Important to know
All foreign nationals except citizens of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and the Gulf countries are required to get entry visas. The visitor can get entry visa to the Republic of Yemen from the Yemeni Embassy or Consulate in visitor’s or neighbouring country. Upon arrival, the visitor is given one month residence permit.
In some embassies, the clients are asked for the invitation letter before VISA is issued to them. For all our clients we provide the invitation letter after booking the tour with us.
Within 14 days after entering the country, every visitor has to register himself in a police station. They will put you a triangle stamp over your visa.
In case you will stay in Yemen more than 14 days and you will try to leave the country without such a stamp, you will be charged a fee of approximately 30 USD at the passport control.
In case the visitor wants to stay in Yemen for a longer period, he/she can apply (after staying in Yemen for a month) for a 3 month residence visa that allows him/her to stay in a country for additional 3 months.
Visas can normally be extended, depending on the circumstances.
If the visitor obtained the residence VISA, he/she must get an exit VISA, before leaving the country, unless he/she would have problems leaving the country.
MONEY AND CURRENCY
The official currency is Yemeni Rial (YR). Bank notes of 10, 20, 50, 100, 250, 500 and 1000 YR, and coins of 5, 10 and 20 YR are in circulation and have English and Arabic numbers.
Foreign currencies can be exchanged at banks, money changers and hotels. The rate of exchange varies slightly (the exchange rate of USD is more constant than the one of EUR) and is currently: 1USD = 207.5 YR; 1 EUR = 290 YR (January, 14th, 2010).
If you do bring cash, be aware that new, crisp, clean, undamaged 100 USD $ or EUR notes fetch the best rate. Dollar notes that are worn-out, or older than 2000 are often difficult to exchange.
Very few places take credit cards in Yemen, thus almost all transactions are done in cash. There are ATM machines at some banks in Sana’a, including Arab bank, Int. Bank of Yemen, Tadhamon Int. Islamic Bank, Saba Islamic bank and Yemen Gulf Bank which accept VISA and other ATM logos.
Major credit cards are accepted in international hotels, some travel agencies and in a limited number of retailers. Shopping requires cash (YR, USD or EURO).
HEALTH AND FIRST AID
No official vaccinations are required.
Visitors are advised not to drink tap water. Clean, bottled water is readily available in all areas of the country. In restaurants you’ll be offered water from plastic holders and you can drink it without concern.
Malaria is present in remote coastal areas, although very rare. If you travel to tropical coastal region of northern Tihama (north of Hudaydah) or Soqotra, it is recommended to be supplied with anti-malaria drugs which are to be untaken only in the case of getting the disease.
IMPORTANT (something from my personal experiences after hundred of tours round all Yemen)
Actually the biggest danger for a visitor is strong sun, especially if you come in winter months, when Europeans are not adjusted to such a strong sun. Remember, that many places of Yemen, including Sana’a, are on high elevation, so the effect of the sun is even stronger. Therefore it is strongly recommended to wear a hat or a scarf for a sun protection and to drink a lot of fluids. If you feel weak, this can be a strong sign of a rehydration, and we advise you to buy rehydration salts in any Yemeni pharmacy (mahlul in Arabic), or simply put a bit of sugar and salt in your water and you will feel better.
Signs of a mild sun attack are: vomiting during the night, weakness, mild diarrhoea. Don’t think that you’ve got a food infection. It is not ! In case of food infection you would have cramps, high fever, vomiting and diarrhoea at the same time and these would last 5 days minimum).
So, if you’ve got a mild sun attack, try to take a rest, drink rehydration fluids and eat some banana (if you will not eat at all, you will feel even worse). A good treatment is a mixture of Yemeni honey and black seeds.
Travel insurance for foreigners, including emergency evacuation, is advisable.
There are government and private hospitals available in major cities and medical clinics in large villages.
Yemen is an Islamic country and alcohol is prohibited. Tourists should avoid drinking alcohol in public places, or in the presence of Yemenis. Alcohol could be obtained in some five-star hotels in big cities but the prices are very high.
Non alcoholic bear (Becks) can be found in many places.
Yemen is an Islamic country and clothing should be modest. We recommend you to wear loose-fitting, light clothes from natural materials and to avoid sleeveless and transparent clothes. Woman should cover the upper arms and legs, but also man dressed in such a way would be respected more. It is advised to have some headwear protection against strong sunshine. Yemeni scarf is a very practical matter while it can be used also for visiting mosques as well as protection against the dust and wind. In winter months the nights and early mornings in the mountain areas are relatively cold; therefore a sweater or a jacket should not be missed in your baggage.
Beach wear is acceptable at beach clubs, hotels and public beaches outside the cities.
For a relaxed tour round Yemen we suggest our clients to bring the proper shoes, because of sightseeing and visits of villages, valleys… If you take a tour including hiking you need to wear proper sport shoes. Generally a pair of sport shoes and a pair of sport, open sandals is recommended.
Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) + 3 hrs.