Algeria

Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Monday, 22 December 2014.   This advice contains new information in the Summary and under Safety and security (we now strongly advise against travel to parts of Algeria within 450 kilometres of Mali and Niger and within 100 kilometres of Mauritania, Libya and Tunisia). We continue to advise Australians to reconsider their need to travel to Algeria.

Algeria overall

Within 450 kilometres of borders with Mali and Niger

Within 100 kilometres of borders with Mauritania, Libya and Tunisia

Summary

  • We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Algeria at this time because of the high threat of terrorist attack. If you do decide to travel to Algeria, you should exercise extreme caution.
  • You should avoid political gatherings and demonstrations, monitor the media for developments which could affect your safety and follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • The deteriorating security environment across the Sahel has adversely affected Algeria. In 2014, attacks occured in Sidi Bel-Abbès (440 km west of Algiers) and Tizi Ouzou (90 km east of Algiers), demonstrating the threat across the country.
  • We regularly receive information indicating that terrorists are planning attacks against a range of targets, including places frequented by foreigners and Western interests, as well as premises and symbols associated with the Algerian Government. Terrorists have in the past mounted attacks on significant dates and anniversaries, but attacks could occur anywhere and at any time.
  • You should take particular care in Tizi Ouzou, Bouira, Bourmedès and Bejaia provinces (east of Algiers) in the Kabylie region.
  • You should avoid travel by road throughout Algeria, especially in the Tamanrasset and Illizi provinces in southern Algeria due to the presence of armed groups. All road travel outside city limits must be cleared in advance by police authorities.
  • We strongly advise you not to travel to parts of Algeria within 450 kilometres of the borders with Mali and Niger and within 100 kilometres of Mauritania, Libya and Tunisia. , due to the threat of terrorism, banditry and kidnapping.
  • Kidnapping, by both criminals and terrorists, is a real threat in Algeria, particularly outside major centres. Kidnappings occur frequently in the Kabylie region in north east Algeria and in the trans-Sahara region in the south. A French national was kidnapped and later killed in the mountainous area of Tizi Ouzou, in the Kabylie region, on 21 September 2014.
  • See also our general advice for business travellers.
  • Australia does not have an embassy or consulate in Algeria. The Canadian Embassy located in Algiers, provides consular assistance to Australians in Algeria. This service includes the issuance of Provisional Travel Documents. The Australian Embassy in Paris, France, can also assist Australians in Algeria.
  • Given the high terrorist threat in Algeria, we strongly recommend that you register your travel and contact details with us, so we can contact you in an emergency.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
click on image to expand

Entry and exit

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the Embassy of Algeria for the most up to date information.

A valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate is required for all passengers over one year of age who arrive from an area/country where yellow fever is endemic. See the WHO website for a list of yellow fever countries.

Algerian minors, including dual nationals, require the written consent of their father before they are permitted to leave Algerian territory.

Make sure your passport has at least six months’ validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Safety and security

We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Algeria because of the high threat of terrorist attack, kidnapping and banditry.

If you are working in Algeria you should consult our business travel advice which provides advice on risks for Australian employers and business travellers for short-term overseas travel for longer-term deployments and travel to high-threat remote locations.

Terrorism

Algerian terrorist groups have been fighting to overthrow the Algerian government since 1992. Al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which has signalled its intention to target foreigners, has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks in Algeria and in neighbouring countries since 2006.

You should maintain a high level of vigilance at all times, employ appropriate personal security protection measures and avoid unnecessary travel in remote areas (see Local travel section).
We regularly receive information indicating that terrorists are planning attacks in Algeria, including against Western interests and places frequented by foreigners, as well as premises and symbols associated with the Algerian Government. Terrorists have in the past mounted attacks on significant dates and anniversaries, but attacks could occur anywhere and at any time.

A threat of attack exists in Algeria’s major cities despite a strong presence of security forces, including in the Kasbah in central Algiers. You should take particular care in Tizi Ouzou, Bouira, Bourmedès and Bejaia provinces (east of Algiers) in the Kabylie region.

In planning your activities, consider the kind of places known to be terrorist targets and the level of security provided. Possible targets include Algerian government offices, clubs, restaurants, foreign embassies, schools, international hotels, expatriate housing compounds, churches and other places of worship, shopping centres, outdoor recreation events, tourist areas, shipping and transport infrastructure, ports, airports and aircraft, security installations and police stations, petroleum and electrical infrastructure and installations or identifiably Western interests including businesses.

In January 2014, the Algerian security forces carried out counter-terrorism operations across the country, resulting in the death of a number of militants. .

Other terrorist incidents in Algeria in recent years include:

  • On 3 November 2014, militants fired on a convoy of foreign construction workers in Bouria province.
  • On 12 July 2014, seven security officials were killed by a bomb explosion in Sidi Bel-Abbès, 440 km west of Algiers.
  • On 19 April 2014, 11 Algerian soldiers were killed in an attack in Tizi Ouzou.
  • On 8 September 2013 extremists attacked a military convoy 40 km southeast of Tizi Ouzou, killing two soldiers and injuring five others.
  • On 16 July 2013, four soldiers were killed when their military convoy drove over two underground bombs in Tipasa province, 70 km west of Algiers.
  • On 28 April 2013, three municipal guards were killed in a terrorist attack in the vicinity of Bourkika, in Tipasa province
  • On 6 February 2013, militants attacked an Algerian army barracks in Khenchela, 100 km from the Tunisian border. Two militants died and six soldiers were injured.
  • On 27 January 2013, an armed group carried out a mortar attack against a camp protecting a gas main in Djebahia, in Bouria province, 125 km southeast of Algiers.
  • In January 2013, terrorists attacked a gas facility near In Amenas in the Illizi province near the border with Libya, killing at least 37 foreign workers.

Borders with Mali and Niger

We advise against travel within 450 kilometers of the border with Mali and Niger due to the threat of terrorist attack, banditry and kidnapping.

Borders with Tunisia and Libya

We advise against travel within 100 kilometers of the border with Tunisia and Libya due to the threat of terrorist attack, banditry and kidnapping. Algerian and Tunisian security forces regularly conduct security operations along the border between Algeria and Tunisia in the Chaambi mountains area, south of Souk Ahras. There is an increased threat in this area due to the presence of extremists. At least 37 foreign employees and one local worker were killed in an attack on a gas plant at In Amenas in January 2013.

Borders with Mauritania

We advise against travel within 100 kilometers of the border with Mauritania due to the threat of terrorist attack, banditry and kidnapping.

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our Terrorist Threat Overseas bulletin for more information on terrorism and our General advice to Australian travellers for tips on staying safe overseas.

Kidnapping

Kidnapping, by both criminals and terrorists, is a real threat in Algeria, particularly outside major centres. Kidnappings occur frequently in the Kabylie region in north east Algeria and in the trans-Sahara region in the south. The threat is especially high in the Djanet district in Illizi province and Tamanrasset province.

AQIM and splinter groups committed to the same ideology have taken a number of hostages from remote areas in Algeria and neighbouring countries. A number remain in captivity. A French national was kidnapped and later killed in the mountainous area of Tizi Ouzou, in the Kabylie region, on 21 September 2014.

The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it does not make payments or concessions to kidnappers. The Australian Government considers that paying a ransom increases the risk of further kidnappings, including of other Australians. If you do decide to travel to an area where there is a particular threat of kidnapping, you should ensure you have personal security measures in place and seek professional security advice.

For more information about kidnapping, see our Kidnapping Threat travel bulletin.

Civil unrest/political tension

A number of protests have occurred across Algeria in 2014, with some resulting in violent clashes between police and demonstrators. The frequency and intensity of localized, sporadic, and usually spontaneous civil disturbances has increased significantly in recent years over economic issues. International events may also prompt demonstrations and protests.

You should avoid political gatherings, protests and demonstrations, particularly outside mosques and educational institutions, as they may turn violent without warning. You should exercise particular caution in the period surrounding Friday prayers. You should also monitor the media for developments which may affect your safety and follow the instructions of local authorities.

The Algerian Government lifted the longstanding State of Emergency in February 2011. However, demonstrations remain illegal in Algiers.

Crime

Petty crime such as pick-pocketing, bag snatching and theft from motor vehicles does occur, and is especially a risk in the larger cities. Crime levels are higher after dark.

Deserted beach areas should be avoided, even during daylight hours, because of the threat of banditry and carjacking. You should use a local licensed guide for tours of the Kasbah area of Algiers. Criminals, posing as police officers, have been reported to have carried out robberies, carjacking and to have erected illegal road blocks. Avoid carrying large amounts of money or valuables with you.

Money and Valuables

ATM cards and credit cards can be used in hotels and a limited number of businesses in the larger cities. Most international credit cards are accepted by ATMs available in major cities and large international hotels. You should only buy Algerian dinars at bureau de change at international airports, large hotels, and banks in major cities. The dinar cannot be exported.

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

Review the general advice to Australian travellers for further information on being safe and prepared abroad.

Local travel

We strongly recommend you stay at international hotels which provide a high level of security.

You should avoid travel by road throughout Algeria, especially in the Tamanrasset and Illizi provinces in southern Algeria due to the presence of armed groups. All road travel outside city limits must be cleared in advance by police authorities.

Bandits may use illegal checkpoints and blockades on roads to stop vehicles, including buses.

It is recommended that internal travel be undertaken by air. However, if travel by road is necessary it should be done during daylight. All road travel outside city limits must be cleared in advance by police authorities. Travellers should check with Algerian authorities for details.

Road and traffic conditions in Algeria are very dangerous. A large number of people are killed and injured in traffic accidents, including buses, each year. See also our road travel page.

The land border between Algeria and Morocco is currently closed. There are reports of unexploded landmines in the area of Algeria bordering the Western Sahara. Mines have been known to shift in sandstorms. A previously unknown minefield was reportedly discovered at Bir El Ater, 75km south of Tebessa, near the Tunisian border, in early October 2010.

Areas bordering the Western Sahara, Mauritania, Mali and Niger are known to be frequented by bandits and armed smugglers.

Airline safety

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See instead the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Algeria.

Please also refer to our general air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.

Laws

When you are in Algeria, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can’t get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research local laws before travelling.

Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.

Penalties for possession of illegal drugs, including soft drugs, include imprisonment.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Algeria and penalties include imprisonment. See our LGBTI travellers page.

Photography of military or sensitive sites, including military or security personnel, may lead to arrest and detention.

Serious crime, such as murder or treason, may attract the death penalty.

In Algeria it is against the law to attempt to convert Muslims to another faith or to distribute material that may be seen by local authorities as an attempt to convert Muslims to another faith.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.

Local Customs

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is expected to begin in mid-June 2015. During Ramadan, Australians travelling to countries with significant Muslim communities should take care to respect religious and cultural sensitivities, rules and customs. In particular, people who are not fasting are advised to avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public and in the presence of people who are fasting. For more information see our Ramadan travel bulletin.

There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in Algeria, and you should take care not to offend. Women are advised to wear loose-fitting clothes that cover the arms and legs. Women should consider wearing a headscarf, particularly in rural and traditional areas and near mosques, religious shrines and religious educational institutes. If in doubt, seek local advice.

Physical contact between men and women in public should be avoided. Public displays of affection can cause offence, particularly in rural and traditional areas and near mosques, religious shrines and religious educational institutes.

The normal work week in Algeria is Sunday to Thursday.

Information for Dual Nationals

Algeria does not recognise dual nationality. This may limit the ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance to Australian/Algerian dual nationals who are arrested or detained. We recommend you travel on your Australian passport at all times.

Australian/Algerian dual national males may be subject to compulsory military service and other obligations when in Algeria and should seek advice from the Embassy of Algeria, well in advance of travel.

Children born of an Algerian father automatically acquire Algerian citizenship at birth. Child custody decisions are based on local religious laws. Australians involved in custody and other family disputes should consult a lawyer before they leave Australia for advice on the impact of religious law on their family circumstances, including their departure from Algeria.

Dual national Algerian/Australian citizens should note that Algeria has been listed by the Government of the United States of America as one of the 14 countries whose citizens will be subjected to a full body and cabin baggage search on entering the United States.

Our Dual nationals page provides further information.

Health

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

The standard of medical facilities in Algeria varies. Public medical services and facilities in the capital, Algiers, vary from adequate to limited. Private medical facilities, especially in the capital, Algiers, are generally better equipped than public facilities and can meet normal international accreditation standards. Medical facilities in remote areas, including mountainous and desert regions, can be very limited or non-existent. Travellers may wish to consider carrying limited medical supplies for personal use. Foreigners will be required to pay an up-front deposit for medical services.

In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to a destination with appropriate facilities such as Marseille or Paris in France would be necessary. Costs for a medical evacuation could be up to $A50,000.

Insect-borne diseases (such as leishmaniasis and West Nile fever) are prevalent in Algeria. There is also a risk of malaria. We encourage you to consider taking prophylaxis against malaria and to take measures to avoid insect bites including using insect repellent at all times, wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.

Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including tuberculosis, typhoid, hepatitis, meningitis and rabies) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. We advise you to boil all drinking water or drink bottled water and avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food, particularly outside metropolitan areas. Do not swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to parasitic diseases such as schistosomiasis (bilharzia). Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.

Where to get help

Depending on the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurance provider in the first instance.

If the matter relates to criminal issues, contact the local police. The national emergency number is 17, when dialling from a landline 021-73-53-50 from a mobile phone. Emergency operators may or may not speak French and normally do not speak English.

The Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and can’t do to assist Australians overseas.

Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Algeria. By agreement between the Canadian and Australian governments, the Canadian Embassy in Algiers provides consular assistance to Australians in Algeria. This service includes the issuance of Provisional Travel Documents. Contact details are:

Canadian Embassy
18, rue Mustapha Khalef
Ben Aknoun
Algiers, 16000, Algeria
Telephone: (+213) (0) 770 08 30 00
Facsimile: (+213) (0) 770 08 30 70/ 770 08 30 40
E-mail: alger@international.gc.ca
Website: www.canadianinternational.gc.ca/algeria-agerie
Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday 09:00-11:00hrs

You can also obtain consular assistance from the Australian Embassy in France:

Australian Embassy
4 rue Jean Rey
75724 Cedex 15
Paris, France
Telephone: (+33 1) 4059 3300
Facsimile: (+33 1) 4059 3315
Website: www.france.embassy.gov.au

See the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you are travelling to Algeria, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we strongly encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency; whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the Embassy you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

Parts of Algeria, including Algiers, are subject to earthquakes and floods. Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

Additional Resources

For additional general and economic information to assist travelling in this country, see the following link:



While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Maps are presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature. Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy.