NEWS | July 8, 2011

USNORTHCOM announces travel restrictions to Mexico

By Thomas Kistler Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

The USNORTHCOM commander has added three Mexican states to the list of travel-restricted areas and confirmed the validity of the travel advisory to Acapulco.

No states were taken off the list and additional requirements for Air Force personnel traveling on leave are still in effect.

"Mexico is a dangerous place to travel," said Paul Zabbo, Air Mobility Command's chief of antiterrorism. "Airmen going there, either on official or unofficial status, need to be aware of the security situation, the potential dangers and the precautions to take prior to travel."

The prohibited Mexican states for all routine non-official travel such as leave are the states of Michocan, Tamaulipas, Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Durango, Coahuila and Nuevo Leon. New to the list from the latest update are the states of San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas and Jalisco.

Official travel to these off-limits states is restricted to mission essential travel only. It applies to all active component personnel and ready reserve personnel of the reserve components (not to include members of the National Guard). It also applies to Department of Defense civilians, DoD dependents, all other members of the reserve components when organized under Title 10 of the U.S. Code and DoD contractors when traveling in an official capacity.

Non-official travel to the areas of Mexico not specifically addressed as off-limits requires approval by the first O-6 in the chain of command. If no O-6 is assigned, then the highest-ranking United States Air Force commander in the chain of command on the base can approve. DoD civilians, DoD dependents, other members of the reserve components and DoD contractors traveling for non-official purposes are urged to abide by all travel prohibitions and advisories.

While it is not off-limits, USNORTHCOM strongly recommends that all non-official travel to the state of Guerro, which includes Acapulco, be deferred until such time that the risk returns to an acceptable level.

All travelers should have current Anti-Terrorism Level 1 training, get a country threat brief from their unit AT representative and read information posted on the State Department website prior to travel. They should also consider registering with the State Department SAFE Traveler program.

The SAFE Traveler program, https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/, is a free service provided by the U.S. government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. Travelers enter information about their trip so the Department of State can better assist them in an emergency. Travelers will also be able to receive travel advisories, warnings and other information from the embassy or consulates.

Airmen in the USNORTHCOM area of responsibility who need to travel to an off-limits location on emergency leave or for another specific reason, may request permission through their chain of command. To obtain permission, complete an AFNORTH Mexico Exception to Travel Request Form available from unit AT representatives. Travel to these off-limit areas should only be approved for emergency and/or unique situations, and on a case-by-case basis.