Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Country Information > Sudan International Travel Information
Requirements for Entry:
Visas: Obtain your visa before traveling. Visit the Embassy of Sudan website for the most current visa information. Overseas inquiries should be made at the nearest Sudanese Embassy or Consulate.
The Government of Sudan requires U.S. citizens to present a passport with at least 6 months validity, and an entry visa or entry permit upon arrival at any port of entry in Sudan. You must register at the Aliens Department at the Ministry of Interior within three days of your arrival or risk being fined. U.S. citizen travelers must obtain an entry visa from a Sudanese embassy before arriving in Sudan. There are two exceptions to this requirement: U.S. citizens possessing a Sudanese national identification document (such as a Sudanese passport or national identification card), and travelers with a sponsor (a business or organization) that has obtained an entry permit for them in advance from the Sudanese Ministry of Interior, may apply for an entry visa at Khartoum International Airport.
Previous travel to Israel: If your passport has an Israeli visa or Israeli entry/exit stamps, you will be banned entry.
Exit Visas: You must obtain an exit visa at the Aliens Department before departing the country and pay any airport departure tax not included in your airline ticket.
Women and Children: Women and their children, regardless of their nationality, must have the father's consent to enter and exit Sudan - despite the custodial rights granted to the mother by any Sudanese, U.S., or other court. Husbands often use this law to prevent their wives and children from returning to the United States. Contact the Sudanese Embassy for more information.
HIV/AIDS restrictions: Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors and foreign residents of Sudan. Sudanese law requires a negative HIV test result in order to obtain a work or residence visa.
See the Travel Advisory for Sudan.
The possibility of violent civil unrest, armed conflict, and banditry are present in the contested regions in Darfur and in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states. Violent crimes targeting Westerners, including kidnappings, armed robberies, home invasions, and carjacking occur everywhere in Sudan but are particularly prevalent in the Darfur region. Intercommunal violence targets civilians in opposing villages and towns. Government and security facilities have been attacked. There are landmines and unexploded ordnance in rural areas; Darfur, South Kordofan and areas along the Eritrean border are the most affected. Border closures may occur without notice.
Terrorist groups are active in Sudan and have stated their intent to harm Westerners and Western interests through suicide operations, bombings, shootings, and kidnappings.
Blue Nile region (Blue Nile, Sennar, and White Nile states) and Kordofan region (Abyei region, North Kordofan South Kordofan, and West Kordofan): The Government of Sudan announced in January 2017 that it would continue its unilateral cessation of hostilities with armed rebels throughout the areas in question until July 2017. While the incidence of violence has reduced significantly from previous years, tensions remain high. Banditry and intercommunal violence are common.
Darfur (all five states): The Government of Sudan announced in January 2017 that it would continue its unilateral cessation of hostilities with armed rebels throughout the areas in question until July 2017. However, humanitarian workers and UN peacekeepers have been killed and have been targets of kidnapping, car-jacking, armed robbery, and burglary. Deadly intercommunal conflict continues, as does violence perpetrated by bandits and government supported militias. Conflict over economic resources (land, gold) also is common. Tensions within camps for internally displaced people have resulted in fatalities and violence.
Kassala region (Kassala, Al Qadarif, and Red Sea states): Humanitarian workers have been the target of attacks. There is cross-border militant activity. Human traffickers operate in the Kassala area near the Eritrean border - stay on major roads if you are traveling by road.
Travel permits: A permit, obtainable from the Ministry of Tourism by your hotel or travel agent, is required for travel more than 16 miles (25 km) outside of Khartoum. A separate travel permit is required for travel to Darfur. Travel outside of Khartoum for any other purpose must be approved by the Aliens Department at the Ministry of Interior. Our ability to provide consular services outside of Khartoum, including emergency assistance, is severely limited. Travelers without permits have been detained and arrested. For travel outside Khartoum, carry multiple copies of the travel permit. You must register with the police within 24 hours of arrival anywhere outside Khartoum.
A state of emergency, which gives security forces greater powers of arrest, remains in place. Arbitrary detentions in different parts of the country, including of foreigners, have been reported. Curfews may be imposed with little or no warning.
Demonstrations, including anti-Western rallies, can occur on short notice. Foreigners could be targeted in reaction to national and international events. Take particular care in the period surrounding Friday prayers.
Piracy: Although no incidents of piracy have been reported in Sudanese waters, the threat of piracy exists in the southern Red Sea. See the International Maritime Bureau's Live Piracy Report.
Khartoum: There is a risk of kidnapping. Pickpockets, purse snatching, and theft from vehicles are somewhat common.
Elsewhere: Banditry is rampant throughout western Sudan, particularly in the Darfur and Chad–Sudan border regions, where several incidents have resulted in deaths. Sexual assault is more prevalent in areas of armed conflict. Westerners face a high risk of kidnapping. Car jackings and armed robberies occur in western and eastern Sudan.
Victims of Crime:
U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault or domestic violence may contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance with filing a police report and obtaining medical care.
Report crimes to the local police at 999, and contact the U.S. Embassy at +249-1-870-22000. Dial 777 to contact the police in an emergency throughout Sudan, or 998 for fire and 333 for medical emergencies. Emergency services and the telephone network can be unreliable.
Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas. We can:
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. You may be taken in for questioning by the police if unable to produce an acceptable form of identification. Convictions for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs result in long jail sentences and heavy fines. 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.
Photography: Photography requires a permit from the External Information Centre in Khartoum (part of the Ministry of Information). Even with a permit, it is illegal to take pictures of military installations, public utilities, infrastructure (e.g., bridges, airports), slum areas, or beggars. Do not take photographs or use equipment with cameras (including cell phone camera and laptops) close to government buildings. You could be fined, have your photographic equipment confiscated without notice, and risk detention and arrest. Do not take photos of Sudanese without their permission.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Sudanese law enforcement officials routinely block access to foreign nationals in detention. Therefore, the U.S. Embassy may not receive notification or be allowed access to you. Moreover dual U.S. - Sudanese - nationals may be prosecuted as a Sudanese citizen, impeding our ability to provide consular services.
Sharia Law/Customs: Personal status laws govern legal procedures pertaining to family relations, including marriage, divorce, child custody, maintenance (financial support), and inheritance. We strongly advise you seek local legal counsel if you must engage in local legal matters and make certain you are aware of your rights and responsibilities. National laws reflect a sharia system of jurisprudence. Other criminal and civil laws, including public order laws, based largely on the government’s interpretation of Islamic law, are determined at the state level. Non-Muslims are sometimes held to the same laws. Flogging is a common sentence for various crimes and may be summarily carried out. Non-Muslim women are not expected to wear a veil or cover their heads. Both women and men should dress modestly. Shorts are not appropriate. Public displays of affection are discouraged. Alcohol and pornography are not permitted. Government offices and businesses follow an Islamic workweek (Sunday to Thursday).
Phone Service: Cellular phones are the norm, as other telephone service is unreliable and landlines are nearly non-existent. It may be possible to purchase a SIM card locally and use a U.S.-compatible cell phone.
Currency: The Sudanese pound (SDG) is the official currency. Sudan operates on a cash only economy; credit cards are not accepted, even at large hotels. The banking sector has not yet recovered from the sanctions so use of credit and debit cards remains unavailable. Carry sufficient funds in U.S. dollars to cover all your expenses for the duration of your stay. Travelers carrying large amounts of U.S. currency have been detained. Bills should be printed after 2006 and unblemished. Sudan has no international ATMs. Local ATMs draw on local banks only. Exchange currency only at reputable banks. Western Union operates in Khartoum only.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
LGBTI Travelers: There was at least one confirmed case of an individual detained, beaten, and harassed by authorities because of his suspected affiliation with LGBTI-friendly groups. LGBTI organizations have felt pressured to suspend or alter their activities due to threat of harm. Several LGBTI persons have felt compelled to leave the country due to fear of persecution, intimidation, or harassment. Those complicit in discrimination or abuses are not investigated or punished.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Access to transportation, lodging, and public buildings is limited. There are few sidewalks and no curb-cuts, and most buildings lack functioning elevators.
Women Travelers: Early and forced marriage of children continues. The national prevalence rate of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting is 88 percent. Prevalence varies from 99.4 per cent in Northern State to 68.4 per cent in Western Darfur. Spousal abuse is common. Women who file claims of domestic violence are subjected to accusations of lying or spreading false information, harassment, and detention. Police normally do not intervene in domestic disputes. Rape is a serious problem throughout the country, especially in conflict areas. Investigative and prosecuting authorities often obstruct access to justice for rape victims. A woman who accuses a man of rape and fails to prove her case may be tried for adultery or arrested for “illegal pregnancy”.
See our tips for women travelers.
Consult the CDC website for Sudan prior to travel.
Medical facilities in Khartoum are adequate but the hospitals are not suitable for more serious medical problems. Outside the capital, few facilities exist, hospitals and clinics are poorly equipped and ambulance services are not available. Medicines are obtainable only intermittently. Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Be sure to verify with Sudanese customs your medications are legal before you travel.
You are responsible for all medical costs. U.S. Medicare does not cover you overseas.
Emergency medical treatment is provided for 24 hours before payment is required. All other care providers expect payment in Sudanese pounds in full 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.
Malaria is widespread throughout the country. Use mosquito repellents containing at least 20 percent DEET. Sleep under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets. Chemoprophylaxis is strongly recommended prior to arriving in Sudan and for the duration of your stay.
The following diseases are prevalent:
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Road Conditions and Safety:
Road conditions are poor and traffic accidents common. Driving is hazardous due to excessive speeds, erratic driver behavior, pedestrians, animals in the roadways, and vehicles that are overloaded or lack basic safety equipment. Look out for donkey carts and rickshaws. Only major highways and some streets in the cities are paved; others are narrow and rutted. While there are functioning traffic signals and street lights on major thoroughfares in Khartoum, there are virtually none in other parts of the country.
A four-wheel-drive vehicle is required except on the Khartoum–Kassala–Port Sudan, Khartoum–Atbara, and Khartoum–El Obeid highways. South of Khartoum road conditions deteriorate significantly during the rainy season from October to May and dust storms (“haboobs”) greatly reduce visibility. Travel outside of Khartoum should be undertaken with a minimum of two vehicles to mitigate the threat of roadside hoodlums. Carry GPS, additional fuel, spare tires, and provisions. Professional roadside assistance service is not available.
Landmines: Exercise caution in remote areas or off main roads outside of Khartoum. Landmines are most common along the Eritrean border, in South Kordofan State and in Darfur. Stay on main roads marked as cleared by a competent de-mining authority.
An international driving permit or Sudanese license and third-party liability insurance from the government is required. You may use a U.S. driver's license for up to 90 days. You can get a local driving license from the police traffic department. It is illegal to use a cell phone while driving.
Comprehensive insurance is recommended because many local drivers carry no insurance.
Accidents: In the event of an automobile accident, 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. Do not stop at the scene of an accident or at intersections where people have gathered, as mobs can develop quickly.
Avoid travel by public transportation, and hire private transport from a reliable source; your company’s in-country staff, travel agencies, and local hotels may be able to arrange private transport on your behalf. Any form of public transportation is unregulated, unreliable, and generally unsafe. Service is basic and crowded. Schedules are unpublished and subject to change without notice. While there is some public transit to rural communities by irregularly scheduled mini-buses, many areas lack any public transportation.
Buses: Fatal accidents are routine. Many drivers have little training and are reckless, and the vehicles are often poorly maintained. Most buses and bus stops are privately operated and unmarked.
Taxis: Taxis are available throughout Khartoum, but they are unsafe and you should not use them. Most do not meet U.S. safety standards. Drivers rarely speak English. Have your destination written down in Arabic.
Trains: There is weekly passenger train service from Khartoum to Wadi Halfa. Trains are generally dilapidated.
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 Sudan, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of 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.