The U.S. State Department publishes a travel advisory for every country in the world so U.S. citizens have reliable information to make informed travel decisions.
Travel advisories are based on “safety and security conditions that could affect the lives and interests of U.S. citizens abroad,” not on political or economic considerations, the State Department said.
Travel advisories are prepared by the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs and published on the Travel.State.Gov website. U.S. Embassies share these advisories with U.S. citizens living or traveling in those countries.
Four levels of advice
Each travel advisory includes a level for each country ranging from 1 to 4:
Level 1 means exercise normal precautions. This is the lowest advisory level for safety and/or security risks. There is some risk associated with any international travel.
Level 2 means exercise increased caution. Travelers should be aware of heightened risks to safety and/or security.
Level 3 means reconsider travel. Travelers should avoid or defer travel because of serious risks to safety and/or security.
Level 4 means do not travel. This is the highest advisory level because of potentially life-threatening safety and/or security risks. The State Department advises U.S. citizens not to travel to the country or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so.
The Bureau of Consular Affairs reviews conditions in level 1 and 2 countries at least every 12 months and level 3 and 4 countries at least every six months. Travel advisories are updated as needed to reflect changes in a country’s safety and security environment.
Want to know more about how we decide what makes a country a level 1 vs a level 4? We consider crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, health, and natural disasters among other factors. We heard your feedback and recently updated our system. Read more: https://t.co/E8Ultnc8y2 pic.twitter.com/pNhDK2D1DF
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) June 9, 2022
Travel advisories may also include risk indicators, which detail specific safety and/or security risks in a country. Current risk indicators include:
- Terrorist activity.
- Civil unrest.
- Natural disasters.
- Health concerns.
- Kidnapping or hostage-taking.
- Wrongful detention.
The wrongful detention indicator is the newest. Introduced in June 2022, it warns U.S. citizens of the risk of a foreign government wrongfully detaining them while in that country.
Many factors considered
The department determines the level of a travel advisory through an objective and thorough review process. The aim is to provide U.S. citizens with the best information available on safety and security risks that could affect their lives and interests abroad.
When the department develops a travel advisory, it relies on U.S. embassies and consulates to gather information from a range of sources. This information may include, among other things, publicly available crime statistics or specialized knowledge from regional experts.
This analysis is undertaken without regard to political or economic considerations and the intent is never to penalize or hurt a country by imposing a particular level of travel advisory.
“The United States has no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas,” the State Department said.