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Mexico: Visa requirements for Russians haven’t been eliminated

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CLAIM: Mexico is planning to soon eliminate visa requirements for Russian nationals seeking to enter the country.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: Missing context. Mexico’s ambassador to Russia says discussions between the two nations about mutually dropping visa requirements have been ongoing for years, but no agreement has been finalized. Eduardo Villegas Megías, Mexico’s ambassador to Russia, says there’s been no movement in the talks as Mexico remains neutral in Russia’s war in Ukraine.

THE FACTS: As Russia’s war in Ukraine approaches a full year next month, social media users this week are trumpeting an alleged new benefit for Russian traveling abroad: relaxed visa requirements for entering Mexico.

“Mexico will introduce a visa-free regime with Russia. Currently, active consultations are taking place on this issue. - Mexican embassy in Moscow,” one Twitter user wrote, suggesting confirmation of the news comes directly from Mexican diplomats. The post has been liked or shared more than 1,500 times as of Tuesday.

“Mexico is now looking at a visa free arrangement with Russia,” a Facebook user wrote. “It’ll be interesting to see America’s reaction when Russian missiles are stationed in Mexico.”

But while Mexico and Russia have made commitments to such an arrangement in recent years, nothing has been finalized, according to Megias.

“This project has been going on for years. These topics generally take a long time,” Megias told The Associated Press in Spanish via direct messages on Twitter. “However, the current situation does not allow us to continue this path for now.”

Despite what users claim on social media, he said discussions around visas aren’t currently active because Mexico has taken a neutral stance in Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“At this moment, there are no conditions to modify the migration agreement,” Megias wrote in Twitter messages. “Mexico has reiterated its position of neutrality in the face of the conflict.”

Additionally, no announcement of an accord between the two nations has been posted on the website or social media accounts for Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The ministry’s press office didn’t respond to requests for comment this week.

Mexican and Russian officials had expressed interest in loosening visa requirements to encourage more travel between the countries when Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obradorv was first elected in 2018.

Since then, however, the leftist politician has declared Mexico will remain neutral in Russia’s war and voted in favor of a United Nations resolution condemning the invasion.

At the same time, Obrador, of the Movimiento Regeneración Nacional Party, has slammed NATO’s policies toward the war as “immoral” and refused to join international sanctions against Russia or send aid to Ukraine.

Megias noted that since 2010 Russian nationals have been able to obtain a Mexican visa electronically and free of charge, whereas Mexicans must still go to the Russian embassy in Mexico in person and pay a fee for a visa to Russia.

“As far as I am concerned, this issue has been discussed on various occasions with the Russian authorities,” Megias wrote. “For years there has been no progress, although there’s interest in eliminating the requirement for a travel visa.”

Spokespersons for Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs didn’t respond to an email seeking comment Tuesday.

Earlier this month, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeny Ivanov told Russian state news agency Tass that “work is currently underway on draft projects regarding visa-free agreements” with a number of Latin American and Middle Eastern nations.

The minister specifically cited Mexico, noting similar agreements are also in the works with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and some Caribbean island nations.

If anything, the misleading claims demonstrate how Russia, throughout the war in Ukraine, has sought to show it’s still strengthening its ties across the globe, including in America’s backyard, said Evan Ellis, a Latin America expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank in D.C.

“I interpret this as the Russians trying to put some life into an initiative that had never gone anywhere, but maybe some in diplomatic circles in Mexico were politely not declaring dead,” he wrote in an email. “This is likely consistent with Russian disinformation, trying to leverage ambiguities in diplomatic discourse to show a lack of, or decrease in Russian diplomatic isolation.”

This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP .

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Mexico Visa for Russian Citizens - Entry Requirements for Mexico in 2023

Did you know that Mexico re-opened for tourism in June 2020? For travelers of certain nationalities the Mexico Electronic Travel Authorization is a required document for arriving in Mexico by air. The good news is that applying for this document with iVisa.com is very easy and very much like you would with an electronic visa.

Mexico’s Electronic Travel Authorization System is also sometimes known as an SAE . And the best part is that if your Travel Authorization is approved, you will not be required to obtain a Mexican Visa.

Mexico Visa for Russian Citizens - All you need to know

Do russian citizens need a tourist visa for mexico is there a special mexico visa for russian citizens.

Instead of a Mexico Visa for Russian Citizens, Russian nationals will need to apply for a SAE, which refers to Mexico's Electronic Travel Authorization System, which will determine if you can get a Mexico Visa.

What is the Mexico ETA (SAE)?

The Mexico Electronic Authorization System (ETA, or SAE in Spanish) is a travel document that is part of the New Mexico visa policy which allows nationals of Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and Brazil to travel to Mexico for a period of up to 180 days without having to obtain a Mexico Visa from their corresponding Mexican Embassy.

Visitors entering the territory with the new Mexico visa policy, a SAE eVisa, must not carry out paid activities. Valid reasons for travel are as follows: tourism, transit, businesses (such as attending meetings, supervisory visits, training, or counseling in Mexico), activities related to the exercise of ministers of worship, technical work with local companies (without receiving payment in Mexico), philanthropic activities, sports, freight transport, receiving medical treatment, attending fairs or conferences and studying.

How Do I Obtain The Mexico Electronic Authorization?

To obtain the document, you will be required to provide some information about yourself and your intended stay in Mexico. In addition, you also need to have a confirmed flight ticket to fill out the application.

Only passengers traveling by air may obtain the Mexico Electronic Authorization. It is not required to get a coronavirus test before traveling to Mexico, but if you are connecting to Mexico through another country, be sure to check the transit requirements of that country.

Make sure you bring a hard copy of your electronic authorization with you when visiting Mexico and present it at check-in for your airline and to the immigration officer(s) at the point of entry for Mexico.

What do I need to apply for the Mexico ETA (SAE)?

To obtain your Mexico Electronic Travel Authorization it is necessary to meet the following conditions:

  • Hold Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish, or Brazilian citizenship.
  • Have a valid Ukrainian, Turkish, Brazilian, or Russian passport.
  • Arrive in Mexico by air travel.

How long does it take to process a Mexico ETA (SAE)?

We offer three different processing speeds for you to get your Mexico ETA. Choose whatever suits your needs best from one of the following:

  • Standard Processing Time: 24 hours
  • Rush Processing: 4 hours
  • Super Rush Processing: 30 minutes

What is the cost to obtain the Mexico ETA (SAE)?

It depends on the processing time you choose. We offer three options to obtain your Mexico Electronic Travel Authorization :

  • Standard Processing Time: USD $39.99
  • Rush Processing: USD $72.99
  • Super Rush Processing: USD $122.99

You can easily pay with a credit or debit card when you apply.

How long is the Mexico ETA (SAE) valid for?

The Mexico Electronic Authorization System (SAE) is valid for 30 days after issued and allows the holder a Single Entry into Mexico for a period of up to 180 days Per Entry .

This means that once you visit Mexico and enter the country, you may stay no longer than 180 days Per Entry . In addition, you must apply for a new Mexico Electronic Travel Authorization if you wish to travel to Mexico more than once and apply for a Mexico visa.

Apply with iVisa.com , and get the travel documents you need for your trip in as fast as 30 minutes.

How long should my passport be valid before applying for the Mexico ETA (SAE)?

You must present a valid passport and it must be valid for at least the duration of your visit to Mexico. We recommend that it has a validity of at least 6 months after your date of arrival to Mexico.

When should I apply for the Mexico ETA (SAE)?

Mexico requires that you apply for a valid visa within 30 days of your intended arrival date. However, you can apply for an electronic visa with us at any time, as we will automatically queue your order until it's the right time to process your application to ensure it is valid for your entire trip.

Visa Policy of Mexico

This is a graphical example of the Mexican visa policy and determines which nationals need a visa, Mexico Electronic Travel Authorization, or require just a Mexico tourist card.

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Does obtaining an ETA (SAE) guarantee me entry into Mexico?

No, possession of an ETA for Mexico does not provide an automatic right of entry into the country. The National Institute of Migration may refuse entry to any person who they consider unable to fulfill the immigration requirements or if they consider that the person's presence in Mexico would be contrary to national interests or security.

View Mexico ETA (SAE) Sample

Here is an example of how the valid visa document or ETA (SAE) should look and what you should present upon your arrival when you visit Mexico.

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Do I need a COVID-19 test, a COVID vaccine or a vaccination certificate to enter Mexico?

No, you don't. As of today, COVID vaccination passports or certificates are not mandatory to enter Mexico. Since information may change quickly, we advise you to follow up on the latest Mexico travel updates and/or contact your local embassy.

There are no quarantine requirements for Mexico, remember to check if you need or have a valid visa though.

Other Mexico Visas available

iVisa.com also offers the Mexico Tourist Card for entry via air or land when you visit Mexico. This is a type of tourist visa available for some nationalities. You can use our Visa Checker tool to find out exactly which visa you need to enter the country.

You can also contact our customer support agents anytime, they are available 24/7 to answer your questions.

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Is It Safe to Travel to Mexico? Here’s What You Need to Know.

A spate of incidents, including a kidnapping and the death of two Americans near the border, have prompted travel warnings from the U.S. government.

travel from russia to mexico

By Elisabeth Malkin and Isabella Kwai

Two Americans found dead after they were attacked and kidnapped near the border. Airports shuttered amid gang violence in Sinaloa. Turmoil among taxi drivers in Cancún.

A number of recent security incidents have raised concerns about the risks of traveling to Mexico, where more than 20 million tourists flew last year to visit the country’s beaches, cities and archaeological sites, or to obtain health care .

Ahead of the spring break holiday, a popular time for American tourists to visit the country, the U.S. Embassy issued a travel alert , urging visitors to exercise caution by avoiding dangerous situations and drinking responsibly, among other recommendations. “Crime, including violent crime, can occur anywhere in Mexico, including in popular tourist destinations,” the alert said. And the State Department has warned tourists to steer clear of six states, including the state of Tamaulipas, where the recent kidnapping occurred — and to exercise increased precautions in other popular destinations like Playa del Carmen, Cancún, Tulum and Mexico City.

An overwhelming majority of visitors enjoy a safe vacation in Mexico, and tourists are largely sheltered from the violence that grips local communities. But the attack and kidnapping of four Americans in the border city of Matamoros, two of whom were later found dead, along with recent disorder in Cancún and violence in early January that forced the closure of three airports in northwest Mexico, is prompting questions about whether the country’s broader unrest is spilling into other destinations.

What happened on the border?

On March 3, four Americans from South Carolina traveling in a white minivan crossed the border from Brownsville, Texas, into the city of Matamoros, in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. One of the Americans was scheduled for cosmetic surgery.

Soon after the Americans crossed the border, gunmen fired on their vehicle and then abducted the group in a pickup truck. Officials later said that two of the group were found dead at a rural location alongside the other two, who had survived.

The Americans were attacked as a result of “confusion,” according to Irving Barrios, the state prosecutor in Tamaulipas. Matamoros has a long history of violence and highway shootouts, though that reputation has partially subsided in recent years. Then, in late February, one gang moved into the city to wrest control of drug sales from another, said Eduardo Guerrero, the director of Lantia Intelligence , a security consulting company in Mexico City.

“There are places in the country where the situation can change abruptly from one week to another,” he said. While the motives in the attack remain unclear, the Americans had “very bad luck,” Mr. Guerrero said, because they likely stumbled into a battle between the two gangs.

What happened earlier this year in Cancún?

Uber has been challenging the taxi unions for the right to operate in Cancún and won a court decision in its favor on Jan. 11. The ruling infuriated the powerful unions, which are believed to have links to local organized crime figures and former governors. Taxi drivers then began harassing and threatening Uber drivers.

The conflict generated widespread attention after a video of taxi drivers forcing a Russian-speaking family out of their rideshare car went viral, and after unions blocked the main road leading to Cancún’s hotel zone. That prompted the U.S. Embassy in Mexico to issue a security alert .

Mr. Guerrero said that the authorities will try to negotiate some kind of compromise, but there was a probability of more violence ahead.

Have authorities curbed violence that might affect tourists?

As a rule, criminals in Mexico are careful not to kill tourists, Mr. Guerrero explained, because doing so “can set in motion a persecution that can last years,” the consequences of which can be “very dissuasive,” he said.

But the rule doesn’t always hold. And in two popular destinations for foreign tourists — Los Cabos , at the tip of the Baja California peninsula, and the Caribbean coast — local and state officials have recently sought help from the United States to take on organized crime that threatened to drive off tourists.

A spasm of violence at the end of 2021 and early 2022 rattled the tourist industry along the Riviera Maya, the 80-mile strip of Caribbean resorts south of Cancún. Two visitors were killed in crossfire between local gangs in Tulum; a gunfight on a beach in Puerto Morelos sent tourists running for cover into a nearby hotel; a hit man gained entry to a luxury hotel in Playa del Carmen and killed two Canadian tourists believed to have links to organized crime.

The federal government sent National Guard units to patrol the beaches, and Quintana Roo state authorities asked U.S. law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration, to provide intelligence, Mr. Guerrero said. Local authorities, flush with tourism revenues, invested in the police, which is typically the weakest link in Mexican law enforcement.

The joint approach led to a lull in gangland gun battles in Quintana Roo’s tourist areas, and experts say that drug sales to meet foreign demand no longer take place on the street, although they are continuing more discreetly.

The success in tamping down drug violence in Quintana Roo follows a similar improvement in Los Cabos a couple of years ago when U.S. authorities also collaborated with local officials in the state of Baja California Sur. The murder rate soared in Los Cabos in 2017 amid cartel wars, and although tourists were not targeted, that year police chased gunmen into the lobby of a luxury hotel in San José del Cabo, and a cooler containing two heads was left in a tourist area.

What about tourist areas in other states?

Even in states where crime is very high, tourist areas have generally been spared. San Miguel de Allende, a haven for U.S. retirees, is an island of relative peace in a state, Guanajuato, that has been riddled with cartel violence .

The Pacific Coast state of Jalisco, home to the resort of Puerto Vallarta, picturesque tequila country and the cultural and gastronomic attractions of the state capital, Guadalajara , is also the center of operations of the extremely violent Jalisco New Generation Cartel . The cartel’s focus of violence is in the countryside; Puerto Vallarta and the beaches to its north, including the exclusive peninsula of Punta Mita and the surfers’ hangout of Sayulita, are all booming — and, despite drug sales, the cartel’s control seems to limit open conflict.

Mexico City has become a magnet for digital nomads and shorter term visitors , and concerns about violence there have receded. The city’s police force has been successful in reducing violent crime, particularly homicides, and the number of killings has been cut almost in half over the past three years.

Are there any other safety concerns?

Street crime is still a problem almost everywhere, especially in bigger cities and crowded spaces. Kidnapping and carjacking are a risk in certain regions and many businesses that cater to tourists operate under extortion threats. While tourists may not be aware of underlying criminal forces, their power sometimes spills out into the open in spectacular shows of violence.

The attack in Matamoros is only the most recent example. Mexican border cities, which have long endured waves of violence, are not typically tourist destinations, although Americans often cross the border to visit family, seek out cheaper health care or dine at restaurants.

Three airports in the state of Sinaloa, including the beach destination Mazatlán, were closed on Jan. 5 amid gang violence after Mexican security forces arrested Ovidio Guzmán López, a son of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the crime lord known as El Chapo, who is serving a life sentence in the United States. A stray bullet fired by cartel gunmen shooting at a Mexican military plane as it landed at the airport in the state capital, Culiacán, clipped an Aeromexico plane preparing to take off for Mexico City. Nobody was hurt and the plane returned to the terminal.

In August, gunmen positioned burning cars and buses to block roads around Guadalajara in response to a military raid on a meeting of criminal bosses. In October, a local politician was shot and killed in an upscale steakhouse in suburban Guadalajara as terrified diners crawled to safety.

Pierre de Hail, the president of Janus Group Mexico, a risk management company in Monterrey, is skeptical that security has improved. “There is too much random risk,” he said. “It’s all about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

What precautions should tourists take?

Mr. de Hail recommends researching the resort and news from the area you’re visiting. The U.S. State Department provides state-by-state information about travel risks in Mexico. As of early March, the department had issued its strongest possible warning — Level 4: Do Not Travel — for six states, including Tamaulipas and Sinaloa. Quintana Roo and Baja California Sur are at Level 2, indicating that visitors should exercise increased caution. (By comparison, the same Level 2 advisory is applied to France and Spain.)

The Matamoros incident shows how violence can flare up in places that have been quiet recently. Mr. Guerrero suggests searching on the internet before traveling for news of recent outbreaks.

Mr. de Hail also suggests buying travel insurance in case of a medical emergency or theft, and recommends that tourists keep a low profile to avoid attracting attention, he said, warning that it is easy to misread situations.

As anywhere, common sense should prevail, Mr. de Hail said: Don’t wear expensive watches or jewelry, and avoid dark and deserted places. He recommends making a copy of your passport, remaining alert while walking home at night and not leaving your drinks unattended. “I have had numerous cases of people asking for help because they were extorted coming back from bars,” he said.

He added: “If you’re staying in a place that has a report of strikes or demonstrations, don’t go there. You’re a fish out of water.”

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram , Twitter and Facebook . And sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to receive expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places to Go in 2023 .

Isabella Kwai is a breaking news reporter in the London bureau. She joined The Times in 2017 as part of the Australia bureau. More about Isabella Kwai

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Places the U.S. Government Warns Not to Travel Right Now

You may want to reconsider traveling to these countries right now.

Do Not Travel to These Countries

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Crime, civil unrest and terrorism are common risk factors for countries that end up on the State Department's "Do Not Travel" advisory list.

In 2024, tourism across the globe is “well on track” to return to pre-pandemic levels, according to projections by UN Tourism.

Global conflicts and natural disasters , ranging from a series of coups across Africa to catastrophic earthquakes in the Middle East affected international travel patterns throughout 2023. Still, international tourist arrivals reached 87% of pre-pandemic levels in 2023, according to estimates by UN Tourism .

In January 2024 alone, about 4.6 million U.S. citizens left the country for international destinations, 17% higher than the same month in 2019, according to the International Trade Administration . But some destinations warrant more caution than others.

On Oct. 19, 2023, following the outbreak of war between Israel and Gaza and flaring tensions in the region, the U.S. State Department issued a worldwide caution advisory due to “increased tensions in various locations around the world, the potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations or violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests.” Prior to this update, the most recent worldwide caution advisory was issued in 2022 after a U.S. strike killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s successor as leader of Al Qaeda, causing “a higher potential for anti-American violence.” The worldwide caution advisory remains in effect.

The U.S. State Department also issues individual travel advisory levels for more than 200 countries globally, continually updating them based on a variety of risk indicators such as health, terrorism and civil unrest. Travel advisory levels range from Level 1, which means exercise normal precautions, to Level 4, which means do not travel there.

About 10% of countries – 19 total – have a Level 4: “Do Not Travel” advisory as of Mar. 4. In Level 4 countries, the U.S. government may have “very limited ability” to step in should travelers’ safety or security be at risk, according to the State Department. Crime, civil unrest, kidnapping and terrorism are common risk factors associated with Level 4 countries.

So far in 2024, the State Department made changes to the existing Level 4 advisories for Myanmar, Iran and Gaza, and moved Niger and Lebanon off of the Level 4 list.

Places With a Level 4 Travel Advisory

These are the primary areas the U.S. government says not to travel to right now, in alphabetical order:

Jump to Place: Afghanistan Belarus Burkina Faso Central African Republic Myanmar (formerly Burma) Gaza Haiti Iran Iraq Libya Mali Mexico North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) Russia Somalia South Sudan Sudan Syria Ukraine Venezuela Yemen

Afghanistan: The Central Asian country is wrestling with “terrorism, risk of wrongful detention, kidnapping and crime,” according to the State Department. U.S. citizens are specifically at risk for wrongful detention and kidnapping. In 2022, the government reinstituted public floggings and executions, and women’s rights are disappearing under Taliban control. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul halted operations in August 2021. Since the Taliban took control , many forms of international aid have been halted . Meanwhile, in 2023, some of the year’s deadliest earthquakes killed more than 2,400 in Afghanistan while the country continues to face a years-long extreme drought.

Belarus: Belarus, which shares a western border with Russia and a southern border with Ukraine, has been flagged for “Belarusian authorities’ continued facilitation of Russia’s war against Ukraine, the buildup of Russian military forces in Belarus, the arbitrary enforcement of local laws, the potential of civil unrest, the risk of detention, and the Embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Belarus.” The U.S. Embassy in Minsk halted operations in February 2022.

Burkina Faso: Terrorism, crime and kidnapping are plaguing this West African nation. Terrorist attacks may target hotels, restaurants and schools with little to no warning, and the East and Sahel regions of the country are under a state of emergency. In late November 2023, hundreds died in clashes between state security forces and rebels near the country’s border with Mali. In June, more than 2 million people in Burkina Faso were displaced due to “violence linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group.”

Central African Republic: While there have not been specific incidents of U.S. citizens targeted with violence or crime, violent crime and sudden closure of roads and borders is common. The advisory states that “Embassy Bangui’s limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens, crime, civil unrest, and kidnapping” is a factor in its assessment. Recent data from UNICEF suggests the country has the worst drinking water accessibility of all countries in 2022.

Myanmar (Formerly Burma): Armed conflict and civil unrest are the primary reasons to not travel to this Southeast Asian country, which experienced a military coup in early 2021. Limited health care resources, wrongful detentions and “areas with land mines and unexploded ordnance” are also listed as risk factors. After Ukraine and Israel, Myanmar had the highest conflict-related death toll in 2023.

Gaza : Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization as designated by the State Department, controls much of the Gaza Strip, which shares borders with both Israel and Egypt. On Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas fighters broke across the border into Israel, killing hundreds of civilians and soldiers in a brazen attack that stunned Israelis. On Oct. 10, Israel hit the Gaza Strip with “the fiercest air strikes in its 75-year conflict” according to Reuters . The conflict has since escalated into war between Israel and Hamas, with regular Israeli airstrikes leading to extensive civilian casualties in Gaza. As of mid-December, nearly 85% of Gaza’s population were displaced from their homes, according to UN estimates . The region continues to face shortages of food , water, electricity and medical supplies , with conditions deemed “far beyond a humanitarian crisis.” The State Department warns of terrorism and armed conflict within Gaza’s borders.

Haiti: In July 2023, the Department of State ordered all non-emergency U.S. government personnel and family members to leave the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince in response to the increased risk of kidnapping and violent crime in the country , as well as armed conflict between gangs and police. The travel advisory states that cases of kidnapping “often involve ransom negotiations and U.S. citizen victims have been physically harmed during kidnappings.” The travel advisory also states that “U.S. citizens in Haiti should depart Haiti as soon as possible” given “the current security situation and infrastructure challenges.” A series of gang attacks in late September 2023 caused thousands to flee their homes, and many aid groups have been forced to cut or suspend operations amid escalating violence in recent months.

Iran: Terrorism, kidnapping and civil unrest are risk factors for all travelers to Iran, while U.S. citizens are specifically at risk for “arbitrary arrest.” U.S.-Iranian nationals such as students, journalists and business travelers have been arrested on charges of espionage and threatening national security. Executions in Iran rose sharply between 2021 and 2022, bringing the country’s total to nearly 580 people over the year, according to a report by Amnesty International released in May 2023.

Iraq: The State Department cites “terrorism, kidnapping, armed conflict [and] civil unrest” as cause for the country’s Level 4 distinction. Iraq’s northern borders, and its border with Syria, are especially dangerous. Since the escalation of conflict in neighboring Israel in October, there has been an increase in attacks against Iraqi military bases, which host U.S. troops and other international forces. In October 2023, non-emergency U.S. government personnel and eligible family members were ordered to leave the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

Libya: Following the end of its dictatorship over a decade ago, Libya has been wrought with internal conflict between armed groups in the East and West. Armed conflict, civil unrest, crime, kidnapping and terrorism are all risk factors. U.S. citizens have been targets of kidnapping for ransom, with terrorists targeting hotels and airports frequented by Westerners. The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli halted operations in 2014. In mid-September 2023, floods, which some say were intensified by climate change , killed thousands in eastern Libya. Clashes between armed factions escalated across the country in the latter half of 2023, including in the capital city of Tripoli and in Benghazi.

Mali: After experiencing military coups in 2020 and 2021, crime, terrorism and kidnapping are all prevalent threats in this West African landlocked nation. In July 2022, non-emergency U.S. government employees and their families were ordered to leave the country due to higher risk of terrorist activity. A U.N. report in August 2023 said that military groups in the country, including both Mali security forces and possibly Russian Wagner mercenaries, were spreading terror through the use of violence against women and human rights abuses. Democratic elections were supposed to occur in February 2024, but Mali’s military junta postponed the plans indefinitely. In December, the U.N. officially ended a decade-long peacekeeping presence in the country, which had been among the agency’s deadliest missions, with hundreds of the mission personnel killed since 2013.

Mexico: Each state in Mexico is assessed separately for travel advisory levels. Six of the 32 states in Mexico are designated as Level 4: Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas. Crime and kidnapping are listed as the primary risk factors throughout the country. Nearly 112,000 people were missing across the country as of October, a number the U.N. has called “alarming.”

North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea): U.S. passports are not valid for travel “to, in, or through” this country, home to one of the world's longest-running dynastic dictatorships. The travel advisory states that the Level 4 distinction is due to “the continuing serious risk of arrest and long-term detention of U.S. nationals.” In July 2023, a U.S. soldier fled across the border into North Korea, where he is believed to be in North Korean custody, the first American detained in the North in nearly five years. He was returned to U.S. custody in September 2023.

Russia: The travel advisory for Russia cites its invasion of Ukraine , harassment of U.S. citizens by Russian government officials and arbitrary law enforcement as a few of the reasons for the Level 4 designation. Chechnya and Mount Elbrus are specifically listed as Level 4 regions. Terrorism, civil unrest, health, kidnapping and wrongful detention are all noted as risks.

Russia Invades Ukraine: A Timeline

TOPSHOT - Black smoke rises from a military airport in Chuguyev near Kharkiv  on February 24, 2022. - Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine today with explosions heard soon after across the country and its foreign minister warning a "full-scale invasion" was underway. (Photo by Aris Messinis / AFP) (Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Somalia: A severe drought resulting from five failed rainy seasons in a row killed 43,000 people in 2022, and caused a famine amid conflict with Islamist insurgents . Violent crime is common throughout Somalia , pirates frequent its coast off the Horn of Africa, and medical facilities, where they exist, have limited capacity. Crime, terrorism, civil unrest, health and kidnapping are all risk factors. In January 2024, some passengers aboard a U.N.-contracted helicopter were taken hostage by al-Shabaab militants after the vehicle crashed in central Somalia.

South Sudan: Crime, kidnapping and armed conflict are the primary risk factors for South Sudan, which separated from Sudan in 2011, making it the world’s newest country . Weapons are readily available, and travelers have been victims of sexual assault and armed robbery.

Sudan: The U.S. evacuated its embassy in Khartoum in April 2023, and the country closed its airspace due to the ongoing conflict in the country, only permitting humanitarian aid and evacuation efforts. Fighting has escalated in the region between two warring generals seeking to gain control after a military coup in 2021 ousted the country’s prime minister. Civil unrest is the primary risk factor for Africa’s third largest country by area. Crime, terrorism, kidnapping and armed conflict are also noted. The International Criminal Court began investigating alleged war crimes and violence against African ethnic groups in the country in 2023. Millions have fled their homes due to conflict, and the U.N. has said its efforts to provide aid have been hindered by a lack of support, safety and resources. As recently as December 2023, the United Nations warned of catastrophic famine , with millions of children at-risk for malnutrition .

Syria: The advisory states that “No part of Syria is safe from violence,” with terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, armed conflict and risk of unjust detention all potential risk factors. U.S. citizens are often a target for kidnappings and detention. The U.S. Embassy in Damascus halted operations in 2012. Fighting in neighboring Israel has escalated since October, and the conflict has spilled over into Syria, where the U.S. has carried out air strikes following drone and rocket attacks against American troops in Syria and Iraq, triggered by the Israel-Hamas war.

Ukraine: Russian setbacks in their invasion of Ukraine buoyed hopes in Ukraine in 2023. However, Ukraine is a Level 4 country due to Russia’s invasion, with crime and civil unrest also noted as risk factors. The country’s forces shot down two Russian fighter jets on Christmas Eve 2023, in a move Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said “sets the right mood for the entire year ahead.”

Venezuela: Human rights abuses and lack of health care plague this South American nation, which has been in a political crisis since 2014. In 2019, diplomatic personnel were withdrawn from the U.S. Embassy in Caracas. Threats in the country include crime, civil unrest, kidnapping, wrongful detention and poor health infrastructure.

Yemen: Six of the nine risk factors defined by the State Department – terrorism, civil unrest, health risks, kidnapping, armed conflict and landmines – are all present in Yemen. Despite private companies offering tourist visits to the Yemeni island of Socotra, the U.S. government argues those arranging such visits “are putting tourists in danger.” Civil war and cholera are also both present throughout the country. The U.S. Embassy in Sanaa halted operations in 2015. The country has experienced a relative lull in the civil war fighting, but as peace negotiations have gotten traction, flare ups in the fighting have jeopardized progress. Most recently, the U.S. and U.K. have carried out a series of airstrikes in the country, targeting Iran-backed Houthi sites.

Other Countries to Watch

Since Jan. 1, the State Department has updated travel advisories for 17 different countries as well as for the West Bank and Gaza, adding information about specific regions or risk factors, or simply renewing an existing advisory. Travel advisory levels can change based on several factors in a nation, such as increased civil unrest, policies that affect human rights or higher risks of unlawful detention.

The State Department has given about 25 countries an assessment of Level 3, meaning it recommends people “reconsider travel” to those destinations.

On Oct. 14, one week after the deadly Hamas attack on Israel, Israel and the West Bank were both moved from Level 2 to Level 3, while Gaza remains at Level 4. The region’s travel advisory was updated in November to reflect travel restrictions for certain government employees who have not already left the area, and it was updated again on Jan. 3.

Following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war in early October, the U.S. State Department raised Lebanon ’s travel advisory level from a Level 3 to a Level 4 level due to “the unpredictable security situation related to rocket, missile, and artillery exchanges” between Israel and Hezbollah or other militant groups. In December, the U.S. Embassy in Beirut returned to normal staffing and presence, and on Jan. 29, the country was moved back to Level 3. Crime, terrorism, armed conflict, civil unrest, kidnapping and unexploded landmines are listed as the country’s primary risk factors. However, the country’s borders with Syria and with Israel, as well as refugee settlements within Lebanon, are specifically noted as Level 4 regions.

China became a Level 3 country in late 2020, with an update in December 2022 citing “the surge in COVID-19 cases, arbitrary enforcement of local laws, and COVID-19-related restrictions” as the reason for the advisory. In June 2023, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) was moved from the Level 3 to the Level 2 list, but travelers are still advised to be cautious in the area due to “arbitrary enforcement of local laws.” Meanwhile, Macau remains at Level 3.

Following an attempted coup in August 2023, Niger was elevated to Level 4 in August and the Department of State ordered all non-emergency U.S. government personnel and family members to leave the U.S. Embassy in Niamey. In early January 2024, the overall risk level for the country was lowered back to Level 3. Despite the new classification, the State Department still asks non-emergency government personnel and eligible family members to depart the country.

In mid-December 2023 there was an explosion at Guinea’s main fuel depot which has since affected access to health care and basic goods and services. The country was subsequently designated a Level 3 nation after having previously been Level 2. Concerns about civil unrest, health, crime and fuel shortages impacting local infrastructure were listed as the primary risk factors contributing to the change.

Several Level 3 countries are among the worst countries for human trafficking, as designated by the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report . Level 3 countries on this list include Papua New Guinea, Guinea Bissau, China and Chad. There are also nine Level 4 countries designated as among the worst for human trafficking: Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Russia, Syria, South Sudan and Venezuela.

Over 70 countries are currently at Level 2, meaning the State Department recommends travelers “exercise increased caution” when traveling to those destinations.

Botswana became the newest Level 2 country on Feb. 26 after having previously been Level 1, with crime noted as the primary risk factor.

France, which saw nationwide protests throughout 2023, has civil unrest and terrorism noted as risk factors for its Level 2 status, and Sweden’s Level 2 status is associated with risks of terrorism.

The Level 2 travel advisory for the Bahamas was updated in January to reflect water safety concerns. The advisory warns that “activities involving commercial recreational watercraft, including water tours, are not consistently regulated” and notes that government personnel are “not permitted to use independently operated jet-ski rentals on New Providence and Paradise Islands.” It also warns visitors to be mindful of sharks, weather and water conditions. The advisory also says that crime is a primary risk factor with gang-on-gang violence contributing to high homicide rates in some areas. Visitors are asked to “be vigilant” and to not physically resist robbery attempts.

Bangladesh 's Level 2 travel advisory was updated in October 2023 to add a note about the country’s general election , which took place Jan. 7, 2024. The advisory states “demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.” The U.S. has since claimed the country’s election was not free nor fair.

In November 2023, several Level 2 travel advisories were updated with new cautionary information. The advisory for Ghana was updated to reflect threats against LGBTQI+ travelers specifically, noting “anti-LGBTQI+ rhetoric and violence have increased in recent years.” Meanwhile, the advisory for South Africa was updated in February to note that routes recommended by GPS may be unsafe with higher risk for crime.

Turkmenistan was moved off of the Level 2 list to become the newest addition to the Level 1 list on Jan. 22, meaning normal precautions are recommended but there are no risk factors causing travelers to practice increased caution.

The State Department asks travelers to pay attention to travel advisory levels and alerts , review country information pages for their destinations and read related country security reports before going abroad.

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Is it possible to visit Russia as a tourist right now? (Q&A)

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Who can enter Russia as a tourist?

At present, people from 80 countries can enter Russia. There are two main conditions: first, one must be a citizen of that country or have a permanent residence permit; and second - one needs to enter Russia by plane. The primary document that regulates entry during the coronavirus pandemic is Order no. 635-r (March 16, 2020), which is regularly updated. 

Some of the countries on the list include the United States, Britain, Greece, Germany, Tunisia, Israel, Japan, Armenia, Qatar, Portugal, Mexico, Croatia, Belgium, China, France, Denmark, New Zealand, Iran, Peru, Norway and Argentina. Click here for the full list. 

In the meantime, any country with which Russia currently has a travel agreement can serve as the port of departure (however, the transit country must be on the above list).

What type of visa is required?

Those who already have a valid Russian visa - and citizens of the above countries - can enter Russia using that visa. Those who do require a visa can submit their documents at the Russian consulate in their home country.

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What is still not possible at this point is obtaining a unified electronic visa (a type of visa that is valid for up to 16 days, takes only four days to process and does not require submitting any documents relating to the purpose of visit). Therefore, in order to receive a regular tourist visa (valid up to six months) it is necessary to have a confirmed accommodation booking or an agreement with a travel agency.

Is a COVID test required?

Yes, PCR tests must be performed no earlier than 48 hours before arriving in Russia. The results must be printed in Russian or English (this is required even if you received a Sputnik-V vaccine shot). If you’re flying with children, they, too, must obtain a test, irrespective of age. And a form for arrivals must be filled in before entering the country.

Who is not affected by the rules? 

These restrictions don’t apply to foreigners with a valid Russian residence permit or those with close relatives. They can enter Russia from any country using any means of transportation, including by land.

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They also do not apply to partially recognized republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as citizens of Belarus (or those with Belarusian permanent residence permits), Kazakhstan and citizens of the Donetsk and Lugansk national republics. Entering by land is also possible when traveling from Mongolia or China. 

Furthermore, if Eurasian Economic Union citizens cross over by land, they don’t have to submit a coronavirus test or fill out the arrivals form. 

Is vaccination required? 

No. The QR codes required for visiting public gatherings before spring (including cafes, bars, hotels, etc.) are no longer required in the majority of regions. The same goes for various other COVID restrictions: regions have the final say, but almost all have been lifted.

What about masks?

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Masks are also no longer a requirement. However, some regions still require people to wear masks in some places, including stores, pharmacies, shopping malls, movie theaters and so on. In Moscow, the rule on masks has been completely lifted, while, for example, in Kaliningrad, some places still enforce them. 

Are there any quarantine regulations in place?

No, you will not be required to quarantine on arrival to Russia. However, if you get sick in Russia, you will have to be quarantined for a period of seven days at your own expense. Those who have come in contact with infected people do not require quarantining (provided they did not contract the coronavirus). 

Important! In many countries, there are still restrictions on LEAVING for the purpose of tourism, so having a Russian visa does not guarantee you will get permission to leave your country. This must be clarified before making any trips.

The information listed here is valid as of June 1, 2022. 

If using any of Russia Beyond's content, partly or in full, always provide an active hyperlink to the original material.

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What countries don’t allow entry to convicted felons? Full list of places Trump can’t visit

T he guilty verdicts handed down by 12 of his peers that sat on the Manhattan jury made Donald Trump the first former US president to be convicted of a crime. He will be sentenced 11 July on the 34 felony counts at which time he has said he will appeal the ruling.

That process will take several months and could, in time, make its way to the US Supreme Court. But that almost certainly will not happen before the 2024 general elections. As Trump is the presumptive presidential nominee for the Republican ticket his felony conviction has raised a number of questions.

People are wondering how it will affect his run for president ; if he can he vote in the election ; will he go to prison? One interesting detail that was raised by a Newsweek article is that Trump, as a convicted felon, may be banned from traveling to 37 countries.

Like the United States, there are 15 other countries that do not allow convicted felons entry into their territory according to the World Population Review cited in Newsweek. Those include Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom. Trump owns a golf course in the last of those countries up in Scotland which he technically will now be unable to visit.

There are another 22 countries that do not actively check whether someone is a convicted felon at a port of entry but can deny entry if its found that an individual has a felon on their criminal record. That is the case in Ireland where Trump has another golf course.

Here are the countries in both categories.

Don’t allow convicted felons to enter

Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Cuba, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Macau, New Zealand, South Africa, Taiwan and the United Kingdom

Deny entry if it’s discovered a person is a convicted felon

Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates

Trump was convicted in the first criminal case of the four in which he has been charged. It was brought against him by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg who had accused Trump of falsifying business documents related to reimbursing his then-lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen for the $130,000 that had been paid to Stormy Daniels , a porn star.

Normally that would’ve been a misdemeanor, but it was done as part of another crime, illegally influencing the 2016 presidential election, which bumped the charges up to a felony. She claims that she had sex with Trump at a golfing tournament in 2006 and was looking to sell her story prior to the election.

While David Pecker , the head of the publisher of the National Enquirer in 2016 had paid another woman, former Playmate Karen McDougal , who claimed to have had an affair with Trump in a ‘catch-and-kill’ scheme he had organized with the then-candidate for president, he refused to make the payments to Daniels.

Trump put off paying the adult film star himself until the Access Hollywood tape came out where he was caught on a hot microphone saying that a man like him could get away with sexual assault and grope women’s genitals. The damage to his presidential run of that audio, prompted him to order Cohen to pay Daniels, according to the case laid out by prosecutors, to avoid any further harm to his chances of winning in 2016.

One interesting detail from Trump’s conviction on 34 felony counts is that he may be banned from travelling to certain countries. Here’s a look where.

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Sometimes travel dates aren't set in stone. If your preferred travel dates have some wiggle room, flexible dates will show you all the options when flying to the United States from Russia up to 3 days before/after your preferred dates. You can then pick the flights that suit you best.

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Warnings and insurance

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The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice .

Areas where FCDO advises against all but essential travel

Your travel insurance could be invalidated if you travel against FCDO advice. Consular support is also severely limited where FCDO advises against travel.

State of Baja California

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the city of Tijuana, except:

  • airside transit through Tijuana airport
  • the Cross Border Xpress bridge from the airport linking terminals across the Mexican-US border
  • the federal toll road 1D and Via Rápida through Tijuana to the border

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the city of Tecate in Baja California (including roads between Tijuana and Tecate)

Note: FCDO does not advise against all travel or all but essential travel to any part of the state of Baja California Sur.

State of Chiapas

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to within 40km of the Guatemalan border between the Pacific Coast up to and including the border crossing at Gracias a Dio

FCDO advises against all but essential travel on Federal Highway 199 (Carretera Federal 199) between Rancho Nuevo (just outside San Cristobal de las Casas) and the Chancalá junction just outside Palenque (where Federal Highway 199 meets Federal Highway 307).

State of Chihuahua

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the state of Chihuahua, except:

  • the city of Chihuahua
  • the border crossing in Ciudad Juárez (accessed by federal toll road 45)
  • federal toll road 45D connecting the cities of Chihuahua and Ciudad Juárez
  • the Copper Canyon rail route to and from Chihuahua and towns immediately on this route including Creel
  • the road from Creel via San Juanito to San Pedro
  • state highway 16 from San Pedro to Chihuahua

State of Colima

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the state of Colima, except:

  • the city of Manzanillo accessed by sea or air via the Manzanillo-Costalegre International Airport

State of Guanajuato

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the areas southwest of road 45D.

State of Guerrero

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the state of Guerrero, except:

  • the town of Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa accessed by air.

State of Jalisco

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the areas south and southwest of Lake Chapala to the border with the state of Colima.

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the northern municipalities of:

  • Chimaltitán
  • Hostotipaquillo
  • Huequilla el Alto
  • San Martin de Bolaños
  • Santa Maria de los Ángeles
  • Villa Guerrero

State of Michoacán

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the state of Michoacán, except:

  • the city of Morelia accessed by federal toll roads 15D, 126 and 43; and the federal toll road 48D between the city of Morelia and the General Francisco Mujica airport
  • the town of Pátzcuaro accessed by federal toll roads 14D and 15 from Morelia, and boat trips out to islands on Lake Pátzcuaro
  • the Federal Highway 15D

State of Sinaloa

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the state of Sinaloa, except:

  • the cities of Los Mochis and Mazatlán
  • road 32 that runs between El Fuerte and Los Mochis
  • the 15D federal toll road that runs the length of the state
  • the Copper Canyon rail route to and from Los Mochis, El Fuerte and the towns immediately on this route

State of Tamaulipas

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the state of Tamaulipas, except:

  • the border crossing at Nuevo Laredo accessed by federal toll road 85D from Monterrey
  • Federal highways 80, 81 and 85 between Tampico, Ciudad de Victoria and Magueyes, and the entire area of Tamaulipas south of these highways.

State of Zacatecas

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the state of Zacatecas.

Find out more about why FCDO advises against travel to these areas .

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and any specific travel advice that applies to you: 

  • women travellers  
  • disabled travellers  
  • LGBT+ travellers

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter , Facebook and Instagram . You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance . Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

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Travel Advisory September 5, 2023

Russia - level 4: do not travel.

Updated to remove COVID-specific information and the kidnapping risk indicator as well as updates to security risks.

Do not travel to Russia due to the unpredictable consequences of the  unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces , the potential for  harassment and the singling out of U.S. citizens for detention by Russian government security officials , the  arbitrary enforcement of local law ,  limited flights into and out of Russia , the  Embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia , and the possibility of  terrorism .  U.S. citizens residing or travelling in Russia should depart immediately.  Exercise increased caution due to  the risk of wrongful detentions.

The U.S. government’s ability to provide routine or emergency services to U.S. citizens in Russia is severely limited, particularly in areas far from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, due to Russian government limitations on travel for embassy personnel and staffing, and the ongoing suspension of operations, including consular services, at U.S. consulates.

There have been numerous reports of drone attacks, explosions, and fires in areas in Western and Southern Russia, particularly near the Russian border with Ukraine, as well as in Moscow and St. Petersburg. In the event of an emergency, U.S. citizens should follow instructions from local authorities and seek shelter immediately.

In September 2022, the Russian government mobilized citizens to the armed forces in support of its invasion of Ukraine. Russia may refuse to acknowledge dual nationals’ U.S. citizenship, deny their access to U.S. consular assistance, subject them to mobilization, prevent their departure from Russia, and/or conscript them. 

U.S. citizens should note that U.S. credit and debit cards no longer work in Russia, and options to electronically transfer funds from the United States are extremely limited due to sanctions imposed on Russian banks. There are reports of cash shortages within Russia.

Commercial flight options are extremely limited and are often unavailable on short notice. If you wish to depart Russia, you should make independent arrangements as soon as possible. The U.S. Embassy has severe limitations on its ability to assist U.S. citizens to depart the country and transportation options may suddenly become even more limited. Click  here  for Information for U.S. Citizens Seeking to Depart Russia.

U.S. Embassy personnel are generally not permitted to travel on Russian air carriers due to safety concerns.  The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) downgraded the air safety rating for Russia from Category 1 to Category 2 on April 21, 2022, due to Russia’s Federal Agency for Air Transport noncompliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards.  The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) prohibiting U.S. aviation operations into, out of, within, or over those areas of the Moscow Flight Information Region (FIR), the Samara FIR (UWWW) and the Rostov-na-Donu (URRV) FIR within 160NM of the boundaries of the Dnipro (UKDV) Flight Information Regions. For more information, U.S. citizens should consult the  Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions, and Notices .

The right of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are not consistently protected in Russia. U.S. citizens should avoid all political or social protests and not photograph security personnel at these events. Russian authorities have arrested U.S. citizens who have participated in demonstrations and there are numerous reports Russian nationals have been detained for social media activity. 

Country Summary:

U.S. citizens, including former and current U.S. government and military personnel and private citizens engaged in business who are visiting or residing in Russia, have been interrogated without cause and threatened by Russian officials, and may become victims of harassment, mistreatment, and extortion. 

Russian security services may fail to notify the U.S. Embassy of the detention of a U.S. citizen and unreasonably delay U.S. consular assistance. Russian security services are increasing the arbitrary enforcement of local laws to target foreign and international organizations they consider “undesirable.”

Russian security services have arrested U.S. citizens on spurious charges, singled out U.S. citizens in Russia for detention and harassment, denied them fair and transparent treatment, and convicted them in secret trials or without presenting credible evidence. Furthermore, Russian authorities arbitrarily enforce local laws against U.S. citizen religious workers and have opened questionable criminal investigations against U.S. citizens engaged in religious activity. U.S. citizens should avoid travel to Russia to perform work for or volunteer with non-governmental organizations or religious organizations.

There have been multiple security incidents in southwestern Russia related to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine. The Russian government declared martial law in Russia’s regions bordering Ukraine (Bryansk, Kursk, Belgorod, Voronezh, Rostov, Krasnodar) on October 20, 2022. The martial law regime allows the rapid introduction of restrictive measures such as curfew, seizure of private property, restriction of entry/exit and freedom of movement, internment of foreigners, forced relocation of local residents, and restrictions on public gatherings. U.S. citizens should avoid all travel to these areas.

Recent legislation has expanded the ability of Russian authorities to detain, question, and arrest individuals suspected of acting against Russia’s interests, including posts on personal social media accounts, engaging with foreign and international entities, discrediting the Russian state or military, as well as advocating for the rights of LGBTQI+ persons.

Terrorist groups, both 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 and systems, 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. Travel to the North Caucasus (including Chechnya and Mt. Elbrus) is prohibited for U.S. government employees and strongly discouraged for U.S. citizens.

The international community, including the United States and Ukraine, does not recognize Russia’s purported annexation of Crimea as well as four other Ukrainian oblasts – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhya – that Russia has purported to annex more recently. There is extensive Russian Federation military presence in these areas. Russia staged its further invasion of Ukraine, in part, from occupied Crimea, and Russia is likely to take further military actions in Crimea, and the four other Ukrainian oblasts are the subject of intensive fighting. There are continuing abuses against foreigners and the local population by the occupation authorities in these regions, particularly against those who are seen as challenging Russia’s authority.

The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv continues to provide consular services to U.S. citizens in Crimea as well as four other Ukrainian oblasts partially occupied by Russia – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhya, although the ongoing conflict severely restricts the Embassy’s ability to provide services in these areas.

Read the  country information page  for additional information on travel to Russia.

If you decide to travel to Russia:

  • Familiarize yourself with the information on  what the U.S. government can and cannot do to assist you in a crisis overseas .
  • Have a contingency plan in place that does not rely on U.S. government assistance. Review the  Traveler’s Checklist .
  • Monitor local and international media for breaking events and adjust your contingency plans based on the new information.
  • Ensure travel documents are valid and easily accessible.
  • Visit our website for  Travel to High-Risk Areas .
  • Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)  to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on  Facebook  and  Twitter .
  • Review the  Country Security Report  for Russia.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest  Travel Health Information  related to your travel.

Important Information for U.S. Citizens Seeking to Depart Russia (Updated Monthly).

Click Here for Important Information for U.S. Citizens Seeking to Depart Russia (Updated Monthly) .

Embassy Messages

View Alerts and Messages Archive

Quick Facts

Required six months beyond intended stay

2 pages per stamp

$10,000 or more must be declared

You may export up to $3,000 (or equivalent) without declaring it

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Moscow Bolshoy Deviatinsky Pereulok No. 8 Moscow 121099 Russian Federation Telephone:  +(7) (495) 728-5000 or +(7) (495) 728-5577 Emergency After-Hours Telephone:  +(7) (495) 728-5000 Fax:  +(7) (495) 728-5084 Email:   [email protected]

U.S. Consulate General Vladivostok 32 Ulitsa Pushkinskaya Vladivostok 690001 Russian Federation

Consular services at U.S. Consulate General Vladivostok remain suspended.  Contact Embassy Moscow for all consular services.

U.S. Consulate General Yekaterinburg Ulitsa Gogolya 15a, 4th floor, Yekaterinburg 620151 Russian Federation

Effective April 1, 2021, Consulate General Yekaterinburg suspended all consular services.  Contact Embassy Moscow for all consular services.

U.S. Consulate General St. Petersburg

Due to the Russian government’s ordered closure of the U.S. Consulate General, as of March 31, 2018, U.S. citizen visitors and residents in St. Petersburg must contact the U.S. Embassy in Moscow for all consular services .

Destination Description

Learn about the U.S. relationship to countries around the world.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Russian authorities strictly enforce all visa and immigration laws. The Embassy of the Russian Federation website provides the most up to date information regarding visa regulations and requirements. In accordance with Russia’s Entry-Exit Law, Russian authorities may deny entry or reentry into Russia for 5 years or more and cancel the visas of foreigners who have committed two administrative violations within the past three years. Activities that are not specifically covered by the traveler’s visa may result in an administrative violation and deportation.

Under a bilateral agreement signed in 2012, qualified U.S. applicants for humanitarian, private, tourist, and business visas may request and receive multiple-entry visas with a validity of three years or a single entry, three-month validity visa. ( Please note that other types of visas are not part of the agreement and those visa holders should pay close attention to the terms of their visas.) You cannot enter Russia prior to the date on your visa, and you must exit Russia before your visa expires . The maximum period of stay is shown on the visa.

  • You must have a current U.S. passport with the appropriate visa . Russian visas in an expired or canceled passport are not valid.
  • You must obtain a valid visa for your specific purpose of travel before arriving in Russia, unless you are arriving as a cruise ship passenger (see below information for passengers of cruise ships and ferries). Do not attempt to enter Russia before the date shown on your visa. If you are staying in Russia for more than 7 days, you must register your visa and migration card with the General Administration for Migration Issues of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
  • Cruise ship passengers in St. Petersburg should seek assistance from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow for all emergency and passport services. 
  • Cruise ship passengers should be aware that loss or theft of a passport and/or migration card could result in the inability to obtain lodging. Hotels and hostels may not allow guests to check in without a passport, a migration card, or Russian visa.
  • We recommend U.S. citizens obtain a Russian visa before traveling to Russia, in case of an emergency while in the country, such as unexpected medical issues or if you are not able to return on the cruise ship for any reason.
  • Students and English teachers should be certain that their activities are in strict keeping with their visa type. Students must not teach or coach English, whether compensated or not, while traveling on a student visa as it is considered a visa violation and may subject you to detention and deportation. 
  • With the exceptions noted below, travelers will are not required to have a transit visa if they are transiting through an international airport in Russia, do not leave the Customs zone, and depart from the same airport within 24 hours.  
  • Travelers must have a Russian transit visa if they plan to transit through Russia by land en route to a third country or if they transfer to another airport.
  • Travelers must possess a Russian transit visa in addition to a Belarusian visa if their travel route either to or from Belarus goes through Russia.

Dual Nationals: Anyone entering Russia who has claim to Russian citizenship, regardless of any other citizenship held, is fully accountable to the Russian authorities for all obligations of a Russian citizen, including the required military service.

  • U.S.-Russian dual nationals and Russian citizens who are Legal Permanent residents of the United States must register their dual nationality/foreign residency. Registration forms and further information (in Russian only) can be found on the website of the General Administration for Migration Issues of the Interior Ministry of Russia.
  • U.S.-Russian dual nationals must both enter and exit on a Russian passport. You will not be permitted to depart on an expired passport. Applying for a passport can take several months. 
  • U.S.-Russian dual nationals who return to Russia on a “Repatriation Certificate” are only permitted to enter Russia and will not be permitted to depart Russia until they obtain a valid Russian passport.
  • Minors who also have Russian citizenship and are traveling alone or in the company of adults who are not their parents, must carry a Russian passport as well as their parents’ notarized consent for the trip, which can be obtained at a Russian embassy or consulate, or a U.S. notary public. A consent obtained in the United States from a U.S. notary public must be apostilled, translated into Russian, and properly affixed. Authorities will prevent such minors from entering or leaving Russia if they cannot present this consent.

Crimea: Follow the guidance in the Travel Advisory for Ukraine and do not travel to the Crimean Peninsula. 

Documentary Requirements for obtaining a Russian visa: Consult with the Embassy of the Russian Federation for detailed explanations of documentary requirements.

HIV/AIDS Entry Restrictions: Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Russia. Applicants for longer-term tourist and work visas or residence permits are required to undergo an HIV/AIDS test.

Find information on dual nationality , prevention of international child abduction and customs regulations  on our websites.

Safety and Security

Terrorism: Terrorist groups, transnational and local terrorist organizations, and lone actors inspired by extremist ideology and messaging 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

  • Moscow and St. Petersburg have been the targets of terrorist attacks, and bomb threats against public venues are common. If you are at a location that receives a bomb threat, follow all instructions from the local police and security services.

North Caucasus Region: A risk of civil and political unrest continues throughout the North Caucasus region including Chechnya, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Stavropol, Karachayevo-Cherkessiya, and Kabardino-Balkariya. Local criminal gangs have kidnapped foreigners, including U.S. citizens, for ransom. In the Republic of Chechnya, local authorities may harbor particular hostility towards U.S. travelers.

  • Do not travel to Chechnya or any other areas in the North Caucasus region.
  • If you reside in these areas, depart immediately.
  • U.S. government travel to the region is prohibited, due to ongoing security concerns.
  • The U.S. Government has no ability to assist U.S. citizens in the North Caucasus Region.

Mt. Elbrus:

  • Do not attempt to climb Mt. Elbrus, as individuals must pass close to volatile and insecure areas of the North Caucasus region.
  • Do not travel to this Russian occupied territory of Ukraine.
  • The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Crimea. Contact the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv for questions regarding consular services.
  • U.S. government officials are prohibited from traveling to Crimea. See the Departments Travel Advisory for Ukraine .

Harassment:  Harassment of U.S.-based religious and student groups can take place in Russia, and you should be aware of the possibility of anti-U.S. sentiment or harassment. U.S. citizens, including current and former U.S. government and military personnel, maybe subject to additional scrutiny by Russian security services. Remain alert, avoid any protests or demonstrations, and use discretion when commenting publicly on political developments. You can find safety and security  Alerts on the Embassy’s website .

  • Police do not need to show probable cause in order to stop, question, or detain individuals. Please comply with the requests of local law enforcement officials.
  • Report harassment or crimes to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow or the nearest U.S. Consulate General.


  • Avoid public demonstrations. U.S. citizens who have participated in demonstrations have been arrested by the Russian authorities.

Crime: Crimes against tourists do occur at popular tourist sites and on public transportation. U.S. citizens have been victims of serious crimes when visiting Russia. Russian authorities are not always willing to impartially and thoroughly investigate crimes.

  • Be cautious and aware of your surroundings.
  • Exercise caution in the vicinity of large crowds.
  • Do not leave bags unattended. 
  • Never leave your drink unattended in a bar or club. Alcohol was a significant factor in most criminal activity reported by foreign visitors.
  • Report Credit card or ATM card theft to the credit card company or issuing bank immediately.
  • Avoid carrying large sums of cash . 

Cybercrime: Cybercrime is a significant problem across Russia. Russian hackers and traditional organized crime structures continue to work together, raising threats to the financial sector. The risk of infection, compromise, and theft via malware, spam e-mail, sophisticated spear phishing, and social engineering attacks is significant. U.S. citizens and companies should remain vigilant against cyber threats and actively use cyber security measures to mitigate risks.

U.S. citizens have no reasonable expectation of privacy in Russia. Telephone and electronic communications are subject to surveillance at any time and without advisory, which may compromise sensitive information. The Russian System for Operational-Investigative Activities (SORM) legally permits authorities to monitor and record all data that traverses Russia’s networks.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for additional information on scams.

Victims of Crime : U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. Report crimes to the local police at 02 or 102, or 112 if using a mobile phone, and the U.S. Embassy at +7 495 728-5000..

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime. United States law enforcement agencies do not have jurisdiction to investigate crimes against U.S. citizens that occur on Russian territory.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas .

  • Help you find appropriate medical care
  • Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • Provide general information regarding the victim’s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion
  • Provide a list of local attorneys
  • Provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical
  • Support in cases of destitution
  • Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport.

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate General for assistance.

Tourism:  The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance . 

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Arrest Notification: Russia routinely fails to meet its obligation to inform the U.S. Embassy of arrests of U.S. citizens. If you are detained, ask the police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or Consulate immediately. Your U.S. passport does not protect you from arrest or prosecution. See our webpage for further information.

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to all Russian laws. If you violate these laws, even unknowingly, you may be arrested, fined, imprisoned, or expelled and may be banned from re-entering Russia. 

Some crimes committed outside the United States are prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice  website.

  • You can be arrested, detained, fined, deported and banned for 5 years or more if you are found to have violated Russian immigration law.
  • Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Russia are severe. Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
  • You can be detained for not carrying your passport with you.
  • You can be jailed immediately for driving under the influence of alcohol.
  • It is illegal to pay for goods and services in U.S. dollars, except at authorized retail establishments.
  • You can be arrested for attempting to leave the country with antiques, even if they were legally purchased from licensed vendors. Cultural value items like artwork, icons, samovars, rugs, military medals and antiques, must have certificates indicating they do not have historical or cultural value. You may obtain certificates from the Russian Ministry of Culture . 
  • Retain all receipts for high-value items, including caviar.
  • You must have advance approval to bring in satellite telephones.
  • Global Positioning System (GPS) and other radio electronic devices, and their use, are subject to special rules and regulations in Russia. Contact the Russian Customs Service for required permissions.

Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also pay fines or have to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information.

Faith-Based Travelers: Russian authorities have detained, fined, and in some cases deported travelers for engaging in religious activities. Russian officials have stated that Russia recognizes four historic religions: Orthodox Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism. The Russian government places restrictions on missionary activity and defines it broadly – travelers engaging in certain types of religious work may risk harassment, detention, fines, or deportation for administrative violations if they do not have proper authorization from a registered religious group. Russian law criminalizes proselytizing outside of a registered house of worship. The Russian government has detained U.S. citizens for religious activities that they contend are not permitted under a tourist or humanitarian visa. See the  Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report .

LGBTI Travelers: Russian law bans providing "the propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" to minors. Foreign citizens face fines, up to 15 days in jail, and deportation. The law is vague as to what Russia considers propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.

  • Discrimination based on sexual orientation is widespread in Russia. Acts of violence and harassment targeting LGBTI individuals occur.
  • Government officials have made derogatory comments about LGBTI persons and violence against the LGBTI community has increased.
  • There have been credible reports of arrest, torture, and extrajudicial killing of LGBTI persons in Chechnya allegedly conducted by Chechen regional authorities.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Getting around in Russia is often difficult for persons with mobility issues. In general, public transportation is not accommodating to people with disabilities. The Moscow Metro, though extremely safe and efficient in other areas, is generally not accessible to persons with disabilities.

  • Sidewalks are narrow and uneven.
  • Mobility is usually easier in major cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg.
  • Crossing streets in large cities can be difficult, since it usually requires the use of a pedestrian underpass, which includes stairs, steep ramps, and no elevators.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips .

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers .

Private medical care in major metropolitan cities and tourism centers in Russia is often equal to Western standards. However, medical care is generally below Western standards in non-metropolitan areas.

  • Private medical facilities require payment by cash or credit card before providing services (unless they are life threatening), and are unlikely to accept proof of U.S. insurance as guarantee of future payment. Payment is expected at the time of service .
  • The Embassy does not pay the medical bills of private U.S. citizens.
  • U.S. Medicare does not provide coverage outside the United States without the purchase of supplemental coverage.  
  • Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance coverage.
  • Elderly travelers and those with existing health problems are particularly at risk.

Prescription Medication:

  • Certain classes of over-the-counter cold medicines, such as those containing pseudoephedrine, are illegal in Russia. We recommend against bringing cold medication with you to Russia.
  • Carry a copy of valid U.S. prescriptions, including a notarized translation into Russian of each prescription, when entering Russia with prescription medications. 
  • Prescription medication should be in its original packaging.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

  • World Health Organization
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Road conditions and driver safety customs differ significantly from those in the United States. In some more remote areas of Russia, roads are practically nonexistent or have poor or nonexistent shoulders.

  • Drivers are required by law to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, and this is generally observed. It is dangerous to cross where there is not a crosswalk present.
  • Do not drive outside the major cities at night.
  • Construction sites and road hazards are often unmarked. 

Traffic Laws : Russian authorities have been known to consider traffic or parking infractions as “administrative violations” that provide a sufficient basis for deportation and/or denial of entry back to Russia at a later date.

  • Drivers must carry third-party liability insurance under a policy valid in Russia.
  • You may drive for 60 days using your U.S. driver’s license, with a notarized Russian translation.
  • Tourists may also use International Driving Permits issued by the American Automobile Association or the American Automobile Touring Alliance to drive in Russia.
  • Russian law requires foreigners on business or employment visas or with permanent residence status to have a Russian driver's license.
  • Driving regulations are strictly enforced and violators are subject to severe legal penalties.
  • Russia practices a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of alcohol. Authorities can detain an intoxicated driver and your driver’s license can be suspended up to two years.
  • If you are involved in an accident, do not move your vehicle from the accident site. You may be held liable if you move your car even if you are not at fault.
  • Roadside police checkpoints are commonplace. Be prepared to stop and show identity documents and proof of registration and insurance.

Public Transportation:

  • Moscow and St. Petersburg have extensive, efficient public transit systems, as do many other urban areas in Russia.
  • In metropolitan areas, well-marked taxis are generally safe and reliable Do not use unmarked taxis. Passengers have been the victims of robbery, kidnapping, extortion and theft.

See our Road Safety page for more information.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed that the Government of Russia's Civil Aviation Authority is not in compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Russia's air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA's safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel:  Mariners should check the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration site for U.S. maritime advisories and alert s, the  U.S. Coast Guard homeport website , and  NGA broadcast warnings .

The Commandant of the Coast Guard is unable to determine if effective anti-terrorism measures are in place in Russia ports as required by 46 U.S. Code § 70108.

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Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Russia . For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act ( ICAPRA ) report.

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Where to find mexico city’s best pastries.

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A few reasons why Panadería Rosetta is so popular.

Mexico City’s culinary offerings are abundant , ensuring visitors never run out of things to try. While its savory cuisine usually captures most diners’ attention, don’t overlook the sweet offerings. In fact, if a waiter offers you “sweet bread,” say yes. Chances are he’s referring to pastry, as it’s the literal translation of pan dulce .

Conchas (brioche-like dough topped with a sugary vanilla or chocolate crust) and pan de muerto (made exclusively around the Day of the Dead ) are some of the most traditional, but there are plenty of other treats to keep your sweet tooth happy.

Here is a list of five places to find some of Mexico City’s best pastries.

Panadería Rosetta

Panadería Rosetta’s legendary guava rolls are an Instagram sensation, but you need to taste them in real life. Walking down Colima Street in the trendy Roma neighborhood, you’ll know you’ve arrived at the bake shop once you see the line of expectant customers. The spot is tiny but has a seating area on a wooden terrace. You’ll have a better chance of scoring a table if you go midweek, but there’s always the option of asking for takeaway.

Acclaimed chef Elena Reygadas first became known for her nearby restaurant Rosetta , but has quickly expanded her culinary empire to include two bakeries in Roma, three restaurants and cafés in the Roma, Condesa and Juarez neighborhoods ( Bella Aurora , Lardo and Café Nin , respectively) and a bar on the second floor of her flagship restaurant.

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Odette’s treats.

This artisanal bakery’s location in the upscale Lomas de Chapultepec neighborhood has been garnering fans since it opened in 2016. It wasn’t until 2023, though, when it set up a second store in the more central Condesa, that the rest of the city fell in love with these sugary creations.

There are several winners among young pastry chef Odette Olavarri’s immaculate display of pan dulce, starting with the Ferrero Rocher-coated croissants. She’s been known to make pan de muerto croissants during the Day of the Dead and innovates constantly through seasonal products alongside what have now become Odette staples.

This small and often-crowded bakery in Condesa specializes in sourdough and rustic bread but also has toasties, baguette sandwiches and BLTs. With only eight tables, it’s best to visit during the week. Still, its empanadas, pain au chocolat and orejas (elephant ear-shaped puff pastries with butter and sugar) can be easily enjoyed as you stroll through the leafy neighborhood. Saint’s coffee is also excellent.

This French-style bakery is owned by Ana Melissa and creative pâtissier Daniel López.

Chocolate cruffins and more.

Panadería Gala

Those who like speakeasies will be delighted with this new bakery in Roma. Known as a speakeasy bakery, Panadería Gala is hidden in a cozy kitchen at the end of a long corridor. On arrival, you ring a doorbell and are escorted to a table where you can taste freshly baked bread straight out of the oven.

Chef Eduardo García, from heralded Máximo Bistrot and Lalo , is said to spend most of his time at Gala, where the bread for all his venues is baked. You’ll find traditional pastries like conchas and pain au chocolat (called chocolatines in Mexico). Still, the frangipane (made from almond paste) and chocolate cruffins (a hybrid between a croissant and a muffin) are worth the calories. Given the place’s clandestine nature, arrive early (it’s only open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and don’t set your heart on any particular pastry — availability is based on what’s being baked that day.

Six years in the making and a pandemic later, Marne opened its doors in the Cuauhtemoc neighborhood before relocating to its home in San Miguel Chapultepec. Paco González, who used to run the coffee program for Enrique Olvera’s entire restaurant group, including the well-respected Pujol and Eno, helms the bakery and specialty coffee shop . At Marne, González is both the founder and barista, and he can be seen carefully preparing coffee using different techniques and beans.

Besides great coffee, Marne serves tempting pastries and is known for its pain au chocolat and maritozzi (Italian brioche buns filled with custard cream and sprinkled with sugar).

Jennifer Fernández Solano

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Rights advocates slam Biden’s ‘draconian’ asylum curbs at US-Mexico border

Biden’s order capping access to asylum will return people to ‘violence, danger and possibly death’, advocates warn.

A US Border Patrol agent watches migrants cross the Rio Grande River

Immigrant rights advocates have slammed President Joe Biden’s new curbs on asylum at the United States-Mexico border, describing the policy as “the most draconian” move since the Democrat entered the White House in 2021.

During a news conference on Thursday, Azadeh Erfani, a senior policy analyst at the National Immigrant Justice Center, said Biden’s recent executive order violates both US and international law because it will send people with viable asylum claims back to harm.

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“Any person, including families with children, who seeks asylum between US ports of entry” will be affected by the new regulations, Erfani said.

“This applies right now — in the middle of a global displacement crisis , the worst we’ve seen since World War II — and will decimate asylum access in the foreseeable future.”

Biden’s executive order, which came into effect in the early hours of Wednesday, allows his administration to stop processing asylum claims if the number of irregular crossings at the US-Mexico border surpasses an average of 2,500 per day for a week.

The order allows for certain exemptions, including for unaccompanied minors and people determined to be victims of human trafficking.

“This action will help us gain control of our border and restore order [to] the process,” Biden told reporters as he announced the measures.

But seeking asylum is a right under both US and international law — no matter how people enter US territory. Biden himself campaigned on a pledge to uphold the country’s “moral responsibility” at the border and enforce immigration laws with dignity.

In a 2019 social media post criticising his predecessor Donald Trump’s anti-immigration stance, Biden promised “not turn away those fleeing violence, war & poverty”.

Trump is fighting tooth & nail to deny those fleeing dangerous situations their right to seek asylum in our nation. We should uphold our moral responsibility & enforce our immigration laws with dignity—not turn away those fleeing violence, war, & poverty. https://t.co/1CVPP3sJo3 — Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) July 26, 2019

But as the number of migrants and asylum seekers trying to enter the US at the Mexico border skyrocketed last year, the Democratic president has been under pressure from Republicans to take a tougher stance on unauthorised crossings.

This week’s order comes five months before Biden is set to face off against Trump in November’s presidential election, a race that is expected to be close.

The executive order also coincides with a new rule from the Department of Homeland Security and the US Attorney General that also tightens asylum procedures.

The new rule implements three changes to existing asylum policy. Crucially, it scraps a requirement that US immigration officers must inform people of their right to seek asylum and ask whether they fear persecution, according to a fact sheet prepared by the American Immigration Council.

Instead, asylum seekers now need to express a fear of persecution themselves or inform US officers that they want to seek asylum, something advocates refer to as the “shout test”.

Only then would they get a “credible fear interview”, where asylum applicants are expected to demonstrate a need for protection.

The Biden administration’s new rule also increases the threshold that applicants need to meet during the interview to be eligible for asylum.

“As of this week, the Biden administration has allowed for these interviews to happen within as little as four hours of peoples’ entry [to the US], while raising the standard,” said Erfani at the National Immigrant Justice Center.

The purpose, Erfani said, is “for people to fail these screenings and get deported as fast as possible”.

Deadly risks

Human rights advocates across the US have warned that the executive order and the finalised rule will force asylum seekers back to dangerous situations in their home countries or in Mexican border towns.

Chelsea Sachau, the managing attorney for Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project’s Border Action Team, has worked with asylum seekers on the southern border in Arizona and said the rule would return people to “violence, danger and possibly death”.

“This rule will likely lead to vulnerable families being deported every day to small, remote towns in the [Mexican] state of Sonora that are ruled by cartels and have active violent conflicts occurring in them,” she said during Thursday’s news conference.

Rights groups have long documented the myriad risks migrants and asylum seekers face in Mexican border communities, including torture, sexual violence, extortion, kidnappings and killings.

Sachau also noted that the US port of entry known as Nogales is the only place for about 1,300km (800 miles) in Arizona where asylum seekers can get US immigration appointments through an app known as CBP One .

She said some of her clients have had to wait for seven or eight months, if not longer, for a CBP One appointment — and she warned that the new executive order could lead to even longer wait times.

“People will grow ever more desperate. We’ve seen [with] other border policies that, when people are forced into desperate circumstances, they will be forced to make heart-wrenching decisions,” Sachau said.

“They may feel they need to send their children ahead as unaccompanied minors for their own safety, or they may try to cross the border again — this time in more remote or more dangerous areas.”

Biden’s order, she added, won’t prevent people from taking such journeys in search of safety, but “will beget more border-crossing under more dangerous circumstances”.

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