ISA stateside and on-site staff closely monitor U.S. State Department (DOS) Travel Advisories and Country Specific Risk Indicators at all times. ISA also regularly reviews reports by the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO), as well as information provided by trusted security analysis services, local governments and media outlets.
U.S. State Department Travel Advisories
In January of 2018, the DOS replaced existing guidance and implemented a new system for U.S citizens to understand important travel security information. Under this new, 4-tiered, color-coded system, the DOS has issued an advisory level for every country in the world. The advisory levels are as follows:
- Level 1 - Exercise Normal Precautions (blue)
- Level 2 - Exercise Increased Caution (yellow)
- Level 3 - Reconsider Travel (orange)
- Level 4 - Do Not Travel (red)
In addition to its advisory level, the DOS provides specific information on any risk indicators affecting each country and specific advice on what travelers can do before they leave and once abroad to provide for their own safety. ISA encourages all students and their families to review the DOS country specific information for their program country and any countries where students intend to travel independently while abroad. This information can be found on the Travel.State.Gov website. Additionally, ISA advises students to thoroughly read the Health and Safety sections of the Online Orientation in their ISA Student Portal in preparation for their program.
Helpful resources for students include:
Department of State, Smart Traveler Enrollment Program:
Department of State, World Map
U.S. State Department Alert Issued for an ISA Program Country
If the U.S. State Department issues an official Alert for an ISA location, and the message includes an official State Department recommendation that all U.S. citizens evacuate the country, ISA’s default action will be to cancel the program and proceed with evacuation procedures. If the program has not yet started, ISA’s default course of action will be to suspend the program. Exceptions can be made if the language in the Alert gives ISA management clear reason to believe that the warning is the result of dangers that exist in areas well outside of the city/cities where our program is operating. If we do suspend the program, we will work with students to transfer them to another ISA program. During this process, we will ask students to obtain written approval from their home institution.
ISA Region-Specific Travel Restrictions
In order to maintain the highest level of safety for all ISA participating students, ISA has restricted independent travel to certain areas of the world. ISA participants are not allowed to independently enter or travel within the following regions during the participation of an ISA program:
- Burkina Faso
- Central African Republic
- Côte d’Ivoire
- El Salvador
- North Korea
- Saudi Arabia*
- Sierra Leone
- South Sudan
- The Gaza Strip and West Bank
There are a wide variety of criteria that ISA uses to determine whether or not to restrict travel to a specific region. The restriction may be based on an ongoing situation which poses an immediate threat to ISA participants, significant regions of the country that are dangerous for ISA participants, the lack of services for US citizens, or other factors.
This list of restricted locations is continually updated based on ISA direct observation, US Department of State recommendation, Overseas Security Advisory Council, WHO reports, and expert consultation. ISA reserves the right to add countries/regions to this list, without notice.
All ISA students are made aware of the regions that have travel restrictions when they sign our Code of Conduct which states that they will abide by all travel restrictions established by ISA. It is the ISA student's responsibility to be aware of the most current travel restrictions, which can always be accessed on ISA's website here. Violation of any ISA travel restriction is cause for automatic dismissal from the ISA program, and participants will be required to return to the U.S. immediately.
* For travel within or to these countries/regions, before finalizing any travel plans, students should submit their travel itinerary to their Resident Director at least two weeks in advance of their intended travel dates. Students may be asked to provide additional information. ISA reserves the right to prohibit travel within or to these countries/regions. Please contact ISA for more information if you are planning to visit any location outside of your host country while participating on an ISA program.