Security Alert
May 17, 2024

Worldwide Caution

International Travel


Learn About Your Destination


Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Do not travel to Afghanistan due to terrorism, risk of wrongful detention, kidnapping and crime.

Updated with information on risk of wrongful detention

Do not travel to Afghanistan due to terrorism, risk of wrongful detention, kidnapping and crime.

Country Summary: In 2021, the Taliban took over Afghanistan and announced an “interim government” based in the capital, Kabul. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul has suspended operations, and the U.S. government is not able to provide any emergency consular services to U.S. citizens in Afghanistan.

U.S. citizens should not travel to Afghanistan for any reason.

Multiple terrorist groups are active in country and U.S. citizens are targets of kidnapping and wrongful detentions. The Department has assessed that there is a risk of wrongful detention of U.S. citizens by the Taliban. The Taliban have harassed and detained aid and humanitarian workers. The activities of foreigners may be viewed with suspicion, and reasons for detention may be unclear. Even if you are registered with the appropriate authorities to conduct business, the risk of detention is high.  

The Taliban do not regularly permit the United States to conduct welfare checks on U.S. citizens in detention, including by phone. Detention can be lengthy and while in detention, U.S. citizens have limited or no access to medical attention and may be subject to physical abuse.

U.S. citizens in Afghanistan in need of routine consular services can contact any U.S. embassy or consulate outside of Afghanistan for assistance, although our ability to assist U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is extremely limited. To locate the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate outside of Afghanistan, click here.

U.S. citizens who are in Afghanistan are urged to depart immediately via commercial means if possible. U.S. citizens who are seeking U.S. government assistance to depart should email complete biographic details and contact information (email and phone number), as well as U.S. passport number, to

The Department of State will continue to provide information via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), Embassy Kabul’s web page, Travel.State.Gov, Facebook, and Twitter/X.

If you choose to disregard the Travel Advisory and travel to Afghanistan:

  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter/X.
  • Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
  • Review your personal security plans.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and local security developments at all times.
  • Keep a low profile.
  • Notify a trusted person of your travel and movement plans.
  • Make contingency plans to leave when it is safe to do so that do not rely on U.S. government assistance.
  • Draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney.
  • Discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, belongings, non-liquid assets (collections, artwork, etc.), funeral wishes, etc.
  • Leave DNA samples with your medical provider in case it is necessary for your family to access them.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security updates and ensure you can be located in an emergency. Read the Country Security Report For Afghanistan.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel. 

Embassy Messages


Quick Facts


Must be valid for six months at time of entry


One page required for entry stamp




Polio vaccination up to 1 year before travel is recommended. See the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Fact Sheet





Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Kabul
U.S. Embassy Kabul suspended operations on August 31, 2021.

Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Afghanistan for information on U.S.-Afghanistan relations.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

On August 31, 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan suspended all operations. Please read the Travel Advisory for Afghanistan, which advises U.S. citizens not to travel to Afghanistan for any reason due to terrorism, risk of wrongful detention, kidnapping and crime, and advises U.S. citizens currently in Afghanistan to depart immediately via commercial means if possible.

U.S. citizens who are seeking U.S. government assistance to depart should email complete biographic details and contact information (email and phone number), as well as U.S. passport number, to

Passport and Visas: U.S. citizens must have a valid passport and Afghan visa to enter and exit Afghanistan. Travelers arriving without a valid visa are subject to deportation, confiscation of their passport, heavy fines, or detention. 

Dual Nationals/Afghan Heritage: U.S. citizens born in Afghanistan of Afghan parentage are considered to be Afghan nationals and are not required to have an entry visa. U.S. citizens of Afghan parentage who were not born in Afghanistan must have a visa to enter Afghanistan.

Registration: Foreigners arriving in Afghanistan are fingerprinted during the immigration process. Foreign passengers arriving at the Kabul International Airport are expected to register with a representative of the Ministry of Interior’s Foreigners’ Registration Office. If the airport office is closed, registration may take place at the Ministry of Interior’s Kabul Statistics Office located at Kart-e-Parwan Square in front of Nadirya High School. Registrants will receive a registration card. The registration card must be surrendered upon the foreign national’s departure from Afghanistan.

Medical Requirements: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors or foreign residents of Afghanistan.

Please visit the Consular Affairs website for information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations.

Safety and Security

The security situation is extremely unstable and the threat to U.S. citizens remains critical. No province in Afghanistan should be considered immune from violence, and the potential exists throughout the country for hostile acts, either targeted or random, against U.S. and other foreign nationals at any time. U.S. citizens who do decide to go to Afghanistan should maintain a low profile and exercise extreme discretion in disclosing their movement plans and personal information.

Terrorism: Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack – including knives, firearms, and vehicles – to more effectively target crowds. Frequently, their aim is unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as:

  • High-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
  • Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists
  • Places of worship
  • Schools
  • Parks
  • Shopping malls and markets
  • Public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights)

Decades of disorder and warfare have made Afghanistan fertile territory for international terrorism. U.S. citizens and other foreign nationals are primary targets of terrorist organizations. Violent extremist groups across Afghanistan continue to utilize a variety of tactics to expand their territorial influence, disrupt governance, and create a public perception of instability. Such tactics include the use of attackers laden with suicide vests, vehicle-borne explosive devices, magnetic explosive devices, indirect fire (rockets and mortars), and direct fire (shootings and rocket propelled grenades). Local security forces, buildings housing ministries and other public sector institutions, foreign embassies, non-government organization offices, and soft targets, such as hotels, markets, schools, hospitals, and public gatherings, are common attack targets. Kabul has been and remains a high-profile location for large-scale terror attacks, as successful operations in the capital tend to generate media coverage. U.S. citizens in Afghanistan should familiarize themselves with their residential compound or hotel’s emergency planning and rehearse the steps they would take if the venue were to come under attack.

For more information, see our Terrorism page.

Kidnapping/Hostage Taking/Wrongful Detention: Violent extremist groups and kidnapping syndicates are actively targeting foreign nationals, specifically U.S. citizens, in Afghanistan, including journalists, aid workers, teachers, medical professionals, and individuals associated with international and non-governmental organizations. Criminal groups in Afghanistan will target any individual perceived to have money for kidnapping and/or extortion. Kidnap-for-ransom syndicates may also sell their captives to terrorist groups, with victims potentially spending years in captivity. Additionally, the threat of wrongful detention remains high as U.S. citizens have been detained and held for indefinite periods in Afghanistan under unclear or unjust circumstances.

Demonstrations and Riots: U.S. citizens should avoid all rallies and demonstrations, as even events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence with little warning. Public gatherings and demonstrations have also been the targets of terrorist attacks.

Property/Business Disputes: Afghan-Americans returning to Afghanistan to recover property often become involved in complicated real estate disputes. Some have involved threats of retaliatory action, including kidnapping, and assassinations. Similarly, U.S. citizens involved in business or commercial disputes have been threatened with detention and imprisonment, and had their property seized to use as collateral. U.S. citizens have reported being physically attacked and family members have also been harmed as the result of such disputes. U.S. citizens who find themselves in such situations should not assume that either local law enforcement or the U.S. government will be able to assist them in resolving such disputes. Hiring a private attorney, early in the dispute, especially one who can act on behalf of the U.S. citizen in their absence, is recommended.

Communications: Large parts of Afghanistan are extremely isolated and landline telephone communications remain limited. Cell phone service is unpredictable, and areas outside major urban centers suffer from irregular and weak signals. U.S. citizens in Afghanistan should always carry backup communications such as satellite phones or handheld radios, along with a vehicle/personal tracking device.

Crime: Afghanistan is considered a critical threat environment for crime. Criminal organizations, including weapons and narcotics traffickers, undermine peace and stability throughout the country. Common petty or street crime exists, primarily in cities. Transient populations and internally displaced peoples may contribute to crime and lawlessness.

Victims of Crime: U.S. Embassy Kabul suspended operations on August 31, 2021. The U.S. government is not able to provide any routine or emergency consular services to U.S. citizens in Afghanistan, including victims of crime.

Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes committed in Afghanistan. The local equivalent to the U.S. “911” emergency line is “119” in Afghanistan. Please note that local operators do not speak English and that emergency services are restricted to the major cities. The emergency line may not be answered, and response times are usually longer than in the United States.

Travelers should not expect or rely on significant assistance from local authorities in Afghanistan in resolving legal disputes. This is especially true for U.S.-based companies and their employees seeking local protection from extralegal efforts to resolve contract disputes. Property may be seized, and personnel may be detained as collateral pending the resolution of such disputes.

Visit our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas for additional details.

Tourism: No formal tourism industry infrastructure is in place. Tourists are considered to be participating in activities at their own risk. Emergency response services and subsequent appropriate medical treatment are very limited in-Afghanistan and may be entirely unavailable outside of major cities. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance that covers medical evacuation from Afghanistan. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: U.S. citizens in Afghanistan are subject to Afghan laws. A U.S. passport will not help you avoid detention or prosecution and may result in heightened attention by police and prosecutors, some of whom may seek to exploit your status as a U.S. citizen for financial or political gain. Persons violating Afghan laws, even unknowingly, may be fined, detained, imprisoned, or possibly executed. Penalties in Afghanistan can be more severe than for similar offenses in the United States. U.S. citizens may face the death penalty for crimes that would not be punishable by death in the United States.

  • Photography of buildings/installations housing ministries, public sector institutions, and security forces, including equipment or troops, may lead to detention.
  • Possession of alcohol is illegal and is equated to narcotics. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in alcohol or illegal drugs are severe, with offenders often facing long jail sentences and heavy fines.
  • Sexual relations between unmarried couples, or unreported knowledge of such relations is punishable by lengthy prison sentences and/or public flogging in Afghanistan.

Certain acts of U.S. citizens overseas are prosecutable as crimes in the United States, whether or not they are illegal under the local law. Withholding someone's identity documents, such as passports, green cards, or tazkeras, knowing that they are necessary for travel, can lead to criminal prosecution in the United States. For additional examples, see our page on crimes against minors abroad and visit the website of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Religion and Islam: Islam, along with tribal law and customs (e.g., pashtunwali in predominately Pashtun areas), provides a foundation for Afghans’ lived experiences. The influence of tribal law and customs are greater in Afghanistan’s rural sector, compared to urban areas. Foreign visitors are expected to remain sensitive to Afghanistan’s Islamic and local cultures, and not dress in revealing or provocative manners, including the wearing of sleeveless shirts and blouses, halter-tops, and/or shorts.

Proselytizing may be deemed an insult to Islam, and could result in severe punishments including – but not limited to – incarceration, and the death penalty. Committing a blasphemous act or producing or distributing material deemed critical of Islam is punishable by life imprisonment or the death penalty. Apostasy may carry a maximum penalty of death for Muslims who denounce Islam or convert to another religion. Allegations of conversion of Afghan citizens are taken particularly seriously. Accusations of blasphemy or insulting Islam, even when unproven, have led to deadly mob violence.

Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also have to pay fines and/or give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice’s website for more information.

Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:

Financial Debts: U.S. citizens in Afghanistan have been detained in cases involving financial debts and contract disputes, as these disputes are generally considered criminal matters in Afghanistan. Hiring a local attorney in the early stages of such a dispute is recommended.

Women Travelers: Afghanistan is a traditional country, particularly when it comes to gender roles and behavior. To help maintain a low profile, women should ensure their shirts cover their full arms, collarbone, and waistband, and their pants/skirts cover their ankles, especially when traveling outside Kabul. Almost all women in Afghanistan cover their hair in public; female travelers are advised to carry scarves for this purpose. Women are expected to be escorted by a male relative and can be detained for traveling alone. Women visiting Afghanistan should be alert of the risk of sexual assault and are recommended to review the Department of State’s travel tips for women travelers.

LGBTQI+ Travelers: The Taliban consider consensual same-sex sexual activity to be a criminal offense, and representatives routinely enforced this position through violence, intimidation, harassment, and targeted killings. Conviction for same-sex sexual conduct is punishable by death, flogging, or imprisonment. Individual Taliban members made public statements reiterating that their interpretation of sharia includes the death penalty for homosexuality. LGBTQI+ individuals face discrimination, violence, and persecution in Afghan society. See our LGBTQI+ Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Forced Marriage: The Department is aware of cases involving U.S. citizen women of Afghan heritage who have been convinced by their families to travel to Afghanistan, usually under the guise of visiting relatives, only to find themselves forced into marriage. The U.S. government considers forced marriage to be a human rights abuse and, in the case of minors, a form of child abuse. Forced marriage is defined as one in which one or both parties have not consented to the marriage (or are incapable of providing meaningful consent) and differs from arranged marriage. Often, victims of forced marriage are subjected to non-consensual sex, physical and emotional abuse, and isolation. Individuals who refuse a forced marriage may be threatened with violence or with being disowned by their families, who also often confiscate their belongings (including passports).

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Afghan law protects the rights of persons with disabilities, but the provisions are not implemented in practice. Persons with disabilities face limited access to transportation, public buildings, and hotels, and few communication accommodations. There are few sidewalks and no curb-cuts, and most buildings lack elevators.

Banking: Access to banking facilities in Afghanistan is limited and unreliable. The economy generally operates on a cash-only basis, though the use of credit cards is becoming more common in larger cities. ATMs are available in major cities, but U.S. banks often deny transactions from Afghanistan unless a traveler provides advanced notice of the transaction.

Customs: Afghan customs authorities generally enforce strict regulations on the import/export of certain goods such as alcoholic beverages, religious materials, antiquities, medication, precious stones and metals, and printed materials. U.S. citizen travelers have faced fines and/or confiscation of items considered antiquities upon exiting Afghanistan.

Weapons/Firearms: U.S. citizens, including security contractors and military personnel, should carefully review Afghan import/export restrictions on weapons, firearms, and ammunition, including antique or display models. It is also important to review the regulations of any country through which you may transit, as many countries have strict rules prohibiting these items, even in checked luggage. Consult the U.S. Customs and Border Protection for information on traveling with such items into or out of the United States.


For emergency services in Afghanistan, dial 119 or 100 for police; 102 for medical assistance; 112 for fire.

Ambulance services are:

  • Not widely available and training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards.
  • Not present throughout the country
  • Not equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment.
  • Not staffed with trained paramedics and often have little or no medical equipment.

Injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for an ambulance.

Basic medical care is available in major Afghan cities but is limited in rural areas. Facilities vary in quality and range of services and are generally below U.S. standards. Doctors and hospitals often require cash prepayment for services. Western-style private clinics can be found in Kabul offering a variety of basic emergency and routine preventative-type care, but their hours are limited, and such facilities may not be suitable for complex trauma cases or severe medical emergencies. Individuals without licenses or medical degrees sometimes operate private clinics, and there is no public agency that monitors their operations.

Travelers are strongly urged to obtain sufficient supplies of prescription and commonly used over-the-counter medications prior to arrival. Many U.S.-brand medications are not available in Afghanistan. Travelers should be aware that many pharmaceuticals found in Afghanistan are counterfeits, and the quality of locally produced medications is uneven.

The U.S. government does not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not provide coverage overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance. 

We highly recommend that all travelers review the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Travelers’ Health webpage and general Traveler Advice for Afghanistan.

  • Select your destination in the Travelers’ Health webpage.
    • Review all sub-sections including the Travel Health Notices, Vaccines and Medicines, Non-Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, Stay Healthy and Safe, Healthy Travel Packing List, and After Your Trip.
  • Review the Traveler Advice webpage that provide advice on medical considerations including:
    • Reasons for Travel (for example: Adventure Travel, Spring Break Travel)
    • Travelers with Special Considerations (for example: Allergies, Long-Term Travelers and Expatriates)
    • and General Tips (for example: Traveling with Medications, Travel Vaccines)

Water Quality & Food Safety: In many areas of Afghanistan, tap water is not potable. Bottled water and beverages are generally safe, although you should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested. Be aware that ice for drinks may be made using tap water.

Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan will cover you outside of the United States, and that it specifically covers care when you are in Afghanistan. U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not provide coverage overseas. Many insurance companies consider Afghanistan to be an active warzone and specifically exclude coverage for individuals residing or traveling there.

U.S. citizens are strongly recommended to obtain supplemental medical evacuation insurance as medical transport out of Afghanistan can be prohibitively expensive. When selecting a medical evacuation provider, be sure to confirm that the company offers such services in Afghanistan and obtain a list of clinics and hospitals that may be used as a medical evacuation point. Please note that the U.S. government cannot pay your medical bills.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Travel and Transportation

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: Road conditions in Afghanistan are generally poor. Many urban streets in Afghanistan have large potholes and are not well lit, and rural roads are frequently not paved. There have also been reports of cave-ins and erosion on the Ring Road (the Kabul-Kandahar-Herat-Mazar highway). Vehicles are often poorly maintained and overloaded. Traffic laws are often not enforced, and roadside assistance is non-existent. Vehicular traffic is chaotic, and drivers must contend with numerous pedestrians, bicyclists, and animals. With congested roads, non-standard traffic patterns, and abundant pedestrian traffic, vehicle accidents are a serious concern and can escalate into violent confrontations . All drivers are urged to drive defensively, drive only in the daylight, and pay close attention to their surroundings. Owners of vehicles with tinted windows can be detained. Please see our information on Road Safety.

U.S. citizens should also be aware that land mines and large quantities of unexploded ordnance exist throughout the countryside and along roads, posing a danger to travelers. Robberies and kidnappings are also prevalent on the roads outside Kabul.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Afghanistan, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Afghanistan’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization aviation safety standards. Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Afghanistan, the FAA has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For more information, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

Last Updated: May 31, 2024

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Kabul

Afghanistan Map