Yemen Travel Warning
December 14, 2015
The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to Yemen because of the high security threat level in Yemen posed by the ongoing conflict and terrorist activities.On February 11, 2015 due to the deteriorating security situation in Sanaa, the Department of State suspended embassy operations and U.S. Embassy Sanaa American staff have been relocated out of the country. All consular services, routine and/or emergency, have been suspended until further notice. The Department urges U.S. citizens to defer travel to Yemen and those U.S. citizens currently living in Yemen to depart when they are able to safely do so. This supersedes the Travel Warning for Yemen issued on April 3, 2015.
The level of instability and ongoing threats, including the threat of kidnapping, in Yemen is severe. In March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition initiated an air campaign in support of the exiled Yemeni government. The conflict between the Coalition, Yemeni loyalist forces, and Houthi/Saleh forces is ongoing. Shelling and airstrikes remain a persistent threat in certain areas across the country. There are reports of land mines being placed in areas vacated by withdrawing forces. The military conflict has significantly destroyed infrastructure, limiting the availability of electricity, clean water, and medical care, and causing travel by internal roads to be dangerous. This instability often hampers the ability of humanitarian organizations to deliver critically needed food, medicine, and water.
We have received recent reports of U.S. citizens and other foreigners, including aid workers, being detained and kidnapped in Yemen. We warn all U.S. citizens considering traveling to Yemen, even with an established aid organization, of the risks of detention and kidnapping.
In addition, the threat posed by violent extremist groups in Yemen remains high. Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula expanded its influence in Yemen since the beginning of the conflict, especially in the area of Mukallah. The Islamic State also has established a presence in Yemen, and has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks in the country, including against a mosque in Sana'a on September 24 and a series of attacks on facilities in Aden in October.
There are no plans for a U.S. government-coordinated evacuation of U.S. citizens at this time. We encourage all U.S. citizens to shelter in a secure location until they are able to depart safely. U.S. citizens wishing to depart should do so via commercial transportation options when they become available.U.S. should keep vital records and travel documents close at hand and be prepared to depart at a moment's notice. The airport in Sana'a is open but may close unexpectedly. There are not many flights arriving or departing on a regular schedule. Operations at Aden airport are intermittent and hampered by security concerns.
The United States is also concerned about the risks to civil aviation operating in specified areas of the Sanaa (OYSC) Flight Information Region (FIR) due to the ongoing military operations, political instability, and violence from competing armed groups involved in combat operations and other military-related activity. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has prohibited U.S. civil aviation from flying in specific areas within the Sanaa FIR. For additional background information regarding FAA flight prohibitions and advisories for U.S. civil aviation, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration's Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.
For U.S. citizen inquiries, you may send an email to YEMENEMERGENCYUSC@state.gov.
Terrorist organizations, including Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), continue to be active throughout Yemen. The U.S. government remains extremely concerned about possible attacks on U.S. citizens (whether visiting or residing in Yemen), and U.S. facilities, businesses, and perceived U.S. and Western interests. In addition, piracy in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean is a security threat to maritime activities in the region. See our International Maritime Piracy Fact Sheet.
For further information:
Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).