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Travel Advisory – December 19, 2023
9 MINUTE READ
December 19, 2023

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.