COVID-19 Travel
May 28, 2021

COVID-19 Travel Guidance for U.S. Citizens

COVID-19 Alert
October 8, 2021

Update on U.S. Passport Operations

International Parental Child Abduction

English

Country Information

Somalia

Somalia
The Somali Republic
Do not travel to Somalia due to COVID-19, crime, terrorism, civil unrest, health issues, kidnapping, and piracy.

Do not travel to Somalia due to COVID-19, crime, terrorism, civil unrest, health issues, kidnapping, and piracy.

Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Somalia due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country. Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine. Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC's specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.

Visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 related restrictions and conditions in Somalia.

Violent crime, such as kidnapping and murder, is common throughout Somalia, including Puntland and Somaliland. Illegal roadblocks are also widespread. A number of schools acting as “cultural rehabilitation” facilities are operating throughout Somalia with unknown licensing and oversight. Reports of physical abuse and people being held against their will in these facilities are common.

Terrorists continue to plot kidnappings, bombings, and other attacks in Somalia. They may conduct attacks with little or no warning, targeting airports and seaports, government buildings, hotels, restaurants, shopping areas, and other areas where large crowds gather and Westerners frequent, as well as government, military, and Western convoys. Methods of attack can include car bombs, suicide bombers, individual attackers, and mortar fire, among others.

Civil unrest occurs throughout Somalia and can sometimes be violent.

Medical facilities across Somalia have limited capacity and are often nonexistent in rural areas.

Pirates are active in the waters off the Horn of Africa, especially in the international waters near Somalia.

The U.S. government has extremely limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Somalia due to the lack of permanent consular presence in Somalia.

Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Somalia, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued a Special Federal Aviation Regulation.  For more information, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions, and Notices.

Read the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Somalia:

  • See the U.S. Embassy's web page regarding COVID-19. 
  • Visit the CDC’s webpage on Travel and COVID-19.   
  • Review your personal security plan and visit our page on Travel to High-Risk Areas.
  • Avoid sailing near the coast of Somalia and review the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
  • Draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney.
  • Discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, belongings, non-liquid assets (collections, artwork, etc.), funeral wishes, etc.
  • Share important documents, login information, and points of contact with loved ones so that they can manage your affairs if you are unable to return as planned to the United States. Find a suggested list of such documents here.
  • Establish your own personal security plan in coordination with your employer or host organization (if you are traveling on business) or consider consulting with a professional security organization.
  • Develop a communication plan with family and/or your employer or host organization (if you are traveling on business), so that they can monitor your safety and location as you travel through high-risk areas. This plan should specify whom you would contact first, and how that person should share the information.
  • Identify key sources of possible assistance for you and your family in case of emergency, such as the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, FBI, the State Department, your employer (if traveling on business), and local friends/family in the high-risk area.
  • Be sure to appoint one family member to serve as the point of contact with hostage-takers, media, U.S. and host country government agencies, and members of Congress if you are taken hostage or detained.
  • Establish a proof of life protocol with your loved ones, so that if you are taken hostage, your loved ones can know specific questions (and answers) to ask the hostage-takers to be sure that you are alive (and to rule out a hoax).
  • Leave DNA samples with your medical provider in case it is necessary for your family to access them.
  • Erase any sensitive photos, comments, or other materials from your social media pages, cameras, laptops, and other electronic devices that could be considered controversial or provocative by local groups.
  • Leave your expensive/sentimental belongings behind.
  • Enroll your trip in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Somalia.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Last Update: Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information.

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Hague Convention Participation

Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No

What You Can Do

Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Kenya

United Nations Avenue
Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya
Telephone:
(254) (20) 363-6451 (Monday through Thursday, 7:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday from 7:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: (254) (20) 363-6000
Email: 

General Information

For information concerning travel to Somalia, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Somalia. 

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Child Abduction

Hague Abduction Convention

Somalia is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between Somalia and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.

Return

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country. Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Somalia and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction. For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under The Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children’s Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child. The Office of Children’s Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's Issues
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone: 1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Website
Email: AfricaIPCA@state.gov

Parental child abduction is not a crime in Somalia.

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court. Please see Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information.

Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country. Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Somalia and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children’s Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States. Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the U.S. Embassy in Kenya for information and possible assistance.

Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children’s Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy in Kenya are authorized to provide legal advice.

The U.S. Embassy Nairobi posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law. 

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

Mediation

There are no governmental or non-governmental entities that provide mediation services in Somalia.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Last Updated: July 28, 2020

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Kenya
United Nations Avenue
Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya
Telephone
(254) (20) 363-6451 (Monday through Thursday, 7:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday from 7:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.)
Emergency
(254) (20) 363-6000
Fax
No Fax

Somalia Map