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SOUTH SUDAN - AVOID ALL TRAVEL
Global Affairs Canada advises against all travel to the Republic of South Sudan, due to armed conflicts, inter-ethnic violence and high levels of violent crime.
If you choose to remain in the country despite this advisory, restrict your movements and keep abreast of the latest developments. Register with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service and carefully follow messages issued through this service.
See Safety and security for more details.
Safety and security
Safety and security
The situation in Juba remains tense and has the potential to deteriorate significantly again. Fighting, including gunfire, rockets and mortar attacks occurred daily between July 7 and 11, 2016 when a ceasefire was declared. A curfew is in effect between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Many security checkpoints have been set up throughout the country, making road travel difficult, including travel to the airport. Vehicles are regularly stopped and searched; violence has occurred during such encounters. Restrict your movements. You should only consider leaving the country when it is safe for you to do so.
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).
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. The government currently controls Malakal but anti-government forces are in control of much of Upper Nile State west of the River Nile. The government holds most of Unity, including Bentiu. You should leave both Unity and Upper Nile immediately.
Since late June 2016, widespread violent unrest in the city of Wau and its surroundings has resulted in many deaths and the displacement of several thousands of people. You should leave Wau 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. Since South Sudan’s secession, fighting in the border regions areas of Blue Nile and South Kordofan (Sudan) has displaced tens of thousands of people over 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 is increased militia activity in Western and Central Equatoria States, particularly in Mundri and Yambio. Travel on the three main roads (Juba-Nimule; Juba- KajoKeji; Juba-Yei) has become extremely dangerous as armed attacks on these roads are frequent. 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.
There is widespread violent crime, including kidnappings, armed robbery, carjackings and compound invasion, throughout South Sudan. The current economic crisis has led to a significant increase in the number of crimes involving guns. Armed invasions of the compounds of international Non-Governmental Organizations are frequent. The security risk is especially high in Juba, which has seen regular outbreaks of violence and lawlessness and increasing numbers of carjackings and home/compound invasions. Crime usually rises in the run-up to Christmas and New Year, Foreigners have been victims of many crimes, including rape, in 2015. The economic crisis will likely deepen in the short to medium term. Law enforcement personnel have limited capacity to deter crime.
Several kidnappings have occurred since the beginning of 2017. They are mainly targeting workers in the oil and aid sectors, working in remote and contested areas. Exercise caution at all times. Should you plan to go to these areas despite the risk, use varied and unpredictable routes and itineraries.
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.
Restrictions on movement
Road blocks are frequently erected after dark.
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.
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.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
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.
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 every country or territory to determine who is allowed to enter or exit. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry or exit requirements. The following information has been obtained from the South Sudanese authorities and is subject to change at any time. The country- or territory-specific entry/exit requirements are provided on this page for information purposes only. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, information contained here is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided. It is your responsibility to check with the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) Embassy in Washington DC for up-to-date information.
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. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Dual citizens should consult the Security tab.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives 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 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.
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. Polio is part of the routine vaccine schedule for children in Canada.
- One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended as an adult.
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 - Country Entry Requirements
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.
- There is risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is recommended.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* 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.
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 for children, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers 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, yellow fever and Zika.
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.
Zika virus infection
Zika virus infection is a risk in this country. The mosquito that spreads the virus is found here.
All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites and other diseases spread by insects.
- 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 and 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.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in South Sudan. However, Canadian officials may be limited in their ability to provide you with consular services if local authorities consider you a South Sudanese citizen. You should always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. You may also need to carry and present a South Sudanese passport for legal reasons, for example to enter and exit the country (see Entry/exit requirements to determine passport requirements). Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
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.
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).
Natural disasters and 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.
Emergency services exist but may be subject to certain limitations. In case of emergency, dial 777.
Juba - Embassy of Canada
Nairobi - High Commission of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in Juba and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are 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 to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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