YEMEN

Yemen Flag
Country Description: The Republic of Yemen was established in 1990 following unification of the former Yemen Arab Republic (North) and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (South). It is governed by a president, prime minister and cabinet, and an elected parliament. Islamic ideals, beliefs and practices provide the foundation of the country's customs and laws. Yemen is a developing country, and modern tourist facilities, except in the major cities, are not widely available.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: Passports and visas are required. A yellow fever vaccination is recommended. For more details, the traveler can contact the Embassy of the Republic of Yemen, Suite 705, 2600 Virginia Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037, telephone (202) 965-4760; or the Yemen Mission to the U.N., 866 United Nations Plaza, Room 435, New York, N.Y. 10017, telephone (212) 355-1730.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Travel within Yemen, particularly to the tribal areas north and east of Sanaa and close to the undemarcated border with Saudi Arabia, can be dangerous. Disputes between different tribes and between tribal groups and the government have sometimes led to violent incidents, including on occasion the kidnapping of Westerners, including Americans. Yemeni security officials advise against casual travel to rural areas. If travel to these areas is necessary, the risk to personal security may be reduced if such travel is undertaken by air or with an armed escort provided by a local tour company.

Armed hijackings of vehicles, accompanied in some instances by violence, occur in many parts of the country, including the capital. Urban violence has been a problem in the past.

Other potential hazards to travelers are land mines and unexploded ordnance left over from the 1994 civil war in areas where fighting took place in the six southern provinces, and particularly around Aden.

Medical Facilities: The altitude of Sanaa (7200 feet) and lack of adequate medical facilities can cause problems for some visitors. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. Supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage has proven useful. Chloroquine-resistant malaria suppressants are recommended for travel to areas outside the city of Sanaa. The international travelers hotline at the Centers for Disease Control, telephone (404) 332-4559 has additional health information. Their home page on the Internet is http://www.cdc.gov.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: The most serious problem affecting travelers to Yemen is the armed, at times violent, hijacking of vehicles. Travelers occasionally have been victims of petty street crime. The loss or theft of a U.S. passport abroad should be reported immediately to local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Useful information on safeguarding valuables, protecting personal security, and other matters while traveling abroad is provided in the Department of State pamphlets, "A Safe Trip Abroad" and "Tips for Travelers to the Middle East and North Africa." They are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.

Road Safety: Travel by roads in Yemen should be considered risky. The driving habits of Yemeni drivers are poor, and many times the vehicles are in poor condition. Driving after dark is especially dangerous, as many roads are not lit, vehicles frequently do not have lights, and road construction areas may not be clearly marked. During rainy seasons, roads throughout the country can be completely washed out and impassable. Flash floods can strike without warning.

Carjackings are common, especially with four wheel drive vehicles. Most occur in the regions to the north and east of Sanaa.

Drug Penalties: Travelers are subject to the laws of the country in which they are traveling. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines. The use of the mild stimulant qat is legal and common in Yemen, but it is considered an illegal substance in most other countries, including neighboring Arab countries and the United States.

Dual Nationality: The government of Yemen may not recognize the U.S. citizenship of persons who are citizens of both Yemen and the United States. This may hinder the ability of U.S. consular officials to assist persons who do not enter Yemen on a U.S. passport. Dual nationals may also be subject to national obligations, such as taxes or military service. Travelers can contact an embassy or consulate of Yemen for further information on Yemeni policy.

Photography Restrictions: Photography of military installations, including airports, equipment, or troops is forbidden, and in the past has led to the arrest of U.S. citizens Such sites are not always obvious. If in doubt, it is wise to ask specific permission.

Registration and Embassy Location: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register at the U.S. Embassy and obtain updated information on travel and security within Yemen. The U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen is located at Dhahr Himyar Zone, Sheraton Hotel District, P.O. Box 22347. The telephone number is (967) (1) 238-843 through 852. The workweek in Yemen is Saturday through Wednesday.

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