Message to U.S. Citizens: Security Information Update for March 26, 2021


March 26, 2021

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: Armed Forces’ Day is tomorrow, March 27. The Embassy is unable to confirm any information about increased security force or protest activities for this weekend.  However, you may consider avoiding unnecessary travel tomorrow and remaining close to home as a precautionary measure. Please ensure you have a plan in place to contact loved ones should internet service become unavailable. If the security situation destabilizes, remain at home until you deem it is safe to go back out.

Over the past several days, the size of protests in Yangon and elsewhere have decreased significantly; however, security forces continue to resort to forceful tactics, including the use of tear gas and live ammunition against civilians resulting in deaths and injuries. Roadblocks, either created by security forces or by community watch members, may exist. There are reports of more security checkpoints appearing on major roads leading into Yangon and other major cities. Be prepared to stop and show proof of identity and residency. Expect traffic delays.

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.

As of today, 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.

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. Please refer to our COVID-19 website for the latest information on local testing options and for more information about CDC testing requirements.

Supermarkets: City Mart/Marketplace announced a nationwide closure on March 24 for the third time since the coup. Such announcements usually occur the day before a closure. Since then, many supermarkets have reopened with limited hours.  Please plan to have a sufficient stock of food for several days in the event closures continue.

Electricity: After reports of a nationwide power outage earlier this month, no additional incidents have been reported.

Fuel: We have not received reports of a fuel shortage. Gasoline for vehicles is still available in most locations. It is recommended to keep your gas tank near full if possible.

Shipment and Mail: Seaports remain closed due to worker strikes and only very limited cargo is cleared through customs. DHL and other international air courier services remain closed or are severely limiting service. The Embassy cannot assist you with mail delivery.

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.

Medical Services. Major private hospitals in Yangon and Mandalay remain open. There are no reports of shortages in medication or supplies. Please check your local medical provider for updates on the services you need.

Communications: The mobile internet outage began on March 15, and authorities have indicated it will be extended indefinitely.  The outage is impacting all local cellular providers. Home/fixed internet service providers (ISPs) continue to function in most parts of the country, with internet outages typically occurring between 1:00 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. in most parts of the country. Internet connectivity may still be inconsistent or slow for some throughout the day. Landline phones as well as mobile calling and SMS continue to function. As with previous internet outages, update loved ones in the U.S. when you have connectivity to let them know your status. Please be cautious with rumors and unverified information you hear from friends or on the internet.

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: