High-Risk Area Travelers

In our Travel Advisories, we advise you not to travel to high-risk (level 4 travel advisory) countries or areas. This is due to local conditions and/or our limited ability to help there. These places are dangerous and by visiting you may be putting yourself at extreme risk.

Be Aware 

  • You are subject to the local laws of the country you are visiting. If you violate that country’s laws, you could be arrested and prosecuted, even if your actions would not have been against the law in the United States.
  • We have limited or no ability to help you in many high-risk areas, even during an emergency.
    • The United States does not have a diplomatic or consular presence in some countries. We cannot provide any consular services in most of these places. In a few of these countries, the United States works with an official protecting power who can provide very limited assistance to U.S. citizens. 
    • We may have limited or no ability to help you if there is a crisis in the country you are visiting. Please refer to our webpage on what we can and cannot do in a crisis.

Travel Tips 

Please take a moment to review travel recommendations from the following organizations:

Before You Go to a High-Risk Area 

After careful consideration, if you still decide to go to high-risk areas, we urge you to:

  •  Enroll in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). 
  • Develop a communication plan with your loved ones. Make sure you have a phone or other smart device(s) that will work in your destination. Use your device to share your location with your friends and family while you are abroad.
  • Share important documents, logins, and contacts with loved ones before you travel. They will need them if you cannot return to the United States as planned. 
  • Discuss a plan with loved ones about care and custody of children and property. Draft a will and name appropriate insurance beneficiaries and power of attorney. 
  • Make a personal security plan with your employer or host organization. You may want to consider consulting a professional security organization. 
  • Identify key sources that may be able to help in case of an emergency. These may include the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, FBI, and the State Department’s Office of American Citizen Services. They may also include your employer and local friends and family in the high-risk area.
  • Appoint one family member to serve as the point of contact if you are taken hostage or detained. Set up a proof-of-life protocol. If you become a hostage, that person will know what questions to ask and answers to expect. This will help them be sure that you are alive (and to rule out a hoax). 
  • Leave DNA samples with your medical provider in case it is necessary for your family to access them. 
  • Erase sensitive photos, comments, or other materials from your social media pages. Do the same for your cameras, laptops, and other devices. The materials could be seen as controversial or provocative by local groups. 
  • Leave your expensive or sentimental belongings behind.  

For contact information and more details, see our Country Information Pages.


Last Updated: February 26, 2024