South SudanOfficial Name: Republic of South Sudan
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
Two vacant visa pages required for entry
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required to enter or leave the country
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Embassies and Consulates
Kololo Road, Tongping
Juba, South Sudan
Telephone: +(211) 912-105-188
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(211) 912-105-107
The Republic of South Sudan gained independence from Sudan on July 9, 2011. The capital city is Juba. South Sudan’s independence came after many years of civil war between forces in the south and the Government of Sudan. Despite the signing of numerous agreements in September 2012 regarding oil transport, border security, economic and financial matters, a safe demilitarized border zone, and the final status of disputed areas, the relationship between the two countries remains fragile.
South Sudan is one of the world’s least developed countries. Its economy relies largely on revenues from oil exports and trade with its neighbor, Sudan. Since December 2013, oil production has declined as a result of conflict in and around the oil producing region.
U.S. Embassy Juba evacuated essential staff in December 2013 as a result of armed conflict between government and opposition forces which broke out in Juba and spread rapidly to the rest of the country. While many staff members have since returned, the Embassy is still operating with limited staff. Military operations between rebel and government forces continue to take place in Unity, Jonglei and Upper Nile States. Inter-ethnic violence – including revenge killings and cattle raids – continues in Lakes and Warrap States. Jonglei, Unity, and Upper Nile State have all been placed under a State of Emergency. Approximately 1.4 million people have been displaced throughout the country, with nearly 100,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) living on United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Protection of Civilian (PoC) sites.
The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) operates under a UN Chapter VII mandate and is primarily focused on protection of civilians. As of August 31, UNMISS consisted of approximately 11,405 uniformed personnel, 844 international civilian staff, 1,364 local civilian staff, and 394 UN Volunteers. Numerous UN agencies and non-governmental organizations provide humanitarian and development assistance. South Sudan also has a relatively large diplomatic corps, although numbers have diminished since the conflict began in December 2013.
Electricity, telephone and telecommunications, roads, and other forms of infrastructure are unreliable or sparse in many areas. Civilian institutions, including the criminal justice system, are rudimentary and not presently functioning at a level consistent with international standards. There are no government services available in many parts of the country. South Sudan operates as a cash economy, and tourist facilities are limited throughout the country. Read the Department of State Fact Sheet on South Sudan for additional information on U.S. – South Sudan relations.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
U.S. citizens need a valid passport and visa to enter South Sudan. If visiting or living in South Sudan, you should ensure that your passport is current and secure and that it has at least two vacant visa pages and is valid for six months beyond your date of entry. U.S. citizens are required to obtain a visa in advance of arrival. Further, you may be asked to state the purpose of your visit upon arrival. You should register with the Department of Immigration and Aliens Control at the Ministry of Interior in Juba if you are staying in South Sudan for more than three days. If you are working in South Sudan, you must present a work permit upon registration. Failure to present a work permit may result in your passport being temporarily confiscated.
Proof of Yellow Fever vaccination is required when entering or exiting the country. Most countries with direct flights from South Sudan, including Kenya and Ethiopia, also require yellow fever immunization for all passengers arriving from South Sudan.
If you are traveling from South Sudan to Sudan, you will be required to obtain a Sudanese visa or an entry permit prior to arrival at a port of entry.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of South Sudan.
You can find information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction on the website of the Bureau of Consular Affairs. For further information about customs regulations, please refer to the Bureau’s Customs Information sheet.
Safety and Security
The Juba International Airport is once again operating on weekends. However, the airport remains closed daily from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 a.m., and emergency departures by air from Juba for medical or other reasons are not possible during these times.
On December 15, 2013, violence erupted in Juba within the Presidential Guard Force of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). During the days and weeks that followed, elements of government security forces conducted targeted ethnic killings and attacks across the city. These events led to armed conflict between government forces and rebel forces in several states across the country and triggered ethnic violence that targeted civilians. This conflict is ongoing in several parts of the country, including Jonglei, Unity, and Upper Nile States. The U.S. Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against all travel to South Sudan.
Extreme care should be exercised in all parts of the country, and particularly in the states of Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity where armed clashes continue. Care should also be exercised along the disputed border areas between South Sudan and Sudan and also along the border between South Sudan and Uganda where clashes in September led to the displacement of several thousand people. Clashes between ethnic groups are common country-wide. The “Lord’s Resistance Army” – a Ugandan rebel group – has operated along South Sudan’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Government of South Sudan has limited capacity to deter crime or provide security to travelers, especially outside the capital city of Juba.
The U.S. Embassy in Juba has implemented measures to protect U.S. government personnel living and working in South Sudan. These include requiring U.S. government personnel to travel in armored government vehicles, and to obtain advance permission for travel outside of Juba. Currently, family members of U.S. government personnel are not permitted to reside in South Sudan. Similar measures are followed by UNMISS, many other embassies, and many non-governmental organizations with operations in South Sudan.
Land mines remain a hazard in South Sudan, especially outside of Juba. Visitors should travel only on main roads, unless a competent de-mining authority has marked an area as clear of mines.
The Embassy’s ability to provide consular services outside of Juba, including emergency assistance, is severely limited. Many areas of South Sudan are extremely difficult to access, and travel in these areas is sometimes hazardous. The conflict which began in December 2013 has led to extreme insecurity in several areas in the country. Less than 300 kilometers of paved roads exist in the country, which is the size of France. The infrastructure is extremely poor, and medical care is not always available or is very basic.
To stay connected:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.
- Follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and Facebook .
- Bookmark the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, including the Travel Warning for South Sudan, as well as the Worldwide Caution.
- Follow the U.S. Embassy in Juba on Twitter and visit the Embassy’s website.
- In the event of an emergency, contact us at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the United States and Canada, or via a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.
- Take some time before traveling to consider your personal security and check some useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
CRIME: High unemployment and continuous severe economic downturn have encouraged criminal activity. Following an increase in security-related incidents in Juba and the current insecurity due to the ongoing civil conflict, the U.S. Embassy has imposed a curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. to better ensure the safety of its personnel. U.S. Embassy personnel are also only allowed to travel throughout the city in armored vehicles and are not allowed to utilize public transportation. You should try to avoid crowded public areas and public gatherings, and avoid traveling alone if possible. Report all incidents of crime to the South Sudanese police and the U.S. Embassy.
Carjackings and banditry occur in South Sudan. Travel outside of Juba is not advised but if necessary, should be undertaken with a minimum of two vehicles so that there is a backup in case of mechanical failure or other emergency.
Do not buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may be breaking local law.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. The U.S. Embassy currently can offer only very limited emergency services to U.S. citizens in South Sudan. Due to the draw down in personnel in Juba, the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi [Tel.: 254 (20) 363 6451 or 254 (20) 363 6170, e-mail: Kenya_acs@state.gov] is available to assist U.S. citizens in South Sudan; in an emergency, contact the U.S. Embassy in Juba (Daytime phone: +(211) 912-105-188; After Hours: +(211) 912-105-107). We can:
- Replace a stolen passport.
- Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape.
- Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and if you want us to, we can contact family members or friends.
- Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in South Sudan, you are subject to its laws. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own. You may be questioned or detained by police if you do not have your passport with you. South Sudan’s security services 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 do not always follow laws governing due process and treatment of detainees.
If you break local laws in South Sudan, your U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It is very important to know what is legal and what is not while you are in South Sudan. Penalties for breaking the law may be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating South Sudan’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States. You can be prosecuted in the United States for engaging in sexual conduct with children or for using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country regardless of the legality of these activities under that country’s laws. Counterfeit and pirated goods are illegal in the United States and if you purchase them in a foreign country, you may be breaking local law as well.
Based on the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, bilateral agreements with certain countries, and international law, if you are arrested in South Sudan, you have the option to request that the police, prison officials, or other authorities alert the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of your arrest, and to have communications from you forwarded to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas. That said, security officials rarely contact the U.S. Embassy in Juba when U.S. citizens are detained.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: South Sudan is currently experiencing an internal conflict affecting several parts of the country. This has further diminished the government’s already limited capabilities. If you are traveling or doing business in South Sudan, you may find it difficult to identify legal or administrative remedies if problems arise. We often do not get timely notification of the detention of U.S. citizens in South Sudan.
South Sudan’s official currency is the South Sudanese pound. You must be prepared to pay cash for all purchases, including hotel bills, airfares purchased locally, and all other travel expenses. South Sudan has no international ATMs, and local ATMs draw on local banks only. U.S. currency issued prior to 2006 is not accepted in South Sudan.
Photography in South Sudan is a very sensitive subject. It is strongly advised that you apply for a South Sudan Photo Permit through the Ministry of the Interior. In addition to filling out a form you will also need to submit: two passport size photos, a copy of the bio page from your passport and US $50.00.
Even with a permit, you must be careful taking pictures in South Sudan, as people have been arrested and even physically assaulted by police for using a camera. Please follow these simple rules to reduce the risk of being harassed or arrested:
- Never take pictures of official/government buildings, vehicles, or persons in uniform.
- Do not take pictures of infrastructure such as bridges.
- Keep your camera concealed and do not take random photos in public.
- Always ask a person’s permission before taking his or her photograph.
- Always be courteous if someone shies away from having his or her picture taken.
Be prepared for people to react negatively if you are taking pictures in public or in crowds. If someone becomes hostile toward you, get out of that situation as soon as possible.
WOMEN TRAVELER INFORMATION: If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips on the Women Travelers page on Travel.State.gov.
LGBT RIGHTS: Consensual same-sex sexual relations are criminalized in South Sudan with penalties up to 10 years’ imprisonment. If non-consensual, the penalty is up to 14 years imprisonment. There are no reports that this law was enforced during this year. Societal discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons is widespread, and there are no known LGBT organizations. While there are no reports of specific incidents of discrimination or abuse during this year, stigma could have been a factor in preventing incidents from being reported. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our Information for LGBT Travelers page.
ACCESSIBILITY: While in South Sudan, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. South Sudan does not mandate access to transportation, communications, or public buildings for persons with disabilities. It is very difficult for persons with physical disabilities of any kind to travel in South Sudan.
Persons with conditions that may require medical treatment are strongly discouraged from traveling to South Sudan. Medical facilities in Juba fall far short of western standards; outside the capital, few hospitals exist; hospitals and clinics are often poorly equipped and staffed. If you need medical treatment, you must pay cash in advance for it. Ambulance services are not available outside Juba. Not all medicines are regularly available and many medicines in pharmacies are counterfeit; you should carry sufficient supplies of needed medicines in clearly-marked containers.
You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Mosquito borne illnesses such as malaria and yellow fever are a significant problem and prevention of bites and proper yellow fever immunization are important for all areas.
Travelers should carry and use CDC recommended insect repellents containing either 20% DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. Treating clothing and tents with permethrin and sleeping in screened or air conditioned rooms under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets will help diminish bites from mosquitoes as well ticks, fleas, chiggers, etc, some of which may also carry infections.
Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease that is highly prevalent throughout South Sudan in all seasons. Before traveling you should discuss with your doctor the best antimalarial medication to avoid malaria. For information that can help you and your doctor decide which of these drugs would be best for you, please see CDC’s “Choosing a Drug to Prevent Malaria.” If you become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling in South Sudan, or for up to one year after returning home, you should seek prompt medical attention, tell the physician your travel history and what antimalarials you have been taking.
Yellow fever is spread by day biting mosquitoes (as opposed to the night biting malaria carrying mosquitoes). Yellow fever, although rare among travelers, can be severe or fatal in about 10% of those infected. It can be nearly 100% prevented through use of the yellow fever vaccine which is recommended for all those over 9 months old. Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required when entering or exiting the country, and most countries with direct flights from South Sudan, including Kenya and Ethiopia, require yellow fever immunization for all passengers arriving from South Sudan. All those nine months or older should be immunized prior to arrival.
All routine US immunizations should also be up to date prior to arrival in South Sudan. This includes measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, Hepatitis A and tetanus, all of which are more common in South Sudan than in the US. Additionally it is also recommended that all travelers receive typhoid immunization. Hepatitis B immunization is recommended for those with possible sexual contact or who may have blood contamination through use of needles, tattoos or piercings or any medical procedures.
Meningococcal meningitis is much more common than in the United States and immunization with the quadrivalent meningococcal vaccine should be given to all children and health care workers, and it should be considered for all adults, especially in the dry season of December through June.
Rabies immunization is recommended for all travelers staying for more than four weeks, traveling to remote, rural areas, or expecting exposure to animals. Even in urban areas dogs may have rabies. Bites and scratches from dogs, bats or other mammals should immediately be cleaned with soap and water and checked by a medical provider to determine if additional rabies immunization is warranted.
Polio is circulating in nations in the region and immunization (adequate primary series and single adult booster dose) is recommended for aid, refugee, and health care workers only. You can find further information about polio and recommended precautions for those traveling to South Sudan on the CDC website.
Diarrheal illness is very common among travelers even in large cities and luxury accommodations. Travelers can diminish diarrhea risk through scrupulous washing of hands and use of hand sanitizers, especially before food preparation and eating. The greatest risk of traveler’s diarrhea is from contaminated food. Choose foods and beverages carefully to lower your risk, and drink only beverages from factory-sealed containers, and avoid ice (because it may have been made from unclean water).
Tuberculosis is more than 20 times more common in South Sudan than in the United States. Those planning on staying in South Sudan longer than a month should consider tuberculin skin testing before travel and then again six to twelve weeks after returning from South Sudan.
Schistosomiasis is caused by a parasitic worm that is spread by fresh water snails particularly along tributaries of the Nile. The larval stage of the worm can burrow through your skin when in contact with contaminated fresh water. Avoid wading, swimming, bathing, or washing in, and drinking from, bodies of fresh water such as canals, lakes, rivers, streams, or springs. If you do come into contact with water that might contain schistosomiasis, it is recommended that you seek a test from your medical provider as symptoms can take months to years to appear.
Ebola was first identified in Southern Sudan in 1976, and there have been three recognized outbreaks in the southern states of the country, with the most recent in 2004. South Sudan conducts health screening on the borders the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda as well as screening at all airports receiving international flights. The Ministry of Health has issued recommendations that travelers who have been in an ebola-affected country in the past 21 days should not enter South Sudan until the end of the 21 days incubation period.
You can find good information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Travel & Transportation
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in South Sudan, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The following information is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Road conditions throughout South Sudan are hazardous due to erratic driver behavior, pedestrians and animals in the roadways, and vehicles that are overloaded or lack basic safety equipment. There are very few paved roads in South Sudan; most roads are narrow, rutted, and poorly maintained. Local drivers often do not observe conventions for the right-of-way, stop on the road without warning, and frequently exceed safe speeds for road, traffic, and weather conditions. Driving at night can be dangerous because of the lack of street lights throughout the country.
Roads in South Sudan are often impassable during the rainy season, from March or April to October or November. Take spare tires, parts, and fuel with you when traveling in remote areas, as service stations are separated by long distances.
U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the country in which they are traveling, including traffic laws. In South Sudan, vehicles have the steering wheel on the left side and drivers use the right side of the road.
Many local drivers carry no insurance despite the legal requirement that all motor vehicle operators purchase third-party liability insurance from the government. Persons involved in an accident resulting in death or injury must report the incident to the nearest police station or police officer as soon as possible. Persons found at fault can expect fines, revocation of driving privileges, and jail sentences, depending on the nature and extent of the accident. Persons convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol face fines, jail sentences, and corporal punishment.
There are no restrictions on vehicle types, including motorcycles and motorized tricycles.
Public transportation is by small buses, vans, or taxis, and is limited to within and between major towns. Many drivers of these vehicles have little training and are reckless, and the vehicles are often poorly maintained. Passenger facilities are basic and crowded. Schedules are unpublished and subject to change without notice. Travelers are encouraged to hire cars and drivers from reputable sources with qualified drivers and safe vehicles. While there is some public transit to rural communities by irregularly scheduled mini-buses, many areas lack any public transportation.
You should be extremely careful in crossing roads in South Sudan. Crosswalks do not exist, and incidents of cars striking pedestrians are common.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in South Sudan, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Government of Sudan’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.