The US State Department will move to a simpler, tiered system to relay important information on travel destinations as it applies to US Citizens.
Currently, the State Department issues Travel Alerts (indicating short-term risk from isolated incidents) and Travel Warnings (to advise of ongoing political issues or conflicts). Very few travelers can remember which is which and are often confused as to whether or not the State Department is advising against travel to a certain destination, or just passing along information to travelers to keep them well informed.
The new four-tiered system aims to eliminate this confusion. Each level will indicate a level of situational awareness necessary in each destination, based on political, military, socio-economic, and terror-related assessments.
- Level One: safe countries where normal awareness of one’s surroundings is reiterated.
- Level Two: asks travels to exercise increased caution when traveling.
- Level Three: advises US Citizens to reconsider travel to the destination.
- Level Four: advises US Citizens not to travel to the destination.
It is important to note that a Level Four warning does not mean US citizens can’t travel to a destination; it is just strongly advised against, due to crime, armed conflict, or terrorism.
The State Department’s STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) will remain in effect, which allows travelers to receive emergency notifications in the event of a terrorist attack or natural disaster.