Special Report

14 Countries the US Government Doesn't Want You to Visit

Source: sasacvetkovic33 / Getty Images

1. Afghanistan
> Last State Dept. update: 4/9/2019
> Population: 35.5 million
> GDP per capita: $550

The State Department has a standing advisory against travel to Afghanistan, citing elevated risk of crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict. Terrorist threats in the country include suicide bombings and hostage taking and have targeted foreign embassies, government buildings, hospitals, tourist attractions, shopping areas, hotels, and airports.

In recent years, the Taliban, a hardline Islamic faction, have made a comeback in the country, and the security situation is worse now than it has been since the U.S. invaded the country in 2001. The U.N. estimates that over 10,000 Afgahni civilians were killed or wounded in the ongoing conflict in 2017 alone.

Source: Afrika Force from South Africa / Wikimedia Commons

2. Central African Republic
> Last State Dept. update: 4/9/2019
> Population: 4.7 million
> GDP per capita: $418

The Central African Republic has been unstable since it gained independence from France in 1960. The State Department advises Americans not to travel to CAR because of crime and civil instability. The U.S. government has raised concerns over the frequency of armed robbery, aggravated battery, and homicide incidents. The State Dept. reports that large swaths of the country are controlled by armed groups who kidnap, injure, and kill civilians. Airports, land borders, and roads in the country may close with little to no advance notice.

U.S. government personnel must get permission to travel outside the embassy grounds and may be limited in how much help they can provide U.S. citizens.

Source: La_Corivo / Getty Images

3. Haiti
> Last State Dept. update: 4/9/2019
> Population: 11.0 million
> GDP per capita: $766

Crime and civil unrest are the reasons the U.S. government is advising Americans to avoid travel to Haiti. Earlier this year, anti-government protests broke out around the city of Port-au-Prince and other parts of the country, resulting in the U.S. State Dept. withdrawing all non-emergency personnel from the country. Demonstrations, which often include tire burning and road blocks, have occurred frequently and without warning since.

Travelers are often specifically targeted for robbery shortly after leaving the Port-au-Prince international airport, and the U.S. embassy requires its employees to use official transportation to and from the airport. Personnel are discouraged from going to establishments after dark that do not have secure parking, or from going to banks and using ATMs, driving outside of Port-au-Prince at night, or using public transportation or taxis.

Source: silverjohn / Getty Images

4. Iran
> Last State Dept. update: 4/9/2019
> Population: 81.2 million
> GDP per capita: $5,594

Americans, particularly those with Iranian dual citizenship, are at very high risk of kidnapping, arrest, and detention in Iran. Iranian authorities have detained students, academics, journalists, and business travelers on a range of unjust charges, including espionage.

Tensions between the United States and Iran have continued to rise since the United States reinstated sanctions in 2018. These sanctions have been felt throughout Iran’s economy. The U.S. government has not had diplomatic relations with Iran since 1979 and is unable to provide emergency services to American citizens travelling there. Switzerland serves as an intermediary for U.S. citizens in Iran and provides emergency services.

Source: Claudiad / Getty Images

5. Iraq
> Last State Dept. update: 4/9/2019
> Population: 38.3 million
> GDP per capita: $5,018

The State Department warns Americans not to travel to Iraq over concerns of terrorism and armed conflict. Terrorist groups and militias continue to operate in the country, over 16 years after the United States invaded Iraq. Terrorist groups and sectarian militias often target American citizens as well as Western companies. Many of the attacks are carried out using improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.

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