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Travel restrictions to Mexico

Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland -- Air Education and Training Command has issued more stringent travel restrictions to Mexico following an advisory by the U.S. State Department.

AETC revised its previous general order in early December after a late November travel warning by the State Department because of security concerns and increased violence in Mexico
The updated order prohibits:

· All non-official travel to or through any portion of Mexico located within 50 statute miles of the U.S.-Mexico border;
· All non-official travel to the states of Coahuila, Chihuahua, Durango, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas, and Zacatecas; and
· Travel across the U.S.-Mexico border by ground through an off-limits area to reach a non-restricted area.
· Additionally, personnel may not leave a cruise ship docked in off-limits ports of call or an air terminal in off-limits locations during transit to an unrestricted area.

Approval from the first lieutenant colonel (Air Force, Army, Marine Corps) or commander (Navy, Coast Guard) in a service member's chain of command is required for all non-official travel to unrestricted areas of Mexico prior to departure. Current unrestricted locations include resort areas on the Yucatan peninsula such as Cancun and Cozumel, and several resorts on the Pacific Coast of Mexico.

"It's important to understand the risk involved," said John Ortega, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland installation anti-terrorism officer. "Since 2006 through late 2012, more than 47,000 people have been killed by drug warlords fighting among themselves. There have also been over 25,000 people who have gone missing during that time."

The restrictions apply to all active duty service members, reserve component and Air National Guard personnel in Title 10 status, and Department of Defense service members assigned to AETC installations and/or units. The updated policy also includes AETC civilian employees, AETC dependents and AETC contractors when traveling in an official capacity. It is strongly urged that all AETC civilian employees, dependents and contractors abide by these restrictions when traveling for non-official purposes.

Emergency non-official personal travel to prohibited areas in Mexico is possible with the approval of the first colonel (Air Force, Army, Marine Corps) or captain (Navy, Coast Guard) in a service member's chain of command along with theater and country clearance.

However, travel for leisure or vacation purposes to prohibited states is not considered emergency travel and will not be approved.

"The requirements are to insure people can travel safely to Mexico," Ortega said, "with 'safely' being the key word. If you travel to Mexico for whatever reason, official or non-official, your chain of command has to be informed and involved."

Staff Sgt. Shannon Fulmer, JBSA-Lackland's anti-terrorism office noncommissioned officer in charge, said personnel should contact their unit security managers or anti-terrorism representatives to begin the approval process.

Once the process has started, Fulmer said the anti-terrorism office would supply the necessary information.

"We have specific briefings for specific states," he said. "We also provide information on how to contact the U.S. embassy, the consultant, local police or local hospital should an emergency arise."

For more information about official and non-official travel to Mexico, contact the JBSA-Lackland Anti-Terrorism Office, Bldg. 5275, at 210-671-5926.