Travel Alert Status
Level 4: Do Not Travel
Exercise increased caution in Russia due to terrorism, harassment, and the arbitrary enforcement of local laws. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
Do Not Travel to:
The North Caucasus, including Chechnya and Mount Elbrus, due to terrorism, kidnapping, and risk of civil unrest.
Crimea due to Russia’s occupation of the Ukrainian territory and abuses by its occupying authorities.
Terrorist groups, transnational and local terrorist organizations, and individuals inspired by extremist ideology continue plotting possible attacks in Russia. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas.
U.S. citizens, including former and current U.S. government and military personnel, who are visiting or residing in Russia have been arbitrarily interrogated or detained by Russian officials and may become victims of harassment, mistreatment, and extortion. For this reason, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow has advised all U.S. government and Department of Defense personnel to consider carefully travel to Russia. Russian officials may unreasonably delay U.S. consular assistance to detained U.S. citizens. Russian authorities arbitrarily enforce the law against U.S. citizen religious workers and open questionable criminal investigations against U.S. citizens engaged in religious activity.
Russia enforces special restrictions on dual U.S.-Russian nationals and may refuse to acknowledge dual U.S.-Russia nationals’ U.S. citizenship, including denying U.S. consular assistance to detained dual nationals, and preventing their departure from Russia.
Due to the Russian government-imposed reduction on U.S. diplomatic personnel in Russia, the U.S. government may have delayed ability to provide services to U.S. citizens, especially in the Saint Petersburg area.
Safety and Security
Due to continued civil and political unrest throughout much of the North Caucasus region of Russia, the Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Chechnya and all other areas of the North Caucasus, including North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Stavropol, Karachayevo-Cherkessiya, and Kabardino-Balkariya. The U.S. Government's ability to assist U.S. citizens who travel to the North Caucasus region is extremely limited. Due to ongoing security concerns, U.S. Government travel to the region is also very limited. Throughout the region, local criminal gangs have kidnapped foreigners, including U.S. citizens, for ransom. There have also been several kidnappings of foreigners and Russian citizens working for media and non-governmental organizations in the region. U.S. citizens have disappeared in Chechnya and remain missing. Close contacts within the local population does not guarantee safety. U.S. citizens residing in these areas should depart immediately.
Terrorism: Acts of terrorism, including bombings and hostage takings, continue to occur in Russia, particularly in the North Caucasus region. However, in the past several years, Moscow and St. Petersburg have also been the targets of terrorist attacks. Additionally, between October 15 – December 30, 2013 there were three suicide bombings targeting public transportation in the city of Volgograd, two of which occurred during the same 24-hour period. Other bombings have occurred at Russian government buildings, airports, hotels, tourist sites, markets, entertainment venues, schools, and residential complexes, and on public transportation including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights. Extremist groups occasionally threaten to set off bombs in market areas of major cities that are operated largely by migrant workers. Large-scale public events also present an attractive target for terrorists. There is no indication that U.S. institutions or citizens have been targets, but there is a general risk of U.S. citizens becoming victims of indiscriminate terrorist attacks. U.S. citizens in Russia should be aware of their personal surroundings and follow good security practices. U.S. citizens are urged to remain vigilant and exercise good judgment and discretion when using any form of public transportation. When traveling, U.S. citizens may wish to provide a friend, family member, or coworker a copy of their itinerary.
In the event the U.S. Government receives information of any specific and credible threat, the Department of State will immediately provide information to the public.
Demonstrations: U.S. citizens should avoid public demonstrations, whether properly authorized or not, and avoid any large crowds and public gatherings that lack enhanced security measures. Occasional peaceful demonstrations taking place near the U.S. Embassy do not generally interfere with public services, but U.S. citizens should avoid them when possible. Travelers should also exercise a high degree of caution and remain alert when patronizing restaurants, casinos, nightclubs, bars, theaters, etc., especially during peak hours of business.
Mt. Elbrus: Mt. Elbrus has become an increasingly popular destination for adventure travelers wishing to climb the highest mountain in Europe. However, the security situation in the regions surrounding the mountain remains highly unstable. The U.S. Embassy recommends against attempting to climb Mt. Elbrus, as it can only be done by passing close to volatile and insecure areas of the North Caucasus region.
Stay informed about the security of the area by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information, as well as the Worldwide Caution.
If you do not have Internet access, call us for updates --1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or from elsewhere on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. You can also call the U.S. Embassy in Moscow at 7-495-728-5577.