State Department Revamps Travel Warnings

Greece at lowest risk level, says US State Department

The U.S. State Department launched its new travel advisory system Wednesday, the same day issued a "do not travel" warning to five Mexican states because of crime.

According to American officials, the travel advisory is "user-friendly" as it is based on the ready-to-understand level of advice ranging from one to four.

Georgia was listed as level 1, the category described as "the lowest advisory level for safety and security risk". Turkey, Russia and Venezuela are considered Level Three.

The US State Department identified "crime and terrorism" in India, while ranking at Level 2, advising Americans to exercise increased caution while visiting India.

The threat level in a country is determined through a collaborative process that involves security experts, the intelligence community, host governments, our embassies and consulates.

In addition, the new system will explain why the advisory was made, with one-letter logos: C for crime, T for terrorism, U for civil unrest, H for health risks, N for natural disasters, E for special events like an election and O for some other reason. When visiting countries in that grouping, United States citizens are urged to "exercise increased caution".


The US has been ranked as the top source of tourists to Kenya.

Michelle Bernier-Toth, head of Overseas Citizens Services, said the changes were made because so few people understood the distinctions in the previous, broad rankings. The new classifications are created to simplify travel advisory information so people can easily decide if a particular destination is safe enough to visit. This could also solve some confusion travelers often had about the meaning of a travel warning or alert versus an advisory. This program also remains a recommended path to receiving updates to travel advisories going forward.

Major European allies like Britain, France and Germany are put in Level Two with "exercise increased caution", warning while Uzbekistan got Level One for which the American should "exercise usual precautions".

Somalia and South Sudan are among 11 countries worldwide placed in the level-four category which is headed "Do Not Travel". Presumably, this is due to recent isolated incidents in each of those countries, but in many cases those incidents were several years ago.

North Korea is also Level Four, with the additional restriction that United States law prohibits American travellers from using their passports there, effectively banning visits.

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