State Dept Travel Advisory - Level 4

Russian Federation Travel Advisory Expanded

Russia travel advisories updated to Level 4 by the US State Department, Canada, and the UK government
red sky over crimea
Russia (Vax Before Travel)

The U.S. Department of State updated the Travel Advisory for the Russian Federation to include Level 4 notices.

On February 10, 2020, the US State Department clarified that Russia’s North Caucasus, including Chechnya and Mount Elbrus, and Crimea, are classified as ‘Do Not Travel’ areas.

The overall Level 2 Travel Advisory says ‘civil unrest can occur with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas.’

Furthermore, Russia enforces special restrictions on dual U.S.-Russian nationals and may refuse to acknowledge dual U.S.-Russia nationals’ U.S. citizenship, including denying U.S. consular assistance to detained dual nationals and preventing their departure from Russia.

Due to the Russian government-imposed reduction on U.S. diplomatic personnel in Russia, the U.S. government may have delayed the ability to provide services to U.S. citizens, especially in the Saint Petersburg area.

Separately, the Canadian and UK governments previously issued similar travel advisories.

On February 4, 2020, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advised against all travel to:

  • within 10km of the border with the Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk Oblasts
  • Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan and the districts of Budyonnovsky, Levokumsky, Neftekumsky, Stepnovsky, and Kursky in Stavropol Krai.

And, on February 11, 2020, the Canadian government updated its travel advisory notifying international travelers to ‘Avoid All Travel’ to the following areas, and if you are currently in one of these areas, you should leave:

  • districts of Rostov Oblast that border Ukraine
  • republics of Chechnya, Dagestan, and Ingushetia
  • Budyonnovsky, Kurski, Levokumsky, Neftekumsky and Stepnovsky districts, in Stavropol Krai (region)
  • republics of Kabardino-Balkaria (including the Mount Elbrus region), Karachai-Cherkessia and North Ossetia

The US State Department says ‘if you decide to travel to Russia, please consider these recommendations:

  • Monitor local and digital media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on news information.
  • Stay alert in locations frequented by Westerners.
  • Have travel documents up to date and easily accessible.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations and a plan to contact the family to let them know you are safe.’

Assistance for U.S. Citizens is available at the U.S. Embassy Moscow, which is located at Bolshoy Deviatinsky Pereulok No. 8, Moscow 121099, Russian Federation.

The Russian Federation is the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area. With 146.7 million inhabitants living in the country's 85 federal subjects as of 2020, Russia spans 11 time zones and borders 16 sovereign nations. 

The territory of Russia extends from the Baltic Sea in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east, and from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea and the Caucasus in the south.

Russia welcomed 4.2 million tourists overall in 2018, according to the Federal Security Service border service.

From a health perspective, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests travelers planning to visit Russia should schedule a pre-departure medication and vaccination review with a certified healthcare provider.

And recently, the UK travel office issued a notice regarding the coronavirus outbreak’s impact on Russia. 

The COVID-19 virus originated in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, but cases have been confirmed in some other countries, including Russia. You should comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the authorities.

The CDC publishes various vaccination suggestions here.

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Article by
Dani Reiter