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Latest travel advice for Sudan including safety and security, entry requirements, travel warnings and health

2017-01-17T12:55:57.159+00:00: Latest update: Summary - removal of information on the closure of the international departure terminal at Khartoum International Airport

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to the following parts of Sudan: Darfur, the Red Sea State border with Eritrea; the Abyei region; Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states; areas of Northern Kordofan and White Nile states south of the Kosti-El Obeid-En Nahud road. See Local travel

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the following parts of Sudan: areas west of the towns of En-Nahud in North Kordofan up to the Darfur border. See Local travel

Following an announcement by the Government of Sudan regarding the removal of subsidies on fuel prices, there is an increased risk of demonstrations and protests across the country. You should exercise vigilance and take care to avoid large crowds and demonstrations wherever possible. See Political situation

There is a general threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. See Terrorism

The British Embassy no longer registers British nationals in Sudan and the capacity of the British Embassy to help in times of crisis may be limited. You should consider your own travel arrangements carefully and make sure you have up-to-date travel documents and visas in case you need to leave at short notice. In case of a crisis this page outlines the precautions you should take and the help and support the British Embassy can provide.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

Safety and security

Crime

The level of street crime in Khartoum and other major Sudanese cities, with the exception of Darfur, is low but increasing. Incidents of bag-snatching (including drive-by bag snatching by thieves on motorbikes) and petty theft do occur. Remain alert and take sensible precautions to protect yourself and your belongings. Take care not to leave valuable items on display in your car while travelling. If you’re stopped you should avoid confrontation.

Local travel

A state of emergency remains in place in a number of states, which gives the government greater powers of arrest.

There have been reports of arbitrary detentions in different parts of the country, including in Khartoum and including foreign nationals. Take great care around any areas which may be sensitive to the government, including military installations, border areas and camps for internally displaced persons. Don’t take photographs in these areas.

You must get a permit before travelling outside of Khartoum. Permits to visit tourist sites must be obtained from either the Ministry of Tourism, your hotel or travel agent. Travel outside of Khartoum for any other purpose must be checked with the Aliens Department at the Ministry of Interior.

If you’re planning a long journey outside of Khartoum, make sure you have enough fuel for your journey.

Local travel Khartoum

Demonstrations can occur at short notice in Khartoum. You should try to avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings of people where possible.

Local travel Darfur States

The FCO advise against all travel to the 5 Darfur states (Central Darfur, East Darfur, North Darfur, West Darfur and South Darfur).

The security situation in Darfur is volatile and unstable. Banditry and lawlessness are widespread, and there are frequent violent confrontations between rebel and government forces, between tribes and over economic resources (land, gold). There are tensions within camps for internally displaced people, which have sometimes resulted in violence and fatalities. Armed robbery and break-ins of guesthouses and other buildings have been reported.

Humanitarian workers and UNAMID peacekeepers are possible targets of attack or for kidnap, and have been caught up in cross-fire and violent incidents. A number of aid workers and peacekeepers have been killed.

There is a high threat of kidnapping. Kidnappings can be for financial or political gain, and can be motivated by criminality or terrorism. There have been a number of kidnappings, including of British nationals and other westerners. Kidnap groups view those engaged in humanitarian aid work or journalism as legitimate targets.

If you are in Darfur against FCO advice, you should respect any curfews that are imposed and make sure you are aware of any military operations, conflict and crime patterns. Make sure that you have co-ordinated your movements with UN Security and that all necessary parties have been notified. Anyone seeking entry to the Darfur area, for whatever purpose, must first obtain a special permit from the Sudanese government.

Local travel - rest of Sudan

Northern Kordofan, White Nile and Sennar States

There is a risk of conflict and violence spreading into White Nile, North Kordofan and Sennar states from neighbouring areas. You should maintain high situational awareness and avoid any areas in which conflict has been reported.

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to areas west of the town of En-Nahud which border Darfur.

Sudan –Libya border

Visitors should take great care in all areas close to the Sudan - Libya border. There are ongoing media reports of trafficking in people and goods as well as movement of armed militants between the two countries. In January 2015, the media reported that five refugees were killed fleeing border police. Visitors to the area should be aware that the FCO currently advises against all travel to Libya and the border is closed to non-African nationals.

Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile and Abyei

The FCO advise against all travel to the Abyei Administrative Area. The security situation there remains tense and unpredictable as it is claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan.

The FCO advise against all travel to South Kordofan due to continuing conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Sudanese People’s Liberation Army - North (SPLA-N).

Landmines and unexploded ordnance are a threat in areas affected by conflict.

East Sudan: Gedaref, Kassala and Red Sea States

Travel to most parts of eastern Sudan, particularly the major cities, is currently possible, but foreign nationals need to get a permit. However, the FCO advise against all travel to the Sudanese border with Eritrea in the Red Sea State. Although the situation is calm at present it has been subject to instability and could deteriorate rapidly. If you’re travelling by road in Kassala State, you should keep to the major roads especially near the Eritrean border where people trafficking groups are believed to operate.

Local tensions in the Galabat area have previously resulted in the closure of the Metema-Galabat border post at short notice. Take care in these areas and check with local authorities on the latest situation before starting your journey.

Road travel

Road traffic accidents are common in Sudan. There is a high risk of being involved in a traffic accident when using public transport or vehicles for hire such as rickshaws and ‘amjads’. Use a reputable taxi firm or driver.

Road conditions are poor and many roads, even major ones, are not tarred or have potholes. Many roads are unsurfaced. At night, there is generally no street lighting and many vehicles have no lights. Roads are used by pedestrians, donkey-carts and rickshaws, as well as motor vehicles. .

If your journey doesn’t follow a major route you should travel with an experienced local guide. Many areas south of Khartoum become inaccessible by road during the rainy season from July to October. The wadis (dry riverbeds) are subject to dangerous flash floods and many are not passable during the rains except on a major road.

You can drive in Sudan using a full UK driving licence for a maximum period of 3 months. You can get a local driving licence from the police traffic department. There are no restrictions on women driving in Sudan. Although drivers should have a licence and insurance, many do not have these. Make sure you have adequate insurance.

Sudanese law prohibits the use of mobile phones while driving. 

Air travel

All airlines registered in Sudan have been banned from operating in the EU because of the high rate of accidents involving Sudanese airlines.

Sea travel

Incidents of piracy have been reported in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. Be vigilant and seek local advice.

If you intend to go ashore along the Red Sea Coast, ensure you have the correct documentation.

Political situation

Rallies and demonstrations occur, often at short notice, in Khartoum and in other major cities. There are sometimes protests in response to international events. These may be directed against foreigners.

Keep a low profile, avoid crowds, monitor local media and keep away from any demonstrations. As a precaution, you should maintain several days’ stock of food and water, and stay indoors until any demonstration or rally in your locality has passed. There have been several demonstrations originating in universities throughout Sudan, some of which have sparked violent clashes resulting in fatalities and injuries.

Demonstrations are no longer isolated to universities and have been taking place in other parts of Khartoum, often at short notice. Be vigilant; avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings that may occur. You should monitor local media and follow the advice of the local authorities on where demonstrations may take place.

Terrorism

There is a general threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.

There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.

Kidnaps

There is a high threat of kidnapping in Darfur. Kidnappings can be for financial or political gain, and can be motivated by criminality or terrorism. There have been a number of kidnappings, including of British nationals and other westerners. Kidnap groups view those engaged in humanitarian aid work or journalism as legitimate targets.

The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage-taking.

Local laws and customs

Local laws reflect the fact that Sudan is predominantly Muslim. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.

In 2017, the holy month of Ramadan is expected to start on 27 May and finish on 25 June. See Travelling during Ramadan

Sudan operates Islamic Sharia Law. Alcohol is not permitted. Although the constitution specifies that in Khartoum non-Muslims shall not be subject to Sharia law, you should expect Sharia law to apply.

Non-Muslim women are not expected to wear a veil or cover their heads, but should dress modestly and respect local customs and sensitivities.

Homosexual practices and extra marital relations are illegal and subject to severe penalties. This includes inviting guests into hotel rooms. Sudanese society is not tolerant of homosexual relationships.

Since the beginning of 2013, the FCO has received reports that a large number of foreign nationals have left Sudan either because they have been asked to leave by the Sudanese authorities, or because they have come under pressure from the Sudanese security service, or because their places of work/study have been closed. Many of these people appear to have been accused of sharing their religious beliefs with Sudanese nationals or of visa irregularities.

You should carry a form of photo ID with you at all times.

There are severe penalties for drug trafficking.

All photography requires a formal permit, which you can get from the External Information Centre in Khartoum (part of the Ministry of Information). Don’t take photographs or use a mobile phone camera close to government buildings, military installations, public utilities (including petrol stations), and other sensitive areas (bridges, airports etc). Many plain clothes public security officers operate.

Entry requirements

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Visas

British nationals need a visa to visit Sudan. Apply before you travel to the Sudanese Embassy in London.

You should register with the Aliens Department at the Ministry of Interior within 3 days of your arrival in the country. You will need two passport size photos. The fee is the Sudanese Pound equivalent of around £35. If you don’t register within 3 days of arrival, you may be fined. Some of the larger hotels will do this for you but you should ask when you check-in.

You’ll need to get an exit visa at the Aliens Department to leave the country.

Children under 18

In addition to a visa, children under 18 must have their father’s consent to enter and exit Sudan. Children travelling without their father will need a letter clearly providing consent for the child to enter and exit Sudan. The letter should be stamped at the Sudanese Embassy before travel.

Where the father is absent or deceased, mothers or guardians should get a court order which clearly shows that the mother or guardian has sole custodial rights for the children. Where the parents are divorced, this should be accompanied by divorce documents. Where the father is deceased, this should be accompanied by a death certificate. Contact the Sudanese Embassy in London for more information.

Previous travel to Israel

If your passport has an Israeli visa or Israeli entry/exit stamps you will not be allowed to enter Sudan.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Sudan.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are not valid for entry into or transit through the Republic of Sudan. However, ETDs are accepted for exit from the country.

Health

Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre on the TravelHealthPro website and by NHS (Scotland) on the fitfortravel website. Useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website.

Please ensure you have the recommended vaccinations before travelling to Sudan. There is a particular risk to public health in conflict affected areas where immunisation coverage is poor .

As a general rule, GP facilities in Khartoum are adequate but the hospitals are not suitable for more serious medical problems. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad, medical evacuation and repatriation.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip dial one of the following numbers:

You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Natural disasters

Sudan suffers from drought and flash flooding. Flooding can make areas inaccessible by road during the rainy season.

Money

It is not possible to withdraw cash against credit and debit cards at banks. Credit and debit cards are not accepted at hotels to settle bills. Make sure you have enough hard currency with you – this should be in US dollars dated 2006 onwards (older ones will not be exchanged). Pounds sterling are rarely exchanged.

Travel advice help and support

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send us a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

See also

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Select a country below:

  • British Embassy Khartoum

    Title:British Embassy Khartoum
    Email:information.khartoum@fco.gov.uk
    Address:

    British Embassy
    off Sharia Al Baladia
    Khartoum East
    Khartoum
    Khartoum
    (PO Box No 801)
    Sudan

    Contact: Telephone: +249 (0)156 775500
    Fax: +249 (0)156 775501
    Visiting:Opening hours:
    Embassy:
    Sunday to Wednesday - 8am to 4pm
    Thursday - 8am to 2:30pm

    Consular:
    Sunday to Wednesday - 9am to 12pm
    Thursday - Closed
    Outside of these opening hours we remain open to British nationals in distress only.

    Visa:
    Sunday to Wednesday - Applications by appointment - 8:30am to 12pm
    Thursday - Applications by appointment - 8:30am to 11am
    Sunday to Thursday - collections by invitation - 1pm to 2pm

    Passport:
    Sunday to Tuesday & Thursday - Applications - 8:30am to 11am
    Sunday to Tuesday & Thursday - collections by invitation - 1pm to 2pm
    Wednesday - Closed
    Services:
  • DFID Sudan

    Title:DFID Sudan
    Email:enquiry@dfid.gov.uk
    Address:

    British Embassy,
    off Sharia al-Baladiya
    P.O. Box 801
    Khartoum
    Sudan

    Contact: Fax:: +249 15 677 5656
    Visiting:
    Services:

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The latest news, travel advice, and information for Sudan, updated regularly for all British travellers by the UK Foreign Office. Including British consulate and embassy addresses in Sudan (Khartoum).

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