Do not travel to South Sudan due to crime and armed conflict.
Violent crime, such as carjackings, shootings, ambushes, assaults, robberies, and kidnappings is common throughout South Sudan, including Juba. Foreign nationals have been the victims of rape, sexual assault, armed robberies, and other violent crimes.
Armed conflict is ongoing throughout the country and includes fighting between various political and ethnic groups, and weapons are readily available to the population. In addition, cattle raids occur throughout the country and often lead to violence. Reporting in South Sudan without the proper documentation from the South Sudanese Media Authority is considered illegal, and any journalistic work there is very dangerous. Journalists regularly report being harassed in South Sudan, and many have been killed while covering the conflict in South Sudan.
The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency consular services to U.S. citizens in South Sudan. U.S. government personnel in South Sudan are under a strict curfew. They must use armored vehicles for nearly all movements in the city, and official travel outside Juba is limited. Due to the critical crime threat in Juba, walking is also restricted; when allowed, it is limited to a small area in the immediate vicinity of the Embassy and must usually be conducted in groups of two or more during daylight hours. Family members cannot accompany U.S. government employees who work in South Sudan.
Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of South Sudan, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For more information U.S. citizens should consult Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.
Read the Safety and Security section on the Country Information page.
If you decide to travel to South Sudan:
- Exercise extreme care in all parts of the country, including Juba. Travel outside of Juba with a minimum of two vehicles along with appropriate recovery and medical equipment in case of mechanical failure or other emergency.
- Avoid travel along border areas.
- Avoid demonstrations and public gatherings. Even events intended to be peaceful can become violent.
- Be aware that photography in public is strictly controlled and you are required to obtain authorization from the Ministry of Information before taking any photographs or video in public – including while inside a vehicle.
- Monitor local/international news and consular messages.
- Enroll your trip in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
- Review your personal security plan and visit our page on travel to high risk areas.
- Draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney.
- Discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, belongings, non-liquid assets (collections, artwork, etc.), funeral wishes, etc.
- Share important documents, log-in information, and points of contact with loved ones so that they can manage your affairs, if you are unable to return as planned to the United States. Find a suggested list of such documents here.
- Establish your own personal security plan in coordination with your employer or host organization, or consider consulting with a professional security organization. Your plan should include sheltering in place, maintaining outside communication, and a personal evacuation plan via commercial means.
- Develop a communication plan with family and/or your employer or host organization so that they can monitor your safety and location as you travel through high-risk areas. This plan should specify who you would contact first, and how they should share the information.
- Be sure to appoint one family member to serve as the point of contact with hostage-takers, media, U.S. and host country government agencies, and Members of Congress, if you are taken hostage or detained.
- Establish a proof of life protocol with your loved ones, so that if you are taken hostage, your loved ones can know specific questions (and answers) to ask the hostage-takers to be sure that you are alive (and to rule out a hoax).
- Leave DNA samples with your medical provider in case it is necessary for your family to access them.
- Erase any sensitive photos, comments, or other materials from your social media pages, cameras, laptops, and other electronic devices that could be considered controversial or provocative by local groups.
- Leave your expensive/sentimental belongings behind.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
- Review the Crime and Safety Report for South Sudan.
- U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
Originally Published: December 11, 2018