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Information for U.S. Citizens in the Middle East

International Parental Child Abduction

English

Country Information

Yemen

Yemen
Republic of Yemen
Do not travel to Yemen due to terrorism, civil unrest, health risks, kidnapping, armed conflict, and landmines.

Updated after periodic review to include the crime indicator and revised security information.

Do not travel to Yemen due to terrorism, civil unrest, crime, health risks, kidnapping, armed conflict, and landmines.

Country Summary: The U.S. Embassy in Sana’a suspended its operations in February 2015, and the U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Yemen.

Terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Islamic State affiliates, continue to plot and conduct attacks in Yemen – most notably in al-Bayda, Abyan, and Shabwah governorates. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting public sites, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. Additionally, there is a continuing threat of kidnapping/detention by terrorists, criminal elements, and/or non-government actors. Employees of foreign organizations may be targeted for attack or kidnapping.

A civil war continues in Yemen. While truce agreements may reduce overall levels of violence, instability and ongoing threats of armed conflict, particularly along the frontlines in central Yemen, remain at a severe level. Due to the ongoing civil unrest and weak government institutions, travelers should not rely on significant assistance from local authorities. Foreign nationals are frequently the target of kidnapping and carjacking, particularly when traveling outside of urban areas.

Military conflict has caused destruction of basic infrastructure, housing, medical facilities, schools, and power and water utilities. This destruction limits the availability of electricity, clean water, and medical care in affected areas. It also often hampers the ability of humanitarian organizations to deliver critically needed food, medicine, and water. Landmines exist throughout Yemen.

Widespread violent crime and/or organized crime are present in Yemen. Local law enforcement may have limited or no ability or willingness to respond to serious crimes.

As a result of the deterioration of health services, Yemen is experiencing the re-emergence of infectious diseases, such as cholera, polio, and measles. There is a limited availability of medicine and medical supplies, and adequate medical treatment is unavailable.

There is a very high risk of kidnapping and detention of U.S. citizens in Yemen, particularly dual U.S.-Yemeni citizens. U.S. citizens, particularly young people, are also at risk of kidnapping for purposes of forced marriage, sometimes involving force, fraud, or coercion by family members in the United States and/or Yemen. The Houthis, who control Sana’a, have detained U.S. citizens, including dual U.S.-Yemeni citizens. U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, have faced difficulty – including lengthy delays – when attempting to depart Yemen.

Commercial flights to and from Yemen have operated out of Aden and Sana’a and have connected to destinations in the region, including Addis Ababa, Amman, Cairo, Djibouti, Jeddah, Khartoum, and Riyadh. Travelers are advised to inquire with airlines and travel companies directly for the most current information.

Some companies outside of Yemen have misrepresented the security situation on the Yemeni island of Socotra and are offering tourist visits there, including by facilitating unofficial and invalid "visas." Only the sovereign Republic of Yemen government can issue valid Yemeni visas. Private companies or third countries that arrange such visits are putting tourists in danger, including legal jeopardy. While security conditions on Socotra may be less volatile than on the mainland, the U.S. government has no presence and no way to intervene with authorities on behalf of U.S. citizens who travel there. U.S. citizens should not travel to Socotra or any other part of Yemen.

Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Yemen, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For more information U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

Due to risks to commercial shipping operating within or in the vicinity of Yemen territorial waters, the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) has issued a Maritime Advisory. For more information U.S. citizens should consult the Maritime Administration’s Maritime Security Communications with Industry (MSCI).

Additionally, the Commandant of the Coast Guard has determined that effective anti-terrorism measures are not in place in Yemen’s ports and has imposed conditions of entry on vessels that arrive in U.S. ports having visited ports in Yemen. Mariners and passengers traveling through the ports of Yemen should exercise caution.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Yemen.

If, despite this Travel Advisory, you decide to travel to Yemen:

  • Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
  • Make contingency plans to leave the country without U.S. government assistance.
  • Draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney.
  • Discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, belongings, non-liquid assets (collections, artwork, etc.), funeral wishes, etc.
  • Share important documents, login information, and points of contact with loved ones so that they can manage your affairs, if you are unable to return as planned to the United States.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Establish your own personal security plan in coordination with your employer or host organization or consider consulting with a professional security organization.
  • Develop a communication plan with family and/or your employer or host organization so that they can monitor your safety and location as you travel through high-risk areas. This plan should specify who you would contact first, and how they should share the information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook  and Twitter
  • Review the Country Security Report for Yemen.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
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Hague Convention Participation

Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No

What You Can Do

Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US

Embassies and Consulates

The U.S. Embassy in Sana’a suspended operations on February 11, 2015, and therefore cannot provide protection or consular services to U.S. citizens in Yemen.  The U.S. government has extremely limited capabilities to assist U.S. citizens in Yemen.

The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends that U.S. citizens avoid travel to Yemen due to the very high risk of kidnapping and detention.  U.S. citizens in Yemen are strongly recommended to depart the country.  U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, have faced difficulty – including lengthy delays – when attempting to depart Yemen. More information can be found in our Yemen Travel Advisory. 

Please direct inquiries regarding U.S. citizens in Yemen to YemenEmergencyUSC@state.gov. Callers in the U.S. and Canada may dial the toll free number 1-888-407-4747. Callers outside the United States and Canada may dial 1-202-501-4444.

General Information

For information concerning travel to Yemen, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Yemen.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Child Abduction. The report is located here.

Hague Abduction Convention

Yemen is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between Yemen and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.

Return

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country. Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Yemen and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction. For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children's Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child. The Office of Children's Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's Issues
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, Floor 9
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Fax: 202-485-6221
Website
Email: MiddleEastIPCA@state.gov

Parental child abduction may be a crime in Yemen depending on the circumstances of the child's removal. Parents are encouraged to consult with a Yemeni attorney to determine if their particular case qualifies as a crime under Yemeni law.

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court. Please see Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information.

Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Yemen and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children's Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States.

Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children's Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in Yemen are authorized to provide legal advice.

Mediation

Mediation in Yemen is voluntary. There are no government agencies or non-governmental organizations that offer mediation services for custody disputes.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Last Updated: February 8, 2021

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

Yemen Travel Advisory
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Telephone
Callers within the U.S. and Canada may dial toll free 1-888-407-4747
Emergency
Callers outside the United States and Canada may dial 1-202-501-4444.
Fax
N/A

Yemen Map