U.S. State Department Adds Some European Travel Advisories

A day after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it was dropping all country-specific COVID-19 travel advisories, the U.S. State Department updated its own travel advisors.

On October 4, 2022, the U.S. State Dept. added 81 new travel advisors, including some of the most popular European destinations.

Of the 50 new warnings, there were only six new or updated Level 4: Do Not Travel warnings—Ukraine, Russia, Mali, Central African Republic, Burkina Faso, and Belarus. Those warnings all involve either war (Russia and Ukraine) or terrorism, crime, or kidnapping.

Just 11 countries were added or updated at the next advisory—Level 3: Reconsider Travel. That list now includes the Cayman Islands “due to COVID-19-related restrictions” and Colombia due to “crime and terrorism.”

The biggest number of updated warnings were Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution advisories, which now include a number of popular European and international destinations for North Americans. That warning is only an advisory to increase caution while traveling and is not a warning against traveling. The new additions or updates include:

  • France: “Exercise increased caution in France due to terrorism and civil unrest,” the advisory reads.
  • Germany: “Exercise increased caution in Germany due to terrorism.”
  • Italy: “Exercise increased caution due to terrorism,” the advisory reads.
  • Netherlands: “Exercise increased caution in the Netherlands due to terrorism,” the advisory reads.
  • Spain: “Exercise increased caution in Spain due to terrorism and civil unrest,” the advisory reads.
  • United Kingdom: “Exercise increased caution in the United Kingdom due to terrorism,” the new advisory reads. “Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in the United Kingdom.”

Generally, the State Dept.’s advice on Level 2 countries is to primarily be vigilant and agile when traveling, including being aware of your surroundings when in major tourist areas or crowded public venues. It also tells Americans to follow instructions of local authorities and monitor local media for breaking events and adjust plans based on new information.

Travelers can also enroll in the State Dept.’s STEP program—Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. That is a free program that allows U.S. citizens either traveling or living aboard to receive information about safety conditions in the country and help the U.S. Embassy contact them in case of an emergency (natural disaster, civil unrest, etc.).