Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Country Information > Yemen International Travel Information
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. The U.S. government has extremely limited capabilities to assist U.S. citizens in Yemen.
The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends that U.S. citizens avoid travel to Yemen due to the very high risk of kidnapping and detention. U.S. citizens in Yemen are strongly recommended to depart the country. U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, have faced difficulty – including lengthy delays – when attempting to depart Yemen. More information can be found in our Yemen Travel Advisory.
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.
See the Department of State’s website www.state.gov for information on U.S.-Yemen relations.
The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the high security threat level in Yemen due to terrorist activities, kidnappings, civil unrest, and landmines. The Department urges U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Yemen and urges U.S. citizens currently living in Yemen to depart.
All visitors to Yemen are required to obtain a visa prior to travel to Yemen. U.S. citizens typically are issued visas that are valid for 30 days. At the time of publication, the Embassy of Yemen in Washington, D.C. is not issuing tourist visas. For the most current and 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.
If you are in Yemen and have questions about your federal benefits, please contact FBU.Jerusalem@SSA.gov.
Terrorism: Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack – including knives, firearms, and vehicles – to more effectively target crowds. Frequently, their aim is unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as:
For more information, see our Terrorism page.
Since the beginning of the current conflict in September 2014, the Houthis, who control Sana’a, have detained U.S. citizens, including dual Yemeni-American citizens. Reports indicate that U.S. citizens are targeted by virtue of their citizenship, regardless of the amount of time they have spent in Yemen, their established connections with 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 years, U.S. citizens have not been allowed contact with their families or visits 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 has been no U.S. government diplomatic presence in Yemen since the Houthi takeover of Sana’a.
In addition to the threat of detention by rebel groups, both the ongoing conflict and heightened terrorist activity, including kidnappings for ransom, present a threat to U.S. citizens in Yemen. In March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition initiated an air campaign in support of the exiled Yemeni government. Violence, armed conflict, and artillery shelling persist in areas throughout the country. While truce agreements may reduce overall levels of violence, instability and ongoing threats in Yemen remain at a severe level.
Vessels in the region of the Red Sea, Bab al-Mandeb, and the Gulf of Aden, 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 recent years, there have been 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 al-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 1-800-424-8802, 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 overland travelers include landmines and unexploded ordnance. This is of particular concern in the six southern provinces and in the northern highlands.
Please note that the local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Yemen is 199, but operators do not speak English.
Crime: Due to the ongoing civil unrest and weak government institutions, travelers should not rely on significant assistance from local authorities. Foreigners are frequently the target of kidnapping and carjacking, particularly when traveling outside of urban areas.
Victims of Crime: The U.S. government is extremely limited to the consular assistance it can provide in Yemen. Report crimes to the local police at 199. As there is no U.S. Embassy in Yemen at this time, you should coordinate with a U.S. embassy or consulate in a neighboring country for services.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Domestic Violence: The law in Yemen protects against domestic violence under general prohibitions of violence, but authorities do not enforce this provision effectively. The law criminalizes rape, but not spousal rape. Authorities may prosecute rape survivors on charges of fornication if the perpetrator is not charged with rape. According to law, without the perpetrator’s confession, the rape survivor must provide four male witnesses to the crime.
The law allows leniency for persons found guilty of committing an “honor” killing or violently assaulting or killing a woman for perceived “immodest” or “defiant” behavior. The law does not address other types of gender-based abuse, such as forced isolation, imprisonment, and early and forced marriage.
See section 6 of our Human Rights Report for additional information.
As there is no U.S. Embassy in Yemen at this time, U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence should coordinate with a U.S. embassy or consulate in a neighboring country. The U.S. government is extremely limited to the consular assistance it can provide in Yemen.
Tourism: No formal tourism industry infrastructure is in place in Yemen on any level. Tourists are considered to be participating in activities at their own risk. Emergency response and subsequent appropriate medical treatment is not available in-country. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Criminal Penalties: Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than those in the United States. Regardless of your citizenship, you are subject to local laws while in Yemen. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.
In Yemen, the law may be applied inconsistently, and foreign travelers may be taken in for questioning if they do not 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.
Arrest Notification: The U.S. government is extremely limited to the consular assistance it can provide in Yemen. The U.S. Department of State has designated the U.S. Embassies in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Djibouti, and Cairo, Egypt, to handle American Citizens Services cases emanating out of Yemen. If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy in one of these locations immediately. See our webpage and notice to all U.S. citizens in Yemen for further information.
Special Circumstances: Photographing military installations, including airports, equipment, or troops is forbidden. 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.
The US Embassy cannot intervene in custody matters, and parents must work through the local courts. 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. U.S. custody orders might not be enforced in Yemen.
U.S. citizen girls and women who travel to Yemen are at risk of being forced into marriage and may be vulnerable to other forms of gender-based restrictions and violence, particularly in Houthi-controlled areas. 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. In some cases, 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.
Faith-Based Travelers: The law prohibits denunciation of Islam, conversion from Islam to another religion, and proselytizing directed at Muslims. Religious minorities face persecution, including detention, as a result of their religious beliefs, particularly in Houthi-controlled areas.
See the following webpages for details:
LGBTQI+ Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual relations are criminalized in Yemen as is gender expression that does not conform with a person’s assigned sex at birth. Penalties include fines, jail time, or death.
Travelers with Disabilities: The law in Yemen prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, intellectual or mental disabilities, but the law is not enforced. Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is not as prevalent as in the United States. Expect accessibility to be limited in public transportation, lodging, communication/information, and general infrastructure.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Women face deeply entrenched discrimination. Women cannot marry without the permission of their male guardians; do not have equal rights in inheritance, divorce, or child custody; and have little legal protection. They experience discrimination in employment, credit, pay, owning or managing businesses, education, and housing. A male relative’s consent is often required before a woman can be admitted to a hospital.
Women traveling in areas under Houthi control may be required to be escorted by a male guardian who is a relative.
See Section 6 of our Human Rights Report and the Special Circumstances section above for more information.
Due to the ongoing armed conflict, medical facilities in Sana’a, Aden, and elsewhere in the country may not be readily available.
For emergency services in Yemen, dial 199, however operators do not speak English.
Ambulance services are not widely available. Training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Check with the Ministry of Public Health to ensure the medication is legal in Yemen.
There are shortages of food, water, medicine, and medical supplies throughout Yemen.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Resources for Travelers regarding specific issues in Yemen.
Road Conditions and Safety: Road conditions in Yemen differ significantly from those in the United States. Travel by road in Yemen is risky. See our Road Safety page for more information. Visit 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.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Yemen should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings.