Media Notes

Upgrading the Department’s Consular Information Program

We have improved our consular affairs web site,, which provides Americans with the latest information for their international travel.  Since 1995, the Department has posted on the web current travel information on every country around the globe, as well as updates on developing issues and special conditions that Americans may face abroad.

On January 7, the Department modernized the look and feel of the consular internet site, and repackaged the documents available to Americans planning to travel abroad into accessible, user-friendly formats.  Reports on current conditions in all nations, previously known as Consular Information Sheets, are now known as Country Specific Information.  Reports about conditions that are expected to be of limited duration and scope, previously known as Public Announcements, are now titled Travel Alerts.  These new names for familiar, reliable reports will help the public find information more readily. Travel Warnings, which contain information on continuing conditions throughout a country, continue in their current format.

The Department of State considers the safety of Americans abroad among its highest priorities.  These improvements to reflect the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ latest effort to ensure that citizens have access to important information about conditions abroad.  Today, is implementing Really Simple Syndication to update travelers on changes to our content, and offers subscriptions to listservs that provide information of interest.  Since the Bureau instituted a formal consular information program in 1993, it has used developing technology to disseminate information to the public.  Consular information was initially available through a “fax-back” service, and was first provided on the internet in 1995.  Citizens can also call 1-877-407-4747 for information before traveling abroad.