Local laws and customs

Local laws reflect the fact that Sudan is predominantly Muslim. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.

In 2019, the holy month of Ramadan is expected to start on 5 May and finish on 4 June. See Travelling during Ramadan

Sudan operates Islamic Sharia Law. Alcohol is not permitted. Although the constitution specifies that in Khartoum non-Muslims shall not be subject to Sharia law, you should expect Sharia law to apply.

Non-Muslim women are not expected to wear a veil or cover their heads, but should dress modestly and respect local customs and sensitivities.

Homosexual practices and extra marital relations are illegal and subject to severe penalties. This includes inviting guests into hotel rooms. Sudanese society is not tolerant of homosexual relationships. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

You should carry a form of photo ID with you at all times.

There are severe penalties for drug trafficking.

All photography requires a formal permit, which you can get from the External Information Centre in Khartoum (part of the Ministry of Information). Don’t take photographs or use a mobile phone camera close to government buildings, military installations, public utilities (including petrol stations), and other sensitive areas (bridges, airports etc). Many plain clothed public security officers operate.

Hotels

It is normal practice for hotels to take a photocopy of your passport. It’s against the law to live together, or to share the same hotel room, with someone of the opposite sex to whom you aren’t married or closely related. Business meetings should take place in lobbies or business meetings room and not hotel rooms. As recently as 2018, British nationals have encountered problems in this respect with the Sudanese authorities. Tourist police patrol the hotels.

Buying property

If you want to buy property in Sudan, you should seek appropriate professional advice, as you would in the UK. A list of lawyers in Sudan is available on the British Embassy Khartoum website.

Financial crime

Financial crimes, including fraud, bouncing cheques (including post-dated and ‘security cheques’) and the non-payment of bills (including hotel bills) can often result in imprisonment and/or a fine. Bank accounts and other assets can also be frozen. Bail is generally not available to people who are arrested for financial crimes. Those convicted will not generally be released from jail until the debt is paid or waived and they may even remain in jail after a debt has been paid if there is an outstanding sentence to be served.

Technical equipment

Equipment like satellite phones, listening or recording devices, radio transmitters, powerful cameras or binoculars may require a licence for use in Sudan. You should seek advice from the Sudanese Embassy in London before travelling.