US State Department Building Washington DC
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The State Department is revamping its website and communications process in January, in an effort to make travel warnings and alerts clearer to the public.

“We wanted to make it clear what our advice was and improve our communication with U.S. citizens,” Kevin Brosnahan, a State Department spokesman, told the Washington Post.

Starting around January 10, the State Department will assign security levels to countries around the world. Each country will be assigned a number and color from Level 1 (blue, “Exercise normal precautions”) to Level 4 (red, “Do not travel”).

Citizens will not be banned from visiting Level 4 countries unless specifically prohibited by the government. The middle levels will inform American travelers if they should “exercise increased caution” or “reconsider travel.”

The new system will allow the State Department to assign targeted security levels to different parts of each country, warning travelers about higher risks in select cities.

However, the new system doesn’t mean travel alerts are going away. Going forward, the State Department will reserve alerts for specific safety and security concerns, like severe weather or political demonstrations.

Assistant Secretary of State of Consular Affairs, Carl Risch, told reporters at a press conference earlier this month that the new system will be implemented “strictly based on security conditions,” and political or diplomatic concerns will not be included.

Travelers will find all the new changes on the State Department’s website.