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Yemen Crisis

Last Updated: March 27, 2017

Due to the deteriorating security situation in Sana’a, the Department of State suspended embassy operations at U.S. Embassy Sana’a on February 11, 2015. 

All consular services, routine and emergency, continue to be suspended until further notice. The level of instability and ongoing threats in Yemen remain extremely concerning. There are no plans for a U.S. government-coordinated evacuation of U.S. citizens at this time. If you wish to depart Yemen, you should stay alert for other opportunities to leave the country. U.S. citizens who are able to depart Yemen for another country and are in need of emergency assistance upon arrival may contact a U.S. embassy or consulate in that country.

Djibouti Update

The U.S. Embassy in Djibouti is aware that boats continue to transit between Aden and Djibouti and Aden and Berbera with U.S. citizens and their family members seeking consular services in Djibouti. While air travel remains the safest of transit options, we advise anyone traveling by boat to verify that the vessel s/he intends to travel on has life jackets equal to the number of passengers, emergency rafts, emergency food and water rations, adequate defensive and offensive tools against piracy, an emergency action plan, and the necessary naval clearances to transit the Gulf of Aden. While International Organization for Migration vessels always meet these requirements, many private dhows do not, and travelers should exercise caution in boarding a vessel if there are any indications that it does not satisfy these general safety measures.

Also note that regular flights from Aden transit major regional air hubs with connecting flights to Djibouti and that this is generally the safer alternative to sea travel. Those travelers with family members requiring immigrant visas should arrive at least two weeks prior to an interview to allow adequate time for travel uncertainties and to complete required medical examinations before a visa interview. Note that any visa interview scheduled by the National Visa Center will be canceled three business days in advance of the interview if a medical exam is not received by that date. Consular Reports of Birth Abroad may be requested without an appointment at the time of a spouse’s visa interview provided the U.S. citizen parent and child are both present at the spouse’s interview in Djibouti.

Transportation Resource Information

U.S. citizens should make their own determination as to whether conditions are safe enough for them to travel. This information may not be all-inclusive. Please continue to monitor the media and stay alert for other opportunities to leave the country.

Yemenia Airlines

We have been informed that Yemenia Airlines may be able to operate flights out of Yemen.  To make reservations, please contact the Yemenia Airlines office in Sanaa, located at Al-Zubairi Street.

Saudi Arabia

For U.S. citizens departing Yemen, please consider all possible routes before deciding to depart via the Yemen-Saudi Arabia border. Travel to the border can be dangerous, and U.S. citizens who have attempted to cross have reported long delays in a harsh environment, and some have been detained or turned away by Saudi authorities. 

If you decide to travel to Saudi Arabia, please send your U.S. passport number, full name and date of birth with your travel plans to JeddahACS@state.gov before travelling to the border. We will prepare a letter to the Saudi authorities confirming your citizenship, and asking that you be granted a transit visa. At the time of this posting, the only open border crossing is at Al Wadiah, also written as “Al Wuday’ah”. The Saudi border post is not staffed or designed to handle high demand. At times, travelers have reported sleeping outdoors for days before being able to cross. The location is extremely remote, and there is no access to food, water, shelter, or other essentials there. Please plan your travel accordingly, and consider the risks involved. Once you pass the border guards and arrive at the border crossing station to apply for your transit visa, please proceed directly to window number 11, where our letter should be waiting.

The journey may be very dangerous. There have been reports of attacks and airstrikes in several areas on both sided of the border. There may be checkpoints, and travelers have given accounts of extortion, armed robbery, questioning, and detentions.  U.S. citizens have reported being singled out for extra attention at times, so it may be safer to conceal your citizenship in some situations. At this time we have no personnel in Yemen or near the border due to safety and security concerns.   

It may be safer to wait and find another way to leave Yemen. If you decide to travel through Saudi Arabia, it is essential that you send us the biographical information and passport numbers of any U.S. citizens, or the names and Alien Registration Numbers of any Legal Permanent Residents, who are traveling. We also need to know what day and what time they plan to arrive at the border. Please give us advance notice, especially if you will arrive at the border outside of normal work hours, Sunday through Thursday, when our offices are closed. We cannot guarantee that any one person will receive a visa, and Saudi authorities may ask you to find a sponsor who is a Saudi national or is legally resident in this country. Foreign relatives and undocumented U.S. citizens have been turned away by Saudi authorities despite our best efforts to assist them.

It is reported that travelers are required to pay a fee of 100 Saudi Riyals to leave Yemen. Travelers are recommended to obtain a police pass from the Yemen Interior Ministry or tourism police if possible otherwise they may face difficulties at government checkpoints inside Yemen. Contact us at +966 12-667-0080 if there is any trouble at the border, and we also ask that you let us know when U.S. citizens safely leave Yemen and provide information about the trip that might be useful to other travelers.

We do not recommend that Yemeni family members travel to Saudi Arabia. The Saudi authorities may allow U.S. citizens to enter, but it is less likely they will give visas to Yemenis. If they come to the border and are turned away by Saudi authorities, they could be stranded in a very difficult situation. If they are allowed to enter Saudi Arabia, they will not be allowed by the Saudis to stay here long enough to complete the immigrant visa process. For these and other reasons, you will need to consider applying in another country. We are referring these cases primarily to our embassies in Malaysia, Algeria, Ethiopia and Sudan. If you do enter Saudi Arabia, you will need a plan for where to go next.

Contact Embassy Riyadh:
Phone: 966-11-488-3800
RiyadhACS@state.gov

Contact Consulate Jeddah:
Phone: 966-12-667-0800
JeddahACS@state.gov

Contact Consulate Dhahran:
Phone: 966-13-330-3200
DhahranACS@state.gov

Oman

Crossing the Yemen-Oman border can be dangerous, and U.S. citizens who do so are routinely detained by Omani authorities. 

Currently, Omani officials will only admit individuals who have a prior clearance from the Omani Ministry of Foreign Affairs and who possess a valid entry visa for Oman.  U.S. citizens intending to cross the border into Oman from Yemen must contact the U.S. Embassy in Muscat in advance to begin this process.  With prior notice and approval, U.S. citizens arriving at the al-Mazyunah  or Sarfait border crossings on the Yemen-Oman border can obtain a short-term transit visa to the airport in Salalah. They may also qualify for the normal 10-day (OMR 5.000/$13.00) or 30-day (OMR 20.000/$52.00) tourist visas.  Entry processing at the border typically takes three to five days for a U.S. citizen to be allowed entry into Oman.  Proof of adequate funds and onward travel are strongly recommended. The police and Ministry of Foreign Affairs will work with the U.S. embassy to authorize U.S. citizens for their visas.

Travelers should expect checkpoints along the way, and should determine whether conditions are safe enough for them to travel. It may be safer to shelter in place.

In an emergency, you can contact the U.S. Embassy in Muscat, Oman by emailing ConsularMuscat@state.gov.  Yemeni nationals may not be able to obtain a visa at the border.  For further information about visas for Yemeni nationals, please check the Omani government website with information about visa requirements which can be found at https://www.rop.gov.om/.  If Omani officials do allow a Yemeni national to enter Oman, they appear to be only authorizing extremely limited transit visas. They are not issuing visas that would allow for the length of time necessary to process an immigrant visa.

Private Options

We are aware that some U.S. citizens have made arrangements to depart Yemen using private commercial vessels. People considering this option should weigh the risks involved.

Assistance for U.S. Citizens in Yemen

If you have a question or a concern regarding a consular service for a U.S. citizen in Yemen, you may contact us at YemenEmergencyUSC@state.gov and we can provide you with guidance.

We recommend that U.S. citizens remaining in Yemen enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program –STEP. STEP enables enrollees to receive any updates to Yemen messaging that the Department of State might send.

U.S. citizens are urged to keep vital records and travel documents close at hand; U.S. citizens should be prepared to depart at a moment’s notice.

Visa Information

If you are inquiring about immigrant visas for Yemen family members, visit the U.S. Embassy for Yemen Visa page for more information.

Enroll in STEP

Enrolling in this free service will allow us to better assist you in case of an emergency while you are abroad.