Difference between a Travel Advisory & Travel Ban

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Travel advisories typically are formal communications issued by a governmental organization such as the United States Department of State or by an international organization such as the United Nations (UN). There are four travel advisory levels ranging from low to high risk regarding safety and security risk. The levels are the following:

  • Level 1: Blue – Exercise Normal Precautions
  • Level 2: Yellow – Exercise Increased Caution
  • Level 3: Orange – Reconsider Travel
  • Level 4: Red – Do Not Travel

Listed at Level 3 travel advisory are the countries of Nicaragua, Haiti, Honduras, Sudan, Chad, Guinea-Bissau, Lebanon, Nigeria, Niger, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, and Pakistan.

Listed at Level 4 travel advisory are Libya, North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, Burkina Faso, South Sudan, Yemen, Venezuela, Central African Republic, Mali, Iran, Iraq, and China.

Travel Advisories also have risk indicators as list below to describe the reason(s) why a country may be at a certain travel advisory level:

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 be a factor.

N – Natural Disaster: A natural disaster, or its aftermath poses danger.

E – Time-Limited Event: A short-term event, such as an election, sporting event, or other incident that may pose a safety risk.

O – Other: There are potential risks not covered by the other risk indicators. Read the country’s Travel Advisory for details.

Recent travel advisories include the Level 4 advisory for travel to China due to an “H” or Health risk of the new coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is closely monitoring the outbreak of the illness first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province of China. There are a reported more than 24,000 cases and at least 492 deaths confirmed worldwide.

The coronavirus is alleged to have originated from eating bat soup, which is a delicacy in China, however, this assertion has been met with scrutiny as such food source is unavailable at the seafood market in Huanan, which suggests another source transmitting the 2019-nCoV (aka coronavirus) virus to humans. The U.S. government declared a public health emergency last week and barred foreign nationals from entering the country within two weeks of visiting China, unless they are immediate family members of U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The State Department has warned Americans against all travel to China.

A different type of travel advisory “U” civil unrest has been cited in Hong Kong for several months of non-stop unrest. When millions of people participated in protests to oppose a controversial bill that would have allowed extradition from Hong Kong to China. Even though the bill was shelved, the protests continue and are calling for greater democracy and inquiry into allegations of police brutality.

A travel ban refers to restricting a person(s) liberty of passage to leave a country or part thereof. This effort is prohibiting unwelcome person(s) from entering or remaining in a country.

Recently, the United States President has added Nigeria, Myanmar (Burma), Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan, and Tanzania. I personally do not agree with the new travel ban on several of these countries, however, please note this does not mean you cannot travel to these countries.

This specific travel ban is calling for immigrant visas to be suspended for citizens from Nigeria, Myanmar, Eritrea, and Kyrgyzstan. The travel ban prohibits people from Sudan and Tanzania from the U.S. diversity visa program that awards green cards to immigrants.

The new travel ban does not prohibit tourist, business or other nonimmigrant travel as communicated by the Homeland Security Department. This ban is set to go into effect as of February 22nd.

There is speculation many of the countries a part of the travel ban are because they are Muslim majority countries. I do agree with the President has a disdain for people who practice Islam, however, there is a deeper motivation. The questions I typically ask are: Why these countries? Why not all predominantly Muslim countries? Why now? In addition, we have seen data that shows the United States has more deaths from home grown dangers than threats outside of the US.

Americans do realize during an election season, candidates will often play to their base to ensure they have the support needed to win the election.  If you were running for election or re-election you cannot be upset with that tactic, however, as a public servant the President swears (he/she) will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of their ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

In closing, there is a stark difference between a travel advisory and travel ban. I would advise everyone to use the advisories as a resource, but also learn more about the reason for the advisory and determine whether you will travel to a locale. When receiving travel ban information, ensure to understand what the ban includes and/or excludes, because there have been times there is a misunderstanding of the information.

As for the travel ban list, please go and visit those countries you desire to visit, such as Tanzania, it is a beautiful country and part of the route for the Great Migration. In addition, Nigeria where I plan to visit in September and plan to thoroughly enjoy the country.

Share your experience you’ve had in a country that is or has been a part of a travel advisory or travel ban.

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Roseland Hupp

Roseland Hupp

I am Roseland, and I travel, write, and take plenty of photos of different cities and countries I have travelled to around the world. My blog is for everyone who yearns to travel and learn about the diverse countries of the world. Subscribers to this blog will gain unique insight to travel through hands-on interactions rather than a hands-off perspective of a being a foreigner in a new land. Each post will reflect the truth of the locale it represents without any sugar coating added. You can learn more about me here.

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