U.S. Embassy Asmara
February 27, 2011
The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Eritrea, recommends that U.S. citizens defer travel at this time, and strongly advises Americans on ships and sailing vessels to not attempt to dock in Eritrean ports, or to travel through Eritrean waters.
In December 2010, a British ship attempting to refuel in Massawa was detained by Eritrean authorities, and its crew of four has not been released. There are reports of additional vessels with nationals from other countries being detained up to several months. In nearly all cases, the Eritrean government has neither given a reason for detention, nor granted consular access. The port of Assab is closed to private marine vessels.
American citizens choosing to travel to Eritrea should obtain an Eritrean visa before their arrival in Eritrea. Persons arriving by marine vessel likely will not be able to obtain an Eritrean visa. Additionally, fuel and provisions are often unavailable in Massawa and other parts of Eritrea and often scarce in Asmara.
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 in advance for permission to travel outside the Asmara city limits. Recently, the Eritrean government has started to refuse all new diplomatic travel permit requests; this situation may continue indefinitely. As a result, the U.S. Embassy cannot provide emergency consular assistance outside of Asmara.
Americans currently living or traveling in Eritrea are strongly encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Asmara through the State Department's travel registration web site, https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Eritrea. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of an emergency and provide updates on the security situations. The U.S. Embassy is located at 179 Alaa Street, P.O. Box 211, Asmara; telephone (291-1) 12-00-04; fax (291-1) 124-255 and (291-1) 127-584; web site http://asmara.usembassy.gov/.
For additional information, consult the Department of State's Country Specific Information sheet for Eritrea and the Worldwide Caution at http://travel.state.gov. American citizens may also obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from overseas.