The Refugee Crisis in Europe: What it Means for You

We have all seen the troubling images of thousands of refugees and migrants seeking entry to countries across Europe over the past weeks and months.  While the United States government works to support our European partners in addressing this crisis, we want to advise U.S. citizens living in or visiting Europe about the potential impact on travel, and also to provide information about how the United States is assisting those in need.

Several European countries have issued temporary changes to their entry and travel policies in response to the ongoing crisis and continuing policy changes are likely.  Some of these developments have impacted border crossing practices within Europe.   As a result, we urge U.S. citizen travelers to carry a valid passport and visa or residency card, if applicable, whenever traveling between EU countries as border checks may now occur in new places.  Travel disruptions and delays may occur as a result of ongoing policy changes, and both road and rail travel could be halted in some places with little to no advance warning.

Please monitor local media reports and check the State Department’s travel website regularly for specific travel guidance for each country, the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts.  We also recommend enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and country-specific alerts.

To assist in addressing the refugee crisis, the United States supports International Organizations and NGOs around the world, including funding for food, shelter, water, health care, education, protection, and other services urgently needed by people affected by conflict.  We fund organizations such as the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the UN World Food Program (WFP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and other international and non-governmental organizations.  These organizations operate both within Syria – where 12.2 million people are in need of assistance – and throughout the region.  You can find out more about the work of some of these organizations through their websites:

The UN Agency for Refugees (UNHCR) is providing water, health services, and basic supplies to thousands of refugees

UN World Food Program (WFP) is delivering food to people affected by the conflict in Syria with a focus on malnourished children and nursing mothers

UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is providing assistance to thousands of refugee children in the life-saving areas of health, nutrition, immunization, water, and sanitation

Cover Photo: Za’atri Refugee Camp in Jordan