New Travel Advisory and Alerts Guidelines Announced by Department of State

By Steve Barcus

New changes to the U.S. Department of State’s (DoS) Travel Advisory System will likely impact how UW–Madison students, faculty, and staff plan and prepare for university-affiliated travel to other nations.

The changes to the advisory system, which were announced in November and implemented in early January will break down risks to travelers into four advisory levels:

Level 1 – Exercise Normal Precautions

Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution

Level 3 – Reconsider Travel

Level 4 – Do Not Travel

View a color-coded map of current travel advisory levels.

Each country will be assigned a travel advisory level that indicates potential risk to the traveler. In addition, specific regions or areas within a country may receive a different designation, using the associated language, such as “reconsider travel” or “do not travel.” The new system allows a traveler to further assess the travel risk in a specific location. For example, a country as a whole might have a travel advisory level 2, but a city or region within the country might be rated at level 3 using the language “Reconsider Travel.”

Any country or region receiving a travel advisory level of 2–4 will also have clear explanations for the rating. Such rationale could come from a variety of concerns—from a health epidemic or the effects of a natural disaster to the pervasive presence of crime or heightened risk of terrorism.

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