International Travel Policy – Effective March 1, 2018

On January 10, 2018 the United States Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs changed the system by which they rate and communicate health and safety conditions in countries or specific regions of countries.

What you Need to Know

Four travel advisory rating levels.International destinations now have a numeric “Travel Advisory” level. Each country is rated 1 – 4 for overall safety. “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. 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 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.”

Additionally, in many cases, the overall country may have one numeric rating, but certain regions have higher advisory levels either indicated by regional numeric ratings or in the text describing such regions, such as (at the time of this printing) this example from Ecuador.

Travel rating example. Described under heading Ecuador Example below.

Ecuador Example

While Ecuador’s overall rating is a level 1, the text indicates “Do not travel to: The northern border with Colombia due to crime,” the narrative equivalent to a “4.”