YEMEN - AVOID ALL TRAVELForeign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against all travel to Yemen. The level of risk to foreigners is very high as the security situation has deteriorated significantly. You are strongly urged to leave the country immediately if it is safe to do so. As the situation deteriorates further, roads may be blocked and airports may close on short notice. Check the status of your flight prior to travelling to the airport. If you remain in the country despite this warning, you should be aware that the Government of Canada’s ability to provide any type of assistance is extremely limited.
Tourism is strongly discouraged.
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.
The security situation remains fragile and unpredictable. There is a constant and high terrorist threat throughout the Arabian Peninsula. From time to time, reports emerge that terrorists are planning to attack specific locations in one of these countries. Targets could include government buildings, public areas, tourist sites and Western interests. Heightened security measures are currently in place and may be reinforced on short notice. Maintain a high level of vigilance and personal security awareness at all times. Exercise caution, particularly in areas known to be frequented by foreigners (commercial, public, tourist areas), monitor local developments and follow the advice of local authorities. You are also advised to register and keep in contact with the Consulate of Canada in Sana’a, or the Embassy of Canada in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and to carefully follow messages issued through the Registration of Canadians Abroad service.
Clashes between government and tribal factions have increased since the beginning of May 2012. On May 21, 2012, a suicide bomber attack in Sana'a left more than 90 people dead and hundreds injured. Such incidents are likely to continue occurring, as over 30 tourists have been killed in the region since January 2008.
There is a high risk of foreigners being kidnapped in Yemen. While most kidnappings are resolved peacefully, some hostages have been killed. Do not use the Aden-Taiz-Sana'a highway due to the high risk of kidnapping. Maintain a high level of vigilance at all times.
Demonstrations and civil unrest
Civil unrest and violent demonstrations have been occurring in many parts of Yemen since January 2011. A state of emergency, declared in March 2011, remains in effect. The security situation deteriorated significantly following a breakdown of negotiations between the president and the opposition in May 2011. Avoid all political gatherings, crowds and demonstrations, and stay away from areas where they could occur, as they might turn violent without warning.
Petty crime is rare, although weapons are easily available. Credit card scams may occur. Carjacking is a serious concern in Yemen. Do not show signs of affluence and ensure that personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Lock car doors and ensure that windows are closed.
There have been reports of physical and verbal harassment toward women. Women should travel in groups and should not travel alone at night. Women should wear a headscarf, cover their arms and legs and avoid making eye contact with men in public.
Consult our publication entitled Her Own Way: A Woman’s Safe-Travel Guide for travel safety information specifically aimed at Canadian women.
Driving habits differ markedly from those practised in Canada. Avoid driving after dark. Poorly maintained vehicles and roads and roaming animals pose hazards.
Call the police if you are involved in an accident. If the accident results in death or injuries, the driver may be jailed and/or fined. Compensation has to be paid to the family of the victims.
Undertake overland travel in a convoy of four-wheel-drive vehicles and with an experienced guide only. Leave a travel itinerary with a third party. Be well prepared and equipped with gasoline, water, food, and a cell phone.
Avoid renting a car and driving it yourself.
Avoid public transportation.
Use only officially marked taxis and negotiate fares in advance.
Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters and, in some cases, farther out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
Anti-personnel mines and unexploded munitions remain a danger in the southern and eastern areas of the country, particularly around Aden, and in the central highlands. They have mostly been marked and access clearly delimited. Exercise caution in these areas.
General safety information
Do not leave vehicles unattended. If a vehicle is left unattended, carefully inspect both the exterior and interior upon return to detect any attached devices or suspect packages nearby.
Treat mail and packages from unfamiliar sources with suspicion.
Contact your sponsor, employer or Yemeni police immediately if you suspect anything unusual.
Carry identification documents at all times. Leave your passport in a safe place and carry a photocopy for identification purposes.
Checkpoints may be set up without warning.
Power shortages often occur.
Dial 199 in case of emergencies.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Yemeni authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Republic of Yemen or one of its consulates 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 Yemen, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country.
Whatever the purpose of their stay, Canadians must be in possession of a visa to visit Yemen. Yemeni authorities do not issue visas at ports of entry. You must obtain your visa well in advance at the closest Yemeni diplomatic mission prior to travelling. Seek advice from Yemeni authorities for detailed information on requirements related to each type of visa. Expect heavy penalties if you overstay the duration of your visa.
Some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination before allowing entry. Consult the World Health Organization’s country list to obtain information on this country’s requirements.
A local sponsor may retain a student's or an employee's passport, but this is not required under Yemeni law.
Importation of alcohol is restricted, and prohibited to Muslims.
Pork products, pornographic material and the exportation of antiquities are forbidden.
Seek permission from the Yemen Tourist Police if you wish to travel outside Sana’a. Authorities may close access to certain areas without notice.
Canadians have been denied entry into Yemen because their passports bore: (a) an Israeli visa; (b) an Israeli border stamp; or (c) an Egyptian or Jordanian border stamp issued by an office bordering Israel. Such a stamp would indicate the traveller entered from Israel.
If you are travelling in the Middle East, your passport could come under increased scrutiny by immigration authorities, and the authenticity of your passport could be questioned due to incidents of possible misuse. Contact the nearest Canadian government office or Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada in Ottawa for advice and assistance.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. Please consult our Children page for more information.
The Agency strongly recommends that you consult with a travel medicine clinic or health care provider preferably six weeks before departure.
The Agency publishes travel health advice for Yemen.
Medical facilities and services
Medical facilities that are up to Western standards, such as the Yemen German Hospital in Sana’a, are only present in the cities of Sana'a and Aden. There are no adequate emergency ambulance services. Immediate cash payment is often required.
Do not drink tap water, especially in rural areas. Drink bottled water, peel all fruits and vegetables, and avoid undercooked meat, dairy products and most food sold in the streets.
Dehydration is a serious risk due to very high temperatures during the summer months. Protect yourself from the sun and drink plenty of water.
Some prescription medicine may not be available. Carry your original prescription and the original container for prescription medications.
Laws & Culture
You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention FAQ for more information.
The work week is from Saturday to Wednesday.
An International Driving Permit is required.
Illegal or restricted activities
Religious proselytizing is not permitted.
Common-law relationships, homosexual relations, adultery and prostitution are illegal and are subject to severe punishment.
Avoid physical contact, such as holding hands, in public.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict.
Public intoxication is a criminal offence, no matter where the alcohol was consumed. Consumption of alcohol outside approved venues is illegal and could result in arrest and/or fines and imprisonment. There is a zero tolerance policy regarding drinking and driving.
It is forbidden to photograph military and police personnel and installations and government buildings. Military sites are not always clearly marked. Do not photograph people without their permission.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized, which may limit the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular services. You should travel using your Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times. Dual citizens may be subject to national obligations, such as military service and taxes. Consult our publication entitled Dual Citizenship: What You Need to Know for more information.
Children or spouses may be prevented from leaving the country without prior authorization of the father/ husband, even if they are Canadians.
Child custody decisions are based on Islamic law. It is extremely difficult for a Canadian woman, even if she is a Muslim, to obtain custody of her children through Yemeni courts.
Dress and behaviour
The country's customs, laws and regulations adhere closely to Islamic practices and beliefs. Dress conservatively, behave discreetly, and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.
The currency is the Yemeni rial (YER). The economy is primarily cash-based. Credit cards and traveller's cheques are accepted in some major hotels. Canadian currency and traveller's cheques are not accepted. Automated banking machines may only be available in major cities.
Natural Disasters & Climate
Yemen is located in a seismic and a volcanic zone.
The monsoon season extends from June to September. Flooding is common during this time.
In summer, sandstorms and dust storms also occur.
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