The U.S. Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to the Republic of South Sudan and strongly recommends U.S. citizens defer all travel to the country. This replaces the Travel Warning dated July 12, 2011, updates information on security incidents, and reminds U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns in the Republic of South Sudan.
South Sudan’s security services regularly commit arbitrary arrests and often detain foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens. The country’s legal system is rudimentary and sometimes ineffective. U.S. citizens may have little recourse to justice should they be detained and legal proceedings can be lengthy and seemingly subjective. Contractual and other business disputes with local partners may not be resolved in a manner that is consistent with international practices and judicial fairness. Security forces often operate outside civilian control, and laws governing due process and treatment of detainees are often ignored. Please note that the U.S. Embassy can provide only limited consular assistance to detainees and may not be informed in a timely manner of the arrest of U.S. citizens.
Health care in South Sudan is extremely limited. U.S. citizens with medical conditions should exercise particular caution before travelling to South Sudan, and all travelers should ensure their travel to the country is covered by overseas medical insurance, including medical evacuation. Medical evacuation from South Sudan is very expensive, often costing tens of thousands of dollars or more.
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to South Sudan and strongly recommends that you avoid all travel to the states in the border region between Sudan and South Sudan (Upper Nile, Unity, and Western Bar el Ghazai states in South Sudan; Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states in Sudan; and the Abyei Special Administrative District). Although fighting between Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) has declined since spring 2012, the potential for troop build-ups along the border and renewed fighting continues to be a legitimate threat.
You should exercise extreme caution in all areas of South Sudan. In addition to the fighting in the border region, there are at least seven rebel militia forces that frequently engage in violent clashes with SPLA forces in various areas of South Sudan; these clashes can flare up with little warning and may exacerbate ethnic tensions throughout the country, leading to further violence.
The Government of South Sudan has limited capacity to deter crime or provide security to travelers outside of the capital city of Juba.
The risk of violent crime is high in Juba. In addition to the risk of criminality, U.S. citizens have been the subject of arrest and detention without cause and physical abuse by South Sudanese security services. The U.S. Embassy in Juba has imposed a curfew from 1:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. in an effort to ensure the safety of its personnel. In addition to the curfew, the Embassy has implemented other measures to protect U.S. government personnel living and working in South Sudan. These include requiring personnel to travel in armored government vehicles at all times at night, and to obtain advance permission for any travel outside of Juba. Due to security concerns, spouses and family members of U.S. government personnel are not permitted to reside in South Sudan.
If you are currently working on humanitarian relief or development efforts in Juba, or anywhere in South Sudan, you should take measures to reduce your exposure to violent crime, and should closely follow the security policies and procedures of your organization.
There are likely to be disruptions or long delays in services provided by the Government of South Sudan, including health care and sanitation.
The U.S. Embassy in Juba currently provides limited emergency services to U.S. citizens living or traveling in South Sudan, including the provision of emergency passports. The embassy expects to begin offering standard passport and notarial services in late 2012. Other routine consular services are available through U.S. embassies in neighboring countries, such as Sudan and Kenya.
U.S. citizens can obtain global updates from the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website, where you can find the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information. Current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States, or, for callers in other countries, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
If you are going to live in or travel to South Sudan despite this Travel Warning, please take the time to tell us about your trip by enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). By enrolling in STEP, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. Enrolling in STEP will also make it easier for us to contact you in the event of an emergency. You should remember to keep all of your information in STEP up to date; it is particularly important when you enroll or update your information to include a current phone number and e-mail address. U.S. citizens in South Sudan without internet access may enroll directly at the U.S. Embassy in Juba by filling out and submitting a registration form.
U.S. citizens in South Sudan can obtain the latest security information by contacting the consular section at the U.S. Embassy in Juba, South Sudan (e-mail address: ACSJuba@state.gov), or by visiting the U.S. Embassy website. In the event of an emergency, please contact the U.S. Embassy in Juba by calling 249-900-90-5107 (Zain) or 256-477-459-820 (GEMTEL) and ask to speak to the Embassy Duty Officer.