State Department Rolls Out New Travel Advisory Program

The State Department has a new travel advisory system for ranking countries’ safety levels

For instance, we may advise USA citizens to "Exercise Increased Caution" (Level 2) in a country, but to "Reconsider Travel" (Level 3) to a particular area within the country.

The U.S. State Department has issued its highest travel warning for five states in Mexico following a revamp of its travel advisory system Wednesday.

She added that the travel advisory will be reviewed on a regular basis depending on the rating level of the particular country and circumstances.

Level 4 is for do-not-travel countries, those with a "greater likelihood of life-threatening risks" in which the USA government may be limited in its ability to help. Azerbaijan has been included in the list of countries where the U.S. citizens are recommended to exercise increased caution due to the increased risk of terrorism. At this level, the USA government may have "very limited ability to provide assistance" to travelers.

Under the level 4 warning, the five Mexican states join Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Mali, South Sudan, North Korea, and Somalia.

Reuters said in a report on Thursday that the advisory is often announced for nations at war.

The programme, launched by the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs on Wednesday, ranked countries based on the US' assessment of country's security situation with a four-level ranking system.

The Guatemalan Ministry of Foreign Affairs replied in a statement that they respected the measures taken by various countries and clarified that these are only advisories, not travel bans. It is also tells citizens to "reconsider travel to Nairobi neighborhood of Eastleigh at all times and Old Town in Mombasa at night due to crime".

Travel in Jammu and Kashmir with the exception of travel within the city Jammu, travel by air to the city of Jammu, and travel within the region of Ladakh was advised against.

The travel advisory comes on the heels of suspension of aid to Pakistan as outlined by President Trump in his first tweet of 2018, alleging that Pakistan responded with deceit and lies against the $33b provided to it, a claim Pakistan rejects both in terms of statistics and observation.

Perennial US adversary Russian Federation was listed as a Tier 3 country, due to the risk of "terrorism and harassment".

The advisory also says that U.S. government employees travelling to states with Naxalite activity or the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Manipur must take special authorisation from USA consulate general offices. Additionally, U.S. embassies and consulates will now issue Alerts to replace the current Emergency Messages and Security Messages.

A map of Mexico shows the states affected by the highest State Department travel warning border the Pacific coast, with the exception of Tamaulipas, which touches the Gulf of Mexico.