U.S. State Department Issues Worldwide Travel Warning For All

By: May Man Published: May 23, 2024

The U.S. Department of State has released a worldwide travel advisory, effective May 17, 2024, urging U.S. citizens to exercise heightened caution while traveling internationally.

This advisory underscores an increased risk of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and violent actions targeting U.S. citizens and interests worldwide. Concerns are particularly elevated for LGBTQ+ individuals and related events.

Rise In Violence Against LGBTQ+ Worldwide

The advisory reflects a complex global security environment. The State Department stated that there has been a significant rise in violence against LGBTQ+ persons and events, highlighting broader societal tensions.


This trend is not confined to the United States but is evident worldwide, with growing anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments.

FBI’s Crime Report Shows Proof

The FBI’s 2022 crime report indicates a nearly 33% increase in reported hate crimes based on gender identity in the U.S., highlighting the vulnerability of LGBTQ+ populations both domestically and internationally.

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Source: Freepik

The advisory stresses the need for vigilance, especially during Pride festivities and other LGBTQ+ community events.

Which Countries Are Deemed Dangerous?

Many developing nations, such as Nigeria, criminalize LGBTQ+ rights, with severe penalties including death sentences in more conservative regions.

Danger alert sign with siren light

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Qatar, for instance, imposes the death penalty for homosexual acts. Other countries deemed particularly dangerous for LGBTQ+ travelers include Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Iran.

Check Before You Travel

The U.S. State Department states that LGBTQ+ travelers face unique challenges in about 70 countries where consensual same-sex relations are criminalized.

Photograph of passports for several countries in a pile

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Resources like the Traveler’s Checklist and Country Information pages are vital for LGBTQ+ American travelers.

Somalia is Third Most Dangerous

According to Insider Monkey, Somalia ranks as the third most dangerous country for LGBTQ+ travelers. Under Somalian law, individuals found guilty of same-sex acts face execution. Due to the severe illegality of same-sex activities, LGBTQ+ travelers must conceal their identities if they visit.

Flag of Somalia

Source: Public Domain, Wikimedia

In some areas, punishments can include up to three years of imprisonment, making Somalia extremely unsafe for LGBTQ+ individuals and best avoided.


Second Place - Afghanistan

Afghanistan is the second most dangerous country for LGBTQ+ travelers. Decades of war, terrorism, and violence have already made the country hazardous. For the LGBTQ+ community, the situation has deteriorated further under the new government.

Flag of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Source: Wikipedia

Afghanistan’s laws criminalize all same-sex acts, with the death penalty as a possible punishment.


Most Dangerous Country To Visit For LGBTQ+ Travelers

Yemen is the most dangerous country for LGBTQ+ American travelers. The legal consequences for LGBTQ+ individuals include imprisonment, 100 lashes, and death by stoning for married men.

Flag of Yemen

Source: Nightstallion, Wikimedia

The country’s society holds a hostile attitude toward LGBTQ+ people, making it an unwelcoming and extremely dangerous destination for such travelers.


LGBTQ+ Labeled As Extremist Groups

The advisory also addresses broader geopolitical tensions and ongoing terrorist threats. Countries like Russia have taken harsh stances against the LGBTQ+ community, labeling them as extremist groups.

LGBTQ flag with drawing of two men and a heart in between

Source: Freepik

In contrast, some Latin American countries have made progress in LGBTQ+ rights, though these advances are inconsistent and often face local resistance.


Steer Clear From Level 4 Countries

Travelers are advised to research their destinations using the State Department’s travel advisory page, which provides detailed safety information. Countries are rated from Level 1 (Exercise Normal Precautions) to Level 4 (Do Not Travel).

A girl drawing the word NO on glass with red marker

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For example, Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza have specific advisories due to ongoing conflicts, whereas places like Liechtenstein and New Zealand are currently considered safer.


Take Precautionary Measures

In response to the advisory, the State Department has provided several recommendations to enhance personal safety during international travel.

A large commercial airplane flies through a blue sky

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U.S. citizens should be cautious in areas frequented by tourists, including venues associated with LGBTQ+ events and Pride celebrations.


Enroll In STEP

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) provides timely information and safety alerts for various countries and helps locate U.S. citizens during overseas emergencies.

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Chen Mizrach/Unsplash

Travelers are encouraged to utilize these resources and stay informed to ensure their safety while abroad.