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Somalia

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

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.

Overview

Security status

We advise against all travel to Somalia.

Latest Travel Alert       

Intelligence reports suggest that there is a specific threat to Westerners in Somalia.

If you are already in the Somalia, we advise you to consider leaving the country. In a deteriorating situation, we cannot guarantee that we will be in a position to offer consular assistance should you decide to remain there.

Emergency assistance

Because there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in the Somalia, we’re limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency.

However, if you need assistance, please contact our Embassy in Nairobi in Kenya or our Consular Assistance Unit at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Dublin on +353 1 408 2000.

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 in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates    
  • Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide

Safety and security

War

Somalia is a conflict zone at the present time, and we advise against all travel to the country. Due to the recent deterioration in the situation, any Irish citizens currently in Somalia are strongly encouraged to leave.

If you decide to stay, against our advice, keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your local contacts or hotel. Avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, which can turn confrontational and stay away from military sites – taking photos of, or near, military or security installations, and some public buildings, may be prohibited.

Terrorism

There is a high threat to westerners and western interests from terrorism in Somalia, including Somaliland. These attacks could be indiscriminate, and could include crowded places, high-profile events, events involving government officials and places frequented by foreigners.

Piracy

Piracy has been a major problem along the Somali coastline.

Kidnapping

Westerners and those working for Western organisations have been targeted in attacks, including kidnappings. If you are remaining in Somalia against our advice, follow these basic precautions:

  • Get advice from your local contacts about staying safe
  • Avoid travelling at night, particularly inter-city
  • Avoid travelling alone
  • When driving, ensure all car doors are locked
  • Vary your routes and departure times – avoid patterns which could be tracked
  • Pay careful attention to local media for reports of kidnapping activities

Crime

As well as the ongoing armed conflict, there has been a consistently dangerous level of criminal activity in Somalia over the last few years so you should always take sensible precautions: 

  • 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
  • Avoid showing large sums of money in public, 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 your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag snatching from vehicles stopped at traffic lights
  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place

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. 

Health

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.

Vaccinations

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.

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.

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.

Water

It is advisable to boil tap water before drinking it, or stick to bottled water.

Entry requirements

If you are unsure about the entry requirements for Somalia, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the country’s nearest Embassy or Consulate.

You can also check with them how long your passport must be valid for.

Passports

It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you when travelling to Somalia and you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times during your stay.

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. As Ireland does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Somalia there may be additional complications in processing and application for a new passport.

You should contact the Embassy in Nairobi in Kenya 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.