Ensuring American Safety During the COVID-19 Global Health Crisis

Updated: 3/19/20

The safety and security of Americans overseas is a top priority in navigating the COVID-19 global health crisis. At this time, the Department of State (DoS) advises U.S. citizens to avoid international travel as many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions, mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice. In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.

To stay informed on security updates and travel restrictions please visit travel.state.gov and embassy and consulate websites for country specific contact and other information.

If you are a U.S. citizen traveling overseas it is strongly recommended to enroll in State Department’s free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which provides the most up-to-date information and country specific alerts to travelers based on their location.



Callers located in U.S. and Canada: 1-888-407-4747

Callers located overseas: 1-202-501-4444



How do I leave a country during the COVID-19 pandemic?

If you are a U.S. citizen attempting to return to the U.S., the best option is to coordinate regularly scheduled commercial travel. If there are no commercial transportation options, State Department officers at the embassy or consulate may assist U.S. citizens seeking to depart by working with the host government, other countries, and U.S. agencies to identify – and in some cases – arrange available transportation.

State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs has established a hotline (numbers above) operating 24/7 to assist U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) if they are stranded as a result of COVID-19.


If I am a U.S. citizen traveling abroad and exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, what are my options for accessing healthcare and testing?

If an American presents at any foreign mission with COVID-19 symptoms, embassy staff and consulate officials will work to ensure that those citizens get access to health care professionals and testing as appropriate.


If I am an American citizen traveling to the U.S. from a high-risk country, what can I expect upon my return?

According to the CDC, travelers returning from countries with widespread, sustained transmission of COVID-19 (Level 3 Travel Health Notice) will be asked to stay home for a period of 14 days to monitor health and practice social distancing. CDC recommends travelers to take their temperature twice a day and monitor symptoms.


Committee Resources:

Ensuring American Safety During the COVID-19 Global Health Crisis

Exposing the Chinese Communist Party’s Role in COVID-19


Department of State (DoS) Resources:

General COVID-19 Information for Travelers (DoS)

COVID-19 Country Specific Information (DoS)

Global Level 4 Travel Advisory – Avoid Travel (DoS)

Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) (DoS)

What State Department Can and Cannot Do in a Crisis (DoS)


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Resources:

Guidance for Travelers Returning from High Risk Countries (CDC)

Countries with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice (CDC)

Communication Resources for Travelers (CDC)

FAQ’s for International Travelers (CDC)

Map of Travel Health Notices for Each Country (CDC)