In late November, the US Department of State announced changes to its system for issuing travel warnings. This system is one of the ways we analyze conditions in the countries where we operate, so it is important that we maintain a clear understanding of how the new system will work, and how can we stay at the forefront of risk assessment on behalf of our partners.
The new system will go into effect in mid-January. Here is what we know about it so far:
Each country will be issued an Advisory, with an overall rating between 1 and 4.
1 = Exercise Normal Precautions
2 = Exercise Increased Caution
3 = Reconsider Travel
4 = Do Not Travel
The Department of State has made it clear that there will be no direct equivalency between these new codes and any former alerts and warnings. In other words, a country previously issued a travel alert under the old system will not necessarily earn a rating of 3 under the new system. Each country will be re-evaluated in light of the new system and re-classified accordingly.
Alerts, meant to be specific and immediate, will be issued in response to a specific event or threat, or for a specific country. They will replace what were formerly issued as worldwide or regional cautions. Alerts will be easily visible at the top of the travel.state.gov webpage.
The Department of State continues recommends enrolling in its STEP program to receive information about safety conditions in countries relevant to you. We enroll all of our travelers and students on this program. For breaking news, the DOS suggests following them on Facebook or Twitter.
While we will continue to share news of these new system with you as we learn more about it. Thank you!