United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520
August 12, 2004
This Travel Warning is being updated to inform U.S. citizens that our Mission in Saudi Arabia has gone off Ordered Departure status and is now an unaccompanied post as a result of continued security concerns. Non-emergency employees and all dependents of the U.S. Embassy Riyadh and Consulates General Jeddah and Dhahran were ordered to leave the country on April 15, 2004 and will not be permitted to return until further notice. Due to targeted attacks against American citizens, resulting in deaths, injuries and kidnapping, and the continuing serious threat to their safety while in Saudi Arabia, the Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens to defer travel to Saudi Arabia. Private Americans currently in Saudi Arabia are strongly urged to depart. This Travel Warning supersedes that of June 23, 2004.
U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for further terrorist actions against U.S. citizens abroad, including in the Persian Gulf region. U.S. citizens who travel to, or remain in, Saudi Arabia despite this Travel Warning should register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh or at the Consulates in Jeddah and Dhahran, and enroll in the warden system (emergency alert network) to obtain updated information on travel and security in Saudi Arabia. Warden messages can be found on the U.S. Embassy Riyadh website: http://usembassy.state.gov/riyadh/.
The U.S. Government continues to receive credible information indicating that extremists are planning further attacks against U.S. and Western interests. American citizens have been the victims of kidnapping and targeted killings. Terrorists have also attacked residential housing compounds using vehicle bombs, resulting in numerous deaths and injuries, including to American citizens. Credible information indicates that terrorists continue to target residential compounds in Saudi Arabia, particularly in the Riyadh area, but also compounds throughout the country. Recent incidents indicate that American citizens residing in private residences are also being specifically targeted.
From time to time, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Saudi Arabia may restrict the travel of official Americans or suspend public services for security reasons. In those instances, the Embassy and Consulates will keep the local American citizen community apprised through the Warden System and make every effort to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens. The U.S. Mission in Saudi Arabia continues to prohibit its American employees from traveling to residential compounds in the Riyadh area from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
As the Department continues to develop information on any potential security threats to U.S. citizens overseas, it shares credible threat information through its Consular Information Program documents, available on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov. U.S. travelers can also get up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 in the U.S. or Canada or on a regular toll line at 1-317-472-2328.