The State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) on January 10 launched improvements to public safety and security messaging that will make it easier for U.S. citizens to access clear, timely, and reliable information about every country in the world. CA has replaced its former countrywide products, Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, with a single “Travel Advisory” for each country. Each Travel Advisory for every country around the world will be paired with a level of advice based on one of four tiers.
Every country will have a Travel Advisory, providing tiered levels of advice ranging from Levels 1-4. Further country-specific details such as entry/exit requirements, local laws and customs, health conditions, transportation, and other relevant topics will accompany these levels and be available on the same country page. The four levels of advice are:
- Level 1 - Exercise Normal Precautions: This is the lowest advisory level for safety and security risk. There is some risk in any international travel. Conditions in other countries may differ from those in the United States and may change at any time.
- Level 2 - Exercise Increased Caution: Be aware of heightened risks to safety and security. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.
- Level 3 - Reconsider Travel: Avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.
- Level 4 - Do Not Travel: This is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the U.S. Government may have very limited ability to provide assistance. The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to the country or leave as soon as it is safe to do so. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.
Travel Advisories at Levels 2-4 will contain clear reasons for the level assigned, using established risk indicators, and offer specific advice to those who choose to travel there. These are:
- C – Crime: Widespread violent or organized crime is present in areas of the country. Local law enforcement may have limited ability to respond to serious crimes.
- T – Terrorism: Terrorist attacks have occurred and/or specific threats against civilians, groups, or other targets may exist.
- U – Civil Unrest: Political, economic, religious, and/or ethnic instability exists and may cause violence, major disruptions, and/or safety risks.
- H – Health: Health risks, including current disease outbreaks or a crisis that disrupts a country’s medical infrastructure, are present. The issuance of a Centers for Disease Control Travel Notice may be a factor.
- N - Natural Disaster: A natural disaster, or its aftermath, poses danger.
- E - Time-limited Event: Short-term event, such as elections, sporting events, or other incidents that may pose safety risks.
- O – Other: There are potential risks not covered by previous risk indicators. Read the country’s Travel Advisory for details.