In response to recent concerns about safety when traveling to Mexico, VERIFY answered questions about crime and safety in the country.
We found that the U.S. Department of State has issued travel advisories ranging from level 2, exercise increased caution, to level 4, do not travel, for most states in Mexico.
This prompted more questions from VERIFY readers about global travel. Several people wanted to know if other countries have issued similar warnings for people traveling to the U.S.
Have other countries issued travel advisories for the United States?
Yes, other countries have issued travel advisories for the United States.
WHAT WE FOUND
Countries around the world have different ways of advising their residents about foreign travel. Some have warnings or advisories similar to those issued by the U.S. State Department.
At least one country currently has a heightened travel advisory in place for the United States. Other countries have also warned against travel to the U.S. in past years due to acts of violence and hate crimes.
While many countries say travelers can take normal safety precautions when visiting the U.S., some provide general warnings about crime.
New Zealand has four levels of travel advisories: exercise normal safety and security precautions; exercise increased caution; avoid non-essential travel; and do not travel.
Its travel advisory for the U.S. falls under level 2 of 4: Exercise increased caution. The country says this designation is “due to the threat of terrorism.”
“The United States remains a target of terrorist interest, both from international terror groups and from domestic-based extremists,” New Zealand’s government says. “Credible information assessed by US authorities indicates that individuals or groups have developed both the intent and capability to conduct terrorist attacks in the US. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including places visited by foreigners.”
Canada has four levels of travel advisories: take normal security precautions; exercise a high degree of caution; avoid non-essential travel; and avoid all travel.
Travelers to the U.S. should take normal security precautions, similar to those that they would in Canada, the country’s government says.
But Canada’s government does note that “the rate of firearm possession in the U.S. is high” and “it’s legal in many states for U.S. citizens to openly carry firearms in public.”
“Incidences of mass shootings occur, resulting most often in casualties,” Canada’s government says. “Although tourists are rarely involved, there is a risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Familiarize yourself on how to respond to an active shooter situation.”
The country also warns its residents about the risk of criminal incidents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The country’s government does include in its U.S. safety information that “violent crime is more common than in Australia” and “gun crime is also prevalent.”
Australia also warns of a “persistent and heightened threat of terrorist attacks and mass casualty violence in the U.S.,” urging people to stay alert in public places and at events.
The United Kingdom
In travel advice published online, the United Kingdom’s government says in part that “violent crime, including gun crime, rarely involves tourists” in the United States.
The country also notes that “incidents of mass shooting can occur, but account for a very small percentage of homicide deaths.” It recommends that people read the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s advice for what to do during an active shooter event.
France says the U.S. is “among the safest countries,” but it does warn travelers about some urban areas and an uptick in carjacking incidents throughout the nation.
The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs breaks down potential threats in neighborhoods of major U.S. cities, including Boston, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans, San Francisco and Los Angeles, among others.
For example, the ministry recommends for people in Boston to “avoid traveling alone, on foot and at night, in certain parts of Dorchester, Mattpan and Roxbury.”
People traveling to Los Angeles should avoid certain areas, “including the east, south and southeast neighborhoods such as Watts, Inglewood and Florence,” the ministry says.
Venezuela and Uruguay issue warnings in 2019
In 2019, two South American countries issued warnings about travel to the United States.
Venezuela’s government suggested in August 2019 that its citizens postpone trips to the U.S. or take “extreme precautions during them” in the face of the “proliferation of acts of violence and indiscriminate hate crimes.”
Uruguay’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also said people traveling to the U.S. should “take extreme precautions in the face of growing indiscriminate violence, mostly due to hate crimes, including racism and discrimination.”
“Given the impossibility of the authorities to prevent these situations, due, among other factors, to the indiscriminate possession of firearms by the population, it is especially advisable to avoid places where there are large concentrations of people, such as theme parks, shopping centers, festivals artistic events, religious activities, gastronomic fairs and any type of mass cultural or sporting events,” Uruguay's ministry said.
Amnesty International warning
Amnesty International, a non-governmental organization focused on human rights, also issued its own travel advisory for the United States in August 2019 due to “ongoing high levels of gun violence.”
The organization said people worldwide should “exercise caution and have an emergency contingency plan when traveling throughout the USA.”