Countries With Travel Advisories for the United States

Did you know several countries across the globe — and a few organizations within the United States — have started to issue travel warnings or advisories against the United States for various reasons?

You might wonder: Why should we care? Well, to elevate reproductive health with the attentiveness that it deserves, we take an intersectional approach. From this, the firm has derived nine areas of impact, one of which is human rights — and, largely, the travel alerts relate to human rights abuses in the United States. Indeed, the U.S. is slipping in this area.

How a country fares in human rights can be indicative of gender-based rights and sexual reproductive health. So, let’s get into it.

Why Other Countries are Issuing Alerts

The resounding theme from most travel warnings and advisories include the United States’ propensity for gun violence and mass shooting events. Many also highlight the increased likelihood of terroristic threats and events, especially for people of color, those who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community, and those who follow certain religious beliefs (particularly if you are Muslim or Jewish). Human rights organization Amnesty International has had a travel advisory listed for the United States since 2019 due to increased gun violence.

New Zealand

New Zealand’s government website lists a travel advisory for the United States. It designates the United States a threat level 2 (of 4) and suggests increased caution for citizens seeking to travel there. Several reasons for this designation are provided, including terrorism, crime with emphasis on active shooters, civil unrest and political tensions, and natural disasters. New Zealand’s section on General Travel Advice also highlights the strict immigration laws with the potential for deportation for overstaying on a visa, advisements on electronics and the TSA, and ensuring travelers have comprehensive travel and medical insurance policies in place due to the high costs of healthcare in the United States. 

Canada

Canada’s governmental-run travel site has not designated an increase in the risk level associated with travel to the United States. However, Safety and Security Canada lists several things that Canadian travelers should be aware of to ensure their safety during travel. The list includes petty crime, typically in tourist locations, violent crime, gun violence and incidences of mass shootings (the country encourages Canadians to “familiarize yourself on how to respond to an active shooter situation”), home break-ins/burglary, common criminal strategies, demonstrations, fraud, and terrorism. They also go as far as to cite potential areas that terrorists, such as government buildings, including schools, places of worship, airports and other transportation hubs and networks, and public spaces, such as tourist attractions, may target. Many of those attractions include restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centers, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners. 

Australia

Australia has not increased the designation set upon the United States; therefore, it remains at level 1, “exercise normal safety precautions.” Despite this, the country does list potential concerns. These outline things that travelers should know before landing in the United States. The government warns of demonstrations and protests, telling travelers to watch the media and be mindful if any events are occurring near them, the prevalence of violent crime (specifically gun crime) and recommends citizens practice active shooter drills. Other warnings include theft, the threat of terrorism or terroristic events, extreme weather and natural disasters, high medical costs, and a potential lack of LGBTQ protections (depending on the state), as no federal law explicitly protects this population from discrimination.

The United Kingdom – England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland 

The United Kingdom has also warned its citizens seeking to travel to the United States about the potential dangers they may encounter. Some of the main concerns that it alerts travelers of is crime, ranging from petty theft to gun violence. The country recommends staying vigilant and taking advice from local law enforcement and other authorities. Protests are also highlighted for their frequency and potential to become violent. While not suggested, the U.K. recommends that if citizens do attend a protest, they stay alert and be mindful of their surroundings and comply with local law enforcement. Finally, like many other countries, the U.K. has a warning about terrorism and the potential for terrorist acts. Vigilance should always be exercised, but even more so when in public or crowded spaces as these are oftentimes considered targets for such events.

France

When issuing its travel advisories and warnings against the United States, France focused on matters that differ from the other countries on this list. General concerns such as the risk of natural disasters, severe weather, risky sports activities, and the risk of opioid use were issued. However, when it came to crime and safety, these were broken down into sections. France notes that while most of the United States is relatively safe, specific areas can be more prone to crime, often main urban areas. The United States is categorized into the Eastern Area with Boston, New York, and Washington; the Central area with Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Saint-Louis, and Kansas City; the South Area with Houston, Atlanta, New Orleans and Florida; and the Western Area with Alaska, San Francisco/Bay Area, and Los Angeles. The U.S. Virgin Islands are listed as well under its own category.

Germany

Germany highlights several concerning trends in the United States, the first of which is the risk of terrorism. It recommends that its citizens stay alert and vigilant at all times, particularly in busy places and on special occasions. Further, it lists worldwide safety notices that discuss the increase in terrorist activity and provides more tips on staying safe. The domestic political situation in the United States is emphasized as well, calling attention to the potential for political violence due to increased tensions. It is suggested that citizens stay informed by local media about the area and avoid gatherings of people in areas where violence is more likely to occur. Crime, from petty acts to mass shootings, is addressed as well. Germany suggests that all important documents be locked in a safe and encourage people to research the area that they will be in (although even then, it is recommended that no one be out after dark in unfamiliar areas). There are also advisories about the possibility that travelers will face natural disasters or extreme weather.

Venezuela

Venezuela notes the high costs of health insurance in the United States. While it is not required to enter, it is heavily suggested that travelers obtain health insurance before coming to the United States. In regard to security, the country notes that the United States could be the target of a terrorist attack. Venezuela also mentions crime, and people are advised that certain neighborhoods may be considered less safe than others. Therefore, it recommends staying away from these areas if possible. Venezuela also highlights that specific states of concern border Mexico (California, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona) due to drug-related crime. There is also an emphasis on being aware of naturally occurring weather phenomena like natural disasters or extreme weather, with particular notes on hurricane season and the potential for wildfires in the dry season.

Uruguay

The Office of the Foreign Ministry released a statement telling its citizens in 2019 that they should “take precautions amid the growing indiscriminate violence,” specifically “hate crimes including racism and discrimination” when traveling to the United States. The alert cited the sheer amount of firearms in the country and the inability of law enforcement and other authorities to act preventatively to stop all potential acts of violence from occurring. Therefore, they told travelers to be wary of any area or event subject to large gatherings. Uruguay also suggested that its citizens avoid specific cities such as Detroit, Baltimore, and Albuquerque as they rate among the 20 most dangerous cities in the world according to the CEOworld Magazine 2019 index.

Mexico

A close neighbor, Mexico, issued travel warnings for its citizens, noting that the United States faced “historical racial and ethnic tension, including opposition to immigration, [which] have led to attacks by violent extremist groups.” Mexico then cited the El Paso, Texas, mass shooting that occurred in a Walmart in 2019 that killed more than 20 people. The government recommended avoiding large gatherings or crowds and for Mexican travelers to always keep a copy of their Mexican passport and an official photo ID with them. Although this advisory has been removed since its initiation sometime in 2021, much of this information is still applicable (if not more so) in 2023.

Japan

Japan warned its citizens who planned on traveling to the United States about the very different security situation that burdens the country. It specifically draws attention to gun crime rates in the U.S. and offers advice for Japanese citizens who may find themselves in such unfortunate circumstances. The government notes it is important to identify exits when you enter a new or unfamiliar location and create an evacuation plan. An alternative to this in the case of a mass shooting it may also be recommended to hide in a room and barricade any exits with heavy furniture. If this is the case, it also advises people to keep quiet and mute their cell phones. Under the circumstances that Japanese citizens cannot hide or escape in these events, they are advised to “throw things close to the criminal, use them as weapons.” 

Turkey

Turkey released two travel warnings earlier this year, one aimed at Europe and the other at the United States. In a statement, the Turkish government warned its citizens about the rise of Islamophobic, xenophobic, and racist attacks in Europe and the U.S. However, separate statements were made regarding more specifics. When discussing the United States, Turkey noted that travelers should be aware of heightened attacks against foreigners, both physical and verbal, as well as other acts of racism. It recommends that citizens act calmly when faced with such an attack or act of racism and stay away from areas where demonstrations or protests may occur. 

Why Entities in the U.S. Are Also Issuing Alerts

Human rights organizations within the United States are also sounding the alarm and issuing their own travel warnings and advisories. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) joined the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and Equality Florida, a gay rights organization, in issuing a travel advisory for Florida. The warning highlights recent action by the state and its Governor, Ron DeSantis, to devalue people of color, LGBTQIA+ identifying individuals, and women. This othering and demonization of these groups has increased violence and legalized intolerance and racism. With many of the laws imposed targeting the basic human rights of these groups, it is clear that travelers’ safety can be at serious risk.