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The Department of State issues Consular Information Sheets, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements to apprise U.S. citizens of worldwide conditions that may impact on their travel health and safety. The following descriptions are courtesy of the State Department. Note that the term "Travel Advisory" is no longer in use.
Travel Warnings: : These are issued when the State Department decides, based on all relevant information, to recommend that Americans avoid travel to a certain country. Countries where avoidance of travel is recommended will have Travel Warnings as well as Consular Information Sheets.
Consular Information Sheets:These are available for every country of the world. They include such information as location of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the subject country, unusual immigration practices, health conditions, minor political disturbances, unusual currency and entry regulations, crime and security information, and drug penalties. If an unstable condition exists in a country that is not severe enough to warrant a Travel Warning, a description of the condition(s) may be included under an optional section entitled "Areas of Instability." On limited occasions, the State Department also restates in this section any U.S. Embassy advice given to official employees. Consular Information Sheets generally do not include advice, but present information in a factual manner so the traveler can make his or her own decisions concerning travel to a particular country.
Public Announcements:These are a means to disseminate information about terrorist threats and other relatively short-term and/or trans-national conditions posing significant risks to the security of American travelers. They are made any time there is a perceived threat and usually have Americans as a particular target group. In the past, Public Announcements have been issued to deal with short-term coups, bomb threats to airlines, violence by terrorists and anniversary dates of specific terrorist events
If you plan travel to an area or country where there is some concern about existing conditions, find out if there is a warning or public announcement by contacting the Department of State's Citizens Emergency Center at 202-647-5225 or by accessing the State Department's information on a country-name-basis from an interface on Armchair World. In rapidly developing situations there may be a slight time lag between the condition and posting of the warning.
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