The U.S. Department of State Lifts Its Global “Do Not Travel” Advisory

But that doesn't mean you can travel anywhere

Man holding passport and boarding pass at airline check-in counter
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On March 19, with the coronavirus pandemic worsening rapidly, the U.S. Department of State advised Americans to avoid international travel, formally issuing a global Level 4 “do not travel” advisory—the strongest warning in its system. But four-and-a-half months later, it’s finally lifted that blanket advisory, instead deferring to country-specific advisories based on a nation’s circumstances.

“With health and safety conditions improving in some countries and potentially deteriorating in others, the Department is returning to our previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice (with Levels from 1-4 depending on country-specific conditions), in order to give travelers detailed and actionable information to make informed travel decisions,” the State Department wrote in a statement. “This will also provide U.S. citizens more detailed information about the current status in each country. We continue to recommend U.S. citizens exercise caution when traveling abroad due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic.”

The State Department currently places 50 destinations under a Level 4 advisory for reasons that range from a country’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic to armed conflict to terrorism. The vast majority of destinations around the world are under Level 3 “Reconsider Travel” advisories, with just nine destinations under Level 2 “Exercise Increased Caution” advisories and two under Level 1 “Exercise Normal Precautions” advisories (Taiwan and Macao). You can view the full list here.

While the State Department’s global travel advisory has been lifted, that doesn’t mean Americans can travel wherever they please. Many countries still have restrictions in place banning U.S. travelers, as some states continue to struggle to control the spread of the coronavirus. 

If you are looking to travel abroad soon, be sure to check the official governmental website of your destination to learn what restrictions might be in place. If you do make plans to visit a country that is welcoming Americans, be sure you get tested for an active COVID-19 infection just before you depart (many countries require this, anyway). And if you show any symptoms of infection before your trip, stay home. Finally, keep in mind that not all destinations are medically equipped to handle the burden of foreigners who need medical treatment, so take care in selecting your destination.

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