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US State Department overhauls travel advisory system

13 January 2018

"The new travel advisories will continue to provide what we used to call the country-specific information about things like entry requirements, special circumstances, health issues perhaps, road safety issues and things like that".

The United States on Wednesday categorised India as "Level 2" on its new travel advisory scale, which ranks countries from one to four on safety and risk factors.

The Level 3 category indicates that people should "Reconsider Travel" and means that travellers should avoid their journey due to serious risks to safety and security. "In the past, there have been large-scale terrorist attacks resulting in hundreds of casualties", the State Department advisory said.

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"Terrorists have targeted U.S. diplomats and diplomatic facilities in the past, and evidence suggests they continue to do so", says the State Department.

Cuba, which past year came with the travel advisory to not travel there, is now listed as level 3.

Level 4 is for do-not-travel countries, those with a "greater likelihood of life-threatening risks" in which the USA government may be limited in its ability to help. Although the rankings for safety have been announced according to nation, the State Department specified that in some cases the levels of safety may differ in different areas of a nation. Under that system, the department would issue either a "travel alert" or a "travel warning" when it deemed prudent, which generally included a briefing as to the reason.

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Cuba, for instance, where the State Department has previously advised against travel, was listed as a Tier 3, rather than Tier 4, country. The states mentioned include "eastern Maharashtra and northern Telangana through western West Bengal" as well as " rural parts of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand and. the borders of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Odisha". United States has been ranked as the highest source of tourists to Kenya. It also listed many regions in the country, such as Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), under the most risky Level 4 category. Alerts will inform USA citizens of specific safety and security concerns in a country, such as demonstrations, crime trends, and weather events.

Level 4 includes countries like Iran, Afghanistan, North Korea and Syria, and tells people "do not travel: This is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks".

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US State Department overhauls travel advisory system