Algeria - Consular Information Sheet
June 14, 2001
WARNING (Issued May 31, 2001): The United States Department
of State warns U.S. citizens to evaluate carefully the implications
for their security and safety before deciding to travel to Algeria.
Although considerably fewer terrorist incidents have taken place
in Algeria over the last three years, unpredictable attacks still
occur in rural villages, on roadsides and public transport, and
at night. The most recent terrorist activity has occurred in rural
areas in northern Algeria.
At the height of terrorist violence in Algeria, many commercial
airlines cancelled service to and from Algeria. Since then, a
number of carriers have resumed service, including one western
airline. Most official foreign travel by U.S. government employees
and visitors is via chartered aircraft, although commercial carriers
are sometimes used.
The Department of State strongly recommends that those Americans
who travel to Algeria exercise maximum caution and take prudent
measures. These include limiting use of regularly scheduled commercial
flights and being met and accompanied by pre-arranged local contacts
upon arrival and departure at airports. Nighttime and overland
travel should be avoided. Visitors to Algiers should stay only
in the large, internationally-recognized hotels where security
is provided. U.S. citizens should not move anywhere in Algeria
unless accompanied by a known Algerian companion. This applies
to walking the streets of Algiers and other cities.
U.S. Embassy personnel take all of the precautions mentioned
above. In addition, Embassy employees and official visitors are
restricted to the Embassy compound or their hotels except as necessary
to conduct official business or limited personal business in the
capital. All travel by official Americans in Algiers is by armored
car with appropriate security.
U.S. oil companies operating in the desert region south of the
Saharan Atlas Mountains have experienced no attacks in the past
year. The Algerian government and the companies themselves take
stringent security precautions to ensure their safety, including
many of the measures described above.
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Algeria is a republic with a developing
economy. Facilities for travelers are widely available, but sometimes
limited in quality. The workweek in Algeria is Saturday through
Wednesday. The U.S. Embassy workweek is Sunday through Thursday.
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: Passports and visas are required
for U.S. citizens traveling to Algeria. For more information concerning
entry requirements, travelers may contact the
Embassy of the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria
at 2137 Wyoming Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone
(202) 265-2800 or go to http://www.algeria-us.org/
on the Internet.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments
have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include
requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission
for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not
present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required,
may facilitate entry/departure.
Algerian fathers of minor children (under 18 years of age for
boys, 19 years of age for girls) may legally prevent their children
from leaving Algeria.
DUAL NATIONALITY: In addition to being subject to all
Algerian laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also
be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Algerian
citizens. For additional information, see Dual
The Algerian Government requires all U.S.-Algerian dual national
males under the age of 35 to register for service in the Algerian
military. Dual nationals and those subject to registration may
be prevented from leaving Algeria until granted permission to
do so by the relevant Algerian authorities. Authorities sometimes
grant waivers to U.S. citizen dual nationals studying abroad,
though there is no guarantee that this practice will continue.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: More than 120 third country nationals
(no U.S. citizens) have been murdered in Algeria since September
1993. In response to these threats, the U.S. Government substantially
reduced the number of U.S. government personnel in Algeria. Dependents
of U.S. Government personnel may not accompany employees to Algeria.
Ports, trains, and airline terminals are potential terrorist
targets and U.S. citizens should carefully consider the security
implications of traveling on regularly scheduled commercial transport.
Terrorists occasionally attack buses traveling in rural areas.
Most official air travel by U.S. government employees is via chartered
aircraft, although commercial carriers are sometimes used.
Areas of Instability: Political, social, and economic problems
have created an environment in which acts of terrorism are regularly
perpetrated. A state of emergency has been in effect since early
1992. Although terrorist violence has dropped substantially in
the last two years, terrorists continue to attack security forces
and strike randomly at civilians, claiming scores of lives each
month. In the last two years the terrorist violence has greatly
diminished in the major cities and now mostly occurs in the countryside
of northern Algeria and the periphery of urban areas. In localities
where large numbers of foreigners reside, Algerian military and
other security personnel offer generally adequate protection,
but in many other localities, especially in remote hamlets and
the poorer sections of urban areas, protection is not assured.
Although the Government of Algeria has discontinued a late-night
curfew in the central area of Algiers, it continues to maintain
roadblocks on primary roads heading into and out of the capital.
Security personnel at these roadblocks expect full cooperation.
Terrorists also occasionally put up false roadblocks as ambushes
in parts of northern Algeria.
Banditry and assault involving foreigners has occurred in the
far southern region of Algeria near the border with Niger. Although
violence in this area is now largely limited to occasional small
scale attacks against local security forces, bandits have robbed,
assaulted, kidnapped, and killed travelers in Algeria south of
Tamanrasset. In April, May, and June 2001, there were violent
disturbances, mostly in the Kabylie region, caused by long-standing
social and economic woes. Dissatisfaction with the current political
and economic situation is behind several large demonstrations
in Algiers in May and June.
Travel overland is treacherous in many parts of Algeria. The
Department of State recommends that American citizens in Algeria
avoid traveling overland outside major urban areas. Americans
who must travel overland or work in locations outside of major
cities should do so with substantial armed protection.
CRIME: The crime rate in Algeria is moderately high and
increasing. Serious crimes have been reported in which armed men
posing as police officers have entered homes of occupants, and
robbed them at gunpoint. Armed carjacking is also a serious problem.
Petty theft and home burglary occur frequently, and muggings are
on the rise, especially after dark in the cities. Theft of contents
and parts from parked cars, pickpocketing, theft on trains and
buses, theft of items left in hotel rooms, and purse snatching
are common. Alarms, grills, watchdogs, and/or guards protect most
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported
immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or
Consulate. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's
Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a trouble-free journey.
The pamphlet is available by mail from the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Hospitals and clinics in Algeria are
available, but of uneven quality, and are not up to Western standards.
Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges
Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior
to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas
and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical
evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs
incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage
is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do
not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.
However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance
plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including
emergency services such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans
should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require
payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical
evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured
travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme
difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your
trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare
provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses
you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric
treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available
via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202)
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations
and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international
travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX
(1-888-232-3299), or via CDC's
Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Algeria is provided for general reference only,
and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: fair
Availability of Roadside Assistance: poor
Drivers will encounter checkpoints on primary roads heading into
and out of Algiers and other major cities. Security personnel
at these checkpoints expect full cooperation.
For specific information concerning Algerian driver's permits,
vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact
the Algerian Embassy.
For additional general information
about road safety, including links to foreign government sites
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial
air service by local carriers at present, or economic authority
to operate such service, between the U.S. and Algeria, the U.S.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Algeria's
Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation
safety standards. For further information, travelers may contact
the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873,
or visit the
FAA's Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some
foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of
air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific
carriers, travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Algerian customs authorities enforce
strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export
from Algeria of items such as firearms, body armor, binoculars,
communications equipment, antiquities, medications, business equipment
or ivory. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Algeria in
Washington for specific information regarding customs requirements.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and may not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
Algeria's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or
imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal
drugs in Algeria are strict and convicted offenders can expect
jail sentences and heavy fines.
CONSULAR ACCESS: U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry
a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that,
if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and U.S. citizenship
are readily available. In accordance with Article 36 of the Vienna
Convention on Consular Relations, to which Algeria is a party,
competent authorities in the host country must notify a consular
post of the arrest of one of its citizens without delay.
CURRENCY INFORMATION: Travelers checks and credit cards
are accepted in only a few establishments in urban areas. The
Government of Algeria requires all foreigners entering the country
to exchange $200 into local currency. Documentary proof of legal
exchange of currency is needed when departing Algeria.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For
information on international adoption of children and international
parental child abduction, please refer to Internet site at
http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone (202)
REGISTRATION / EMBASSY LOCATION: Americans living in or
visiting Algeria are encouraged to register at the Consular Section
of the U.S. Embassy in Algeria and obtain updated information
on travel and security within Algeria. The U.S. Embassy is located
at 4 Chemin Cheikh Bachir El-Ibrahimi, B.P. 549 (Alger-gare) 16000,
in the capital city of Algiers. The telephone number is 
(21) 691-425/255/186. The fax number for the U.S. Embassy is 
(21) 69-39-79. The U.S. Embassy workweek is Sunday through Thursday.
The former U.S. Consulate in Oran is closed.
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated June 5, 2001
to update or add sections on Entry/Exit Requirements, Areas of
Instability, Traffic Safety and Road Conditions, and Registration/Embassy