USA issues highest travel warning for five Mexican states

Friday, 12 Jan, 2018

Under the State Department travel advisory system, every country in the world has a ranking from 1 to 4: Level 4 being "do not travel" and level 1 "exercise normal precautions".

The US State Department on Wednesday launched a new Travel Advisory Program which ranks Greece at the lowest advisory level for safety and security risk.

Countries labeled "do not travel" present a high likelihood of of life-threatening risks for travelers, and US government officials stationed in those places have "very limited ability" to assist Americans in distress, according to the State Department. The information is officially for USA government employee travel guidance but also serves as a globetrotter's crash course of ongoing risks around the world.

With its 31 states, Mexico as a whole has a level-2 rating, which means people travelling to the country should be aware of heightened risks to safety and security. But an additional 11 Mexican states got a level 3 warning Wednesday, which urges people to "reconsider travel" there.

Several European countries that are popular with American tourists were put at the Tier 2 level due to risks related to terrorism. During an emergency, the US government may have very limited ability to provide assistance. Americans were advised not to travel to Tamaulipas, Sinaloa, Colima, Michoacan, and Guerrero.

Los Angeles Times reports that the advisory is the proof of the surging violence in Mexico, which has claimed almost 22,409 lives in 2017 - more than any year since 1997 when the government start releasing crime data.

To warn travelers of potential dangers overseas, the US State Department has updated its travel advisory for countries, including India and Pakistan.

The Department's newly-redesigned hub for traveler information,, will host all Travel Advisories, recent Alerts issued for each country, and an interactive map in mobile-friendly formats.

"Reconsider travel to Pakistan due to terrorism". It also listed many regions in the country, such as Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), under the most risky Level 4 category.

Northeastern states also find a specific mention in the advisory. Turkey, Russia and Venezuela are considered level 3. "In the past, there have been large-scale terrorist attacks resulting in hundreds of casualties", it said.

In September, the agency stated in a travel warning that, "numerous U.S. Embassy Havana employees have been targeted in specific attacks", suffering "significant injuries as a effect of these attacks". A new system unveiled yesterday scraps all that.