Consular Messages for U.S. Citizens
To assist the traveling public, the Bureau of Consular Affairs and the U.S. Embassy issue Country Specific Information, Travel Alerts, Travel Warnings, Worldwide Cautions, Messages for U.S. Citizens (routine), Security Messages for U.S. Citizens, Emergency Messages for U.S. Citizens, Demonstration Notices, and Fact Sheets concerning conditions in countries where Americans may be planning to visit or reside.
Country Specific Information The Department, through the Bureau of Consular Affairs, issues Country Specific Information for every country in the world. These provide basic information to enable a traveler to make an informed decision concerning travel to a particular country. For instance, Country Specific Information describes entry and exit requirements, road safety, crime information, areas of instability, aviation safety oversight and customs information, among other things, and it contains the address and telephone number of the U.S. embassy and consulate.
A Travel Alert disseminates information about short-term conditions, generally within a particular country, that pose imminent risks to the security of U.S. citizens. Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, coups, anniversaries of terrorist events, election-related demonstrations or violence, and high-profile events such as international conferences or regional sports events are examples of conditions that might generate a Travel Alert.
A Travel Warning recommends that U.S. citizens defer or reconsider travel to a country due to a protracted situation that is dangerous or unstable. A Travel Warning is also issued when the U.S. Government's ability to assist U.S. citizens is constrained due to a drawdown or closure at an embassy or consulate, even if the underlying condition is expected to be of limited duration. A Travel Warning must be issued whenever a post goes to authorized or ordered departure status.
The Worldwide Caution reminds U.S. citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance and to bolster their personal security while overseas. It also informs U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns, including the continual threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and U.S. citizen interests overseas. The Worldwide Caution pays particular attention to regions of concern where there is a continued threat of terrorism.
Along with Country Specific Information, Travel Alerts, and Travel Warnings, Messages for U.S. Citizens (routine), Security Messages for U.S. Citizens, and Emergency Messages for U.S. Citizens are an important component of the Department's Consular Information Program.
- Messages for U.S. Citizens (routine) disseminate information about routine topics such as voter registration, income tax season, new passport procedures, and other administrative/non-security issues of interest to the local U.S. citizen community.
- Security Messages for U.S. Citizens communicate information about personal security threats of a general or systemic nature, or events/threats where local law-enforcement has taken measures to address or provide enhanced security to the general public. Such threats may include crime trends, demonstrations, peaceful actions intended to disrupt normal activity (i.e., strikes, sit-ins, marches), or localized events not likely to affect large numbers of U.S. citizens.
- Emergency Messages for U.S. Citizens inform U.S. citizens about imminent events or threats that can affect their personal security and that may require immediate action by U.S. citizens on their own behalf, or by others, to ensure their safety. Emergency Messages may also be appropriate for threats to large numbers of U.S. citizens, circumstances where new developments to an existing security threat heighten the risks to U.S. citizens, or situations that put the life or safety of U.S. citizens in peril. This includes potentially violent demonstrations, civil disturbances, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, extraordinary measures by local authorities such as martial law, and other non-publicized breaking events.
- Demonstration Notices provide U.S. citizens with live, real time information about non-violent demonstrations and protests around Bolivia.
Fact Sheets are issued to address specific issues related to the health and safety of U.S. citizens abroad.