Message to U.S. Citizens: Security Information Update for April 9, 2021

April 9, 2021


Holiday Operating Hours: The U.S. Embassy will be open on Monday, April 12, and closed for the Thingyan holiday from April 13 to April 16.  The Consular Section will reopen for services on Monday, April 19.  

Travel Advisory: The current Level 4 Travel Advisory is the highest level issued by the Department of State and advises U.S. citizens not to travel to Burma or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so due to the greater likelihood of life-threatening risks.  As a result of these conditions, if you experience an emergency, the U.S. Embassy has limited ability to provide assistance.  You can read the full Travel Advisory here.

Security Situation: The Thingyan holiday begins next week with many local establishments observing the holiday from April 10-19.  The Embassy is unable to confirm any information about increased security force or protest activities for this holiday week.  If the security situation destabilizes, remain at home until you deem it is safe to go back out.

Over the past week, the size of protests in Yangon and Mandalay have decreased significantly; however, security force operations in other parts of the country have continued.  This week in Yangon, there were reports of explosions from handmade “sound bombs” or “paper bombs.”  These are fireworks that create noise and cause minimal damage.  No injuries were reported from these incidents.  Continue to maintain heightened situational awareness when traveling.  If you observe something suspicious, move away from the area immediately.

Please continue to be mindful of checkpoints.  There are reports that security forces at some of these checkpoints have inspected the phones or laptops of travelers, including foreign nationals, for any evidence of their involvement in anti-regime activities.  Please consider what information you want to store on your phone and other devices when traveling.

In the event you are approached by local law enforcement, identify yourself as a U.S. citizen and attempt to return home or to a public space as soon as possible.  A best practice is to carry your U.S. passport to aid in identification.  If local law enforcement comes to your home, comply and indicate that you are a U.S. citizen.  For your awareness, it is illegal in Burma to take photos or videos of security force operations or military facilities.  Police may take action against individuals attempting to do so.

Martial law is still in place in Yangon in the following townships: Hlaing Thar Yar, North Dagon, South Dagon, Shwe Pyi Thar, Dagon Seikkan, and North Okkalapa.  In Mandalay, martial law has been enacted in the following townships: Aung Myay Thar Zan, Chan Aye Thar Zan, Chan Mya Tha Si, Maha Aung Myay, Pyigyidagun.  In these townships, martial law may suspend certain civil liberties allowing security forces to be more aggressive in response to protests and in the enforcement of laws and regulations.  U.S. Embassy staff have been advised not to travel to the above-mentioned townships in Yangon without prior approval.

Curfew: A nationwide ban on gatherings of five or more people, as well as a nationwide curfew from 8:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m., remains in place.

Communications: The mobile internet outage began on March 15, and authorities have indicated it will be extended indefinitely.  The outage is impacting all local and international cellular providers.  Wi-Fi hotspot providers have also been shut down indefinitely.  Home/broadband internet service providers (ISPs) continue to function in most parts of the country, with internet outages typically occurring between 1:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. in most parts of the country.  Internet connectivity may still be inconsistent or slow for some throughout the day.

Rumors of an April 10 shut down of all internet services, including home/broadband service providers, are widespread but cannot be confirmed at this time.  If this should occur, have a plan in place to communicate with loved ones in Burma and in the United States.  Landline phones as well as mobile calling and SMS continue to function.

Please be cautious with rumors and unverified information you hear from friends or on the internet.

Financial Transactions: Many banks and Western Unions in Burma remain closed.  However, some banks have reopened and are allowing limited cash withdrawals.  Some businesses will accept cash payments only.  International credit cards are accepted at certain businesses.  Currency exchange services remain open in some areas.  More ATMs are dispensing cash than in previous weeks.  Ensure you have enough cash on hand should shortages and disruptions in banking persist.

Airport and Flights: Yangon International Airport (YIA) remains open for international relief flights from Singapore Airlines and Myanmar Airways International (MAI).  Please contact travel agencies and airlines to book flights and get the latest information.  Please refer to our website for travel agent and airline contact information.  The road to the airport remains open.

COVID Testing Facilities: The Airport Cargo Warehouse at YIA, N Health, Pun Hlaing Hospital, Samitivej International Clinic, and International SOS Clinic continue to offer COVID-19 tests for international travel.  N Health will close from April 9-April 19.  As a result, International SOS Clinic will also close for COVID-19 testing as well.  Pun Hlaing, Samitivej, and the airport testing site will remain open.  Please refer to our COVID-19 website for the latest information on local testing options and for more information about CDC testing requirements.

Shipment and Mail: Seaports remain closed due to worker strikes and only very limited cargo is cleared through customs.  DHL has resumed limited services to send and receive documents.  The Embassy cannot assist you with mail delivery.

Please review the personal preparedness guidelines below:

  • Under martial law, it is important to comply with checkpoint requirements.
  • Shelter in your home should there be violence in your neighborhood.
  • If in an apartment, familiarize yourself with your building’s fire exits.     
  • Make plans to account for the whereabouts of your loved ones if internet and cellular service are cut.
  • Ensure you have enough food, water, cash, and other essentials to last you for several days.
  • Contact loved ones in the U.S. when you can to update them on your status.
  • Prepare a go-bag with essential items for immediate travel.
  • Make sure your passport is still valid.  Many countries require at least 6 months validity for entry or transit.
  • Carry our emergency contact card in your wallet or on your phone.

The Consular Section of U.S. Embassy Rangoon remains open and is providing routine and emergency American citizen services.  Please visit our website to schedule an appointment to renew your passport, register your child’s birth abroad, or for notary services.  

For information and assistance: