U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520
Consular Information Sheet
This information is current as of today,
August 18, 2006COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Algeria is the second largest country in Africa, with over four-fifths of its territory covered by the Sahara desert. The country has a population of 33 million people mainly located on the northern coast. Algeria is a multi-party, constitutional republic. Facilities for travelers are available in populated areas, but sometimes limited in quality and quantity. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Algeria for additional information.
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: Passports and visas are required for U.S. citizens traveling to Algeria. The Algerian visa application must be typed online. The Algerian Embassy is no longer accepting handwritten visa applications. For further information on entry/exit requirements, travelers may contact the Embassy of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria at 2137 Wyoming Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 265-2800. See our Foreign Entry Requirements brochure for more information on Algeria and other countries. Visit the Embassy of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria web site at http://www.algeria-us.org/ for the most current visa information and visa application.
See Entry and Exit Requirements for more information pertaining to dual nationality and the prevention of international child abduction. Please refer to our Customs Information to learn more about customs regulations.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: Although no Americans are known to have been killed by terrorists in Algeria, more than 120 foreigners were murdered at the height of the terrorism threat in Algeria in the 1990s. In response to the terrorist threat, the U.S. Government substantially reduced the number of U.S. Government personnel in Algeria during the 1990s. In January 2001, terrorists killed several Russian citizens in the mountains of eastern Algeria. In February 2003, 32 Western Europeans were taken hostage in the Sahara desert areas of southeastern Algeria. Fourteen of the hostages were taken into northern Mali by the terrorists. One of the hostages died in captivity. All the others were released by late August 2003.
Currently, given the Improving security situation, Embassy staffing is at full capacity and the Embassy is able to provide full services. U.S. government employees travel on official and personal business by commercial carriers to, from, and within Algeria. U.S. citizens should carefully consider the security implications of traveling on regularly-scheduled public ground transport and in taxis.
For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site, where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found.
Up-to-date information regarding safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad.
CRIME: The crime rate in Algeria is moderately high and increasing. Serious crimes have been reported in which armed men posing as police officers have entered homes of occupants, and robbed them at gunpoint. False roadblocks/checkpoints have been employed to rob motorists. Some of these incidents resulted in the murder of the vehicles' occupants. Armed carjacking is also a serious problem. Petty theft and home burglary occur frequently, and muggings are on the rise, especially after dark in the cities. Theft of contents and parts from parked cars, pick-pocketing, theft on trains and buses, theft of items left in hotel rooms and purse snatching are common. Alarms, grills, and/or guards help to protect most foreigners' residences.
INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.
See our information on Victims of Crime.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Hospitals and clinics in Algeria are available and improving in the large urban centers, but are still not up to Western standards. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for services. Most medical practitioners speak French; English is not widely used.
Prescription medicines are not always readily available. Some pharmacies may at times be out-of-stock. In addition, the medicine may be sold under a different brand name and may contain a different dosage than in the U.S. Please be aware that some newer medications may not yet be available in Algeria. It is usually easy to obtain over-the-counter products.
Emergency services are satisfactory, but response time is often unpredictable. In all cases, response time is not as fast as in the U.S.
One of the major public health concerns in Algeria is traffic-related accidents. Cases of tuberculosis are regularly reported, but do not reach endemic levels. Every summer, public health authorities report limited occurrences of water-borne diseases, such as typhoid. In addition, HIV/AIDS is a concern in the remote southern part of the country, especially in border towns.
Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Please see our information on medical insurance overseas.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Algeria is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Drivers will encounter police and military checkpoints on major roads within and on the periphery of Algiers and other major cities. Security personnel at these checkpoints expect full cooperation. Motorists should be aware that terrorists have occasionally organized false roadblocks as ambushes, primarily in parts of eastern Algeria.
Travel overland, particularly in the southern regions, may require a permit issued by the Algerian government. For specific information concerning Algerian driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, contact the Algerian Embassy.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Algeria, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Algeria’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s Internet web site.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Algeria maintains restrictions on the import and export of local currency. Foreign currency must be exchanged only at banks or authorized currency exchange locations, such as major hotels. Photography of military and government installations is prohibited. It is also illegal to import weapons, body armor, handcuffs or binoculars. Please see our Customs Information.
PROSELYTIZING: Islam is the state religion of Algeria. The Algerian government allows non-Muslim religious worship only in structures exclusively intended and approved for that purpose. Activities such as proselytizing, engaging in activities which the Algerian authorities could view as encouraging conversion to another faith, and convening religious ceremonies in private residences are prohibited under a March 2006 law expected to enter into effect from September 2006.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Algerian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Algeria are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. Please see our information on Criminal Penalties.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website.
REGISTRATION / EMBASSY LOCATION: Americans living or traveling in Algeria are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the
State Department's travel registration website, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Algeria. Americans without Internet access may register
directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate
to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at 4 Chemin Cheikh Bachir El-Ibrahimi, B.P. 408 (Alger-gare)
16030, in the capital city of Algiers. The telephone numbers are  (21) 691-425,  (21) 691-255, or  (21) 691-186
which can also be reached after hours. The fax number for the Consular Section is  (21) 691-439. The U.S. Embassy workweek
is Saturday through Wednesday.
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This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated February 1, 2006, to update sections on Safety and Security and Traffic Safety and Road Conditions, and to include a section on Proselytizing.