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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.
  • Reports indicate terrorists are planning attacks in Algeria. Possible targets include Western interests, places associated with the Algerian Government and places popular with foreigners. See Safety and security.
  • Avoid travel by road throughout Algeria, especially in Tamanrasset and Illizi provinces, due to the presence of armed groups. All road travel outside city limits must be cleared in advance by local authorities. See Safety and security, Local travel.
  • Kidnapping, by both criminals and terrorists, is a threat, particularly outside major centres. Kidnappings occur frequently in the Kabylie region in north-east Algeria and in the trans-Sahara region in the south. See Safety and security.
  • If you decide to travel to Algeria despite the risks, exercise extreme caution and book accommodation and transport through reputable providers. See Safety and security.
  • 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

Visas

You'll need a visa to enter Algeria. Visas on arrival are only available for tourists arriving and departing by cruise ship. All other travellers require a visa in advance.

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

Other formalities

If you're arriving from an area or country where yellow fever is endemic, you'll need a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate for entry. This requirement doesn't apply to babies under one year of age.

More information:

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

Passport

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

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.

Be aware of attempts to get access to your passport by deception. If you are forced to hand over your passport, contact an Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate for advice.

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

Money

The currency of Algeria is the Algerian Dinar (DZD). Only buy Algerian Dinars (DZD) at a 'bureau de change' at international airports and large hotels, and in commercial banks in major cities. Algerian law prohibits the import or export of DZD.

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.

Safety and security

Terrorism

There is a high threat of terrorist attack throughout Algeria. We regularly receive information indicating terrorists are planning attacks in Algeria. A terror attack could occur anywhere and at any time.

Recent terror attacks in Algeria 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
  • in 2013, at least 37 foreign employees and one local worker were killed in an attack on a gas plant at In Amenas.

In the past, terrorists have mounted attacks on significant dates and anniversaries, but attacks can occur anywhere and at any time.

The threat of attack is particularly high in:

  • the region within 100 kilometres of Algeria's borders with Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania, including the Chaambi mountains area, south of Souk Ahras
  • the region within 450 kilometres of Algeria's borders with Mali and Niger
  • Tizi Ouzou, Bouira, Bourmedès, Ain Defla and Bejaia provinces (east of Algiers) in the Kabylie region
  • Algeria's major cities, including in the Kasbah in central Algiers.

This threat continues despite a strong presence of Algerian security forces and regular counter-terrorism operations across the country, which have resulted in the deaths of several insurgents.

Possible targets for future attacks include Western businesses, 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.

If you travel to Algeria despite the risks:

  • avoid unnecessary travel in remote areas.
  • consider the kind of places known to be terrorist targets and the level of security provided when planning your activities
  • book accommodation and transport through reputable providers
  • use appropriate personal security measures
  • be alert to possible threats at all times
  • report any suspicious items or activities to police
  • monitor the media and other sources for any new or emerging threats
  • take official warnings seriously
  • follow the instructions of local authorities
  • if there is an attack, leave the affected area immediately if it is safe to do so
  • avoid the affected area in the aftermath of an attack because of the risk of secondary attacks.

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. Several 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:

  • seek professional security advice
  • make sure you have effective personal security measures in place.

More information: Kidnapping

Civil unrest and political tension

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

Most other civil unrest is localised, sporadic, and spontaneous. The frequency and intensity of 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 events, protests, demonstrations and other public gatherings, as they may turn violent without warning. Exercise particular caution in the period surrounding Friday prayers. 
  • Monitor the news and other sources for reports of planned or possible unrest or strikes. Avoid affected areas.
  • 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.

There is a threat of banditry and carjacking, particularly at deserted beach areas, even during daylight hours. Some criminals pose as police officers and/or erect illegal road blocks to carry out robberies and carjackings.

  • Stay at international hotels that provide a high level of security.
  • Carry only what you need. Leave other valuables, including your passport, in a secure location.
  • Don't tempt thieves – avoid displaying expensive watches, jewellery, phones and cameras.
  • Avoid carrying bags that are easy to snatch.
  • Pay close attention to your personal possessions at all times.
  • Avoid walking in isolated areas or alone at night.
  • Avoid deserted beach areas, even during daylight hours.
  • Keep vehicle doors locked and windows up, including when moving.
  • Secure your accommodation against intruders, including when you're in it.
  • Use a local licensed guide for tours of the Kasbah area of Algiers.

Local travel

Road travel

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

The presence of armed groups and bandits adds to the dangers. Armed groups are particularly active in Tamanrasset and Illizi provinces in southern Algeria. Away from major highways, bandits use illegal checkpoints and blockades on roads to stop vehicles.

By law, all road travel outside city limits must be cleared in advance by police authorities.

  • Avoid travel by road throughout Algeria, especially in Tamanrasset and Illizi provinces.
  • Travel by air, where domestic travel is necessary.

If you decide to travel by road despite the risks:

  • first familiarise yourself with local traffic laws and practices
  • seek up-to-date local advice on possible routes
  • get authorisation from local authorities before any travel beyond city limits
  • drive defensively
  • be alert to possible hazards, including roadblocks and armed groups
  • don't travel at night
  • make contingency plans.

More information: Road travel

Driver's licence

You can drive in Algeria with a valid Australian driver's licence and an International Driving Permit (IDP). You must obtain your IDP before departing Australia.

Motorcycles

Check with your travel insurer whether your policy covers you when using a motorcycle, quad bike or similar vehicle. Your policy may not cover you for accidents that occur while using these vehicles. Wear, and ensure your passenger wears, a correctly fastened and approved helmet.

Taxis

Use only registered taxis and limousines, preferably those arranged through your hotel.

Public transport 

Avoid public transport due to reliability and security issues. Use instead a car and driver from a reputable provider.

Sea travel

A number of international cruise liners visit Algeria. More information: Going on a cruise?

Air travel

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 all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

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.

Drug laws

Penalties for possession of illegal drugs include imprisonment. 

More information: Drugs

Other laws

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

Activities that are illegal in Morocco include:

  • homosexual acts – more information: LGBTI travellers
  • photographing sensitive sites or subjects, including military or security personnel
  • attempting to convert Muslims to another faith
  • distributing material that may be seen by local authorities as an attempt to convert Muslims to another faith
  • importing or exporting Algerian currency.

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law

Dual nationals

Algeria doesn't recognise dual nationality. This may limit the ability of the Australian Government to provide you consular assistance if you're an Australian-Algerian dual national and you're arrested or detained. Travel on your Australian passport at all times.

Male Algerian nationals, including dual nationals, must complete a period of compulsory military service. Other citizenship obligations may also apply. If you're a dual national, make sure you understand your obligations before you travel to Algeria. More information: Embassy of Algeria

Children born of an Algerian father automatically acquire Algerian citizenship at birth. Algerian minors (under 19 years of age), including dual nationals, require the written consent of their father to leave Algerian territory.

Child custody decisions are based on local religious laws. If you are, or could be, involved in custody or 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

Local customs

There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in Algeria, especially in rural and traditional areas, and near mosques, religious shrines and religious educational institutes. Take care not to offend.

  • If you're female, wear loose-fitting clothes that cover the arms and legs and consider wearing a headscarf.
  • Avoid physical contact between men and women in public.
  • If in doubt, seek local advice.

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan will occur between mid-May and mid-June 2018.  During Ramadan, take extra 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

The normal work week in Algeria is Sunday to Thursday.

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. Make sure your policy includes adequate coverage for any pre-existing conditions.

You're likely to require a specialised insurance policy for travel to 'do not travel' destinations. Some Australian insurance policies may not cover you for travel to 'do not travel' destinations.

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 will not pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and are not covered under your policy
  • that you are covered for the whole time you will be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

More information:

Medication

Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may be illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to and find out if any quantity restrictions or certification requirements apply. Consult your doctor about alternatives well in advance of travel

Take enough legal prescription medicine with you to last for the duration of your stay so you remain in good health. Carry copies of your prescription and a dated letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only.

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks

Insect-borne diseases

Insect-borne diseases (such as leishmaniasis and West Nile fever) are prevalent in Algeria. There is also a risk of malaria. 

Protect yourself against insect-borne diseases:

  • ensure your accommodation is insect proof
  • take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent and wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing
  • consider taking malaria prevention medication
  • seek medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.

More information: Infectious diseases

Other infectious diseases  

Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including tuberculosis, typhoid, hepatitis, meningitis and rabies) are prevalent. More serious outbreaks occur from time-to-time. 

  • Use good hygiene practices including frequent handwashing.
  • Boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, particularly outside metropolitan areas.
  • Avoid ice cubes, particularly outside metropolitan areas.
  • Avoid raw and undercooked food.
  • Don't swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases.
  • Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering diarrhoea.

Medical facilities

The standard of medical facilities in Algeria varies.

In Algiers, some public medical services and facilities are adequate. Others are more limited. Private medical facilities are generally better equipped than public facilities and many can meet basic international accreditation standards, especially those in Algiers.

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.

You'll be required to pay an up-front deposit for medical services.

If you become seriously ill or injured, you'll need to be evacuated to a destination with appropriate facilities, such as Marseille or Paris in France. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.  

Natural disasters

Parts of Algeria, including Algiers, experience earthquakes and flooding.

If a natural disaster occurs:

  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it on you at all times (in a waterproof bag).
  • closely monitor local media and other sources such as the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
  • follow the advice of local authorities
  • contact friends and family in Australia with regular updates about your welfare and whereabouts
  • the Australian Government's ability to provide consular services may be severely limited.

 

More information:

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, 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.

Emergency phone numbers

  • Fire: 17 from a landline or 021-73-53-50 from a mobile phone.
  • Medical emergency: 17 from a landline, 021-73-53-50 from a mobile phone or go to the nearest hospital
  • Crime: 17 or visit the nearest police station

Emergency operators may or may not speak French and normally don't speak English.

Always get a police report when reporting a crime.

Australian Government

Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

Australia doesn't have an Embassy or Consulate in Algeria. The Canadian Embassy in Algiers provides consular assistance to Australians in Algeria and can issue Australian 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

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

You can also get 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 one of these embassies in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Additional resources

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