There is a high threat from terrorism in Algeria. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers such as restaurants, hotels and shopping centres. There has been a serious incident (January 2013) near the town of In Amenas near the Algerian border with Libya.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before travelling to Algeria. You should carefully check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the all activities and trips that you want to undertake.
Irish Citizens should note that the Irish Government does not provide funds for emergency medical repatriation or for repatriation of remains in the event of a death abroad.
Algeria is a large semi-desert country with a very high threat of terrorist attack, especially outside Algiers and the main cities. All non-essential travel to desert and border regions in the South and East of the country should be avoided and precautions should be taken in other areas, including the coastal cities. If you do decide to travel to Algeria, you should exercise extreme caution at all times.
Safety and Security
Regional developments have the potential to trigger popular unrest. All Irish citizens in Algeria are advised to exercise extreme caution and avoid all demonstrations and public gatherings.
There is a high threat from terrorism in Algeria.
Irish visitors to Algeria are strongly advised to plan their personal security arrangements and exercise great caution in for the duration of their visit. Business visitors to Algiers should seek the advice of their established contacts before travelling, arrange to be met on arrival and stay at one of the main hotels.
Suicide bomb attacks have been carried out in major population centres, including Algiers, in recent years. These attacks have resulted in fatalities and serious injuries and foreigners have often been targeted. The attacks are reported to have been the work of Al Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb.
Al Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb have also increased their activity in the Sahara desert and visitors should exercise extreme caution in the areas near the borders with Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Tunisia. All but essential travel to areas within 450km of the Mali and Niger borders, to areas within 100km of the Mauritania border and to areas within 50km of the Tunisian and Libyan borders should be avoided.
Terrorist acts, including bombings, kidnappings, illegal roadblocks, etc, continue to occur in other parts of Algeria. Particular care should be taken by Irish citizens intent on travelling to Boumerdès, Bouira, Tizi Ouzou and Bejaia east of Algiers, Blida and Medéa south of Algiers, Chlef to the west, Ain Defla and Bourj Bou Arreridj to the south east of Algiers and Tamanrasset and Djanet in southern Algeria.
The crime rate in Algeria is moderate. Serious crimes have been reported in which armed men posing as police officers have entered homes and robbed the occupants at gunpoint. Petty theft and home burglary occur frequently, and muggings are on the rise, especially after dark in the cities.
Overland travel between major cities should be avoided, particularly at night.
Local Laws and Customs
Algeria is a Muslim country and local laws reflect the fact that. Irish citizens should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be careful that their actions to do not offend Algerian culture or Islamic religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit mosques or other religious areas.
In Algeria the weekend is Friday and Saturday.
Modest dress should be worn at all times and women in particular should consider their dress, especially outside main urban areas, in order to avoid unwelcome attention.
The possession, use and trafficking of controlled drugs are all serious criminal offences in Algeria and carry custodial sentences.
Although you are not required to carry your passport at all times, you should carry it on longer journeys. You will need your passport if travelling internally by air. Keep a photocopy/scan of your passport somewhere safe and carry a copy with you.
Do not attempt to take photos of any government building or security installation. This includes police and police checkpoints.
Homosexuality is illegal in Algeria. Sexual acts between persons of the same sex are punishable by imprisonment and homophobic attacks can occur in this conservative society. Caution and discretion are advised at all times.
Natural Disasters and Climate
Algeria has a Mediterranean climate along the coast, with mild, wet winters, and hot, dry summers. The Sahara desert experiences extremely high summer temperatures, though a bit cooler between November and April. Although daytime temperatures rarely fall below 25°C, desert nights can be cold even in the height of summer.
Despite the lack of rain in the Sahara, other parts of Algeria are susceptible to severe flood damage. Northern Algeria is also within an earthquake zone. You should familiarise yourself with safety procedures in the event of an earthquake. In May 2003, a severe earthquake struck the Algiers area and over 2,200 people were killed and more than 10,000 were injured.
Additional Country Info
Irish citizens must obtain a visa for Algeria, before travelling to the country. Citizens resident in Ireland or the UK should contact the Algerian Embassy in London for information on obtaining a visa. Citizens in other countries should contact the relevant Algerian Embassy
Algeria does produce some wine and beer, which is served in some bars, hotels, restaurants and night clubs in the bigger cities. However, alcohol is not served everywhere and is not served anywhere during Ramadan.
ATM machines are not as widespread as in Europe and credit card use is mostly confined to hotels and some businesses in the larger cities. Algerian Dinars should be obtained from bureaux de change at the international airports and larger hotels or from banks in the main cities. Street money vendors should be avoided. Algerian Dinars cannot be exported.
The local equivalents of the 999/112 emergency numbers in Algeria are;
17 for the police, or 021 – 73 53 50 from a mobile
14 for the fire brigade, or 021 – 71 14 14 from a mobile
021 – 23 63 81 or 021 – 021 – 71 14 14 for an ambulance
Reliability and response time of emergency services vary. Emergency operators may or may not speak French and normally do not speak English.
In the event of a medical emergency you can call an ambulance, but you should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR MISSIONS IN ALGERIA
The Irish Embassy in Berne, Switzerland is accredited to Algeria. Contact details are available here.
(Note : Visa applications are not dealt with in the Embassy of Ireland in Berne. Applications should be made through the Embassy of Ireland in Abu Dhabi.)Top