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YEMEN - AVOID ALL TRAVEL
Global Affairs Canada advises against all travel to Yemen, as the security situation has deteriorated significantly and foreigners are at extreme risk. Commercial means to exit the country are currently unavailable. If you are currently in Yemen, seek safe shelter and remain there unless you can identify safe means of exit. The Government of Canada’s ability to provide any consular assistance in Yemen is extremely limited. See Security for more information.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Houthi rebels and other armed groups in Yemen, including the Yemeni military, are in open conflict throughout the country. A coalition of countries is launching airstrikes into Yemen in order to curtail Houthi rebel gains in the country. Airstrikes could occur anywhere, at any time.
Although airports may remain operational, most international flights have been cancelled. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) may offer seats on flights leaving Yemen to Canadians. For more information, please call the IOM’s Cairo-based hotline directly at 00 202 02 15 36 128 or 00 201 021 53 61 88.
On an exceptional basis, and subject to change at any time, Canadians arriving at a border-crossing into Saudi Arabia have recently been granted a 14-day transit visa into Saudi Arabia, allowing them to proceed with onward travel plans. The decision to issue a transit visa lies solely within the discretion of Saudi authorities. Overland travel is extremely dangerous. If you are electing any departure option, you do so at your own risk. Canadians who have departed from Yemen and require emergency assistance upon arrival in another country should contact the Canadian office serving that destination or the Emergency Watch and Response Centre directly.
The security situation remains fragile and unpredictable. There is a high terrorist threat in Yemen, as terrorists regularly target government buildings. Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula has targeted Western interests: commercial establishments, diplomatic missions and tourist sites could be attacked. Maintain a high level of vigilance and personal security awareness at all times. Exercise extreme caution, particularly in areas known to be frequented by foreigners (that is, commercial, public and tourist areas), monitor local developments and follow the advice of local authorities. Register with and carefully follow messages issued through the Registration of Canadians Abroad service.
Terrorist groups also target checkpoints manned by the Houthi rebel group in Sanaa and elsewhere in the country, and target Houthis in general.
There is a high risk to foreigners of kidnapping, and some hostages have been killed. Maintain a high level of vigilance at all times.
Demonstrations and civil unrest
Civil unrest and violent demonstrations occur regularly throughout the country, and clashes between security forces and tribal factions have also become commonplace since the beginning of May 2012. On January 20, 2015, Houthi rebels clashed with the Yemeni military and surrounded the presidential palace in Sanaa. Though the situation stabilized shortly thereafter, clashes between armed groups may still occur in the capital. On September 21, 2014, fighting between Houthi and government forces caused several hundred deaths in Sanaa.
A state of emergency was declared in March 2011 and 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.
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. Most have been marked and access clearly delimited. Exercise caution in these areas.
Weapons are easily available throughout the country and tribes are usually heavily armed. Petty crime such as credit card scams may occur. Carjacking is a serious concern in Yemen. Do not show signs of affluence and ensure that personal belongings and 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 for 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. Do not use the Aden-Taiz-Sanaa highway due to the high risk of kidnapping. 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.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
General safety information
Maintain emergency provisions such as water and food.
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.
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 Yemeni 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 Embassy of the Republic of Yemen or one of its consulates for up-to-date information.
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. 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.
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 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. Expect heavy penalties if you overstay the duration of your visa.
A local sponsor may retain a student’s or an employee’s passport, but this is not required under Yemeni law.
Permission from the Yemen Tourist Police is required to travel outside Sanaa. Authorities may close access to certain areas without notice.
Canadians have been denied entry into Yemen because their passports bore an Israeli visa, an Israeli border stamp, or an Egyptian or Jordanian border stamp issued by an office bordering Israel. Such a stamp would indicate the traveller entered from Israel.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
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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.
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 no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
* 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 Western Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Western Asia. 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 Western Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, Rift Valley fever, and West Nile virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
- Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The risk of dengue is higher during the daytime, particularly at sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
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 in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this 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.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in Western Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Medical services and facilities
Medical facilities that are up to Western standards, such as the Yemen German Hospital in Sanaa, exist in Sanaa and Aden. There are no adequate emergency ambulance services. Immediate cash payment is often required.
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.
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, including 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.
Importation of alcohol is restricted, and prohibited to Muslims.
Importing pork products and pornographic material and exporting antiquities are forbidden.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Yemen. If local authorities consider you a Yemeni citizen, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services, thereby preventing Canadian consular officials from providing you with those services. 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 Yemeni 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.
Dual citizens may be subject to national obligations, such as military service and taxes.
Canadian children or spouses may be prevented from leaving the country without prior authorization of the father/husband.
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.
During the lunar month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim calendar), refrain from drinking, eating, and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. In 2017, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around May 27.
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 and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Cyclones Chapala and Megh
In early November 2015, tropical cyclones Chapala and Megh passed through the island of Socotra and the southeastern coast of Yemen. Transportation routes, power and telecommunications systems could be affected in those areas. Other services that may be affected include emergency and medical care, as well as water and food supplies. Exercise caution and follow the advice of local authorities. If travelling to affected areas, you should contact your airline or tour operator to determine whether the situation will disrupt travel arrangements.
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.
Dial 199 for emergency assistance.
Riyadh - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 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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