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Sudan

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Summary

  • Reconsider your need to travel to Sudan due to the possibility of violent civil unrest and the threat of terrorist attack. See Safety and security
  • Do not travel to Northern, Southern or Western Darfur, the Abyei region, Northern or Southern Kordufan, Blue and White Nile states, Sennar state, or areas within 15 kilometres of the border with Eritrea and Ethiopia due to the possibility of armed conflict, threats of terrorist attack and kidnapping, and high levels of violent crime. See Safety and security
  • Do not travel within 50 kilometres of Sudan's border with Libya due to the heavy presence of armed militants, extremists and criminal networks smuggling goods and people. See Safety and security
  • Following the military's removal of President Bashir on 11 April 2019, authorities imposed a three month state of emergency. The state of emergency bans unauthorised public gatherings and gives security forces increased powers to arrest, restrict movement and seize assets. Obey curfews and follow local authorities' instructions. See Safety and security
  • The situation remains tense. On 3 June at least 100 people were reportedly killed and more injured by Sudanese security services trying to break up long-running protests. Avoid protests and large gatherings. See Safety and security
  • There is a high threat of kidnapping throughout Darfur. Foreigners, including NGO workers and expatriates, are targeted. Kidnapping is also a threat in all other regions of Sudan, including rural areas and around state capitals. See Safety and security
  • Violence can occur with little warning, particularly where there are demonstrations, protests or other large crowds. Avoid unrest and other crowds, including in Khartoum. Monitor media. See Safety and security
  • If you are in Sudan, use effective personal security measures and have a contingency plan for departure. See Safety and security
  • Landmines are in rural areas. Southern Kordofan and the Eastern States, including the border area with Eritrea, are most affected. See Local travel
  • Sudan officially recognises dual citizenship but, in practice, dual nationals are treated as Sudanese citizens. See Laws
  • The security environment means the Australian Government can provide only limited consular assistance to Australians in Sudan. Where possible, the Australian Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, provides consular services to Australians in Sudan. See Where to get help

Entry and exit

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Australian Government cannot intervene if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

Visas

You need a visa to enter Sudan. Visas can take several months to be issued and are not automatically granted.

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

Other formalities

If your passport has an Israeli visa or Israeli entry or exit stamps, Sudan may not let you enter, even if you have a valid Sudanese visa.

You may need a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate. Yellow fever is a serious and potentially fatal disease that is preventable by vaccination. It is endemic in Sudan. Some airlines require passengers to present a valid Yellow fever Vaccination Certificate before being allowed to board flights out of Sudan. Read Yellow fever for information on re-entry to Australia following exposure to yellow fever.

More information:

You must register with the Aliens Registration Office, Ministry of the Interior (located west of the presidential palace), within three days of arriving in Khartoum.

Carry photo identification with you at all times in Sudan.

Women and their children, regardless of their nationality, can be prevented from departing Sudan if they don't have their father's consent. This can apply even if custodial rights have been granted to the mother by a Sudanese, Australian or other court.

Airport departure taxes apply.

Border crossings

The land borders between Sudan and many neighbouring countries are effectively closed.

The Wadi Halfa crossing by ferry through Lake Nasser between Egypt and Sudan is currently open but can close without notice. Check with local authorities on the rules and regulations governing this crossing.

The status of land borders between Sudan and South Sudan changes regularly and with little notice.

Passport

Check the expiry date of your Australian passport before you travel. Some countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for six months from when you plan to leave that country.

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 Sudan is the Sudanese Pound (SDG). Import and export of SDG is prohibited. Declare all foreign currency in excess of 10,000 Euros on arrival and departure.

USD are easily exchanged for SDG. Bills must be post-2006 series and completely unmarked. Some denominations of SDG banknotes have recently been reissued and old versions withdrawn from circulation. Confirm you receive valid banknotes when exchanging currency.

Expect to pay cash for all purchases, including hotel bills. Some major hotels will only accept payment in hard currencies, such as US dollars. It is difficult to get USD once in Sudan.

Credit, debit and cash cards and travellers cheques are not accepted. ATMs that can access international funds are not available.

Safety and security

Terrorism

Terrorist attacks are indiscriminate and can target areas foreigners go. A terror attack could occur anywhere and at any time in Sudan.

The threat of terror attack is particularly high in:

  • Northern, Southern and Western Darfur
  • Abyei region
  • Northern and Southern Kordufan
  • Blue and White Nile states
  • Sennar state
  • areas within 15 kilometres of the border with Eritrea and Ethiopia
  • areas within 50 kilometres of the border with Libya.

Possible targets for attacks include key transport installations such as air, railways and sea ports, buildings associated with foreign governments and companies, oil installations, hotels, clubs, restaurants, bars, schools, marketplaces, places of worship, outdoor recreation events, tourist areas and other places foreigners go. Security against terror attacks at official facilities is high. Terrorists may turn towards easier targets, such as residential compounds.

  • Do not travel to Northern, Southern or Western Darfur, the Abyei region, Northern and Southern Kordufan, Blue and White Nile states, Sennar state, or areas within 15 kilometres of Sudan's borders with Eritrea and Ethiopia.
  • Do not travel within 50 kilometres of Sudan's border with Libya.
  • Reconsider your need to travel to all other parts of Sudan.
  • Be alert to possible threats at all times.
  • Vary your routes and patterns of movement.
  • Avoid travel at night, including in Khartoum and other urban areas.
  • If you travel outside urban areas in Sudan, use effective personal security measures.
  • In planning your activities, consider the kind of places known to be terrorist targets and the level of security provided.
  • Avoid crowded areas and public locations that don't have an obvious security presence.
  • Monitor the media for any new or emerging threats.
  • Follow local authorities' instructions.
  • If there's 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

Civil unrest and political tension

Politically-motivated demonstrations, including anti-Western rallies, occur in Sudan. Violence can erupt with little warning. Weapons are widespread among the population and conflict can escalate quickly. Curfews can be imposed, with little or no warning.

Following the Sudanese military's removal of President Bashir on April 11, authorities imposed a three month state of emergency. The state of emergency bans unauthorised public gatherings and gives security forces increased powers to arrest, restrict movement and seize assets.

The situation remains tense. Avoid protests and large gatherings, observe curfews and follow local authorities' instructions.

On 3 June, at least 100 people were reportedly killed and many more injured by Sudanese security services trying to break-up protests.

Borders can be closed at short notice. The border between Sudan and South Sudan is disputed in some places. Border areas are extremely dangerous. Fighting between rebel groups and government forces continues in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states. The Sudanese Defence Forces, including the Rapid Response Forces, respond to suspected rebel activity with force. Violent skirmishes involving local communities and armed groups continue in Abyei. The violence caused the deaths of hundreds and displacement of thousands of people. Civilians, including foreign workers, can get caught in the violence. Violent conflict in South Sudan has made the border security situation worse. This has caused steady flows of internally displaced persons and refugees into Sudan.

Darfur remains dangerous despite some progress in the peace process. There are violent and ongoing clashes among rebel groups and with the Sudanese Armed Forces. Conflict can escalate and the security situation can deteriorate quickly. Civilians, including foreign workers, are at risk from the prevailing lawlessness. You could get caught in violence directed at others. Some armed movements in Darfur reject the peace process.

  • Reconsider your need to travel to Sudan overall.
  • Do not travel to Northern, Southern and Western Darfur, the Abyei region, Northern and Southern Kordofan, Blue and White Nile states or Sennar state.
  • Do not travel to areas within 15 kilometres of the Eritrean or Ethiopian borders.

If, despite the risks, you travel to Sudan:

  • avoid demonstrations, protests and large crowds throughout Sudan, including in Khartou
  • monitor the media for news of planned or possible unrest, including political events that may inflame existing tensions, and avoid areas of possible unrest
  • avoid public spaces in the period surrounding Friday prayers
  • obey any curfews
  • follow local authorities' advice
  • adopt appropriate personal security measures
  • keep adequate supplies of water, food, fuel, cash and medications
  • keep your passport and other travel documents up-to-date
  • regularly review your contingency plan in light of local developments and your personal circumstances
  • be ready to leave at short notice if there is a deterioration in the security environment.
  • seek and implement professional security advice if you travel to 'do not travel' areas despite our advice.

Crime

There are high levels of kidnapping and other violent crime in Darfur. Foreigners, including US, German, South African, Russian and Jordanian citizens, have been kidnapped. Aid workers and expatriates are commonly targeted. Some victims have been held captive for more than 100 days. People have been kidnapped in rural areas and in and around Darfur's state capitals and towns, including Nyala, Kutum and Zalingei. Banditry, carjacking, murder, sexual assault and looting are also dangers in Darfur. Westerners, including employees of aid organisations, journalists and other foreign workers, are often targeted. Some international organisations have withdrawn staff from Darfur.

There is also a risk of kidnapping in all other parts of Sudan. Foreigners, including NGO workers, are targeted.

The Australian Government's does not make payments or concessions to kidnappers.

Outside Darfur, you are less likely to encounter violent crime. There is a low incidence of crime but crime rates are rising in Khartoum. Incidents of bag snatching (including drive-by bag snatching by thieves on motorbikes) and petty theft occur. People trafficking groups operate in Sudan, largely in the south and east of the country along the border with Eritrea and Ethiopia and in some northern states.

  • Do not travel to Northern, Southern or Western Darfur.
  • Reconsider your need to travel to Sudan overall.
  • If you decide to travel to an area where there is a particular risk of kidnapping, seek professional security advice and have effective personal security measures in place.
  • Carry only what you need.
  • When walking, carry bags in front of you and away from the road.
  • Be alert to your surroundings.
  • Due to the high risk of HIV/AIDS infection, if you are a victim of violent crime, especially rape, seek immediate medical assistance outside of Sudan.

More information: Kidnapping

Local travel

Landmines

Landmines and unexploded ordnance are a danger outside of Khartoum, particularly in the Eastern States and Southern Kordofan. Only use main roads and paths labelled as cleared by a competent de-mining authority.

Travel outside Khartoum

You need a permit for all travel outside Khartoum. Without one, authorities may arrest and detain you.

Apply to the Ministry of Tourism for travel permits to visit the north of the country. Apply to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Travel for travel permits to visit the 'do not travel' areas in the south. You may experience delays or have your application refused.

You must register with local police authorities within 24 hours of arrival anywhere outside Khartoum.

Road travel

Driving in Sudan is dangerous. You are 4.5 times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in Sudan than in Australia. Hazards include poorly maintained roads and vehicles, dust storms and lack of street lighting.

Roads in Khartoum are of a better quality than the rest of the country but speeding contributes to serious accidents. Crowds can gather quickly following accidents and can become violent.

If you need to travel by road:

  • verify local security and road conditions
  • seek local advice on possible routes
  • check you have adequate insurance cover
  • familiarise yourself with local traffic laws and practices
  • make contingency plans.

More information: Road travel

Driver's licence

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

Motorcycles

Check if your travel insurance covers you when using a motorcycle, quad bike or similar vehicle. Always wear a helmet.

Taxis

Only use registered taxis and limousines, preferably those arranged through your hotel. Take care when travelling alone at night.

Public transport

Avoid using public transport as safety and maintenance standards are poor.

Boat travel

Piracy occurs in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. All forms of shipping are attractive targets for pirates, including commercial vessels, pleasure crafts and luxury cruise liners. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) publishes piracy reports.

If you must travel by boat:

More information:

Air travel

All Sudanese registered airlines are banned from operating in European airspace.

There have been instances of hijacking in the past.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. Check the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Sudan.

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. We can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Drug laws

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe in Sudan. More information: Drugs

Other laws

Sudan has Islamic Sharia Law.

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

Serious crime, such as murder, may attract the death penalty. Some offences may attract corporal punishment (lashes).

Activities that are illegal in Sudan include:

  • homosexual acts – more information: LGBTI travellers
  • extra-marital relations
  • importing or consuming alcohol, even in private
  • Christian proselytising
  • photography of any kind without a permit
  • photography of military areas, bridges, broadcast stations, public utilities, slum areas or beggars, even if you have a permit

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

Dual citizenship is legally recognised in Sudan. Local authorities have the right to determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether they consider you Sudanese or Australian. In practice, dual Australian-Sudanese nationals are treated as Sudanese citizens. This may affect our ability to provide you with consular services. More information: Dual nationals

Local customs

There are strong Islamic codes of dress and behaviour in Sudan.

  • Take care not to offend.
  • Dress conservatively. Women should wear a headscarf and loose-fitting clothing which covers the arms and legs.
  • If in doubt, seek local advice.

During Ramadan, take extra care to respect religious and cultural sensitivities, rules and customs. In particular, avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public and in the presence of people who are fasting. More information: Ramadan

Health

Travel insurance

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

You'll likely need a specialised insurance policy for travel to 'do not travel' destinations. Some Australian insurance policies may not cover 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. 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 Sudan 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. 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

Yellow fever is endemic and malaria is a risk throughout the year in all parts of Sudan. Other insect-borne diseases (including dengue fever, Zika virus, filariasis, leishmaniasis, river blindness and African sleeping sickness) also occur. 

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
  • get vaccinated against yellow fever before you travel
  • consider taking malaria prevention medication
  • seek medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.

More information:

HIV/AIDS 

HIV/AIDS is common. Take precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection. If you are exposed to a risk of infection, including as a victim of rape or other violent crime, seek immediate medical assistance outside of Sudan.

Other infectious diseases

Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including typhoid, cholera, hepatitis, tuberculosis, polio, meningococcal disease, viral hemorrhagic fevers, Rift Valley fever and rabies) are common. More serious outbreaks occur from time to time.

  • Use good hygiene practices.
  • Boil drinking water or drink bottled water.
  • Don't swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to water-borne diseases.
  • Seek medical advice if you have a fever or diarrhoea.

Medical facilities

Medical facilities are basic in Khartoum and inadequate elsewhere.

Doctors and hospitals generally require up-front payment before providing treatment.

If you become ill or injured, you'll need to be evacuated to a destination with appropriate facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.  

Natural disasters

If a natural disaster occurs:

  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it
  • monitor local media and other sources such as the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
  • follow local authorities' advice
  • contact friends and family with regular updates about your welfare.

Severe weather and climate

Sudan often experiences extremely high temperatures. During the hottest months of the year, the temperature can exceed 50˚C.

Sandstorms and dust storms occur regularly.

The rainy season is from July to October. Flooding can make roads in rural areas inaccessible.

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Emergency phone numbers

  • Fire: phone 777
  • Medical emergency: phone 333 or go to the nearest hospital
  • Crime: phone 999 or visit the nearest police station

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.

The ability of the Australian Government to provide consular services to Australians in Sudan is limited. Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Sudan.

For consular assistance, contact the Australian Embassy in Cairo, Egypt.

Australian Embassy, Cairo

11th floor, North Tower, World Trade Centre
1191 Corniche El Nil
Boulac, Cairo EGYPT
Telephone: (20 2) 2770 6600
Fax: (20 2) 2770 6650
Email: cairo.austremb@dfat.gov.au
Website: www.egypt.embassy.gov.au

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

The British Embassy in Khartoum may be able to provide limited consular assistance to Australian nationals, in coordination with the Australian Embassy in Cairo.

British Embassy
Off Sharia Al Baladia
Khartoum East
(PO Box no.801)
Email: information.khartoum@fco.gov.uk
Phone: (249) (183) 777105
Fax: (249) (183) 776457, (249) (183) 775562
Website: www.ukinsudan.fco.gov.uk/en

If you are unable to contact the embassy or high commission 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