- Published on 07 / 08 / 12
FCO Travel Advice Updates – Various Countries
FCO Travel Advice – Egypt
The FCO travel advice for Egypt has been updated with regards to an attack at the Rafah border crossing on 5 August. The overall level of this advice has not changed; the FCO advise against all but essential travel to Sinai north of the Suez-Taba road. Please find an extract of the advice below.
On 5 August there was an attack on the Kerem Shalom border post, at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza. Over twenty people were killed in the attack. The Rafah border crossing has been closed until further notice. The Rafah border crossing is in North Sinai and we advise against all but essential travel to this area.
Safety and Security - Local Travel - Border Areas
We advise against all but essential travel to Sinai north of the Suez-Taba road. We advise against using the road itself, but this advice does not extend to the towns of Suez or Taba, nor does it apply to the road from Taba to Taba airport. This advice is due to the significant increase in the risk of criminal activity in the North Sinai area.
Since 11 February 2011, security has been looser in North Sinai and there have been attacks on government buildings and energy infrastructure - mainly in the Al Arish area. Recent incidents include:
- 13 attacks on the Egypt-Israel gas pipeline during 2011;
- an armed attack on a police station in Al Arish on 29 July 2011, resulting in the deaths of five people and over 100 injuries;
- 25 Chinese workers kidnapped and taken hostage by Bedouin tribesmen on 31 January 2012;
- a police station at Nakhl (between Taba and Suez) attacked by Bedouins on 11-12 February.
Security authorities often close the Suez-Taba road.
All border areas should be treated with extreme caution. If you intend to travel to the south west corner of the country near the Sudan/Libya border, you must apply for a permit from the Travel Permits Department of the Egyptian Ministry of the Interior. We advise extreme caution in travelling to this area, and carefully consider whether your security arrangements are adequate. In 2008, 19 people were kidnapped whilst on safari in the Karkur Talh area, near the border. The borders in this area are porous and bandits and armed groups operate.
There have been reports of cross-border shootings into Egypt, including most recently on 17 June when four people were killed in a cross-border shooting incident, and on 15 March when the Israeli Defence Force caught three armed infiltrators and shot a fourth dead.
On 6 January 2010, an Egyptian border guard was shot and killed. Demonstrators on the Gaza side of the border near the Rafah crossing were injured during clashes on 6 January 2011 and the security situation in the area remains tense.
Following attacks in Southern Israel on 18 August 2011, in which eight Israelis died, Israeli forces killed six Egyptian security personnel on the Egyptian border with Eilat.
Male holders of Palestinian passport aged between 18 and 40 will need to seek prior clearance before entering Egypt. Non-Palestinian nationals crossing into Gaza from Egypt will still need clearance. For the latest requirements on crossing from Egypt to Gaza, delivering aid or entering for humanitarian purposes, you should contact the Egyptian Embassy in London. However, the Egyptian authorities have stated that all aid going into Gaza from Egypt must be channelled through the Egyptian Red Crescent (Tel + 20 226 703 979, + 20 226 703 983, Fax + 20 226 703 967). Short notice requests for humanitarian access and those made in Egypt are unlikely to be considered. The Egyptian authorities can request a letter from the British Embassy in Cairo as part of their entry requirements. The British Embassy considers each request carefully and is only able to provide letters in certain circumstances and against strict criteria when entry is for humanitarian aid purposes. Please contact the British Embassy (http://ukinegypt.fco.gov.uk/en/about-us/our-embassy/contact-us/) directly for details. You should also read the FCO Travel Advice for Israel and the Occupied Territories.
Safety and Security - Terrorism
There is a general threat from terrorism throughout Egypt, including in Sinai. Although security is tight throughout the country, especially in resort areas, there remains a general risk of indiscriminate attacks including on public places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers, including but not limited to resorts, hotels and restaurants.
There have been 14 separate bomb attacks since February 2011 on the gas pipeline and terminals in North Sinai near the town of Al-Arish.
On 19 July 2012, Egyptian officials reported that two soldiers had been shot dead while in patrol in North Sinai ,in the town of Sheikh Zuwaid.
On 01 January 2011, there was an explosion, believed to be from a suicide bomb, outside a Coptic Church in Alexandria. At least 21 people were killed and over 80 were injured.
In May 2009, an explosion occurred outside St Mary’s Church (Coptic) in Zeitoun, Cairo. No one was injured. In February 2009 there was an explosion in Cairo’s Khan al Khalili market which killed one foreign tourist and injured more than 20 others, mostly foreign tourists.
Since 2004, there have been three separate bomb attacks on resort areas in the Sinai Peninsula. British nationals were killed or injured in each of these attacks. The most recent incident involving British nationals occurred on 24 April 2006 in the resort town of Dahab. A series of bombs were exploded in a restaurant, a cafe and a market. At least 23 people were killed and the 80 wounded included two British nationals.
As some of these attacks have taken place over local holiday weekends, you are advised to take extra caution at these times and respect any advice or instruction from the local security authorities. A list of Egyptian holidays can be found on the website of the British Embassy in Cairo. See our Terrorism Abroad page.
You are advised to exercise vigilance with regards to your personal security whilst you are in Egypt. You should exercise caution in public areas and heed instructions from the local security authorities who may insist on escorting you in some areas. You should also carry photo identification and co-operate fully with officials.
To view the travel advice for Egypt, please see: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/middle-east-north-africa/egypt
FCO – Travel Advice – Bahrain
The FCO have updated the travel advice for Bahrain with amendments to the Safety and Security - Political Situation, section. The overall level of advice has not changed; there are no travel restrictions in place in the travel advice for Bahrain. Please see below:
Safety and Security - Political Situation
Demonstrations and protests continue across various parts of Bahrain, some of which are violent. Such violence is not targeted at UK nationals. We cannot confirm where or when any such activity or resulting disruption will take place, but you should maintain a high level of security awareness, exercise caution, particularly in public places and on the roads, and avoid large crowds and demonstrations.
On Sunday 5 August, widespread demonstrations/marches have been called across all "Shia villages", beginning at 1900 and continuing into the evening. We are unable to specify which areas will be affected.
We also expect other protests and disruption in various areas of Bahrain to continue through the coming days. As a result, we continue to advise British nationals in Bahrain to maintain a high level of security awareness and to exercise caution, particularly in public places and on the roads, and to avoid large crowds and demonstrations.
Our assessment remains that travel on the main routes on the island during daylight hours is generally orderly and functions at normal levels. Police checkpoints remain but have been reduced around the main highways. You should exercise caution, in particular on any routes you use to get to these main routes, and consider carefully the situation in your local vicinity. During demonstrations, highways / roads can quickly become blocked, resulting in diversions being set-up by the security / emergency services. Such diversions may re-route you to areas you are unfamiliar with. You are therefore advised to familiarise yourself with alternative routes to and from areas you frequent.
If travelling to or from Bahrain, we advise you to keep up to date with our travel advice, monitor the local media and stay in touch with your travel company if you have one.
Visitors must have legal status in Bahrain when they depart. You may be prevented from departing Bahrain if you are subject to a travel ban, involved in legal proceedings, have unpaid debts, or are a child subject to a custody dispute. Visitors can incur heavy fines if they overstay or fail to extend their legal residency.
The British Embassy in Bahrain is located in central Manama. For enquiries on the situation in Bahrain please call the Embassy on 17574100 during working hours, 17574151 out of hours, or +44 (0) 20 7008 1500 in the UK. The normal working week is Sunday to Thursday, 07:30 - 14:30 local time; 04:30 - 11:30 GMT.
We recommend you register with the British Embassy in Manama on LOCATE. To do this visit https://www.locate.fco.gov.uk/locateportal - or ask family in the UK to do so for you. We will update messages on the Embassy's Facebook page concerning known demonstrations and events. This can be accessed through the Facebook link on the website: http://ukinbahrain.fco.gov.uk/en/. We will also update those registered by email.
View the travel advice here: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/middle-east-north-africa/bahrain
FCO Travel Advice – Israel & the Occupied Palestinian Territories
The FCO travel advice for Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories has been updated with regards to the closure of Rafah border crossing. The overall level of the advice has not changed; the FCO advise against all travel to Gaza (including the waters off Gaza) and to the Sheba’a Farms and Ghajjar along the border with Lebanon. Please find an extract of the advice below.
On 5 August there was an attack on the Kerem Shalom border post, at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza. Over twenty people were killed in the attack. The Rafah border crossing has been closed until further notice. The Rafah border crossing is in North Sinai and we advise against all but essential travel to this area. We continue to advise against all travel to Gaza.
Entry Requirements - Visas
You do not need a visa to enter Israel. On entry, visitors are granted leave to enter (by means of a stamp in the passport) for a period of up to three months. In the past the Israeli immigration authorities have agreed to stamp landing cards, where available, and not passports, but since September 2006 they will rarely agree not to stamp your passport. If your passport is not stamped on entry and you have no other evidence of legal entry into Israel, you are likely to face problems travelling around Israel, particularly at any crossing points into the OPTs. If you work in Israel without the proper authority, you can be detained and then deported, a process that might take several months.
There have been incidents when the Israeli authorities at the Allenby Bridge crossing (the border between Israel and the West Bank) and at Ben Gurion airport (in Tel Aviv) have limited certain travellers' freedom to travel within Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Israeli authorities have not provided clear information about which categories of travellers can expect to be subject to these restrictions and about the practical effects of the restrictions.
At the Allenby Bridge crossing, as well as at Ben Gurion airport, Israeli border officials have used a new entry stamp for certain travellers that states "Palestinian Authority Only". Since travellers entering via the Allenby crossing must pass through Israeli checkpoints and Israeli-controlled territory to reach Jerusalem or Gaza, this restriction effectively limits travellers who receive this stamp at Allenby to destinations in the West Bank only. Nor is it clear how, practically, a traveller receiving the stamp at Ben Gurion airport can leave the airport without violating the restriction. This stamp has been used even with travellers who have no Palestinian or other Arab ancestry, and who would not seem to have any claim to a Palestinian Authority ID.
Israeli border officials at Ben Gurion Airport have also begun requiring certain travellers to sign a form that states that he/she is not allowed to enter territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority unless he/she obtains advance authorisation from the Israeli "Territory Actions Co-ordinator", and that violating this restriction may result in the traveller being deported from Israel and barred from entry for up to 10 years.
The Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza is currently closed until further notice.
To view the travel advice for Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, please see: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/middle-east-north-africa/israel-occupied
FCO Travel Advice – Ivory Coast
The FCO travel advice for the Ivory Coast has been updated with regards to shootings around Abidjan. The overall level of the advice has not changed; the FCO continue to advise against all but essential travel to the western regions of Dix-Huit Montagnes, Haut-Sassandra, Moyen-Cavally and Bas-Sassa. Please find an extract of the advice below.
There have been reports of a series of shootings around Abidjan over the weekend of 4/5 August. All British nationals in the country should check local sources for latest information and remain vigilant.
Safety and Security - Terrorism/Security
The security situation in Abidjan has improved significantly since the arrest of former President Gbagbo on 11 April, and the assumption of power by the duly elected President, Alassane Ouattara. However, while the security environment has improved, you should exercise caution, particularly at night. The national forces loyal to President Alassane Ouattara continue to seek to secure all parts of Abidjan and the interior. But, the absence of an effective policing service remains a concern.
The security situation in Abidjan could deteriorate at short notice. There have been reports of violence and shootings since 3 August 2012 in the Akuedo area near Bingerville in Abidjan. There has been no targeted violent behaviour against expatriates since the crisis ended. However, you should take care not to be prominent, particularly at night. Do not use taxis or public transport at night.
Although the risk of a return to the levels of conflict experienced between December 2010 and May 2011 is low, we still advise all British nationals to stay alert to local political developments, keep a stock of food and water and avoid all demonstrations.
Most commercial flights are operating in Abidjan airport but some airlines are still operating fewer services than before the April crisis. Air France, Middle East Airlines, Asky Airlines, Emirates, Royal Air Maroc, Brussels Airlines and Air Burkina have resumed their flights.
There is an underlying threat from terrorism. Attacks (although unlikely) could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. See our Terrorism abroad page.
To view the travel advice for the Ivory Coast, please see: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/sub-saharan-africa/105cote-d'ivoire
FCO Travel Advice – Kyrgyzstan
The FCO travel advice for Kyrgyzstan has been updated with regards to a visa-free regime. The overall level of the advice has not changed; the FCO advise against all but essential travel to the Oblasts (Provinces) of Osh and Jalal-Abad. Please find an extract of the advice below.
Entry Requirements - Visas
A visa-free regime for citizens of some states, including the United Kingdom, has been introduced from July 2012. If you are travelling for up to 60 days you do not now need a visa.
If you are travelling for a period exceeding 60 days, you should contact the Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic in London to check visa requirements. You should check carefully the validity of your visa before travelling.
There is no longer an agreement allowing visas issued in another Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) country to be used to transit Kyrgyzstan. If you intend to visit two or more CIS countries you should contact the relevant countries' Embassies in London for advice before travelling.
British nationals staying for less than 60 days no longer need to register with OVIR (The Department for Visa and Registration under the Ministry of Internal Affairs).
To view the travel advice for Kyrgyzstan, please see: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/asia-oceania/kyrgyzstan
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