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Afghanistan

If you’re travelling to Afghanistan, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Entry requirements
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

For the latest update please read the General COVID-19 Travel Advisory >

Overview

Security Status

Do not travel 

Latest Travel Alert

We advise against all travel to Afghanistan. Due to the developing COVID-19 situation, there are limits to the assistance the Department of Foreign Affairs can provide in a crisis and you should not rely on the Department of Foreign Affairs being able to evacuate you from Afghanistan in an emergency.

The Department of Foreign Affairs advises against all travel to Afghanistan because of the extremely dangerous security situation and high threat of terrorist attacks, and advises Irish nationals currently in Afghanistan to strongly consider leaving by commercial means. We cannot guarantee that we will be in a position to offer consular assistance should you decide to remain there. If you consider your presence in Afghanistan to be absolutely essential, you should have adequate and continuous professional security arrangements and ensure they are regularly reviewed, adhere to public health advice and we would strongly advise that you make contact with the Irish Embassy in Abu Dhabi if you have not already done so. 

Emergency Assistance

Because there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in Afghanistan, we’re limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

EU Directive on Consular Protection

Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation, although due to the developing COVID-19 situation, there may be limits to the assistance that can be provided in a crisis and you should not rely on the Department of Foreign Affairs being able to arrange evacuation from Afghanistan in an emergency.

Our tips for safe travels:

  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
  • Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.

 

Safety and Security

Safety and security

We advise against all travel to Afghanistan.

If you are already in the country, we advise you to strongly consider leaving the country by commercial carrier while it is still possible to do so (see “Overview”). In a deteriorating situation, we cannot guarantee that we will be in a position to offer consular assistance should you decide to remain there.

Afghanistan is experiencing a major surge in COVID-19 infections with corresponding challenges for healthcare provision.  The security situation in Afghanistan remains serious and the threat to Westerners from terrorist or criminal violence, including kidnappings, remains high.

If you consider your presence in Afghanistan is essential, you should have adequate and continuous professional close security arrangements and ensure they are regularly reviewed.

Register

If you’re going to be in Afghanistan for an extended length of time, we strongly advise you to register with one of the EU Embassies in Kabul.

Terrorism

The threat from terrorism in Afghanistan is extremely high. Attacks are often indiscriminate and may include civilian targets, including places frequented by expatriates.

Crime

You should take sensible precautions against crime in Afghanistan:

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Afghanistan, report it to the local police immediately.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Afghanistan, you should be extremely careful. Most road surfaces are in very poor condition. The overall standard of driving is poor and most local drivers are uninsured. 

If you want to drive, bring your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance.

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Muslim culture

Afghanistan is a Muslim country in which Islamic law, customs and dress are universally respected. You should respect them fully. You may not seek to convert Muslims to other faiths.

When travelling in Afghanistan, take care not to offend local culture or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or other religious festivals. Be conscious of your dress and behaviour if you intend to visit places of worship.

During Ramadan, Muslims are not permitted to eat, drink or smoke during daylight hours. To avoid offence, you should not eat, drink or smoke in public during this time. Guide books, local hoteliers and tour guides can be good sources of information for how to behave and dress respectfully.

Sharia law

Sharia law is an Islamic body of law and moral code. Penalties under Sharia law can be very severe, particularly for offences such as theft and adultery. If you are travelling in an area governed by Sharia law, we advise you to respect local religious traditions and avoid offending local sensitivities. Visitors should dress conservatively and women are advised to cover their legs, arms and head.

Female visitors

Female visitors can face particular issues around security and dealing with the religious and cultural beliefs of the countries they visit (especially if they are travelling alone). We advise you do some research before you travel, so you know what to expect.

Some quick tips include:

  • Always take basic personal safety precautions, such as not walking alone at night or in quiet areas.
  • Do not leave your food or drink unattended.
  • Keep details of your travel plans and where you are staying to yourself.
  • Dress modestly if you are in a Muslim or socially conservative country.

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.

LGBT

Homosexuality is illegal in Afghanistan. Caution and discretion are advised at all times.

Forbidden products

It is illegal to import and use narcotics, alcohol and pork products.

Photography

Photography of government buildings, military installations and palaces is not allowed.  You should avoid photographing local people without their agreement.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

We advise against all travel to Afghanistan.

Visa/Passport

If you are unsure of the entry requirements for Afghanistan, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in London

Your passport should be valid for a minimum of 6 months from the date of entry into Afghanistan.

Passports

If your passport is lost or stolen while you’re abroad, we can help.

What we can do:

  • Issue you a replacement passport that will let you finish your trip, or;
  • Issue you with an emergency travel document to get you home.

We’ll do our best to help you as quickly as possible but this can take some time. Your location and circumstances may limit the help we can give you. Is Ireland does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Afghanistan there may be additional complications in processing and application for a new passport.

You should contact the nearest Irish Embassy or Consulate to find out what you need to do to apply for a passport. They will also be able to advise you on the fees which apply.

Health

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

If you need emergency assistance from the Embassy, then contact us immediately. Our telephone number is: +971 (0) 2 4958200.

If you require emergency assistance at the weekend or on a public holiday, you will be asked to leave a message on the answering machine. The answering machine is monitored regularly, and the Duty Officer at the Embassy will contact you as soon as possible.

Embassy of Ireland
Al Yasat Street off 6th Street
Al Bateen
Abu Dhabi
P.O. Box 61581
United Arab Emirates

Tel: +971 (0)2 4958200
Fax: +971 (0)2 6819233

Sunday – Thursday 9:00am to 1:00pm

Contact us