Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 25 October 2013, 10:57 NZDT
  • Still current at: 18 August 2018

Security

There is an increased global risk of terrorism. No country is immune from a terrorist attack, and no person is immune from becoming a victim of an attack. Terrorists have little regard for civilian casualties and, in many cases, attacks are designed to maximise casualties.

Although New Zealand travellers are unlikely to be targeted deliberately, they are usually indistinguishable from any “Western” tourist, and frequent places where other Western tourists are found. This puts New Zealanders at the same risk as others.

Wherever you are, you should keep yourself informed about the latest alerts and stay aware of your surroundings in areas where large numbers of people congregate, such as shopping malls, markets, monuments, demonstrations and on any public transport.

Random and indiscriminate attacks in the Middle East demonstrate the continuing security threat throughout the region.

Al Qaeda is the most notorious group to have emerged out of the Middle East and spread its attacks globally. It is reported to have cells operating in a number of countries in the region, as evidenced by bombings in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. Al Qaeda is also alleged to have close links with Jemaah Islamiyah and other Islamic terrorist groups.

Prominent among many other groups in the region are Hizbollah operating in southern Lebanon, and Hamas, which has been responsible for attacks in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

In recent years terrorist attacks have occurred in Amman, Jordan.

In Iraq, the situation remains hazardous and unpredictable.

Risk Level Extreme

Destinations in Middle East where we advise against all travel.

Iran

Do not travel in the border areas with Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq due to the threat of terrorism and violent crime.

Do not travel within 100km of the entire Iran/Afghanistan border; within 10km of the Iraq border and east of the line running from Bam to Jask close to the Pakistan border. 

Iraq

Do not travel to Iraq, including Kurdistan, due to the volatile and unpredictable security situation, ongoing threat of terrorism, and significant risk of kidnapping. The threat to foreigners in Iraq, including New Zealanders, is extremely high.

New Zealanders currently in Iraq with concerns for their safety are strongly advised to depart immediately.

No flag availableIsrael and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Do not travel to the occupied Palestinian territory of Gaza (including the waters off Gaza) due to the unpredictable security situation, threat of kidnapping and potential for retaliatory military operations. 

New Zealanders currently in Gaza are advised to depart as soon as it is safe to do so. The New Zealand government has an extremely limited ability to provide assistance to New Zealand nationals in Gaza. 

Do not travel to Sheba’a Farms and Ghajjar located along the border with Lebanon (the “Blue Line”) due to the possibility of rocket fire, militant activity and military operations. 

Do not travel to within three kilometres of the border with Syria due to the possibility of rocket fire, militant activity and military operations. 

Lebanon

Do not travel to the North Governorate (including the city of Tripoli), the Palestinian refugee camps, within 5 kilometres of the Syrian and Israeli border, in all regions in the Bekaa Valley north of Rayek, south of the Litani River and the southern suburbs (Dahiyeh) of Beirut due to the unpredictable security situation, significant threat of terrorism and risk of kidnapping.

Saudi Arabia

Do not travel within 30 kilometres of the border with Yemen, including Najran and the southern and eastern areas of Jizan, due to the ongoing conflict in Yemen and the potential for cross-border missile attacks.

Syria

Do not travel to Syria due to the ongoing civil war and extremely dangerous security situation.

There is a significant risk of kidnapping throughout Syria. A number of foreign nationals have been targeted and some have been murdered.

We strongly recommend any New Zealanders currently in Syria depart immediately or as soon as it is safe to do so. As there is no New Zealand diplomatic presence in Syria, the ability of the government to assist New Zealand citizens requiring consular assistance is severely limited.

Yemen

Do not travel to Yemen (including the island of Socotra). The ongoing conflict and the extreme threat of terrorism and kidnapping presents a significant risk to New Zealanders in Yemen. 

New Zealanders currently in Yemen are advised to depart as soon as it is safe to do so.

As there is no New Zealand diplomatic presence in Yemen, the ability of the government to assist New Zealand citizens is severely limited. The United Kingdom and United States Embassies in Yemen have closed due to the deteriorating security situation and will not be in a position to provide assistance to New Zealand citizens. You should take this absence of available consular assistance into consideration if you decide to remain in Yemen against our advice.

Risk Level High

Destinations in Middle East where we advise against tourist and other non-essential travel.

No flag availableIsrael and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Avoid non-essential travel to the occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank (not including East Jerusalem) due to the unpredictable security situation and the potential for acts of violence and violent civil unrest. 

Jordan

Avoid non-essential travel to the borders with Syria and Iraq due to military activity and the uncertain security situation. Jordanian authorities have increased security along the border with Syria and military activity has resulted in fatalities and injuries.

Lebanon

Avoid non-essential travel elsewhere in Lebanon due to the unpredictable security situation, threat of terrorism and risk of kidnapping.

Oman

Avoid non-essential travel to the border area with Yemen due to the ongoing conflict.

Saudi Arabia

Avoid non-essential travel within 80 kilometres of the border with Yemen, including central Jizan, due to the potential for cross-border missile attacks.

Avoid non-essential travel within 10 kilometres of the border with Iraq due to the threat of terrorism.

Avoid non-essential travel to Al Qatif governorate due to violent clashes between government forces and armed groups.

Risk Level Some

Destinations in Middle East where we advise caution.

Bahrain

Exercise increased caution in Bahrain due to the potential for civil unrest and the threat from terrorism. 

Iran

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Iran due to the potential for civil unrest and the threat of terrorism.

No flag availableIsrael and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Exercise increased caution in Israel due to the threat of terrorism and the potential for civil unrest. New Zealanders in Israel should also be aware that the on-going conflict in Syria is having a destabilising effect on the region and this could also affect the security situation in Israel. We recommend you follow any advice and instructions issued by the local authorities. See the Israel Defence Forces Home Front Command website for details.  

Jordan

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Jordan due to the threat of terrorism and civil unrest. New Zealanders in Jordan should be aware that there is the potential for the ongoing conflict in Syria to affect the security situation in Jordan, including beyond the immediate border area.

Kuwait

Exercise increased caution in Kuwait due to the threat from terrorism and potential for civil unrest. 

Lebanon

Exercise increased caution in Beirut (excluding the southern suburbs) due to the threat of terrorism and crime.

Oman

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Oman due to the potential for civil unrest and an underlying threat from terrorism.

Qatar

Exercise increased caution in Qatar due to the threat of terrorism.

Saudi Arabia

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Saudi Arabia due to the threat of terrorism.

United Arab Emirates

Exercise increased caution in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) due to the threat from terrorism.

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