Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Papal visit to Portugal


The U.S. Embassy in Lisbon informs U.S. citizens that Pope Francis is expected to visit Fatima, Portugal on May 12-13 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the appearances at Fatima.  The Vatican has announced the Pope will arrive at Monte Real airbase near Leiria at 16:20 on May 12, and depart from Monte Real at 15:00 on May 13.  Municipal officials in Ourem, near Fatima, estimate that up to a million visitors will attend various events associated with the visit.

The Portuguese National Republican Guard (GNR) and the Portuguese Immigration and Border Service (SEF) will perform identification checks at all border crossings between Portugal and Spain May 10-14.  As this is not standard practice, travelers should be prepared to show passports or national identification cards at the border.  The GNR and SEF will implement extra security measures in and around Fatima, to include road closures or road blocks and identification checks.

You should use caution and maintain a heightened sense of awareness of your surroundings if in Fatima during the visit.  Extremists continue to focus on European tourist locations and high-profile events, employing a variety of tactics, including firearms, explosives, using vehicles as ramming devises, and sharp-edged weapons that are difficult to detect prior to an attack.  In addition to increased opportunities for petty theft, large gatherings intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.

For further information about the Papal visit to Portugal:

For further information about security in Portugal:

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Portugal’s Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Portugal, located at Avenida das Forças Armadas, in the neighborhood of Sete Rios near the Jardim Zoológico, at + (351) 217 702-122, 08:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +(351) 21-727-3300.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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