The State Department issued a travel alert this week, highlighting the possibility of terrorist attacks in Europe this spring and summer.

Key points:

  • The State Department said extremist groups “continue to focus on tourist locations” in Europe when planning attacks. The department urged U.S. citizens to “exercise additional vigilance” in locations such as “transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities” as well as “hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, high-profile events, educational institutions, airports” and relatively unprotected “soft targets.”
  • The department further urged U.S. citizens traveling in Europe to check their destination cities’ embassy or consulate websites. Officials recommend, among other measures, following the instructions of local authorities, monitoring local media, preparing for additional security screening and staying in touch with family members. The alert, which expires Sept. 1, stressed that the likelihood of attacks increases during the busy summer tourism season.

Background: The State Department’s alert follows attacks in FranceRussiaSweden and the United Kingdom this year. The department issued similar alerts in May and November of 2016 and said Monday it “remains concerned about the potential for future terrorist attacks.”

BAL Analysis: Foreign nationals traveling or residing in Europe should exercise caution throughout the spring and summer. 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 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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