Republic of South Sudan Travel Warning
January 07, 2015
The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to the Republic of South Sudan. The U.S. Embassy in Juba continues to operate at reduced staffing levels due to continued armed conflict outside Juba. The U.S. Embassy is consequently able to offer only very limited emergency services to U.S. citizens due to the poor security situation and resulting instability. U.S. citizens traveling to South Sudan despite this warning should develop contingency plans prior to arrival to ensure their safety and security. The U.S. Embassy is rarely informed of the arrest of U.S. citizens in a timely manner, and consular assistance to detainees both in Juba and outside the capital is extremely limited. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning issued on June 12, 2014.
The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi [Tel.: +(254) (20) 363-6451 or +(254)(20) 363-6170, e-mail: Kenya_acs@state.gov] is available to assist U.S. citizens in South Sudan who need routine American Citizens Services assistance. In an emergency, contact the U.S. Embassy in Juba (Daytime: +(211) 912-105-188; After Hours: +(211) 912-105-107).
The South Sudanese government is currently engaged in an armed conflict with opposition forces led by the former vice president Riek Machar. This conflict began in Juba in December 2013. Although the conflict is primarily concentrated in Unity, Jonglei, and Upper Nile states, other areas of the country have experienced periodic fighting. Instability also persists across the country due to retaliatory attacks, intercommunal violence, and cattle raiding.
Health care in South Sudan is extremely limited and poor. There are likely to be disruptions or long delays in services provided by the government of South Sudan, including in health care and sanitation. U.S. citizens with medical conditions should not travel to South Sudan, and all travelers should ensure their travel to the country is covered by overseas medical insurance, including medical evacuation. Medical evacuation from South Sudan is very expensive, often costing tens of thousands of dollars or more.
The government of South Sudan has limited capacity to deter crime or provide security to travelers, particularly outside of Juba. In addition to instability related to the current armed conflict, the risk of violent crime is high in Juba. The U.S. Embassy in Juba has imposed a curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. and has implemented other measures to protect U.S. government personnel living and working in South Sudan. These include requiring personnel to travel in armored government vehicles and coordinating with the host government for travel outside of Juba. Due to security concerns, spouses and family members of U.S. government personnel are not permitted to reside in South Sudan. U.S. citizens should consider those restrictions and take measures to mitigate exposure to violent crime and other threats. U.S. citizens currently working on humanitarian relief or development efforts in Juba, or elsewhere in South Sudan, should closely follow the security policies and procedures of the sponsoring organization.
Carjackings and banditry are common in South Sudan. If travel outside of Juba is necessary, it should be undertaken preferably with a minimum of two vehicles with appropriate recovery and medical equipment in case of mechanical failure or other emergency. Additionally, there are widespread fuel shortages across South Sudan, and access to gasoline and or diesel cannot be guaranteed.
If you seek information about U.S. citizens' services in South Sudan from the Directorate of Overseas Citizens Services in Washington, please email: SouthSudanEmergencyUSC@state.gov.
The Department of State urges those U.S. citizens who decide to travel to or remain in South Sudan despite this Travel Warning to provide their current contact information and next-of-kin information through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
For information on "What the Department of State Can and Can't Do in a Crisis," please visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs Emergencies and Crises page. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
For further information, U.S. citizens should consult the Department of State's Country Specific Information for South Sudan. Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.