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Northwestern University

Evaluating State Department Advisories

Many colleges and universities, including Northwestern, pay close attention U.S. Department of State (DOS) consular announcements, which are disseminated to the public to help assess travelers’ risks. It’s important for travelers to understand the different announcement types and sources. Currently, embassies and consulates, with DOS approval, issue three types of “Messages.” They are generally posted on an Embassy or Consulate’s webpage under the tab titled “U.S. Citizen Services.” Worldwide Cautions, Travel Alerts and Travel Warnings are collaboratively effort, but ultimately issued by the U.S. DOS, and listed on the State Department’s Travelers homepage. These announcements are further defined below.

General, Security and Emergency Messages

Worldwide Caution, Travel Alerts and Travel Warnings

For an even more detailed description of these terms, please see the Overseas Security Advisory Council document, “What Do Consular Products Really Mean?”

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