The State Department ranks different countries around the world by their safety level for US citizens.
Countries deemed too dangerous for travel are often known for civil unrest, military actions, and kidnappings.
Here are 19 countries you should avoid traveling to that the US has labeled as “Do Not Travel.”
The State Department cautioned against traveling to Venezuela due to “crime, civil unrest, kidnapping, and the arbitrary enforcement of local laws” as well as “wrongful detentions, terrorism, and poor health infrastructure.”
Many Venezuelan migrants have fled to the US to seek asylum from “crimes against humanity,” Insider previously reported.
“Violent crimes, such as homicide, armed robbery, kidnapping, and carjacking, are common,” the State Department’s warning said, adding that there is a “risk of wrongful detention of U.S. nationals.”
“Terrorist and insurgent groups regularly attack Iraqi security forces and civilians. Anti-U.S. militias threaten U.S. citizens and international companies throughout Iraq.”
The US conflict in Iraq post-9/11 has been one of the most deadly, amounting to tens of thousands of deaths, Insider previously reported.
The State Department advised against traveling to Somalia due to “crime, terrorism, civil unrest, health issues, kidnapping, and piracy.”
“Violent crime, such as kidnapping and murder, is common throughout Somalia, including Puntland and the Somaliland region. Illegal roadblocks are widespread,” the department warned of the East African country, where “terrorists continue to plot kidnappings, bombings, and other attacks.”
In October, two car bombings in the country’s capital of Mogadishu left over 120 dead and 150 more injured, Reuters reported.
The US State Department warned of “kidnapping, crime, and civil unrest” in the poverty-stricken country of Haiti.
“Kidnapping is widespread, and victims regularly include U.S. citizens. Kidnappers may use sophisticated planning or take advantage of unplanned opportunities, and even convoys have been attacked. Kidnapping cases often involve ransom negotiations and U.S. citizen victims have been physically harmed during kidnappings,” according to the department’s December 2022 warning.
Hundreds of Haitians have also died due to a cholera outbreak, Insider reported in December.
The State Department has warned against travel to Ukraine since Russia launched a full-scale invasion in February 2022.
“Those choosing to remain in Ukraine should exercise caution due to the potential for military attacks, crime, and civil unrest,” per the agency.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency have “prohibited flights into, out of, and over Ukraine due to ongoing military actions.”
US citizens should not travel to Afghanistan due to “armed conflict, civil unrest, crime, terrorism, and kidnapping,” the State Department said.
“Travel to all areas of Afghanistan is unsafe and the risk of kidnapping or violence against U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is high,” according to the department. “The U.S. Embassy in Kabul suspended operations on August 31, 2021. Since that time, U.S. citizens have been unjustly detained.”
The department added that its ability to assist detained Americans is “extremely limited.”
Americans shouldn’t travel to Yemen because of “terrorism, civil unrest, health risks, kidnapping, armed conflict, and landmines,” the State Department said.
“A civil war continues in Yemen. In addition, terrorist groups continue to plot and conduct attacks in Yemen,” according to the notice. “Military conflict has caused significant destruction of infrastructure, housing, medical facilities, schools, and power and water utilities.”
The US government cannot assist American citizens in emergencies since the US Embassy in Sana’a suspended operations in 2015, according to the department.
The US warns against traveling to Syria due to “terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, armed conflict, and risk of unjust detention,” according to the State Department.
The country has endured armed conflict since 2011, the department said, adding starkly that “no part of Syria is safe from violence.”
“Protests and demonstrations are quelled by government forces through aggressive tactics and protestors, activists, and political dissenters are routinely detained without access to legal representation or communications with friends and family,” the State Department warned.
The State Department placed Sudan on the list due to civil unrest, crime, terrorism, kidnapping, and armed conflict.
“Sudan is experiencing sporadic civil unrest and protests across the country,” the department said. “Crime, such as kidnapping, armed robbery, home invasion, and carjacking can occur. This type of crime is more frequent outside of Khartoum.”
There is also violence along the borders with Chad and South Sudan, per the agency.
South Sudan is rife with armed conflict among different political groups and ethnicities, according to the State Department.
“Violent crime, such as carjackings, shootings, ambushes, assaults, robberies, and kidnappings is common throughout South Sudan, including Juba. Foreign nationals have been the victims of rape, sexual assault, armed robberies, and other violent crimes,” the department warned, adding that weapons are “readily available” to the population at large.
North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea)
The US State Department warned of the “serious risk of arrest and long-term detention of U.S. nationals” in North Korea, calling it a “critical threat.”
“All U.S. passports are invalid for travel to, in, or through the DPRK unless specially validated for such travel under the authority of the Secretary of State,” the department warned. “The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in North Korea as it does not have diplomatic or consular relations with North Korea.”
Tensions between North Korea and other democratic nations have risen as the country continues to conduct ballistic missile tests.
US citizens should avoid travel to Libya due to “crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict,” according to the Department of State.
“Crime levels in Libya remain high, including the threat of kidnapping for ransom. Westerners and U.S. citizens have been targets of these crimes,” the department said. “Militia or armed groups sometimes detain travelers for arbitrary reasons, do not grant detainees access to a lawyer or a legal process, and do not allow detainees to inform others of their status.”
The State Department warned against travel to Iran due to kidnapping and arbitrary arrests and detentions on “spurious charges.” The US doesn’t have diplomatic relations with Iran.
“Iranian authorities continue to unjustly detain and imprison U.S. nationals, particularly dual national U.S.-Iranian nationals–including students, journalists, business travelers, and academics–on charges including espionage and posing a threat to national security,” the department warned.
The State Department cited protests and military actions as reasons not to travel to Burma, adding that at least one US national had been wrongfully detained by the Burmese military.
“Do not travel to Burma due to civil unrest and armed conflict,” the State Department warned. “Exercise increased caution due to wrongful detentions and areas with land mines and unexploded ordnance.”
The State Department has warned against travel to Russia since President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. US citizens in Russia may be harassed, singled out, or arbitrarily detained, the department said.
“The U.S. government’s ability to provide routine or emergency services to U.S. citizens in Russia is severely limited, particularly in areas far from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, due to Russian government limitations on travel, the number of U.S. staff, and the ongoing suspension of operations, including consular services, at U.S. consulates,” the department said.
The State Department warned against travel to Mali because of crime, terroristic threats, and kidnapping.
“Violent crime, such as kidnapping and armed robbery, is common in Mali. Violent crime is a particular concern during local holidays and seasonal events in Bamako, its suburbs, and Mali’s southern regions. Roadblocks and random police checkpoints are commonplace throughout the country, especially at night,” the department said.
Central African Republic
US citizens should avoid travel to the Central African Republic due to crime, civil unrest, kidnappings, and the embassy’s limited capacity to provide support to US citizens, the State Department warned.
“Although there have been no specific incidents of violence or threats targeting U.S. citizens, civil unrest, demonstrations, and election-related violence (including renewed outbreaks of armed conflict) may occur throughout the country, including the capital of Bangui,” the department said. “Violent crime, such as armed robbery, aggravated battery, and homicide, is common.”
Terrorism, crime, and kidnapping should ward US citizens off from travel to Burkina Faso, according to the State Department.
“Terrorist groups continue plotting attacks in Burkina Faso,” the agency said. “Kidnapping and hostage taking is a threat throughout the country. On May 10, 2019 a hostage rescue operation freed four international hostages that had been kidnapped in Burkina Faso and in neighboring Benin.”
The US is not able to provide emergency assistance to its citizens in the country, the department added.
The State Department warned against travel to Belarus in eastern Europe due to “arbitrary enforcement of laws, the risk of detention, the Russian military attack on neighboring Ukraine, and the buildup of Russian military in Belarus along the border with Ukraine.”
“Due to Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine from Belarus, U.S. citizens located in or considering travel to Belarus should be aware that the situation is unpredictable and there is heightened tension in the region,” the department said.
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