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Passport and/or Visa Requirements: Passports and visas are required for U.S. citizens traveling to Algeria. Algeria does not give visas to persons whose passports indicate travel to Israel. For more information concerning entry requirements, travelers may contact the Embassy of the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria at 2137 Wyoming Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 265-2800.
Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Political, social, and economic problems have created a climate of violent unrest in Algeria. A state of emergency has been in effect since early 1992. Since September 1993, a terrorist campaign against foreigners has resulted in the deaths of dozens of foreigners. Assassinations of Algerian intellectuals, government officials, journalists, and military officers occur frequently. Sporadic bombings, gun battles between government forces and insurgents, and other violence occurs almost daily. Currently, Algerian military and other security personnel are unable to offer adequate protection.
In 1996, the government of Algeria discontinued a late-night curfew in the central area around Algiers, but continued to maintain roadblocks at many major intersections. Security personnel at roadblocks and intersections expect full cooperation with their instructions. In response, terrorist groups have set up false roadblocks as ambushes.
Numerous incidents of banditry and assault involving foreigners have been reported in the far southern region of Algeria near the border with Niger. Bandits have robbed, assaulted, kidnapped, and killed travelers in Algeria south of Tamanrasset.
Travel overland is considered to be treacherous and Algerian military have indicated an unwillingness to offer protection because they feel there is a security risk. The Department of State recommends that American citizens in Algeria have substantial armed protection while traveling overland, on their work sites or in their accommodations.
Terrorist Activities: Over one hundred twenty foreigners have been kidnapped and murdered since September 1993, sometimes in assaults involving dozens of attackers. For example, a terrorist attack at a pipeline facility located approximately 200 miles south of Algiers resulted in the death of 5 expatriates. None of these individuals were American citizens. Nonetheless, terrorists have threatened to kill all foreigners who do not leave Algeria. In response to these threats, the U.S. Embassy in Algiers has substantially reduced the number of U.S. government personnel in Algeria. Dependents of U.S. Government personnel may not accompany employees to Algeria. Travel overland in Algeria is considered to be dangerous because the Government of Algeria is reluctant to provide security based on their assessment of the risk to Algerian personnel. An Air France flight was hijacked at Algiers Airport on December 24, 1994 by heavily armed terrorists who threatened to blow up the aircraft. The U.S. Embassy at Algiers has identified ports and airline terminals as terrorist targets and warns against traveling on regularly scheduled commercial transport. In addition, U.S. Embassy personnel have suspended their use of regularly scheduled commercial flights.
Medical Facilities: Hospitals and clinics in Algeria are available, but limited in quality. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. Supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage has proved useful. The international travelers hotline at the Centers for Disease Control, telephone (404) 332-4559 or on the Internet at http://www.cdc.gov, has additional useful health information.
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