Travel Alerts and Travel Warnings are issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid travel to a certain country. Countries where avoidance of travel is recommended will issue Travel Alerts and Travel Warnings as well as Consular Information sheets.
Travel Alerts are issued to disseminate information about short-term conditions, generally within a particular country, that pose imminent risks to the security of U.S. citizens. Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, coups, anniversaries of terrorist events, election-related demonstrations or violence, and high-profile events such as international conferences or regional sports events are examples of conditions that might generate a Travel Alert.
Travel Warnings are issued to describe long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable. A Travel Warning is also issued when the U.S. Government's ability to assist American citizens is constrained due to the closure of an embassy or consulate or because of a draw down of its staff.
Consular Information Sheets are available for every country in the world. They include information such as the location of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the subject country, unusual immigration practices, health conditions, minor political disturbances, unusual currency and entry regulations, crime and security information, and drug penalties. If an unstable condition exists in a country that is not severe enough to warrant a Travel Warning, a description of the condition(s) may be included under an optional section entitled "Safety / Security". On limited occasions any U.S. Embassy advice given to official employees. Consular Information Sheets generally do not include advice, but present information in a factual manner so travelers are able to make his or her own decisions concerning travel to a particular country.