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Sudan – AVOID NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL
Avoid non-essential travel to Sudan due to the political tensions and the unstable security situation in parts of the country.
Regional risk level – Avoid all travel
Avoid all travel to the following areas:
- Abyei administrative region
- South Kordofan State
- Blue Nile State
- White Nile, West Kordofan and Sennar states, within 100 km of the border with South Sudan and the Abyei administrative region
- Red Sea, Kassala, Al-Qadrif and Sennar states, within 50 km of the border with Eritrea and Ethiopia
- Within 50 km of the border with Libya
- Within 50 km of the disputed boundaries between Sudan and Egypt (at the Halayib triangle and Bir Tawil)
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Safety and security
COVID-19 – Preventative measures and restrictions
COVID-19 preventative measures and restrictions are still in effect in some destinations.
These could include:
- curfews, movement restrictions, or lockdowns
- mandatory mask use
- required proof of vaccination or a COVID-19 test result to access public and private services and spaces
Before travelling, verify if specific restrictions or requirements are still in effect.
Foreign Representatives in Canada
The country remains without a functioning government following a seizure of power by the military on October 25, 2021, and the resignation of the prime minister on January 2, 2022. Frequent demonstrations are continuing to take place in various cities, particularly in Khartoum and Omdurman.
Clashes between protestors and security forces have occurred. Security forces have used excessive and lethal force to disperse crowds, which has resulted in numerous casualties. They have also arrested an unknown number of activists and protestors.
Access to cellular service (both phone and internet) is periodically restricted throughout the country. During days of planned demonstrations, roadblocks have been set up on the bridges linking Khartoum to the suburbs and checkpoints have been established.
There is uncertainty surrounding the current political arrangement, and the situation could deteriorate quickly. Access to essential services could be disrupted without notice.
If you are in Sudan:
- stay indoors and maintain low profile
- avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings
- ensure that you have essential supplies, including food, water and fuel
- keep your phone charged at all times
- monitor the local media to stay informed on the evolving situation
- follow the advice of local authorities
Demonstrations take place regularly. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)
On August 26, 2019, Sudan’s sovereign council declared a state of emergency and imposed curfews in Port Sudan.
Since August 21, 2019, intertribal clashes have led to deaths and injuries. Further violence cannot be ruled out.
The conflict in Darfur has created a dangerous situation in western Sudan, particularly outside the major towns. Other areas of Sudan and eastern Chad are also affected by the conflict.
Despite the signing of a preliminary peace agreement, the security situation in Darfur remains extremely volatile, and lawlessness is prevalent.
Violence has resulted in deaths, displacement of people, general instability and insecurity.
The region has seen sporadic fighting between the government and rebels groups. Carjacking, break-ins and kidnapping remain a genuine threat to foreigners.
Violence regularly breaks out within camps for internally displaced people. Humanitarian workers and United Nations (U.N.) peacekeepers have been attacked and kidnapped.
Further clashes and regional violence cannot be ruled out.
A state of emergency is in effect in the 5 states of Darfur, Kassala, and South, West and North Kordofan. Curfews are sometimes put in effect by the government.
You should leave if you are in Darfur.
Abyei region, West Kordofan, South Kordofan and Blue Nile
Both Sudan and South Sudan claim Abyei, and there is continued fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile between government forces and rebels.
There is a heightened risk of attacks in the region. Armed groups have carried out attacks on foreign workers, including oil field workers.
Sudan has declared a state of emergency in the states bordering South Sudan.
You should leave if you are in Abyei administrative region, South Kordofan or Blue Nile states.
Area bordering Eritrea in Red Sea and Kassala states, and Ethiopia in Al-Qadrif and Sennar states
The security situation in the area comprised within 50 km of the border with Eritrea, in Red Sea, and Kassala states, and within 50 km of the border with Ethiopia in the Al-Qadrif and Sennar states is volatile due to cross-border militant activity. Military operations have been occurring in the Tigray region of Ethiopia since early November 2020.
Foreigners working for aid organizations in this area have been the target of attacks.
Area bordering Egypt
The Halayib triangle and Bir Tawil are disputed territories between Sudan and Egypt. The threat of isolated and indiscriminate clashes cannot be discounted.
Area bordering Libya
The area within 50 km of the border with Libya is used by armed groups as transit route to smuggle weapons, goods and people and is prone to banditry.
The land borders with some neighbouring countries are closed. Border closures may occur without notice.
Commercial overland expeditions occasionally cross Sudan’s land borders with Libya, the Central African Republic and Chad, but these routes are dangerous.
There are landmines in many areas outside the main cities, including border areas.
Don’t attempt to cross land borders.
While the incidence of crime in Khartoum is low, incidents of petty crime are increasing including opportunistic theft from vehicles. Keep valuables out of sight and drive with locked doors and closed windows.
Banditry is rampant throughout western Sudan, especially in the Darfur region. Several incidents have resulted in deaths near the border with Chad.
There is a threat of terrorism. Terrorist attacks could occur at any time.
Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- sites frequented by foreigners such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres markets, hotels, etc.
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.
Westerners face the risk of being kidnapped even in Khartoum.
Maintain a heightened level of vigilance and consider regularly modifying your patterns of travel.
Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in coastal waters. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.
Live piracy report – International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre
There are shortages of fuel in Khartoum and most other areas of Sudan.
If you must travel by road, make sure you have enough fuel for the entire trip.
Unpredictable local driving habits, pedestrians and roaming animals pose serious risks.
Road conditions are poor.
Many roads outside the capital are sand tracks. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is required for overland travel except on the Khartoum–Kassala–Port Sudan, Khartoum–Atbara, and Khartoum–El Obeid highways.
Only experienced and fully equipped travellers should undertake desert travel. Basic equipment should include:
- a shovel
- metal ramps for heavy sand
- a global positioning system (GPS)
- spare fuel and
- water supplies
Roadblocks are common. Have your identity and vehicle documents readily available.
Public transportation is limited outside of major urban areas.
Most buses are irregularly scheduled. They are poorly maintained and drivers are reckless. Fatal accidents involving buses are routine.
If you decide to travel by bus, use only top-of-the-line buses.
A ferry connects Wadi Halfa, in Su
dan, and Aswan, in Egypt.
A weekly train service operates between Wadi Halfa and Khartoum.
Trains are dilapidated, but service is punctual.
Taxis are available in urban centres but are generally in bad conditions.
In Khartoum, you may use an online hailing service but you must have a local SIM card in your phone with the data service.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
General information about foreign domestic airlines
For national security reasons, Sudanese authorities may conduct random searches of personal effects belonging to individuals working for international organizations.
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Entry and exit requirements
COVID-19 – Entry, exit and transit restrictions and requirements
Most governments have implemented special entry and exit restrictions and requirements for their territory due to COVID-19. These measures can be imposed suddenly and may include:
- entry or exit bans
- mandatory proof of vaccination or COVID-19 testing
- suspensions or reductions of international transportation options
Foreign authorities might not recognize or accept proof of vaccination issued by Canadian provinces and territories. You may need to obtain a translation, a notarization, an authentication, or the legalization of the document.
- verify if the local authorities of both your current location and destinations have implemented any restrictions or requirements related to this situation
- consider even your transit points, as there are transit rules in place in many destinations
- monitor the media for the latest information
- reconfirm the requirements with your airline or tour operator
The situation could disrupt your travel plans. You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance to change your travel plans.
- Travel restrictions and health requirements – United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and International Air Transport Association (IATA)
- Foreign Representatives in Canada
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Sudanese authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Sudan.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
- Foreign Representatives in Canada
- Canadian passports
Tourist visa: required
Business visa: required
Student visa: required
Transit visa: required
Allow at least 2 months between your visa application and the intended date of travel. Visas are not granted automatically to prospective travellers.
As a foreigner, you must register with the Ministry of the Interior’s Aliens’ Registration Office within 3 days of your arrival in Sudan.
If arriving by land or sea, you can register at your port of entry.
Certain larger hotels offer to register their guests. Processing fees apply and vary depending on where you register. Two passport-style photos may be required.
Travels outside of Khartoum
You must obtain a permit before travelling outside of Khartoum. You can obtain your permit from the Foreign Ministry. You should start procedures at least a week prior to your trip dates.
It is extremely difficult to obtain permits for destinations within west Sudan, except for persons working for registered humanitarian organizations and diplomatic missions.
Sudanese authorities enforce permit regulations rigorously and they can retain documents. Carry at least 3 copies of your travel permit and passport, including the Sudan visa page, at all times.
Stamp from Israel
Local authorities will automatically deny you entry to Sudan if your passport contains a stamp from Israel.
Children and travel
The country’s customs, laws and regulations adhere closely to Islamic practices and beliefs.
Under Sudanese law, women and their children may encounter difficulties relating to mobility. Local authorities may prohibited them from departing Sudan if the father has not given his consent, regardless of custodial rights accorded to the mother by any Sudanese, Canadian or other courts.
More about travelling with children
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
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Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Sudan is a traditional, conservative society. Sharia (Islamic law) is applied throughout the country. Islamic practices and beliefs are closely adhered to in the country’s customs, laws and regulations.
- Avoid displays of affection in public, holding hands for instance
- Be extremely discreet if swimming in public
- Avoid wearing shorts in public
- If you are a woman:
- dress conservatively
- avoid wearing short skirts or shirts with low necklines
- avoid displaying bare arms
In 2023, the lunar month of Ramadan is expected to begin on or around March 22.
In public, between sunrise and sunset, be discreet when :
Religious proselytization can lead to arrest for long periods of time and deportation.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Bags are routinely searched upon arrival and departure at the Khartoum airport.
It is prohibited to import or consume alcohol, even in private.
- Alcohol, drugs and travel
- Cannabis and international travel
Sudanese law prohibits sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. Third time convicted offenders can face up to life imprisonment or the death penalty.
LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Sudan.
Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics
Sexually explicit publications
It is prohibited to import magazines or books of a sexually explicit nature.
A photography permit is required for all forms of photography.
Even with a permit, it is strictly prohibited to photograph:
- military areas
- drainage stations
- broadcast stations
- public utilities
- slum areas
The authorities may suspect you of espionage if you take pictures without a permit.
If you travel with your laptop, ensure that you remove any photo files that could be deemed by the authorities as suspicious.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Sudan.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Sudan, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you’re there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
General information for travellers with dual citizenship
Sudanese minors (under 18 years of age) require the permission of their father or guardian to leave the country.
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Sudan.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Sudan by an abducting parent:
- act as quickly as you can
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in Sudan to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
You should carry an international driving permit.
More about the International Driving Permit
The currency of Sudan is the Sudanese pound (SDG). It is non-convertible outside the country and its export is prohibited.
Transferring U.S. dollars to Sudan is difficult because of international sanctions. In addition, U.S. currency dated prior to 2006 is not usually accepted.
Foreign banking and credit cards are not accepted in Sudan. There are ATMs, but they only service local accounts.
International flights and hotel bills must be paid in cash.
You should carry sufficient funds in U.S. dollars to cover your expenses for the duration of your stay.
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Natural disasters and climate
Sandstorms occur, particularly from July to October. Expect difficulties travelling overland. Local services and the availability of water and basic food may be affected. Take preventive measures and exercise extreme caution.
The rainy season in Sudan lasts 3 months, from July to September.
Seasonal flooding can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable and bridges damaged.
Monitor regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
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