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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 

Your travel insurance could be invalidated if you travel against advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). 

FCDO advises against all travel to Sudan because of the ongoing military conflict in Khartoum and other parts of the country.  

There have been several ceasefires, but these have been regularly broken.  

Khartoum International Airport is closed. The only functional civilian airport operating international flights is Port Sudan Airport. 

Monitor travel advice and other media reports for the latest information. 

Find out more about safety and security in Sudan. 

Get help in Sudan 

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

If you’re a British national in Sudan, you can call our 24/7 telephone helpline: +44 1908 516 666. Select option 2 for consular services for British nationals. 

Leaving Sudan 

The UK government is no longer evacuating people from Sudan.  

FCDO cannot offer advice on the safety of travelling to any potential departure point. Consider carefully whether you want to take any of the available options. 

Use your own judgement to move towards a departure point if and when you judge it is safe to do so. 

The UK government’s ability to facilitate onward travel from countries in the region is limited and you’ll be expected to cover the cost of visas, accommodation, insurance and onward travel yourself.   

Any travel options you pursue are taken at your own risk.  

FCDO cannot help non-British dependants of British nationals. 

Travel insurance  

If you choose to travel against FCDO advice, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency. 

About FCDO travel advice 

FCDO provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated. 

This information is for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK who choose to travel against FCDO advice. It is based on the UK government’s understanding of the current rules for the most common types of travel.  

The authorities in Sudan set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Sudanese Embassy in the UK.  

COVID-19 rules 

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Sudan. 

Passport validity requirements 

To enter Sudan, your passport must have an ‘expiry date’ at least 6 months after the date you arrive.  

Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.  

You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen. 

Visa requirements 

You must have a visa to enter Sudan.  

Applying for a visa 

You can apply for a visa through the Sudanese Embassy in the UK, or through the Sudanese embassy in the country you’re travelling from.  

Exit visas

If you enter Sudan on a single-entry visa, you’ll need an exit visa to leave the country, though this is not always enforced. You can get more information on exit visas from Port Sudan Airport Immigration. You may need to show proof of your sponsor and pay the exit visa fee.  

Travel permits

You will not be allowed to leave the Red Sea State without a travel permit. You need to apply for that once in country and pay a fee. The requirements for each state are different. You will have to pay different amounts and go through different processes depending on your destination.  

Previous travel to Israel 

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

Vaccination requirements  

To enter Sudan, you must have a certificate to prove you’ve had a yellow fever vaccination. 

For full details about medical entry requirements and recommended vaccinations, see TravelHealthPro’s Sudan guide

Registering with the authorities 

You must register with the Aliens Department at the Ministry of Interior within 3 days of your arrival in Sudan. You will need 2 passport size photos and to pay a fee.  

If you do not register within 3 days of arrival, you may be fined. Some larger hotels will do this for you. Ask when you check-in. 

Children and young people 

As well as a visa, children aged 17 and under must have their father’s consent to enter and exit Sudan. Children travelling without their father need a letter giving consent for them to enter and exit Sudan, though this is not always enforced.  

You must get the letter stamped at the Sudanese Embassy in the UK before travel. 

If the father is absent, mothers or guardians must get a court order which shows they have sole custodial rights for the children.  

If the parents are divorced, you’ll need to show divorce documents. 

If the father has died, you’ll need to show the death certificate.  

Contact the Sudanese Embassy in the UK for more information. 

Customs rules 

There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of Sudan. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty. 

This guide also has safety advice for regions of Sudan


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. Stay aware of your surroundings 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

Terrorism in Sudan 

Terrorists are likely to try and carry out attacks in Sudan

Terrorism attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners, such as: 

  • transport hubs 
  • hotels 
  • restaurants 
  • places of worship 
  • major gatherings 

Stay aware of your surroundings, keep up to date with local media reports and follow the advice of local authorities.  

Red Sea military activity 

There is a military response to Houthi militants’ attempts to disrupt international shipping in the Red Sea. The military activity is limited to the Red Sea and Yemen, but travel advice for nearby countries could change at short notice. You should monitor travel advice and follow instructions from local authorities. 

Security situation  

There is an ongoing conflict across Sudan following violent clashes, which started in April 2023. 


There has been widespread violent crime in Khartoum since the start of the conflict. There have also been reports of a large increase in crime in other cities and areas of Sudan. 

 Types of crime include: 

  • looting 
  • burglaries and home invasions 
  • 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 stopped vehicles 

To reduce the risk to yourself and your belongings, you should: 

  • not leave valuable items on display 
  • keep doors locked and windows closed when driving  

If you’re stopped or attacked, comply with demands and do not resist. 

Criminal kidnap 

There is a high threat of detention, including kidnap, enforced disappearances and unlawful arrest across Sudan. There have been a number of recent incidents where British nationals and other westerners have been detained against their will. 

Humanitarian aid workers and journalists are viewed as legitimate targets.

Mobile phone and internet access 

There are regular communication blackouts. Mobile phone and internet services are not always available. Telecommunications networks could be disrupted without warning. 

Laws and cultural differences  

Personal ID 

It is a legal requirement to carry photographic ID, such as a passport, with you at all times. 

Dress code 

Non-Muslim women do not have to wear a veil or cover their heads. Men and women should dress modestly and respect local customs and sensitivities. 


Sudan is an Islamic country. Respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions. Make sure your actions do not cause offence, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.

Alcohol and drug laws 

Non-Muslims are allowed to drink alcohol in Sudan, but not in the presence of Muslims. However, you may still be arrested for drinking alcohol regardless of the circumstances. 

There are severe penalties for drug trafficking. 

Using cameras in secure areas 

Due to the conflict, it is not advisable to take photographs in secure areas in Sudan. Do not take photographs or use a mobile phone camera close to: 

  • government buildings 
  • military installations 
  • public utilities, including petrol stations 
  • other sensitive areas, such as bridges and airports  

Plain-clothed public security officers operate in these areas. 

LGBT+ travellers 

Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Sudan and not tolerated in Sudanese society. This includes inviting guests into hotel rooms.   

Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers

Relationships outside marriage 

It’s illegal to have extramarital relations and there are severe penalties. It’s illegal to live together, or to share the same hotel room, with someone of the opposite sex if you’re not married or closely related. 

Guests in hotel rooms 

It’s illegal to invite guests into your hotel room. Business meetings should take place in hotel lobbies or meeting rooms, not hotel rooms. Tourist police patrol the hotels, and British nationals have reported problems with Sudanese authorities about this. 

Technical equipment 

You might need a licence to use some technical equipment in Sudan, including: 

  • satellite phones 
  • listening or recording devices 
  • radio transmitters 
  • powerful cameras or binoculars 

Contact the Sudanese Embassy in the UK before travelling for more information. 


It’s difficult to use non-Sudanese credit or debit cards, and most banks and ATM machines will not let you withdraw cash. Bring US dollars with you to Sudan.  

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.  

British pounds are rarely exchanged. Only change money through banks or official exchange bureaus.  

Transport risks  

Road travel 

If you are planning to drive in Sudan, see information on driving abroad.  

You can use a UK photocard driving licence to drive in Sudan for up to 3 months. If you still have a paper driving licence, you may need to update it to a photocard licence.  

Road conditions and safety 

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

Road conditions are poor. Roads, even major ones, might: 

  • be untarred or unsurfaced 
  • have potholes 
  • be used by pedestrians, donkey-carts and rickshaws

At night, there is generally no street lighting and many vehicles do not have lights. Many drivers in Sudan do not have a licence or insurance. 

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

Sudanese law prohibits the use of mobile phones while driving. 

Air travel 

Khartoum International Airport is closed following the outbreak of violence in April 2023.   

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) understands that some commercial flight operations leaving Port Sudan Airport have started, operated by Egypt and Badr Airlines. There are no Sudanese airlines which currently meet the standards required to operate direct flights to the UK or EU. 

The UK Air Safety List (ASL) lists all known airlines 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 airlines to fly with. The list is maintained by the Department for Transport, based on advice from the UK Civil Aviation Authority

Sea travel 

There is a significant risk of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. The threat assessment of the combined international naval counter-piracy forces is that sailing yachts should not enter the designated high-risk area, due to the risk of hijacking. 

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

Extreme weather and natural disasters 

Find out what you can do to prepare for and respond to extreme weather and natural hazards

Rainy season 

Flash flooding can happen during the rainy season from July to October. Risks at this time of year include: 

  • flooding that can make areas inaccessible by road, including areas south of Khartoum 
  • dry riverbeds (‘wadis’) being hit by flash floods, with many only being passable on a major road 

This section has extra safety advice for regions of Sudan. It only covers regions where the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has specific advice. 

You should also read FCDO’s overall travel advice and safety and security advice.  

Travelling to Saudi Arabia from Port Sudan 

For information about arriving in Jeddah and entry requirements, see Saudi Arabia travel advice

If you’re arriving in Jeddah from Port Sudan and need urgent assistance, you can contact FCDO in Jeddah on +966 (0)12 622 5550 and select option 4. 

Crossing Sudan’s borders 

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. 

Sudan-Egypt border 

Significant numbers of people are trying to cross the border from Sudan into Egypt. There are 2 main land border crossings between Egypt and Sudan, at Argeen and Qustul. The nearest town in Sudan to the crossings is Wadi Halfa, 30km from border.  

There is almost no infrastructure at these border crossings. People are waiting several days to cross the border, with limited access to food and water. 

The British Embassy in Egypt does not have staff at the border. Our ability to provide help is very limited.  

If you’re a British national planning to cross into Egypt at Argeen or Qustul and you do not have valid documentation with you, call the British Embassy in Cairo: + 20 (0) 2 2791 6000. 

See our Egypt travel advice for entry requirements, including information on visas.  

Before you travel check that: 

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need 
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation 

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant. 

Healthcare facilities in Sudan 

The current conflict has severely affected health services and many may be unavailable, including hospitals for British nationals in Khartoum

Medical facilities in the country are limited and medical evacuation is likely to be necessary for all but the most basic treatments. Make sure you have adequate travel and medical insurance to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. 

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

Emergency medical number 

Call 999 and ask for an ambulance.  

Emergency services in Sudan have been severely impacted by the conflict and are often unresponsive.  

If you need emergency medical treatment you should make your own way to hospital, if you can. 

Contact your insurance company quickly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment. 

Vaccinations and health risks 

At least 8 weeks before your trip check: 

Malaria outbreak  

Malaria cases have increased in Khartoum. Because of the increased risk from malaria, and the impact of the current civil unrest on health services, all travellers in Sudan should take antimalarial chemoprophylaxis. 

If you’ve recently left Sudan and develop fever or flu-like symptoms, get urgent medical attention. Tell the doctors you’ve recently left a malarial risk area.  

TravelHealthPro has more information on malaria in Sudan

Cholera outbreak 

Cholera cases have increased in Sudan, and made worse by the impact of the conflict on health services. Take care with personal, food and water hygiene. 

TravelHealthPro recommends an oral vaccine for cholera if your activities or medical history put you at increased risk. 

Yellow fever 

There is a risk of yellow fever in some parts of Sudan. TravelHealthPro recommends a yellow fever vaccination for some travellers.  

Other health risks 

There are regular outbreaks of chikungunya, dengue, measles and other diseases in Sudan, particularly in refugee camps. There is a lack of clean water and the inability to remove dead bodies means Sudan is at high risk from various diseases.  


The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.  

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro.  

The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad.  

Travel and mental health  

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro.  

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel. 

Emergency services in Sudan 

Telephone: 999 (ambulance, fire, police) 

Emergency services in Sudan have been severely impacted by the conflict and are often unresponsive.  

Contact your travel provider and insurer 

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do. 

Refunds and changes to travel 

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first. 

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including: 

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider 
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim 

Support from FCDO 

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including: 

Contacting FCDO 

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications this travel advice is updated. 

You can also contact FCDO online

Help abroad in an emergency 

The British Embassy in Khartoum is temporarily closed due to the conflict, and there are no British consular staff in Sudan. Our ability to provide help is severely limited. We cannot provide in-person support inside Sudan. 

If you’re a British national in Sudan, you can call our 24/7 telephone helpline: +44 1908 516 666. Select option 2 for consular services for British nationals. 

FCDO in London 

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad. 

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours) 

Find out about call charges 

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