21 Dangerous Countries Americans Have Been Warned to Avoid in May 2024

goodmoments / Getty Images

Planning summer overseas travel? The U.S. State Department warns all Americans to exercise precautions and be alert to the possibility of crime or violence directed toward foreigners. But there are 22 countries where the danger is so severe, the State Department has issued a Level 4 travel advisory: Do Not Travel. We’ve listed all of them below along with some of the specific problems there and the dangers travelers may face. This list will not only help you plan your leisure travel, but also where your international business activities or humanitarian work would be better conducted by locals as much as possible.

U.S. State Department Travel Advisory Levels

Source: JohnnyGreig / E+ via Getty Images
Following State Department advisories can give travelers a greater sense of security when traveling abroad.

The United States ranks all countries and territories of the world in a 4-tier system from safest to most dangerous travel. 

Level 1 – Exercise Normal Precautions

These are considered the safest countries to travel to. Travelers should exercise reasonable precautions such as remaining vigilant, keeping an eye on their belongings, not flashing money, and not drawing unwanted attention by being loud and obnoxious. 

Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution

Countries at this level are fairly safe, but in some areas, the chances of civil unrest, crime, or harassment of tourists may be increased. Travelers should avoid areas considered higher risk.

Level 3 – Reconsider Travel

At this level, visitors may face significant risks to their lives and property. For example, a natural disaster may have occurred that has disrupted basic services, supplies, and medical care.

Level 4 – Do Not Travel

This is the State Department’s highest threat level rating. It applies in situations of dire danger, such as war, extreme terrorism threats, or armed rebellions. The U.S. government may not be able to assist citizens endangered in these countries.

Each of the following countries is ranked Level 4 by the U.S. State Department as of April 2024.

1. Afghanistan

Afghan woman in hijab in Kabul, natives of Afghanistan on streets of the city
Source: 279photo Studio /
The role of women is severely curtailed in Afghanistan under Taliban rule.

Problems: With the departure of American troops in 2021, the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan. The new government is guilty of human rights abuses against its own citizens and foreigners. Additionally, the country suffers from the effects of drought, earthquakes, mines and unexploded ordinance, and shortages of medical supplies and other necessities.

Risks: Terrorism, risk of wrongful detention, kidnapping, and crime.

2. Belarus

Source: Jonny Pickup / Getty Images
Belarus has limited military power so they have not become directly involved in Russia’s war in neighboring Ukraine.

Problems: Belarus is allied with Russia and has been used as a staging ground in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. While it is not directly involved in the war, it could become so in the future. Poor relations with the United States mean that U.S. citizens could be detained or harassed there.

Risks: Russian military buildup, arbitrary law enforcement, potential civil unrest, risk of detention.

3. Burkina Faso

Source: libre de droit / Getty Images
Many people in Burkina Faso live in grinding poverty.

Problems: Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State are active in Burkina Faso. A state of emergency is in effect in areas of the country bordering Mali. 

Risks: Terrorism, crime, and kidnapping.

4. Central African Republic

Central African Republic flag on Central African Republic Map
Source: GR.Stocks /
The Central African Republic is in a troubled neighborhood in Africa, surrounded by countries that each have their own struggles with political instability.

Problems: The Central African Republic has weak authority over its territory, with large swaths of the country under the control of armed rebel groups. Demonstrations, violence, and unexpected closures of airports, roads, and borders are not uncommon. 

Risks: Crime, civil unrest, and kidnapping.

5. Haiti

Source: Mario Tama / Getty Images News via Getty Images
Haiti has not recovered from decades of natural disasters and civil unrest.

Problems: Haiti has perennial problems with natural disasters and civil unrest. Armed gangs roam the country and have been known to wait near the airport to hijack vehicles with newly arrived foreigners.

Risks: Kidnapping, crime, civil unrest, and poor health care infrastructure.

6. Iran

Source: Wirestock / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
Vakil Mosque in Shiraz, Iran, symbolizes the country’s commitment to Islamic values.

Problems: Iran is involved in regional power struggles with Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. The country’s President was recently killed in a helicopter crash. It is still unclear how this might impact the stability of the country. Some regions of Iran have separatist movements and major cities have seen protests over civil rights issues in the recent past.

Risks: Risk of terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and the arbitrary arrest of U.S. citizens. 

7. Iraq

Tornado Clouds falling on green PeerMagron mountains in Sulaymaniyah. one of the beautiful cities of Kurdistan.
Source: MehtabHassan /
Kurdistan in Northern Iraq is one of the regions seeking independence.

Problems: Iraq remains unstable in the long-term aftermath of two wars with a coalition of Western and regional powers. There are separatist movements in the north and south of the country. Terrorists and weapons pass freely through the country from Iran to Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories. From time to time the U.S. and other powers carry out missile or air strikes against terrorists based in the country.

Risks: Terrorism, kidnapping, armed conflict, and civil unrest.

8. Israel

War on Gaza in may-2021 Gaza-Palestine
Source: mohammad abu elsebah /
Warfare in heavily urbanized Gaza has created a humanitarian crisis.

Problems: Following a brutal terrorist attack sponsored by Hamas in October 2023, Israel launched an intense and still ongoing military operation to destroy the organization in occupied Gaza. Approximately 35,000 people have been killed. Medical care and basic necessities are in short supply. The State Department recommends that anyone going there leave DNA samples on file with their doctor in case they are needed for identification of their remains.

Risks: Terrorism and armed conflict.

9. Libya

Source: Handout / Getty Images News via Getty Images
Foreigners in Libya need to take extraordinary security precautions.

Problems: Since the ouster of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has been shattered by civil war with rival power centers in the major cities of Tripoli and Benghazi. The country has an uneasy peace at the moment but is not safe for foreigners.

Risks: Crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict.

10. Mali

world map of africa with close up focus in mali and the capital city tombucatou
Source: Libin Jose /
Mali is mostly situated in the Sahara Desert, with limited natural resources for its people.

Problems: In the past two decades, Mali has been through civil wars and military takeovers. It continues to suffer from terrorism targeting foreigners, government facilities, and places of worship.

Risks: Crime, terrorism, and kidnapping.

11. Mexico

Police car with sirens
Source: Photo Spirit /
Law enforcement authorities face overwhelming challenges and problems with corruption in parts of Mexico.

Problems: The State Department issues travel advisories for individual states of Mexico. The country is mostly safe for tourists but has some separatist movements in the south and problems with human trafficking and drug cartels.

Risks: Crime is a risk in Guerrero state. Crime and kidnapping are dangers in the states of Colima, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, and Zacatecas.

12. Myanmar

Source: Panuwat Dangsungnoen / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
People in Myanmar lack many of the basic civil rights expected by the international community.

Problems: Under military rule for 3 years, Myanmar is fighting rebellions in various regions. It has come under international criticism for human rights abuses and harsh crackdowns on protestors and dissidents.

Risks: Civil unrest, armed conflict, arbitrary enforcement of local laws, limited and/or inadequate healthcare and emergency medical resources, and areas with land mines and unexploded ordnances.

13. North Korea

Source: Friemann / iStock via Getty Images
North Korea has a standing army of over 1 million service members. The country’s leadership subordinates all other social services to the needs of the military.

Problems: The reclusive government of North Korea uses its rivalry with South Korea and the United States as a means of staying in power despite the harsh deprivation of the country’s people. North Korea has a nuclear arsenal and is actively developing long-range missile technology to threaten the United States. Foreign citizens have been detained for long periods of time, severely mistreated, and used as negotiating bargaining chips. 

Risks: Risk of arrest and long-term detention.

14. Russia

The Second Belt And Road Forum For International Cooperation - Day Two
Source: 2019 Pool / Getty Images News via Getty Images
China is one of the few countries supporting Russia in its war against Ukraine.

Problems: Russia is under extreme economic sanctions for its 2022 invasion of Ukraine, which is really a continuation of the creeping annexation it launched with the takeover of Crimea in 2014. International banking services are no longer available, and flights are sporadic. Because of poor relations with the United States and other Western countries, the danger of unlawful harassment and detention of innocent visitors is real.

Risks: Potential for harassment of U.S. citizens, wrongful detention, arbitrary law enforcement, and the possibility of terrorism.

15. Somalia

Source: HomoCosmicos / iStock via Getty Images
Somalia’s central government struggles to maintain its authority in all parts of the country.

Problems: Somalia has been unstable for decades, with regions of the country under the control of regional warlords. Piracy is a particular problem along its long Indian Ocean coastline at the mouth of the busy Red Sea. Terrorism is common and often directed at foreigners.

Risks: Crime, terrorism, civil unrest, health issues, kidnapping, and piracy.

16. South Sudan

Source: vlad_karavaev / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
South Sudan is one of the newest, and poorest, countries in the world.

Problems: Independent for only 13 years, South Sudan struggles with endemic crime and civil unrest. Widespread access to firearms is one of the legacies of decades of civil war. The central government’s control of the country is tenuous, with regions fighting against one another and the central authorities.

Risks: Crime, kidnapping, and armed conflict.

17. Sudan

Sudan | Sunset view of Khartoum, Sudan
Source: ferozeea / iStock via Getty Images
Khartoum, Sudan, is located at the confluence of the White Nile and the Blue Nile.

Problems: Civil war in Sudan already split off the southern region of the country into the independent nation of South Sudan. This did not bring peace to the remainder of the country, as factions have continued to fight the central government. Civil unrest, natural disasters, and a refugee crisis are just the tip of the iceberg in Sudan’s severe problems.

Risks: Armed conflict, civil unrest, crime, terrorism, and kidnapping.

18. Syria

Source: Carlos Alvarez / Getty Images News via Getty Images
Bashar Al-Assad continues clinging to power in Syria with the backing of Russia.

Problems: Syria’s civil war continues with dictator Bashar Al-Assad apparently firmly in power but unable to extend his control over all parts of the country. Syria’s porous borders allow the movement of terrorists and materiel from Iran and Iraq to Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. 

Risks: Terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, armed conflict, and risk of unjust detention.

19. Ukraine

President Of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky Visits Turkey
Source: 2024 Getty Images / Getty Images News via Getty Images
Ukrainian President Zelensky continues to rally international and domestic support for Ukraine’s defense against Russia.

Problems: Russia is continuing its invasion of Ukraine despite international ostracism and severe economic sanctions. While active fighting is concentrated in the east, bombings and missile strikes happen randomly in population centers all over the country.

Risks: Active armed conflict.

20. Venezuela

Source: Brasil2 / iStock via Getty Images
Maracaibo Lake is the site of enormous oil deposits that are Venezuela’s main income source.

Problems: Venezuela is under socialist leadership and pursues an anti-American agenda. Economic problems and political repression in the country have led to a mass exodus of millions of people to neighboring countries and the United States.

Risks: Crime, Civil unrest, kidnapping, arbitrary law enforcement, wrongful detentions, terrorism, and poor health infrastructure.

21. Yemen

Source: Kilinson / iStock via Getty Images
Sanaa is the capital of Yemen.

Problems: Yemen continues to be involved in civil war and is a hotbed of terrorism, crime, and human trafficking. The United States and the United Kingdom have carried out airstrikes in Yemen in retaliation for missiles fired at Red Sea shipping.

Risks: Terrorism, civil unrest, crime, health risks, kidnapping, armed conflict, and landmines.

Resources to Keep You Safe

Medal symbol American embassy at kabul, afghannistan
Source: Kidsada Manchinda /
American embassies offer essential services to assist Americans traveling abroad.


Regardless of where you travel outside the United States, here are some of the U.S. State Department’s resources to keep you safe:

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.