Republic of South Sudan Travel Warning (June 6, 2015)

Last Updated: December 31, 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 has little capacity to reach U.S. citizens with emergencies outside Juba because of the poor security situation and lack of critical infrastructure. The U.S. Embassy notes it is rarely informed of the arrest of U.S. citizens in a timely manner and its ability to provide consular assistance to detainees both in Juba and outside the capital is extremely limited. U.S. citizens traveling to South Sudan despite this warning should develop contingency plans prior to arrival to ensure their safety and security. This amends the Travel Warning issued July 1, 2015 to update U.S. citizens about the risks to civil aviation operating in South Sudan as a result of the ongoing armed conflict between the government of the Republic of South Sudan and armed opposition groups.

The Federal Aviation Administration on December 24, 2015, issued an advisory “Notice to Airmen” (NOTAM) expressing concern about the risks to civil aviation in South Sudan.  For further background information about FAA flight prohibitions and advisories for U.S. civil aviation, please consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices. Furthermore, in an official press statement released on December 11, 2015, the government of the Republic of South Sudan threatened to shoot down aircraft engaged in illicit activities or which violate the country’s airspace by failing to properly identify themselves. South Sudan also recently deployed a functional radar-guided Strategic Surface-to-Air Missile near Juba.

The South Sudanese government is currently engaged in an armed conflict with opposition forces led by the former vice president Riek Machar, which has led to the displacement of more than two million people. Although the conflict is primarily concentrated in Unity, Jonglei, and Upper Nile states, other areas of the country have experienced periodic fighting. Instability persists across the country due to retaliatory attacks, intercommunal violence and cattle raiding, and economic uncertainty.

Health care in South Sudan is extremely limited and poor. U.S. citizens with medical conditions should not travel to South Sudan, and all travelers should ensure their travel is covered by overseas medical insurance, including medical evacuation.

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 South Sudan. 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.

For further information:

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for South Sudan.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). 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 STEP.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in South Sudan located on Kololo Road in Tongping next to the European Union compound, at +(211) 912-105-188 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +(211) 912-105-107.
  • 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 Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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