U.S. Department of State Worldwide Caution 2019

January 17, 2019, 6:00 am

Terrorist attacks, political violence (such as demonstrations), criminal activities, and other security incidents can take place abroad at any time without warning. The U.S. Department of State strongly encourages travelers to always maintain a high level of vigilance and have good situational awareness whenever traveling abroad. Always consult the U.S. Department of State’s Travel Advisories (country specific) as well as the travel information pages.

The U.S. Department of State provides travelers with general information regarding terrorist activities, political violence, and criminal activity that occur abroad, along with recommendations on how to prepare, receive information on breaking security events, and ensure that travelers can be contacted in an emergency. U.S. government facilities worldwide are always actively monitoring any potential security threats, and as a result may temporarily close or suspend public services (such as embassies) to assess threats. However, U.S. embassies and consulates will still do everything they can to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens. Travelers are encouraged to monitor the local news and stay in contact with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Terrorist groups are most likely to target:

  • High-profile and well-populated events such as sporting events, political rallies, demonstrations/protests, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.
  • Hotels, clubs, bars, and restaurants
  • Places of worship
  • Schools
  • Parks
  • Shopping malls/markets
  • Popular tourist sites
  • Public transportation systems
  • Airports

It is strongly recommended that all travelers enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make contact easier in an emergency. The U.S. Department of State conveys important information about terrorist threats, security incidents, planned demonstrations, natural disasters, and other important events through these security messages. 

In an emergency, always contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, or call: 1 (888) 407-4747 (toll-free in the U.S. and Canada) or 1 (202) 501-444 from other countries.

UT Austin students traveling on university-related business should enroll with International SOS (ISOS) to get alerts for global security, safety, and health concerns for the countries they are traveling to. Simply go to the UT Global Risk and Safety (GRS) page and follow the directions under “Before You Leave”, and click on “Email Subscriptions” at the left of the ISOS website.