US Citizens Advised Avoid International Travel or Risk Indefinite Return Date

March 19, 2020, 10:53 AM HST · Updated March 19, 12:35 PM
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The US Department of State is advising US citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.

In countries where commercial departure options remain available, US citizens who live in the United States are advised that they should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.

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The travel alert was issued this morning in light of ongoing efforts to gain a handle on the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department advises that US citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel.  Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice.  Airlines have cancelled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips.  The Department further advises that those that choose to travel internationally, travel plans may be severely disrupted, and travelers may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe.

On March 14, the Department of State authorized the departure of US personnel and family members from any diplomatic or consular post in the world who have determined they are at higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to COVID-19 or who have requested departure based on a commensurate justification.  These departures may limit the ability of US Embassies and consulates to provide services to US citizens.

For the latest information regarding COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website.

You are encouraged to visit travel.state.gov to view individual Travel Advisories for the most urgent threats to safety and security. Please also visit the website of the relevant US embassy or consulate to see information on entry restrictions, foreign quarantine policies, and urgent health information provided by local governments.

Travelers are urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. The Department uses these Alerts to convey information about terrorist threats, security incidents, planned demonstrations, natural disasters, etc. In an emergency, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate or call the following numbers: 1(888) 407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1 (202) 501-4444 from other countries or jurisdictions.

If you decide to travel abroad or are already outside the United States:

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