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SOUTH SUDAN - AVOID ALL TRAVEL
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against all travel to the Republic of South Sudan, including the border areas and the city of Juba, due to the present high level of armed conflict, inter-ethnic violence and violent crime.
If you choose to remain in the country despite this advisory, restrict your movements, ensure that your travel documents are up to date, and keep abreast of the latest developments. Register with the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) service and carefully follow messages issued through this service. Be aware that the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular assistance in South Sudan is extremely limited.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.
Military activity, including clashes, took place in and around Juba in mid-December 2013. Violence spread to much of eastern South Sudan, especially Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states. Military activity traditionally increases during the dry season (December to April).
As economic conditions deteriorate, urban crime rates are rising significantly. Tensions are high and the potential for spontaneous unrest is significant.
Regions bordering Sudan are particularly insecure due to periodic tension between Sudan and South Sudan. Occasional bombing raids have occurred.
Inter-tribal clashes occur without warning throughout the country, and there is frequent fighting between the army and armed militia groups.
The situation is extremely volatile in Jonglei State (more specifically in its Northern half, especially close to Nassir), where sustained fighting and inter-ethnic violence has been reported since mid-December 2013. Anti-government forces are in control of much of the countryside, while the government retains control of Bor and of the Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA).
Northern Regions: Unity, Upper Nile, Northern Warrap, Jonglei, Lakes and Northern Bahr el-Ghazal states
The conflict situation in Unity and Upper Nile states escalated, with large parts of both states changing hands between government and armed opposition forces in May 2015. By late May, the government controlled Malakal but anti-government militias were in control of most of Upper Nile state, west of the River Nile. The government holds most of Unity, including Bentiu. Canadians are advised to leave both Unity and Upper Nile immediately.
Over the past two years, occasional tensions between South Sudan and Sudan have led to increased military activity in regions bordering Sudan, and both states have threatened to escalate their activities. Aerial bombardments have been occasionally reported in Unity state (including the town of Bentiu), Upper Nile state, and Northern Bahr el Ghazal state. Since South Sudan’s secession, fighting in the border regions has displaced tens of thousands of people on both sides of the border, according to the United Nations.
Be aware of security threats in the oil development region, especially in and around Paloich, Upper Nile State. Oil installations and the surrounding areas are potential targets for military and rebel attacks.
The Abyei region, which borders Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap, and Unity states, is a disputed territory between Sudan and South Sudan. Since 2011, the Abyei region has been the site of frequent fighting and mass displacement.
Inter-tribal conflict and cattle rustling are becoming prevalent in Lakes state. Tensions are particularly high in the county of Rumbek East. If you remain in the area, restrict your movement and avoid the road connecting Rumbek and Yirol.
There have recently been isolated reports of militia activity in Western Equatoria state, centered on Mundri.
There is widespread violent crime, including kidnappings, armed robbery, carjackings and compound invasion, throughout South Sudan. The security risk is especially high in Juba, which has seen regular outbreaks of violence and lawlessness and increasing numbers of carjackings and home invasions. The current economic crisis has led to a significant increase in the number of crimes involving guns. Foreigners have been victims of those crimes in 2015. The economic crisis will likely deepen in the short to medium term. Law enforcement personnel have limited capacity to deter crime.
Restrictions on movement
Although no official curfew is currently in effect, we recommend that you remain at home from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. for security reasons. Road blocks are frequently erected after dark.
The border crossing with Uganda at Nimule, in the state of Eastern Equatoria, has recently been subject to short periods of closure by the South Sudanese authorities.
Increasingly frequent fuel shortages may impede your ability to move freely at short notice, and could lead to unexpected shortages of basic foodstuffs. Take adequate precautions.
Regional terror groups, including those associated with al Qaeda and al-Shabaab, continue to threaten Western interests and other potential targets in South Sudan. The September 21, 2013 attack on an upscale Nairobi mall illustrates the threat of attacks on civilians in East Africa. Further attacks cannot be ruled out. Be vigilant in crowded places and monitor local media.
Demonstrations occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
Landmines pose a threat, especially outside of Juba. Road conditions are extremely poor. Many roads are sand tracks. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is required except in some urban areas such as Juba and Malakal, especially during the rainy season (March to November). Only experienced and fully equipped travellers should undertake desert travel; basic equipment should include a shovel, metal ramps for heavy sand, a Global Positioning System (GPS) device, spare fuel and water supplies. Roadblocks are common. You should have your identity and vehicle documents readily available. Unpredictable local driving habits, pedestrians and roaming animals pose risks.
A few taxis are available in urban centres but are generally old and uncomfortable. Public transportation is limited outside of major urban areas.
Only top-of-the-line buses should be used; most other buses are irregularly scheduled, poorly maintained and very badly driven. Fatal accidents involving buses are routine, and have increased in the past few years.
You should arrive at Juba's international airport at least two - and preferably three - hours before departure. Departure formalities are complicated and non-computerized. There is no sign board to indicate departure and arrival times and you should expect delays. Be advised that flights out of Juba are subject to sporadic suspension. Additional documents may be required for entry when flying from Khartoum.
See Transportation Safety in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
General security information
Telecommunications are unreliable. Blackberry devices do not have full functionality function in South Sudan. There is no international postal service. There are no fixed telephone lines.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the South Sudanese authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) Embassy in Washington DC for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit South Sudan, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country.
Canadians must also be in possession of a visa, which should be obtained prior to departure. Visas are not granted automatically to prospective travellers. Canadians should contact the Embassy of South Sudan in Washington, D.C., to obtain a visa in advance of travelling. Alternatively, you may apply for a visa in person on route to South Sudan at the Embassy of South Sudan in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, or in Nairobi, Kenya.
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
Transit visa: Required
Visitors must register with the Office of Immigration within 72 hours of arrival.
You should travel using your Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
This country is in the African Meningitis Belt, an area where there are many cases of meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease is a serious and sometimes fatal infection. Travellers who may be at high risk should consider getting vaccinated. High-risk travellers include those living or working with the local population (e.g., health care workers) or those travelling to crowded areas or taking part in large gatherings.
There is a risk of polio in this country. Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up-to-date.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Central Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Central Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Cholera is a bacterial disease that is most often spread by drinking water or eating food that has been contaminated. It causes diarrhea and in severe cases it can lead to dehydration and even death.
Most travellers are at very low risk. Travellers at higher risk include those visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation, or to areas where outbreaks are occurring. Travellers at higher risk should discuss with a health care provider the benefits of getting vaccinated.
Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers at high risk visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in Central Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis, Rift Valley fever, West Nile virus and yellow fever.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a tsetse fly. Tsetse flies usually bite during the day and the bites are usually painful. If untreated, the disease is eventually fatal. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from bites especially in game parks and rural areas. Avoid wearing bright or dark-coloured clothing as these colours attract tsetse flies. There is no vaccine available for this disease.
Visceral leishmaniasis (or kala azar) affects the bone marrow and internal organs. It is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a female sandfly. It can also be transmitted by blood transfusion or sharing contaminated needles. If left untreated it can cause death. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from sandfly bites, which typically occur after sunset in rural and forested areas and in some urban centres. There is no vaccine or medication to protect against leishmaniasis.
Onchocerciasis (river blindness) is an eye and skin disease caused by a parasite spread through the bite of an infected female blackfly. Onchocerciasis often leads to blindness if left untreated. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from blackfly bites, which are most common close to fast-flowing rivers and streams. There is no vaccine available for onchocerciasis although drug treatments exist.
- There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in Central Africa, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
Medical facilities are well below Western standards (e.g. it is not advisable to have surgery). Emergency medical evacuation can also be difficult; air ambulances are usually not available on short notice, and the airport is closed after dark. You should ensure your health plan coverage includes the Republic of South Sudan; many policies do not.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws & culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
A permit for photography is required. Permits can be obtained at the Ministry of Information. Even with a photography permit, taking pictures of or near military installations is strictly prohibited, and it is highly unadvisable to take pictures in urban settings.
Public displays of affection between members of the opposite sex are frowned upon
Homosexual activity is illegal.
There is currently a wide and growing disparity between the official exchange rate and the black market rates for South Sudanese Pounds. It is illegal to exchange currency except in authorized locations (banks and exchange bureaux).
By Western standards, the Republic of South Sudan is a traditional, conservative society. Women should dress conservatively (no short skirts, bare arms or low necklines); men and women should not wear shorts in public and should be extremely discreet when swimming.
The currency is the South Sudan pound (SSP). The Sudan pound is not recognized as legal tender. You should carry sufficient funds in U.S. dollars to cover your expenses for the duration of your stay and assume that you will have to pay for all international flights booked in South Sudan in U.S. dollars. Transferring U.S. or Canadian dollars to the country is impossible. Currency exchange houses and merchants do not accept U.S. currency dated before 2006, and will reject notes with any marks.
Credit cards and traveller’s cheques are not accepted in South Sudan. There are automated banking machines (ABMs), but they are not reliable, and only dispense SSPs. Larger expenses, such as hotel bills, must be paid in cash.
Natural disasters & climate
Natural disasters & climate
The rainy season in South Sudan lasts six to seven months, from March to October. Many roads may become impassable during this period due to flooding. You should keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
Juba - Embassy of Canada
Nairobi - High Commission of Canada
For emergency assistance after hours, call the High Commission of Canada in Nairobi and follow the instructions. You may also call the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 613-996-8885.
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