Caution
October 19, 2023

Worldwide Caution

Update
January 10, 2024

Information for U.S. Citizens in the Middle East

International Travel

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Learn About Your Destination

Yemen

Yemen
Republic of Yemen
Do not travel to Yemen due to terrorism, civil unrest, health risks, kidnapping, armed conflict, and landmines.

Updated after periodic review to include the crime indicator and revised security information.

Do not travel to Yemen due to terrorism, civil unrest, crime, health risks, kidnapping, armed conflict, and landmines.

Country Summary: The U.S. Embassy in Sana’a suspended its operations in February 2015, and the U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Yemen.

Terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Islamic State affiliates, continue to plot and conduct attacks in Yemen – most notably in al-Bayda, Abyan, and Shabwah governorates. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting public sites, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. Additionally, there is a continuing threat of kidnapping/detention by terrorists, criminal elements, and/or non-government actors. Employees of foreign organizations may be targeted for attack or kidnapping.

A civil war continues in Yemen. While truce agreements may reduce overall levels of violence, instability and ongoing threats of armed conflict, particularly along the frontlines in central Yemen, remain at a severe level. Due to the ongoing civil unrest and weak government institutions, travelers should not rely on significant assistance from local authorities. Foreign nationals are frequently the target of kidnapping and carjacking, particularly when traveling outside of urban areas.

Military conflict has caused destruction of basic infrastructure, housing, medical facilities, schools, and power and water utilities. This destruction limits the availability of electricity, clean water, and medical care in affected areas. It also often hampers the ability of humanitarian organizations to deliver critically needed food, medicine, and water. Landmines exist throughout Yemen.

Widespread violent crime and/or organized crime are present in Yemen. Local law enforcement may have limited or no ability or willingness to respond to serious crimes.

As a result of the deterioration of health services, Yemen is experiencing the re-emergence of infectious diseases, such as cholera, polio, and measles. There is a limited availability of medicine and medical supplies, and adequate medical treatment is unavailable.

There is a very high risk of kidnapping and detention of U.S. citizens in Yemen, particularly dual U.S.-Yemeni citizens. U.S. citizens, particularly young people, are also at risk of kidnapping for purposes of forced marriage, sometimes involving force, fraud, or coercion by family members in the United States and/or Yemen. The Houthis, who control Sana’a, have detained U.S. citizens, including dual U.S.-Yemeni citizens. U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, have faced difficulty – including lengthy delays – when attempting to depart Yemen.

Commercial flights to and from Yemen have operated out of Aden and Sana’a and have connected to destinations in the region, including Addis Ababa, Amman, Cairo, Djibouti, Jeddah, Khartoum, and Riyadh. Travelers are advised to inquire with airlines and travel companies directly for the most current information.

Some companies outside of Yemen have misrepresented the security situation on the Yemeni island of Socotra and are offering tourist visits there, including by facilitating unofficial and invalid "visas." Only the sovereign Republic of Yemen government can issue valid Yemeni visas. Private companies or third countries that arrange such visits are putting tourists in danger, including legal jeopardy. While security conditions on Socotra may be less volatile than on the mainland, the U.S. government has no presence and no way to intervene with authorities on behalf of U.S. citizens who travel there. U.S. citizens should not travel to Socotra or any other part of Yemen.

Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Yemen, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For more information U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

Due to risks to commercial shipping operating within or in the vicinity of Yemen territorial waters, the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) has issued a Maritime Advisory. For more information U.S. citizens should consult the Maritime Administration’s Maritime Security Communications with Industry (MSCI).

Additionally, the Commandant of the Coast Guard has determined that effective anti-terrorism measures are not in place in Yemen’s ports and has imposed conditions of entry on vessels that arrive in U.S. ports having visited ports in Yemen. Mariners and passengers traveling through the ports of Yemen should exercise caution.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Yemen.

If, despite this Travel Advisory, you decide to travel to Yemen:

  • Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
  • Make contingency plans to leave the country without U.S. government assistance.
  • 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.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Establish your own personal security plan in coordination with your employer or host organization or consider consulting with a professional security organization.
  • Develop a communication plan with family and/or your employer or host organization so that they can monitor your safety and location as you travel through high-risk areas. This plan should specify who you would contact first, and how they should share the information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook  and Twitter
  • Review the Country Security Report for Yemen.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
... [READ MORE]

Embassy Messages

Alerts

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY:


Must be valid for six months at time of entry.

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:


1 page per entry stamp.

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


Yes. Must be obtained at Yemeni embassies and consulates abroad.

VACCINATIONS:


None required.

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


Unknown.

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


Unknown.

Embassies and Consulates

The U.S. Embassy in Sana’a suspended operations on February 11, 2015, and therefore cannot provide protection or consular services to U.S. citizens in Yemen.  The U.S. government has extremely limited capabilities to assist U.S. citizens in Yemen.

The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends that U.S. citizens avoid travel to Yemen due to the very high risk of kidnapping and detention.  U.S. citizens in Yemen are strongly recommended to depart the country.  U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, have faced difficulty – including lengthy delays – when attempting to depart Yemen. More information can be found in our Yemen Travel Advisory. 

Please direct inquiries regarding U.S. citizens in Yemen to YemenEmergencyUSC@state.gov. Callers in the U.S. and Canada may dial the toll free number 1-888-407-4747. Callers outside the United States and Canada may dial 1-202-501-4444.

Destination Description

See the Department of State’s website www.state.gov for information on U.S.-Yemen relations.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the high security threat level in Yemen due to terrorist activities, kidnappings, civil unrest, and landmines. The Department urges U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Yemen and urges U.S. citizens currently living in Yemen to depart.  

All visitors to Yemen are required to obtain a visa prior to travel to Yemen.  U.S. citizens typically are issued visas that are valid for 30 days. At the time of publication, the Embassy of Yemen in Washington, D.C. is not issuing tourist visas. For the most current and complete visa information, visit the Embassy of Yemen's website or call the Embassy of Yemen in Washington, D.C. at (202) 965-4760 ext. 2.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on our websites.

If you are in Yemen and have questions about your federal benefits, please contact FBU.Jerusalem@SSA.gov.

Safety and Security

Terrorism: Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack – including knives, firearms, and vehicles – to more effectively target crowds. Frequently, their aim is unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as:

  • High-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
  • Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists
  • Places of worship
  • Schools
  • Parks
  • Shopping malls and markets
  • Public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights)

For more information, see our Terrorism page.

Since the beginning of the current conflict in September 2014, the Houthis, who control Sana’a, have detained U.S. citizens, including dual Yemeni-American citizens.  Reports indicate that U.S. citizens are targeted by virtue of their citizenship, regardless of the amount of time they have spent in Yemen, their established connections with rebel groups, or their connections with local businesses or humanitarian organizations aimed at providing relief to those in need.  During their detentions, which in some cases have lasted years, U.S. citizens have not been allowed contact with their families or visits by U.S. consular personnel or international humanitarian organizations.  The U.S. government is severely limited in what assistance it can directly provide to U.S. citizens in detention.  There has been no U.S. government diplomatic presence in Yemen since the Houthi takeover of Sana’a.

In addition to the threat of detention by rebel groups, both the ongoing conflict and heightened terrorist activity, including kidnappings for ransom, present a threat to U.S. citizens in Yemen. In March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition initiated an air campaign in support of the exiled Yemeni government.  Violence, armed conflict, and artillery shelling persist in areas throughout the country.  While truce agreements may reduce overall levels of violence, instability and ongoing threats in Yemen remain at a severe level.

Vessels in the region of the Red Sea, Bab al-Mandeb, and the Gulf of Aden, should operate under a heightened state of alert as increasing tensions in the region escalate the potential for direct or collateral damage to vessels transiting the area. These threats may come from a variety of different sources such as missiles, projectiles, or waterborne improvised explosive devices. Piracy in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean remains a security threat to maritime activities in the region. In recent years, there have been hundreds of documented pirate attacks in Yemeni territorial waters in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. The United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) has also advised that elevated regional tensions have increased the risk of maritime attacks being conducted by extremists to vessels operating in the Gulf of Oman, North Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and the Bab al-Mandeb regions.

MARAD recommends vessels at anchor, operating in restricted maneuvering environments, or at slow speeds should be especially vigilant and report suspicious activity. U.S. flag vessels that observe suspicious activity in the area are advised to report such suspicious activity or any hostile or potentially hostile action to COMUSNAVCENT battlewatch captain at phone number 011-973-1785-3879. All suspicious activities and events are also to be reported to the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802, 202-267-2675, or TDD 202-267-4477. For further information, see the Department of State’s International Maritime Piracy Fact Sheet and the United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) advisory on vessels transiting high risk waters.

Other potential hazards to overland travelers include landmines and unexploded ordnance. This is of particular concern in the six southern provinces and in the northern highlands.

Please note that the local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Yemen is 199, but operators do not speak English.

Crime: Due to the ongoing civil unrest and weak government institutions, travelers should not rely on significant assistance from local authorities.  Foreigners are frequently the target of kidnapping and carjacking, particularly when traveling outside of urban areas.

International Financial Scams: See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information. 

Victims of Crime: The U.S. government is extremely limited to the consular assistance it can provide in Yemen.  Report crimes to the local police at 199.  As there is no U.S. Embassy in Yemen at this time, you should coordinate with a U.S. embassy or consulate in a neighboring country for services.  

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

Domestic Violence:  The law in Yemen protects against domestic violence under general prohibitions of violence, but authorities do not enforce this provision effectively. The law criminalizes rape, but not spousal rape. Authorities may prosecute rape survivors on charges of fornication if the perpetrator is not charged with rape. According to law, without the perpetrator’s confession, the rape survivor must provide four male witnesses to the crime.

The law allows leniency for persons found guilty of committing an “honor” killing or violently assaulting or killing a woman for perceived “immodest” or “defiant” behavior. The law does not address other types of gender-based abuse, such as forced isolation, imprisonment, and early and forced marriage.

See section 6 of our Human Rights Report for additional information.

As there is no U.S. Embassy in Yemen at this time, U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence should coordinate with a U.S. embassy or consulate in a neighboring country.  The U.S. government is extremely limited to the consular assistance it can provide in Yemen.

Tourism:  No formal tourism industry infrastructure is in place in Yemen on any level. Tourists are considered to be participating in activities at their own risk.  Emergency response and subsequent appropriate medical treatment is not available in-country.  U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance.  See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than those in the United States.  Regardless of your citizenship, you are subject to local laws while in Yemen.  If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.  Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.

In Yemen, the law may be applied inconsistently, and foreign travelers may be taken in for questioning if they do not have their passport with them.  Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can land the driver immediately in jail.  The criminal penalties in Yemen may be very different from what U.S. citizens are accustomed to in the United States.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law.  For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: The U.S. government is extremely limited to the consular assistance it can provide in Yemen.  The U.S. Department of State has designated the U.S. Embassies in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Djibouti, and Cairo, Egypt, to handle American Citizens Services cases emanating out of Yemen.  If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy in one of these locations immediately.  See our webpage and notice to all U.S. citizens in Yemen for further information.

Special Circumstances: Photographing military installations, including airports, equipment, or troops is forbidden.  Such photography has led to the arrest of U.S. citizens.  Military sites are not always obvious.  If in doubt, ask specific permission from Yemeni authorities.

U.S. citizens who travel to Yemen are subject to the jurisdiction of Yemeni courts, as well as to the country's laws, customs, and regulations. This holds true for all legal matters, including child custody and travel restrictions.

The US Embassy cannot intervene in custody matters, and parents must work through the local courts.  Women in custody disputes in Yemen will not enjoy the same rights that they do in the United States, as Yemeni law often does not work in favor of the mother.  U.S. custody orders might not be enforced in Yemen.

U.S. citizen girls and women who travel to Yemen are at risk of being forced into marriage and may be vulnerable to other forms of gender-based restrictions and violence, particularly in Houthi-controlled areas.  U.S. citizen women who are married to Yemeni or Yemeni-American men should be aware that their children may not be able to depart if the children are brought to Yemen.  In many instances, women must obtain permission from their husbands to obtain an exit visa.  They also may not be able to take their children out of Yemen without the permission of the father, regardless of who has legal custody.  U.S. divorce decrees may not be recognized in Yemen, especially if the marriage took place in Yemen.  In some cases, U.S. citizen women who have married in Yemen and divorced in the United States have been prevented from departing Yemen by their ex-husbands.

Faith-Based Travelers: The law prohibits denunciation of Islam, conversion from Islam to another religion, and proselytizing directed at Muslims.  Religious minorities face persecution, including detention, as a result of their religious beliefs, particularly in Houthi-controlled areas.

 

See the following webpages for details:

LGBTQI+ Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual relations are criminalized in Yemen as is gender expression that does not conform with a person’s assigned sex at birth.  Penalties include fines, jail time, or death.

See our LGBTQI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers with Disabilities: The law in Yemen prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, intellectual or mental disabilities, but the law is not enforced.  Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is not as prevalent as in the United States.  Expect accessibility to be limited in public transportation, lodging, communication/information, and general infrastructure.

Students:  See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.  

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Women face deeply entrenched discrimination. Women cannot marry without the permission of their male guardians; do not have equal rights in inheritance, divorce, or child custody; and have little legal protection. They experience discrimination in employment, credit, pay, owning or managing businesses, education, and housing.  A male relative’s consent is often required before a woman can be admitted to a hospital.

Women traveling in areas under Houthi control may be required to be escorted by a male guardian who is a relative.

See Section 6 of our Human Rights Report  and the Special Circumstances section above for more information.

Health

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the high security threat level in Yemen due to terrorist activities, kidnappings, civil unrest, and landmines.  The Department urges U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Yemen and urges U.S. citizens currently living in Yemen to depart.  

All visitors to Yemen are required to obtain a visa prior to travel to Yemen.  U.S. citizens typically are issued visas that are valid for 30 days.  At the time of publication, the Embassy of Yemen in Washington, D.C. is not issuing tourist visas. For the most current and complete visa information, visit the Embassy of Yemen's website or call the Embassy of Yemen in Washington, D.C. at (202) 965-4760 ext. 2.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on our websites.

If you are in Yemen and have questions about your federal benefits, please contact FBU.Jerusalem@SSA.gov.

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety:  Road conditions in Yemen differ significantly from those in the United States. Travel by road in Yemen is risky and often includes lengthy delays at checkpoints when traveling between cities. See our Road Safety page for more information. Visit the website of Yemen's national tourism office.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Yemen, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Yemen’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel: The Commandant of the Coast Guard has determined that effective anti-terrorism measures are not in place in Yemen ports and has imposed conditions of entry on vessels that arrive in U.S. ports having visited ports in Yemen. Mariners and passengers on commercial vessels traveling through the ports of Yemen should exercise increased caution.

Mariners planning travel to Yemen should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts.Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings.

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Yemen. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

Last Updated: January 26, 2024

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

Yemen Travel Advisory
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Telephone
Callers within the U.S. and Canada may dial toll free 1-888-407-4747
Emergency
Callers outside the United States and Canada may dial 1-202-501-4444.
Fax
N/A

Yemen Map