The State Department issued a travel alert for this week, highlighting the possibility of terrorist attacks in Europe throughout the holiday season and into the new year.

Key points:

  • The State Department said “credible information” indicates terrorist organizations may be plotting attacks in Europe. The department urged U.S. citizens to “exercise caution at holiday festivals, events, and outdoor markets.”
  •  The department further urges U.S. citizens traveling in Europe to check their destination cities’ embassy or consulate websites. The department recommends, among other measures, avoiding large crowds, following the instructions of local authorities, monitoring local media, preparing for additional security screening and staying in touch with family members.

Background: The State Department’s travel alert follows attacks in Belgium, France, Germany and Turkey, in the past year. The department issued a similar warning in May and said Monday it “remains concerned about the potential for attacks throughout Europe.” The alert is set to expire on Feb. 20.

BAL Analysis: Foreign nationals traveling or residing in Europe should exercise caution and expect delays, especially when crossing borders where border controls have been instituted. Companies with employees outside the U.S. should (1) register their employees with the appropriate U.S. embassy; (2) establish evacuation plans; (3) develop visitor logs; and (4) have employees carry copies of their passport at all times.

U.S. companies overseas should (1) engage with the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) and (2) develop an emergency communication system. Employers may additionally wish to encourage their employees to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, a free service that provides updated security information and allows Americans to register their trips abroad with the closest U.S. embassy or consulate.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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