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Travel Advisory: Middle East and North Africa

October 23, 2023: On October 19, the US State Department issued a Worldwide Caution message and have reissued this message each day. Students registered in STEP likely have received these messages already. All US citizen students are encouraged to register if they have not already done so.

This Caution states: Due to increased tensions in various locations around the world, the potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations or violent actions against US citizens and interests, the Department of State advises US citizens overseas to exercise increased caution.

On October 13, UCEAP issued an email reviewing personal safety tips to help practice increased caution and situational awareness. Any questions can be directed to the International Health, Safety, and Crisis Management Team. A copy can be found below. Please review this list provided by Crisis24, the University of California’s security provider.

The UCEAP Student Travel Policy prohibits students from traveling to US State Department Travel Advisory Level 3 or 4 countries and areas. Students should check the Travel Advisory website before making personal travel plans. UCEAP students are required to complete a Travel Sign-Out for any travel outside of their host city.

On October 20, the University of California Office of the President released a letter regarding travel in the Middle East and North Africa. In recent weeks, we have seen an escalating security risk within the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region, including anti-Israel and anti-United States protests and violence in several countries. Due to this heightened risk and our concern for the health and safety of University of California students, faculty, and staff, I am directing the UC community to avoid all non-essential travel to the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region for the foreseeable future.

Per UCEAP Program Cancelation Policy, we will continue to operate programs in US State Department Travel Advisory Level 1 and 2 countries and areas. If a country level is increased to Level 3, UCEAP would follow the UCEAP Program Cancelation Policy.


Students can connect with Lyra in person, by video, or by phone. Lyra allows for up to 20 mental health counseling sessions for no additional fee as well as an online library of videos, articles, strategies, and meditations. Access Lyra Services online and review instructions in the UCEAP Portal.

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UCEAP strongly advises against participating in or attending any protests or demonstrations. Even peaceful demonstrations can become unpredictable, and safety cannot be guaranteed in such situations.

If you happen to come upon a protest or demonstration, here are some tips on what to do from Crisis24, the UCEAP Security Provider:

  • Remain calm, the demonstrators don't know who you are and will believe you're part of their protest. Be confident but don’t draw attention to yourself.
  • Walk with them and mimic the actions of the group, but slowly move to the edge of the crowd and stay away from the aggressors and ring leaders.
  • Look for a safe exit away from the crowd and slowly walk away, don’t run—this will bring attention to yourself.
  • If you're caught up in the dense crowd, stay away from any glass shop windows and doors, stay firm on your feet, and move with the flow until you're able to move off in a safe direction.
  • Should you be mistaken by the police or security forces as a demonstrator and arrested, do exactly as they say and don't resist. Contact your embassy/consulate and Study Center Staff/UCEAP for assistance.

General Safety Tips

  • Stay informed: Keep yourself updated with the latest news and developments in your region. Use reputable news sources and consider downloading local news apps for real-time updates.
  • Follow local authorities' instructions: Always abide by the guidance and instructions given by local authorities, including your program coordinators, host institution, and local law enforcement agencies.
  • Maintain a low profile: While it's important to embrace cultural experiences and engage with local communities, avoid discussing sensitive political topics in public places. Be respectful of local customs and traditions.
  • Emergency contacts: Make sure you have emergency contact information readily available, including the contact details of your Study Center/ international office staff and the nearest embassy or consulate. Consider printing out the emergency contact information in case Wi-Fi or cell service is unavailable.