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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
  • Health
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

General advice is to avoid non-essential travel, other than to countries on the ‘Green List’  where the advice is to take normal precautions:

In accordance with Government policy, which is based on official public health advice, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas (including to Great Britain but not to Northern Ireland), other than to countries on the ‘green list’ where the ‘normal precautions’ security status rating will apply. The request to restrict their movements does not apply to individuals arriving into Ireland from countries on the ‘green list.’

On 15 September, the Government agreed that, for the period ahead, this ‘green list’ will be updated on a weekly basis, to include EU / EEA countries with a 14 day cumulative number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 of 25 or less, based on the latest data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Updates will be made on the basis of data each Thursday, with changes taking effect from the following Monday.

The updated ‘green’ (normal precautions) list outlined below is based on ECDC data on Thursday 17 September, and will take effect from Monday 21 September. Until then, the earlier list continues to apply.

Green’ (Normal Precautions) List to take effect from Monday 21 September

‘Green’ (Normal Precautions) List below remains in effect until midnight on Sunday 20 September

  • Estonia*
  • Finland*
  • Greece
  • Greenland
  • Hungary *
  • Italy
  • Latvia*
  • Lithuania*
  • Norway*
  • Slovakia

*Citizens considering travel to these locations should note the information below regarding restrictions on entry. These jurisdictions currently have quarantine requirements or other restrictions for arrivals from other jurisdictions, including Ireland.

Potential for restrictions on entering these locations:

Inclusion on the list does not imply the absence of any restrictions on arrivals in those locations. Citizens should be aware that countries continue to announce new restrictions on arrivals from abroad, including the requirement to quarantine on entry. This can include restrictions on arrivals from Ireland. The situation will continue to evolve quickly. Citizens who are considering travel to particular locations are advised to monitor news and information from the public authorities in their destination.

The latest updates will always be uploaded first to this General COVID-19 Travel Advisory. Country-specific tabs will be updated subsequently, and as quickly as possible, but this advisory is the primary source of information for the latest version of the list.

If you are considering travelling outside of Ireland:

Irish citizens travelling to locations with a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) rating are advised to follow the public health guidelines of the local health authorities and to continue to practice physical distancing measures, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette etc. Citizens who are considering travel to these locations are also advised to monitor news and information from the public authorities in their chosen destination. This includes information regarding possible restrictions on arrival from abroad, including from Ireland. The security rating for all other locations remains unchanged at either to ‘avoid non-essential travel’ (“orange”) or to ‘do not travel’ (“red”).

The purpose of the Department’s Travel Advice is to provide information to the general public so that individuals can make informed decisions for themselves.  The COVID19 pandemic continues to accelerate internationally, and there are significant risks associated with international travel. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. Any citizens who are considering travel abroad are advised to monitor closely our travel advice, and to  download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. Citizens travelling abroad should also register with their local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Should you need to travel, you should inform yourself about any requirements in place in the destination to which you are travelling. Flight restrictions and route cancellations continue to occur worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will operate as scheduled. Testing and restrictions may be imposed or may already be in place in other countries. It is important to check with your insurance provider on coverage at this time.

What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

The Irish Authorities advise anyone entering Ireland, other than those arriving from Northern Ireland or locations with a security rating of ‘normal precautions’ (“green”), to restrict their movements for 14 days. This includes citizens and residents returning to Ireland. Restricting your movements means staying indoors in one location and avoiding contact with other people and social situations as much as possible.

All passengers arriving into Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a mandatory COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form before arriving in Ireland. This is now an online form. Paper versions of the form are also available at points of entry into Ireland, if required. Failure to complete the form is an offence. For further details please see the Irish Government Advice Page. Exemptions are also in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff.

Check the Irish Government Advice Page for full information on these requirements and further advice on returning from abroad.

Where to go for more information:

We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Overview

Security Status

We advise against all travel to Afghanistan.

Latest Travel Alert

We advise against all travel to Afghanistan because of the extremely dangerous security situation and very high threat of terrorist attacks. If you’re currently in Afghanistan, we advise you to leave immediately.

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.

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.

We suggest you learn as much as you can about Afghanistan before your trip from travel agents, tour operators and guide books. The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems when you’re in Afghanistan, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

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.

Our tips for safe travels:

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • 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 consider leaving the country by commercial carrier while it is still possible to do so. In a deteriorating situation, we cannot guarantee that we will be in a position to offer consular assistance should you decide to remain there.

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.

In 2020, the holy month of Ramadan is expected to start on 23 April.

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’re travelling in an area governed by Sharia law, we advise you to respect local religious traditions and avoid offending local sensitivities. Travellers should dress conservatively and women are advised to cover their legs, arms and head.

Female travellers

Female travellers can face particular issues around security and dealing with the religious and cultural beliefs of the countries they visit (especially if they’re travelling alone). We advise you to 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.
  • Don’t leave your food or drink unattended.
  • Keep details of your travel plans and where you’re staying to yourself.
  • Dress modestly if you’re 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

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

Health

Novel Coronavirus

There is an ongoing outbreak of a novel coronavirus in China. Cases have been reported in other countries, including in Afghanistan.
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Please be wary of these symptoms and seek immediate medical attention should such symptoms occur.

International travellers: practice usual precautions

HSE medical advice to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is below.
Do:
• wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
• cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
• put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands
Don’t:
• touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Afghanistan.
Additional information on the Coronavirus can be found via the following links:

Afghanistan Ministry of Health

World Health Organisation

ECDC

HPSC

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel as this can save you and your family a lot of money if something goes wrong. It will also ensure that you get the medical attention you need, when you need it. Hospital bills can quickly run into thousands of euro, and a medical evacuation back to Ireland can cost thousands more. Insurance Ireland recommend that you purchase a policy that provides a minimum medical cover of €1 million.

Ensure your insurance policy covers you for travel to a high-risk destination, such as Afghanistan. 

Health Risks

An increasing number of Dengue Fever cases, a mosquito-borne viral disease, have been reported in Afghanistan. Further information on Dengue Fever from WHO can be found here.

Malaria is present along with other insect-borne diseases, including leishmaniasis. Waterborne, foodborne, parasitic and other infectious diseases are widespread. These include typhoid, hepatitis, measles and tuberculosis. 

Vaccinations

Check what vaccinations you may need for your trip at least six weeks before you travel. We can’t advise you on vaccinations, but you can get information about vaccinations from your local GP or an International Health and Travel Centre.

There is currently a measles outbreak in Afghanistan. The World Health Organisation recommends that travellers get vaccinated against measles at least 15 days prior to travel. WHO advice for international travel in relation to measles can be found here. 

Polio remains consistently present (endemic) in Afghanistan. Getting the polio vaccination is recommended for all travellers from Ireland to countries where polio transmission is a risk. Before travelling to areas where poliomyelitis cases are still occurring, travellers should ensure that they have completed the recommended age-appropriate polio vaccine schedule and have received a booster dose, if necessary. More information is available on the Health Protection and Surveillance Centre website.

Evidence of vaccination (in the form of a certificate) can be a requirement for entry to some countries.

Medication

Make sure you bring enough medication for your entire trip and for any unexpected delays. You may wish to also bring copies of your prescription in case you lose your medication.

 

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