U.S. Department of State reminds U.S. citizens traveling to Europe of holiday season threats

Author: Jaime Signoracci

In the wake of the December 11 attack at a Christmas market in Strasbourg, France, the U.S. Department of State has reinforced information and advice for U.S. citizens traveling to Europe during the holiday season on travel.state.gov.

In the statement, the U.S. Department of State reminds U.S. citizens of heightened security measures throughout Europe due to ongoing threats posed by transnational terrorist organizations and individuals inspired by extremist ideologies. The statement also advises U.S. citizens to exercise caution at tourist locations, such as Christmas holiday markets, shopping malls, airports, nightclubs, restaurants, places of worship, transportation hubs, and other public locations frequented by Westerners.

U.S. State Department Messaging

In recent weeks, U.S. embassies across Europe have released security alerts informing Americans traveling to Europe of these threats through the holiday season, when many European cities host public celebrations and markets that attract large crowds.

Until this year, the U.S. Department of State issued annual, region-wide Travel Alerts warning the U.S. public of the increased threat during the winter holiday season. In 2018, Department messaging shifted to messages assessing security on a more localized basis, rather than region-wide. The Department includes messages, when necessary, in its Travel Advisories for specific countries, based on the level of security measures travelers should employ while visiting. For example, Level 1 is the lowest of the four-tiered system, indicating that travelers should exercise normal security precautions. These levels can change as the situation warrants.

Advice for Notre Dame Travelers to Europe:

  • Review all requirements and recommendations for Notre Dame-sponsored travel.
  • Check the U.S. Department of State country information page for your destination(s) for the most recent U.S. Embassy Security Alerts (top of page Embassy Messages, under Travel Advisory).
  • Enroll your trip in STEP to receive up-to-date safety and security information from the local U.S. Embassy in your country of travel.
  • Register your Notre Dame-sponsored travel. 
  • Communicate your whereabouts to your emergency contact.
  • Plan for travel delays and disruptions given heightened airport and border security.
  • Exercise caution and vigilance in crowded urban areas.
  • Contact NDSP (+1 574 631 5555) in the event of an emergency.