December 2013 Travel Warnings

travel-warningThe December 2013 travel warnings are a listing of any warnings that have been posted by the US Department of State in the month of November, warning travelers who plan to visit those countries. Remember to exercise extra care if you are visiting these countries, and check with your travel insurance provider to make sure you still have coverage in place – sometimes some benefits can be excluded for countries under a travel warning.

Countries listed through the month of November 2013 include:

Venezuela – November 22nd, 2013

Tens of thousands of foreign visitors safely visit Venezuela each year for study, tourism, business, and volunteer work. However, violent crime in Venezuela is pervasive, both in the capital, Caracas, and in the interior. According to the non-governmental organization Venezuelan Violence Observatory (VVO), there were 21,692 homicides in Venezuela in 2012, amounting to a rate of 73 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, among the highest in the world. In Caracas, the homicide rate is even higher at 122 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. Therefore, the Department of State has issued this Travel Warning to inform citizens about the security situation in Venezuela.

Iran – November 21st, 2013

Even though the situation in Iran seems to be improving month-by-month, there are some elements of Iran that still remain very hostile to foreign visitors. As a result, some visitors may be subject to harassment or arrest while traveling or residing in Iran, therefore the Department warns citizens to carefully consider the risks of travel to Iran.

Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of – November 19th, 2013

Travel to North Korea is not routine, and citizens crossing into North Korea, even accidentally, have been subject to arbitrary arrest and long-term detention. Since January 2009, four U.S. citizens have been arrested for entering North Korea illegally, and two U.S. citizens who entered on valid DPRK visas were arrested inside North Korea on other charges. Because of this threat, travel is therefore not advised to this region.

Eritrea – November 18th, 2013

The Eritrean government continues to restrict the travel of all foreign nationals and these restrictions require all visitors and residents, including diplomats (who must apply 10 days in advance) for permission to travel outside Asmara’s city limits.  Therefore, because embassy access is limited to the city limits, their ability to provide support is also limited and thus travel is not advised at this time.

Central African Republic – November 14th, 2013

The Department of State warns against all travel to the Central African Republic (CAR) and recommends that those who remain in CAR depart immediately by taking advantage of existing commercial flights. Those who have decided to stay in CAR despite this warning should review their personal security situation and seriously consider departing.

Egypt – November 6th, 2013

Political unrest, which intensified prior to the constitutional referendum in December 2012, the anniversary in 2013 of Egypt’s 25th January Revolution, and the July 2013 change of government, shows little sign of abating. Demonstrations have, on numerous occasions, degenerated into violent clashes between security forces and protesters, and between protesters supporting different factions, resulting in deaths, injuries, and extensive property damage. For this reason, it is advised to defer all travel to Egypt until the situation improves.

While traveling, please keep these travel warnings in mind. Travelers are also advised to enroll through the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to stay up to date on travel security information.

Posted by Ross Mason

Ross is the Vice President of International Student Insurance, with over 15 years experience in the international education arena. A graduate from the Nottingham Trent University in the UK with a First in BSc (Hons) Business and Technology, Ross has lived all around the world including LA, New York, Boston, London, Hong Kong, Florida and Germany.

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