Private American citizens should always be aware of changing circumstances and make a personal decision to depart voluntarily if they feel uncomfortable with the situation. In the event of an evacuation, the USG first uses commercial transport for official personnel and recommends private American citizens do the same. There are many benefits of leaving while commercial options are still available:
- U.S. Government evacuations are not free and at times may cost more than commercial air
- By law, an American citizen receiving evacuation assistance is required to sign a promissory note agreeing to reimburse the USG for some of the evacuation costs. More information can be found on the form itself, available at: https://eforms.state.gov/Forms/ds5528.PDF
- Round-trip tickets can be purchased
- Non-U.S. citizens with documentation can travel with them (in-laws, nannies, etc.)
- Greater luggage allowance
- Pets can travel on a limited basis
If commercial options are unavailable, the USG will attempt to charter transport, and will provide information to the American community via CLV messages and our public websites – travel.state.gov. When charter transport is not available, the State Department can request the assistance of the Department of Defense.
In the event of civil disturbance or other sudden developments, citizens should not rush to U.S. government installations for refuge. U.S. government buildings may be targets themselves and do not have the ability or capacity to harbor large numbers of persons. During most emergencies, the best initial action is to “stand fast” at home or in another safe location and monitor media, CLV notices, and post’s website for news and instructions.
Potential evacuees should make their relatives aware of their status and should tell their relatives and friends not to call post or the consular section for updates on the local situation or plans for evacuation. All calls should be directed to the CA/OCS Call Center (1-888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444).
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR EVACUATION ASSISTANCE?
Bring your passport, U.S. birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or any other primary evidence of your U.S. citizenship. A driver’s license, Social Security card, library card, or U.S. credit card is not proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residency; however, those items might be helpful as proof of identity.
(Advise parents or guardians of minor U.S. citizens of requirements for non-immigrant visa eligibility and issuance for escorts. Only one escort will be allowed, even in families of multiple children.)
WHO ELSE MAY BE ELIGIBLE FOR EVACUATION ASSISTANCE?
Foreign Spouse or Child of a U.S. Citizen
As the foreign spouse of a U.S. citizen, bring your foreign passport and an original marriage certificate. As the foreign child of a U.S. citizen, bring a birth certificate that clearly indicates your parent’s U.S. citizenship. All dependents must have passports with visas valid for entry into the U.S. or the safe haven location. Other supporting information about your relationship to a U.S. citizen spouse or parent would be extremely useful.
U.S. Legal Permanent Resident
…also known as an “LPR” or “green card” holder. Bring your green card plus your foreign passport. If you do not have your card yet, bring your foreign passport showing your U.S. admittance stamp as a permanent resident. An LPR’s family members who have not yet obtained green cards are not eligible for evacuation assistance.
Holders of I-688 temporary resident cards, I-688-A and I-688-B employment authorization cards, border crossing cards, or nonimmigrant visas are not eligible for evacuation assistance solely based on those documents.
Household servants and nannies are not considered immediate family members and are not eligible for U.S. Government-sponsored evacuation.
Pets cannot be accommodated on a U.S. Government charter or U.S. military evacuation flight. We suggest that you make private arrangements for care or transportation of your pets as early as possible. Working animals, such as guide dogs, are not considered pets and will accommodated if possible.
(1) Without hoarding, try to keep on hand a reasonable supply (7-10 days) of food, water, and fuel. If you have a personal automobile, be sure it is ready for immediate use: fill the gas tank and check the oil, water, tires and battery.
(2) Keep your passport, required visas (including exit visas) and embassy registration current.
(3) Collect all important papers and documents, such as passports; birth, marriage, divorce, and naturalization certificates; inoculation cards; insurance policies; bank books; as well as U.S. and local currency.
(4) Make or update a complete inventory of your household effects in duplicate.
(5) Prepare for each family member one suitcase (66 lbs. or less) to contain, as applicable: warm clothing regardless of season, eyeglasses, babies’/children’s supplies, and special medicines.
(6) Listen to the local media and Voice of America (VOA), U.S. Armed Forces Radio, or the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) closely for announcements from the local government or this office.
(7) Make arrangements for care of pets. The U.S. Government will not transport pets.
And, Register in STEP!