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The 29 riskiest countries for Americans to travel to

The 29 riskiest countries for Americans to travel to
sri lanka
Sri Lanka is a Level 3: Reconsider Travel.

SurangaSL/Shutterstock

  • The US State Department’s public travel advisories outline the potential dangers Americans face traveling abroad.
  • The agency uses four levels of travel guidance to inform potential visitors whether the country poses danger, or in some cases, is completely off-limits.
  • These 29 countries are designated “reconsider travel” or “do not travel.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The US State Department’s public travel advisories let Americans know what countries are safe to travel to and which ones they should be wary of visiting.

The agency uses four levels of travel guidance to let Americans know what to expect in each country:

Level 1 – Exercise normal precautions

Level 2 – Exercise increased caution

Level 3 – Reconsider travel

Level 4 – Do not travel

Twenty-nine countries around the world are designated “reconsider travel” or “do not travel,” mostly because of ongoing armed conflicts. These are the nations we’ve outlined here.

Here are most dangerous countries in the world, ranked from least to most risky based on the State Department’s designation levels.

Burundi – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

People gather to attend a ceremony marking the adoption of the new constitution passed in a May referendum, on June 7, 2018 in Bugendana.

STR/AFP/Getty Images

The State Department warns of armed conflict and violent crime, including grenade attacks and armed robbery, which are common in Burundi amid fiery political tensions.

US authorities have limited abilities to deliver emergency assistance to travelers, even in the case of police raids and violent clashes at the border.

Honduras – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

In this May 21, 2012 aerial file photo a view of the Mosquitia region near the remote community of Ahuas, Honduras.

Rodrigo Abd, File via AP

The State Department warns of violent crime, such as homicide and armed robbery, that runs rampant amid high-level criminal activity, including gang activity, rape, narcotics, and human trafficking.

The Gracias a Dios region is marked as especially dangerous for visitors, as it’s “an isolated area with high levels of criminal activity and drug trafficking,” where US government agents aren’t able to deliver reliable emergency services.

Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are the three Northern Triangle countries where the majority of migrants are fleeing to come to the US via Mexico.

El Salvador – Level 3: Reconsider Travel


Milosz Maslanka/Shutterstock

The State Department warns of violent crime, such as murder, assault, rape, and armed robbery in addition to widespread gang activity that includes extortion, violent street crime, narcotics, and arms trafficking.

Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are the three Northern Triangle countries where the majority of migrants are fleeing to come to the US via Mexico.

Chad – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Chadian refugees and residents cross on February 10, 2008 the Ngueli bridge at the border between Cameroon and Chad to return to their homes in the capital NDjamena after fleeing fighting last weekend when rebels tried to storm the presidential palace.

PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images

The State Department warns of terrorism, unmapped minefields along the borders with Libya and Sudan, and violent crime, including armed robbery, carjacking, and muggings.

Nicaragua – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

An activist holds a flag during during a protest against Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s government in Managua, on September 23, 2018.

INTI OCON/AFP/Getty Images

The US State Department warns of civil unrest, crime, limited healthcare availability, and arbitrary enforcement of laws, and it says violent crime, including sexual assault and armed robbery, is common.

People pretending to be police known as parapolice are also dangerous, the agency warns, and road blocks may prevent food or fuel from reaching some areas.

Democratic Republic of the Congo – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Democratic Republic of the Congolese soldiers walk in line near an ADF rebel camp, near the town of Kimbau, North Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Reuters

The State Department warns of civil protests descending into violence and violent crime including armed robbery, armed home invasion, and assault sometimes committed by people posing as police or security agents.

The warning specifies threats of crime, Ebola, and kidnapping in the North Kivu and Ituri provinces in the northeast and armed conflict in the east of the country.

Lebanon – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Lebanese riot police stand guard in front of the government palace behind a barbed wire barricade decorated with the national flag by anti-government protesters in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Oct. 22, 2012.

Maya Alleruzzo/AP

The State Department warns of crime, terrorism, kidnapping, and armed conflict.

The agency does not recommend traveling to the borders with Syria or Israel due to terrorism and armed conflict, or to refugee settlements due to the potential for armed conflict.

Niger – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Onlookers cheers as members of a military junta which toppled President Mamadou Tandja two days earlier, leave after speaking to supporters at a demonstration at Army Roundabout in Niamey, Niger Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010.

Rebecca Blackwell/AP

The State Department warns of terrorism, kidnapping, and violent crime including armed robbery.

The advisory warns of heightened terrorist activity in the areas bordering Mali, Libya, Burkina Faso, and throughout northern Niger. The US government has limited abilities to provide emergency services to travelers as they are restricted to the country’s capital and required to maintain thorough security escorts.

Nigeria – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Men travel by canoe in the floating slum of Makoko in Lagos, Nigeria, on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012.

Jon Gambrell?AP

The State Department warns of crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping and piracy breaking out in rural and urban areas.

US government authorities have limited access to provide emergency services to US citizens who may experience violence, according to the advisory.

Pakistan – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Pakistani fruit vendors, wrap themselves with shawls during a foggy and cold morning, as they wait for customers on a roadside on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013.

Muhammed Muheisen/AP

The State Department warns of terrorism as attacks on major hubs across the country continue.

“Terrorist attacks continue to happen across Pakistan, with most occurring in Balochistan and KPK, including the former FATA,” the advisory says. “Large-scale terrorist attacks have resulted in hundreds of casualties.”

The US government has a limited ability to provide emergency service to traveling citizens and the US Consulate General in Peshawar is unable to provide any consular services, according to the advisory.

Turkey – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Turkish soldiers stand near armoured vehicles as a man waves a Turkish national flag during a demonstration in support of the Turkish army’s Idlib operation near the Turkey-Syria border near Reyhanli, Hatay, on October 10, 2017.

ILYAS AKENGIN/AFP/Getty Images

The State Department warns of terrorism and arbitrary detentions, which the US government has very limited ability to confront if an American citizen is affected.

The agency also warns travelers to avoid areas near the Syria and Iraq border “due to terrorism and kidnapping.”

Guinea-Bissau – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

In this May 22, 2012 photo, local residents bike and drive along the main road outside Gabu, Guinea-Bissau.

Rebecca Blackwell/AP

The State Department warns of civil unrest and violent crime, usually perpetrated by aggressive vendors, panhandlers, and criminals who target foreigners at popular spots in the country, including the airport and Bandim Market.

Furthermore, there is no US embassy in Guinea-Bissau.

Sri Lanka – Level 3: Reconsider Travel


SurangaSL/Shutterstock

The State Department warns of terrorism that targets busy areas across Sri Lanka.

In April 2019, the agency ordered all school-age family members of US government employees to leave the country, and allowed “the voluntary departure of non-emergency US government employees and family members.”

Burkina Faso – Level 3: Reconsider Travel


Shutterstock

The State Department warns of crime, kidnapping, and terrorism.

The advisory describes a military effort to cut down on widespread terrorism that resulted in declaring a state of emergency in several regions. The agency also warns travelers to avoid certain areas of Ouagadougou, the country’s capital city.

Haiti – Level 4: Do not travel

A man carries containers used to filled them with fuel that is sold on the black market in Port-au-Prince

Reuters

The US State Department warns of crime, civil unrest, and kidnapping. In February 2019, the agency ordered all nonemergency US personnel and their families to return to the US.

Royal Caribbean operates a private cruise port called Labadee on the island, and the area is fenced in and under tight security.

North Korea – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Korean People’s Army (KPA) soldiers watch a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung, in Pyongyang on April 15, 2017.

ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images

The State Department warns of serious risk of arrest and long-term detention of US nationals and says a US passport is not valid to travel to the country without special permission from the agency.

The advisory also describes how the complicated political relationship between the US and North Korea complicates travelers’ safety:

“The US government is unable to provide emergency services to US citizens in North Korea as it does not have diplomatic or consular relations with North Korea. Sweden serves as the protecting power for the United States in North Korea, providing limited emergency services. The North Korean government routinely delays or denies Swedish officials access to detained US citizens.”

Afghanistan – Level 4: Do Not Travel

An Afghan boy climbs a rock fence on November 11, 2012 in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

The State Department warns of crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict.

The advisory cites the “critical levels of kidnappings, hostage taking, suicide bombings, widespread military combat operations, landmines, and terrorist and insurgent attacks, including attacks using vehicle-borne, magnetic, or other improvised explosive devices (IEDs), suicide vests, and grenades,” as threats to visitors across the country.

US government employees are under strict travel guidelines and require additional security measures for their time in the country.

Central African Republic – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Antibalaka fighters walk in Gambo, southeast Central African Republic, on August 16, 2017.

ALEXIS HUGUET/AFP/Getty Images

The State Department warns of common violent crimes including armed robbery, aggravated battery, and homicide.

The warning also references armed groups that control large areas and often kidnap civilians, and the US government has limited ability to assist US citizens in the country.

Iran – Level 4: Do Not Travel

In this Sept. 21, 2012 file photo, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard troops march during a military parade commemorating the start of the Iraq-Iran war 32 years ago

Vahid Salemi, File via AP

The State Department warns of kidnapping, arrest, detention of US citizens in Iran that the US government cannot confront with emergency services.

The advisory says:

“Iranian authorities continue to unjustly detain and imprison US citizens, particularly Iranian-Americans, including students, journalists, business travelers, and academics, on charges including espionage and posing a threat to national security. Consular access to detained US citizens is often denied.”

Libya – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Libyan revolutionary fighters coming back from Sirte are welcomed at Al Guwarsha gate in Benghazi, Libya.

Francois Mori/AP

The State Department warns of terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, armed conflict, and crime.

Terrorist and militia groups are of particular concern for the threats they pose to travelers, including detaining them at random and without access to legal or embassy resources

The advisory says:

“Outbreaks of violence between competing armed groups can occur with little warning and have the potential to impact US citizens. The capital, Tripoli, and other cities, such as Surman, Al-Jufra, Misrata, Ajdabiya, Benghazi, Sabha, and Dernah, have witnessed fighting among armed groups, as well as terrorist attacks. Hotels and airports frequented by Westerners have been caught in the crossfire. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.”

Mali – Level 4: Do Not Travel

A convoy of Malian troops makes a stop to test some of their weapons near Hambori, northern Mali, on the road to Gao.

Jerome Delay/AP

The State Department warns of terrorism, kidnapping, and violent crime that is especially prevalent in certain areas and targets popular nightclubs, hotels, and places of worship.

The US government has restricted abilities to deliver emergency services to affected visitors.

Somalia – Level 4: Do Not Travel

A security officer from Doorbin Hotel assesses the debris after a suicide car explosion in front of the hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia February 24, 2018.

REUTERS/Feisal Omar

The State Department warns of crime, kidnapping, piracy, and terrorism that could affect areas frequented by visitors.

Violent crime including murder is common throughout the country, as are illegal roadblocks.

South Sudan – Level 4: Do Not Travel


Getty Images/Spencer Platt

The State Department warns of armed conflict, kidnapping, and violent crime including carjackings, shootings, ambushes, assaults, robberies, and kidnappings.

Conflicts among various political and ethnic groups have created widespread armed conflict an created a restrictive atmosphere for the abilities of foreign agents like journalists and US government officials, according to the report.

Syria – Level 4: Do Not Travel

An explosion rocks Syrian city of Kobani during a reported suicide car bomb attack by the militants of Islamic State (ISIS) group on a People’s Protection Unit (YPG) position in the city center of Kobani, as seen from the outskirts of Suruc, on the Turkey-Syria border, October 20, 2014 in Sanliurfa province, Turkey.

Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images

The State Department warns of terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict.

The advisory says that “no part of Syria is safe from violence,” including “kidnappings, the use of chemical warfare, shelling, and aerial bombardment.”

The US Embassy in Damascus suspended its operations in February 2012, and the agency warns that US citizens and Westerners are a target for kidnapping.

Venezuela – Level 4: Do not travel

Venezuelan opposition supporters take part in a a march on the anniversary of 1958 uprising that overthrew military dictatorship in Caracas on January 23, 2019.

LUIS ROBAYO/AFP/Getty Images

Yemen – Level 4: Do Not Travel

A photo taken on March 18, 2018, shows a Yemeni child looking out at buildings that were damaged in an air strike in the southern Yemeni city of Taez.

AHMAD AL-BASHA/AFP/Getty Images

The State Department warns of terrorism, civil unrest, health risks, kidnapping, and armed conflict across Yemen.

Terrorism and military activity have devastated the country’s infrastructure, which is already struggling to deliver food, electricity, water, and adequate medical treatment to citizens amid the world’s largest cholera outbreak.

The advisory notes that the US Embassy in Sana’a suspended its operations in February 2015.

Sudan – Level 4: Do Not Travel

A Sudanese protester holds a national flag as he stands on a barricade along a street, demanding that the country’s Transitional Military Council hand over power to civilians, in Khartoum

Reuters

The State Department warns of terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, armed conflict, and violent crime including kidnapping, armed robbery, home invasion, and carjacking. In April 2019, the department ordered the departure of non-emergency US government employees.

Iraq – Level 4: Do Not Travel

An Iraqi Army soldier stands guard atop the Palestine Hotel overlooking Firdos Square where a statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled during the U.S. invasion on April 13, 2015 in Baghdad, Iraq.

John Moore/Getty Images

The State Department warns of terrorism, kidnapping, and armed conflict that can be targeted particularly at Westerners and US citizens.

In May 2019, the agency ordered the departure of non-emergency US government employees.

The advisory includes a warning against US citizens traveling to Iraq to engage in armed conflict, saying they would face kidnapping, injury, or death and consequences including arrest, fines, and expulsion.

More:

U.S. State Department
international travel
travel warnings
Travel Advisory

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