Yemen Country Brief
Security travel advice for Yemen
Threat level: High
Travel to Yemen is advised against, visitors in the country should remain extremely cautious and attempt to leave as soon as possible. The current turbulent conflict and ongoing airstrikes in the country makes it a very dangerous place to visit.
Recent Security Risk Events
There are on-going and daily fatalities mounting within this country. Please be advised that it is not recommended to travel to this country and if it is necessary that you check with the government officials, keep a low profile and employ security experts, such as a Close Protection team to aid you in your journey.
On the 18th of December 2016 over 40 Yemeni soldiers were killed in a IS suicide bombing in the city of Aden. Terrorist organisations like IS and al-Qaeda have taken advantage of the ongoing conflict to bolster their presence in the south of the country.
In August 2016 an explosive device inside a car was detonated outside of an army recruitment centre. 71 people were killed in this attack, including women and children.
A brutal attack whereby assailants dressed as the police force armed themselves with rocket-propelled grenades, automatic rifles, grenades, and car bombs and attacked the USA embassy on September 17th 2008, which resulted in 18 fatalities and similar numbers injured. It had previous received a mortar strike that year, the attack was claimed by an Al Qaeda affiliate.
There is an ongoing and multifaceted civil war taking place within the country. Conflict in the region has been present for many generations with key points being the Yemeni Civil War in 1994 and the Al-Qaeda insurgency in 1998. This has been further fuelled by the Arab uprising of 2011 and sees no near resolution to the most recent turbulent times erupting in 2015. From March 2015 through to March 2016 over 6,500 people are thought to have been killed, half of which are civilians.
There have been cases of kidnappings and abductions of journalists, politicians, activists and academics within the country, and as such adequate security should be put in place for your own safety.
Many parts of Yemen are lawless and have fallen into rebel fighter hands, of which would make foreign travellers more at risk of fatalities. Some of these areas can be drawn into tribal disputes and outbreaks of fighting have been known to occur spontaneously.
There are many blockades in and out of Sana’a, and other areas may become inaccessible with no notice. There is a current ban on motorbikes within Aden due to serious incidents carried out by motorbike drivers. There is a current ban on the carrying of firearms and a curfew also in place within Aden from 8pm through to 6am daily.
Yemen has a turbulent civil and international history with some tense relationships with other countries in the world such as Israel, and is defined as an “enemy state” by Israel. Saudi Arabia has had furthering hostilities following border disputes and diplomatic relations between the countries and has carried out previous airstrikes in the Yemen region.
The United Kingdom has watched Yemen closely, with it being a previous British Colony, it still supports its Embassy presence although this is done from Saudi Arabia. The ongoing conflict could have impact on the transportation of fuel out of the Middle Eastern Region and as such Governments and Corporates are looking to resolve the situation as best possible.
If you do wish the public transport system (bus) travelling from West to East Yemen, non-Arab visitors may find some difficulty in doing so, and may need to take a plane to reach the chosen destination.
An international driving permit is required if you wish to hire a car in the country. You should plan all your journeys carefully and stay updated with travel news. Check for road closures immediately before leaving as they can often close with little warning.
Yemen is frequently struck by fuel shortages so you should ensure that you are adequately prepared for long journeys and you have a sufficient amount of fuel before you leave. Travel outside of the main cities at night time is highly advised against and there can be dangerous areas where there are remaining landmines from previous civil wars.
Due to airstrikes within the country, air travel can be suspended with little notice and closures of airports can occur. Please make sure you get up to date information prior to arrival and departure to Yemen.
Previous terrorist activity that involved an attempted bombing of an aircraft means that there are no direct flights between Yemen and any European Union countries.
Currency: Yemeni Rial
Time now in Sana'a:
If you choose to ignore warnings against travel to Yemen, you will have to apply for a visa to be able to enter Yemen. This can be done through your local Yemeni Embassy. Visits that extend beyond 14 days will require you to register your passport with the Yemeni immigration authorities.
It is advised that visitors to Yemen are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. You should ensure that you have been further vaccinated against diseases such as Tetanus, which is usually administered when you are a young baby. You may also want to consider a Hepatitis A vaccination.
Other health risks
Medical facilities are of a lower than European standard, with facilities outside of the main cities lacking. These hospitals may be busy due to the ongoing conflict in the region.
There have been reports of an increasing number of cases of Dengue Fever particularly in the areas Aden, Lahj, Hadramaut, Taiz, and Shabwah. The disease is transmitted through infected mosquitoes and it is recommended that you take necessary precautions to prevent being bitten such as wearing the appropriate clothing and using insect repellent whenever possible. More information can be found here: Dengue Fever facts
U.S. Embassy Status
Direct support based within the country has been temporarily withdrawn at this time, the Embassy staff have moved to Cairo:
Embassy of the United States of America
5 Tawfik Diab Street,
Telephone: +202 2797 3300
Direct support based within the country (previously Sana'a) has been temporarily withdrawn at this time, the Embassy staff have moved to Saudi Arabia and Jordan:
British Embassy Saudi Arabia
PO Box 94351
Telephone: +966 0 11 4819 100
British Embassy Amman
PO Box 87) Abdoun
Telephone: +962 6590 9200
Other useful info
Police emergency: 199
Fire emergency: 191
Medical emergency: 199