State Department Advisories
The U.S. Department of State issues a Travel Advisory for each country in the world. These advisories rank the U.S. government's travel advice for each country on a scale of 1 to 4. In Level 1 countries, you are advised to "exercise normal precautions." You should "exercise increased caution" in Level 2 countries, and "reconsider travel" to Level 3 countries. The highest advisory level due to life-threatening risks is Level 4: Do not travel.
As you prepare to depart, the International Center recommends that you thoroughly read the Travel Advisory for your destination country, at this link.
Another way to understand the security environment in your destination is through monitoring Travel Alerts, which are issued by the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country that they cover. Alerts inform U.S. citizens of specific safety and security concerns, such as demonstrations, crime trends, and weather events. Recent Alerts for any given country will appear below its Travel Advisory on the page linked above.
The University of Kentucky does not support student international education travel in countries with active Level 3 or Level 4 Travel Advisories without the completion of a required review process and approval from the Associate Provost for Internationalization and Dean of the student's home college. More information is available here.
When researching the Travel Advisory level in your destination country, pay close attention to the "Risk Indicators" found in any Level 2, 3 or 4 Advisory. They outline the specific concerns that the U.S. government wants travelers to be aware of in that country. The current Risk Indicators used by the Department of State are:
- C - Crime: Widespread violent or organized crime is present in areas of the country. Local law enforcement may have limited ability to respond to serious crimes.
- T - Terrorism: Terrorist attacks have occurred and/or specific threats against civilians, groups, or other targets may exist.
- U - Civil Unrest: Political, economic, religious, and/or ethnic instability exists and may cause violence, major disruptions, and/or safety risks.
- H - Health: Health risks, including current disease outbreaks or a crisis that disrupts a country's medical infrastructure, are present. The issuance of a Centers for Disease Control Travel Notice may also be a factor.
- N - Natural Disaster: A natural disaster, or its aftermath, poses danger.
- E - Time-limited Event: Short-term event, such as elections, sporting events, or other incidents that may pose safety risks.
- O - Other: There are potential risks not covered by the other risk indicators. Additional details will be found in the country's Travel Advisory.