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Preface Last Updated: 7/31/2002 6:00 PM

The Republic of Yemen is one of the most intriguing countries in the world. Blessed with spectacular mountain scenery and fertile farming areas, it was named Arabia Felix (the “bless’d Araby” of John Milton) by Roman travelers who were struck by the contrast between Yemen and the surrounding deserts of the Arabian Peninsula. Yemen’s history includes such personalities as the Queen of Sheba and the group of scholars who invented algebra in the medieval University of Zabid.

Although Yemen is rapidly modernizing, you will find much of old‑style Arabia — from spicy suqs to grand palaces — wherever you travel. One of the most striking features of Yemen is its astonishing architecture, to which UNESCO has accorded the old cities of Sanaa, Shibam, and Zabid protective status. The country is covered in ancient skyscrapers‑eight‑story buildings made from stone and mud‑where people live on top of their animals and the views are spectacular. You will also see beautiful mosques, sultans’ palaces, and villages perched on top of seemingly inaccessible mountains.

People have been settling in the area known as Yemen for more than 3,000 years. Ancient kingdoms earned revenues by selling scented tree resins known as myrrh and frankincense to the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. When, in the first century C.E., the Greeks and Romans discovered they could travel to and from India by boat, Yemen’s ports greatly prospered, eclipsing the towns that had grown up along land trade routes.

By 575 the Persians were in power. Foreign intervention from Europe began on the peninsula in 1513, when Portugal set its sights on Aden. Egypt’s Mamluks and Turkey's Ottomans made inroads, and Yemen finally fell to the Ottomans. After centuries of insurrection, the Ottomans, already destroyed by WW I, left Yemen to a new king.

Yemen was determined to have its own leader in power and allied with the newly formed state of Saudi Arabia. Over the next 30 years Yemen remained isolated and underdeveloped — by the 1960s there were no paved roads in the country, almost no doctors, and very low literacy levels.

In 1962, a group of army officers held a coup and founded the Yemen Arab Republic.

Southern Yemenis started a revolution of their own against the British in 1963. In 1967 the British abandoned Aden, and the People's Republic of South Yemen was born. It declared itself a Marxist state, changing its name in 1969 to the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen.

Throughout the 1970s, the two Yemens had border spats. When the Soviet Union collapsed at the end of the 1980s, the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen gave up on the struggle, choosing to unite with the Yemen Arab Republic.

The Unified Republic of Yemen was declared on May 22, 1990, but power struggles between the two factions continued and led to full‑scale civil war in 1994.

Reconciliation between north and south Yemen has been slow. The peninsula's poorest nation slashed its international debt in half by the end of 1999, an impressive feat, given the depressed oil prices that have plagued the region recently. Democracy remains very much in the cards, but has yet to be dealt.

The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 7/31/2002 6:00 PM

The Republic of Yemen is located in the southern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, Oman to the east, the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea to the south, and the Red Sea to the west. Its total area is about 204,000 square miles, the size of France.

Sanaa, the capital, is located at an altitude of over 7,200 feet above sea level. Nearby is the highest mountain between East Africa and Iran, Djebel al‑Nabi Shu’ayb, 12,300 feet. The interior highlands have two rainy seasons a year: the first in March and April, and a second with heavier rainfall in July and August. For the rest of the year, sunny, clear weather is the rule, with occasional dust storms. In winter, night temperatures in Sanaa can drop to 30°F, with sunshine and daytime highs of 70°F. Summer temperatures are moderate, with highs of 85°F, dropping to the low 60s at night.

To the west in the Tihama (lowlands adjoining the Red Sea) where there is a mixture of African and Arab cultures, the weather is hot and humid for much of the year. Even in winter, daytime highs can be in the 90s. During the summer, torrential monsoons occur. Aden and the southern coast are similarly hot and humid, with summer temperatures frequently in the 100s. However, winter temperatures are far milder and more pleasant. The Hadhramaut and the interior desert regions extending east from Aden to the Omani border are hot and dry. To the east of the highland interior, the terrain slopes down to the sandy wastes of the deserts of inner Arabia, the famous “Empty Quarter.”

Population Last Updated: 7/31/2002 6:00 PM

Yemenis are proud of their culture and history and regard their distinctive civilization as a unifying force among the many tribes that make up the population. Yemen's population of nearly 18 million, by far the largest among the countries of the Arabian Peninsula, is expected to double within the next 20 years. A characteristic feature of Yemeni society is the chewing of qat leaves at social sessions. Yemeni men, especially northern tribesmen, prominently carry the “jambiya,” a curved knife, at the waist as a sign of their personal dignity and independence.

Yemeni law mixes tribal customs (known as “urf”), Moslem religious statutes (sharia), executive decree, and parliamentary legislation. It has codified some traditional procedures, while introducing new concepts regulating commerce, labor, nationality, taxes, and civil rights. Outside urban areas, justice and law are still largely administered by traditional figures such as religious judges and tribal leaders.

In contrast to nomadic traditions of other peninsula inhabitants, most Yemenis have long been settled in small agricultural communities, and the population is still heavily rural. Because of poverty and a shortage of arable land, there has been a tradition of Yemeni men working as expatriate workers and small traders. Many Yemenis have close family relations in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Djibouti, and there are Yemeni‑origin communities as far‑flung as Indonesia and the U.S. Before the Gulf War, at least 1.4 million Yemenis worked overseas, with perhaps 1 million in Saudi Arabia alone. One consequence of Iraqi aggression was that 800,000 to 850,000 Yemeni workers were forced to return home.

Yemenis belong to two principal Islamic religious groups: the Zaydi community of the Shi’a sect, which predominates in the north of the country; and the Shaf’i community of the Sunni sect in the south and east. Yemen has the vestiges of a once‑thriving Jewish community, believed by some scholars to be one of the world's oldest diaspora communities.

Although Western dress is increasingly common, especially in the cities, most Yemeni men still wear the traditional “futtah” skirt, or full length “thobe,” and an open jacket with their jambiyas. In the tribal areas of the north, most men also carry rifles.

Yemeni women living in urban areas usually veil completely. In public, they generally wear black overskirts, loose‑fitting capes and veils, or colorfully printed draperies over embroidered dresses and loose trousers. In Taiz, women generally cover their hair with bright gold or saffron colored scarves but do not otherwise veil. Veiling is less common in rural areas, although many women will draw scarves across their faces if strangers approach. Since unification, women in Aden have begun to cover their hair more frequently than before.

Yemenis are, for the most part, friendly to Americans. Many have family and tribal ties to the thousands of Yemenis who have emigrated to the U.S. Although English is on its way to being the second most spoken language in the country, the majority of Yemenis still do not speak English. Therefore, being able to speak a few phrases in Arabic will be warmly appreciated.

According to popular tradition, Shem, a son of Noah, founded the city of Sanaa. From about 1000 BC to AD 600, Yemen was the center of an advanced civilization based on intensive agriculture and a lucrative trade in aromatics (such as frankincense) with Mediterranean countries. Ruins of temples and walls, as well as of the famous Marib Dam, whose final rupture in AD 570 (recorded in the “Elephant” sura of the Quran) spelled the end of this civilization, can still be seen.

The country converted to Islam about AD 628, during the prophet Mohammed’s lifetime. Previously, it had undergone periods with both Jewish and Christian kingdoms. Yemen provided many warriors to Islamic armies, and its artisans worked in constructing buildings that have given Islamic architecture its renown. Since early medieval times, Yemen has enjoyed varying political and economic fortunes that have been tied closely to the relative importance of its caravan routes. The Zaydi Imamate was founded by Yahya bin Husain bin Qasim al‑Rassi, in AD 897 and lasted until the Republican Revolution in 1962. Other important dynasties that ruled in northern Yemen included the Sulayhids, who produced the greatest female ruler in Yemeni Islamic history, Queen Arwa bint Ahmed. She ruled from her capital in Jibla between AD 1088 and 1137. A second dynasty, important for its mosque‑building activities and for the establishment of the famous medieval university in Zabid, was the Rasulids, based in Taiz. Areas of the country were twice ruled by the Ottoman Turks‑the first period lasted from 1513 to 1636, and the second from 1849 to 1918.

After the departure of the Turks in 1918, Imam Yahya assumed political control of the north. The succeeding Imam Ahmed kept the country in almost complete isolation until the regime was overthrown on September 26, 1962, by elements intent on modernizing the country’s medieval economic, political, and social structures. Forces loyal to the Imam’s family opposed the new republic for several years. The Republicans were supported by Egyptian troops and the Royalists by Saudi Arabia. Periodic heavy fighting continued for almost 8 years between the Republican and Royalist forces and their supporters.

The Egyptians departed in November 1967, and a settlement was mediated by Saudi Arabia and Egypt in March 1970 which guaranteed a republican form of government in what became the Yemen Arab Republic. Subsequent presidents of the republic established a written constitution and parliament. The new state faced both external and internal threats. It fought two border wars with the Communist‑ruled People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen in 1972 and 1979 and suffered from continuous Communist‑inspired insurgencies until the mid‑1980s. Two presidents were assassinated in 1978, and the current president of the unified Republic of Yemen took office that year.

South Yemen was the focus of European attentions from the beginning of the 15th century. Attracted by the superb natural harbor of Aden, the British arrived in Aden in 1839 and quickly established relations with the tribal rulers in the hinterlands in order to protect their position in Aden. With the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, the British reinforced their position in Aden to ensure their line of communication to India and their dominance in the region. The British remained in Aden until 1967, when they were forced to abandon their former crown colony as a result of a terrorist campaign carried out by two rival nationalist groups. The National Liberation Front proclaimed the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) under Communist aegis in 1970 and immediately began to support an unsuccessful guerrilla war in the Dhofar Province in neighboring Oman. In January 1986, Aden was rocked by a bloody 10‑day coup between rival political factions. Estimates of those killed during the coup range up to 10,000.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 7/31/2002 6:00 PM

Present‑day Yemen is the result of a merger of the Yemen Arab Republic (North Yemen) and the Marxist Peoples’ Democratic Republic of Yemen (South Yemen), the capital of which was Aden. Unification took place in May 1990, following the decline of Soviet support for the PDRY and the collapse of its economy. The new state, called the Republic of Yemen, was accorded immediate recognition by most of the world community, including the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. The former North Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh became President during the transitional period, and the former President of South Yemen, Ali Salim Al‑Bidh, Vice President. An interim constitution was proclaimed in May 1990 and approved in a referendum in May 1991. The first free multiparty parliamentary elections, with universal suffrage, were held in April 1993, with various international groups assisting in the set‑up of the elections and observing the voting.

The ensuing Parliament consisted of 143 members from the General People’s Congress (GPC), 69 members from the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), 63 members from the Islaah party, and a small number from various other parties as well as independents. The speaker of Parliament was Sheikh Abdallah Bin Husain Al-Ahmar, the head of Islaah. After the elections, Islaah was invited to join the ruling coalition government. Conflicts began in August 1993 with then-Vice President Ali Salim Al‑Bidh, who retreated to Aden to a self‑imposed exile. After intermittent clashes, a full‑scale civil war broke out in May 1994. Most of the fighting took place in the southern parts of the country, with some air and missile attacks against cities and military sites in the north. Despite strong support from neighboring countries, the south was overrun and Aden was captured on July 7, 1994. The leaders of the secession and some of the military went into self‑exile, but many returned a short while later following a general amnesty granted by President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Sixteen people were excluded from the amnesty, and legal proceedings were brought against four persons accused of misappropriating official funds. The remaining 12 were told informally that they could take advantage of the general amnesty, but most remain outside Yemen. This caused considerable loss of influence for the YSP from which it has not yet fully recovered.

In 1994, amendments to the Constitution eliminated the Presidential Council. Later in October the Parliament elected Ali Abdullah Saleh as President for a five‑year term. Parliamentary elections were held in April 1997, again with the cooperation and assistance of international observer groups. Despite a boycott by the YSP, the elections were characterized as free and fair, and resulted in an overwhelming mandate to the GPC. The GPC won 187 seats, with 53 seats going to Islaah, 39 seats to independents and the remaining to smaller political parties. Having refused an offer of participation in a coalition government, Islaah officially declared itself an opposition party.

In June 1999, the Emerging Democracies Forum was held in Sanaa. Sixteen countries and non-governmental organizations from different parts of the world participated in the Forum. In September, the Arab world’s first direct, contested presidential elections were held and President Saleh won a second five‑year term. The first elections under the 1999 Local Administration Act will be held in February 2001. A third round of parliamentary elections are scheduled for April 2002.

Yemen continues to be challenged by the after‑effects of unification and the Gulf War. At unification, officials and workers of both governments were retained, resulting in a bloated government work force estimated to be at least 250,000. The number of ministries also nearly doubled, adding to bureaucratic confusion. An effort to balance ministerial portfolios between northerners and southerners created further bureaucratic problems.

The government remains publicly committed to democratic transition based on political pluralism, economic, judicial and administrative reform, and to reducing acute unemployment.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 7/31/2002 6:00 PM

In medieval Yemen, disciplines of law, religion, history, and poetry were sophisticated and widespread among the population. Yemen made many important contributions to Islamic civilization. A famous example is the development of algebra at the University of Zabid in the Tihama. Yemeni teachers taught in the Al‑Azhar University of Cairo in the 10th and 11th centuries, and students came to Zabid from all over Arabia, Ethiopia, and Somalia.

Yemeni isolation in recent centuries, however, led to a development gap that has had lasting consequences.

A low level of education (literacy is about 56% for males and 28% for females) has hampered development projects initiated by the government, but the number of students has greatly increased in recent years. Secondary school enrollments in 1998 reached 26.8% of secondary school aged children, including 76.1% of males and 23.9% of females. Unfortunately, enrollment after the age of 16 drops considerably, most notably among females. Of the secondary schoolteachers, about half are Yemenis and the rest expatriates, mainly from Egypt but also from Syria, Sudan, and Iraq.

Yemen’s principal universities are in Sanaa and Aden, with newer ones in Mukullah, Hadhramaut, Hodeidah and Taiz. Enrollment in the University of Sanaa's arts colleges (including the Faculty of Education, which has branches in several other locations in Yemen) is about 75% of the total student population. In Aden University, enrollment is about 60%. Enrollment in higher education consists of 6% of the 20‑23 age group, including 9% of males and 2% of females.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 7/31/2002 6:00 PM

Once noted for its export of coffee from the Port of Mocha, Yemen’s principal export today is oil. The country also exports small amounts of agricultural products to Saudi Arabia, but agriculture, except for qat, has declined in importance. During the 1980s, Yemen attracted some investment in consumer industries, mostly located in Taiz. Like many developing countries, Yemen is experiencing rapid urbanization which has put considerable strain on its inadequate infrastructure.

Although Yemen became a modest exporter of petroleum in 1987, the country has the lowest per capita income (about $300) of all non‑African Arab countries. Many Yemeni men are migrant workers in the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia, although nearly 800,000 were expelled as a result of Yemen's position during the Gulf War. Worker remittances in the 1970s and early 1980s fueled extraordinary growth in the commercial, governmental, and service sectors in Yemen. Unprecedented prosperity, despite declining agricultural production, promoted large imports of food and consumer goods. Construction of houses, shops, and light industries boomed.

Beginning in 1984, declining remittances, due to the worldwide slump in oil production, slowed this trend. The unification of Yemen in May 1990 in the aftermath of the collapse of former South Yemen's economy, followed by the return of expelled Yemenis in late 1990, sent shock waves throughout an already troubled economy.

Worker remittances that had declined from a high of about $1.2 billion in 1984 to $800 million in 1986 (and had grown back to about $1 billion before August 1990) dropped to a pittance. Donor grant aid that had also been declining throughout the 1980s (from about $400 million a year) also fell as Yemen’s main donors halted most aid in reaction to Yemen’s Gulf War policies. Economic growth rates declined in the early 1990s, but have begun to rebound.

After instituting its own reform program in 1995, the government entered into agreements with the IMF to institute a structural adjustment program with credits up to $600 million. This program included major financial and monetary reforms, such as unifying the exchange rate, floating the currency, reducing the budget deficit, and cutting government subsidies. The first phase of this program was quite successful in stabilizing prices and the value of Yemen's currency. The second phase focused on civil service reforms and is ongoing. Furthermore, Yemen has received debt relief from the Paris Club, including reduction of its substantial Soviet debt.

The discovery of oil in both North and South Yemen has been regarded as the most significant economic development in many years. Oil was discovered July 4, 1984, by the American‑owned Yemen Hunt Oil Company (YHOC) in the Marib region east of Sanaa. The Soviets also found oil about 80 miles to the south of the Marib area in the mid‑1980s. Yemen is believed to have modest reserves by Arabian Peninsula standards. Export pipelines were constructed from both fields to oil terminals. In addition, a small oil refinery was built near Marib. Further discoveries in Masila in the Hadhramaut and in the Jannah concession, have increased Yemen's oil production to 410,000 bpd in 2000, 70% of which is exported. Yemen has 9.8 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves associated with the Marib and Jannah oil, and has signed an agreement with French and American companies to extract and export liquid natural gas. The plan to modernize the deteriorated port of Aden (once the world’s third busiest port after New York and Liverpool), materialized with the March 1999 opening of a container terminal, and the development of a warehousing and industrial free zone was launched recently.

Yemen has not attracted much international interest outside the oil sector. With a population growing at an annual rate of 3.5%, it continues to import much of its food. Agriculture cannot be expanded significantly due to the limited supply of water and arable land. Yemen produces modest quantities of fruits and vegetables for export to its neighbors. A small food‑processing industry has developed in the last decade, mainly using imported raw materials. Although mostly for domestic markets, some is exported, including to Europe. Fishing holds some brighter prospects, but overfishing in the former South Yemen has severely depleted stocks. The government's commitment to economic liberalization and improving the climate for investment has yielded few tangible results. Yemen passed a new investment law in 1991, and the creation of the General Investment Authority followed shortly thereafter. The government has attempted to reduce its involvement and regulation in the field of private foreign investment. Furthermore, the economic reform program has removed some of the barriers to investment by instituting a simplified tariff regime and elimination of import and export licenses. However, problems remain, and foreign investors are advised to proceed with caution. For instance, corruption and bureaucracy continue to be a major obstacle.


Automobiles Last Updated: 8/4/2003 8:45 AM

A sturdy four‑wheel‑drive, high‑clearance vehicle is required for travel to many regions of Yemen and is more suitable even in Sanaa due to rough roads and seasonal flooding. The network of paved roads that now links Yemen’s major cities is being steadily extended, but many parts of the country are accessible only by rough and narrow tracks with no roadside services available. Yemen’s spectacular scenery, together with the narrow, often unmaintained tracks, makes travel an exciting experience.

Although many people manage to drive quite well within the city of Sanaa using a regular automobile, if they do plan to travel off the main roads, a high‑clearance vehicle is an advantage. Since unleaded gas is not available in Yemen, catalytic converters should be disconnected or allowed to burn off. Maintenance, parts, and supplies are limited for makes other than the major Japanese brands. If a vehicle is shipped to post, a sufficient supply of filters, belts, tires, brakes, and other key spare parts should be sent, since it is not possible to purchase many spare parts for vehicles built to U.S. specifications. Current Yemeni Government policy prohibits the importation of vehicles that are more than 5 years old.

Third‑party‑liability insurance is available locally at reasonable rates and is required by post policy for private and official vehicles. Collision insurance should be purchased through a U.S. company which provides international coverage. The Embassy will arrange for drivers’ licenses and vehicle registration, but these procedures take some time.

Motorcycles cannot be imported or registered. Each family may import two duty‑free vehicles. Vehicles can be sold at the end of the employee’s tour, after three years in country, or if the vehicle is damaged in an accident and can no longer be driven. With these restrictions, as well as the limited availability of vehicles here, employees should ship cars in good mechanical condition.

New cars can be purchased in Sanaa often for less than U.S. prices, but these cars do not have U.S. standard equipment and may not be allowed to enter the U.S. even after making expensive modifications. Dealers have an adequate stock of small Japanese cars, as well as larger four‑wheel‑drive utility models. Employees have purchased Japanese‑made vehicles locally. A new Ford dealer now sells several U.S. Ford products, including Taurus, Tracer, and Explorer. Jeep/Chrysler and GM also opened dealerships with maintenance facilities in 1999.

Local Transportation Last Updated: 8/11/2003 8:32 AM

Although taxi use within Sanaa, is not prohibited by post policy and reports of crimes against taxi patrons is rare, employees are cautioned in their use of taxis for both reasons of safety and security. A better alternative is to take advantage of Embassy motorpool transportation, which is available for a minimal charge. Employees who have an essential need for use of a taxi may find that their Yemeni friends and associates are a good source for referral of a trustworthy taxi service or owner/

operator who speaks English. When on the street avoid being selected by a taxi, instead apply randomness to your taxi selection. Also be random when traveling by taxi from your home or office. Avoid routine times and routes for travel and when possible ask the guard to note the taxi license tag number in the event of an incident. Communications such as an Embassy issued two-way radio or cellular phone should be on your person. It is a good idea to use your radio or phone to call Post 1 upon departure and arrival so that your travel will be monitored. Women find an added level of security and safety when covering their western style clothing and hair while commuting with public transportation. A two-person rule is a good idea when traveling by taxi. Fares are generally reasonable and should be negotiated in advance. Tipping is not necessary.

Regional Transportation Last Updated: 8/4/2003 9:18 AM

Taxis between cities have a poor safety record and are not recommended. Buses are generally considered safer, since journeys are scheduled and drivers have no incentive to make the trip faster than safety permits. During 2003, the bus fare from Sanaa to Taiz or Hodeidah was about 1,000 Rials (or about $5.50) one way. To Aden, the fare was about 1,200 Rials (or about $6.50) one way.

Yemen is now connected to Saudi Arabia by an excellent road running from Jeddah to Hodeidah, although crossing the border can be tedious and the trip takes several days.

The following airlines serve Sanaa Airport:

Emirates Air (daily flights to Dubai except Thursday/Sunday)

Gulf Air (2 flights a week to Abu Dhabi)

Royal Jordanian (2 flights a week to Amman)

Egypt Air (2 flights a week to Cairo)

Saudi Air (4 flights a week to Jeddah and one flight to Riyadh)

Qatar Airways (2 flights a week to Doha)

The National carrier Yemenia has three flights a week to Frankfurt, 2 flights to London and 2 flights to Paris. In addition, Yemenia operates flights to Middle East points such as Cairo, Amman, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha which can be connected with many flights to the U.S. and Europe.

There is currently no American carrier or code share flights to Yemen.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 7/15/2003 6:44 AM

Domestic telephone service is fairly reliable. Service to countries, such as the U.S., with international direct‑dial facilities is excellent but expensive. A call to the U.S. costs about twice as much as the cost of the same call initiated from the U.S. It is more economical to have families and friends in the U.S. do most of the calling. Employees may access the IVG line during non‑peak hours of usage to place long‑distance calls to the U.S. only if a personal charge card is used for the tolls. Telegrams may be sent from the downtown office of Cable and Wireless. A written text is necessary to ensure accuracy. The Embassy has telex, Internet, and fax capability.

Internet Last Updated: 7/15/2003 6:46 AM

TeleYemen is the only internet service provider and service is fairly reliable. Internet usage is billed per minute in addition to local calls that are billed per minute. Internet connection speeds will vary between 14.4 Kps and 50.0 Kps depending on location and time of day.

Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 8/4/2003 7:49 AM

U.S. Government direct‑hire employees assigned to Sanaa may receive mail and packages through the State Department pouch system. Letters, packages, and magazines should be addressed to:

6330 Sanaa Place
Dulles, VA 20189-6330

State Department regulations restrict incoming packages to 17"x18"x30" in length (no one length may exceed these measurements), or 65 inches length and girth combined, and 40 pounds in weight. Liquids, other than prescription medications, should not be sent, as such packages will be stopped at the pouch center in Washington, D.C.

Pouch letter mail between Sanaa and the U.S. takes from two to three weeks in either direction; packages, slightly longer. Delays in receiving incoming pouches have occurred when Yemeni Government officials object to shipments they believe contain electronic or heavy metal objects. Do not ship radios, cameras, computer hardware, or other electronic items by pouch. You must ship this equipment in unaccompanied baggage or household effects (HHE), or by commercial means. International mail is faster, but less reliable. Some employees use international mail for routine correspondence but prefer the pouch for important documents. The international mail address is:

American Embassy
P.O. Box 22347
Sanaa, Republic of Yemen

Letter mail, as well as merchandise returned to U.S. vendors, may be sent from Sanaa through the pouch. No other package mail may be sent from Sanaa by pouch.

Contractors of U.S. Government agencies may be authorized to receive first‑class letter mail only through the pouch.

Several international courier services, such as DHL, UPS, FedEx and Aramex, operate in Yemen.

Radio and TV Last Updated: 7/31/2002 6:00 PM

The Sanaa TV system uses the German PAL color system of transmission. It features a few English‑language programs, including a nightly newscast, cartoons on Friday, and occasional features with Arabic subtitles. Most employees now receive international programming through satellite TV. There are several options, although purchase of the dish, decoder and monthly fees is expensive. Pre‑recorded, uncensored videotapes in English are available through the Embassy Recreation Association.

Reception for short‑wave radio is generally good, including VOA and BBC.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 8/4/2003 7:33 AM

Yemen has a wide variety of newspapers and magazines. Out of 79 items, some are government owned while the majority are "independent." Most of the so-called independent newspapers are affiliated with and supported by political parties.

Health and Medicine Last Updated: 8/11/2003 5:04 AM

Sanaa is located at an altitude of more than 7,200 feet and is dusty and dry. Individuals with respiratory or heart problems are urged to contact the Medical Division before assignment.

Also, individuals with sickle cell trait should carefully consider the altitude of this post before applying for assignment here. If you will be traveling around Yemen, malaria prophylaxis may be required. You should be tested for GGPD and bring a copy of the report.

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 8/11/2003 5:11 AM

A Regional State Department physician, who is based in Sanaa, directs the post Health Unit. A nurse and a laboratory technician are also employed on contract. The Health Unit is well stocked for treatment of most acute ailments, but serious illnesses or surgeries require medical evacuation. Individuals should obtain required inoculations in Washington and bring immunization record with them, as well as any chronic medication. Only small quantities of drugs are available from the Health Unit, and the range and quality of local medications is unpredictable. American contractors of U.S. Government agencies, including Fulbright scholars, are permitted to use Health Unit facilities if they bring copies of (a) current medical clearance certified by a physician using State Department clearance standards for Yemen and (b) evacuation and hospitalization insurance. Contractors and Fulbright scholars should contact their sponsoring agencies for full information on these requirements before departing for Yemen.

Sanaa hospitals are used only in emergencies.

In general, it is strongly recommended that all routine dental work be taken care of either before arriving at post or while on R&R. Significant dental problems may require "dentavac" since few local dentists can provide adequate basic care.

Community Health Last Updated: 8/11/2003 7:21 AM

Public health conditions in Sanaa and other cities remain poor. Municipal garbage collection is irregular, and many areas suffer from overflowing dumpsters. Given the dryness and altitude, household pests are not a big problem, and all homes are screened against flies. Few rats exist in Sanaa, since a thriving population of wild cats and dogs keeps them under control. The cats and dogs pose a threat of rabies. Please start your rabies pre-exposure series before arriving. Jogging is only permitted on the Embassy compound so there is no need of worrying about dogs chasing you.

Most water supplies, either from city services or private water companies, come from deep wells but are often contaminated. A citywide sewer system has been under construction, but it will prove to be inadequate as the city is growing at a tremendous rate. Wells can be contaminated quite easily by shallow cesspools. Proper treatment of water by boiling and filtration protects against water‑borne diseases. All Embassy housing have distillers. Bottled water is also available locally and is quite safe to drink.

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 8/11/2003 7:49 AM

A complete medical briefing is provided upon arrival, covering required inoculations, water treatment, and food preparation, as well as basic common sense procedures for daily living in Yemen. Those who follow this preventive program reduce the risk of serious illness, although dusty days can prove inconvenient to sinus and allergy sufferers. Plant allergies, in contrast, are not a major problem with the sparse vegetation around Sanaa.

Commercially bottled water and carbonated soft drinks manufactured in Yemen are safe and are widely available throughout the country. Some local hotels and restaurants offer food that is generally safe and sanitary. A list of recommended restaurants is available at post. Care should be exercised with salads or uncooked food.

Typhoid has occurred in Yemen in recent years, as well as tuberculosis and scattered incidents of Hepatitis A. Some cases of malaria have been reported from exposure in the lowlands. However, malaria is not present in Sanaa due to the altitude. Cholera has been reported in scattered locations in Yemen.

Gastrointestinal parasites are common but can be diagnosed and treated routinely. Firm discipline in water and food preparation greatly reduces the likelihood of such illnesses.

Schistosomiasis or bilharzia is endemic in Yemen but can easily be avoided by not wading or swimming in streams or fresh water pools.

Fresh vegetables must be washed in a chlorine. Imported meats are available, but they must be well cooked. Local meat from selected stores is also safe after thorough cooking.

Servants should have a yearly medical examination and receive recommended inoculations with local physicians. They should be closely supervised to ensure sanitation and proper food preparation.

The post has active programs to maintain health and fitness, including CPR and emergency first‑aid classes.

Qat. Qat is a leaf that many Yemenis like to chew in the afternoon hours. It is on the official U.S. list of controlled substances and may not be imported into the U.S. It produces a mild amphetamine-like reaction. Much of the social activity of Yemen is centered around the “Qat chew.” Important business agreements, as well as community and national matters, are usually discussed and often decided during these sessions.

Although qat does not appear to be physically addicting, withdrawal symptoms have been known to occur after many years of regular chewing.

The dangers include blood pressure elevation; infectious diseases transferred via its leaves and/or the water with which it is washed; and ingestion of pesticides or other chemicals sprayed on the leaves.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 8/12/2003 3:21 AM

Most spouses and adult dependents who wish to work in Sanaa have found employment of some sort. International companies and Non‑Governmental Organizations (NGOs) offer a variety of jobs, although most involve English‑language teaching or some type of clerical or administrative work. Low salaries limit jobs on the local economy, although the Sanaa International School has employed several Mission spouses as teachers of elementary, junior high, and senior high school classes. Post management places a high priority on assisting spouses and dependents with employment under the Family Member Appointment (FMA) program. Please write to the Management Officer at the Embassy, listing job preferences and enclosing a résumé.

American Embassy - Sanaa

Post City Last Updated: 7/31/2002 6:00 PM

Sanaa, the capital of the Republic of Yemen, is a growing city of over 1 million people located in the middle of a broad valley between mountains that rise to 12,000 feet above sea level. Sanaa's altitude (7,226 feet above sea level) and its position on the Arabian Peninsula provide an almost ideal climate. Although dust can be a problem, winters are warm, and summers, relatively cool. Except for two rainy periods, one in spring and the other in late summer, the air is dry.

The geology of the Sanaa Basin mixes volcanic with sedimentary rocks, and the brown and black mountains create striking patterns in the morning and evening light. Many are reminded of the stark beauty of Arizona and Utah, but verdant channels of vegetation along the valley watercourses relieve the generally barren terrain. These watercourses, or “wadis,” permit an extraordinary system of terraced farming along the slopes of the escarpment, which turns the hills green during the two growing seasons of the year.

Sanaa has a unique architectural tradition, dating from medieval times, which is preserved within the walls of the Old City. Clusters of stained glass windows highlight the stone houses, many of them six or seven stories high. Intricate designs traced in plaster decorate the exterior walls, while within the house guests climb stairs past the family quarters to a “mufraj” reception room. The mufraj — the word comes from the Arabic root “to enjoy”— is chosen, if possible, for its view of the city and mountains, and guests recline on colorful cushions and carpets.

A wall still surrounds most of the Old City, and life within has changed little over the years. Narrow streets twist through the suq, or market area, offering a glimpse of blacksmiths working over their forges, meat and vegetable vendors with their wares, gold and silver merchants and moneychangers doing brisk business, donkeys plodding beside their masters, colorful and pungent baskets of spices, and children running everywhere. There is an atmosphere of continual festivity, with tribesmen from mountain villages examining the wares of the city alongside veiled housewives striking hard bargains with merchants.

Westerners visiting the suq are treated with genuine friendliness by shopkeepers and customers alike-with little of the harassment and pressure to buy found in other countries. The Old City is a favorite destination of many Mission members, who enjoy bargaining for treasures such as the elaborate silver jewelry, antique rifles, Maria Theresa coins, which were used as legal tender in Yemen through the time of the Imam, as well as traditional jambiyas and embroidered cloth.

In the early 1990s, land prices rose rapidly as emigrant workers invested their savings in new houses and shops. However, market saturation and declining real incomes as a result of economic reform have caused prices to fall dramatically during the past few years. Construction projects continue, but city services have lagged behind the population increase. Electricity outages in some areas are frequent, and voltage fluctuations can cause serious damage to electronic equipment not protected by voltage regulators. Houses in several districts are connected to municipal water and sewer systems, but many houses still rely on wells or water delivered by truck, and their own septic tanks or cesspools. The municipal system provides water only for a limited time each week, requiring that water be stored in rooftop tanks.

Traffic is increasingly congested, both from cars imported with emigrant capital, as well as from construction and utility projects that can close roads for extended periods. It is chaotic, but usually not aggressive. Roads in Yemen are often filled with debris and potholes, which can make for adventurous driving. Yemen ranks high on the lists of both the number of vehicular accidents and the number of deaths from vehicular accidents worldwide.

Stores carry a variety of consumer goods, but supplies are inconsistent and prices high. Persistent shoppers can generally find most items they need, and many people enjoy their frequent contacts with local shopkeepers.

Contrary to the situation a few years ago, Sanaa’s major grocery stores are well stocked with a wide range of foodstuffs, albeit many are expensive by U.S. standards, and availability of any given item is unpredictable. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are widely available and inexpensive. All grown locally, they are fresh and tasty. Many food products familiar to American consumers, including snack foods, diet drinks, and other packaged foods, are not available and should be included in the consumables shipments. Obtaining good quality meat is difficult.

U.S.-Yemeni Relations. The U.S. first established diplomatic relations with Yemen in 1946, but it was not until 1959 that a resident legation was opened in Taiz. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) program began soon thereafter, and the legation was upgraded to Embassy status.

The U.S. recognized the post‑revolutionary Yemen Arab Republic on December 19, 1962. In late 1966 the Embassy moved to Sanaa. On June 7, 1967, during the Arab-Israeli conflict, the government of Abdullah al‑Sallal severed diplomatic relations with the U.S., and all Americans were withdrawn.

In 1970, the Yemen Arab Republic requested resumption of diplomatic relations, and on April 29, 1970, a U.S. Interests Section was established in the Italian Embassy in Sanaa. On July 1, 1972, full diplomatic relations were resumed during a visit by then-Secretary of State William P. Rogers. A new USAID program was started in spring 1973, and the Peace Corps began several projects the same year. A military sales agreement was signed in 1976, followed in 1979 by the establishment of the Office of Military Cooperation.

In 1984, the Hunt Oil Company discovered oil in Marib. The pipeline work began in 1986, and commercial production began in 1988. Then –Vice President Bush attended the inaugural ceremonies of the central processing unit in 1986. Mr. Bush also laid the cornerstone of the present Embassy compound. President Ali Abdullah Saleh paid an official state visit to the U.S. in January 1990 and again in April 2000.

On the PDRY’s independence in November 1967, the American Consulate General in Aden was elevated to an Embassy. However, the former PDRY severed its diplomatic relations with the U.S. in 1969 and contacts between the U.S. and the PDRY were exceedingly rare. However, in 1980, after the fall of former President Abd al‑Fattah Ismail, the PDRY began realigning its foreign policy toward the conservative Gulf Sheikhdoms and dropped its sponsorship of Dhofar separatists attempting to secede from Oman. In the late '80s, the PDRY began exploring the possibility of reestablishing diplomatic relations with the U.S.

In May 1990, the Yemen Arab Republic and the PDRY merged into the Republic of Yemen and the Embassy in Sanaa became responsible for the new republic. U.S.-Yemen relations took a turn for the worse due to Yemen's position during the Gulf War. The U.S. withdrew its Office of Military Cooperation, the Peace Corps, and slashed its USAID program. Bilateral relations continued to be strained by the government's political support for the regime of Saddam Hussein. However, Peace Corps volunteers returned in mid‑summer 1991, and the program continued to expand. Bilateral relations have been steadily improving, and the U.S. supported Yemeni unity during the civil war in 1994. Unfortunately, as a result of the evacuation of U.S. nationals during the war, the Peace Corps program was again suspended. U.S. companies are playing a growing role in Yemen's development, and this has also contributed to the improvement of U.S.‑Yemeni relations.

Security Last Updated: 8/18/2003 6:29 AM

The security environment found within Yemen is focused primarily on threats from terrorism, kidnapping and vehicular accidents. Yemen continues to be a sought-after safehaven for various international and domestic terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda and the Aden-Abyan Islamic Army. The Republic of Yemen Government (ROYG), however, with assistance from the United States, is making progress in its ability to arrest wanted individuals, control its borders and patrol the vast Yemeni coastline.

The approximately 1,000-year tradition of tribal kidnapping, with the intention of gaining a concession from the ruling authority, poses a second area of concern. In the recent past, however, due to the combination of the death penalty being instituted for this crime and ROYG advance payment to tribal leaders to discourage the practice, the number of tribal kidnapping incidents has declined dramatically.

Driving can be an extremely dangerous and harrowing experience. Accidents are frequent, but fatal incidents involving official American personnel are rare. Adoption of appropriate driving practices does reduce the danger to personnel stationed in Yemen. Nevertheless, with the phenomenon of Yemeni drivers motoring the wrong way down city streets being a common daily occurrence, the potential for accidents remains high.

The Regional Security Office is well positioned to address and mitigate most threats faced by American personnel. Residences are assigned Embassy guards and host government police. Local Guard Force roving patrol vehicles roam the neighborhoods where Americans live and work. The Embassy compound is the first facility built to Inman standards, including 100 feet of setback and a ram-resistant perimeter wall. ROYG has stationed a large number of security personnel on the Embassy’s perimeter, insulating the Embassy from potential assault. Finally, the Regional Security Office enjoys close contact with high-level Ministry of Interior officers, making for an effective liaison process to address all concerns held by Embassy community members.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 8/12/2003 3:43 AM

The current Embassy building, one of the first built to Inman standards for security, was opened in 1990 on 14 acres overlooking the city. The complex has a four‑level Chancery of 65,555 square feet, a three‑level ambassadorial residence, Marine Security Guard quarters, and a warehouse facility. It also has a recreation building with exercise equipment, a swimming pool, two tennis courts, covered parking areas, and a playground.

The Chancery includes offices for the State, Defense, Commerce, USAID, FBI, OMC, and Agriculture Departments.

The Embassy complex is self‑sufficient and is designed to stand alone without outside support for up to several weeks.

The Public Diplomacy Office, co‑located in the Embassy Chancery, is active in cultural, information, and English‑language teaching programs, and sponsors a center for Yemeni studies in Sanaa funded by a consortium of American universities.

USAID reopened its mission to Yemen in June 2003 with a development program designed to improve the security situation in Yemen and the lives of the Yemeni people. The program will address basic human issues including reproductive, material and child health; basic education and literacy; and food security and jobs in a predominantly agricultural economy.

In 2003, the Mission numbered 5938 U.S. Government American employees, including the Marine Security Guards.

Working hours for all Mission agencies are Saturday through Wednesday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Community Liaison Officer will send an information kit to new personnel when their assignments are confirmed. New employees should notify their agency of arrival plans by cable as far in advance as possible. All employees are met and assisted through passport and customs control. Employees and their families must have Yemeni visas before arrival. Airport visas cannot be arranged, except in severe emergencies.

The post recommends travel to Sanaa from the U.S. via Frankfurt, as it is the most expeditious route. Yemenia has three flights a wekk from Frankfurt to Sanaa on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, two flights a week out of London and two flights a week out of Paris. However, the Yemenia schedule is not very reliable with frequent delays and changes. Moreover, Yemenia does not have a business class. Lufthansa plans to start operating flights to Yemen beginning in early August 2003. They will have three flights a week from Frankfurt on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Emirates Air has five flights a week from Dubai with connections from Europe and the U.S. Gulf Air has two flights a week. Royal Jordanian has two flights weekly from Amman while Egypt Air also has two flights from Cairo to Sanaa. Qatar Airways has two flights from Doha to Sanaa. All these airlines have connections from Europe and the U.S. to Sanaa.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 8/5/2003 3:10 AM

The post makes every effort to move newly arrived families directly into their permanent quarters. If this is not possible, a new arrival may stay in a vacant house or apartment before permanent quarters are available. All direct‑hire employees receive Welcome Kits for use until their HHE shipments arrive. Kits contain dishes, glasses, pots and pans, utensils, linens, an iron, ironing board, TV and VCR. (The Welcome Kit must be returned as soon as the employee's HHE arrives.)

Permanent Housing Last Updated: 8/5/2003 3:25 AM

All staff assigned to Sanaa occupy government-leased and furnished quarters. Housing assignments for Embassy personnel are made by the post Housing Board, which is composed of representatives of each agency and are based on family size and grade (pursuant to 6 FAM 720). Employees dissatisfied with assigned quarters may appeal to the Housing Board.

The Ambassador’s residence, located inside the Embassy compound, is a three‑level building occupying 15,696 square feet.

Other Mission staff members live either in leased houses or apartments. For security reasons, the trend in recent years has been toward stand‑alone houses scattered throughout the city rather than a cluster of apartments on the Hadda apartment compound. Houses are usually spacious with one or two stories and a large basement, set within walled yards. Kitchens and bathrooms are Western style, with modern fixtures. Periodic water shortages make large lawns impractical, but enthusiastic gardeners can grow a wide variety of flowers and vegetables. Sanaa’s climate is ideal for small vegetable gardens and there has been considerable success in growing some items which are not available on the local market. Make sure to bring a supply of seeds to post.

Full-time gate guards are assigned to all houses. The Mission pays for guard services only, and the gate guards should not be asked to do other tasks such as gardening or car washing. Employees are responsible for arranging for these services as personal expenses. The Mission periodically reviews the need for residential guards.

Some Mission employees live in the Hadda Apartment complex that was built to modern design and construction standards. These apartments have either two or three bedrooms, a large living/dining room, and at least one‑and‑a‑half bathrooms. Some have small patios or balconies. The complex is international, with residents from other diplomatic missions, expatriate business firms, and American contractors. There are tennis courts, playgrounds and a swimming pool. Most Mission staff live in villas in the Hadda area.

Furnishings Last Updated: 8/5/2003 3:32 AM

Direct‑hire employees of all U.S. Government agencies are provided with classical American furniture and appliances. Beds are either queen or twin‑sized. Appliances include washer, dryer, refrigerator, stove, microwave oven, freezer, dishwasher, water distiller, and vacuum cleaner. Area carpets are provided. Curtains for Embassy employees are ordered locally. (Windows, even within the same room, may be of different heights and widths.) Houses and apartments are plastered and painted white; floors are tiled or carpeted.

Include such items as pictures, wall hangings, and throw rugs in your HHE. Due to the dryness, bring at least one vaporizer/humidifier or plan to buy a 220‑volt version here. Also, small kitchen appliances, utensils, china, flatware, pots and pans, glassware, an iron, and ironing board should be shipped. Although 220v versions of small appliances are commonly available here, they can be expensive.

Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 8/5/2003 3:44 AM

Water in Sanaa may come from a well on the property, from the municipal water system, or from a private water project. Water is pumped from ground level to a holding tank on the roof and then to the house for improved pressure. There are occasional shortages, and if necessary, additional water is delivered by truck. Electric hot water heaters are provided for kitchens, laundry rooms, and bathrooms. Stoves are fueled by bottled gas, which is always installed in an outside area.

Electricity is 220v, 50‑cycle, 3‑phase, AC. Transformers are supplied for government‑owned appliances, and two additional ones are provided for personal use. Each kitchen has at least one 110v outlet.

Electricity outages are common but usually of short duration. All Embassy houses are equipped with generators. The main electrical problem is wide current fluctuations. Voltage regulators and surge protectors are necessary for personal appliances, such as TVs, VCRs, stereos, and computers and should be included in your HHE shipment. Rechargeable battery‑powered lights are useful.

Food Last Updated: 8/12/2003 3:50 AM

U.S. Government employees are authorized to ship consumables to Sanaa. The weight allowed will be indicated in your travel orders. The full allowance does not have to be shipped immediately; a second shipment can be made within 1 year of your arrival at post. Many people prefer to split their shipments, making the second order when they have an exact idea of what is available at post. To help plan the initial order, the Community Liaison Officer sends new employees a recommended list of supplies.

The Embassy Recreation Association operates a small commissary, gift shop, Uncle Sam's Coffee Shop and FedEx Shipping Center. The following is a partial list of available foodstuffs in-country and in the Commissary:

Frozen beef, lamb, chicken, duck, steak, beef sausages, turkey (all are imported). Locally fresh meat is very tough.
Frozen Seafood: scallops (good fresh fish can be purchases locally).
Fresh Vegetables: Cabbage (no red), carrots, okra, potatoes, tomatoes, green peppers, hot peppers, leaf lettuce, eggplant, squash (in season), onions (red and yellow), garlic, spinach, green beans (in season), cauliflower (in season).
Fresh Fruit: Bananas, papaya, mango, pomegranates, figs, melon, grapes, limes, apples, oranges, grapefruit, peaches, pears, apricots and plums. Most fruits are seasonal.
Dairy Products: Eggs, “long life” milk, butter (imported), yogurt, whipping cream, ice cream. Fresh cheese is available as well as canned cheeses.
Canned Goods: A fair variety of canned fruits and vegetables (all expensive). Locally produced fruit juices are reasonable in cost, but no sugar‑free brands are available.
Toiletries: A limited variety of toothpaste, soap, body lotion, and shampoo is available but the choice gets better all the time. Several new stores offer different brands of mostly European cosmetics for women.
Paper Products: A limited, expensive selection.
Soft Drinks: A limited variety, but ample supply of brand-name soft drinks is available.
Miscellaneous: Most spices, ketchup and mustard, pickles, tea, coffee (beans and instant); vendors will grind the beans but the result is usually too fine for American tastes. Flour and sugar (coarsely ground of uneven quality).

Clothing Last Updated: 8/12/2003 3:55 AM

Dress is relatively informal in Sanaa. Most Americans wear comfortable business attire to work. Formal wear for men is not required; dark suits will suffice, although tuxedos may be worn to the Marine Birthday Ball and a few diplomatic functions. Women wear both long and medium‑length dresses at receptions and cocktail parties. Women should also bring a “suq dress,” an oversized, long‑sleeved garment with a high neck and hemline below the calf and/or loose slacks with a long overblouse. Although Yemenis are generally tolerant of Western behavior and dress, most Americans feel more comfortable wearing conservative clothing in public. Shorts are worn only for sports and never in public areas by either men or women. Yemenis neither require nor expect non‑Muslim women to wear either an “abaya” (the black full cloak) or a “hijab” (the headscarf).

Because of the constant dust in Sanaa, clothing may wear out quickly with frequent washing in hard water. Durable fabrics are recommended. With Sanaa's moderate climate, all but the heaviest and lightest materials will be comfortable most of the year. Sweaters and light jackets are necessary for at least part of the day during winter and often in the evenings in summer. As some streets in Sanaa are unpaved, sturdy shoes with crepe or rubber soles are a necessity. Ladies’ shoes with leather heels can quickly be ruined on gravel, which is used instead of concrete or asphalt in many parking areas and paths.

Several stores in Sanaa sell Western clothing. Prices are high; selection is limited especially for larger sizes, and quality is only fair. A good selection of imported fabrics is available. Imported shoes are available, but, again, prices are high and selection only fair. There are a few dependable tailors in town who can make simple garments and copy existing ones. Most Americans bring clothing sufficient to their needs, supplemented by catalog orders shipped through the pouch, and purchases made while on R&R.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 8/5/2003 8:36 AM

Cosmetics and toilet articles are readily available here, but they can be expensive especially for "designer" European brands. Several stores have opened in recent months that carry such brands of cosmetics and perfumes. However, any favorites, especially American brands, should be brought to post.

High altitude and clear skies make for a harsh, bright sun. A good supply of sun block or suntan lotion should be brought to post, especially for young children. It is a good idea to bring a spare pair of sunglasses. Reasonable quality, non-prescription types can be found in town, but bring prescription sunglasses to post. Hats are recommended for outdoor activities, especially for children. Skin creams are important in Yemen’s dry air, and liquid soap may be more tolerable than regular bar soap. Lip balm is also useful.

Powdered soaps, bleach, and cleaning supplies are commonly available. Again, if you have favorites, it is better to bring them in your consumables. Non-prescription drugs familiar to Americans may not be available; a supply of medicines such as aspirin, cough syrup, digestive remedies, and flu medicine should be shipped. Prescription drugs may be available locally, but bring enough to last 8 weeks in case they must be ordered from the U.S.

A small tool kit for minor auto, carpentry, and miscellaneous household repair is helpful. As most walls are plaster‑covered concrete, and only a few types of concrete fasteners are available locally, a small selection of hangers and nails for picture hanging is a good idea.

A growing number of shops sell Arabic and Western pop music tapes, often for prices below those of the U.S., though quality is not as high. In addition, the Embassy Recreation Association has a video and DVD library Several videotape stores have opened, offering movies in Arabic and English. Quality is low, selection is generally limited to unsophisticated grade‑B films, and only PAL system tapes are stocked, which cannot be played on NTSC video machines. Blank audio and videotapes are available. New electronic equipment (radios, stereos, TVs, VCRs, calculators, etc.) can be purchased in several stores. Selection and prices are good and can be negotiated.

Basic Services Last Updated: 8/5/2003 8:41 AM

One hotel provides clean, fair‑to‑good quality barber and hairdressing services at reasonable prices. Men's, women's and childrens salons have recently opened on Hadda Street near the Hadda compound. There are a large number of cheaper barbers, though quality and cleanliness can be a question. With a little experimentation several Mission members have located good hairdressers for women, and have been pleased with the results. Hotels and many shops offer dry cleaning services, and quality is satisfactory, although it is probably safer to wash what can be washed and dry‑clean only necessary items. Commercial products that “dry clean” clothing in a dryer are useful for those occasions when clothing is not heavily soiled but only needs to be freshened up. Adequate car repair is available; it is best to ask experienced people to recommend a mechanic. Parts can be difficult to find, except for the most popular brands and models, such as Toyota and Mitsubishi. Bring a complete set of tune‑up parts, such as spark plugs, filters, and points. Simple repairs can be made to some brands of TVs and radios, especially Sony. Americans have had success in obtaining watch repairs and batteries for most brands. Car rentals are available, but prices are high (drivers can be hired for an extra charge). Shoe repair is primitive. Colored print film is available at a reasonable price; slide film is less common.

Domestic Help Last Updated: 8/5/2003 8:48 AM

Salaries are affordable for servants but quality is quite variable. A full‑time maid generally charges $400 a month. There are an increasing number of Filipinos, Ethiopians and Indians who can be hired on a part‑time basis, and many Mission members share maids. Part‑time gardening help can be found at reasonable prices. Employees planning to bring domestic servants from other countries should contact the Management Officer well in advance of their arrival. Work and residence permits can be obtained through the Embassy, although permits for third country national domestic help cost around $500 (residence visa and work permit) for the first year.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 8/12/2003 3:57 AM

Islam is the national religion, and Yemeni law prohibits religious proselytizing. However, Yemen is tolerant of the private practice of religion by foreigners. Both Catholic and nondenominational Protestant services are held weekly at various residences. Catholic Mass is also held weekly and on holidays at the Sisters of Mercy home in Sanaa. There are no functioning synagogues in Yemen, but Yemeni Jews hold orthodox religious services in their homes north of Sanaa. There are active Catholic and Anglican Churches and several Hindu temples in Aden.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 7/31/2002 6:00 PM
The Sanaa International School (SIS) is an English‑language day school with students representing about 30 nationalities. The Department of State considers SIS as “adequate” through grade 6, although many American dependents attend SIS through grade 9. During the 2000‑2001 school year, 160 students are expected to attend. The faculty is composed of 33 teachers (including about 8 part-time hires and 3 Arabic teachers). Twenty‑two of these teachers were U.S. qualified. Annual tuition and fees totaled $10,700 for kindergarten and $13,200 for grades 1 through 12. English (reading, grammar, composition, keyboarding, and spelling), mathematics, cultural studies (history, geography, economics, etc.), science, art, music, and physical education are offered as a part of the standard curriculum.

A 4‑year American secondary program is offered, which includes the basic subjects and a limited selection of electives. Various enrichment activities are scheduled some afternoons each week.

The school year extends from early September through mid-June, and the children attend school Saturday through Wednesday, with Thursday and Friday off. The school hours are: 8 a.m. to noon for kindergarten; 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for children ages 6 through 11 (but on some days students stay for various activities or special subjects); and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for students ages 12 years and up. Bus service costs $600 a year (2000‑2001 fee). Children should bring a snack on shorter days and lunch on activity days. All textbooks are loaned to the students, who are responsible for their own pencils, erasers, and notebooks.

The school is located about 20 minutes outside Sanaa and consists of several comfortable, spacious buildings around a center courtyard. The 35‑acre campus has large play areas with outdoor play equipment. The school has recently opened a City Campus, located in the center of the city, offering classes for 3‑ and 4‑year‑old children. The curriculum is designed for young children, the majority of whom are English speakers. Admission of non-English speakers is very restricted.

Another school also used by many Mission members is Sanaa British School, which has a British‑based curriculum for children between the ages of 4 and 11. This small school is parent‑run, but administered by the principal under the direction of an elected board of governors. The board consists of parents and members of the community, all of whom serve on a voluntary basis.

There are 10 different nationalities represented at the school. The children are placed in classes mainly, but not solely, on the basis of age. There are three basic levels of classes: The Preschool class, Key Stage One (ages 4‑7 years), and Key Stage Two (ages 7‑11 years). All children are required to take the British Standard Attainment Test in the core subjects at the ages of 7 and 11. The curriculum consists of four main areas of learning: The core subjects‑English, mathematics, and science; technology‑information and design, and technology; the humanities‑history, geography, and languages; the arts‑music, art, dance, and drama, and physical education.

The school year runs from early September to early July, and the school week is Saturday through Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Afternoon activities run from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. and include many different electives. Children staying for after‑school activities should bring a packed lunch. Annual tuition and fees for the 2000‑2001 school year are $8,800. All students are also required to make contributions to the Capital Fund on an annual basis of $1,200.

Fees for the nursery level ranges from $1,200 to $2,000 per year, depending on the attendance days. For kindergarten, the tuition is $8,400 per annum.

A third option for parents is the French School of Sanaa. The French School is accredited in France and is based on a French curriculum. Of course, this is used less often by Mission members due to the French‑language requirement.

The school had an enrollment of 180 students during the 1999‑2000 school year and consisted of grades K‑8. Tuition and fees in 2000‑2001 for kindergarten and elementary students is $2,600 and $3,200 for secondary school students. The school year runs from early September to late June, with students attending class from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

A few English‑language preschools are available for younger children. Fees range from $1,200 to $3,000 a year. These pre‑schools operate in private homes and have between 10 and 30 students. Qualifications of teachers vary, and other parents should be consulted before choosing a preschool.

Away From Post Last Updated: 7/31/2002 6:00 PM
Most Western children of high school age attend school away from post. Dependents of government employees qualify for away‑from‑post educational allowances. There are several schools used by Mission employees both in Europe and the U.S. No single school has been chosen by more than one family. Parents should consult the Family Liaison Office in the State Department or at their current post for assistance in choosing an appropriate school.

Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 8/12/2003 4:15 AM

SIS offers night classes in various subjects from time to time, including computer programming. In addition, Sanaa University offers three different English faculties with English language courese (Faculty of English Art, Faculty of Languages, and Faculty of Education), but admission requirements and quality have not been tested. The Yemen America Language Institute, partially funded by the U.S. Government, also offers daily classes in English and special courese in the summer for children. The post's language program provides Arabic lessons to interested employees and dependents based on funds availability. Intensive Arabic courses are offered through the Yemen Language Center, run by the former Assistant Director of the Peace Corps language program. However, tuition is expensive and the course is designed only for intensive daily study of Arabic. There is another Arabic language school in the Old City, but it has only recently started and little is known about the quality of the teaching.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 8/12/2003 4:18 AM

The Embassy grounds contain a 6 m x 18 m swimming pool, a wading pool, two lighted tennis courts, a volleyball court, a workout room with exercise equipment, and a small playground. The Embassy grounds provide an excellent site for American community picnics. A swimming pool and two tennis courts are also available to Hadda Apartment residents. The Sheraton and Taj Sheba Hotels offer memberships for use of their heated swimming pools, exercise rooms, and tennis courts (Sheraton only).

The Sanaa Chapter of the Hash House Harriers sponsors occasional runs through the scenic countryside. Yemeni soccer teams play weekly throughout the season, and visiting teams bring international‑level competition several times a year. The Embassy compound has a jogging track and is used by many employees for jogging and walking.

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 8/12/2003 4:28 AM

In early 2000, the Yemeni Ministry of Foreign Affairs began requiring that diplomats and their families provide the MFA with advance notification for travel within Yemen, but outside of Sanaa. In addition, the Embassy requires that anyone planning to travel outside of Sanaa consult with the Regional Security Officer and the Ambassador in advance. This will help ensure the safety of all Embassy employees and their family members. In spite of the small inconveniences that may result from the need to heed this in-country travel policy, all members of the Embassy community find that touring in Yemen is one of the great pleasures possible during a tour of duty.

Much of Yemen's natural beauty is increasingly accessible. Paved roads lead to the coast, to the southern areas of the country, to the city of Sa'ada in the north, and to Marib in the eastern desert. Four-wheel drive allows one to explore more remote areas of the country. However, visitors should be cautious when traveling to these areas, as hijackings of vehicles (mostly large, four-wheel-drive Toyota Land Cruisers) are not uncommon. The warm, coral-fringed Red Sea coast is a favorite spot for swimming, fishing, snorkeling, especially during moderate winter months. (There are no facilities for servicing scuba gear.) Scenic but primitive camping sites are available in several areas along the coast. A new hotel recently opened up on the beach at Al-Khowkha, and seems to have good-quality rooms and service. The Aden Hotel and the Gold Mohur Hotel in Aden are popular places to stay, as quality and service are very good and the Embassy receives a discount.

The ancient sites of the Marib Dam and Temple of the Moon at Marib are an easy day trip from Sanaa. The “triangle” from Sanaa, west to Hodeidah on the coast, southeast to Taiz, and back to Sanaa, is a popular weekend trip. It allows you to see the Tihama and the Red Sea coast, the medieval university city of Zabid, the famous port at Mocha, the fertile green farmlands of the southern highlands, spectacular mountain scenery, and ancient walled cities at Taiz, Jibla, and Ibb. Adequate hotels are available both in Hodeidah and Taiz. Group day trips may be arranged to such sites as “Job’s Tomb,” an excellent spot for experienced and novice rock climbers, the extinct volcano of Hammam Damt, the fossil fields just outside Sanaa, and several other interesting places. Since unification in 1990, travel to Aden (formerly the capital of South Yemen and currently the “economic and commercial capital” of united Yemen) has become increasingly popular. There are two paved roads from Sanaa to Aden, where visitors will find stark contrasts with the former North Yemen; British and Soviet influences on architecture, and cultures are readily apparent in the former South Yemen. Visitors will find one of the world’s best natural harbors and scenic beaches, among other things. Aden also boasts Yemen’s finest Chinese restaurant.

One of the rare places to visit in Yemen is Wadi Hadhramaut, with the famous walled city of Shibam, also known as “the Manhattan of the Desert.” Seiyun and Tarim, also located in the Wadi, contain many fascinating sites, as well as the surrounding wadis. One such wadi is Wadi Doan, which is famous for the honey it produces and the unique style of its houses. Mukalla, on the Arabian Sea coast, has a new Holiday Inn and a more rustic hotel catering to divers, an interesting museum, and beautiful nearby beaches. One of the best hotels in Yemen is the hotel in Seiyun.

Yemen is a photographer’s paradise. The exotic scenery and children in native dress clamoring to be photographed, provide delightful and exciting opportunities. Women, however, should not be photographed without their permission, nor should any site that could be considered a military zone. When in doubt, asking a local shopkeeper or traffic policeman for permission to photograph is both good manners and good judgment. Yemeni authorities are sometimes suspicious of video cameras, especially in urban areas. These cameras should only be used for recording family or American community events. Film is available, though in limited variety. Local processing is adequate for prints, but slide and movie film must be sent out of the country.

Mission employees are authorized R&R travel once in a 2‑year assignment, and twice in a 3‑year tour. The designated R&R point is London. Travel to the U.S. is also authorized.

Entertainment Last Updated: 8/12/2003 4:43 AM

Although a few movie theaters exist, nearly all films shown are in Arabic. The Embassy Recreation Association operates a video library with selections in VHS format for NTSC system VCRs and American system DVDs.

International food festivals hosted by various foreign embassies and the Sheraton or Taj Sheba Hotels have become popular recently.

There is one women's group in Sanaa, the International Women’s Association, which is quite active in the local community life. The group sponsors monthly meetings as well as special events several times a year. Sanaa also has a francophone society, Sanaa Accueil, which meets on a monthly basis, and welcomes all French-speakers or simply those interested in learning.

Several years ago, a group of artists, both foreign and Yemeni, formed a cultural society called the Halaqa. They sponsor exhibitions, concerts, art classes, and other special events, and the organization is a testament to the active artist community in Yemen.

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 8/12/2003 4:45 AM
Approximately 500 expatriate Americans live in Yemen, the great majority of them in Sanaa, with much smaller communities in Jibla and Aden. Informal parties are frequent and provide excellent opportunities for meeting people. Most social activities take place in the home, but community picnics, and athletic events, provide occasions throughout the year to meet the entire American community, as well as other foreigners.

International Contacts Last Updated: 8/12/2003 4:45 AM
Yemenis are accessible people, and interesting friendships are possible, especially for Americans who speak Arabic. A few words of Arabic, even simple greetings, will go a long way toward making Yemeni acquaintances. An ever‑increasing number of Yemenis speak English.

There are a few diplomatic missions in Sanaa, as well as several expatriate business firms whose employees participate in social activities with Americans. Many nationalities are represented among the Hash House Harriers running group, and an enterprising and adventurous person will meet people from many different countries in Sanaa. Most social activities are international in nature, and this provides for interesting and fun events.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 8/12/2003 4:47 AM

Formal diplomatic functions are rare and usually include only senior officers. Yemeni‑hosted receptions and parties are usually all male or female, but Yemeni men, and a few women, will attend mixed functions at private residences. American women employees of the Embassy are frequently included in otherwise all‑male social functions, but American men are never included in women’s events. Small dinner parties, luncheons, and receptions are the rule for official entertaining. Within the official Mission, social practices are informal. Calling cards and courtesy calls are not required among American staff, although business cards are used by Yemenis and within the diplomatic corps. They may be printed locally in English and Arabic and are of acceptable quality. The Ambassador and DCM host receptions to introduce newcomers to Mission colleagues.

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 8/12/2003 4:48 AM

Yemenis are generally tolerant of foreigners, both in matters of dress and deportment. But, as in any conservative society, sensitivity to local customs and mores is important. Modest dress for both men and women, courteous and discreet behavior in public places, and respect for religious observances, such as fasting in the month of Ramadhan, are important.

Special Information Last Updated: 7/31/2002 6:00 PM

Official travelers should obtain their visas through the Department of State or through the American Embassy in countries with Yemeni diplomatic representation. Nonofficial travelers should contact the Yemeni Embassy nearest their residences for information on visa requirements.

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 8/11/2003 8:02 AM

Connections are usually made from Frankfurt, Paris, London, Dubai, Amman, or Jeddah, with direct flights in or out of Sanaa several days a week. Make and confirm reservations as far in advance as possible. Lufthansa, the only European carrier serving Yemen, flies only from Frankfurt, however, it operates a code share with United.

Taxis are available at the airport, but Embassy personnel will meet and assist official travelers whenever advance notice is given. Taxi fares should always be negotiated in advance.

Accompanied baggage should include sufficient clothing for at least a month, sturdy shoes, and children’s toys. Remember that at more than 7,200 feet, Sanaa is cool in the evenings, even in summer. Although the accompanied baggage of diplomatic passport holders will not normally be opened without permission, checked luggage is x‑rayed before delivery to the customs area. If electronic equipment such as radios or computers is detected by the x‑ray, travelers may be asked to open their bags. If diplomatic passport holders do not give permission to open their bags upon request, the bags may be refused entry.

Therefore, holders of diplomatic passports should carry radios in hand luggage, which will not be x‑rayed. Small personal computers could also be carried this way. If you do not have a diplomatic passport or if your electronic equipment will not fit in hand luggage, ship them with your HHE and provide advance information, including brand, serial and model number, value, and list of components to the Management Officer. A brochure with pictures of the equipment is helpful.

Videotapes can also cause problems if non‑diplomatic passport holders are asked to open their luggage. To prevent customs delays, please ship videotapes through the pouch.

Diplomatic passport holders can include videos with their accompanied baggage.

Customs officials inspect unaccompanied airfreight and HHE shipments. As mentioned above, please provide full details on all electronic equipment such as computers and radios. Transmitting radios will not be allowed entry. Videos should not be shipped with unaccompanied airfreight or HHE. They should be shipped by pouch or included with accompanied baggage if the traveler has a diplomatic passport.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 8/11/2003 8:21 AM

U.S. Government employees assigned to Yemen are accorded duty‑free entry, diplomatic list personnel for the duration of their tour, and non‑diplomats for 6 months. Almost everything is available locally at a number of well-stocked grocery stores. However, if you have favorite American brands, it is best to include them in your consumable shipment. Do not include wine and liquor in shipments; the Embassy Recreation Association is accorded a reasonable allowance of duty‑free beer, wine, and liquor for sale to eligible members.

Passage Last Updated: 8/11/2003 8:25 AM

Airport visas are difficult to arrange, and every effort should be made to obtain a visa in advance. Visas may be obtained at Yemeni missions in Washington, New York, London, Rome, Bonn, Moscow, Beijing, Cairo, Jeddah, and other cities. However, if you want to obtain a visa in another city, you must first contact Post and fax the Management Officer your Yemeni visa form. Embassy Sanaa then initiates the action through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This should be done well in advance of your expected departure as the process can take a long time.

During 2003, most employees were issued entry visas valid for a year, but check to be certain your visa covers a sufficient period to meet your travel plans. Employees permanently assigned to Yemen will receive residence permits after their arrival, but must have a valid entry visa. The Embassy should be notified if any visa problems are anticipated. All temporary duty and permanent personnel should submit their passports to Post’s Administrative Section immediately after arrival to ensure that proper documentation is obtained.

Pets Last Updated: 8/11/2003 8:26 AM

Dogs and cats require current rabies and distemper vaccinations, as well as a general certificate of good health dated within 2 weeks of arrival. Mission employees have generally been able to clear their pets immediately upon their arrival. Shipment through Lufthansa is recommended. Some birds, including African parrots, and animals such as turtles and reptiles are not permitted entry. There are two local vets who can manage basic immunizations and simple ailments. Bring a supply of any special pet medications, supplies, food, or kitty litter.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 8/11/2003 8:18 AM

The Yemeni Government requires a permit prior to the importation of all firearms. Automatic firearms are not permitted. Even with a permit, customs procedures can be difficult and time consuming. If firearms are included with personal effects, the entire shipment may be delayed for months in customs. Hunting is prohibited. Foreign Service regulations prohibit U.S. Government employees from importing lethal weapons without the Ambassador's prior approval.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 8/4/2003 7:51 AM

As of January 1997, there is no longer an official exchange rate, and the market rate has been unified with the official rate. The rate has now stabilized at approximately 183 Rials to the dollar, with limited currency fluctuations. Money can be changed at the Embassy cashier, at banks, hotels, moneychangers, and in the suq, all at approximately the same rate. The Embassy will cash personal checks for dollars and Rials up to $500 a week. U.S. dollars (post‑1990 large bills) are widely accepted for payment. Most banks and major hotels will accept traveler's checks at a slightly reduced rate, and you can buy these checks from major banks. Except for the largest hotels in Sanaa and Aden, few merchants accept credit cards. It is possible to open dollar accounts in local banks, but limited banking hours and time‑consuming administrative procedures make it preferable for you to maintain a U.S. checking account. Foreigners traveling on tourist passports are not obligated to exchange currency at the port of entry, but are forbidden to export more than $5,000. These regulations do not apply to holders of diplomatic or official passports.

The metric system is understood within Yemen's main cities, but several traditional measures continue in use.

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 8/11/2003 8:27 AM

The Yemeni Government imposes no sales or value‑added taxes. However, customs duties on imported goods increase the price of nearly every commodity. Unless duty-free import is arranged in advance, no retroactive relief from customs duty is possible. Similarly, there are no tax-free cards for gasoline purchase. You can buy vehicles customs free.

Sales of personal property at end of tour must comply with Yemeni law. Purchasers without duty‑free privileges must pay applicable customs duties in advance. A Mission‑wide directive covers such sales, and employees are asked to check with the Management Officer well before selling vehicles or major appliances.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 7/31/2002 6:00 PM

The following titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

History, Politics, and Economics
Ahroni, Reuben. Yemenite Jewry: Origins, Culture, and Literature. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986. (out of print)

Al-Suwaidi, Jamal S. The Yemeni war of 1994. The Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research. 1996

Breton, Jean-Francois, Arabia Felix from the Time of the Queen of Sheba. University of Notre Dame Press. 2000.

Burrowes, Robert D. Historical Dictionary of Yemen. The Scarecrow Press, Inc. 1995.

Doe, D. Brian. Southern Arabia. Thames and Hudson: London, 1972. (out of print)

Dorsky, Susan. Women of Amran: A Middle Eastern Ethnographic Study. University of Utah: Salt Lake City, 1986.

Dresch, Paul. Tribes, Government. and History in Yemen. Clarendon Press: New York: Oxford University Press, 1989. (out of print)

Halliday, Fred. Arabia Without Sultans. Vintage Books: New York, 1975. (out of print)

Hansen, Eric. Motoring With Mohammed. Vintage Press: New York, 1992.

Mackintosh-Smith, Tim. Yemen, Travels in Dictionary Land. John Murray (publishers) Ltd. The University Press Cambridge, 1997.

Mackintosh-Smith, Tim. The Unknown Arabia. The Overlook Press, 1999.

Marechaux, Pascal, et. al., Impressions of Yemen.

Mernissi, Fatima, The Forgotten Queens of Islam. The University of Minnesota Press. 1997.

Rushby, Kevin. Eating the Flowers of Paradise. A Journey Through the Drug Fields of Ethiopia and Yemen. St. Martin's Press, 1999.

Stark, Freya. A Winter in Arabia (original 1940). Century Publishing Co. Ltd. 1983

Stark, Freya. The Coast of Incense-Autobiography 1933-1939 (original 1953). Century Publishing Co. 1985

Stark, Freya. Southern Gates of Arabia. Century Publishing Co. Ltd. (date unknown)

Wenner, Manfred. Modern Yemen, 1918-1966. Johns Hopkins Press: Baltimore, 1967. (out of print)

Wenner, Manfred. The Yemen Arab Republic: Development & Change in an Ancient Land. Westview Press: Boulder, 1991. (out of print)

Tourist Guides
Chwaszcza, Joachim, ed. Insight Guides: Yemen. 1st ed. Singapore: APA Publications (HK) Ltd., 1990.

Hamalainen, Pertti. Yemen: A Travel Survival Kit. Lonely Planet Publications: Victoria, Australia, new edition.

Marechaux, Maria and Pascal. Arabian Moons: Passages in Time Through Yemen. Concept Media Ltd: Singapore, 1987.

National Geographic magazine, April 2000, Vol. 197, No. 4, page 30. "Yemen"

Travel & Leisure magazine, July 1997. "Yemen on the Frankincense Trail."

Local Holidays Last Updated: 8/12/2003 4:54 AM

Government offices and most businesses are closed on Yemeni holidays. During the two Eid holidays, many Yemenis travel to their villages and may not return for days after the dates indicated below. The Embassy and other U.S. Government offices are closed to the public during all holiday periods. .S. Government offices observe a Thursday‑Friday weekend.

Unification Day May 22
Eid Al-Fitr* At the end of the
holy month of Ramadham
Eid Al-Adha* 70 days after Eid Al-Fitr
Revolution Day September 26

*As Islamic holidays are determined by a lunar calendar, dates differ each year, advancing about 11 days annually.

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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