DHS Announces Personal Electronics Ban Affecting International Travel from the Middle East and North Africa

March 22, 2017


On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would enhance security restrictions of carry-on personal electronic devices for flights bound for the United States from 10 specific airports in the Middle East and North Africa. According to the DHS, the ban is based on intelligence reports indicating that terrorist groups are trying to smuggle explosive devices in various consumer electronic items. The restriction applies to all travelers, including U.S. citizens, who are flying from the affected airports. Airlines affected by these tightened security restrictions must comply within 96 hours.
 
Under these new restrictions, all personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone or smart phone must be placed in checked baggage. Electronic items prohibited from cabin carry-on include: laptops, tablets, E-Readers, cameras, portable DVD players, video game units larger than a cellphone/smartphone and travel printers/scanners. The new security restrictions apply to the following 10 airports:

  • Jordan: Queen Alia International Airport (AMM);

  • Egypt: Cairo International Airport (CAI);

  • Turkey: Ataturk International Airport (IST);

  • Saudi Arabia; King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED) and King Khalid International Airport (RUH);

  • Kuwait: Kuwait International Airport (KWI);

  • Morocco: Mohammed V Airport (CMN);

  • Qatar: Hamad International Airport (DOH); and

  • United Arab Emirates: Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH).

The DHS emphasized that the new restriction only applies to flights originating from the countries above, and does not affect U.S. domestic flights, or flights originating from the United States.
 
Notably, the United Kingdom followed suit and placed a similar restriction on direct passenger flights originating from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

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