Road Conditions and Safety:
Road conditions are poor and traffic accidents common. Driving is hazardous due to excessive speeds, erratic driver behavior, pedestrians, animals in the roadways, and vehicles that are overloaded or lack basic safety equipment. Only major highways and some streets in the cities are paved; others are narrow and rutted. While there are functioning traffic signals and street lights on major thoroughfares in Khartoum, there are virtually none in other parts of the country.
A four-wheel-drive vehicle is strongly recommended due to a variety of road conditions on major inter-city highways. South of Khartoum, road conditions deteriorate significantly during the rainy season from October to May and dust storms (?haboobs?) greatly reduce visibility. Travel outside of Khartoum should be undertaken with a minimum of two vehicles to protect against the threat of criminal attacks. Use reliable GPS and carry additional fuel, spare tires, and provisions. Professional roadside assistance service is not available, and gas shortages are common.
Landmines: Exercise caution in remote areas or off main roads outside of Khartoum due to landmines. Landmines are most common in the Eastern states and Southern Kordofan. Stay on main roads marked as cleared by a competent de-mining authority.
An international driving permit or Sudanese license and third-party liability insurance from the government is required. You may use a U.S. driver’s license for up to 90 days. You can get a local driving license from the police traffic department. It is illegal to use a cell phone while driving.
Comprehensive insurance is recommended because many local drivers carry no insurance.
Accidents: In the event of an automobile accident, remain inside the vehicle and wait for police. If a hostile mob forms or you feel your safety is in danger, leave the scene and proceed directly to the nearest police station. Do not stop at the scene of an accident or at intersections where people have gathered, as mobs can develop quickly.
Avoid travel by public transportation, and hire private transport from a reliable source. Your company?s in-country staff, travel agencies, and local hotels may be able to arrange private transport on your behalf. Any form of public transportation is unregulated, unreliable, and generally unsafe. Service is basic and crowded. Schedules are unpublished and change without notice. While there is some public transit to rural communities by irregularly scheduled mini-buses, many areas lack any public transportation.
Buses: Fatal accidents are routine. Many drivers have little training and are reckless, and the vehicles are often poorly maintained. Most buses and bus stops are privately operated and unmarked.
Taxis: Taxis are available throughout Khartoum, but they are unsafe and you should not use them. Most do not meet U.S. safety standards. Drivers rarely speak English. Have your destination written down in Arabic.
Trains: There is weekly passenger train service from Khartoum to Wadi Halfa and to Port Sudan. Trains are dilapidated.
See our Road Safety page for more information
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Sudan, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Sudan?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: Mariners planning travel to Sudan should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at https://www.maritime.dot.gov/office-security/msci-portal/maritime-security-communications-industry-msci-web-portal. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website (https:homeport.uscg.mil), and the NGA broadcast warnings website https://msi.nga.mil/NGAPortal/MSI.portal select ?broadcast warnings?.
Consult the CDC website for Sudan prior to travel.
Medical facilities in Khartoum are adequate but the hospitals are not suitable for more serious medical problems. Outside the capital, few facilities exist, hospitals and clinics are poorly equipped and ambulance services are not available. Medicines are available only intermittently. Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor?s prescription and bring enough medication for the duration of your trip. Be sure to verify with Sudanese customs that your medications are legal before you travel.
You are responsible for all medical costs. U.S. Medicare does not cover you overseas.
Emergency medical treatment is provided for 24 hours before payment is required. For all other care, providers expect payment in Sudanese pounds in full before treatment is performed.
Medical Insurance: If your health insurance plan does not provide coverage overseas, we strongly recommend supplemental medical insurance and medical evacuation plans.
Malaria is widespread throughout the country. Use mosquito repellents containing at least 20 percent DEET. Sleep under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets. Chemoprophylaxis is strongly recommended prior to arriving in Sudan and for the duration of your stay.
The following diseases are prevalent:
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Local laws and Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: While in Sudan, you are subject to local laws. The national state of emergency grants broad search, seizure, and arrest powers to law enforcement and security agencies. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. You may be detained for questioning by the police if unable to produce an acceptable form of identification. Convictions for possessing, using, or trafficking in alcohol or illegal drugs can result in long jail sentences and heavy fines. Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.
Photography: Photography requires a permit from the External Information Centre in Khartoum (part of the Ministry of Information). Even with a permit, it is illegal to take pictures of military installations, public utilities, infrastructure (e.g., bridges, airports), slum areas, or beggars. Do not take photographs or use equipment with cameras (including cell phone camera and laptops) close to government buildings. You could be fined, have your photographic equipment confiscated without notice, and risk detention and arrest. Do not take photos of Sudanese without their permission.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Sudanese law enforcement officials routinely block access to foreign nationals in detention. The U.S. Embassy may not receive notification or be allowed access to you. Moreover, dual U.S. ? Sudanese nationals may be prosecuted as a Sudanese citizen, impeding our ability to provide consular services.
Sharia Law/Customs: Personal status laws govern legal procedures pertaining to family relations, including marriage, divorce, child custody, maintenance (financial support), and inheritance. We strongly advise you seek local legal counsel if you must engage in local legal matters and make certain you are aware of your rights and responsibilities. National laws reflect a sharia system of jurisprudence. Other criminal and civil laws, including public order laws, based largely on the government?s interpretation of Islamic law, are determined at the state level. Non-Muslims are sometimes held to the same laws. Flogging is a common sentence for various crimes and may be summarily carried out. Non-Muslim women are not expected to wear a veil or cover their heads. Both women and men should dress modestly. Shorts are not appropriate. Public displays of affection are discouraged. Alcohol and pornography are not permitted. Government offices and businesses follow an Islamic workweek (Sunday to Thursday).
Phone Service: Cellular phones are common, as other telephone service is unreliable and landlines are nearly non-existent. It may be possible to purchase a SIM card locally and use a U.S.-compatible cell phone. Check for compatibility with local cellular networks before you go with your phone carrier or manufacturer.
Currency: The Sudanese pound (SDG) is the official currency. Sudan operates on a cash only economy; credit cards are not accepted, even at large hotels. Carry sufficient funds in U.S. dollars to cover all your expenses for the duration of your stay. Bills must be printed after 2006 and unblemished. Do not carry a large amount of cash because travelers carrying large amounts of U.S. currency have been detained. The national state of emergency prohibits carrying more than $3000 or its equivalent in foreign currency. Sudan has no international ATMs. Local ATMs draw on local banks only. Western Union operates in Khartoum only. Sudan is experiencing a cash shortage and it can be difficult to exchange U.S. dollars for Sudanese pounds. Exchange currency only at reputable banks. Under the national state of emergency, exchanging currency outside of official banking channels is illegal and is punishable by imprisonment and fines.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report? see country reports
- Human Rights Report? see country reports
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
LGBTI Travelers: Same sex sexual activity is illegal in Sudan. There has been one confirmed case of an individual detained, beaten, and harassed by authorities because of suspected affiliation with LGBTI-friendly groups. LGBTI organizations have felt pressured to suspend or alter their activities due to threat of harm. Several LGBTI persons have felt compelled to leave the country due to fear of persecution, intimidation, or harassment. Those complicit in discrimination or abuses are not investigated or punished.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Access to transportation, lodging, and public buildings is limited for people with mobility issues. There are few sidewalks and no curb-cuts, and most buildings lack functioning elevators.
Women Travelers: Early and forced marriage of children continues. The national prevalence rate of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting is 88 percent. Spousal abuse is common. Women who file claims of domestic violence are subjected to accusations of spreading false information, harassment, and detention. Police normally do not intervene in domestic disputes. Rape is a serious problem throughout the country, especially in conflict areas. Investigative and prosecuting authorities often obstruct access to justice for rape victims. A woman who accuses a man of rape and fails to prove her case may be tried for adultery or arrested for ?illegal pregnancy?.
See our tips for Women Travelers.
Safety and Security
See the Travel Advisory for Sudan.
A national state of emergency, which gives security forces greater powers of arrest, is in effect across the country. Detentions, including of foreigners, have been reported in different parts of the country, including in Khartoum. Demonstrations occur frequently and police response can be sudden and violent. Curfews may be imposed with little or no warning. Penalties for violating curfews can include imprisonment.
Violent civil unrest, crime, and armed conflict are present in the contested regions in Darfur and in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states. Violent crimes including kidnappings, armed robberies, home invasions, and carjacking have occurred in these areas. Intercommunal violence targets civilians in opposing villages and towns. Government and security facilities have been attacked. Some landmines and other explosive remnants of war still exist in rural areas; Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, Darfur, and the Eastern states including along the Eritrean border are the most affected. Border closures may occur without notice.
Terrorist groups are active in Sudan and have stated their intent to harm Westerners and Western interests through suicide operations, bombings, shootings, and kidnappings.
Blue Nile region (Blue Nile, Sennar, and White Nile states) and Southern Kordofan region (includes Abyei region, North Kordofan; South Kordofan; West Kordofan): The Government of the Republic of the Sudan announced in January 2019 that it would continue indefinitely its unilateral cessation of hostilities, in effect since July 2016, with armed rebels throughout the areas in question. The Sudan People?s Liberation Movement-North has also maintained its unilateral cessation of hostilities without a commensurate announcement. While violence has reduced significantly from previous years, tensions remain high. Banditry and intercommunal violence are common.
Darfur (all five states): In January 2019, the Government of the Republic of the Sudan announced it would continue indefinitely its unilateral cessation of hostilities with armed rebels throughout the areas in question. The rebel groups in Darfur have maintained a unilateral cessation of hostilities without a commensurate announcement. However, humanitarian workers and UN peacekeepers have been killed and targets of kidnapping, car-jacking, armed robbery, and burglary. Deadly intercommunal conflict continues, as does violence perpetrated by bandits and government supported militias. Conflict over economic resources (land, gold) also is common. Tensions within camps for internally displaced people have resulted in fatalities and violence.
Kassala region (Kassala, Al Qadarif, and Red Sea states): Humanitarian workers have been the target of attacks. There is cross-border militant activity. Human traffickers operate in the Kassala area near the Eritrean border – stay on major roads if you are traveling by road.
Travel permits: A permit, obtainable from the Ministry of Tourism by your hotel or travel agent, is required for travel outside of the greater Khartoum area. A copy of the permit will be sent to the Aliens Department at the Ministry of Interior. A separate travel permit is required for travel to Darfur. The Embassy?s ability to provide consular services outside of Khartoum, including emergency assistance, is severely limited. Carry multiple copies of permits, as travelers without permits may be detained and arrested. You must register with the Aliens Department at the Ministry of the Interior within 72 hours of arriving in Sudan. You must also register with local police within 24 hours of arrival anywhere outside Khartoum.
Demonstrations and Protests: Demonstrations, including anti-Western rallies, can occur frequently and with no warning. Foreigners could be targeted in reaction to national and international events. Since December 19, 2018, both announced and unannounced demonstrations have occurred throughout Sudan. Though largely peaceful, they have the potential to turn violent, and security forces have routinely used excessive force against protesters. Under the national state of emergency, security forces have broad authority to stop and search people and vehicles and enter private residences.
Precautions during demonstrations:
- Avoid all demonstrations and public gatherings. Even events intended to be peaceful can become violent.
- Do not take photographs of any areas which may be sensitive to the government, including police and military installations, camps for internally displaced persons, and border areas. Monitor local and international news from reliable sources and consular messages.
- Follow the advice of local authorities.
- Maintain several days? supply of food and water, and stay indoors until the demonstration has passed.
- Keep a low profile and observe all curfews.
Maritime: For Information on piracy and other maritime issues in the region see the U.S. Government?s Maritime Security Communications with Industry (MSCI) Web Portal.
Khartoum: Pickpocketing, purse snatching, theft from vehicles, and other petty crime occur and the number of petty crimes has increased over the past year. There is a risk of kidnapping. Expatriates are not generally targeted for crime in Khartoum, but may be caught in a ?wrong place, wrong time? scenario.
Elsewhere in Sudan, particularly in Darfur, foreigners are targeted for robbery, kidnapping, and carjacking. Banditry is rampant throughout western Sudan, particularly in the Darfur and Chad?Sudan border regions, where several incidents have resulted in deaths. Sexual assault is prevalent in areas of armed conflict.
- Avoid walking or traveling alone, especially after dark and particularly outside of Khartoum.
- Do not display cash and valuable personal property.
- Dress conservatively in clothing which covers the shoulders, upper arms, and legs to below the knee.
- Drive with doors and windows locked.
Travel with a copy of your U.S. passport and Sudanese visa to prevent the originals from being taken. Keep original documents in a secure location. Use reputable travel firms, knowledgeable guides, and drivers.
Victims of Crime:
U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault or domestic violence should first contact the U.S. Embassy. Report crimes to the local police at 999, and contact the U.S. Embassy at +249-1-870-22000. Dial 777 to contact the police in an emergency throughout Sudan, 998 for fire, and 333 for medical emergencies. Emergency services and the telephone network are unreliable.
Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas to:
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide information on victim?s compensation programs in the U.S.
- provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- Replace a stolen or lost passport.
Tourism: No formal tourism industry infrastructure is in place. 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.
Entry exit Requirementsh
Requirements for Entry:
- World Health Organization (WHO) card with yellow fever/cholera vaccination when arriving from a yellow fever or cholera infected area
Obtain your visa before traveling. Visit the Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan website for the most current visa information. Overseas inquiries should be made at the nearest Sudanese Embassy or Consulate.
The Government of the Republic of the Sudan requires U.S. citizens to present a passport with at least six months validity, and an entry visa or entry permit upon arrival at any port of entry in Sudan. You must register at the Aliens Department at the Ministry of Interior (open Sunday ? Thursday) within three days of your arrival or risk being fined and/or having your departure delayed.
U.S. citizen travelers must obtain an entry visa from a Sudanese embassy before arriving in Sudan. There are two exceptions to this requirement: U.S. citizens possessing a Sudanese national identification document (such as a Sudanese passport or national identification card), and travelers with a sponsor (a business or organization) that has obtained an entry permit for them in advance from the Sudanese Ministry of Interior may apply for an entry visa at Khartoum International Airport.
Previous travel to Israel: If your passport has an Israeli visa or Israeli entry/exit stamps, you will not be allowed to enter Sudan.
Exit Visas: You may need to obtain an exit visa at the Aliens Department before departing the country and pay any airport departure tax not included in your airline ticket. If you enter Sudan on a tourist visa and do not extend your stay, you can obtain your exit stamp at the airport.
Women and Children: Women and children, including dual national Sudanese-American citizens, must have the consent of their fathers or husbands to depart Sudan. Single and divorced women must have their father?s consent, and married women must have their husband?s consent, no matter what age they are. Women with sole custody of their children granted by a U.S. court must have that custody order recognized by a Sudanese court before their children can depart Sudan without their fathers? consent. Husbands often use this law to prevent their wives and children from returning to the United States. Contact the Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan for more information.
HIV/AIDS restrictions: Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors and foreign residents of Sudan. Sudanese law requires a negative HIV test result in order to obtain a work or residence visa.
See our Fact Sheet on Sudan for information on U.S. – Sudanese relations.