Potential Implications for Travel Due to Ebola in Parts of West Africa

The following travel alert was issued by the Department of State on December 2, 2014.

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to screening procedures, travel restrictions, and reduced aviation transportation options in response to the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Mali. This Travel Alert will expire on June 2, 2015.

Due to an outbreak of EVD in the West African nations of Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Mali, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued Level 3 Travel Warnings for Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone advising against non-essential travel and a Level 2 Travel Alert for Mali, to practice enhanced precautions for avoidance of contact with ill individuals. The Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website prominently features an Ebola Fact Sheet and links to the CDC Health Travel Warnings, Travel Alert, and general guidance about Ebola.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and CDC have also published and provided interim guidance to public health authorities, airlines, and other partners in West Africa for evaluating risk of exposure of persons coming from countries affected by EVD. Travelers should consult the U.S. Department of Homeland Security website for the most up-to-date information regarding enhanced screening procedures at five U.S. airports (Newark, New York JFK, O’Hare, Atlanta, and Dulles) for all people entering the United States from or who have traveled through the Ebola-affected countries. Travelers who exhibit symptoms indicative of possible Ebola infection may be prevented from boarding and restricted from traveling for the 21-day period. Moreover, CDC’s guidelines outline the minimum recommended procedures, and state and local governments have the power to implement more stringent procedures. Please note neither the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs nor the U.S. Embassy have authority over quarantine issues and cannot prevent a U.S. citizen from being quarantined should local health authorities overseas, or in the United States, require it. For questions about quarantine, please visit the CDC website that addresses quarantine and isolation issues.

Medical evacuation from Ebola-affected countries is very difficult, even for non-Ebola illnesses. The cost for a medical evacuation flight can exceed $200,000. We encourage U.S. citizens travelling to Ebola-affected countries to purchase travel insurance and ensure this insurance includes medical evacuation for EVD. Policy holders should confirm the availability of medical care and evacuation services at their travel destinations prior to travel.

Some local, regional, and international air carriers have curtailed or temporarily suspended service to or from Ebola-affected countries. U.S. citizens planning travel to or from these countries, in accordance with the CDC Health Travel Warnings and Health Travel Alert, should contact their airline to verify seat availability, confirm departure schedules, inquire about screening procedures, and be aware of other airline options.

The Department is aware that some countries have put in place procedures relating to the travel of individuals from or who have traveled through the affected countries, including complete travel bans. Changes to existing procedures may occur with little or no notice. Please consult your airline or the embassy of your destination country for additional information.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling or residing abroad enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment allows you to receive the Department’s safety and security updates, and makes it easier for the nearest U.S. embassy or U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you do not have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department’s website where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution, and read the Country Specific Information for your destination countries. For additional information, refer to the “Traveler’s Checklist” on the State Department’s website. Current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free from within the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in South Africa enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at travel.state.gov. STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read theCountry Specific Information for South Africa. For additional information, refer to the “Traveler’s Checklist” on the State Department’s website.

Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy in Pretoria and U.S. Consulates General in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban are located at the addresses below. The U.S. Embassy in Pretoria does not have a consular section and does not provide consular services to U.S. citizens. If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, outside of business hours, contact the nearest U.S. Consulate General at the emergency after-hours number listed below.

U.S. Consulate General, Johannesburg
(Covering Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West, and Free State provinces)
1 Sandton Drive (corner of Rivonia and Sandton Drive)
Sandhurst, Johannesburg
ACSJohannesburg@state.gov
Tel: 011-290-3000 (outside South Africa: +27-11-290-3000)
After-hours emergencies: 079-111-1684 (outside South Africa: +27-79-111-1684)

U.S. Consulate General, Cape Town
(Covering Western Cape, Eastern Cape, and Northern Cape provinces)
2 Reddam Avenue
Westlake, Cape Town
ConsularCapeTown@state.gov
Tel: 021-702-7300 (outside South Africa: +27 21-702-7300)
After-hours emergencies: 079-111-0391 (outside South Africa: +27-79-111-0391)

U.S. Consulate General, Durban
(Covering KwaZulu-Natal Province)
Old Mutual Building, 31st floor
303 Dr. Pixley Kaseme Street
ConsularDurban@state.gov
Tel: 031-305-7600 (outside South Africa +27-31-305-7600)
After-hours emergencies: 079-111-1445 (outside South Africa +27-79-111-1445)

U.S. Embassy to the Republic of South Africa
(Note: The Embassy does not provide consular services)
877 Pretorius Street
Arcadia, Pretoria
Tel: 012-431-4000 (outside South Africa: +27-12-431-4000)