20 Scariest Level 4 Travel Locations for US Citizens in 2023

As a first step in planning any trip abroad, United States citizens should check the travel advisories for their intended destination. Conditions can change rapidly in a country at any time, so it’s important to check these advisories before booking a trip as well as before leaving the USA for your destination.

What do travel restrictions mean for United States citizens who are currently traveling abroad? Keep reading to learn how to stay safe when traveling.

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US Travel Restriction List
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Travel Restrictions for US Citizens

US Travel Restriction List

The State Department places a Level 4 travel warning to any locations they consider a “Do Not Travel” country. This is the highest advisory level due to the greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance.

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Countries with Level 4 Travel Restrictions

To be clear, level 4 is a do not travel warning from the U.S. Department of State. You can find more detail for each listed location at travel.state.gov.

Below are the countries with U.S. travel restrictions with a level 4 as of November 2022:

1. Burma (Myanmar) Do not travel to Burma due to civil unrest and armed conflict. Reconsider travel to Burma due to COVID-19-related restrictions and limited and/or inadequate healthcare resources. Exercise increased caution due to wrongful detentions and areas with land mines and unexploded ordnance.

2. Afghanistan Do not travel to Afghanistan due to armed conflict, civil unrest, crime, terrorism, and kidnapping. Travel to all areas of Afghanistan is unsafe and the risk of kidnapping or violence against U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is high.

Given the serious risks, U.S. citizens should not travel to Afghanistan to accompany eligible family members for relocation. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul suspended operations on August 31, 2021. Since that time, U.S. citizens have been unjustly detained. The U.S. government is not able to provide emergency citizen services in Afghanistan and our ability to assist detained U.S. citizens is extremely limited.

3. Belarus Do Not Travel to Belarus due to the arbitrary enforcement of laws, the risk of detention, the Russian military attack on neighboring Ukraine, and the buildup of Russian military in Belarus along the border with Ukraine. U.S. citizens in Belarus should depart immediately via commercial or private means.

4. South Sudan Do not travel to South Sudan due to crime, kidnapping, and armed conflict. Violent crime, such as carjackings, shootings, ambushes, assaults, robberies, and kidnappings is common throughout South Sudan, including Juba. Foreign nationals have been the victims of rape, sexual assault, armed robberies, and other violent crimes.

5. Haiti Do not travel to Haiti due to kidnapping, crime, and civil unrest.  On October 07, 2022, the Department authorized the departure of family members of U.S. government employees and non-emergency U.S. government employees.  Do not travel to Haiti because of the security and health situation and infrastructure challenges. 

6. Iran Do not travel to Iran due to the risk of kidnapping and the arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens. Exercise increased caution due to wrongful detentions.

7. Iraq Do not travel to Iraq due to terrorism, kidnapping, armed conflict, civil unrest, and Mission Iraq’s limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens.

8. North Korea Do not travel to North Korea due to the continuing serious risk of arrest and long-term detention of U.S. nationals. Exercise increased caution to North Korea due to the critical threat of wrongful detention. All U.S. passports are invalid for travel to, in, or through the DPRK unless specially validated for such travel under the authority of the Secretary of State.

9. Libya Do not travel to Libya due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict. Crime levels in Libya remain high, including the threat of kidnapping for ransom. Westerners and U.S. citizens have been targets of these crimes.

Terrorist groups continue plotting attacks in Libya. Violent extremist activity in Libya remains high, and extremist groups have made threats against U.S. government officials and citizens. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, hotels, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and government facilities.

10. Mali Do not travel to Mali due to crime, terrorism, and kidnapping. In July of 2022, the Department ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees and family members due to the heightened risk of terrorist attacks in areas frequented by westerners.  The U.S. Embassy continues to have limited ability to provide emergency assistance to U.S. citizens in Mali.

Violent crime, such as kidnapping and armed robbery, is common in Mali. Violent crime is a particular concern during local holidays and seasonal events in Bamako, its suburbs, and Mali’s southern regions.  Roadblocks and random police checkpoints are commonplace throughout the country, especially at night.

12. Russia Do not travel to Russia due to the unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces, the potential for harassment against U.S. citizens by Russian government security officials, the singling out of U.S. citizens in Russia by Russian government security officials including for detention, the arbitrary enforcement of local law, limited flights into and out of Russia, the Embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia, COVID-19-related restrictions, and terrorism.

U.S. citizens should note that U.S. credit and debit cards no longer work in Russia, and options to electronically transfer funds from the United States are extremely limited as a result of sanctions imposed on Russian banks. There are reports of cash shortages within Russia.

13. Somalia Do not travel to Somalia due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, health issues, kidnapping, and piracy.

Violent crime, such as kidnapping and murder, is common throughout Somalia, including Puntland and the Somaliland region. Illegal roadblocks are widespread. Some schools and other facilities acting as “cultural rehabilitation” centers are operating throughout Somalia with inadequate or nonexistent licensing and oversight. Reports of physical abuse and people being held against their will in these facilities are common.

14. Sudan Do not travel to Sudan due to civil unrest. Reconsider travel due to crime, terrorism, kidnapping, and armed conflict. Sudan is experiencing sporadic civil unrest and protests across the country. Communication disruptions, including internet and cell phone service, can occur during protests. Crime, such as kidnapping, armed robbery, home invasion, and carjacking can occur. This type of crime is more frequent outside of Khartoum.

15. Syria Do not travel to Syria due to terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, armed conflict, and risk of unjust detention. The Czech Republic serves as the protecting power for the United States in Syria. The U.S. government is unable to provide any emergency services to U.S. citizens in Syria.

Syria has experienced active armed conflict since 2011. No part of Syria is safe from violence. Kidnappings by armed groups, unjust arrests and/or detentions, the use of chemical warfare, shelling, and aerial bombardment of civilian centers pose a significant risk of death or serious injury.

16. Ukraine Do not travel to Ukraine due to Russia’s full-scale invasion. The Department of State continues to advise that U.S. citizens not travel to Ukraine due to active armed conflict.

The security situation throughout Ukraine remains volatile. U.S. citizens in Ukraine should stay vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. There are continued reports of Russian forces and their proxies singling out U.S. citizens in Ukraine for detention, interrogation, or harassment because of their nationality. U.S. citizens have also been singled out when evacuating by land through Russia-occupied territory or to Russia or Belarus.

17. Venezuela Do not travel to Venezuela due to crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, kidnapping, and the arrest and detention of U.S. citizens without due process or fair trial guarantees. Exercise increased caution in Venezuela due to terrorism and wrongful detentions.

18. Yemen Do not travel to Yemen due to terrorism, civil unrest, health risks, kidnapping, armed conflict, and landmines.

The U.S. Embassy in Sana’a suspended its operations in February 2015, and the U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Yemen.

A civil war continues in Yemen. In addition, terrorist groups continue to plot and conduct attacks in Yemen. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting public sites, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. Additionally, there is a continuing threat of kidnapping/detention by terrorists, criminal elements, and/or non-government actors. Employees of western organizations may be targeted for attack or kidnapping.

19. Burkina Faso Do not travel to Burkina Faso due to terrorism, crime, and kidnapping. Terrorist groups continue plotting attacks in Burkina Faso. Terrorists may conduct attacks anywhere with little or no warning. Targets could include hotels, restaurants, police stations, customs offices, areas at or near mining sites, places of worship, military posts, and schools.

20. Central African Republic Do not travel to the Central African Republic (CAR) due to Embassy Bangui’s limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens, crime, civil unrest, and kidnapping. Although there have been no specific incidents of violence or threats targeting U.S. citizens, civil unrest, demonstrations, and election-related violence (including renewed outbreaks of armed conflict) may occur throughout the country, including the capital of Bangui.

Hong Kong: Travelers should practice usual precautions.

Click here to see State Department travel alerts and list of all countries with travel advisories. 

Stay Healthy When Traveling

Protect Yourself from Germs. Washing your hands often is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself from getting sick. Beyond this, I also travel with a hand sanitizer made with essential oils.

Hand Sanitizer Recipe

Homemade Hand Sanitizer for Travel

I did a little research and realized it’s pretty simple to make a natural homemade hand sanitizer. It’s also much more cost-effective than buying it pre-made. The homemade DIY hand sanitizer recipe I created includes ingredients that are known to be antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal and is also good for your skin!

There are so many great ways to stay healthy when traveling and I believe one of the most important is to build a strong immune system. The above tips and products are my go-to and what are included in my routine to stay healthy when I travel. 

Travel Insurance

If you are getting ready to book a trip, it’s always good advice to also get travel insurance. You can imagine how useful having insurance would be if you want to cancel or postpone a trip that was already booked.

For anyone who travels often, we highly recommend an annual travel insurance policy which is less expensive than you might imagine. Some are priced as low as $229 per person annually. This is important in case you want to cancel, plus it gives you peace of mind. I recommend World Nomads Travel Insurance

If you are concerned about an upcoming trip, don’t buy into all the hype and misinformation that is currently circulating on social media. Instead, stay informed through reliable sources and when in doubt, contact your travel agent, cruise line or airline for updates. Of course, also speak with your personal physician regarding the real facts of the virus and how to stay healthy when traveling.

Note: Facts are changing quickly with the Coronavirus (COVID-19), thus affecting the list of travel restrictions for US citizens. We will do our best to keep this article updated and timely. If you know of any new developments please share in the comments! 

Related Article: 7 Tips to Stay Healthy When Traveling 

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