You may need to leave the country prior to your scheduled departure because of a political upheaval or a natural disaster. Unfortunately, these conditions often cause disruptions in commercial transportation. If this happens, and it appears unsafe for U.S. citizens to remain, the embassy and consulates will work with a task force in Washington, D.C. to help find ways for U.S. citizens to depart.
While the U.S. Government cannot order U.S. citizens to leave a foreign country, it can provide information and try to assist those who wish to leave. Remember, if you’ve enrolled your trip with Smart Traveler Enrollment Proram (STEP), it will be easier to contact you and get you safely out of the country.
Take a moment to review the What the Department of State Can and Can’t Do in a Crisis fact sheet for more information on evacuations and disaster planning abroad. NOTE: If you receive evacuation assistance, you are required to sign a promissory note agreeing to reimburse the government for some of the evacuation costs. It’s the law.
Sometimes Mother Nature can wreak havoc on the best made plans and your trip may be cut short. You’ve probably seen news reports of hurricanes, tsunamis, or volcanic eruptions creating turmoil throughout the world. If a natural disaster occurs, and it’s unsafe for U.S. citizens to remain in country, the embassy and consulates will work to contact and assist U.S. citizens. While the U.S. government cannot order you to leave a foreign country, embassy and consulate staff can provide information and assist those who wish to leave. In addition, staff will make all efforts to keep U.S. citizens safe overseas. Remember, it will be easier to contact you and assist you if you’ve enroll your trip with STEP. If a natural disaster occurs while you’re abroad and you're ok, we always encourage you to let their parents and relatives know through a phone call, Facebook post, email, or any other means you have so that they know you are safe.