United States of America Country Report
Foreign investment is welcomed, although a move towards trade and investment protectionism increases risk around existing trade agreements and foreign mergers or purchases of US firms. Trump's restrictive immigration policy can pose difficulties for firms securing visas for foreign employees. Corruption levels are modest. Environmentalist movements remain active. Labour strikes around minimum wage levels and labour conditions are limited. Trump has lifted several barriers to certain energy projects on federal land and offshore. US cities, struggling to cope with the COVID-19-virus outbreak, face additional fiscal and bureaucratic difficulties conducting normal operations. Businesses needing licences or other city services will face delays and a higher prospect of contract cancellation or modification.
Lone-actor terrorist attacks inspired by the Islamic State or Al-Qaeda pose risks. Attacks likely involve firearms or improvised explosive devices as seen in the 2016 mass shooting in Orlando and in the September 2016 bombings in New York. Attacks could also involve the use of vehicles, as seen in the 2016 and 2017 attacks in Columbus (Ohio) and New York City respectively. Right-wing terrorists pose a threat to Jewish, Muslim, African American, Latino, and LGBT assets and individuals, with a number of high-profile attacks in 2019. Attacks by environmental and animal rights activists are relatively infrequent. Targeted property damage, including looting, arson, and vandalism, by anti-institutionalists are increasingly likely surrounding protests.
Violent crime is higher than other OECD countries, but rates have declined over the five- and 10-year trend. FBI data show violent crime decreased by 3.1% in the first six months of 2019 compared with 2018, including murders falling by 3.9%. Property crimes also declined over this period, although there are increasing incidents of groups and individuals looting, burning and vandalising property near otherwise peaceful protests, as seen in the June 2020 riots in several US cities. Hate crimes motivated by racial, gender, gender identity, religious, and other group-based biases are significant. Firearms are a pervasive component of criminal activity. Public mass-shooting rates increased in 2019 over the previous five-year average.
The risk of a kinetic war on US soil remains quite remote, with an extremely modest threat of a nuclear confrontation with North Korea. Although the threat dissipated following US-North Korean summits in 2018 in Singapore and 2019 in Vietnam, North Korea’s destruction of its Inter-Korean Liaison Office in June 2020 increases the risk of confrontation. Additionally, the US has a number of ongoing military engagements abroad, such as in Afghanistan, Syria, and in Somalia. President Trump's continued animosity towards the Iranian nuclear agreement also raises the prospect of missile strikes against nuclear facilities.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
No vaccinations are required to enter the country.
Medical Visit: A medical visit is required for all foreigners wishing to obtain a long-term visa. Persons suffering from tuberculosis, syphilis, gonorrhea, leprosy, chancroid, lymphogranuloma venereum, or granuloma inguinale could see their visa refused. The United States has however recently lifted restrictions on HIV-positive travelers.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Hepatitis A (for travel to Hawaii): A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
First and foremost, the risk of natural disasters cannot be underestimated.
Seismic activity is strong along the San Andreas Fault (southwest); although no major earthquake (with a magnitude equal to or greater than 8.0) has struck the area in over a century (since the San Francisco earthquake of 1906), the risk is still present. On August 24, 2014, a 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck northern California (epicenter south of Napa); one death and nearly 200 injuries were reported, as were substantial damages. There is also the risk of earthquakes along the Cascadia subduction zone, located off the coast of the Pacific North West.
The West Coast is vulnerable to the risk of a tsunami in the event of a maritime earthquake.
The entire east of the country is prone to flooding and hurricanes along the coast (particularly in the southeast, e.g. Florida and Louisiana). Hurricane season in the North Atlantic extends from June 1 to November 30, with a peak period typically occurring in August-September. Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast ‒ notably the city of New Orleans ‒ in August 2005, leaving some 1800 dead and causing nearly USD 100 billion in damages. More recently, in August 2011, Hurricane Irene swept up the East Coast, leaving 30 dead and USD 1 billion worth of damage in its wake, as well as significant travel disruptions (several thousand flights canceled; 350,000 residents evacuated from their homes in New York state). Historic flooding in Louisiana prompted by torrential rains in August 2016 left 13 dead.
Violent thunderstorms accompanied by often-deadly tornadoes regularly hit the southern and central regions of the country in the summer and fall. Tornado season typically extends from March through July. The region of the country most at risk, the so-called Tornado Alley, includes the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota. However, the entire area east of the Rocky Mountains (including the Great Plains, Midwest, Mississippi Valley, and southeast) is vulnerable to tornadoes and severe summer storms, which often strike in the afternoon or evening. Each year, some 1200 tornadoes are reported nationwide.
Wildfires are common in the summer months, particularly in the west of the country. California is currently in its fifth year of drought, making the region particularly susceptible to wildfires (nearly 5000 in 2016 as of mid-September).
Potential travelers should be happy to note that the quality of medical and hospital facilities, modes of transportation, highways, and hotels throughout the country is high.
If traveling by air, be aware that airport screenings can be very thorough, leading to long lines at checkpoints.
The climate of the United States varies considerably by region.
The northwest of the country experiences an oceanic climate with relatively stable temperatures throughout the year, rainy winters, and sunny summers. In the southwest, winters are mild and summers hot and dry. In the Rocky Mountain region the climate is continental (harsh winters and very hot and dry summers). In the northeast and Midwest, summers are hot and winters are very cold, even harsh. In the southeast (from Florida to Louisiana), winter is mild and dry and summer is hot and humid with a high risk of hurricanes in the late summer.
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