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Explained: US Travel Advisories for countries, and the danger levels they indicate

Travel Advisories are official travel warning statements that the US Department of State issues for each country in the world. They are aimed to equip US citizens with security information for their travels abroad.

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: February 5, 2020 11:38:50 am
US Travel Advisory against China, US Level 4 Travel Advisory, US Travel Advisories explained, India US Travel Advisory level, indian express, indian express explained Passengers from Beijing arrive at Chicago airport. On February 3, the US issued a ‘Level 4’ Travel Advisory against visiting China. (Photo: AP)

On Sunday (February 3), the United States issued a ‘Level 4’ Travel Advisory against visiting China. Two days before that, it made a ‘Level 3’ announcement discouraging travel to Pakistan.

In the ‘Level 2’ advisory issued for India in March 2019, the US advised its citizens to not travel to Jammu & Kashmir (except Ladakh) and within 10 km of the India-Pakistan border.

What does a Travel Advisory by the US mean?

Travel Advisories are official travel warning statements that the US Department of State issues for each country in the world. They are aimed to equip US citizens with security information for their travels abroad.

According to the Department of State website, the Advisories follow a consistent format, with each giving one out of four standard ‘levels’ of advice, while also describing the risks in each country. They also provide clear actions that American citizens should take to remain safe.

Among the four levels, ‘Level 1 – Exercise Normal Precautions’ indicates the least safety and security risk. Countries given this level include Canada, Argentina, Sweden, Norway, and Finland.

The second, ‘Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution’ indicates “heightened” risks to safety and security. This list includes France, UK, Spain, and Germany. Countries such as India, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia are also under Level 2, but are under the title ‘Exercise Increased Caution – Contains Areas with Higher Security Risk’.

‘Level 3 – Reconsider Travel’ denotes “serious” risks to safety and security. Chad, Niger, and Nigeria fall in this category, as do Pakistan and Congo DRC, which are under the title ‘Reconsider Travel – Contains Areas with Higher Security Risk’.

The highest advisory level, ‘Level 4 – Do Not Travel’ indicates a “greater likelihood of life-threatening risks”. It is issued during an emergency, when the US government may have very limited ability to provide assistance. This is the advisory level issued against China, in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

Don’t Miss from Explained | Why is Pakistan insisting on keeping its citizens at coronavirus ground zero?

An Advisory that is at Levels 2-4 also includes ‘Risk Indicators’. They are: C- Crime, T- Terrorism, U- Civil Unrest, H- Health, N- Natural Disaster, E- Time-limited Event, O- Other, K- Kidnapping or Hostage Taking.

The Advisory for travel to India has the Risk Indicators C, T, U, and O.

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