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. See
Safety and security.
- Australians remaining in Yemen should depart immediately if it is safe to do so. The ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance to Australians in Yemen is extremely limited. We can't evacuate you. See
Where to get help.
- 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.
Entry and exit
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Australian Government cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination's entry or exit requirements.
We advise against all travel to Yemen, including the island of Socotra.
If you are trying to leave Yemen:
- check exit requirements with local immigration authorities before you book your ticket
- contact local airlines for full details of their schedules and how to purchase tickets. Tickets can take several weeks to be issued and incur additional administrative fees
- flights could be delayed or cancelled at short notice, check with your airline before travelling to the airport.
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.
Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that in some cases, countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to leave the country with their children.
Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months after the date you intend to return to Australia and has at least one blank page. Carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement while overseas.
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.
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. 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 ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance to Australians in Yemen is extremely limited. 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.
If you plan to enter or remain in Yemen despite our strong advice:
- Carry contact information for your friends/family members and/or relatives and use social media to let family and friends know that you are safe.
- Avoid travelling alone and at night. You should check routes in advance of travelling. Don’t advertise your travel or other plans through social media.
- Ensure you deal with reliable, registered and authorised bodies and travel agencies.
- Do not carry large amounts of money with you during your moves and travel.
- Tribal disputes over land are common, including in major cities, and may involve the use of weapons. Exercise caution at all times.
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. Monitor the media for kidnapping cases.
The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it doesn't make payments or concessions to kidnappers. 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.
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.
Terrorist threat overseas
Civil unrest and 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.
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.
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.
Travelling 'off the beaten track' without an experienced guide is extremely dangerous.
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.
You may require permission from relevant local authorities in Yemen to travel outside Sanaa and/or some other cities. Authorities may close access to certain areas without notice.
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 (1,850 kilometres) 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.
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.
You're subject to the local laws of Yemen, 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.
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
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.
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is expected to occur between early May and early June 2019. 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.
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.
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.
Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. Make sure your policy covers any pre-existing conditions.
You'll need a special insurance policy for travel to "do not travel" destinations. Check with your insurer to be sure you're covered.
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.
- 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.
Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may be considered 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 to last for the duration of your stay. Carry copies of your prescription and a 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
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.
The altitude in the Sana'a region can cause problems for travellers, particularly those who suffer from lung, heart or chest problems
Malaria is common throughout Yemen, except in areas above 2,000 metres. Chloroquine-resistant strains of malaria have been reported. Consider taking medication against malaria where necessary. Other insect-borne diseases (including dengue, filariasis and leishmaniasis) are common.
Protect yourself against insect-borne diseases:
- ensure your accommodation is insect proof
- avoid insect bites, use insect repellent and wear long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing
- consider malaria prevention medication
- seek medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.
Other infectious diseases
Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, tuberculosis, measles, schistosomiasis, polio and rabies) are common, with more serious outbreaks 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.
- Use good hygiene practices including frequent handwashing.
- Boil all drinking water or drink bottled water.
- Avoid ice cubes.
- Avoid raw and undercooked food.
- Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering diarrhoea.
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.
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.
Where to get help
Depending on what you need, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Emergency phone numbers
- Police: phone 194
- Emergency: phone 191
- Fire: phone 191
Australia does not have an embassy or consulate in Yemen. The ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance to Australians in Yemen is extremely limited.
The Australian Embassy in Saudi Arabia can provide consular advice.
Australian Embassy, Riyadh
Abdullah Bin Hozafa Al-Shami Avenue
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Telephone: (966 11) 2500 900
Fax: (966 11) 2500 902
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 from overseas, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.