Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Country Information > Yemen International Travel Information
The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends that U.S. citizens remaining in Yemen depart. More information can be found within the U.S. Department of State’s Yemen Travel Advisory. The U.S. Embassy in Sana’a suspended operations on February 11, 2015 and therefore cannot provide protection or consular services to U.S. citizens in Yemen.
Please direct inquiries regarding U.S. citizens in Yemen to YemenEmergencyUSC@state.gov. Callers in the U.S. and Canada may dial the toll free number 1-888-407-4747. Callers outside the United States and Canada may dial 1-202-501-4444.
The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the high security threat level in Yemen due to terrorist activities, including kidnappings, and civil unrest. The Department urges U.S. citizens to defer travel to Yemen and those U.S. citizens currently living in Yemen to depart. For more information please see our Travel Advisory for Yemen.
For complete visa information, visit the Embassy of Yemen’s website or call the Embassy of Yemen in Washington, D.C. at (202) 965-4760 ext. 2
All visitors to Yemen are required to obtain a visa prior to travel. U.S. citizens typically are issued visas that are valid for 30 days. The Embassy of Yemen in Washington, D.C., is not issuing tourist visas at the present time. Visit the Yemeni Embassy website for the latest visa information.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page. If you are in Yemen and have questions about your federal benefits please contact FBU.Jerusalem@SSA.gov
Since the beginning of the conflict in March 2015, rebel groups in Sana’a have systematically unlawfully detained U.S. citizens. Reports indicate that U.S. citizens are being targeted by virtue of their citizenship, regardless of the amount of time they have spent in Yemen, their established connections with the rebel groups, or their connections with local businesses or humanitarian organizations aimed at providing relief to those in need. During their detentions, which in some cases have lasted well over a year, U.S. citizens have not been able to contact their families or to be visited by U.S. consular personnel or international humanitarian organizations. The U.S. government is severely limited in what assistance it can directly provide to U.S. citizens in detention. There is no U.S. government presence on the ground following the rebel takeover of Sana’a.
In addition to the threat of detention by rebel groups, there continue to be other risks due to ongoing conflict and heightened terrorist activity, including kidnappings for ransom. In March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition initiated an air campaign in support of the exiled Yemeni government. A nationwide cessation of hostilities deteriorated in August 2016, and high levels of violence, to include armed conflict, artillery shelling, and air strikes, now persist in areas throughout the country. Instability and ongoing threats in Yemen are at a severe level.
Vessels in the region of the Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb Strait and the Gulf of Aden, including near the island of Socotra, should operate under a heightened state of alert as increasing tensions in the region escalate the potential for direct or collateral damage to vessels transiting the area. These threats may come from a variety of different sources such as missiles, projectiles, or waterborne improvised explosive devices. Piracy in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean remains a security threat to maritime activities in the region. In the last several years, there were hundreds of documented pirate attacks in Yemeni territorial waters in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. The United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) has also advised that elevated regional tensions have increased the risk of maritime attacks being conducted by extremists to vessels operating in the Gulf of Oman, North Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and the Bab el Mandeb regions.
MARAD recommends vessels at anchor, operating in restricted maneuvering environments, or at slow speeds should be especially vigilant, and report suspicious activity. U.S. flag vessels that observe suspicious activity in the area are advised to report such suspicious activity or any hostile or potentially hostile action to COMUSNAVCENT battlewatch captain at phone number 011-973-1785-3879. All suspicious activities and events are also to be reported to the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center at the following toll free telephone: 1-800-424-8802, direct telephone 202-267-2675, or TDD 202-267-4477. For further information, see the Department of State’s International Maritime Piracy Fact Sheet and the United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) advisory on vessels transiting high risk waters.
Other potential hazards to travelers include land mines and unexploded ordnance from the 1994 civil war and other conflicts. This is of particular concern in the six southern provinces and in the northern highlands. Most minefields have been identified and cordoned off, but there are still undetected and unidentified minefields in Yemen.
To stay connected:
CRIME: Due to the ongoing civil unrest throughout the country, travelers should not rely on significant assistance from local authorities.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Yemen is 199, but operators do not speak English.
Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While traveling in Yemen or another country, all travelers are subject to its laws even if they are U.S. citizens. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In Yemen, foreign travelers may be taken in for questioning if they don’t have their passport with them. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can land the driver immediately in jail. The criminal penalties in Yemen may be very different from what U.S. citizens are accustomed to in the United States.
Persons violating Yemeni laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Yemen are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. The use of the mild stimulant "qat” or “khat" is legal and common in Yemen, but it is considered an illegal substance in many other countries, including the United States. Do not attempt to bring qat back to the United States; the penalties for trafficking qat include heavy fines and possible imprisonment.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Photography of military installations, including airports, equipment, or troops is forbidden. In the past, such photography has led to the arrest of U.S. citizens. Military sites are not always obvious. If in doubt, ask specific permission from Yemeni authorities.
U.S. citizens who travel to Yemen are subject to the jurisdiction of Yemeni courts, as well as to the country's laws, customs, and regulations. This holds true for all legal matters, including child custody and travel restrictions. Women in custody disputes in Yemen will not enjoy the same rights that they do in the United States, as Yemeni law often does not work in favor of the mother. Parents should also note that U.S. custody orders might not be enforced in Yemen.
U.S. citizen women who are married to Yemeni or Yemeni-American men should be aware that their children may not be able to depart if the children are brought to Yemen. In many instances, women must obtain permission from their husbands to obtain an exit visa. They also may not be able to take their children out of Yemen without the permission of the father, regardless of who has legal custody. U.S. divorce decrees may not be recognized in Yemen, especially if the marriage took place in Yemen. U.S. citizen women who have married in Yemen and divorced in the United States have been prevented from departing Yemen by their ex-husbands.
LGBTI RIGHTS: Consensual same-sex sexual relations are criminalized in Yemen. Penalties include fines, jail time, or death. Although the U.S. Embassy is not aware of any recent arrests or prosecutions for such activities, they remain illegal. For more detailed information about LGBTI rights in Yemen, you may review the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.
ACCESSIBILITY: While in Yemen, travelers with disabilities will find accessibility and accommodation much more difficult from what they find in the United States. No national law in Yemen mandates accessibility of buildings for persons with disabilities.
Due to the ongoing civil unrest, medical facilities in Sana’a, Aden, and elsewhere in the country may not be readily available.
You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS:
Road conditions in Yemen differ significantly from those in the United States. Travel by road in Yemen is risky. Please refer to our Road Safety page and the website of Yemen's national tourism office.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Yemen, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Yemen’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. Call your airline to check the status of your flight before departing for the airport.
MARITIME TRAVEL: Mariners planning travel to Yemen should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts within the MARAD website. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings website. Select “broadcast warnings” from within the NGA site.