Travel Warning U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Bureau of Consular Affairs Eritrea

The U.S. Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Eritrea and strongly recommends U.S. citizens defer all travel to the country. This replaces the Travel Warning for Eritrea

The U.S. Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Eritrea and strongly recommends U.S. citizens defer all travel to the country. This replaces the Travel Warning for Eritrea of November 29, 2012, to update information on additional travel restrictions, and to remind U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns in Eritrea.

The Eritrean government continues to restrict the travel of all foreign nationals. These restrictions require all visitors and residents, including U.S. diplomats, to apply 10 days in advance for permission to travel outside Asmara’s city limits. Permission is rarely granted. As a result, the U.S. Embassy is extremely limited in its ability to provide emergency consular assistance outside of Asmara.

Travelers should also be aware that travel permits are valid for the approved final destination only, and do not allow for additional stops along the way to or in the proximity of the approved destination. In addition, travel to religious institutions, for example, monasteries, requires separate travel permission even when such facilities are located in or near approved destination cities. Foreign travelers not adhering strictly to the terms of travel permits have reported being detained by law enforcement authorities, and their drivers have been jailed.

A number of U.S.-Eritrean dual citizens have been arrested and some are currently being held without apparent cause. Once arrested, detainees may be held for extended periods without being told the reason for their incarceration. Conditions are harsh – those incarcerated may be held in very small quarters without access to restrooms, bedding, food, or clean water. The Eritrean government does not inform the U.S. Embassy when U.S. citizens, including those who are not dual nationals, have been arrested or detained. Should the U.S. Embassy learn of the arrest of a U.S. citizen, the Eritrean government rarely allows consular access, regardless of the reason the U.S. citizen is being held.

Starting in 2012, the Government of Eritrea began arming its citizens with automatic rifles, forming citizen militias. These armed civilian militias patrol at night and are ordered to check individuals for documentation. You should carry appropriate documentation with you at all times. Those not carrying documentation of their identity and military status may be subject to round-ups, sometimes by armed persons. U.S. citizens should use extreme caution when encountering armed persons.

In observance of the Independence Day holiday of May 24, travelers will notice an increase in the presence of military and police personnel throughout Asmara during the months of April and May. It is during these two months that military and police personnel most frequently check documentation.

The Eritrean government-controlled media frequently broadcasts anti-U.S. rhetoric, and has done so repeatedly since December 2009, when the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) first imposed sanctions on Eritrea. Anti-U.S. messages scripted by the current regime, which often appear as cover stories in the sole English-language state-run newspaper in Eritrea, have grown even stronger since UNSC sanctions were strengthened in December 2011.

Although there have been no specific incidents of violence targeting U.S. citizens, U.S. citizens are urged to exercise caution, stay current with media coverage of local events, and be aware of their surroundings at all times.

U.S. citizens are strongly advised to avoid travel near the Eritrean-Ethiopian border and the Southern Red Sea region. U.S. citizens should be aware of the presence of large numbers of Eritrean and Ethiopian troops along the Eritrean-Ethiopian border and of political and military tensions between the two countries. In March 2012, Ethiopian troops attacked three locations approximately 10 miles inside Eritrean territory. In January 2012, a group of tourists was attacked in Ethiopia not far from the Eritrean-Ethiopian border. Five tourists were killed and four others kidnapped. In May 2010, 13 people were injured when a bomb exploded on a bus just over the border in Ethiopia. In April 2010, a bomb near the border in Ethiopia killed five people and injured 20. In January and February 2010, skirmishes between Eritrean and Ethiopian troops resulted in military fatalities. Although Eritrean forces have withdrawn from disputed territory at the border with Djibouti, tensions in this area remain high.

U.S. citizens on ships and sailing vessels are strongly advised not to sail off the Eritrean coast or to attempt to dock in Eritrean ports, refuel in Eritrea, or travel through Eritrean waters. U.S. citizens are also urged to avoid remote Eritrean islands, some of which may be used for Eritrean military training and could therefore be unsafe. The Eritrean government does not issue visas to persons arriving by marine vessel.

Piracy on the Red Sea continues to occur. Recreational vessels are strongly encouraged to avoid the region entirely, and commercial vessels without explicit agreements with Eritrean authorities are urged to avoid Eritrean territorial waters. There have been incidents involving the seizure of ships attempting to refuel at the Port of Massawa by the Eritrean government as late as the spring of 2012. These seizures have resulted in lengthy detentions of international crew members, including U.S. nationals. Though the incidents were ultimately resolved and both ships and crew released, the concern for future seizures is ongoing. U.S. citizens are cautioned that commercial/tourist ships are not allowed to dock at Eritrean ports, even to refuel.

If transit around the Horn of Africa is necessary, vessels should travel in convoys, maintain good communications contact at all times, and follow the guidance provided by the Maritime Security Center – Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA). U.S. citizens should consult the Maritime Administration’s Horn of Africa Piracy page for information on maritime advisories, self-protection measures, and naval forces in the region.

Landmines and unexploded ordnance remain a serious problem throughout the country. There are reports of accidents and incidents in which vehicles or people occasionally detonate mines. Many detonations occurred on relatively well-traveled roads in and near the Gash Barka region of western Eritrea; subsequent investigations indicated that several mines were recently laid. In September 2011, press reported that a vehicle in Senafe, 60 miles south of Asmara, ran over a landmine; five people were killed and another 34 injured in the incident. Vast areas of the country still have not been certified free of mines and unexploded ordnance following the 30-year war for independence and the subsequent 1998-2000 conflict with Ethiopia. You should avoid walking alone and hiking in riverbeds or areas that local government officials have not certified as safe.

U.S. citizens choosing to travel to Eritrea despite this Travel Warning must obtain an Eritrean visa before their arrival. Persons arriving in Eritrea without a visa are generally refused admission and returned on the next flight back to their point of origin. However, the Embassy is aware of persons being jailed for several months after arriving without a visa. The Embassy urges U.S.-Eritrean dual citizens to obtain an Eritrean visa in their U.S. passport before traveling to Eritrea and to enter the country as U.S. citizens. U.S.-Eritrean dual citizens who enter Eritrea with an Eritrean ID card may find it difficult to obtain the required visa to legally exit the country. The Embassy is aware of numerous cases in which U.S.-Eritrean dual citizens have not been permitted to leave the country. The Embassy cautions travelers not to stay beyond the period of time granted at the time of admission by Eritrean Immigration.

Crime in Asmara has increased as a result of deteriorating economic conditions accompanied by persistent food, water, and fuel shortages, and rapid price inflation. The combination of forced, open-ended, low-paying, national service for many Eritreans and severe unemployment leads some Eritreans to commit crime to support their families. Eritrean authorities have limited capacity to deter or investigate crime or prosecute perpetrators.

Modern telecommunications options are limited in Eritrea and cannot be counted upon in an emergency. International cell phone service plans do not work on Eritrean networks. Local cellular phone service is tightly controlled by the Eritrean government and difficult to obtain. When available, international cell phone calls are extremely expensive and only available using pre-paid minutes. Internet cafés are rare and hours are limited. Internet service is limited and slow, and generally does not support Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services such as Skype.

The U.S. Embassy in Asmara strongly encourages U.S. citizens who travel to or remain in Eritrea despite this Travel Warning to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) so you can receive the most up-to-date security information. Please keep all of your information in STEP current. It is important when enrolling or updating information to include multiple phone numbers and email addresses to facilitate communication in the event of an emergency.

The consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Asmara, though closed for most visa services, is open for all U.S. citizen services between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, or by appointment. The U.S. Embassy in Asmara is located at 179 Alaa Street, P.O. Box 211, Asmara; telephone 291-1-12-00-04, available 24 hours in case of emergency; fax 291-1-124-255 and 291-1-127-584.

Current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444 for callers from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). You can also stay up-to-date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well. You can also download our free Smart Traveler App, available through iTunes and the Google play store, to have travel information at your fingertips.

Travel Warning  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE  Bureau of Consular Affairs  Eritrea

aseye.asena@gmail.com

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75 COMMENTS
  • Semhar May 13, 2013

    WE NEED ACTION like ጅግና፡ ኤርትራዊ ስዉእ ስዒድ ዓሊ ሕጃይ (ወዲ ዓሊ and his courageous comrades who marched from Sorona, Akeleguzay to FORTO, Asmera to liberate our land and our people.

    Let’s fallow wedi Ali’s foot stapes and let’s liberate our land and our people!

    Freedom will ring in Eritrea!
    The Eritrean Liberation Flag will rise up again!
    Eritrea will be the land of the free and the home of the brave!

    • A.A Yassin May 14, 2013

      “and his courageous comrades who marched from Sorona, Akeleguzay to FORTO, Asmera to liberate our land and our people. ”

      kkkkkkkkk! Sela’i ab fitka ‘nkelos nab ASMARA!! bTEn’u kem zey nebere fluT ‘yu::

    • Selino Asmarino May 30, 2013

      ሃየ እሞ ምራሕ ሰብኣይ እንተዄንካ ፤ ንወዲያ’መን ከተጥብስ ተሓቢእካ። ኣብ ዲያስፖራ ዄንካ ሃየ ወዲ ዓሊ ዝገበራ ግበሩ….. ወይለይ ፥ ሰብኣይ እንተዄንካ ባዕልኻ ግበራ እሞ ፤ ወይ ክንስዕበካ ወይ ክንክዕበካ (ከምቲ ወዲ ዓሊ ዝተኻዕቦ) ሽዑ ትርእዮ። ፈሳም

  • MH May 13, 2013

    The problem is you wake up too late, we knew Issayas from early 70th but whenever we say somthing you guys telling us either you are Jihadist, Wayanee or Agame you name it, now you are saying this mad dog killed our people our country what the use, how many innocent people killed this guy and continue. OH what to say GOD Bless Eritrea and the people.

    • A.A Yassin May 14, 2013

      Your IQ is very low. I can not blame you. tefeTro adalawit ‘ya!!!

      • Semhar May 14, 2013

        TALK IS CHEAP WE NEED ACTION like ጅግና፡ ኤርትራዊ ስዉእ ስዒድ ዓሊ ሕጃይ (ወዲ ዓሊ and his courageous comrades who marched from Sorona, Akeleguzay to FORTO, Asmera to liberate our land and our people.

        Why did you betray Wedi Ali?
        WHY?WHY?WHY?
        Let’s fallow his foot stapes and liberate our land and our people!

        • Selino Asmarino May 30, 2013

          ንሱ ሸጊጉ እዩ ኔሩ፡፡ ሃየ እሞ ምራሕ ሰብኣይ እንተዄንካ ፤ ንወዲያ’መን ከተጥብስ ተሓቢእካ። ኣብ ዲያስፖራ ዄንካ ሃየ ወዲ ዓሊ ዝገበራ ግበሩ….. ወይለይ ፥ ሰብኣይ እንተዄንካ ባዕልኻ ግበራ እሞ ፤ ወይ ክንስዕበካ ወይ ክንክዕበካ (ከምቲ ወዲ ዓሊ ዝተኻዕቦ) ሽዑ ትርእዮ። ፈሳም

    • Semhar May 14, 2013

      THIS IS OUR TIME!

      It’s better late than never!

      The time has come for change in Eritrea!

      Let’s march for freedom on 05/24/2013 ኣብ ዋሽንግተን ዲሲ!

      Please do not forget to bring our Liberation Flag for the freedom march!

      Thanks and may God bless ጅግና፡ ኤርትራዊ ስዉእ ስዒድ ዓሊ ሕጃይ (ወዲ ዓሊ and his courageous comrades who marched with their tanks from Sorona, Akeleguzay to FORTO, Asmera to liberate our land and our people.

      The mad dog, the evil spirit ሕስረት ዝለመደ ዕባይ እንዳ ስዋ Isayas and his blind followers the PFDJ and their burned flag will be smashed!

      Eritrea will be free and our liberation flag will rise up again!

      Let freedom ring in Akeleguzy!
      Let freedom ring in Barka!
      Let freedom ring in sahil!
      Let freedom ring in Senhit!
      Let freedom ring in semhar!
      Let freedom ring in Seraye!
      Let freedom ring in Denkel!
      Let freedom ring in Hamassien!

      2013 freedom will ring allover ERITREA!
      ERITREA will be the Land of the FREE and the home of the BRAVE!

  • A.A Yassin May 14, 2013

    “The U.S. Embassy in Asmara strongly encourages U.S. citizens who travel to or remain in Eritrea despite this Travel Warning to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) so you can receive the most up-to-date security information. ”

    I wish the victims of terrorist attack in Boston got THE MOST UP-TO-DATE SECURITY INFORMATION.

    • Genet May 14, 2013

      AA. Yassin
      please don’t make a comparison between apples and oranges. I know you are doing your job as the reluctant defender of the dictator and PFDJ system/leaders. It is very hard to defend any thing without facts. Do you get paid by PFDJ leaders based on post entry?
      Genet

      • A.A Yassin May 14, 2013

        “please don’t make a comparison between apples and oranges”????

  • Said May 14, 2013

    We been saying all alone, dictator, killing our people .it’s been so long , thank for.reminding us .good job america.

  • ida May 14, 2013

    If your brothers and sisters are being killed, tortured, and raped, and you are supporting that evil dictator, you must have the IQ of 0. You must be a retard.

    • A.A Yassin May 14, 2013

      If your brothers and sisters are being killed, tortured and raped in Sini and you are putting the blame on the Eritrean government while at the same time supporting Woyane , you must have the IQ of 0. You must be a retard.

      • Genet May 14, 2013

        Oh, AA Yassin
        So the Eritrean people who are being killed in Sini are not your brother and sister?
        Genet

  • Genet May 16, 2013

    AA. Yassin
    “It is very simple you have to go to the land of his ancestors in Asmara and its surrounding…” No Yassin, you have to list Mr Afewerki’s seven generations. then we will check whether the lands around Asmera belong to him or his ancestors. It is very simple.

    “Now Geneta give me your full name and identity” Why?? I am an Eritrean. Unlike you and Mr Afewerki, I can list more than seven generations of my ancestors at the top of my head. You said, “I have noticed that you are very protective of Tigray..” I am LOL.. See, I am a very proud Eritrean. I don’t have an ounce of complexity about my identity. I am realisitc. I acckonwlage that Eritrea has a considerable numbers of Ethiopian-Eritrean. I don’t want to offend any one unnecessarily.

    YOU WANT TO KNOW WHO I AM? I AM AN ERITREAN, WHOS COUNTRY HAS BEEN TAKEN OVER BY RUTHLESS DICTATOR. I AM AN ERITREAN WHO LOST BROTHER AND SISTER FOR MY FREEDOM. YET I AM DENID A BASIC RIGHT. I AM AN ERITREAN WHOS YOUNG BROTHERS AND SISTERS ARE PREVENTED FROM GETTING A DECENT EDUCATION. I AM AN ERITREAN WHOS BROTHERS AND SISTERS ARE DYING IN SINI. I AM AN ERITREAN WHOS COUNTRY IS BEING DESTROYED ON PURPOSE. SO ERITREA AND ERITREAN CAN BE AT THE BOTTOM OF ALL COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD; IN ALL ASPECT OF LIFE. YOU KNOW THAT IF ONE WANTS USELESS PEOPLE, HE/SHE GOES AFTER EDUCATION. IN ERITREA, UNDER THE DICATOR, THAT IS ALREADY ACCMPLISHED. IT WILL TAKE US 20 TO 50 YEARS TO COME BACK.

    YOU ASKD WHO I AM, I AM AN ERITREAN WHO HAS BEEN IN A TOTAL SHOUK, WHAT IT BECAME OF BEING AN ERITREAN AND ERITREA. I AM ASKING, WHAT HAPPEN TO THE HOPE OF PROSPERITY? WHAT WHENT WRONG? HOW COME NO BODY SAW THIS WAS COMING?
    Genet

    • haha May 17, 2013

      yassin shut you mouse plz.who elect you to be a represent us here and there?who gave our freedom at first go to the field and try to find it your self not in cyper cafe.bull head

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