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Sudan travel guide

About Sudan

Sudan is hardly your archetypal tourist destination, but behind the unsavoury headlines is a country of exquisite natural beauty, ancient historical attractions and inhabitants well versed in the art of hospitality.

A vast country, three times the size of Texas, Sudan is as much about people as it is natural or man-made wonders. It is a nation where travellers can learn more drinking freshly prepared smoothies with the residents of Khartoum (Sudan is officially alcohol free) than they can by visiting one of the capital’s excellent museums.

A relatively young city, Khartoum was built in 1821 at the confluence of the Blue and White Niles while the country was ruled jointly by Britain and Egypt. History and traditionalism jostle with modernity in the city, where stunning classical Islamic architecture in red ochre hues stands beside modern glass and steel skyscrapers paid for by the country’s oilfields (which were mostly lost with the independence of South Sudan in 2011).

Centuries before colonial rule Sudan comprised a series of city-states. One of the longest lasting was Meroë, which sits some 200 km (125 miles) northeast of Khartoum. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this ancient city features more than 200 steep-sided pyramids, which were built as elaborate royal mausoleums. They rise from the sandy dunes of the Nubian Desert and date from between 300 BC and AD 300, when the kingdom was at its most powerful.

Worth visiting in itself, the Nubian Desert – in reality part of the Sahara – offers solitude and unspoiled natural beauty stretching east all the way to the Red Sea and Port Sudan, the centre of Sudan’s burgeoning diving scene.

One of the least visited countries in East Africa, but one of the friendliest, Sudan has a magical mix of history, tradition and modernity that belies its status as a pariah state.

Key facts


1,861,484 sq km (718,723 sq miles).


41,175,541 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

19.1 per sq km.




Federal republic.

Head of state:

De facto ruler in the interim: Abdel Fattah Burhan, since 2021.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Osman Hussein since January 2022.

Travel Advice

FCDO advises against all travel to Sudan

FCDO advises against travel to Sudan for security reasons.

Security situation in Sudan

Military conflict in Khartoum and other parts of Sudan is ongoing. There have been several ceasefires, but these have been regularly broken. Khartoum International Airport is currently closed.

British nationals in Sudan should consider the risks if they decide to leave Sudan by any route. Travel within or out of Sudan is  at your own risk.

Monitor  travel advice and other media reports as the situation is changing fast. Sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated.

British Embassy in Sudan

The British Embassy in Khartoum is temporarily closed due to the conflict. There are no British consular staff in Sudan. Our ability to provide consular assistance is severely limited and we cannot provide in-person support within Sudan.

If you are a British national in Sudan, you can contact us on our 24/7 telephone helpline on +44 1908 516 666. Select option 2 for consular services for British nationals.

Evacuation flights ended

The UK Government is no longer running any evacuation operations from Sudan.

If you are a British national in Sudan and in need of assistance, please contact our helpline and read the departure options below. These are regularly updated.

Travel within or out of Sudan is at your own risk. The FCDO cannot offer advice on the safety of travelling to any departure point within Sudan.

The UK Government’s ability to facilitate onward travel for those travelling from Sudan into countries in the region is limited. You will therefore be expected to cover the cost of visas, accommodation, insurance and onward travel yourself. We are unable to provide support for non-British dependants of British Nationals. You can contact us on our 24/7 telephone helpline on +44 1908 516 666.

Travelling to Saudi Arabia from Port Sudan

On 12 May the Saudi government announced the end of humanitarian evacuations from Sudan. For information about arriving in Jeddah and entry requirements, see the Saudi Arabia travel advice.

If you are arriving in Jeddah from Port Sudan and need urgent assistance, you can contact our consular help desk in Jeddah on +966 (0)12 622 5550 and press option 4.

Travelling to Egypt from Sudan

Large numbers of people are trying to cross the border from Sudan into Egypt. There are two main land border crossings between Egypt and Sudan, at Qustul and Argeen. The nearest town in Sudan to the crossings is Wadi Halfa (30km from border). There is almost no infrastructure at these border crossings. Individuals are currently waiting several days to transit the border, with very limited access to food and water.

We do not have a presence at the Egyptian border and our ability to provide consular assistance is very limited. If you are a British national planning to cross into Egypt at Argeen or Qustul and you do not have valid documentation with you, please contact the British Embassy in Cairo on + 2 (02) 2791 6000.

See our Egypt travel advice for entry requirements.

Travelling to Chad, Eritrea, Central Africa Republic, South Sudan, Libya or Ethiopia from Sudan

Sudan’s borders with Chad and Eritrea are currently closed.

FCDO advises against all travel to Central African Republic, South Sudan, Libya and within 20km of the Ethiopian side of the border with Sudan.

Help and support in Sudan

If you are in Sudan, you can contact our 24/7 helpline on:

+44 1908 516 666

Select option 2 for consular services for British nationals.

Concern for friends and family

If you’re in the UK and worried about a British person in Sudan, you can contact us 24/7 on:

020 7008 5000

You can also submit a written enquiry, or contact us on Twitter or Facebook.

Malaria risk

Reported malaria cases have increased in Khartoum. See Health.

If you have recently left Sudan, and develop fever or flu-like symptoms, you should seek urgent medical attention and tell them that you have recently left a malarial risk area.

UK Visa and Passport Information

If you are a British national in Sudan, and would like information about applying for UK visas for your family then visit or call UK Visas and Immigration on +44 (0) 203 875 4669.

We are currently unable to accept applications for British passports from Sudan.  You can apply in a neighbouring country of your choice.  Visit or call the passport advice line on +44 (0) 300 222 0000.

Travel insurance

FCDO advises that no one should travel to Sudan because the risks are too high.

Your travel insurance could be invalidated if you travel against FCDO advice.

Coronavirus travel health

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on  COVID-19: general advice for travellers.

Entry and borders

The FCDO currently advises against all travel to Sudan.

See entry requirements for Sudan.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID-19. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example, due to a new COVID-19 variant.


Due to the current conflict, health services are likely to be significantly affected and may be unavailable, including hospitals for British nationals in Khartoum.

View Health for further details on healthcare in Sudan.

The FCDO currently advises against all travel to Sudan. All parts of the country should be considered potentially unsafe. Significant disturbance and conflict may occur at any time.

Political situation

A military coup in 2021 triggered the ongoing political crisis. The political situation deteriorated significantly when violent clashes broke out in April 2023. The FCDO currently advises against all travel to Sudan.

The current conflict in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories has led to heightened tensions elsewhere in the world, and could potentially increase the risk of violence and protests in Sudan.


There are intermittent communication blackouts. Mobile phone and internet services are currently only partially available and telecommunications networks could be disrupted without warning.


Due to the current conflict and economic situation there have been increases in opportunistic crime, petty theft, muggings, demands for money at checkpoints, mobile phone and bag-snatching (including drive-by bag snatching by thieves on motorbikes), aggressive begging (including attempts to open the doors of stationary vehicles), and burglaries.

Don’t leave valuable items on display in your car while travelling and keep doors and windows closed and locked at all times. If you are stopped, avoid confrontation.

Road travel

Road travel will involve heightened levels of risk due to the current conflict and should only be undertaken if strictly necessary.

Road traffic accidents are common in Sudan. There is a high risk of being involved in a traffic accident when using public transport or vehicles for hire such as rickshaws and ‘amjad minivans’.

Road conditions are poor and many roads, even major ones, are not tarred or have potholes. Many roads are unsurfaced. Roads are used by pedestrians, donkey-carts and rickshaws, as well as motor vehicles. At night, there is generally no street lighting and many vehicles have no lights.

Many areas south of Khartoum become inaccessible by road during the rainy season from July to October. The wadis (dry riverbeds) are subject to dangerous flash floods, and many are not passable during the rains except on a major road.

You can drive in Sudan using a full UK driving licence for a maximum period of 3 months. You may be able to get a local driving licence from the police traffic department. Although drivers should have a licence and insurance, many do not have these. Make sure you have adequate insurance.

Sudanese law prohibits the use of mobile phones while driving. 

Air travel

Khartoum International Airport (KRT) remains closed following the outbreak of violence in April 2023 and there are no commercial flight services operating to Sudan. However, FCDO understands that some commercial flight operations leaving Sudan, from Port Sudan Airport, have started. We understand that these have been operated by Sudanese airlines. There are no Sudanese airlines that meet international safety standards.

The UK Air Safety List (ASL) lists all known airlines operating in Sudan that do not meet international safety standards and are banned from operating commercial air services to, from and within the UK. Check the UK Air Safety List when considering which airline to fly with. This list is maintained by the Department for Transport, based on advice from the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

Sea travel

Piracy has been reported in the Red Sea around the Gulf of Aden. Be vigilant and seek local advice. For more information , see our piracy and armed robbery at sea page.

If you go ashore along the Red Sea Coast, ensure you have reviewed the relevant country travel advice and have the correct documentation for entry.

Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Sudan.

Attacks could be indiscriminate including in places visited by foreigners. You should be vigilant at all times, especially in crowded areas and public places like transport hubs, hotels, restaurants, places of worship and major gatherings. You should follow the advice of local authorities. In November 2020 Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula released a message calling for attacks in East Africa, including Sudan, against US and Israeli interests.

There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. You should remain vigilant at all times.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.


There is a high threat of kidnapping in Darfur. Kidnappings can be for financial or political gain and can be motivated by criminality or terrorism. There have been a number of recent kidnappings, including of British nationals and other westerners. Kidnap groups view those engaged in humanitarian aid work or journalism as legitimate targets.

The long-standing policy of the UK Government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The UK Government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage-taking.

Local laws reflect the fact that Sudan is predominantly Muslim and conservative. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.

In 2020 the Sudanese authorities amended the law on alcohol to allow consumption by non-Muslims, but not in the company of Muslims. In practice, non-Muslims drinking alcohol may face arrest regardless of the circumstances.

Non-Muslim women are not expected to wear a veil or cover their heads, but should dress modestly and respect local customs and sensitivities.

Homosexual practices and extra marital relations are illegal and subject to severe penalties. This includes inviting guests into hotel rooms. Sudanese society is not tolerant of homosexual relationships. See our information and advice page for the LGBTQ+ community before you travel.

You should carry photo ID with you at all times.

There are severe penalties for drug trafficking.

All photography requires a formal permit. Don’t take photographs or use a mobile phone camera close to government buildings, military installations, public utilities (including petrol stations), and other sensitive areas (bridges, airports etc.). Many plain clothed public security officers operate.


Hotels will often take a photocopy of your passport. It’s against the law to live together, or to share the same hotel room, with someone of the opposite sex to whom you aren’t married or closely related. Business meetings should take place in lobbies or business meetings room and not hotel rooms. British nationals have encountered problems in this respect with the Sudanese authorities. Tourist police patrol the hotels.

Buying property

If you want to buy property in Sudan, you should seek appropriate professional advice, as you would in the UK.

Financial crime

Financial crimes, including fraud, bouncing cheques (including post-dated and ‘security cheques’) and the non-payment of bills (including hotel bills) can often result in imprisonment and/or a fine. Bank accounts and other assets can also be frozen.

Bail is generally not available to people who are arrested for financial crimes. Those convicted will not usually be released from jail until the debt is paid or waived and they may even remain in jail after a debt has been paid if there is an outstanding sentence to be served.

Technical equipment

Equipment like satellite phones, listening or recording devices, radio transmitters, powerful cameras or binoculars may require a licence for use in Sudan. You should seek advice from the Sudanese Embassy in London before travelling.

The FCDO advises against all travel to Sudan

This page reflects the UK Government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Sudan set and enforce entry rules. If you’re unsure how Sudan’s entry requirements apply to you, contact the Sudanese Embassy in London.

All travellers

Entry requirements for Sudan are the same for all travellers, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.

Children and young people

In addition to a visa, children under 18 must have their father’s consent to enter and exit Sudan. Formally, children travelling without their father will need a letter clearly providing consent for the child to enter and exit Sudan, though this is not always enforced. The letter should be stamped at the Sudanese Embassy before travel.

Where the father is absent or deceased, mothers or guardians should get a court order which clearly shows that the mother or guardian has sole custodial rights for the children. Where the parents are divorced, this should be accompanied by divorce documents. Where the father is deceased, this should be accompanied by a death certificate. Contact the Sudanese Embassy in London for more information.

Check your passport and travel documents before you travel

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Sudan.


British nationals need to apply for a visa via the Sudanese Embassy in London to visit Sudan. The FCDO currently advises against all travel to Sudan.

You should register with the Aliens Department at the Ministry of Interior within 3 days of your arrival in the country. You will need 2 passport size photos. The fee is the Sudanese Pound equivalent of around £35. If you don’t register within 3 days of arrival, you may be fined. Some of the larger hotels will do this for you but you should ask when you check-in.

Formally, visitors to Sudan on a single entry visa need to get an exit visa to leave the country, though this is not always enforced. Exit visas can be processed at the airport. If requested, you should be ready to show proof of your sponsor and pay the exit visa fee of 50 US dollars.

Most foreign residents, including British nationals, also need an exit permit. You should check the details with your sponsor, before your arrival, to ensure that you understand and are happy with the process.

Previous travel to Israel

If your passport has an Israeli visa or Israeli entry or exit stamps you will not be allowed to enter Sudan.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check if you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

Due to the current conflict, health services are likely to be significantly affected and may be unavailable, including hospitals for British nationals in Khartoum.

See the Coronavirus travel health and Healthcare sections in the Coronavirus page for COVID-19 health information.

Check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist are available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the Sudanese Embassy in London.

There are clear links between mental and physical health. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Other health risks

Malaria cases have increased in Khartoum. Due to the increased risk from malaria, and the impact of the current civil unrest on health services, the UK Health Security Agency now recommends that all travellers in Sudan, including Khartoum, take antimalarial chemoprophylaxis.

If you have recently left Khartoum, and develop fever or flu-like symptoms, you should seek urgent medical attention and tell them that you have recently left a malarial risk area.

See the Travel Health Pro website for more information about malaria. Sudan’s Ministry of Health has announced an outbreak of vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV). Cases have been reported in the following States: Blue Nile, Gezira, Red Sea, West Darfur and East Darfur. Further information on this outbreak is available on the TravelHealthPro website as well as vaccination recommendations.

Sudan is prone to seasonal disease outbreaks, including Malaria, Chikungunya and dengue haemorrhagic fever spread by both insect vectors and contaminated water. Further information can be found on the TravelHealthPro website.

Medical treatment

There is a particular risk to public health in conflict affected areas where immunisation coverage is poor.

Due to the current conflict, health services are likely to be significantly affected and may be unavailable, including hospitals for British nationals in Khartoum.

Sudan suffers from drought and flash flooding. Flooding can make areas inaccessible by road during the rainy season.

Cash withdrawals from non-Sudanese credit and debit cards at banks or from the majority of ATMs are not possible.

There are also extremely limited options for using foreign credit or debit cards; most businesses do not offer this facility.

You should plan on the basis that credit or debit card transactions may not be possible. Make sure you have enough cash in hard currency with you.

You may be able to exchange US dollars dated 2006 onwards (older ones will not be exchanged), but this will be difficult due to the current conflict. Pounds sterling are rarely exchanged. You should only change money through banks or official bureaux de exchange (e.g. in hotels). Don’t change any money on the street.

If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the FCDO in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

There are no British consular staff in Sudan. Our ability to provide consular assistance is severely limited and we cannot provide in-person support within Sudan.

If you are in Sudan and need help you can call our 24 hour helpline. Please see: Help and support in Sudan.

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist.

Travel safety

The FCDO currently advises against all travel to Sudan. When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCDO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry, or contact us on Twitter or Facebook. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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