International Travel


Country Information

South Sudan

South Sudan
Republic of South Sudan
Do not travel to South Sudan due to crime, kidnapping, and armed conflict.

Do not travel to South Sudan due to crime, kidnapping, and armed conflict.

Violent crime, such as carjackings, shootings, ambushes, assaults, robberies, and kidnappings is common throughout South Sudan, including Juba. Foreign nationals have been the victims of rape, sexual assault, armed robberies, and other violent crimes.

Armed conflict is ongoing throughout the country and includes fighting between various political and ethnic groups, and weapons are readily available to the population. In addition, cattle raids occur throughout the country and often lead to violence. Reporting in South Sudan without the proper documentation from the South Sudanese Media Authority is considered illegal, and any journalistic work there is very dangerous. Journalists regularly report being harassed in South Sudan, and many have been killed while covering the conflict in South Sudan.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency consular services to U.S. citizens in South Sudan. U.S. government personnel in South Sudan are under a strict curfew. They must use armored vehicles for nearly all movements in the city, and official travel outside Juba is limited. Due to the critical crime threat in Juba, walking is also restricted; when allowed, it is limited to a small area in the immediate vicinity of the Embassy and must usually be conducted in groups of two or more during daylight hours. Family members cannot accompany U.S. government employees who work in South Sudan.

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

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to South Sudan:

  • Exercise extreme care in all parts of the country, including Juba. Travel outside of Juba with a minimum of two vehicles along with appropriate recovery and medical equipment in case of mechanical failure or other emergency.
  • Avoid travel along border areas.
  • Avoid demonstrations and public gatherings. Even events intended to be peaceful can become violent.
  • Be aware that photography in public is strictly controlled and you are required to obtain authorization from the Ministry of Information before taking any photographs or video in public – including while inside a vehicle.
  • Monitor local/international news and consular messages.
  • Enroll your trip in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
  • Review your personal security plan and visit our page on Travel to High-Risk Areas.
  • 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, log-in 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. Find a suggested list of such documents here.
  • Establish your own personal security plan in coordination with your employer or host organization, or consider consulting with a professional security organization. Your plan should include sheltering in place, maintaining outside communication, and a personal evacuation plan via commercial means.
  • 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.
  • Be sure to appoint one family member to serve as the point of contact with hostage-takers, media, U.S. and host country government agencies, and Members of Congress, if you are taken hostage or detained.
  • Establish a proof of life protocol with your loved ones, so that if you are taken hostage, your loved ones can know specific questions (and answers) to ask the hostage-takers to be sure that you are alive (and to rule out a hoax).
  • Leave DNA samples with your medical provider in case it is necessary for your family to access them.
  • Erase any sensitive photos, comments, or other materials from your social media pages, cameras, laptops, and other electronic devices that could be considered controversial or provocative by local groups.
  • Leave your expensive/sentimental belongings behind.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for South Sudan.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Last Update: Reissued with updates to the Risk Indicators.


Embassy Messages


Quick Facts


6 months


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Yes, obtain in advance.


Yellow fever 





Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Juba

Kololo Road, Tongping
Juba, South Sudan
Telephone: +(211) 912-105-188 (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(211) 912-105-107

Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on South Sudan for information on U.S.-South Sudan relations.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Requirements for Entry:

  • Passport with two blank pages, valid for six months after date of entry
  • Visa obtained before arrival
  • World Health Organization (WHO) card with yellow fever vaccination
  • If traveling while assigned to the United Nations, you must obtain pre-authorization from the Government of South Sudan prior to your arrival. Contact the United Nations for additional information.

Visit the Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan website for current visa information.

If you are staying longer than three days, register with the Department of Immigration and Aliens Control at the Ministry of Interior in Juba. 

Do not work without a work permit or your passport could be temporarily confiscated. A work permit and/or long term visa may be obtained at any Republic of South Sudan Immigration office.

Requirements for Exit:

  • Proof of Yellow Fever vaccination. Countries with direct flights from South Sudan (including Kenya and Ethiopia) typically require yellow fever immunization for passengers arriving from South Sudan.
  • South Sudanese passport must be presented if you are a dual U.S -South Sudanese citizen. South Sudanese authorities have delayed or detained dual U.S.-South Sudanese nationals attempting to use their U.S. passport to depart South Sudan. 
  • Sudanese visa or entry permit obtained in advance when traveling from South Sudan to Sudan.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of South Sudan.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

See the Department of State’s Republic of South Sudan Travel Warning. Land mines remain a hazard, especially outside of Juba. 

The U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide consular services outside of Juba, even in emergencies, is extremely limited.

Violent conflict between government forces and armed opposition groups continues throughout the country. In July 2016, violent clashes between government and opposition forces broke out in Juba, resulting in the evacuation of U.S. citizens and other foreigners. At the time of the conflict, U.S. citizens were assaulted by government soldiers during an attack on a civilian housing compound.

Armed clashes continue in:

  • Greater Equatoria
  • Upper Nile
  • Former Unity State

Border disputes continue between South Sudan and:

  • Sudan
  • Uganda 

Fighting among ethnic groups is common throughout the country. The “Lord’s Resistance Army” – a Ugandan rebel group – operates along South Sudan’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

  • Exercise extreme care in all parts of the country, including Juba.
  • Be vigilant when traveling outside of cities and avoid travel along border areas.
  • Avoid demonstrations and public gatherings. Even events intended to be peaceful can become violent.
  • Monitor local/international news and consular messages.

U.S. government personnel in South Sudan adhere to a strict curfew, are restricted to limited official travel outside of Juba, and utilize armored vehicles for nearly all movements in the city. Due to the high crime threat in Juba, walking movements are restricted; when allowed, they are limited to a small area in the immediate vicinity of the Embassy and must be conducted in groups of two or more during daylight hours.

Crime: The population has ready access to weapons due to years of civil war, tribal conflict, and political unrest.

In Juba, the most frequently reported violent crimes include armed robbery, carjackings, and home invasions. Criminals target people who are walking, traveling alone or in small groups, especially at night. Criminals frequently wear security service uniforms, carry military weapons, and use the ruse of security check points or official business to stop individuals or gain access to compounds.

Outside Juba, road ambushes and roadside crime are common and often involve violence. Violent crimes (murder, armed robbery, home invasions, cattle raiding, kidnapping) and non-violent petty theft and fraud are pervasive.

Throughout the country, crimes of opportunity include:

  • muggings
  • pickpocketing
  • theft from vehicles
  • fraudulent currency exchanges

Thefts usually occur near restaurants, banks, or other areas in proximity of foreigners.

  • Avoid walking alone, especially after dark.
  • Do not display cash or valuables.
  • Dress conservatively.
  • Drive with doors locked and windows closed.
  • Travel with a copy of your U.S. passport and visa. Keep original documents in a secure location.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:

U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should first contact the U.S. Embassy.

Report crimes to the local police and contact the U.S. Embassy at +(211) 912-105-188.

Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical
  • support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

South Sudan’s security services commit arbitrary arrests and often detain foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens.

Security forces often operate outside civilian control and do not always follow laws governing due process and treatment of detainees.  

U.S. citizens may have little recourse to justice should they be detained. Legal proceedings can be lengthy and subjective.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. As South Sudan is not yet a signatory to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, local authorities are not bound by international law to alert the U.S. Embassy of your detention or provide consular access. South Sudanese law enforcement officials routinely block access to foreign nationals and dual nationals in detention.   

If you have reason to believe a U.S. citizen may be detained or incarcerated in South Sudan, do not assume the Embassy is already aware. Contact the Embassy and provide as much information as possible. However, the Embassy’s ability to share information with you may be limited unless we receive a Privacy Act Waiver from the arrested person authorizing us to speak with you.

Controlled Items: Certain items which are normal and legal to possess elsewhere are tightly controlled in South Sudan. Bringing them into the country without government permission, or even traveling internally with them, can result in extra scrutiny by security officials, the confiscation of your items, and your arrest.  

Traveling with professional photography equipment will trigger extra scrutiny regardless of occupation. Metal detectors, which can be used for prospecting, are tightly controlled, especially if you are traveling to an area where mining takes place. Some forms of communication equipment such as satellite phones (commonly referred to by their trade names: Thurayas or Iridiums) are required to be registered with the government. Imports of any form of military material or “dual-use” items are highly scrutinized. Entering South Sudan or traveling internally with large quantities of cash also typically requires government permission. 

U.S. citizens should contact the Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan for questions regarding what equipment they may or may not import into the country and how to obtain authorizations for specific equipment or to bring in large sums of cash. 

Dual Nationals:  The embassy recommends all dual nationals obtain visas for their U.S. passport covering the duration of their stay in South Sudan. If staying longer than a typical visa will allow, dual nationals are strong encouraged to obtain a five-year residency permit. These documents are available for a fee at any local Government of South Sudan Immigration office.

Aid Workers: Consult with the security personnel representing your organization. Compounds housing aid workers have been breached and aid workers, including U.S. citizens, have been the targets of shootings, ambushes, violent assaults, harassment, and robberies.

Currency: The South Sudanese pound (SSP) is the official currency. It is a cash exclusive society. Carry sufficient funds in to cover all your expenses for the duration of your stay. ATMs draw on local banks only. Exchange currency only at reputable banks. U.S. currency issued prior to 2006 or blemished is not accepted.

Photography: A permit is required and may be obtained from the Ministry of Interior for $50. Even with a permit, you must be careful taking pictures, as police have arrested and physically assaulted tourists for using a camera.

  • Never take pictures of government buildings, vehicles, or persons in uniform.
  • Do not take pictures of infrastructure such as bridges or airports.
  • Keep your camera concealed and do not take random photos in public.
  • Do not take photos of South Sudanese without their permission and be courteous of those who shy away from having their pictures taken.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual relations are illegal in South Sudan with penalties up to 10 years’ imprisonment. If non-consensual, the penalty is up to 14 years imprisonment. Societal discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons is widespread, and there are no known LGBTI organizations.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Persons with disabilities face limited access to transportation, public buildings, hotels, and communication accommodations. There are few sidewalks and no curb-cuts, and most buildings lack elevators. 

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: Since the return to civil conflict, women have suffered unprecedented levels of sexual violence, including abduction, rape, and forced marriage. The law does not prohibit domestic violence. Spousal abuse is common and police seldom intervene. There are reports police tried to charge SSP 20 ($7) when victims of rape or abuse attempted to file a criminal complaint. While the official form is not mandatory, police often told women they needed to complete it prior to receiving medical treatment. See our travel tips for Women Travelers.


Consult the CDC website for South Sudan prior to travel.

Medical facilities in Juba fall far short of western standards. Outside Juba, the few hospitals and clinics that exist are poorly equipped and staffed. Ambulance services are generally not available.

Pharmacies have severely limited stock of prescription medications and many are counterfeit. Bring a sufficient supply of needed medicines. Carry medication in its original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. Be sure to verify with South Sudanese customs your medications are legal before traveling.

You are responsible for all medical costs. U.S. Medicare does not cover you overseas. Most care providers expect payment in U.S. dollars before treatment is performed.

Medical Insurance: If your health insurance plan does not provide coverage overseas, we strongly recommend supplemental medical insurance and medical evacuation plans.

The following diseases are prevalent in the country or region:

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Yellow fever vaccination is required for entry.

Further health information:

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: There are very few paved roads; most are narrow, rutted, and poorly maintained. Roads are often impassable during the rainy season, March to November. Pedestrians and animals in the roadways, excessive speed, erratic driving, lack of street lights, and overloaded or poorly maintained vehicles pose additional risks.

When driving in remote areas, travel during daylight hours only and use convoys of multiple vehicles to mitigate the threat of roadside hoodlums. Carry spare tires, parts, fuel, and provisions. Service stations are separated by long distances. Professional roadside assistance service is not available.

Checkpoints: Approach all vehicle checkpoints with caution, especially after dark or during times of heightened political or military tensions. Even stops at checkpoints operated by the government of South Sudan may become hostile or violent.

Landmines: Years of conflict have left the threat of unexploded ordnance, including landmines, as a hazard on or near major roads. Stay on main roads marked as cleared by a competent de-mining authority.

Traffic Laws: An international driver's license and third-party liability insurance from the government is required. Those convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol face fines, jail sentences, and corporal punishment.

Accidents: If involved in an accident resulting in death or injury, report the incident to the nearest police station or police officer as soon as possible. Remain inside the vehicle and wait for police. If a hostile mob forms or you feel your safety is in danger, leave the scene and proceed directly to the nearest police station to report the incident. Do not stop at the scene of an accident or at intersections where people have gathered, as mobs can develop quickly. Many local drivers are uninsured.

Public Transportation: You should hire private transportation from a reputable source. The use of public transportation (small buses, vans, or motorbike taxis “boda-bodas”) is off-limits to U.S. Embassy personnel and should be avoided whenever possible. Drivers of these vehicles frequently have little training and are reckless, and the vehicles are often poorly maintained. Schedules are unpublished and subject to change without notice. There is some public transit to rural communities by irregularly scheduled mini-buses.

See 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 South 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.

Last Updated: February 1, 2019

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Juba
Kololo Road, Tongping
Juba, South Sudan
+(211) 912-105-188 (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.)
+(211) 912-105-107
No Fax

South Sudan Map