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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

Ireland is implementing the new EU ‘traffic lights’ approach to travel, which applies to countries in the EU / EEA (+ UK). Our current advice for travel to these countries is ‘exercise a high degree of caution’. Our general advice for any other overseas travel remains ‘avoid non-essential travel’ or in some cases, ‘do not travel’. Travel within the island of Ireland can continue as normal, subject to domestic public health restrictions as outlined on gov.ie.

Our TravelWise app has been suspended while we move to implement the new EU system. We apologise for this inconvenience. Updated information will continue to be provided on this website.

On 13 October, Member States adopted the EU Recommendation on a coordinated approach to travel restrictions in the context of COVID-19. This ‘traffic lights’ approach provides for regions across the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) to be categorised as green, orange, red or grey, on the basis of the risk levels associated with COVID-19. A combined indicator map will be published each week by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), based on agreed criteria, including the 14-day cumulative incidence rate, testing rate and testing positivity rates.

In line with the EU Recommendation, there will be no entry restrictions on passengers travelling from green regions. Each Member State will decide in due course what entry restrictions it will apply to passengers travelling from red, orange and grey regions. This website will gradually provide more information as it becomes available.

Information about what to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

All passengers arriving into Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form before entry. In line with the EU traffic lights approach, there are no entry restrictions on travellers from green regions. Currently, all passengers entering Ireland from red, orange and grey regions are requested to restrict their movements for 14 days. For further details please see the Irish Government Advice Page. Everyone is asked to comply with restrictions within Ireland, including those under the National Framework for Living with COVID-19. These are listed on the Official website of the Irish Government.

If you are considering travelling outside of Ireland:

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, other than to countries that are part of the EU ‘traffic lights’ approach, where the advice is to exercise a high degree of caution (this includes Great Britain but not Northern Ireland). The situation in relation to COVID-19 continues to evolve quickly around the world. Citizens who are considering any overseas travel are advised to carefully monitor the official advice and information from the public authorities in their destination.

Should you decide that you need to travel, you should inform yourself about any requirements in the destination to which you are travelling. Information about entry restrictions currently applied by other countries is available on the country-specific travel advice pages. Additional restrictions may be imposed, including during the duration of your visit. Flight restrictions and route cancellations continue to occur worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will operate as scheduled. It is important to check with your insurance provider on coverage at this time. Any Irish citizen considering any overseas travel should monitor news and information from the public authorities in their country or region of destination. Citizens 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.

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. There are significant risks associated with international travel in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. Any citizens who are considering travel abroad, or those already abroad, are advised to monitor our travel advice, and follow us on Twitter. They are also advised to 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.

Where to go for further travel information:

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.
  • 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.

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