Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Security Reminders for New Year’s Celebrations

The U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi and U.S. Consulate General in Dubai remind U.S. citizens of the continuing need to implement sound personal security practices as they go about their daily lives and as they celebrate the beginning of the New Year.  U.S. citizens should maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to bolster their personal security, especially when joining public New Year’s celebrations.

U.S. citizens should be alert to the possibility that extremist sympathizers or self-radicalized extremists may conduct attacks worldwide during this period with little or no warning. Terrorists may employ a wide variety of tactics, using both conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests.

The 19 December vehicular attack in Berlin illustrates the danger that an individual attacker can pose to groups of people celebrating in congested public spaces.  Public pronouncements made by ISIL have continued to call for similar attacks on Western interests, thereby highlighting the need for continuing increased vigilance.

U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when attending large holiday events, visiting tourist sites, using public transportation, and frequenting places of worship, restaurants, hotels, etc.  Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds, when possible.  If you find yourself in a crowded area think through in advance the quickest way to remove yourself on short notice.  Review security information from local officials, who are responsible for the safety and security of all visitors to their host country.

U.S. citizens should:

  •  Follow the instructions of local authorities.  Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.
  • Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
  • Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.
  • Have an emergency plan of action ready.
  • If you join a public celebration, be aware that crowds are volatile and if there is a disturbance the safest course of action is to leave and not to try to find out what has caused or go toward the disturbance.

 For additional information:

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide CautionTravel Warnings and Travel Alerts, and Country Information for the United Arab Emirates.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi, located at Embassies District, Plot 38, Sector W59-02, Street No. 4, and P.O. Box 4009. The telephone number is (971) (2) 414-2200. For after-hours emergencies in Abu Dhabi, contact the Duty Officer at (971) (2) 414-2200.
  • Contact the U.S. Consulate General in Dubai, located at the corner of Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed and Al Seef Streets on the Dubai Creek in Bur Dubai. The telephone number is (971) (4) 309-4000. For after-hours emergencies involving U.S. citizens in Dubai, contact the Duty Officer at (971)(4) 309-4000.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time,Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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