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Summary

  • Do not travel to Yemen because of on-going civil and international conflict, and extreme political instability. There is a very high threat of kidnapping and terrorist attack. Our long-standing advice against travel to Yemen includes the island of Socotra.
  • Australians remaining in Yemen should depart immediately. The Australian Government can't provide practical consular assistance in Yemen. We aren't able to assist you to depart, or evacuate you if you remain in Yemen. See Safety and security.
  • Australia doesn't have an embassy in Yemen. Due to security concerns Australian officials have been instructed not to travel to Yemen until further notice.
  • Yemeni Government forces, Houthi and other groups remain engaged in sporadic violent conflict throughout most of Yemen.
  • Airstrikes continue to be conducted by regional countries. Some regional countries also have a military presence in Yemen.
  • Violent jihadist groups have a strong presence in some parts of Yemen. Frequent terrorist bombings are a feature of the volatile security environment.
  • The conflict has led to a breakdown in government services across much of Yemen.
  • There have been severe disruptions to air travel and other departure options. Airport infrastructure and ports have suffered damage in the current conflict. Most regular international flights have been suspended until further notice. You may not be able to access sufficient food, water or medical care.
  • If you choose to remain in Yemen despite our advice to leave, take shelter in a safe place, adopt a low profile and explore all available options to leave. Due to the ongoing conflict, take advice from local authorities or competent security experts before departing Yemen by road.
  • A major cholera outbreak in Yemen has gathered intensity since late April 2017. Cholera is most often spread by drinking water or eating food that has been contaminated. Boil drinking water or drink bottled water, and avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea. See Health.

Entry and exit

We advise against all travel to Yemen, including the island of Socotra.

Women in Yemen can be subjected to strict family controls and may be prevented from leaving the country. A Yemeni husband may legally prevent his wife from leaving the country, regardless of her nationality.

Children under 18 years of age must have their father's permission to leave the country, regardless of the status of their parents' marriage and who has been granted custody.

Safety and security

Do not travel to Yemen because of ongoing civil and international conflict, and extreme political instability. There is a very high threat of kidnapping and terrorist attack. Violent jihadist groups have a strong presence in some parts of Yemen, such as Al Mukalla. There have been frequent terrorist attacks against Yemeni Government interests, as well as civilian targets. Western interests remain prime terrorist targets.

Government forces, Houthi and other groups remain engaged in sporadic conflict throughout most parts of Yemen. Airstrikes continue to be conducted by regional countries. Some regional countries also have a military presence in Yemen.

The protracted conflict has led to a severe breakdown in government services and supplies of staple goods across Yemen. 

There have been severe disruptions to air travel and other departure options. Most international flights have been suspended until further notice. Airport infrastructure has been damaged in the current conflict. You may not be able to access sufficient food, water or medical care.

Depart Yemen immediately. If you can't leave now, take shelter in a safe place, adopt a low profile and explore all available options to leave. Due to the ongoing conflict, take advice from local authorities or competent security experts before seeking to depart Yemen by road.

The Australian Government can't provide practical consular assistance in Yemen. Due to security concerns, Australian officials have been instructed not to travel to Yemen until further notice. Both the US and UK Governments have withdrawn all diplomatic staff and suspended the operations of their embassies in Yemen.

Terrorism

High threat of kidnapping: There is a very high threat of kidnapping throughout Yemen, including in Sana'a. In recent years, a number of foreigners have been kidnapped, including within Sana'a and areas surrounding the city, and in other cities, including Ta'iz. In December 2014, a US citizen and a South African citizen were killed during a rescue attempt.

In addition to the kidnapping threat from terrorist groups, tribal and criminal groups also kidnap foreigners in Yemen and can sell them to terrorist groups.

Foreigners, including Australians, have been kidnapped by terrorists, tribesmen or criminal gangs. Kidnappers often demand large ransom payments to release their captives.

The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it doesn't make payments or concessions to kidnappers. The Australian Government considers that paying a ransom increases the risk of further kidnappings, including of other Australians. If you do 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 threat.

High threat of terrorism: There is a very high threat of terrorism throughout Yemen. Frequent attacks target both Yemeni Government and Houthi interests, as well as civilians. Westerners and Western interests remain attractive targets. Terrorists can launch attacks in all parts of Yemen.

Attacks against foreigners occur in both urban and provincial areas.

Seek professional security advice. Adopt strict security procedures and carefully consider the necessity of all travel. Australians of all backgrounds are a potential target for attack, regardless of location or length of stay in Yemen, occupation, or ethnic or religious background. Remain vigilant at all times. Maintain a low profile and vary your routines to ensure patterns in behaviour and movement don't become apparent to observers.

Possible terrorist targets: Exercise extreme caution near facilities and installations belonging to the Yemeni authorities, including deployments of security forces and ministries. Houthi interests have also been targeted, including mosques.

The types of foreign interests targeted for attack include foreign officials, business travellers, tourists and foreign residents. It also includes embassies, diplomatic vehicles, international businesses and hotels. Terrorists may also be planning attacks on oil infrastructure in Yemen. Several attacks against oil interests and kidnappings of foreign oil workers have occurred in recent years. Further such incidents could occur in any part of Yemen.

No location in Yemen is immune from violence.

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. More information: Terrorist threat overseas.

Civil unrest/political tension

The political and security situation is extremely volatile. Regional countries have been conducting airstrikes in several locations in Yemen. Violence has escalated in Sana'a, Ta'iz, Aden and other cities. Further violence is likely.

Significant dates and political anniversaries can act as a catalyst for violence and civil unrest. Events associated with the reunification of North and South Yemen (such as the period surrounding Unity Day on 22 May) have seen significant civil unrest. Avoid major events as further violence could occur. International events may also trigger violent demonstrations.

Avoid all demonstrations and protests: If, despite our strong advice, you're in Yemen, avoid political rallies, large crowds, protests and demonstrations as they often turn violent. Take particular care in the period surrounding Friday prayers. Try to remain indoors in such circumstances. Monitor the media for any new safety and security risks, including significant political events that may inflame existing tensions.

Protests and demonstrations may also affect your ability to travel by road.

Crime

Weapons are readily available within Yemen and the tribes are often heavily armed.

Armed carjacking has occurred in many parts of the country. Drive with your vehicle's doors locked and windows up at all times.

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, is rare but does occur. Credit card fraud, such as skimming, also occurs.

Unaccompanied women can be vulnerable to harassment. Women should take care when travelling alone, particularly at night.

Money and valuables

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

You're required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport online or by contacting the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

Local Travel

The security situation remains volatile with widespread disruption to air travel and other departure options. Travel by road in conflict-affected areas is particularly dangerous and shouldn't be contemplated without expert local advice.

Unexploded munitions, including anti-personnel landmines, are a danger in the central highlands and in the southern and eastern regions, particularly around Aden, and in Sa’ada province.

Seek the advice of the Yemeni authorities before entering Yemeni waters or ports. Many areas are sensitive from a security or territorial point of view.

Piracy: There is a high threat of piracy in the coastal areas of Yemen. There have been attacks by pirates against all forms of shipping in and around Yemen’s waters and the Gulf of Aden. Pirates have been using motherships to attack shipping further than 1,000 nautical miles (1,850km) from the coast of Somalia.

All forms of shipping are attractive targets for Somali pirates, including commercial vessels, pleasure craft (yachts etc) and luxury cruise liners.  Exercise extreme caution when anywhere near these waters.

For more information, see our Piracy page. The International Maritime Bureau issues piracy reports.

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 Yemen.

Refer to our general air travel page for more information on aviation safety and security.

Laws

You're subject to the local laws of Yemen, 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.

Seek professional advice if you might engage in activities that involve local legal matters, particularly with regard to family law (divorce, child custody and child support). Be aware of your rights and responsibilities.

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Penalties range from fines and imprisonment to the death penalty.  More information: Carrying or using drugs.

Homosexuality is illegal. More information LGBTI travellers.

Penalties for acts of sodomy range from imprisonment to death.

The death penalty can also be imposed for murder and some terrorism-related offences.

Some offences, including consuming alcohol in public, slander and adultery, are punishable by corporal punishment (lashing).

It's illegal to take photos of government buildings, military personnel and installations, including airports and equipment, and other sensitive infrastructure. Military sites aren't always clearly marked or defined.

Preaching religion other than Islam in public (except in churches) and attempting to convert Muslims is illegal.

There are restrictions on the sale of alcohol and pork. Customs authorities at border entry points will confiscate these products. In some cases, travellers have been detained at borders because of the smell of alcohol on their breath.

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 is expected to occur between mid-May and mid-June 2018. During Ramadan, take particular 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, if you're not fasting. More information: Ramadan.

There are strict Islamic codes of dress and behaviour in Yemen. Any disrespect for Islam will cause great offence. Be modest in both your dress and behaviour. Take care not to offend. If in doubt, seek local advice.

Women are advised to wear a headscarf and cover their arms and legs, while men should avoid wearing shorts or unbuttoned shirts.

Non-Muslims may not enter mosques in Yemen.

Public displays of affection may cause offence.

It's generally unacceptable for unmarried couples to live together. Hotels may refuse accommodation to couples unable to provide proof of marriage.

Dual nationality

Yemen doesn't recognise dual nationality. This may limit our ability to provide consular assistance to Australian-Yemeni dual nationals who are arrested or detained.

Australian-Yemeni dual nationals may be required to complete national service obligations if they visit Yemen. If you're a dual national, contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Yemen before you travel.

More information: Dual nationals.

Health

Take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that 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) provides information for travellers and our health pages also provide useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

The standard of medical facilities in Yemen is very basic. The current conflict has exacerbated difficulties associated with accessing medical services. Private health care facilities generally require payment at the time of treatment. In the event of a serious illness or accident or for complex procedures, medical evacuation to a destination with appropriate facilities could be necessary. Medical evacuation costs are considerable.

Cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have been reported in a number of countries in the Middle East, including Yemen. Other countries outside the Middle East have also reported imported cases from returned travellers.

Malaria occurs throughout Yemen, except in areas above 2,000 metres. Chloroquine-resistant strains of malaria have been reported. Other insect-borne diseases (including dengue, filariasis and leishmaniasis) are common. Consider taking medication against malaria where necessary and 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 cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, tuberculosis, measles, schistosomiasis, polio and rabies) are prevalent, with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. A major cholera outbreak in Yemen has gathered intensity since late April 2017. Cholera is most often spread by drinking water or eating food that has been contaminated. Boil drinking water or drink bottled water, and avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.

The altitude in the Sana'a region can cause problems for travellers, particularly those who suffer from lung, heart or chest problems.

Where to get help

The Australian Government is no longer able to provide practical consular assistance in Yemen. Australia doesn't have an embassy or consulate in Yemen. Due to security concerns, Australian officials have been instructed not to travel to Yemen until further notice.

Both the US and UK Governments have withdrawn all diplomatic staff and temporarily suspended operations of their embassies in Yemen.

The Australian Embassy in Saudi Arabia can provide consular advice.

Australian Embassy, Riyadh

Abdullah Bin Hozafa Al-Shami Avenue
Diplomatic Quarter
Riyadh
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Telephone: (966 11) 2500 900
Facsimile: (966 11) 2500 902
Website: saudiarabia.embassy.gov.au

See the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision. The working week is Sunday to Thursday, in accordance with local practice.

If you're unable to contact the Embassy in a consular emergency, 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

The monsoon season is from June to September and can result in flooding. Sandstorms and dust storms also occur. Yemen is subject to earthquakes and volcanic activity.

Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

Additional resources