Is it safe to travel in Eritrea?

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Current

Military actions and state of emergency in the Ethiopian region of Tigray

There are currently warnings against traveling to Eritrea.

On the evening of November 14, 2020, explosions in Asmara and Massawa caused damage.
A connection with the military action of the Ethiopian government against the People's Liberation Front of Tigray (TPLF) in the Ethiopian region of Tigray of the same name bordering Eritrea cannot be ruled out, as can further effects on the security situation in Eritrea and in the Ethiopian border region of Afar.

  • Be especially careful and do your research on the local media.
  • Follow the instructions of local security guards.

COVID-19

The spread of COVID-19 continues to lead to restrictions in international air and travel traffic and impairment of public life.

Epidemiological situation

Eritrea has been less affected by COVID-19 so far.
Eritrea is still classified as a risk area.
The Eritrean Ministry of Information and the World Health Organization (WHO) provide current and detailed figures.

entry

Entry is only possible by air. Eritrea does not issue visas for tourist travel until further notice and only a few scheduled passenger flights are offered. Passengers on special flights must show a certificate of a PCR test that is not more than 72 hours old. You are obliged to stay in a quarantine facility for seven days at your own expense, at the end of which a further COVID-19 test is carried out. The quarantine obligation does not apply if a vaccination is proven by a certificate and a successful antibody test on arrival.

Transit and onward travel

All border crossings at the land and sea borders are closed. Entry from neighboring countries or onward travel to neighboring countries across these borders is not permitted.

Travel connections

Scheduled passenger flights have been allowed to take off or land again since April 22, 2021. However, the offer is very limited. The land and sea borders are closed. Anyone who is found attempting to enter across the land or sea border must expect to be admitted to a quarantine facility.

Restrictions in the country

There is a general curfew. Foreigners are no longer permitted to travel within the country and the use of private cars and motorcycles is prohibited. All hotels and restaurants are closed until further notice. Public gatherings and events with more than ten participants are prohibited.
In recent weeks, a lower density of controls has led to an easing of the curfew, so that pedestrians and cyclists can move freely within the capital.

Hygiene rules

Distance rules apply, but are not observed in reality. There is a mask requirement in public spaces.

Special features in the regions

If you stay in the border area, you can expect a briefing in a quarantine facility.

  • Make sure you comply with the AHA regulations and also follow the instructions from local authorities. High fines can be imposed if the hygiene regulations are violated.
  • Find out about detailed measures and additional information from the Eritrean government.
  • Stays in foreign countries can currently affect the possibility of entering other countries. Therefore, find out about the current regulations on entry, transit and quarantine in the respective travel countries via the travel and safety information before starting any trip.

  • When you return to Germany, note the valid entry restrictions such as registration, test and quarantine regulations, inquire about the current conditions of carriage at the responsible company or your tour operator, if necessary, and contact the health department at your place of residence or residence if you are entering from a risk area . Further information is available in our continuously updated info box on COVID-19 / Coronavirus.

Safety - travel warning

Before traveling to Eritrea is warned.

terrorism

Domestic situation

In the capital, Asmara, the situation is stable and calm.

The announced settlement of the border conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea and the temporary opening of the border have not changed the entry regulations.
On the evening of November 14, 2020, explosions in Asmara and Masawa caused damage.
The Ethiopian government has been carrying out military actions against the People's Liberation Front of Tigray (TPLF) in the Ethiopian region of Tigray bordering Eritrea since the beginning of November 2020. Further effects on the security situation in Eritrea, especially in the border area, cannot be ruled out.

The border conflict with Djibouti has not been resolved and the situation there remains tense.

Rebel groups and smugglers are active in the border region with Sudan, and there is a risk of mines in many places. The border with Sudan has not yet been officially opened.

The Eritrean authorities do not inform the foreign diplomatic and consular missions about the arrests of their respective nationals and deny access to arrested or imprisoned foreigners, so that consular assistance is made impossible.

  • If absolutely necessary, only travel to Eritrea by air.
  • Find out about the local media.
  • Avoid demonstrations and large crowds.
  • Follow the instructions of local security guards and behave cooperatively.

crime

The general crime rate is low. Petty crime such as pickpocketing occurs occasionally, violent crime is rare.
The use of so-called "line taxis" (shared taxis) in Asmara resulted in repeated pickpockets.

  • Avoid driving in the dark and on remote roads.
  • Be especially careful when using shared taxis in Asmara.
  • Keep your money, ID, driver's license, air tickets and other important documents safe.
  • Take only the cash you need for the day and no unnecessary valuables.
  • Always be attentive in large crowds and watch out for your valuables.
  • Be skeptical of unfamiliar e-mails, profit notifications, offers and requests for help from alleged acquaintances. Do not disclose any data about yourself; if necessary, make sure yourself personally or contact the police.

piracy

When shipping east of Eritrea, especially south along the Somali coast, there is a risk of pirate attacks.

Nature and climate

Eritrea is located in a seismically active zone, which is why earthquakes and volcanic activity can occur.

The climate on the coastal plain of the Red Sea is hot with little rainfall, and temperate in the northern and central highlands. The western lowlands are not very fertile in the north, and fertile in the south with a forest and grassland landscape.
In the rainy season from June to September there can be floods and landslides and as a result significant traffic obstructions.

  • Familiarize yourself with earthquake and volcano behavior guidelines. These are provided by the fact sheets of the German Research Center for Geosciences.
  • Always observe prohibitions, information signs and warnings as well as the instructions of local authorities.

Travel info

Infrastructure / traffic

Traffic routes may be impaired due to measures related to COVID-19 containment, see Current.

Most of the roads that were destroyed in the civil war have now been restored. An old railway line (from Asmara to Massawa) has been restored for purely tourist purposes.

Buses run between the large towns, but they are often overcrowded and older. In Asmara there are taxis and shared taxis (“line taxis”).

All main roads are paved, but side roads are mostly not. In the rainy season from June to September, unpaved roads are sometimes difficult to pass.

Away from the roads and especially in the border area with Ethiopia and Djibouti, there is a risk of landmines.

Apart from a few cities, there is practically no tourist infrastructure.

In the case of the power supply, even in urban centers, there can be outages lasting several hours, and there can be supply bottlenecks in the supply of drinking water. Even in hotels and restaurants, non-carbonated drinking water is often not available. Internet connections are generally rare and rather bad.

Driving license

The international driving license is required and is only valid in conjunction with the national German driving license.

Travel permit

All foreigners are subject to travel restrictions. For trips outside the capital Asmara of more than 20 km, you need a travel permit, which must be applied for at the Eritrean Ministry of Tourism for tourists, at the responsible ministry for business travelers and for resident foreign workers through your Eritrean employer at the responsible authority. The travel destination, route, duration and purpose must be specified in the application. This travel permit is not always issued.

Diplomats are also subject to these restrictions and need a travel permit to leave the capital, which must be applied for at least two days before departure. It is therefore difficult to provide assistance to travelers who find themselves in an acute emergency outside of Asmara.

LGBTIQ

Homosexual acts are punishable by law. Violations can lead to criminal proceedings, imprisonment or a fine.

Legal specifics

The Eritrean authorities do not inform the foreign diplomatic and consular missions about the arrests of their respective nationals and deny access to arrested or imprisoned foreigners, so that consular assistance is made impossible.

Possession and use of drugs (of any kind) can lead to several years in prison.

In Eritrea there are special courts and the death penalty, e.g. for treason or espionage.

Photographing military objects and people is strictly forbidden, although the term "military object" is unclear and the definition is often incomprehensible. Particular restraint is therefore advisable.
Expressions of opinion critical of the government can lead to arrest.

Money / credit cards

The national currency is the Nakfa (ERN). A cash supply in Eritrea is only possible by exchanging foreign currency in Nakfa in exchange offices and banks as well as by transferring money via Western Union. There are no ATMs and credit cards are not accepted. Payment by credit card on site is also not possible in hotels. Nevertheless, some hotels can be booked from abroad on the Internet via the relevant booking portals and paid for by credit card.

  • Clarify the payment options with the hotel in advance of the trip.

Entry and customs

Entry and transit regulations may currently differ due to measures to contain COVID-19, see Current.

Entry and import regulations for German citizens can change at short notice without notifying the Foreign Office beforehand. You can only obtain legally binding information and / or information going beyond this information on the entry and customs regulations for importing goods directly from the representatives of your destination country.
You can find the customs regulations for Germany on the website of German customs and via the “Customs and Travel” app, or you can inquire about them by telephone.

Travel documents

Entry is possible for German citizens with the following documents:

  • Passport: Yes
  • Temporary passport: Yes
  • Identity card: No
  • Provisional identity card: No
  • Children's passport: Yes

Comments / minimum remaining validity:
Travel documents must be valid beyond the stay.
Travel documents of people intending to take up residence in Eritrea must be valid for at least one year.

visa

German nationals require a visa to enter the country, which must be applied for at the responsible Eritrean diplomatic mission abroad, in Germany at the Eritrean embassy in Berlin.
The purpose of the stay must correspond to the purpose stated in the visa, i.e. a tourist visa may not be used for business or research stays or press activities. Staying in Eritrea without a valid visa is a criminal offense and leads to arrest.

Tourist visas are initially issued for one month by the Eritrean missions abroad such as the Embassy of the State of Eritrea in Berlin. They can then be renewed for one month each time for a fee (approx. 60 US dollars).

For tourist visas and business visas, the competent authority can allow the actually permissible maximum period of validity to be exceeded in individual cases.

If a German citizen travels from a country in which there is an Eritrean representation, the visa must be applied for there prior to entry. A visa can only be issued at the border if the Eritrean representation confirms in writing that the visa could not be issued in time despite the application and this certificate is presented at the border.

If a German citizen enters from a country in which there is no Eritrean representation, the traveler should contact the nearest Eritrean representation or the embassy of the State of Eritrea in Berlin to find out about the specific entry modalities.

German-Eritrean dual state

People with Eritrean and German citizenship living outside Eritrea need a visa to enter the country with a German passport. Anyone entering with an Eritrean identity card (ID) needs an exit visa in order to be able to leave the country again. Travelers with German and Eritrean citizenship are treated exclusively as Eritrean citizens by the Eritrean authorities when traveling in Eritrea. Consular protection from the Asmara embassy is generally not possible for these persons. This also applies to questions of conscription, to which all men and women from the age of 18 are subject.

  • Inquire about the modalities of entry and exit at the Eritrean diplomatic mission responsible for you before you start your journey.

Minors

Children should travel accompanied by their parents or someone who has custody. If you travel alone, you must have an ‘unaccompanied minor form’ certificate stating that you will be received by a competent person or organization on arrival in Eritrea.

Import regulations

People entering and leaving the country are allowed unlimited convertible currencies in and out. Amounts that exceed the equivalent of US $ 10,000 must be declared to Eritrean customs when crossing the border. They can only be exchanged for the local currency at official institutions (banks and Himbol exchange offices) at a rate set by the bank.

According to the law (Legal Notice No. 73/2013), violations of these foreign exchange regulations are punishable by penalties of ERN 50,000 (approx. 2,500 euros) and up to three years in prison.

Bringing Eritrean travel documents (passports, ID cards, etc.) with third parties is prohibited and can result in penalties.

The export of the national currency Nakfa is subject to strict controls and is prohibited. Travelers who take Eritrean currency with them when leaving the country by air must expect their passport to be temporarily withdrawn and their flight tickets even canceled. Nakfa are confiscated by the authorities. There is the possibility of arrest and criminal proceedings.

Upon entry, the luggage carried will be screened and marked if anything is suspicious. The marked baggage must be opened.

Duty is levied on electronic devices (laptops, digital cameras, etc.) that are supposed to remain in Eritrea. If these devices are intended for personal use during the stay in Eritrea and are brought back with you when you leave the country, no customs duties are levied. A certificate is issued for the import, which must be presented on departure.

Pets

A valid rabies vaccination and an International Health Certificate must be proven to import pets.

health

Current

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the disease COVID-19, which is triggered by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, a pandemic.

measles

In January 2019, WHO declared delaying or skipping vaccinations as a threat to global health. In particular, the lack of vaccination against measles poses a high risk when the number of cases increases internationally.

  • As part of your travel preparations, check your and your children's vaccination protection against measles and have this supplemented if necessary.

Vaccination protection

No compulsory vaccinations are required for direct entry from Germany. When entering from a yellow fever endemic area, proof of a yellow fever vaccination must be provided for travelers ≥ 9 months.

  • Make sure that you and your children have the standard vaccinations according to the Robert Koch Institute's vaccination calendar up to date.
  • Vaccinations against hepatitis A are recommended as travel vaccinations, and in the case of long-term stays or special exposure also against hepatitis B, typhoid and rabies.
  • Please note the instructions for use and help for the indication in the travel vaccination recommendations leaflet.
  • The DTG offers up-to-date, detailed travel vaccination recommendations for specialist groups.

Dengue fever

Dengue viruses are nationwide by diurnal Aedes- Mosquitoes transmitted. The disease is usually associated with fever, skin rash and pronounced pain in the limbs and is increasingly affecting travelers as well. In rare cases, especially in children, serious complications, including possible death, occur. Overall, however, complications for travelers are rare. There is neither a vaccination nor chemoprophylaxis nor a specific therapy against dengue fever, see information sheet on dengue fever.

  • To avoid dengue fever, protect yourself consistently against mosquito bites as part of exposure prophylaxis, especially during the day.

malaria

Government measures to control mosquitoes have reduced the number of malaria infections in recent years.

Malaria is caused by crepuscular and nocturnal anophelesMosquitoes transmitted. If left untreated, the dangerous one in particular is Malaria tropica often fatal in non-immune Europeans. The disease can break out weeks to months after your stay in the risk area, see Malaria leaflet.

  • If you develop a fever during or even months after a corresponding trip, see the doctor as soon as possible and inform him about your stay in a malaria area.

In Eritrea there is a high risk of infection all year round in all parts of the country below approx. 1,500 m, i.e. in the coastal regions! There is no risk of infection in the capital, Asmara.

To avoid malaria, protect yourself consistently against insect bites as part of exposure prophylaxis. You should pay particular attention to the following points:

  • Wear light-colored clothing that covers the body (long trousers, long shirts).
  • Repeatedly apply insect repellent to all exposed parts of the body, during the day (dengue) and in the evening and at night (malaria).
  • If necessary, sleep under an impregnated mosquito net.

    Depending on the travel profile, in addition to the necessary exposure prophylaxis, chemoprophylaxis (taking tablets) is also useful. Various prescription drugs (e.g. atovaquone proguanil, doxycycline, mefloquine) are available on the German market for this purpose.

  • Discuss the choice of medication and its personal adjustment as well as side effects or intolerance to other medication with a tropical medicine or travel medicine specialist before taking it.
  • It is recommended that you bring sufficient supplies with you.

HIV / AIDS

There is always a high risk of HIV transmission through sexual contact, drug use (unclean syringes or cannulas) and blood transfusions.

  • Always use condoms, especially on casual acquaintances.

Diarrheal diseases

Diarrheal illnesses are common travel illnesses, see information sheet on diarrheal illnesses. However, most diarrheal diseases can be avoided through appropriate food and drinking water hygiene. Therefore, to protect your health, please observe the following basic information:

  • Only drink water of safe origin, never tap water. A previously opened bottle can be identified more easily by purchasing carbonated bottled water.
  • If possible, use drinking water to wash dishes and brush your teeth when you're out and about.
  • If bottled water is not available, use filtered, disinfected, or boiled water.
  • Cook or peel food yourself.
  • Make sure you keep flies away from your food.
  • Wash your hands with soap as often as possible, but always before preparing and eating.
  • If possible, disinfect your hands with liquid disinfectant.

More infectious diseases

In particular, there are some other infectious diseases transmitted by mosquitoes or ticks, but are generally rare among travelers (e.g. leishmaniasis, phlebotomus fever, filariasis). Pay attention to insect protection (see above).

Schistosomiasis (schistosomiasis)

Schistosomiasis is transmitted when bathing, wading or other leisure activities in or near fresh water by the penetration of worm larvae through the intact skin, see also information sheet Schistosomiasis.

  • Consistently refrain from bathing in freshwater waters.

Medical supplies

Medical care is minimal even in the capital, Asmara. Only in the Orota Referral Hospital there are 9 intensive care beds, in the Halibet Hospital there is a small burn unit. Private medical treatment is very limited, with only a very small number of specialists across the country. Medicines are only available in a very limited range.

  • Take out travel health and repatriation insurance for the duration of your stay abroad. The German Liaison Office for Health Insurance - Abroad provides detailed information.
  • Take an individual first-aid kit with you and protect it against high temperatures when you are out and about, see the first-aid kit leaflet.
  • Before you travel, seek personal advice from tropical medicine advice centers, tropical medicine specialists or travel medicine specialists and adjust your vaccination protection, even if you have already experienced the tropics from other regions. Corresponding doctors can be found e.g. B. via the DTG.

In addition to the general disclaimer, please note:

  • All information is intended for the information of medically trained. They are not a substitute for the consultation of a doctor.
  • The recommendations are tailored to direct entry from Germany to a travel destination, especially for longer stays on site. For shorter trips, entries from third countries and trips to other areas of the country, deviations may apply.
  • All information is always dependent on the individual circumstances of the traveler and may require medical advice.
  • In spite of the best possible efforts, the medical information is always just a consultation offer. They cannot cover all medical aspects, eliminate all doubts or always be completely up-to-date. You stay responsible for your healthy.

Country information for your travel destination

Here you will find the addresses of the responsible diplomatic missions and information on politics and bilateral relations with Germany.

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Further information for your trip

The global threat of terrorist attacks and kidnappings remains unchanged.

Since September 2014, the terrorist organizations "Al Qaida" and "Islamic State" (IS