Published: Thu, January 11, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

USA travel warnings clarified

USA travel warnings clarified

Vietnam is one of the countries with the lowest level of travel security risk, according to the US Department of State.

Nothing about how the safety and security situation in each country is evaluated has changed -- that's still done by the State Department in consultation with intelligence agencies, host governments and local USA embassies. The Department of State advises that US citizens not travel to the country or leave as soon as it is safe to do so.

The United States on Wednesday placed Afghanistan on "Level 4" and Pakistan on "Level 3" in its new travel advisory what officials described as 'based on ready to understand level of advice ranging from one to four'.

The revised system assigns levels of advice (1 to 4) about travel as it pertains to every country.

Meanwhile, No. 3 advisories suggest travelers reconsider trips to designated locations, while No. 4 recommends against travel.

India is in level two where United States citizens are required to "exercise increased caution due to crime and terrorism".

"Reconsider travel to Russian Federation due to terrorism and harassment", reads the State Department's latest recommendation released on Wednesday. What the department dubs "risk indicators" include terrorism, civil unrest and natural disaster, among other things.

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The Democratic Republic of Congo was ranked at Tier 2, despite what the State Department has flagged as "ongoing instability and sporadic violence in many parts of the country".

North Korea is also level four, with the additional restriction that U.S. law prohibits American travelers from using their passports there, effectively banning visits.

The arch-nemesis of world's superpower, North Korea is also in Level Four, with the additional restriction that U.S. law prohibits American travellers from using their passports there, effectively banning visits to the Kim led-state.

What were previously referred to as "warnings" and "alerts" are being re-classified as "advisories", accompanied by a color and number-based system with detailed descriptions on why an advisory has been issued. During an emergency, the US government may have very limited ability to provide assistance.

The department changed some of the terminology a decade ago, but this is the first time it has completed an overhaul like this in "a very long time". The issuance of a Centers for Disease Control Travel Notice may be a factor.

O - Other: There are potential risks not covered by previous risk indicators.

Cuba, for instance, is listed as a level 3 country. Travelers are urged not to travel to these countries or to depart as soon as it is safe to leave. Additionally, U.S. embassies will now issue Alerts regarding specific safety and security concerns in a country, such as demonstrations, crime trends and weather events.

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