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The DOS Consular Travel Advisory System

The DOS Consular Travel Advisory System

In January 2018 a new US Department of State travel advisory system replaced the previous DOS system of Travel Warning and Travel Alerts.  Under the new DOS Travel Advisory system every country is assigned a color-coded risk rating from one to four and country-specific information now includes clear, actionable steps for travelers to take to mitigate risk related to Risk Indicators.  

DOS Advisory Levels

DOS Travel Advisory

Level 1 - Exercise Normal Precautions: This is the lowest advisory level for safety and security risk.  

Level 2 - Exercise Increased Caution:  Be aware of heightened risks to safety and security. The Departments of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory.

Level 3 - Reconsider Travel: Avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory.

Level 4 – Do Not Travel:  This is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance. The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to the country or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory.

DOS Risk Indicators

In addition to being assigned a level, additional country-specific information is provided that includes clear, actionable steps for travelers to take to mitigate risk related to “Risk Indicators”.  

  • C – Crime: Widespread violent or organized crime is present in areas of the country. Local law enforcement may have limited ability to respond to serious crimes.
  • T – Terrorism: Terrorist attacks have occurred and/or specific threats against civilians, groups, or other targets may exist.
  • U – Civil Unrest: Political, economic, religious, and/or ethnic instability exist and may cause violence, major disruptions, and/or safety risks.
  • H – Health: Health risks, including current disease outbreaks or a crisis that disrupts a country’s medical infrastructure, are present. The issuance of a Centers for Disease Control Travel Notice may be a factor.
  • N – Natural Disaster: A natural disaster, or its aftermath, poses danger.
  • E – Time-Limited Event: A short-term event, such as an election, sporting event, or other incident that may pose a safety risk.
  • O – Other: There are potential risks not covered by previous risk indicators.

Alerts

U.S. embassies and consulates will now issue Alerts to replace the Emergency Messages and Security Messages. Alerts will inform travelers of specific safety and security concerns in a country and will be labeled according to their issue: Security Alert; Health Alert; Weather Alert; or Demonstration Alert. Recent Alerts for a country appear below the Travel Advisory. Alerts can also be found on individual embassy or consulate websites.

Click here for an example of an embassy Alert message.

Learn more

For an even more detailed description of the January 2018 DOS Consular Travel Advisory System updates, please see the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) document, “Understanding the Consular Travel Advisory System.”

See All DOS Travel Advisories

To see a complete list of Travel Advisories for every country in the world, see travel.state.gov/traveladvisories.