United States moves Mexico to ‘Level 4’, do not travel alert

The United States government recommended that its citizens not travel to Mexico, not only because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also because of the increase in crime and kidnappings.


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The US State Department updated the travel alert that it reviews every 6 months, where it places Mexico at level 4, where it tells its citizens not to travel to Mexico, and restricts certain travel to State Department employees.

Violent crime – such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery – is widespread throughout Mexico. Armed criminal groups have been known to target and rob commercial vessels, oil platforms, and offshore supply vessels in the Bay of Campeche.

Reconsider travel to Jalisco due to crime

Violent crime and gang activity are common in parts of Jalisco state. In metropolitan Guadalajara, battles for territory control between criminal groups take place in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Shooting incidents between criminal groups have injured or killed innocent bystanders, the U.S. State Department warns.

Puerto Vallarta is excluded from State Department employee travel restrictions

The State Department does not restrict travel for its employees in Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, Riviera Nayarit (including Puerto Vallarta), Chapala, and Ajijic, they do restrict travel on Highway 544 from Mascota to San Sebastian del Oeste. However, the U.S. maintains its recommendation that citizens do not travel to Mexico at this time.

U.S. State Department Do Not Travel list:

Colima state due to crime.
Guerrero state due to crime.
Michoacán state due to crime.
Sinaloa state due to crime.
Tamaulipas state due to crime and kidnapping.

U.S. State Department Reconsider Travel list:

Chihuahua state due to crime.
Coahuila state due to crime.
Durango state due to crime.
Jalisco state due to crime.
Mexico state due to crime.
Morelos state due to crime.
Nayarit state due to crime.
Nuevo Leon state due to crime.
San Luis Potosi state due to crime.
Sonora state due to crime.
Zacatecas state due to crime.

Recommendations from the U.S. State Department if you travel to Mexico

  • See the U.S. Embassy’s web page regarding COVID-19. 
  • Visit the CDC’s web page on Travel and COVID-19.   
  • Keep your traveling companions and family back home informed of your travel plans. If separating from your travel group, send a friend your GPS location. If taking a taxi alone, take a photo of the taxi number and/or license plate and text to a friend.
  • Use toll roads when possible and avoid driving alone or at night. In many states, police presence and emergency services are extremely limited outside the state capital or major cities.
  • Exercise increased caution when visiting local bars, nightclubs, and casinos.
  • Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry.
  • Be extra vigilant when visiting banks or ATMs.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Reports for Mexico.
  • Mariners planning travel to Mexico should check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at  https://www.maritime.dot.gov/msci-alerts, which include instructions on reporting suspicious activities and attacks to Mexican naval authorities.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

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