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Please be advised that the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Travel Advice is now available at Ireland.ie/travel. Travel Advice on this webpage is no longer being updated. To ensure you receive the latest Travel Advice for Eritrea, please see Ireland.ie.


If you’re travelling to Eritrea, 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
  • Health
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact



Security Status

Avoid Non-Essential Travel

General Travel Advice

The Department of Foreign Affairs advises against non-essential travel to Eritrea at this time.

In addition, we advise against all travel within 25km of Eritrea’s land borders.

All foreign nationals, including diplomats are required to apply in advance for a travel permit to leave the Asmara region.

If you decide to travel to Eritrea, be aware that the authorities there haven’t always informed the relevant Embassy when foreign nationals need consular assistance.

Irish citizens require a visa to enter Eritrea.

A valid passport is required for travel to Eritrea. Irish passports should have a minimum validity of 6 months. Passport cards cannot be used.

For more information on visas and passports, please see the Additional Information tab.

Visitors to Eritrea are advised to follow the guidance of national and local authorities and stay fully informed of what's going on by monitoring local news and social media.

Irish citizens are advised to exercise extreme caution, stay away from military sites, airports and government buildings wherever possible and follow the instructions of the authorities.

Citizens can also follow the Embassy on social media (Twitter@ IrlEmbKenya) and Facebook) to ensure access to relevant updates and alerts.

Our tips for Safe Travels:

  • Get comprehensive travel insurance that covers all your planned activities.
  • 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.

As there is no Irish Embassy in Eritrea, we are limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Kenya.

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Human Rights

The UN Human Rights Council has expressed concerns in relation to human rights abuses in Eritrea.

Border regions

We advise caution when travelling Eritrea border areas where the risk to safety is high. Avoid all travel within 25 km of Eritrea’s land borders.


There are extensive unmarked minefields in Eritrea, particularly near the border with Ethiopia. The risk from unexploded landmines and ordnance throughout the country is high.

Don’t stray off main routes, particularly in rural areas, and always check with your local contact before travelling to affected regions.


Street crime is rare but does occur in cities and towns, including Asmara so you should take sensible precautions:

  • Don’t carry credit cards, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
  • Don’t carry passports unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of passports (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
  • Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business.
  • Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.
  • Keep a close eye on personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations. 


Banditry is known to take place in border areas, and on some rural roads. Driving on main roads outside of border areas is generally safe but driving on non-metalled roads, off-road driving, walking and hiking in rural areas can be dangerous and we advise against doing so near border areas.

Reporting crime

If you are a victim of a crime whilst in Eritrea, report it to the local police immediately. Irish citizens can also contact the Irish Embassy in Kenya, for assistance.


If planning to drive in Eritrea, travellers should be extremely careful. Watch out for heavy pedestrian and bicycle traffic, as well as livestock on roads near urban centres, which can pose hazards. Travelling after dark in rural areas is dangerous, due to lack of road signs, barriers and lighting. Many parts of the country are impassable during the rainy season.

If you want to drive:

  • Bring full Irish driver’s licence and international driving permit and make sure to have adequate and appropriate insurance
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and there is a risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
  • Keep vehicle doors locked and  bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if stopped at traffic lights

Hiring a vehicle

If hiring a vehicle, travellers are advised not to hand over passports as a form of security. If allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in sight at all times.

Visitors are advised to check that they 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).

Mobile Telephones

The telephone network in Eritrea is unreliable and may not work for long periods, particularly outside Asmara and other larger towns. Visitors may not be able to place or receive calls or SMS text messages from overseas mobile phone networks. There are no agreements in place between Eritrean mobile telephone provides and international providers. Local SIM cards cannot be purchased without a Resident’s Permit. There have been unconfirmed allegations that phone calls made on the local mobile phone network are recorded. Internet access is unreliable and not freely available.

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal. 

Illegal drugs

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

Law enforcement

Be aware that serious crimes committed in Eritrea may attract corporal punishment and the death penalty.


Homosexual acts are illegal and we advise caution and discretion at all times.


The currency in Eritrea is the Nakfa (ERN) which is not convertible outside Eritrea. Excess Nakfa should be converted to hard currency at one of the ‘Himbol’ exchanges in town, there are limits on what you can exchange at the ‘Himbol’ branch at the airport. The Nakfa is currently pegged to the US dollar at the rate of 15 Nakfa to 1 US dollar. Remember to retain currency transaction receipts as you may be required to produce these when leaving Eritrea.

The economy in Eritrea is cash-based and there are no ATMs. There are also no credit card facilities, and all payments must be made in cash. Hotels in Eritrea will require you to settle your bill in US dollars. It is also illegal to use foreign currency to make any purchases with the exception of a limited number of officially-recognised hotels. Ensure that you get and retain a receipt for any such purchases.

You are not permitted to take any more than 500 Nakfa out of Eritrea. When leaving Eritrea if you hold more than 500 Nakfa it will be confiscated and for amounts in excess of 5,000 Nakfa you could be liable to prosecution which could lead to heavy fines and may also delay your departure from the country.


Taking photographs of government buildings and military installations is not allowed.



Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.


Check what vaccinations you may need for your trip at least eight 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.

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


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. Sourcing drinking water may be problematic and this should be taken into consideration when planning a trip.


Additional Information

Additional information

If unsure about the entry requirements for Eritrea, including visa and other immigration information, visitors are advised to ask their travel agent or contact the country’s nearest Embassy or Consulate.





Irish citizens require a visa to enter Eritrea.


A valid passport is required for travel to Eritrea. Irish passports should have a minimum validity of 6 months. Passport cards cannot be used.

It is advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you when travelling to Eritrea and visitors should carry a photocopy of their passport at all times during their stay.

If a passport is lost or stolen while 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 as quickly as possible but this can take some time. Your location and circumstances may limit the help we can give you. As Ireland does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Eritrea there may be additional complications in processing and application for a new passport.

You should contact the Irish Embassy in Kenya to find out what is needed to apply for a passport.


The Eritrean climate is varied and ranges from pleasant with little rainfall in the capital, Asmara, to cooler with more rainfall in the highlands and east.


Eritrea is in an active earthquake and volcanic zone. If travelling to or living in Eritrea, make sure you know what to do in the event of an earthquake or volcano.

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

Ireland does not have an Embassy in Eritrea.

The Embassy of Ireland in Kenya is accredited to Eritrea and can be contacted in case of emergencies or for advice.

Contact us