The U.S. State Department has updated its travel advisory systemIn case you had not heard, last week the U.S. State Department updated its travel advisory service. Going forward, countries will be assigned a number (1-4, from least dangerous to most dangerous) to indicate the level of precaution it advises Americans take when considering travel there. Here’s how the State Department now breaks down each level (read more under “Travel Advisory“):

  • 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.”

As continued by the State Department on the updated “We issue an overall Travel Advisory level for a country, but levels of advice may vary for specific locations or areas within a country. For instance, we may advise U.S. citizens to ‘Exercise Increased Caution’ (Level 2) in a country, but to ‘Reconsider Travel’ (Level 3) to a particular area within the country…

“Travel Advisories at Levels 2-4 will contain clear reasons for the level assigned, using established risk indicators and specific advice to U.S. citizens who choose to travel there.” Here are those reasons as defined by the State Department:

  • 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 also 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.”

For more on the new system, see this page. For advisories related to individual countries, see this page.




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1 Comment On "The U.S. State Department Has Updated Its Travel Advisory System"
  1. pb|

    Thanks for the State Dept advisory codes. Is there a government agency that assigns codes to areas and cities within the United States? For example, when the Zika virus was more active, some people did not want to bring their kids to Florida and other southern states.

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