Travel Warnings are issued when long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable lead the State Department to recommend that Americans avoid or consider the risk of travel to that country. A Travel Warning is also issued when the U.S. Government's ability to assist American citizens is constrained due to the closure of an embassy or consulate or because of a drawdown of its staff. The countries listed below meet those criteria.
Central African Republic 11/14/2013
Congo, Democratic Republic of the 10/24/2013
Republic of South Sudan 10/22/2013
Korea, Democratic People's Republic of 10/01/2013
El Salvador 08/09/2013
Saudi Arabia 07/25/2013
Israel, the West Bank and Gaza 06/19/2013
Cote d'Ivoire 05/16/2013
For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet website at where the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Country Specific Information for Pakistan 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 outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
Travel warnings are very important to any traveler, airline traveler or not. Travel warnings should be listened to, for they can compromise yours' and your families' safety and security.
Travel Immigration Alerts from the State Department
Important Immigration News!
The countries of Japan and Singapore have now suspended the Visa Waiver Program for citizens of Mexico. Prior to this,
Mexican passport holders were not required to hold a visa to enter those countries, now they do need a visa.
There is one exemption allowed by Japan. The only one exemption is from the Mexican Government Passport
Holders. They do not need to obtain a visa if they are holding a government passport. In addition, Transiting Japan
without a Visa (TWOV) is still allowed. Transiting means that they entered Japan with the purpose of transferring to another airline to travel to a third country. Usually passengers are "in transit" and allowed to "TWOV" within 72 hours of entering the first country.
Exeptions: Non-U.S. citizens who are using airline passes (or "Buddy Pass") are required to obtain a transit pass before connecting through Japan's airports. There is a possibility that the "buddy" pass holder might be stranded in Japan when there are not enough seats. To enter Japan, a transit pass is required. Citizens of the U.S. who are using "buddy passes" are OK to transit Japan without a visa.
For Singapore, however, there are no exemptions. All Mexican passport holders are now required to obtain a visa
when entering or transiting Singapore.
The above requirements is due to the H1N1 virus.
Travel Warnings for Travelers to Mexico
July 12, 2013
The Department of State has issued this Travel Warning to inform U.S. citizens about the security situation in Mexico. General information on the overall security situation is provided immediately below. 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 supersedes the Travel Warning for Mexico dated November 20, 2012 to consolidate and update information about the security situation and to advise the public of additional restrictions on the travel of U.S. government (USG) personnel.
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. More than 20 million U.S. citizens visited Mexico in 2012. The Mexican government makes a considerable effort to protect U.S. citizens and other visitors to major tourist destinations, and there is no evidence that Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) have targeted U.S. visitors and 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 is reported in the border region and 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 TCOs which engage in narcotics trafficking and other unlawful activities throughout Mexico. The TCOs 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 most of those killed in narcotics-related violence have been members of TCOs, innocent persons have also been killed. The number of U.S. citizens reported to the Department of State as murdered in Mexico was 113 in 2011 and 71 in 2012.
Gun battles between rival TCOs or with Mexican authorities have taken place in towns and cities in many parts of Mexico, especially in the border region. 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. TCOs 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 indicated in this Travel Warning and exercise extreme caution when traveling throughout the northern border region.
The number of kidnappings and disappearances throughout Mexico is of particular concern. Both local and expatriate communities have been victimized. In addition, local police have been implicated in some of these incidents. We strongly advise you to lower your profile and avoid displaying any evidence of wealth that might draw attention.
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 at these checkpoints have reported that they were not physically harmed. Carjackers have shot at vehicles that fail to stop at checkpoints. Incidents have occurred during the day and at night, and carjackers have used a variety of techniques, including bumping/moving vehicles to force them to stop and running vehicles off the road at high speeds. There are some indications that criminals have particularly targeted newer and larger vehicles, especially dark-colored SUVs. However, victims driving a variety of vehicles, from late model SUVs to old sedans have also been targeted. While violent incidents have occurred at all hours of the day and night on both modern toll highways ("cuotas") and on secondary roads, they have occurred most frequently at night and on isolated roads. To reduce risk, if absolutely necessary to travel 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 whenever possible. The Mexican government has deployed federal police and military personnel throughout the country as part of its efforts to combat the TCOs. U.S. citizens traveling on Mexican roads and highways may encounter government checkpoints, which are often staffed by military personnel or law enforcement personnel. TCOs have erected their own unauthorized checkpoints, at times wearing police and military uniforms, and killed or abducted motorists who have failed to stop at them. You should cooperate at all checkpoints.
The U.S. Mission in Mexico imposes restrictions on U.S. government employees' (U.S. citizens working at the Embassy and the nine consulates throughout Mexico) travel that have been in place since July 15, 2010. USG employees and their families are not permitted to drive for personal reasons from the U.S.-Mexico border to or from the interior of Mexico or Central America. Personal travel by vehicle is permitted between Hermosillo and Nogales but is restricted to daylight hours and the Highway 15 toll road ("cuota").
USG 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. USG 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,” USG personnel will not be able to respond quickly to an emergency situation in those areas due to security precautions that must be taken by USG 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.
Below is a state-by-state assessment of security conditions throughout Mexico. The accompanying map will help in identifying individual locations. Travelers should be mindful that even if no advisories are in effect for a given state, crime and violence can occur anywhere. 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 TCO 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 (north): Tijuana, Ensenada and Mexicali are major cities/travel destinations in the state of Baja California - see map to identify their exact locations: You should exercise caution in the northern state of Baja California, particularly at night. There were 278 homicides in Tijuana from January to June 2013. Mexicali’s murder rate has climbed from 14.3 per 100,000 in 2011 to 15.8 per 100,000 in 2012. In the majority of these cases, the killings appeared to be targeted TCO assassinations. Turf battles between criminal groups resulted in some assassinations in areas of Tijuana and Mexicali frequented by U.S. citizens. Shooting incidents, in which innocent bystanders have been injured, have occurred during daylight hours.
Baja California (South): Cabo San Lucas and La Paz are major cities/travel destinations in the state of Southern Baja California - see map to identify its exact location: 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 - see map to identify its exact location: No advisory is in effect.
Chihuahua: Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua City, and Copper Canyon are major cities/travel destinations in Chihuahua - see map to identify their exact locations: You should defer non-essential travel to the state of Chihuahua. In Ciudad Juarez, personal travel by USG employees outside the northeast portion of the city (the area near the Consulate General) is restricted. Although homicides have decreased markedly—from a high of 3,100 homicides in 3010 to 749 in 2012—Ciudad Juarez 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: You should defer non-essential travel to the state of Coahuila. The State of Coahuila continues to experience high rates of violent crimes and narcotics-related murders. TCOs continue to compete for territory and coveted border crossings to the United States. The cities of Torreón, Saltillo, Piedras Negras, and Ciudad Acuña have seen an increase of violent crimes within the last six months, including murder, kidnapping, and armed carjacking. Of particular safety concern are casinos, sportsbooks, or other gambling establishments and adult entertainment establishments, which USG personnel are not permitted to frequent.
Colima: Manzanillo is a major city/travel destination in Colima - see map to identify its exact location: You should defer non-essential travel to the areas of the state of Colima that border the state of Michoacán, including the city of Tecoman. You should also exercise caution when travelling to other parts of the state, including Colima City and Manzanillo. The security situation along the Michoacan border continues to be the most unstable in the state with gun battles occurring between rival criminal groups and with Mexican authorities. Homicides throughout the state rose sharply from 113 in 2011 to 179 in 2012, according to official Mexican government sources.
Durango: You should defer non-essential travel to the state of Durango, except the city of Durango where you should exercise caution. Cartel violence and highway lawlessness are a continuing security concern. Several areas in the state continue to experience high rates of violence and remain volatile and unpredictable. The Mexican government deployed troops in March 2013 to quell TCO violence in the La Laguna area, which is comprised of the cities of Gomez Palacio and Lerdo in the state of Durango and the city of Torreon in the state of Coahuila. Of particular safety concern are casinos, sportsbooks, or other gambling establishments and adult entertainment establishments, which USG personnel are not permitted to frequent. USG 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 - see map to identify exact locations: You should 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 - see map to identify their exact locations: No advisory is in effect.
Guerrero: Acapulco, Ixtapa, Taxco and Zihuatanejo are major cities/travel destinations in Guerrero - see map to identify their exact locations: You should defer non-essential travel to the northwestern and southern portions of the state (the area west and south of the town of Arcelia on the border with Estado de Mexico in the north and the town of Tlapa near the border with Oaxaca), except for the cities of Acapulco, Zihuatanejo, and Ixtapa. In those cities, you should exercise caution and stay within tourist areas. You should also exercise caution and travel only during daylight hours on toll highway ("cuota") 95D between Mexico City and Acapulco and highway 200 between Acapulco and Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa. 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 USG personnel is limited to the “Hotel Zone” 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 USG 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. If travelling by automobile between Mexico City and Acapulco you should exercise caution and travel only during daylight hours on toll highway ("cuota") 95D, staying on the toll road towards the Playa Diamante area and avoiding the highway running through the city of Acapulco. You should also exercise caution in the northern region of Guerrero (the area north of the town of Arcelia on the border with Estado de Mexico in the north and the town of Tlapa near the border with Oaxaca). The state of Guerrero has seen an increase in violence among rival criminal organizations. Acapulco's murder rates increased dramatically since 2009; in response, in 2011 the Government of Mexico sent additional military and federal police to the state to assist State security forces in implementing ongoing operation “Guerrero Seguro” (Secure Guerrero) that focuses on combating organized crime and returning security to the environs of popular tourist areas. Self-defense groups operate independently of the government in the Costa Chica region of eastern 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 - see map to identify their exact locations: You should defer non-essential travel to areas of the state that borders the state of Michoacán. 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 TCOs 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 Michoacan, 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 in to 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 - see map to identify exact locations: You should defer non-essential travel to the state of Michoacán except the cities of Morelia and Lázaro Cardenas where you should exercise caution. 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 TCO-related violence, have occurred throughout Michoacán. In the northwestern portion of the state, self-defense groups operate independently of the government. Armed members of the groups frequently maintain roadblocks, and although not considered hostile to foreigners or tourists, are suspicious of outsiders and should be considered volatile and unpredictable. Groups in Michoacan are reputed to be linked to TCOs.
Morelos: Cuernavaca is a major city/travel destination in Morelos - see attached map to identify their exact locations: You should exercise caution in the state of Morelos due to the unpredictable nature of TCO 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 USG employees were injured after being fired upon by Federal Police officers on an isolated road north of Tres Marias, Morelos. Numerous incidents of narcotics-related violence have also occurred in the city of Cuernavaca.
Nayarit: You should 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. You should exercise caution when traveling to the cities of Tepic, Xalisco, or San Blas. There is no recommendation against travel to the Vallarta-Nayarit area in the southern portion of the state also known as the Riviera Nayarit or to principal highways in the southern portion of the state used to travel from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta.
Nuevo Leon: Monterrey is a major city/travel destination in Nuevo Leon- see map to identify its exact location: You should 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 TCO violence and general insecurity in Monterrey has decreased within the last 12 months, sporadic gun battles continue to occur in the greater Monterrey area. Adult entertainment establishments and casinos continue to be targets of TCO activity. TCOs have kidnapped, and in some cases murdered American citizens, even when ransom demands are met. TCOs have been known to attack local government facilities, prisons and police stations, and are engaged in public shootouts with the military and between themselves. TCOs have used vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices against military and law enforcement units as well as incendiary devices against several types of businesses. Pedestrians and innocent bystanders have been killed in these incidents. Local police and private patrols have limited capacity to deter criminal elements or respond effectively to security incidents. As a result of a Department of State assessment of the overall security situation, the Consulate General in Monterrey is a partially unaccompanied post with no minor dependents of USG personnel permitted. USG personnel serving at the U.S. Consulate General in Monterrey may not frequent casinos, sportsbooks, or other gambling establishments. USG personnel 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 - see map to identify their exact locations: 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 - see attached map to identify their exact locations: No advisory is in effect.
San Luis Potosi: You should defer non-essential travel to the state of San Luis Potosi, except the city of San Luis Potosi where you should exercise caution. The entire stretch of highway 57D in San Luis Potosi and portions of the state east of highway 57D towards Tamaulipas are particularly dangerous. A USG employee was killed and another wounded when they were attacked in their U.S. government vehicle on Highway 57 near Santa Maria del Rio in 2011. Cartel violence and highway lawlessness are a continuing security concern. USG personnel may not frequent casinos, sportsbooks, or other gambling establishments and adult entertainment establishments. USG 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: Mazatlanis a major city/travel destination in Sinaloa - see map to identify its exact location: You should 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 TCOs is based in the state of Sinaloa. With the exception of Ciudad Juarez, since 2006 more homicides have occurred in the state's capital city of Culiacan than in any other city in Mexico. Travel off the toll roads ("cuotas") 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 - see map to identify their exact locations: U.S. citizens visiting Puerto Peñasco should exercise caution and use the Lukeville, Arizona/Sonoyta, Sonora border crossing, in order to limit driving through Mexico. You should defer non-essential travel between the city of Nogales and the cities of Sonoyta and Caborca (which area also includes the smaller cities of Saric, Tubutama, and Altar), 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 southward with the exception of travel to Alamos (traveling only during daylight hours and using only the Highway 15 toll road, or "cuota", and Sonora State Road 162). Sonora is a key region in the international drug and human trafficking trades, and can be extremely dangerous for travelers. 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. Travelers throughout Sonora are encouraged to limit travel to main roads during daylight hours.
Tabasco: Villahermosa is a major city/travel destination in Tabasco -see attached map to identify its exact location: No advisory is in effect.
Tamaulipas: Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa, and Tampico are major cities/travel destinations in Tamaulipas - see map to identify their exact locations: You should defer non-essential travel to the state of Tamaulipas. All USG employees are prohibited from personal travel on Tamaulipas highways outside of Matamoros and Nuevo Laredo due to the tenuous security situation. In Matamoros, USG employees are subject to further movement restrictions between midnight and 6 a.m. USG employees may not frequent casinos and adult entertainment establishments. Matamoros, Reynosa, Nuevo Laredo, and Ciudad Victoria have experienced grenade attacks in the past year, as well as numerous reported gun battles. Nuevo Laredo has seen a marked increase in the number of murders, carjackings, and robberies in the past year. For example, the numbers of murders are up 92.5% over last year. These crimes occur in all parts of the city at all times of the day. The kidnapping rate for Tamaulipas, the highest for all states in Mexico, more than doubled in the past year. In February 2013, four masked and armed individuals attempted to kidnap a USG employee in Matamoros during daylight hours. All travelers should be aware of the risks posed by armed robbery and carjacking on state highways throughout Tamaulipas, particularly on highways and roads outside of urban areas along the northern border. Traveling outside of cities after dark is particularly dangerous. While no highway routes through Tamaulipas are considered safe, many of the crimes reported to the U.S. Consulate General in Matamoros have taken place along the Matamoros-Tampico highway.
Tlaxcala: No advisory is in effect.
Veracruz: You should 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 -see map to identify its exact location: No advisory is in effect.
Zacatecas: You should defer non-essential travel within the state of Zacatecas to the area bordering the states of Aguascalientes, Coahuila, Durango, and Jalisco and exercise caution in the interior of the state including the city of Zacatecas. The regions of the state bordering Durango and Coahuila as well as the cities of Fresnillo and Fresnillo-Sombrete and surrounding area are particularly dangerous. The northwestern portion of the state of Zacatecas has become notably dangerous and insecure. Robberies and carjackings are occurring with increased frequency and both local authorities and residents have reported a surge in observed TCO activity. This area is remote, and local authorities are unable to regularly patrol it or quickly respond to incidents that occur there. Gun battles between criminal groups and authorities occur in the area of the state bordering the state of Jalisco. There have also been reports of roadblocks and false checkpoints on highways between the states of Zacatecas and Jalisco. The city of Fresnillo, the area extending northwest from Fresnillo along Highway 45 (Fresnillo-Sombrete) between Highways 44 and 49, and highway 49 northwards from Fresnillo through Durango and in to Chihuahua are considered dangerous. Extreme caution should be taken when traveling in the remainder of the state. Of particular safety concern are casinos, sportsbooks, or other gambling establishments and adult entertainment establishments, which USG personnel may not frequent. USG 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.
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 Caution, Travel 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, tel. (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): Avenida Constitucion 411 Poniente, 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.
For more information, please visit:
Travel Alert for Iraq
The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of the dangers inherent in travel to Iraq and recommends against all but essential travel in country given the fluid security situation. Numerous insurgent groups remain active throughout Iraq. Iraqi Security Forces (ISF)-led military operations continue, and attacks persist against the ISF and U.S. forces in many areas of the country. Turkish government forces have carried out operations against elements of the Kongra-Gel terrorist group (KGK, formerly Kurdistan Worker's Party or PKK) located along Iraq's northern border. This Travel Warning warns U.S. citizens of the current security situation and reiterates the dangers of the use of civilian aircraft and of road travel within Iraq. This replaces the Travel Warning of June 13, 2008, to provide an update on security incidents and additional concerns about travel within Iraq.
Iraq Remains Dangerous and Unpredictable
While the security environment has shown significant improvement over the past year, Iraq remains dangerous and unpredictable. Attacks against military and civilian targets throughout Iraq continue, including in the International (or "Green") Zone. Methods of attack have included roadside improvised explosive devices (IEDs), mortars and rockets, and human- and vehicle-borne IEDs. Kidnappings still occur; the most recent confirmed kidnapping of an American citizen reported to the U.S. Embassy occurred during July 2008 in Nassariya. In addition to terrorist and criminal attacks, sectarian violence occurs often. U.S. Government personnel require special permission and a security detail at all times when traveling outside of secure facilities and are prohibited from traveling to certain areas of Iraq depending on prevailing security conditions. Detailed security information is available on the Embassy's web site at http://iraq.usembassy.gov and at http://www.centcom.mil.
Transportation to/from and within Iraq
Travelers choosing to utilize commercial carriers to enter or depart Iraq should be aware that, although there have been no recent attacks on civilian aircraft, the potential threat still exists, as does the high risk to road transportation as described above. U.S. Government personnel, with limited exceptions, are generally required to use U.S. military or other official aircraft when entering or departing Iraq. There have been no recent security-related incidents associated with civilian airport operations. Embassy employees, including those resident in northern Iraq, may seek authorization, and under special limited circumstances, have obtained permission to use commercial airlines and civilian airports when entering or departing Iraq. Civilians, including tourists, business people, and temporary residents should recognize the risks associated with air travel to Iraq and must be guided by the security policies of their agencies, companies and sponsors.
The security situation in Sulymaniya, Erbil, and Dohuk Governorates in northern Iraq has been relatively more stable than the rest of Iraq in recent years, but violence persists and conditions could deteriorate quickly. Even though there have been fewer terrorist attacks and lower levels of insurgent violence in Sulymaniya, Erbil, and Dohuk than in other parts of Iraq, the security situation throughout the country remains fluid. Violence associated with the status of Kirkuk is likely to continue, at least within Kirkuk. Insurgent groups continue to operate across the north. In 2008, multiple incidents occurred in Sulymaniya, Erbil, and Dohuk involving IEDs, rocket and mortar fire, vehicle bombs, and shootings, though none resulted in U.S. casualties. While many parts of northern Iraq have become more stable, Mosul continues to experience intense violence and instability.
International Zone Restrictions
The U.S. Embassy is located in the International Zone (IZ) in Baghdad. The IZ is a restricted access area. The U.S. Government considers the potential threat to U.S. Government personnel assigned to Iraq to be sufficiently serious so as to require them to live and work under strict security guidelines.
Limited Emergency Support to American Citizens
The U.S. Embassy provides limited visa services to the general public and provides restricted emergency services to U.S. citizens in Iraq, particularly those located outside of Baghdad. American citizens who choose to visit or reside in Iraq despite this Travel Warning are urged to take responsibility for their own personal security and belongings (including their U.S. passports), avoid crowds, especially rallies or demonstrations, and to inform the U.S. Embassy of their presence in Iraq. All Americans in Iraq are asked to register with the Embassy at the following website: https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs.
American citizens may obtain the latest security information or other information about Iraq by contacting the U.S. Embassy, located in the International Zone, via landline at 1-240-553-0581, via e-mail to email@example.com, or by accessing the U.S. Embassy's website at http://iraq.usembassy.gov. The after-hours numbers in cases of extreme emergency are 011-964-770-443-2594 (from the US) or 964 0770-443-2594(within Iraq).
Updated information on travel and security in Iraq may be obtained from the Department of State 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 1-202-501-4444. For further information, please consult the Country Specific Information for Iraq, as well as the Worldwide Caution, both of which are available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website at http://travel.state.gov/.
Travel Alert for Pakistan
September 06, 2013
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to defer all non-essential travel to Pakistan. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated August 9, 2013, to remind U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns in Pakistan.
On August 9, the Department of State ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel from the U.S. Consulate General in Lahore, Pakistan. The Department of State ordered this drawdown due to specific threats concerning the U.S. Consulate in Lahore. As a result of this drawdown, public and consular services at the U.S. Consulate General in Lahore remain unavailable. Routine consular services are available at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad or the U.S. Consulate General in Karachi.
The presence of several foreign and indigenous terrorist groups poses a potential danger to U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan. Across the country, terrorist attacks frequently occur against civilian, government, and foreign targets. Attacks have included armed assaults on heavily guarded sites, including Pakistani military installations. The Government of Pakistan maintains heightened security measures, particularly in the major cities. Threat reporting indicates terrorist groups continue to seek opportunities to attack locations where U.S. citizens and Westerners are known to congregate or visit. Terrorists and criminal groups regularly resort to kidnapping for ransom.
Protests against the United States are not uncommon and have the potential to turn violent. U.S. citizens in Pakistan are strongly advised to avoid all protests and large gatherings.
There have been many terrorist attacks in recent years targeting civilians and security personnel. On July 6, a bomb exploded in a restaurant in a business district of Lahore, killing at least five people and injuring nearly 50. On June 23, ten foreign nationals, including one U.S. citizen, were killed in an attack on a Nanga Parbat mountain base camp in the northern area of Gilgit-Baltistan. On June 15, a suicide bomber detonated at a women’s university in Quetta, killing 14 students; attackers later struck the hospital where victims were taken, killing at least 11 more people. On March 3, a bomb attack in a predominately Shiite area of Karachi destroyed several buildings and killed over 50 people. On September 3, 2012, unidentified terrorists attacked a U.S. government vehicle convoy in Peshawar, injuring U.S. and Pakistani personnel.
The Governor of the Punjab province and the Federal Minister for Minority Affairs were assassinated in Islamabad in January and March 2011, respectively. Targeted killings continue unabated in Karachi as a result of ethno-political rivalries. Targeted attacks against government officials, humanitarian and non-governmental organization (NGO) employees, tribal elders, and law enforcement personnel continue throughout the country, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan Provinces. Suicide bomb attacks have occurred at Islamabad universities, schools, rallies, places of worship, and major marketplaces in Lahore and Peshawar.
Members of minority communities have been victims of targeted killings and accusations of blasphemy, a crime that carries the death penalty in Pakistan. Foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, on valid missionary visas have encountered increased scrutiny from local authorities since early 2011.
TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS FOR GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL
U.S. government personnel travel between the Embassy and Consulates might be restricted based on security or other reasons. Movements by U.S. government personnel assigned to the Consulates General are severely restricted, and consulate staff cannot drive personally-owned vehicles. Embassy staff are permitted to drive personally-owned vehicles in the greater Islamabad area.
U.S. officials in Islamabad are instructed to limit the frequency of travel and minimize the duration of trips to public markets, restaurants, and other locations. Only a limited number of official visitors are placed in hotels, and for limited stays. Depending on ongoing security assessments, the U.S. Mission sometimes places areas such as hotels, markets, and restaurants off limits to official personnel. Official U.S. citizens are not authorized to use public transportation and are sometimes asked to restrict the use of their personal vehicles in response to security concerns.
Access to many areas of Pakistan, including the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the Afghan border, the Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, and the area adjacent to the Line of Control (LOC) in the disputed territory of Kashmir, is restricted by local government authorities for non-Pakistanis. Travel to any restricted region requires official permission from the Government of Pakistan. Failure to obtain such permission in advance can result in arrest and detention by Pakistani authorities. Due to security concerns, the U.S. government currently allows only essential travel within the FATA by U.S. officials. Travel to much of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and Balochistan is also restricted.
GENERAL SAFETY AND SECURITY
Since the announcement that Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 2, 2011, U.S. citizens should be aware of the possible increase in the threat level throughout the country.
Rallies, demonstrations, and processions occur regularly throughout Pakistan on very short notice. Demonstrations might take on an anti-U.S. or anti-Western character, and U.S. citizens are urged to avoid large gatherings. Anti-U.S. protests in September 2012 attracted large crowds outside U.S. diplomatic facilities in all major cities and caused casualties and significant property damage. The Mission reminds U.S. citizens that even peaceful demonstrations might become violent and advises U.S. citizens to avoid demonstrations. Given multiple demands for resources, local authorities may have limited capacity to respond to requests for assistance.
The Mission reiterates its advice to all U.S. citizens to maintain good situational awareness, avoid large crowds, and keep a low profile, particularly when visiting locations frequented by Westerners. U.S. citizens in Pakistan are strongly urged to avoid hotels that do not apply stringent security measures, and to vary times and routes for all travel.
U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan have also been kidnapped for ransom or for personal reasons such as family disputes over property. In August 2012, a U.S. citizen in Karachi was kidnapped from a car outside of a friend’s residence. In August 2011, a U.S. citizen in Lahore was kidnapped from his residence. Al-Qaida later claimed responsibility and issued a list of demands in exchange for his release. In June 2011, a U.S. citizen in Lahore was kidnapped while en route to his business. Both U.S. citizens were released after their families paid a ransom. The kidnapping of Pakistani citizens and other foreign nationals, usually for ransom, continues to increase nationwide. U.S. citizens who feel they are in danger or whose security is at risk are strongly urged to depart Pakistan as soon as possible.
U.S. citizens seeking services from the U.S. Consulates General in Karachi and Peshawar might also encounter harassment from host government officials. Citing security concerns, host-government intelligence officials frequently stop U.S. citizens outside the Consulates and obtain their personal information before allowing them to proceed. U.S. citizens might later be visited at their homes or offices and questioned about the nature of their business in Pakistan and the purpose of their visit to the Consulate.
U.S. citizens should ensure that their travel documents and visas are valid at all times. U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan have been arrested, deported, harassed, and detained for overstaying their Pakistani visas or for traveling to Pakistan without the appropriate visa classification. U.S. citizens who attempt to renew or extend their visas while in Pakistan have been left without legal status for an extended period of time and subjected to harassment or interrogation by local authorities. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates General can provide very limited assistance to U.S. citizens who have overstayed their Pakistani visas. Since 2011, the number of U.S. citizens arrested, detained, and prosecuted for visa overstays has increased across the country.
U.S. citizens are advised to make electronic and paper copies of their U.S. passport, Pakistani visa, and entry stamp into Pakistan in order to facilitate their departure from Pakistan if their U.S. passport is lost or stolen, and keep the copies in a readily accessible location.
Security threats might, on short notice, temporarily restrict the ability of the U.S. Missions, particularly in Peshawar, to provide routine consular services. All U.S. citizens are encouraged to apply for renewal of travel documents at least three months prior to expiration.
U.S. citizens who travel to or remain in Pakistan despite this Travel Warning are encouraged to enroll with the Embassy in Islamabad or the Consulates General in Karachi, Lahore, or Peshawar. This enrollment can be completed online through the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) available on the Department of State website. U.S. citizens without internet access should contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate General for information on registering in person. Enrollment enables citizens to obtain updated information on travel and security within Pakistan via the emergency alert system.
The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad is located at Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5, and can be reached by telephone at (92-51) 208-0000; Consular Section telephone (92-51) 208-2700; and fax (92-51) 282-2632.
You may make an American Citizens Services appointment with the Consular Section in Islamabad through the following link: http://islamabad.usembassy.gov/service/appointments.html.
U.S. citizens requiring emergency services should contact the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad at telephone (92-51) 208-0000. Note that our ability to provide emergency services outside Islamabad could be limited by travel restrictions and security conditions.
The U.S. Consulate General in Karachi is located at Plot 3-5 New TPX Area, Mai Kolachi Road. U.S. citizens requiring emergency assistance should call the Consular Section in Karachi at (92-21) 3527-5000. The fax number is (92-21) 3561-2420.
You may make an American Citizens Services appointment with the Consular Section in Karachi through the following link: http://karachi.usconsulate.gov/service.html.
The U.S. Consulate General in Peshawar is located at 11 Hospital Road, Cantonment, and can be reached by telephone at (92-91) 526-8800 and fax: (92-91) 528-4171.
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, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
For further information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should consult the Department of State's Country Specific Information for Pakistan. Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well. You can also download our free Smart Traveler App, available through iTunes or Google Play, to have travel information at your fingertips.
The State Department warns U.S. citizens of the risks of terrorist activity in the Philippines, particularly in the southern Philippine islands of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago. Terrorist attacks could be indiscriminate and could occur not only in the southern islands but also in other areas, to include Manila. Targeted sites may be public gathering places that are frequented by expatriates and foreign travelers, including American citizens. Such sites could include, but are not limited to, airports, shopping malls, conference centers and other public venues. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated April 2, 2010, to reflect continuing threats due to terrorist and insurgent activities.
Travelers should exercise extreme caution if traveling in the central and western portions of the island of Mindanao, as well as in the islands of the Sulu Archipelago. Regional terrorist groups have carried out bombings resulting in injuries and death. An October 10 bus bombing in Mindanao claimed 10 lives; an investigation is underway to determine whether this was a terrorist act. Since August 2008, sporadic clashes have occurred between lawless groups and the Philippine Armed Forces in the Mindanao provinces of North Cotabato, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, and Maguindanao, as well as the Sulu Archipelago.
Kidnap-for-ransom gangs are active throughout the Philippines and have targeted foreigners. U.S. Government employees must seek special permission for travel to Mindanao or the Sulu Archipelago. Travelers to these areas should remain vigilant and avoid congregating in public areas. Some foreigners who reside in or visit Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago hire their own security.
The Philippine government declared a state of emergency on November 24, 2009, for the two provinces of Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat, as well as Cotobato City, as a result of election-related violence. While the elections have passed, this state of emergency is still in effect. Travelers should be aware of heightened police activity and significant military presence in these areas. They should carefully research restrictions imposed upon travel and follow the instructions of government officials with regards to limitations on movement.
U.S. citizens traveling, living, and working throughout the Philippines are urged to exercise heightened caution in public gathering places. U.S. citizens should exercise caution when traveling in the vicinity of demonstrations since they can turn confrontational and possibly escalate to violence.
The Department of State remains concerned about the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world. The Worldwide Caution reminds U.S. citizens that terrorism can occur anywhere.
The Department strongly encourages U.S. citizens in the Philippines to register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Manila through the State Department's travel registration website. The U.S. Embassy is located at: 1201 Roxas Boulevard, Manila, Philippines, tel. 63-2-301-2000. The American Citizens Services (ACS) section's fax number is 63-2-301-2017 and the ACS web page can be accessed online.
For information on general crime and security issues, U.S. citizens should also consult the Department of State's Country Specific Information for the Philippines located at the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website. U.S. citizens may also obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 from the United States and Canada, or 202-501-4444 from overseas.