Friday, 19 January, 2018

United States updates travel advisory; puts India at level 2

US President Donald US President Donald
Steve Townsend | 13 January, 2018, 01:55

The system, announced last month, was created to simplify the information it provides to American travelers about security threats overseas.

Risk indicators include crime, terrorism, civil unrest, health, natural disasters and time-limited events such as an election or sporting events. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory.

Pakistan was placed in Level-3 "Reconsider travel" category, and travelers have been advised not to travel to Balochistan, KPK and FATA due to terrorism. The one exception is North Korea, where the State Department has prohibited citizens from using their US passports to visit without first obtaining a waiver. Those states are: Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Estado de Mexico, Jalisco, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi, Sonora and Zacatecas.

Mali and the Central African Republic are also given level-four ratings, along with Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

There are new modifications to the Department of State's travel advisories Wednesday afternoon. US citizens also can not travel to North Korea with just a USA passport.

"But essentially how we assess the threat level in a country hasn't changed".

The advisory said that Indian authorities report rape is one of the fastest growing crimes in India whereas violent crime, such as sexual assault, has occurred at tourist sites and in other locations.

"These are not political documents". "US citizens who travel overseas should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations".

There were, however, some surprises in the new rankings.

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The revised system assigns levels of advice (1 to 4) about travel as it pertains to every country.

We will review and update each Travel Advisory as needed, based on changes to security and safety information.

Travel by USA government personnel within Pakistan is restricted and additional restrictions on movements by the United States government personnel outside of American diplomatic facilities may be put in place at any time depending on local circumstances and security conditions, which can change suddenly. The US tells prospective visitors to "reconsider travel" to Burundi due to crime and armed conflict.

Several European countries that are popular with American tourists were put at the Tier 2 level due to risks related to terrorism.

Countries ranked at Level Three include Cuba, Dominica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Lebanon, Sudan, Nigeria, Turkey, Pakistan, Russia and Venezuela. The State Department said that this is not a change from the Obama administration's recommendation. An American UN monitor was found dead in the DRC's Central Kasai region a year ago along with a Swedish counterpart.

The United States itself is not rated in the new system.

"We wanted it to be an easier to understand system", Risch said.

"So it's going to be very obvious", Bernier-Toth said. Under that system, the department would issue either a "travel alert" or a "travel warning" when it deemed prudent, which generally included a briefing as to the reason.

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