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Yemen Crisis

Last Updated: July 12, 2016

 

On February 11, 2015, due to the deteriorating security situation in Sana’a, the Department of State suspended embassy operations and U.S. Embassy Sana’a American staff were relocated out of the country. All consular services, routine and emergency, continue to be suspended until further notice. The Department notified the public of this move, and its impact on consular services, and urged U.S. citizens in Yemen to depart while commercial transportation was available.

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.

We encourage U.S. citizens in Yemen to notify the U.S. government of your presence in Yemen by entering your information here and by enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive updates. Please also read the latest Travel Warning for Yemen.

Djibouti Update:

The U.S. Embassy in Djibouti is aware that U.S. citizens and their non-U.S. citizen family members departing the unrest in Yemen are arriving in Djibouti via seaborne travel.  U.S. citizen travelers to Djibouti should know that there is currently a severe lack of hotel accommodations in Djibouti due to the large influx of such arrivals. The U.S. Embassy cannot guarantee or secure hotel rooms or other lodging for U.S. citizens arriving in Djibouti. Those travelers with family members requiring immigrant visas should anticipate staying in Djibouti for 2 or more months.

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.

Please also continue to monitor this page for updates.

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:

You are strongly encouraged to send your details and travel plans to JeddahACS@state.gov to request a letter before travelling to the border. We have been told that only the border crossing at Al Wadiah is currently being operated by Saudi authorities. Wadiah is only officially open from 7am to 3pm, and 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 little to no access to food, water, shelter, and 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 near the border, including mortar attacks near Najran on the Saudi side. 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 some checkpoints, so it may be safer to conceal your citizenship in some situations. At this time we have no personnel 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 names 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 when they plan to arrive at the border, and which border crossing they are going to. Please give us advance notice, especially if you will arrive at the border outside of normal work hours 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 legally resident in this country. Non-American 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.

If you do enter Saudi Arabia, you will need a plan for where to go next. Saudi Arabia will not permit you to stay in the country without official sponsorship from a legal resident of Saudi Arabia.

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:

U.S. citizens arriving at the Mazoonah or Sarfait check-posts on the Yemen-Oman border can obtain a short-term transit visa to the airport in Salalah. They may also qualify for the regular 10-day tourist visa. The Royal Oman Police are requiring proof of funds for an onward ticket. The police and Ministry of Foreign Affairs will work with the U.S. embassy to authorize U.S. citizens for their visas. This process can take several days. There is a 5 OMR (13 USD) fee for the tourist visa. 

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.

 

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