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  1. Eritrea Travel WarningWed, 22 Feb 2017 00:12:00 EST
    The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Eritrea.The Government of Eritrea restricts the travel of all foreign nationals in the country, including U.S. diplomats. These restrictions make it difficult for the U.S. Embassy to provide emergency consular services to U.S. citizens outside the city of Asmara. This replaces the Travel Warning dated August 26, 2016.U.S. citizens are strongly advised to avoid travel near the Eritrean-Ethiopian border and the Southern Red Sea Region because of the presence of large numbers of Eritrean and Ethiopian troops along the contested border area, and because of the military tensions between the two countries. In June 2016, fighting in this region resulted in numerous deaths. U.S. citizens should also avoid travel to the contested Eritrea-Djibouti border region, where military troops patrol and tensions are high.For further information:See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Eritrea 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 Eritrea: 179 Alaa Street, P.O. Box 211, Asmara, Eritrea, at + (291) (1) 120-004, available 24 hours a day in case of emergency. You may also email the Embassy at ConsularAsmara@state.gov; we will respond within two business days.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.  More...
  2. Lebanon Travel WarningWed, 15 Feb 2017 14:03:00 EST
    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, especially near Lebanon’s borders with Syria and Israel.U.S. citizens living and working in Lebanon should be aware of the risks of remaining in the country and should carefully consider those risks. This supersedes the Travel Warning issued on July 29, 2016.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.There is potential for death or injury in Lebanon because of terrorist bombings and attacks. Violent extremist groups operate in Lebanon, including U.S. government-designated terrorist organizations Hizballah, ISIL (Da’esh), Al-Nusrah Front (ANF), Hamas, and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades (AAB). ISIL and ANF have claimed responsibility for suicide bombings in Lebanon. U.S. citizens have been the targets of terrorist attacks in Lebanon in the past. The threat of anti-Western terrorist activity persists, as does the risk of death or injury as a non-targeted bystander. The Lebanese government cannot guarantee the protection of U.S. citizens against sudden outbreaks of violence, which can occur at any time in Lebanon. Armed clashes have occurred along the Lebanese borders and in Beirut. On August 31, 2016, a bomb exploded on a main road near the eastern Lebanese city of Zahleh, killing at least one person and wounding 11 others. 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 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. On January 21, 2017, Lebanese security forces thwarted an attempted suicide attack at a busy café on Hamra Street in downtown Beirut. The Lebanese Armed Forces are routinely brought in to quell the violence in these situations.Family, neighborhood, or sectarian disputes can escalate quickly and can lead to gunfire or other violence with no warning. Also, celebratory gunfire in Lebanon has resulted in accidental injuries and deaths. 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.   Public demonstrations can occur with little warning and could become violent. You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution in the vicinity of any large gatherings. 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. Kidnapping, whether for ransom, political motives, or family disputes, has occurred in Lebanon. Suspects in kidnappings may have ties to terrorist or criminal organizations. The U.S. government’s ability to help U.S. citizens kidnapped or taken hostage is 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 makes it illegal to provide material support to terrorist organizations. AREAS OF SPECIAL CONCERNAvoid the Lebanon-Syria border region: U.S. citizens in Lebanon should monitor political and security developments in both Lebanon and Syria. The U.S. Embassy strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid the Lebanese-Syrian border region. There have been incidents of cross-border shelling and air strikes of Lebanese villages from Syria, resulting in deaths and injuries. 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. There have also been reports of armed groups from Syria kidnapping or attacking Lebanese citizens living in border areas.Avoid the Lebanon-Israel border region: 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. 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.Avoid the Bekaa Valley: Clashes between Lebanese authorities and criminal elements continue to occur in areas of the Bekaa Valley and border regions.  Hizballah maintains a strong presence in the Bekaa Valley, in addition to areas in southern Lebanon and south Beirut. Hizballah has been the target of attacks by other extremist groups for their support of the Asad regime in Syria. Avoid travel to refugee camps: Violence within refugee camps has resulted in shootings and explosions. U.S. citizens should avoid travel to refugee camps.  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. 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. 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. 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. Additional information on the Department’s role during emergencies is provided on the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website.  For more information:See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Lebanon.Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) Please provide your own current contact information and that for your emergency contact/next-of-kin.Contact the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. The U.S. Embassy is located in Awkar, near Antelias, Beirut, Lebanon. You can contact the Embassy by telephone at (961-4) 542-600 outside the country or 04 542-600 inside the country between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, and Friday local time. The emergency after-hours number is (961-4) 543-600. The most recent Security Messages are posted on the U.S. Embassy Beirut website. U.S. citizens in Lebanon may also contact the consular section by email at BeirutACS@state.gov. U.S. citizens seeking routine services must make appointments in advance. Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. More...
  3. El Salvador Travel WarningTue, 14 Feb 2017 23:42:00 EST
    The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of travel to El Salvador due to the high rates of crime and violence.El Salvador has one of the highest homicide levels in the world and crimes such as extortion, assault and robbery are common. This replaces the Travel Warning for El Salvador dated January 15, 2016.Gang activity is widespread in El Salvador. There are thousands of gang members operating in the country, including members of Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Eighteenth Street (M18). Gangs (maras) focus on extortion, violent street crime, narcotics and arms trafficking. Muggings following ATM or bank withdrawals are common, as are armed robberies at scenic-view stops (miradores). While the majority of the violence occurs between rival gangs and there is no information to suggest U.S. citizens are specifically targeted, its pervasiveness increases the chance of being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Due to armed robberies in national parks, we strongly recommend that hikers in back country areas engage local guides certified by the national or local tourist authority. The National Civilian Police (PNC) has a special tourist police force (POLITUR) to provide security and assistance to visitors. More information can be found on POLITUR’s website. Remain alert to your surroundings, especially when entering or exiting homes, hotels, cars, garages, schools, and workplaces. When possible, travel in groups. U.S. Embassy personnel are advised not to walk, run, or cycle in unguarded streets and parks, even in groups. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry, and do not carry large sums of money or display cash, ATM/credit cards, or other valuables. Avoid walking at night in most areas of El Salvador. Motorists should avoid traveling at night. Drive with windows up and doors locked to deter robberies. Avoid travel on public transportation, especially buses, both within and outside the capital. Only use radio-dispatched taxis or those stationed in front of major hotels.For further information:See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and El Salvador’s Country Specific Information.Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier for us to locate you in an emergency.Contact the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador, located at Final Boulevard Santa Elena Sur, Urbanización Santa Elena, Antiguo Cuscatlán, La Libertad, by email at ACSSanSal@state.gov or by phone at 503-2501-2999, or visit our 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).Follow us on Facebook or Twitter. More...
  4. Nigeria Travel WarningWed, 08 Feb 2017 17:35:00 EST
    The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Nigeria and recommends that U.S. citizens avoid all but essential travel to Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kano, and Yobe states because the security situation in northeast Nigeria remains fluid and unpredictable.Very poor transportation infrastructure also makes it difficult for the U.S. Mission to provide consular services in these states. All U.S. citizens should have evacuation plans that do not solely rely on U.S. government assistance. Due to the risk of kidnappings, robberies, and other armed attacks, U.S. citizens should also avoid all but essential travel to: Bayelsa, Delta, Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, and Zamfara states. This replaces the Travel Warning dated August 3, 2016.Boko Haram, an extremist group based in the northeast, 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. Exercise extreme caution throughout the country due to the threat of indiscriminate violence. U.S. citizens should be vigilant at public gatherings and locations frequented by foreigners. Markets, hotels, restaurants, bars, and places of worship may become targets for terrorist attacks.Travel to the Gulf of Guinea should also be avoided because of the threat of piracy.U.S. Mission personnel are subject to restrictions when traveling in Nigeria, with the exception of local areas of Abuja and Lagos, and may be subject to other constraints as security conditions warrant.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) 461-4176 or +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 at LagosACS@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).Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. More...
  5. North Korea Travel WarningTue, 07 Feb 2017 19:40:00 EST
    The Department of State 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.This system imposes unduly harsh sentences for actions that would not be considered crimes in the United States and threatens U.S. citizen detainees with being treated in accordance with “wartime law of the DPRK.” Since the United States does not maintain diplomatic or consular relations with North Korea, the U.S. government has no means to provide normal consular services to U.S. citizens in North Korea. This notice replaces the Travel Warning dated November 9, 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; andRemoving 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 funnels revenue from a variety of sources to its nuclear and weapons programs, which it prioritizes above everything else, often at the expense of the well-being of its own people. It is entirely possible that money spent by tourists in the DPRK goes to fund these programs. We would urge all travelers, before travelling to the DPRK, to consider what they might be supporting.   The DPRK remains one of the most heavily sanctioned countries in the world.  U.S. citizens traveling to North Korea should familiarize themselves with all applicable sanctions relating to the country, particularly U.S. sanctions 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). The Department of State remains deeply concerned about the DPRK’s ongoing, systematic, and widespread human rights violations. To learn more about North Korea’s deplorable human rights situation, see the DPRK Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 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) west of 132 degrees east longitude, and the FAA has advised those flying in and around the Pyongyang (FIR) east of 132 degrees east longitude to be aware of possible GPS interruptions. For more information, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.For further information:See the Department of State’s  travel website at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en.html 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 BeijingAmerican Citizens Services UnitNo. 55 An Jia Lou RoadChaoyang DistrictBeijing, China 100600Telephone:  (86-10) 8531-4000Email:  BeijingACS@state.gov Emergency after-hours number for U.S. citizens:  (86-10) 8531-4000U.S. citizens traveling to North Korea are also strongly encouraged to contact the Embassy of Sweden by email prior to travel. Please provide the Embassy of Sweden with your name, date of birth, dates of your trip, and emergency contact information: The Embassy of Sweden Pyongyang (U.S. Protecting Power in North Korea)Munsu-Dong DistrictPyongyang, DPRKTelephone:  (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 663Email:  ambassaden.pyongyang@gov.seIf 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).Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. More...
  6. Iraq Travel WarningTue, 31 Jan 2017 17:46:00 EST
    The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to Iraq. Travel within Iraq remains very dangerous, and the ability of the Embassy to assist U.S. citizens facing difficulty is extremely limited. This supersedes the Travel Warning dated July 6, 2016.U.S. citizens in Iraq are at high risk for kidnapping and terrorist violence.  Numerous terrorist and insurgent groups are active in Iraq, including Da'esh (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.)  Such groups regularly attack both the Iraqi security forces and civilians.  Anti-U.S. sectarian militias may also threaten U.S. citizens and western companies throughout Iraq.  Kidnappings and attacks by means of improvised explosive devices (IED) occur frequently in many areas of the country, including Baghdad.  U.S. citizens should pay particular attention to the possibility of terrorist attacks around religious and civic holidays.Methods of attack have included explosively formed penetrators, magnetic IEDs placed on vehicles, human and vehicle-borne IEDs, mines placed on or concealed near roads, mortars and rockets, and shootings using various direct fire weapons.  Such attacks often take place in public venues such as cafes and markets.  Facilities of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the U.S. government, and western interests remain possible targets.The U.S. government particularly warns private U.S. citizens against traveling to Iraq to engage in armed conflict.  In addition to the extreme personal risks of kidnapping, injury, or death posed by such actions, legal risks include arrest, fines, and expulsion.  Since the closure of the border between Syria and the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR), the KRG has stated that it will impose prison sentences of up to ten years on individuals who illegally cross the border. U.S. citizens are reminded that fighting on behalf of or providing other forms of support to designated terrorist organizations, including Da'esh, can constitute the provision of material support for terrorism, a crime in the United States that can result in penalties including prison time and large fines.The Embassy urges U.S. citizens in Iraq to avoid protests and large gatherings.  Iraqi authorities have responded forcefully when violence has occurred, including on two occasions in 2016 when protestors gained access to the International Zone (IZ) in Baghdad and attacked Iraqi government buildings.  Demonstrations in Basrah have occurred at the offices of the Provincial Council and governor.  Demonstrations in Baghdad have occurred in and around Tahrir Square, and protestors have even penetrated the IZ, actions that resulted in personal injury to both protesters and security personnel. The Department of State strongly cautions U.S. citizens not to travel near the Syrian, Turkish, or Iranian borders with Iraq which are especially dangerous and not always clearly defined.  U.S. citizens traveling near border areas may encounter aerial or artillery bombardments, unmarked minefields, border skirmishes with smugglers, and large refugee flows.  Neighboring governments, including Iran, have detained U.S. citizens who approach these borders.The Government of Iraq strictly enforces regulations regarding visas and entry, authorizations for weapons, and movements through checkpoints.  U.S. citizens traveling to Iraq without the proper authorization or whose purpose for travel is not readily apparent have been detained without warning.  For more information on entry/exit requirements, please see our Country Specific Information page for Iraq.The Government of Iraq has begun to improve the structural integrity of the Mosul Dam.  However, a dam failure could cause significant flooding and interruption of essential services from Mosul to Baghdad.  While it is impossible to accurately predict the likelihood of the dam failing, the Embassy has made contingency plans to relocate its personnel in such an event.  The Embassy recommends that U.S. citizens in Iraq, especially those who reside in the floodplain of the Tigris River, prepare their own contingency plans, have valid U.S. passports, and stay informed of local media reports and Embassy security messages for updates. The U.S. government considers the potential personal security threats to U.S. government personnel in Iraq to be serious enough to require them to live and work under strict security guidelines.  All U.S. government employees under the authority of the U.S. Chief of Mission must follow strict safety and security procedures when traveling outside the Embassy and Consulates.  The internal security policies of the U.S. Mission in Iraq may change at any time without advance notice.  The Mission will regularly restrict or prohibit movements by its personnel, often on short notice for security threats or demonstrations.U.S. citizens who come to Iraq despite this warning should have medical insurance which provides coverage in Iraq, as well as supplemental medevac insurance to provide medical transport out of the country.  The U.S. government does not pay medical bills or medical transport fees for U.S. citizens.  Medicare does not cover medical costs outside the United States.  Travelers should expect no medical assistance from the U.S. government.The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has determined that U.S. civil aviation flying in Iraqi airspace is at risk from ongoing combat operations involving military forces (military aerial combat operations and other militarily-related activity) and militant groups.  As a result, the FAA currently prohibits U.S. civil aviation from operating in or overflying Iraqi airspace with very limited exceptions.  Foreign airlines operating in Iraq may cancel their operations without warning due to the security environment or other factors.  Travelers should remain vigilant and reconfirm all flight schedules with their airline prior to commencing any travel.  For further background information regarding FAA prohibitions on U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration's Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices website.For more information:See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Specific Information for Iraq.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 Iraq, located in the International Zone, Baghdad, via email, or by accessing U.S. Embassy Baghdad's website.  The after-hours emergency numbers are 011-964-770-443-1286 or 011-964-770-030-4888 (from the United States) or 0770-443-1286 or 0770-030-4888 (within Iraq). As cell phone service is unreliable in Iraq, emergency calls may also be placed through the Department of State at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. 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  7. Libya Travel WarningFri, 27 Jan 2017 19:54:00 EST
    The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to Libya and recommends that U.S. citizens currently in Libya depart immediately.On July 26, 2014, the U.S. Embassy suspended all embassy operations in Libya and relocated staff outside of the country because of violence between Libyan militias.  The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli remains closed, and the security situation in Libya remains unpredictable and unstable. U.S. citizens in Libya should make contingency emergency plans and maintain situational awareness at all times. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning issued on June 9, 2016.On July 26, 2014 the U.S. Embassy suspended operations in Libya. The Department of State has extremely limited capacity to assist U.S. citizens in Libya.Please direct inquiries regarding U.S. citizens in Libya to LibyaACS@state.gov.  Callers in the United States and Canada may dial the toll free number 1-888-407-4747. Callers outside the United States and Canada may dial 1-202-501-4444.Recent worldwide terrorism alerts, including the Department of State’s Worldwide Caution, have stated that extremist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in the Middle East region, including Libya.Tripoli and other cities have witnessed fighting between armed groups and government forces as well as terrorist attacks. Hotels frequented by westerners have been caught in the crossfire.  Militia controlled checkpoints are common.  Militia groups sometimes detain travelers for arbitrary reasons, do not grant detainees access to a lawyer or legal process, and do not allow detainees to inform others of their status. U.S. citizens should carry proof of citizenship and valid immigration status at all times but be aware that these documents do not guarantee fair treatment. The Department of State has extremely limited capacity to assist U.S. citizens who are detained in Libya.Most international airports are closed, and flights out of operational airports are sporadic and may be cancelled without warning. On December 23, 2016 an airplane traveling from Sabha to Tripoli was hijacked and diverted to Malta by armed men threatening to blow up the plane.  The U.S. government is very concerned about the targeting of commercial transportation in Libya, and prohibits U.S. commercial aviation operations within Libyan airspace.  Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Libya, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For further background information regarding FAA flight advisories and prohibitions for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.Seaports and roads can also close with little or no warning. Violence in Libya against civilian commercial interests raises serious concerns about the safety of maritime vessels and their crews. The Libyan National Army (LNA) announced on January 7, 2015 that all vessels in Libyan waters require LNA approval for transit, following the January 4, 2015 bombing of a Greek-operated oil tanker that killed two crewmen near Derna, Libya. Vessels are advised to proceed with extreme caution when approaching all Libyan oil terminals and ports.  Mariners planning travel to Libya should check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts.  Updates may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings website (select “broadcast warnings”) advisories. Violent extremist activity in Libya remains high, and extremist groups have made threats against U.S. government officials, citizens, and interests. Threats against U.S. citizens may include murder or kidnapping. ISIL claimed responsibility for two vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices in Tripoli in September 2016. U.S. citizens should avoid areas of demonstrations and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings or protests, as even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. Crime levels in Libya remain high, including the threat of kidnapping for ransom.If travel in the desert or border regions of Libya is critically necessary, exercise caution and comply with local regulations. Terrorist organizations, including Islamic State-affiliated groups and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, continue to threaten the region.  Recent terrorist attacks have occurred in the border region, where extremists have kidnapped Westerners, most recently two Italians and a Canadian citizen in September 2016. Please note the travel warnings and alerts for neighboring countries, Algeria, Tunisia, Chad, Niger, and Sudan.For more information:See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and  Specific Information for Libya.Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.As cell phone service is unreliable in Libya, emergency calls may also be placed through the Department of State at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. More...
  8. Turkey Travel WarningWed, 25 Jan 2017 10:45:00 EST
    U.S. citizens are warned of increased threats from terrorist groups in Turkey.Carefully consider the need to travel to Turkey at this time, and avoid travel to southeast Turkey due to the persistent threat of terrorism.  The Department of State has placed restrictions on official travel by U.S. government personnel to Istanbul and to certain areas in southeast Turkey.  This replaces the Travel Warning dated October 29, 2016.In 2016, numerous terrorist attacks involving shootings, suicide bombings, and vehicle-borne bombings in tourist areas, public spaces, private celebrations, sporting events, and government, police and military facilities throughout Turkey resulted in hundreds of deaths.  The most recent attacks included a mass shooting at the Istanbul Reina nightclub on January first, and simultaneous suicide bombings near Istanbul’s Besiktas/Vodafone Soccer Stadium on December 10, 2016.  In addition, an increase in anti-American rhetoric has the potential to inspire independent actors to carry out acts of violence against U.S. citizens.Additional attacks in Turkey could occur at major events, tourist sites, restaurants, nightclubs, commercial centers, places of worship, and transportation hubs, including aviation services, metros, buses, bridges, bus terminals, and sea transport.  Foreign and U.S. tourists and expatriates have been explicitly targeted by terrorist organizations in Turkey for kidnapping and assassination.  We remind U.S. citizens to review their personal security plans including communications preparedness/connectivity; to monitor local news for breaking events; to remain vigilant at all times; and to check in with loved ones after an attack or security incident. On January 4, the Turkish government extended the state of emergency through April 18, 2017 - an additional 90 days.  Under the state of emergency, security forces have expanded powers and the government has, at times, restricted internet access and media content.  U.S. citizens have been deported and/or detained and held without access to lawyers or family members under the state of emergency.  Delays or denial of consular access to U.S. citizens detained or arrested by security forces, some of whom also possess Turkish citizenship, have become more common.  The Department continues to monitor the security environment for potential impact on the safety and well-being of U.S. citizens in Turkey and urges U.S. citizens to register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) on travel.state.gov to stay informed.The October 29, 2016, decision to direct family members of employees posted to the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey to depart Turkey temporarily remains in effect.  All international and domestic official travel for U.S. government personnel to and from Istanbul requires Department of State approval.  The Department of State’s decision to order departure is based on security information indicating extremist groups are continuing frequent and aggressive efforts to attack U.S. citizens and foreign expatriates in areas of Istanbul where they reside or frequent.  This order applies only to the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul, not to other U.S. diplomatic posts in Turkey.  Our Embassy in Ankara, Consulate General in Istanbul, and Consulate in Adana remain open and are providing full services.U.S. government personnel in Turkey remain subject to travel restrictions in the southeastern provinces of Hatay, Kilis, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Sirnak, Diyarbakir, Van, Siirt, Mus, Mardin, Batman, Bingol, Tunceli, Hakkari, Bitlis, and Elazig.  Furthermore, the U.S. Mission to Turkey may prohibit movements by its personnel to these areas on short notice for security reasons, including threats and demonstrations.  Due to recent acts of violence and the potential for reprisal attacks due to continued Turkish military activity in Syria, we urge U.S. citizens to defer travel to large urban centers near the Turkish/Syrian border.  U.S. citizens should also be aware that the Government of Turkey has closed its border with Syria.  The Government of Turkey prohibits border crossings from Syria into Turkey, even if the traveler entered Syria from Turkey.  Individuals seeking emergency medical treatment or safety from immediate danger are assessed on a case by case basis.For your safety:Avoid travel to southeastern Turkey, in particular large, urban centers near the Turkish/Syrian border.Stay away from large crowds, including at popular tourist destinations. Exercise heightened vigilance and caution when visiting public areas, especially those heavily frequented by tourists.  Stay away from political gatherings and rallies.Follow the instructions of local authorities in an emergency. Stay at hotels with identifiable security measures in place.Monitor local media.For further detailed information regarding Turkey and travel:See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Turkey's Country Specific Information.Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and help us locate you in an emergency. Contact the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, located at 110 Ataturk Boulevard, Kavaklidere, 06100 Ankara, at +90-312-455-5555, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The after-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +90-312-455-5555 or +90-212-335-9000 (U.S. Consulate General Istanbul).Contact the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul, located at 2 Uçsehitler Sokagi, 34460, Istinye, Sariyer, at +90-212-335-9000.Contact the U.S. Consulate in Adana, located at 212 Girne Bulvari, Guzelevler Mahallesi, Yuregir, Adana at +90-322-455-4100.Contact the Consular Agency in Izmir at Izmir@state.gov.Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).Follow us on Twitter and Facebook  More...
  9. Honduras Travel WarningMon, 23 Jan 2017 22:03:00 EST
    The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of travel to the Department of Gracias a Dios in Honduras.In addition, the greater urban areas of San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa, and La Ceiba have notably high crime and violence rates. This replaces the Honduras Travel Warning dated August 5, 2016.The U.S. Embassy restricts U.S. government staff from traveling to the Department of Gracias a Dios due to frequent criminal and drug trafficking activity.  Infrastructure is weak, government services are limited, and police or military presence is scarce. Those who choose to travel to, or currently reside in, Gracias a Dios should remain alert to local conditions and signs of danger.Criminals, acting both individually and in gangs, in and around certain areas of Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, and La Ceiba engage in murder, extortion, and other violent crimes.  About 70% of U.S. citizen homicides since 2010 occurred in these urban areas.  San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa rank as two of the most violent cities in the world. With one of the highest murder rates in the world and criminals operating with a high degree of impunity, U.S. citizens are reminded to remain alert at all times when traveling in Honduras.To be safe, you should review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings and local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance, take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security, and follow instructions of local authorities. For more information on how to travel safely in Honduras, please review the Country Specific Information for Honduras.For further information:See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Honduras.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.  More...
  10. Kenya Travel WarningFri, 13 Jan 2017 17:23:00 EST
    The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid travel to the border area between Somalia and Kenya because of threats by the terrorist group al-Shabaab. U.S. citizens should also be aware of potential terrorist threats and the high risk of crime throughout the country.  This replaces the Travel Warning dated June 30, 2016.For your safety:Avoid travel in the northeastern Kenyan counties of Mandera, Wajir and Garissa, the coastal counties of Tana River and Lamu in their entirety, all areas north of Malindi in Kilifi County, and the Nairobi neighborhood of Eastleigh.In Mombasa, the U.S. Embassy recommends U.S. citizens visit Old Town only during daylight hours, and avoid using the Likoni ferry due to safety concerns.In 2016, terrorist attacks involving shootings, grenades, or other explosive devices resulted in 122 fatalities. The bulk of these incidents occurred in Wajir, Garissa, Lamu and Mandera counties.  Potential terrorist threats remain in Kenya, including within the Nairobi area, along the coast, and within the northeastern region of the country.Terrorist targets have included Kenyan and foreign government sites, police stations and vehicles, hotels, public transportation and other infrastructure targets, nightclubs and bars, religious and academic institutions, and shopping areas. On September 11, 2016, press accounts noted that three women purportedly attacked a police station in Mombasa with knives and petrol bombs, wounding two Kenyan police officers. The next month, on October 27, 2016, an assailant with a knife attacked a police officer guarding the U.S. Embassy compound.Violent and sometimes fatal crimes, including armed carjackings, muggings, home invasions and burglaries, and kidnappings can occur at any time. U.S. citizens and U.S. Embassy employees have been victims of such crimes in the past.The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen for Kenyan airspace. 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.To be safe, you should review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings and local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance, take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security, and follow instructions of local authorities.For further information:See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution , Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Kenya.Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.Contact the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, located on United Nations Avenue, Gigiri, Nairobi, at telephone (+254) (20) 363-6451, 7:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is (+254) (20) 363-6000.Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.  More...