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Algeria

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Summary

  • Reconsider your need to travel to Algeria because of the high threat of terrorist attack.
  • Do not travel to parts of Algeria within 450 kilometres of the borders with Mali and Niger due to the threat of terrorism, banditry and kidnapping.
  • Do not travel to parts of Algeria within 100 kilometres of Mauritania, Libya and Tunisia, due to the threat of terrorism, banditry and kidnapping.
  •  We regularly receive information indicating terrorists are planning attacks in Algeria. Possible targets include Western interests and places frequented by foreigners, and premises and symbols associated with the Algerian Government.
  • Avoid travel by road throughout Algeria, especially in the Tamanrasset and Illizi provinces in southern Algeria, due to the presence of armed groups. All road travel outside city limits must be cleared in advance by local authorities.
  • Kidnapping, by both criminals and terrorists, is a threat in Algeria, particularly outside major centres. Kidnappings occur frequently in the Kabylie region in north east Algeria and in the trans-Sahara region in the south.
  • If you decide to travel to Algeria, exercise extreme caution and book accommodation and transport through reputable providers.
  • Australia does not have an embassy or consulate in Algeria. The Canadian Embassy in Algiers, provides consular assistance to Australians in Algeria. This service includes the issuance of provisional travel documents. The Australian Embassy in Paris, France, can also assist Australians in Algeria.
  • See Travel smart for general advice for all travellers.

Entry and exit

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) are subject to change. Contact the Embassy of Algeria for up-to-date information.

A valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate is required for everyone over one year of age who arrives from an area or country where yellow fever is endemic. See the World Health Organization website for a list of yellow fever countries.

Algerian minors (under 19 years of age), including dual nationals, require the written consent of their father before they are permitted to leave Algerian territory.

Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months after the date you intend to return to Australia, and that you have at least one blank page for entry and exit stamps.

Safety and security

Reconsider your need to travel to Algeria because of the high threat of terrorist attack, kidnapping and banditry.

Book accommodation and transport through reputable providers.

 

Terrorism

We continue to receive information indicating terrorists are planning attacks in Algeria. Possible targets include Western interests and places frequented by foreigners, and premises and symbols associated with the Algerian Government. Terrorists have mounted attacks on significant dates and anniversaries, but attacks can occur anywhere and at any time.

Maintain a high level of vigilance at all times, employ appropriate personal security protection measures and avoid unnecessary travel in remote areas (see Local travel).

There is a threat of attack in Algeria’s major cities, despite a strong presence of security forces, including in the Kasbah in central Algiers. Take particular care in Tizi Ouzou, Bouira, Bourmedès, Ain Defla and Bejaia provinces (east of Algiers) in the Kabylie region.

In planning your activities, consider the kind of places known to be terrorist targets and the level of security provided. Possible targets include Algerian Government offices, clubs, restaurants, foreign embassies, schools, international hotels, expatriate housing compounds, churches and other places of worship, shopping centres, outdoor recreation events, tourist areas, shipping and transport infrastructure, ports, airports and aircraft, security installations and police stations, and petroleum and electrical infrastructure and installations or identifiably Western interests, including businesses.

Algerian security forces continue to carry out regular counter-terrorism operations in various provinces across the country, which have resulted in the death of a number of insurgents.

Terrorist incidents in Algeria in recent years include:

  • on 14 February 2018, five Algerian soldiers were killed when a bomb exploded near their vehicle near Tebessa, south-east of Algiers
  • on 31 August 2017, two police officers were killed in an attack on the police headquarters in Tiaret, 130km south-west of Algiers
  • on 26 February 2017, at least two police officers were injured in an attack on a police station in central Constantine
  • on 28 October 2016, a police officer was killed in Constantine. Daesh later claimed responsibility
  •  on 18 March 2016, the In Salah gas joint venture in central Algeria was attacked by explosive munitions fired from a distance. There were no injuries or casualties.

Borders with Mali and Niger

Do not travel within 450 kilometres of the border with Mali and Niger due to the threat of terrorist attack, banditry and kidnapping.

Borders with Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania

Do not travel within 100 kilometres of the borders with Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania due to the threat of terrorist attack, banditry and kidnapping. Algerian and Tunisian security forces regularly conduct security operations along the border between Algeria and Tunisia in the Chaambi mountains area, south of Souk Ahras. There is an increased threat in this area due to the presence of extremists. In 2013, at least 37 foreign employees and one local worker were killed in an attack on a gas plant at In Amenas.

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world.

More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Kidnapping

Kidnapping, by both criminals and terrorists, is a threat in Algeria, particularly outside major centres. Kidnappings occur frequently in the Kabylie region in north east Algeria and in the trans-Sahara region in the south. The threat is especially high in the Djanet district in Illizi province and Tamanrasset province.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and splinter groups committed to the same ideology have taken a number of hostages from remote areas in Algeria and neighbouring countries. A number remain in captivity. On 21 September 2014, a French national was kidnapped and later killed in the mountainous area of Tizi Ouzou, in the Kabylie region.

The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it doesn't make payments or concessions to kidnappers. If you decide to travel to an area where there is a particular threat of kidnapping, ensure you have personal security measures in place and seek professional security advice.

More information: Kidnapping

Civil unrest and political tension

There are frequent demonstrations in Algeria. Most are peaceful, but some have involved violent clashes between police and demonstrators. Demonstrations are illegal in Algiers.

The frequency and intensity of localised, sporadic, and usually spontaneous civil disturbances over economic issues has increased significantly in recent years. International events or domestic political events may also prompt demonstrations and protests.

  • Avoid political gatherings, protests and demonstrations, particularly outside mosques and educational institutions, as they may turn violent without warning. Exercise particular caution in the period surrounding Friday prayers. 
  • Monitor the news and other sources for information on planned and possible unrest or strikes and follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • Be prepared to change your travel plans in case of disruptions.
  • If you're affected by transport disruptions, contact your airline, travel agent or insurer for assistance.

Crime

Petty crime, such as pick-pocketing, bag snatching and theft from motor vehicles, occurs, especially in larger cities. Crime levels are higher after dark.

Avoid deserted beach areas, even during daylight hours, because of the threat of banditry and carjacking.  Use a local licensed guide for tours of the Kasbah area of Algiers. There have been reports that criminals, posing as police officers, have carried out robberies, carjackings and erected illegal road blocks. Avoid carrying large amounts of money or valuables.

Money and valuables

Credit cards can be used in hotels and a limited number of businesses in the larger cities. Most international credit cards are accepted by ATMs available in major cities and large international hotels. Only buy Algerian Dinars (DZD) at a 'bureau de change' at international airports and large hotels, and in banks in major cities. Algerian law prohibits the import or export of DZD.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible. You can either:

Local travel

Stay at international hotels that provide a high level of security.

Avoid travel by road throughout Algeria, especially in the Tamanrasset and Illizi provinces in southern Algeria due to the presence of armed groups. All road travel outside city limits must be cleared in advance by police authorities.

Away from major highways, bandits may use illegal checkpoints and blockades on roads to stop vehicles, including buses.

Undertake domestic travel by air. If travel by road is necessary, do so during daylight. All road travel outside city limits must be cleared in advance by police authorities. Check with Algerian authorities for details.

Road and traffic conditions in Algeria are very dangerous. A large number of people are killed and injured in traffic accidents, including buses, each year.

More information: Road safety and driving

The land border between Algeria and Morocco is closed. There are reports of unexploded landmines in the area of Algeria bordering the Western Sahara. Mines have been known to shift in sandstorms.

Areas bordering the Western Sahara, Mauritania, Mali and Niger are known to be frequented by bandits and armed smugglers.

Air safety

The Australian Government doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Algeria.

More information: Air travel

Laws

You're subject to the local laws of Algeria, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. If you’re arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular services charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

Penalties for possession of illegal drugs include imprisonment. 

More information: Carrying or using drugs

Homosexual acts are illegal in Algeria and penalties include imprisonment.

More information: LGBTI travellers

Photographing sensitive sites or subjects, including military or security personnel, may lead to arrest and detention.

Serious crime, such as murder or treason, may attract the death penalty.

It's against the law to attempt to convert Muslims to another faith or to distribute material that may be seen by local authorities as an attempt to convert Muslims to another faith.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas can be prosecuted in Australia.

Local customs

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan will occur between mid-May and mid-June 2018.  During Ramadan, take care to respect religious and cultural sensitivities, rules and customs. Avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public and in the presence of people who are fasting.

More information: Ramadan

There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in Algeria. Take care not to offend. Women should wear loose-fitting clothes that cover the arms and legs and consider wearing a headscarf, particularly in rural and traditional areas and near mosques, religious shrines and religious educational institutes. If in doubt, seek local advice.

Avoid physical contact between men and women in public. Public displays of affection can cause offence, particularly in rural and traditional areas, and near mosques, religious shrines and religious educational institutes.

The normal work week in Algeria is Sunday to Thursday.

Information for dual nationals

Algeria doesn't recognise dual nationality. This may limit the ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance to Australian-Algerian dual nationals who are arrested or detained. Travel on your Australian passport at all times.

Male Australian-Algerian dual nationals may be subject to compulsory military service and other obligations when in Algeria. If you're an Australian-Algerian dual national, contact the Embassy of Algeria before you travel.

Children born of an Algerian father automatically acquire Algerian citizenship at birth. Child custody decisions are based on local religious laws. If you're involved in custody and other family disputes, consult a lawyer before you leave Australia for advice on the impact of religious law on your family circumstances, including your departure from Algeria.

More information: Dual nationals

Health

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. Confirm your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities aren't included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government won't pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. Get vaccinated before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) and our health pages provide useful information on staying healthy.

The standard of medical facilities in Algeria varies. Public medical services and facilities in the capital, Algiers, vary from adequate to limited. Private medical facilities, especially in the capital, Algiers, are generally better equipped than public facilities and can meet basic international accreditation standards. Medical facilities in remote areas, including mountainous and desert regions, can be very limited or non-existent. Consider carrying limited medical supplies for personal use. Foreigners will be required to pay an up-front deposit for medical services.

In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to a destination with appropriate facilities such as Marseille or Paris in France would be necessary. Costs for a medical evacuation could be considerable.

Insect-borne diseases (such as leishmaniasis and West Nile fever) are prevalent in Algeria. There is also a risk of malaria. Take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent, wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.

Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including tuberculosis, typhoid, hepatitis, meningitis and rabies) are prevalent, with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time.  Boil drinking water or drink bottled water and avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food, particularly outside metropolitan areas. Don't swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to parasitic diseases such as schistosomiasis (bilharzia). Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.

Where to get help

Depending on your enquiry, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Emergencies

If the matter relates to criminal issues, contact the local police. When dialling from a landline, the national emergency number is 17 and 021-73-53-50 from a mobile phone. Emergency operators may or may not speak French and normally don't speak English.

Australian Government

The Consular services charter explains what the Australian Government can and can’t do to assist Australians overseas.

Australia doesn't have an Embassy or Consulate in Algeria. By agreement between the Canadian and Australian governments, the Canadian Embassy in Algiers provides consular assistance to Australians in Algeria. This service includes the issuance of provisional travel documents. 

Canadian Embassy

18, rue Mustapha Khalef
Ben Aknoun
Algiers, 16000, Algeria
Telephone: (+213) (0) 770 08 30 00
Fax: (+213) (0) 770 08 30 70 or 770 08 30 40
Email: alger@international.gc.ca
Website: www.canadianinternational.gc.ca/algeria-agerie
Opening hours (consular services): Sunday to Thursday 09:00-11:00am

See the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

You can also obtain consular assistance from the Australian Embassy in France.

Australian Embassy

4 rue Jean Rey
75724 Cedex 15
Paris, France
Telephone: (+33 1) 4059 3300
Fax: (+33 1) 4059 3315
Website: ​france.embassy.gov.au​​
See the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you are unable to contact the Embassy in a consular emergency, you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

Parts of Algeria, including Algiers, experience earthquakes and flooding. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities. The Australian Government's ability to provide consular services may be severely limited.

Additional resources

For additional general and economic information to assist travelling in this country, see the following links: