Threat level: High
Since the Arab spring uprisings of 2011 there remains a high threat of terrorist activities in Algeria. There is a high risk of ISIL infiltration and general ISIL growth in both the country and related region. Attacks in Algeria can include kidnappings, so it is extremely important that visitors are alert at all times.
The Algerian government are dedicated to ensuring the safety of international travellers. If you are planning on travelling outside of the main city areas, the authorities will want to be informed. They may also provide you with protection for such journeys. Notify the Ministry of Foreign Affairs if you intend to travel independently. Help from the Algerian authorities should ensure that your trip is a hassle free experience.
It is advised that you stay in main hotels in the cities and you have them arranged prior to your arrival. Before entering the country, you should confirm your arrangements with a reputable tour operator to ensure your safety throughout your visit.
Recent security events
In early 2016 there was an attack using explosive munitions in central Algeria. Although there were no injuries or casualties, the country was in a state of emergency. In March of the same year, it is thought that a potential suicide bombing was avoided as police shot and killed the terrorist in the Kabylie region.
Algeria often faces spontaneous demonstrations, particularly in the capital. Such protests are often loud but relatively harmless. Violent demonstrations sometimes occur in the Saharan provinces of Ghardaia and In Salah, so if you are visiting these areas you should exercise extreme caution.
Due to the ongoing terror threat great care should be taken in the provinces of Adrar, Tamanrasset and Illizi, Bordj Bou Arreridj, Bejaia and Skikda east of Algiers.
It is believed that there are a number of jihadist groups operating in Algeria and surrounding Sahel region. These include:
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQ-M)
Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA)
All of these jihadist terrorist groups pose a threat across the country and in border areas of Algeria, Mali and Libya. They mostly pursue the establishment of Islamic law in the region and as such, attacks on anyone showing Western interest is highly likely.
In certain areas such as the larger cities, robbery is a common problem. You should avoid any areas you are not familiar with particularly at night time and do not hold large amounts of cash or valuable goods when travelling on foot.
Algeria maintains friendly relations with neighbours Tunisia and Libya, and with sub-Saharan neighbour Mali and Niger, as well as many other African countries. It is current working on issues related to the African Continent and was a key influence in bringing together Ethiopia and Eritrea to the peace table in 2000.
Most foreign nationals will require an international driving permit before being able to operate a vehicle in Algeria. British nationals are able to drive using their British driving licence providing it is valid and in date.
There is free movement in and around Algeria and the other cities although travelling at night should be avoided. Security precautions should be taken and common routes from airports to inner cities/hotels should be subject to “route planning” and reconnaissance.
All employees of foreign companies or organizations based in Algeria who are not Algerian citizens must contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before engaging in any travel within the interior of the country. The Ministry will notify local police of the planned travel and the police may choose to assign escorts for that travel.
The vehicular accident rate in Algeria is one of the highest in the world so you should take extra care when driving in the country. This may be due to the poorly maintained roads, lack of signs and reckless and inadequate drivers. Between coastal regions of Algeria there are safe and reliable train networks which are clean and well-policed. Buses pose a risk to tourists – they are not considered to be safe modes of transport pick pocketing frequently occurs whilst on board.
Capital: Algiers Official languages: Arabic, Berber language & French (for business & education) Religion: Sunni Islam Currency: Algerian Dinar (DZD) Currency restrictions: Dinar may not be taken out of the country
A visa is required for all travel to Algeria unless you are a passport holder from: Libya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Seychelles, Tunisia or Yemen. A visa must be confirmed before your arrival to the country and can take up to 4 weeks to process. You should make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to sort this out. Your passport should be valid for at least an additional 6 months beyond the length of your stay.
It is advised that all visitors to Algeria are up to date with all inoculations including Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Rabies, Tetanus & Typhoid.
Other health risks
Private facilities in Algeria will provide better healthcare than government hospitals and it is advised that you attend one of these is medical treatment is required. These may cost a lot of money so you should ensure you have adequate travel health insurance and enough funds to cover the cost of medical treatment if necessary.
Malaria precautions should be taken as Malaria risk is present throughout the year in six southern and south-eastern wilayas (Adrar, El Qued, Ghardaia, Illizi, Quargla and Tamanrasset)
Schistosomiasis (parasitic infection also known as bilharzia) is also an issue, so contact with fresh water including activities such as swimming, bathing or paddling in fresh water lakes and streams is advised against.
Personal hygiene must be paramount and the local water supply avoided at all costs and bottled water inspected prior to consumption. A number of cases of bottled water being refilled with tap water and re-sold have come to our attention.