January 30, 2011 8:10 PM
The U.S. Department of State is recommending that U.S. citizens avoid travel to Egypt due to ongoing political and social unrest. On Jan. 30, the Department of State authorized the voluntary departure of dependents and non-emergency employees. It said violent demonstrations have occurred in several areas of Cairo, Alexandria and other parts of the country, disrupting road travel between city centers and airports. It also said disruptions in communications, including Internet service, may occur.
The Government of Egypt has imposed a curfew from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez until further notice, and U.S. citizens should obey curfew orders and remain indoors during curfew hours. U.S. citizens currently in Egypt should consider leaving as soon as they can safely do so. Cairo airport is open and operating, but flights may be disrupted and transport to the airport may be disrupted due to the protests. Travelers should remain in contact with their airlines or tour operators concerning flight schedules, and arrange to arrive at the airport well before curfew hours.
The U.S. Embassy in Cairo has informed U.S. citizens in Egypt who wish to depart that the Department of State is making arrangements to provide transportation to safe haven locations in Europe. This assistance will be provided on a reimbursable basis, as required by U.S. law. U.S. citizens who travel on U.S. government–arranged transport will be expected to make their own onward travel plans from the safe haven location. Flights to evacuation points will begin departing Egypt on Monday, Jan. 31. Persons interested in departing Egypt via U.S. government-chartered transportation should contact the U.S. Department of State and Embassy Cairo by sending an email to EgyptEmergencyUSC@state.govor by calling 202-501-4444.
The State Department said that in the event of demonstrations, U.S. citizens in Egypt should remain in their residences or hotels until the situation stabilizes. Security forces may block off the area around the U.S. Embassy during demonstrations, and U.S. citizens should not attempt to come to the U.S. Embassy or the Tahrir Square area at such times. The U. S. Embassy is open for emergency services for U.S. citizens only until further notice. As always, any change to Embassy hours will be posted on the Embassy website. U.S. citizens in Egypt who require assistance, or those who are concerned that their U.S. citizen loved one in Egypt may require assistance, should contact the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Cairo at EgyptEmergencyUSC@state.gov, or call 202-501-4444.
The State Department said demonstrations have degenerated on several occasions into violent clashes between police and protesters, resulting in injuries and extensive property damage. While demonstrations have not been directed toward Westerners, U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to be vigilant regarding their personal security. The State Department is strongly urging U.S. citizens to avoid all demonstrations, as even peaceful ones can quickly become unruly and a foreigner could become a target of harassment or worse. If caught unexpectedly near a demonstration, U.S. citizens should obey instructions from police and leave the area as quickly as possible. U.S. citizens resident in Egypt should monitor local news broadcasts and U.S. citizen visitors should ask tour guides and hotel officials about any planned demonstrations in the locations they plan to visit. U.S. citizens should carry identification and a cell phone which works in Egypt.
U.S. citizens in Egypt are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Travelers Enrollment Program (STEP) at https://travelregistration.state.gov. U.S. citizens without Internet access can enroll directly at the U.S. Embassy. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. Updated information on travel and security in Egypt may be obtained by calling 888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 202-501-4444. For more information, visit www.travel.state.gov