See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on South Sudan for information on U.S.-South Sudan relations.
Requirements for Entry:
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:
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of South Sudan.
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:
Border disputes continue between South Sudan and:
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.
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:
Thefts usually occur near restaurants, banks, or other areas in proximity of foreigners.
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.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
For further information:
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Further health information:
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.