Australian Government advice for Sudan
When travelling to Sudan, you should always get travel insurance in case the worst happens. To help you ensure you travel safely, we have included the travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for Sudan.
- We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Sudan overall due to the possibility of violent civil unrest and the threat of terrorist attack.
- We advise you not to travel to Northern, Southern and Western Darfur, the Abyei region, Northern and Southern Kordufan, Blue and White Nile states, Sennar state, and areas within 15km of the border with Eritrea and Ethiopia due to the possibility of armed conflict, the threat of terrorist attack, violent crime and threat of kidnapping.
- Australians in Sudan should have personal security measures in place and contingency plans to depart Sudan.
- There is a threat of kidnapping throughout Sudan. Foreigners, including NGO workers, are targeted.
- You should avoid demonstrations, protests and large crowds throughout Sudan, including in Khartoum, as violence could occur with little warning. You should monitor the media for information on developments which may affect your safety and security. Follow the advice of local authorities.
- Violent clashes and military activity continue in border regions with South Sudan, especially in the disputed area of Abyei and in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, including in state capitals. Border instability has been further exacerbated by violent conflict in South Sudan.
- Violence and ongoing clashes among rebel groups and with the Sudanese Armed Forces continue in Darfur.
- Clashes in December 2015 resulted in the closure of the Metema-Galabat border post. Further tensions could result in further border closures along the Ethiopian border.
- There is a particularly high threat of kidnapping of foreigners throughout Darfur. Kidnappings are not restricted to rural areas and have occurred in and around the state capitals and towns, including Nyala, Kutum and Zalingei. Aid workers and expatriates are commonly targeted.
- Landmines have been laid in rural areas. Southern Kordofan and the Eastern States, including the border area with Eritrea, are the most affected areas.
- Travellers should be aware that the ability of the Australian Government to provide consular services to Australians in Sudan is limited. Australia does not have resident diplomatic representation in Sudan.
- See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.
Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
- organise comprehensive travel insurance and check what circumstances and activities are not covered by your policy
- register your travel and contact details, so we can contact you in an emergency
- subscribe to this travel advice to receive email updates each time it's reissued
- follow us on Facebook and Twitter .
Entry and exit
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy of Sudan for the most up to date information.
Travellers are required to register with the Aliens' Registration Office, Ministry of the Interior (located west of the presidential palace), within three days of arrival in Khartoum.
Visas are required for Australians entering Sudan. The issuance of a visa may take several months and is not automatically granted to prospective travellers. Airport departure taxes apply.
Travellers with passports bearing an Israeli visa or Israel entry/exit stamps will not be allowed to enter Sudan.
You should carry a form of photographic identification with you at all times while in Sudan.
Under Sudanese law, women and their children, regardless of their nationality, may be prevented from departing Sudan if the father's consent is not provided. This may occur regardless of custodial rights accorded to the mother by a Sudanese, Australian or other court.
Sudan is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as endemic for yellow fever. Yellow fever is a serious and potentially fatal disease preventable by vaccination. We strongly recommend that all travellers be vaccinated for yellow fever before travelling to Sudan (see Health section).
As the quarantine requirements for yellow fever vaccination differ between countries, we recommend that you check the yellow fever entry requirements for Sudan and all countries you intend to enter or transit by contacting their foreign missions in Australia . Some airlines may require passengers to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate before being allowed to board flights out of the country. For more information about yellow fever, including Australian re-entry requirements, see the Department of Health website.
Make sure your passport has at least six months’ validity from your planned date of return to Australia.
Safety and security
We recommend you reconsider your need to travel to Sudan overall due to the possibility of violent civil unrest, the threat of terrorist attack and the threat of kidnapping. We strongly advise you not to travel to Northern, Southern and Western Darfur, the Abyei region, Northern and Southern Kordufan, Blue and White Nile states, Sennar state, and areas within 15km of the border with Eritrea and Ethiopia due to the possibility of armed conflict, the threat of terrorist attack, the incidence of violent crime and threat of kidnapping.
If you intend to travel in urban areas, including Khartoum, you should exercise caution and avoid travel at night. You should vary your routes and patterns of movement. Avoid crowded areas and any public location without an obvious security presence. If you intend to travel outside urban areas in Sudan you should ensure that you have appropriate personal security measures in place.
Terrorist attacks are indiscriminate, and include areas frequented by foreigners. In planning your activities, consider the kind of places known to be terrorist targets and the level of security provided. Possible targets include commercial and public areas known to be frequented by foreigners such as key transport installations including air, railways and sea ports, buildings associated with foreign governments and companies, oil installations, hotels, clubs, restaurants, bars, schools, marketplaces, places of worship, outdoor recreation events and tourist areas. As security remains high at official facilities, terrorists may turn towards easier targets, such as residential compounds.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our Terrorist Threat Overseas bulletin.
Civil unrest/political tension
We strongly advise you reconsider your need to travel to Sudan overall due to the possibility of armed conflict, widespread lawlessness, the incidence of violent crime and the threat of kidnapping. Darfur and border regions with South Sudan, including the states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, are particularly dangerous.
In December 2015 there were clashes on the border with Ethiopia which resulted in the closure of the Metema-Galabat border post. Further tensions resulting in crossing point closures along the Ethiopian border may be possible. Continued tensions with Eritrea ensure that the border regions between these countries remain subject to instability and conditions could deteriorate rapidly. You should not travel to areas with 15km of the Eritrean or Ethiopian borders.
If, against our advice, you do travel to Northern, Southern and Western Darfur, the Abyei region, Northern and Southern Kordufan, Blue and White Nile states, Sennar state, and areas within 15km of the border with Eritrea and Ethiopia , you should exercise extreme caution.
Historically, rising food prices and austerity measures generated significant civil unrest in Khartoum, Omdurman and elsewhere. The lifting of fuel subsidies in September 2013 led to violent demonstrations across Sudan, including in Khartoum. In some cases violent clashes led to the deaths of protestors and bystanders. You should avoid all demonstrations and protests, monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities While the last major civil unrest event occurred in 2013, violence could re-occur with little warning.
Foreigners in Sudan could be targeted in reaction to national and international events. Politically motivated demonstrations, including anti-Western rallies, can occur in Sudan. You should take particular care in the period surrounding Friday prayers.
Curfews can be imposed with little or no warning. All curfews should be strictly observed.
There is a threat of kidnapping throughout Sudan. Foreigners, including NGO workers, are targeted. Australians in Sudan should seek professional security advice and have effective personal security measures in place.
The Australian Government’s longstanding policy is that it does not make payments or concessions to kidnappers. The Australian Government considers that paying a ransom increases the risk of further kidnappings, including of other Australians. If you do decide to travel to an area where there is a particular threat of kidnapping, you should seek professional security advice and have effective personal security measures in place. See our Kidnapping threat bulletin.
Weapons are widespread among the population and conflict can escalate quickly.
Contingency planning: Australians in Sudan should ensure they have appropriate personal security measures in place and prepare a contingency plan to enable departure in the event of a sudden deterioration in the security environment. Additionally, you should ensure you have adequate supplies of water, food, fuel, cash and medications and that your travel documentation remains up to date. You are responsible for ensuring that your contingency plan is regularly reviewed and is appropriate for your personal circumstances.
Border areas with South Sudan: The border between Sudan and South Sudan remains disputed in some places, and border areas remain extremely dangerous. Fighting between rebel groups and government forces continues in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states. The Sudanese Defence Forces, including the Rapid Response Forces, use considerable force in responding to suspected rebel activity. Violent skirmishes involving local communities and armed groups continue in Abyei. The violence has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people and created thousands of displaced persons. Civilians, including foreign workers, risk being caught up in the violence between the various factions and may even be targeted. The security situation at the border has been further exacerbated by violent conflict in South Sudan, which has generated new flows of internally displaced persons and refugees.
Darfur: Darfur remains dangerous, despite the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement in May 2006 and the Doha Document of Peace in Darfur in September 2011. Some armed movements have yet to engage in the peace process. Violence and ongoing clashes among rebel groups and with the Sudanese Armed Forces continue. Conflicts can escalate and the security situation can deteriorate quickly. Civilians, including foreign workers, are at risk from the prevailing lawlessness and could be caught up in the violence between the various factions.
There is a high threat of kidnapping throughout Darfur. Foreigners, including US, German, South African, Russian and Jordanian citizens have been kidnapped in Darfur. Some victims were held captive for more than 100 days. Kidnappings are not restricted to rural areas. They have also occurred in and around the state capitals and towns, including Nyala, Kutum and Zalingei. Aid workers and expatriates are commonly targeted. Some international organisations have withdrawn staff from this region.
There is a low incidence of crime in Khartoum, however there are high levels of violent crime in Darfur. The presence of large numbers of displaced people has put a strain on scarce resources and led to an increased risk of crime. Banditry, carjacking, kidnapping, murder, sexual assault and looting are a danger. Westerners, including employees of aid organisations, journalists and other foreign workers have been the target of crime.
Due to the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, victims of violent crime, especially rape, are strongly encouraged to seek immediate medical assistance outside of Sudan.
People trafficking groups are believed to operate in Sudan, notably in the south and east of the country and along the Eritrean border.
Money and valuables
Credit, debit and cash cards and travellers’ cheques are not accepted in Sudan. ATMs that can access international funds are not available. You should expect to pay cash for all purchases, including hotel bills. Some major hotels will only accept payment from foreign travellers in hard currencies, such as US dollars. It is difficult to obtain US dollars once in Sudan.
US dollars are easily exchanged. Bills should be post-2006 series and completely unmarked. After the secession of South Sudan the Government of Sudan announced new currency notes would be issued. Some denominations of Sudanese Pound (SDG) banknotes have recently been reissued and old versions withdrawn from circulation. Travellers should confirm they receive valid banknotes when exchanging currency.
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
The land borders between Sudan and many neighbouring countries are effectively closed. The Wadi Halfa crossing by ferry through Lake Nasser between Egypt and Sudan is open, although this is subject to change without notice. Australians who decide to enter Sudan by this route should check with the local authorities on the rules and regulations governing this crossing.
The status of land borders between Sudan and South Sudan changes regularly and with little notice. Border crossings may be closed with little warning.
Permits are required for all travel outside Khartoum. You may experience delays or have your application refused. Travellers without permits have been arrested and detained. Travellers must register with the police authorities within 24 hours of arrival anywhere outside the capital.
Driving in Sudan can be dangerous due to poorly maintained roads, poor vehicle maintenance, dust storms and lack of street lighting. Roads in Khartoum are of a better quality than the rest of the country, however high speeds, poorly maintained vehicles and lack of street lighting create the potential for serious accidents. Crowds can gather quickly following accidents and can become violent. For further advice, see our road travel page.
Landmines: Landmines and unexploded ordnance remain a danger outside of Khartoum. The Eastern States and Southern Kordofan are the most affected areas. Australians are urged to use only main roads and paths labelled as cleared by a competent de-mining authority.
Piracy: Piracy occurs in the Red Sea. Somali pirates have been using motherships to attack shipping further than 1,000 nautical miles (1,850km) from the coast of Somalia. All forms of shipping are attractive targets for Somali pirates, including commercial vessels, pleasure craft (yachts etc.) and luxury cruise liners. We strongly advise Australians to maintain a high level of vigilance and to exercise extreme caution when anywhere near these waters. See our piracy bulletin for further information. The International Maritime Bureau issues piracy reports on its website .
A number of local airlines operate in Sudan, however serious doubts surround their safety and reliability. All Sudanese registered airlines are banned from operating in European airspace.
In August 2008, a Sun Air plane travelling from Nyala in Darfur to Khartoum, was hijacked and flown to Libya. All 95 passengers were released without harm. A Sudan Airways passenger jet carrying more than 200 people burst into flames after landing at Khartoum airport in June 2008.
In January 2007, a Sudanese Air West passenger plane was hijacked en route from Khartoum to Al Fasher in Sudan's Darfur region. The incident highlighted a severe security lapse with the airline and at Khartoum's international airport.
The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See instead the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Sudan.
Please also refer to our general air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.
You are subject to the local laws of Sudan, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards. If you’re arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter . But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.
Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter .
Islamic Sharia Law is a source of legislation in Sudan.
Australians who might engage in activities that involve local legal matters, particularly with regard to family law (divorce, child custody and child support), are strongly advised to seek professional advice and ensure they are aware of their rights and responsibilities.
Serious crime, such as murder, may attract the death penalty.
Some offences may attract corporal punishment.
Homosexual practices and extra-marital relations are illegal and subject to severe penalties. See our LGBTI travellers page.
It is illegal to import or consume alcohol, even in private. People convicted of consuming alcohol may be sentenced to corporal punishment (lashes).
Penalties may be applied for Christian proselytising.
Permits are required for any photography in Sudan. Even with a permit, photography of military areas, bridges, broadcast stations, public utilities, slum areas and beggars is strictly prohibited.
Penalties for drug offences are severe in Sudan. See our Drugs page.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography and child sex tourism apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.
Australia has strengthened legislation relating to female genital mutilation and forced marriage to protect Australian residents from being taken overseas for these purposes. The new criminal offences carry significant penalties ranging up to 25 years imprisonment. For more information about these crimes please refer to the Forced marriage and Genital mutilation pages.
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is expected to begin in mid-June 2015. During Ramadan, Australians travelling to countries with significant Muslim communities should take care to respect religious and cultural sensitivities, rules and customs. In particular, people who are not fasting are advised to avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public and in the presence of people who are fasting. For more information see our Ramadan bulletin.
There are strong Islamic codes of dress and behaviour in Sudan. Women are advised to wear loose-fitting clothing which covers the arms and legs and a headscarf. You should take care not to offend. If in doubt, seek local advice.
Information for dual nationals
Dual citizenship is legally recognised in Sudan. However, local authorities have the right to determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether they consider you Sudanese or Australian. This may affect our ability to provide you with consular services. Our Dual nationals page provides further information.
We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. You should note some Australian insurance policies will not cover travel to "do not travel" destinations. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.
The medical facilities are basic in Khartoum and inadequate elsewhere. Doctors and hospitals generally require up-front payment before commencing treatment. In the event of an illness or accident, medical evacuation to a destination with the appropriate facilities would be necessary. Medical evacuation costs could be considerable.
Malaria is a risk throughout the year in all parts of Sudan. Other insect-borne diseases (including dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, river blindness and African sleeping sickness) also occur. We encourage you to consider taking prophylaxis against malaria and to take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent at all times, wearing long, loose-fitting, light coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.
Sudan is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as endemic for yellow fever. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, which is preventable by vaccination. We strongly recommend that you are vaccinated against yellow fever before travelling to Sudan. See the Entry and Exit section for important information about vaccination certificate requirements. For more information about yellow fever, see the Department of Health website.
Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including typhoid, cholera, hepatitis, tuberculosis, polio, HIV/AIDS, meningococcal disease, viral hemorrhagic fevers, Rift Valley fever and rabies) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. We advise you to boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, avoid ice cubes and raw or undercooked food. Do not swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases such as bilharzia (schistosomiasis). Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.
Where to get help
Depending on the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24 hour emergency number.
The Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and can’t do to assist Australians overseas.
Travellers should be aware that the ability of the Australian Government to provide consular services to Australians in Sudan is limited. Australia does not have resident diplomatic representation in Sudan. You can contact the Australian Government at the Australian Embassy in Cairo, Egypt for consular assistance. See contact details below
Australian Embassy, Cairo
11th floor, North Tower, World Trade Centre
1191 Corniche El Nil
Boulac, Cairo EGYPT
Telephone: (20 2) 2770 6600
Facsimile: (20 2) 2770 6650
See the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.
If you are travelling to Sudan, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency – whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.
The UK Embassy in Khartoum may be able to provide limited consular assistance to Australian nationals, in coordination with the Australian Embassy in Cairo:
Off Sharia Al Baladia
(PO Box no.801)
Phone: (249) (183) 777105
Facsimile: (249) (183) 776457, (249) (183) 775562
In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the embassy or high commission, you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
Natural disasters, severe weather and climate
Sudan often experiences extremely high temperatures. During the hottest months of the year, the temperature can exceed 50˚C.
Sandstorms and dust storms occur regularly.
The rainy season occurs during July to October. Flooding can make roads in rural areas inaccessible.
Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System . If a natural disaster occurs, you should follow the advice of local authorities and monitor the media for up-to-date information.
For additional general and economic information to assist travelling in this country, see the following links: