Travel Alert Status
Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution
Safety and Security
If you are in Timor-Leste, you should exercise caution, use common sense, avoid large gatherings, remain alert with regard to your personal security, and avoid travel after dark to the extent possible. Exercise caution in public places, including, but not limited to, clubs, restaurants, bars, schools, places of worship, outdoor recreational events, hotels, resorts and beaches, and other locations frequented by foreigners.
You should maintain a high level of security awareness while moving around in Dili, be alert to the potential for violence, and avoid demonstrations, large political gatherings, and areas where disturbances have occurred. Demonstrations can occur at or near symbols and institutions of the Government of Timor-Leste, including government buildings, police stations, and houses belonging to prominent politicians. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence with little or no warning.
Timor-Leste has experienced several episodes of violence since independence. The most serious was in April 2006, when civil order broke down and the government requested the return of international security forces to help restore order. More recent instances of unrest included sporadic, localized violence following national elections in August 2007, and an attempt to assassinate former President Ramos-Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao in February 2008. There have been no major country-wide civil disturbances since 2008 and international peacekeepers departed from the country at the end of 2012.
Timorese security forces occasionally establish security checkpoints along roads. These legitimate checkpoints are intended to enhance security and should be respected. There are also occasional illegal checkpoints which you should avoid but which to date have been primarily targeted at Timorese. If you are traveling in Timor-Leste, you should remember that despite its small size, much of the territory is isolated and can be difficult to reach by available transportation or communication links.
All U.S. citizens should always ensure that passports and important personal papers are in order in the event it becomes necessary to leave the country quickly for any reason. The U.S. Embassy in Dili is not able to issue emergency passports and has only limited capacity to process passport renewals.