Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens

July 15, 2015

Due to the deteriorating security situation along certain areas of the Saudi-Yemeni border, U.S. citizens should consider carefully the implications for their personal security before attempting to cross the Saudi Arabian border from Yemen.

Border crossing points have increasingly been targets of violence, including small arms and mortar fire.  The only crossing point currently open is the border crossing at Wadiyah. Wadyiah is only officially open from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., but is not staffed or designed to handle large numbers.  The location is extremely remote and has been described as overcrowded and chaotic.  Travelers report sleeping outdoors for days in some cases.  There is little to no access to food, water, shelter, and other essentials.  There have been reports of violence in the surrounding areas as well.  U.S. citizens have reportedly been singled out for extra attention at some checkpoints in the interior of Yemen on the way to the border.  Please review the potential risks involved before planning your travel.

Please note that U.S. government personnel are restricted from traveling within 50 miles of the border. The U.S. Embassy in Sana’a temporarily suspended its operations as of February 2015. Consequently, the U.S. Mission in Saudi Arabia would only be able to provide very limited assistance to U.S. citizens in those areas.

Commercial flights out of Yemen may be available. Please check the Yemen Crisis Webpage below for more details.

There may be delays at the border for visa processing that will take several hours.  Many travelers are refused entry or exit into Saudi Arabia.  It is also reported that travelers are required to pay a fee of 100 Saudi Riyals (27 USD) to leave Yemen.  Travelers are recommended to obtain a police pass from the Yemen Interior Ministry or tourism police if possible; otherwise they may face difficulties at government checkpoints inside Yemen. Contact us at +966 12-667-0080 if there is any trouble at the border. We also ask that you let us know when U.S. citizens safely leave Yemen and provide information about the trip that might be useful to other travelers.

If you do enter Saudi Arabia, you will need a plan for where to go next.  Saudi Arabia will not permit you to stay in the country without official sponsorship from a legal resident of Saudi Arabia.

Additional resources for U.S. citizens in Yemen can be found on our Yemen Crisis webpage, in our Travel Warning for Yemen, and in our Country Specific Information for Yemen.‎  For further inquiries, please email YemenEmergencyUSC@state.gov.