and local media outlets for updates. U.S. citizens should also be aware of their surroundings and exercise good judgment in the coming weeks. General information on preparing for emergencies is available on U.S. Embassy Maputo’s website.

As a general reminder, U.S. citizens are further advised to review personal security plans; remain aware of surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security and follow instructions from local authorities.

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

Regularly monitor the State Department's website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Mozambique. For additional information, refer to the “Traveler’s Checklist” on the State Department’s website.

The U.S. Embassy is located in Maputo at 193 Avenida Kenneth Kaunda, telephone (258) 21 492797. Non-emergency American Citizens Services are offered via the online appointment system. The after-hours telephone numbers for use in emergencies are (258) 21 49 0723 and 21 49 2797. The Consular Section's e-mail address is consularmaputo@state.gov. The U.S. Embassy's website is http://maputo.usembassy.gov/.

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