is an annual report produced in conjunction with the Regional Security Office
at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum. OSAC encourages travelers to use
this report to gain baseline knowledge of security conditions in Sudan. For
more in-depth information, review OSAC’s Sudan country page for
original OSAC reporting, consular messages, and contact information, some of
which may be available only to private-sector representatives with an OSAC
The current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory at
the date of this report’s publication assesses Sudan at Level 3, indicating
travelers should reconsider travel due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest,
kidnapping, and armed conflict. Review OSAC’s report, Understanding the Consular Travel Advisory System.
Overall Crime and Safety Situation
national state of emergency, which gives security forces greater powers of
arrest, is in effect across the country. Detentions, including of foreigners,
have occurred in different parts of the country, including in Khartoum.
Demonstrations occur frequently and police response can be sudden and violent. Authorities
may impose curfews with little or no warning. Penalties for violating curfews
can include imprisonment.
U.S. Department of State has assessed Khartoum as being a MEDIUM-threat location for crime directed at or affecting official
U.S. government interests. Crime rates increased over 2019, most
likely connected to the deteriorating economic situation. Criminal
activity is generally non-violent and non-confrontational. The Embassy
received reports in 2019 of criminal targeting of UN personnel
and other Westerners for car break-ins and other crimes of opportunity.
crimes impact the local population, as opposed to the international
community. Most local crimes are property crimes (e.g. motor
vehicle theft, burglary, larceny-theft, arson). Pickpocketing, bag snatches,
smash-and-grabs, and car break-ins have also been reported. In the
rare instances of armed assaults in cities, knives
or handguns seem to be the weapons of choice. Review OSAC’s reports, All That You Should Leave Behind.
the Darfur region, criminals victimize local
communities with assault and theft, generally related to
inter-communal clashes. Tribal groups affiliated with the Bashir
regime and Darfuri armed groups have carried out criminal attacks against
internally displaced persons, vulnerable migrants, and other foreigners. Carjacking by
gangs and armed groups continue throughout Darfur. The
threat of other violent crimes (e.g. home invasions, armed robberies,
kidnappings) is particularly high in Darfur, as the government has limited
capacity and resources to combat crime there. As the African
Union-UN peacekeeping mission for Darfur (UNAMID) continues to decrease its
size and scope, it is likely that such crime will increase.
the eastern region, individuals and organized crime networks are
engaged in smuggling and trafficking activities through the country’s porous
borders with Eritrea and Ethiopia. The government is attempting to address
these problems through anti-trafficking efforts, declarations of
states of emergency, and occasional border closures; however, authorities do
not have the resources to stop these activities.
OSAC’s reports, The Overseas Traveler’s Guide to ATM Skimmers &
Fraud,Taking Credit, Hotels: The Inns and Outs,Considerations for Hotel Security.
information infrastructure leads to a wide range of risks in cyberspace. Cyber
actors, with varying levels of sophistication, are developing capabilities to
commit crime and to support terrorism activities. Terrorist groups are known to
use platforms in cyberspace, mainly through social networks, to promote their
agendas in Sudan and to support their recruitment efforts.
government censors internet activity through the National
Telecommunications Corporation (NTC) and
the General Intelligence Service (GIS) Cyber-Crimes
Unit. These agencies block proxy servers. In 2019, in response to
ongoing anti-government protests, the previous Bashir regime blocked
WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, and other sites.
OSAC’s reports, Cybersecurity Basics, Best Practices for Maximizing Security on Public
Wi-Fi, Traveling with Mobile Devices: Trends & Best
Practices, and Satellite Phones: Critical or Contraband?
Road Safety and Road Conditions
the past year, Sudan has experienced periods of extreme shortages of fuel --
mostly of commercial diesel, but at times also gasoline. The availability
of fuel can change with no notice; shortages can last for weeks or
conditions are hazardous throughout most of Sudan. Drivers should always be
aware of unsafe, poorly maintained road surfaces, unskilled drivers, and the
presence of non-roadworthy vehicles. In general, the main roads in Khartoum and
north/central Sudan are paved but haphazardly maintained. A turn off a main
road could lead to blocks of unpaved dirt and potholes. At night,
most streets lack proper (or any) lighting, and many drivers do
not use headlights. Drivers frequently do not comply with
traffic regulations. Driving excessively fast or very slowly is common on the
main roads. Drivers commonly ignore traffic signals, stop in traffic
lanes without warning, turn from the opposite lane with complete disregard
for oncoming traffic, and drive against traffic in lanes meant for one
direction. In addition, poorly-maintained vehicles, three-wheeled motorized
taxi vehicles, donkey carts, unrestrained livestock, overloaded tandem-axle
cargo trucks, and pedestrians all share the roadways.
involved in traffic accidents should summon police assistance. Do
not make restitution at the scene, especially if
livestock or pedestrians are involved. Remain aware of
potential crowds gathering at the scene of an accident and depart the scene
if you perceive an imminent threat to your safety.
with your in-country POC or your hotel to secure trusted transportation.
outside of metropolitan Khartoum can be challenging, and enforcement of
regulations can be uneven. Before traveling anywhere outside of Khartoum, check
news reports and local conditions. Use four-wheel-drive vehicles due to a
variety of road conditions on major inter-city highways. South of Khartoum,
road conditions deteriorate significantly during the rainy season from October
to May and dust storms (“haboobs”) greatly reduce visibility. Travel
outside of Khartoum with a minimum of two vehicles to protect against the
threat of criminal attacks. Use reliable GPS and carry additional fuel, spare
tires, and provisions. Professional roadside assistance service is not
caution in remote areas or off main roads outside of Khartoum due to landmines.
Landmines are most common in the Eastern states and Southern Kordofan. Stay on
main roads marked as cleared by a competent de-mining authority. Human
traffickers operate in the Kassala area near the Eritrean border; stay on major
roads if you are traveling by road.
must have a permit, which you can obtain from the Tourism Ministry through your
hotel or travel agent, for travel outside of greater Khartoum. A copy of the
permit goes to the Aliens Department at the Interior Ministry. Authorities
require a separate travel permit for travel to Darfur. The Embassy’s ability to
provide consular services outside of Khartoum, including emergency assistance,
is severely limited. Carry multiple copies of permits, as travelers without
permits may face detention or arrest. You must register with the Aliens
Department at the Interior Ministry within 72 hours of arriving in Sudan. You
must also register with local police within 24 hours of arrival anywhere
OSAC’s reports, Road Safety Abroad, Driving Overseas: Best Practices, and Evasive Driving Techniques; and read the
State Department’s webpage on driving and road safety
Public Transportation Conditions
Public transport options include
three-wheeled motorized vehicles, taxis, and mini-buses. Bus travel is available
within and between major towns; schedules are often unpublished and
subject to change without notice. Fatal accidents
are routine. Many drivers have little training and are reckless, and the
vehicles lack proper
maintenance. Most buses and bus stops are privately
operated and unmarked. Passenger
facilities are basic and crowded.
are available throughout Khartoum, but most do not meet U.S. safety standards. Taxi services provided by hotels and the
ride-sharing services Tirhal and Meshwar are generally
safe. Drivers rarely speak English. Write your
destination in Arabic.
is weekly passenger train service from Khartoum to Wadi Halfa and to Port
Sudan. Trains are in very poor shape.
While there is some public transit available in
rural communities, most areas lack standardized and well-maintained public
OSAC’s report, Security In Transit:
Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.
there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers
registered in Sudan, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not
assessed the government of Sudan’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards.
constant contact with your baggage, and ensure it does not contain illicit
items (e.g. alcohol, pornography, and objects usable as
weapons). Authorities have removed and detained U.S. citizens
from international flights when detecting suspect items in
checked baggage. Authorities may also search for and question passengers
regarding the transport of currency out of Sudan. As of this report's
publication, the maximum amount of foreign currency an individual can take
out of Sudan without declaring it is $3,000 USD. This monetary
regulation is available for view at KRT.
U.S. Department of State has assessed Khartoum as being a HIGH-threat location for terrorism directed at or affecting
official U.S. government interests. Elements of ISIS, al-Qa’ida, and many
other terrorist organizations recruit in Sudan. The transitional
government CLTG has taken steps to limit the activities of these
terrorist organizations, and has worked to disrupt foreign fighters’ use
of the country as a logistics base and transit point. Sudan enacted
legislation to combat organized crimes (e.g. human trafficking) and is no
longer on the U.S. Financial Action Task Force watch list related to
Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence
The U.S. Department of State has assessed Khartoum
as being a CRITICAL-threat location
for political violence directed at or affecting official U.S. government
recent years, Sudan experienced periodic and localized
demonstrations. Since December 2018, several sectors of
society, such as youth groups, professional associations,
neighborhood organizations, and political activists have called
for and organized persistent nationwide protests and
demonstrations. Other forms of civil disobedience could occur
with little warning. This protest movement has widespread civilian
the formation of the CLTG, large-scale protests have died down. Smaller,
localized protests have continued with a focus on injustices committed by the
Bashir regime and violence that took place during the protest period leading to
the creation of the CLTG. Most of the protests have been nonviolent, but often led
to road closures by security forces and the protestors. At times, the security
forces have used tear gas to disperse protestors. Review OSAC’s report, Surviving a Protest.
declared cessation of hostilities since 2016, the situations in Blue Nile,
South Kordofan, and the disputed area of Abyei remain
dynamic due to sporadic armed conflict among rebel groups and tribes.
The Government of Sudan announced in January 2019 that it would continue
indefinitely its unilateral cease fire, in effect since 2016, with armed rebels
throughout the Blue Nile region (Blue Nile, Sennar, and White Nile states) and
Southern Kordofan region (includes Abyei region, North Kordofan; South
Kordofan; and West Kordofan). The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement - North
has also maintained its unilateral cessation of hostilities without a
commensurate announcement. While violence has reduced significantly from
previous years, tensions remain high. Banditry and intercommunal violence are
government and rebel groups in Darfur have maintained a similar relationship.
However, humanitarian workers and UN peacekeepers have been targets of
kidnapping, car-jacking, armed robbery, burglary, and murder. Deadly
intercommunal conflict continues, as does violence perpetrated by bandits and
government supported militias. Conflict over economic resources (e.g. land,
gold) also is common. Tensions within camps for internally displaced people
have resulted in fatalities and violence.
workers have been the target of attacks in the Kassala region (Kassala,
Al Qadarif, and Red Sea states). There is cross-border militant activity.
on frequent incidents of ethnic violence throughout the five
Darfur states. Rapid Support Force, a government military unit
formed from former militia members, continues to be a destabilizing
force. Regular violence occurs between ethnic tribes in and around the
numerous Internally Displaced Persons camps, primarily in
Darfur. UNAMID is decreasing its overall size and reach as part
of a planned June 2020 mission termination.
the latter half of 2019, there was an increase in tribal
violence in the region in and around Port Sudan. Ethnic tensions were
on the rise, resulting in multiple confrontations between the two dominant
tribes from the area. The confrontations resulted in death and the burning of
residences and business in the area. Mediators from Khartoum defused the
situation and helped the tribes reached a peace agreement.
adjacent to the Nile River are subject to flooding during the rainy season (July-September).
In June-July 2019, the Nile reached levels not seen in nearly a
century, causing floods throughout Sudan. The flooding resulted in loss of life
and destruction of homes and property.
the summer, Sudan experiences many haboobs (dust storms).
These haboobs move in as a wall of sand, extending upward
3,000 feet, and can contain winds of up to 70 mph. Haboobs generally
last no more than three hours, but can severely hamper road/air travel for
many hours afterward.
Critical Infrastructure Concerns
outages and interruptions to the water supply system are common in Khartoum.
Transportation infrastructure, specifically the railway system, is heavily
deteriorated. Most of the historical infrastructure is run-down and
clearly shows a lack of maintenance.
Economic Espionage/Intellectual Property Theft
lax laws protecting intellectual property rights, and the rise of digital
technologies, some local businesses promote their services, products, and establishments
with clear references to U.S. corporate trademarks. Sudanese
political actors can influence commercial and contractual disputes. Public
tenders do not always proceed with appropriate transparency and
Personal Identity Concerns
is a conservative society, particularly in the capital and other
areas with a Muslim majority. Modest dress and behavior is
expected for everyone, including foreigners. Female visitors should
wear loose, long-sleeved shirts and full-length skirts/slacks. Men may
wear short-sleeved shirts in public, but short pants are
sexual activity is illegal in Sudan. Despite a lack
of active enforcement, the death penalty for male
same-sex sexual activity remains part of Sudanese law. There has
been one confirmed case of an individual detained, beaten, and harassed by
authorities because of suspected affiliation with LGBTI+-friendly groups. LGBTI+
organizations have felt pressured to suspend or alter their activities due to
threat of harm. Several LGBTI+ persons have felt compelled to leave the country
due to fear of persecution, intimidation, or harassment. Those complicit in
discrimination or abuses do not face criminal investigation or punishment. Review
the State Department’s webpage on security for LGBTI+ travelers.
and forced marriage of children continues. The national prevalence rate of
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting is 88&. Spousal abuse is common. Women
who file claims of domestic violence face accusations of spreading false
information, harassment, and detention. Police normally do not intervene in
domestic disputes. Rape is a serious problem throughout the country, especially
in conflict areas. Investigative and prosecuting authorities often obstruct
access to justice for rape victims. A woman who accuses a man of rape and fails
to prove her case may be tried for adultery or arrested for “illegal pregnancy.”
Review the State Department’s webpage on security for female travelers.
laws reflect a sharia system of jurisprudence. Other criminal and civil laws,
including public order laws, based largely on the government’s interpretation
of Islamic law, are determined at the state level. The government sometimes
holds non-Muslims to the same standards. Non-Muslim women do not have to wear a
veil or cover their heads. Flogging is a common sentence for various crimes and
may be conducted summarily. Avoid public displays of affection. Alcohol and
pornography are illegal. Government offices and businesses follow an Islamic
workweek (Sunday to Thursday). Review OSAC’s report, Freedom to Practice, and the State
Department’s webpage on security for faith-based travelers.
to transportation, lodging, and public buildings is rare for people with
mobility issues. There are few sidewalks and no curb cuts, and most buildings
lack functioning elevators. Review the State Department’s webpage on security
for travelers with disabilities.
foreigners for ransom is a risk. Kidnappers took an experienced international
humanitarian worker captive in Darfur in 2017.
The primary motives behind the kidnappings appear to be financial.
Some abductees have been released unharmed after being held for as little as a
few hours. Despite terrorist calls for violence against UN
forces in Darfur, there is no indication that extremist religious ideology was motivation
for the reported kidnappings. Review OSAC’s report, Kidnapping: The Basics.
requires a permit from the External Information Centre in Khartoum (part of the
Information Ministry). Even with a permit, it is illegal to take pictures of
military installations or forces, public utilities, infrastructure (e.g., bridges,
airports), government buildings, poor neighborhoods, or anything else that may
cause it embarrassment. Do not take photographs or use equipment with cameras
(including cell phone camera and laptops) close to government buildings. Authorities
could fine you, confiscate your photographic equipment without notice, and detain
or arrest you. Do not take photos of Sudanese people without their permission. Review
OSAC’s report, Picture This: Dos and Don’ts for Photography.
the State Department’s webpage on customs and import
restrictions for information on what you cannot take into or out of
emergency line in Sudan is 999. While most police officers are generally
helpful, language/cultural barriers sometimes lead to misunderstandings between
Sudanese law enforcement and Westerners. Very rarely will a police officer
assigned to patrol duties or a checkpoint speak English. In
addition, several security elements, to include GIS, do not wear
uniforms and can be difficult to identify.
If police stop you,
remain calm and do not respond with aggression. Present your
identification documents and answer questions fully. Sudanese
security forces are known to detain individuals arbitrarily and without
warrants for arrests. Authorities have arrested and detained dual Sudanese-U.S.
citizens without notification to the U.S. Embassy and
without affording consular access; the government in the
past has not recognized dual citizenship for
consular purposes, and does not provide the U.S. Embassy with
courtesy notifications for dual Sudanese citizens. Authorities may delay
Embassy access to detained dual
nationals for weeks or may not allow it at
all. Sudan does not routinely detain U.S. citizens without dual
citizenship, but all are subject to detention at any time. If police
detain you, immediately request a consular notification to the U.S. Embassy’s
the State Department’s Crime Victims Assistance brochure.
information for law enforcement agencies in Khartoum is as follows:
- Fire Brigade
(Civil Defense Police) / Tel: 998.
General Administration of Passports, Immigration and Identity
Cards: Altair Mard St./ Tel: 1-837-82338.
General Administration of Central Investigations: Abed Khatim St./ Tel: 999.
- Police General
Administration of Prisons and Reformation: Alzaber Basha St./ Tel:
General Administration of Civil Defense: Katrina St. / Tel: 1-834-67777.
General Administration of Wildlife Protection: Madni St./ Tel:
General Administration of Customs: Haray St./ Tel: 999.
General Administration of States’ Affairs: Nile St.
/ Tel: 1-837-83508.
General Administration of Public
Order: Jamhory St., Almogran area/ Tel: 999.
General Administration of Central Traffic: Madni St., Soba area/ Tel: 777.
- General Administration of Popular
Police: Jamhory St., Almogran area/ Tel: 999.
medical emergency line in Sudan is 333. All substantial medical services are in
Khartoum. In all other states, local medical assistance is limited. Medicines
are available only intermittently. Carry prescription medication in original
packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription and bring enough medication
for the duration of your trip. Find contact information for available
medical services and available air ambulance services on the U.S. Embassy website.
will provide emergency medical treatment for 24 hours before requiring payment.
For all other care, providers expect payment in Sudanese pounds in full before
treatment. Although the U.S. has lifted economic sanctions, patients cannot use
credit cards and most checks for payment of medical services. The U.S.
Department of State strongly recommends purchasing international health
insurance before traveling internationally. Review the State Department’s
webpage on insurance overseas.
is widespread throughout the country. Use mosquito repellents containing at
least 20% DEET. Sleep under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets. Begin
malaria chemoprophylaxis prior to arriving in Sudan and continue for the
duration of your stay.
following diseases are prevalent: dengue fever; ; hepatitis A; malaria; meningococcal
meningitis; rabies; and yellow fever. The CDC offers additional information on
vaccines and health guidance for Sudan.
OSAC’s reports, The Healthy Way, Traveling with Medication, I’m Drinking What in My Water?, Shaken: The Don’ts of Alcohol Abroad, Health
101: How to Prepare for Travel, and Fire Safety Abroad.
OSAC Country Council Information
has an active Country Council. Contact OSAC’s Africa
team for more information or to join.
U.S. Embassy Contact Information
Road, Kilo 10, Soba, Khartoum
Hours of operation: 0800-1630 Sunday-Thursday
Officer: +249 912-141-483
you travel, consider the following resources: