Lunar like landscapes, Afghanistan
Pin This
Open Media Gallery

Lunar like landscapes, Afghanistan

© picassos / Thinkstock

Afghanistan Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

652,225 sq km (251,773 sq miles).

Population

33,369,945 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density

49.9 per sq km.

Capital

Kabul.

Government

Republic.

Head of state

President Ashraf Ghani since 2014 and Abdullah Abdullah since 2020.

Electricity

220 volts AC, 50Hz. Supplies may be seriously affected and powercuts frequent. European-style plugs with two round pins are most commonly used.

An essential stop on the hippie trail in the 1960s, beautiful Afghanistan has been devastated by years of war. Renowned for its epic countryside and rugged mountains, travellers came to interact with local communities, breathe clear mountain air and explore ancient sites such as the giant Buddha statues of Bamiyan. They were happy times.

Sadly, those days are gone. The Taliban destroyed most of the country’s monuments, while the US and its allies ruined what was left of Afghanistan’s creaking infrastructure. With thousands of peacekeeping troops still operating in the country and pockets of fighting continuing, it will be some time before Afghanistan is restored to its former glory.

Consequently, travellers are advised against visiting Afghanistan. Nevertheless, some adventurous tour companies are offering trips to the country, and there have been reports in some quarters of increased bookings and interest. Afghan authorities put tourist numbers at less than 20,000, though they claim it is slowly increasing.

Tending to take in the historic but war-ravaged city of Kabul, mountain villages, ancient fortifications and some surviving Buddhist sites, tours are generally conducted in small groups and tend to be expensive.

Guides make the point that for many ordinary Afghans, life has continued much the same as it has for centuries. Indeed of the few travellers that do make it to the country, they tell of the surprising normality of Kabul, with little signs of the instability reported by international media. The country also remains a fascinating melting pot of ethnic and tribal groups.

Despite hopes that tourism could return to this historic country, almost every area of Afghanistan remains dangerous as insurgents continue to threaten the fragile democracy. If you do decide to travel to Afghanistan, personal security is recommended, as is a reputable tour company and full travel insurance. Always check foreign office advice before travelling.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Afghanistan on the TravelHealthPro website.

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

International travel

Some international flights have resumed to and from Kabul.

Be aware travel disruption is still possible and that flights can be postponed or cancelled at short notice. Keep checking local media and with local travel agents and airlines for the most up to date information on flight operations and to find out about any screening requirements that might affect you.

From 4am 15 January, pre-departure COVID-19 testing will be required for passengers travelling to Scotland from outside the Common Travel Area. From 4am 18 January, pre-departure COVID-19 testing will also be required for all in-bound passengers travelling to England. Travelers are responsible for organising their own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government requirements. Many airlines operating from Afghanistan already require passengers to present a COVID-19 negative certificate for travel. Some airline pre-departure test timings (96 hours) for Afghanistan arrivals may be different to UK pre-departure test timings (72 hours) for UK arrivals. Contact your airline or travel provider for details of local test centres and procedures.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Afghanistan.

Returning to the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.

You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Travel in Afghanistan

Travel in Afghanistan is dangerous and if you’re travelling, including in Kabul, you should seek professional security advice and continually reassess your personal security.

There are only minor COVID-19 related restrictions on internal travel. Specific measures vary between provinces and domestic flights are operating on a limited basis.

Accommodation

Most hotels and restaurants are open and have been instructed to follow COVID-19 guidelines, including asking customers to wear masks.

Public places and services

Sports and music events, along with bars, cinemas, museums and gyms are all closed. Restaurants and some shops have opened.

Healthcare in Afghanistan

Healthcare in Afghanistan is very limited. Medical facilities, including those in Kabul, do not have the capacity or capability to effectively deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. The supply of ICU beds and ventilators is low. There are areas which have no medical facilities with ICU beds and ventilators. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad, evacuation by air ambulance and repatriation.

Whilst an estimated 30 per cent of the population had been exposed to COVID-19 by June 2020, WHO warns that widespread complacency and failure to follow public health advice is creating grave risks in the community with people generally not observing physical distancing or mask-wearing protocols.

If you’re in Afghanistan and displaying symptoms of coronavirus, you should seek medical advice while self-isolating. The advice from the Afghan Ministry of Public Health is that if you’re displaying symptoms, call 166 and they will guide you on what to do next. The advisors only speak Dari (press option 1) or Pashto (option 2). You should also contact your insurance or medical assistance company.

For contact details for English speaking doctors visit our list of healthcare providers.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.

View Health for further details on healthcare in Afghanistan.

See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Afghanistan

As information is available about the national vaccination programme, this page will be updated.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the UK authority responsible for assessing the safety, quality and efficacy of vaccines. It has authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines for temporary supply and use in the UK. Find out more about MHRA approval for these vaccines.

British nationals living overseas should seek medical advice from their local healthcare provider in the country where they reside. Information about vaccines used in other national programmes, including regulatory status, should be available from the local authorities. This list of Stringent Regulatory Authorities recognised by the World Health Organisation may also be a useful source of additional information. Find out more information about the COVID-19 vaccines on the World Health Organization COVID-19 vaccines page.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

The security situation throughout Afghanistan remains uncertain, and could change rapidly. You should monitor media reporting and make sure you have robust contingency plans in place. Be vigilant at all times, keep others informed of your travel plans and vary your routes and routines.

Political situation

Afghanistan is undergoing a major transition in terms of politics, economy and security, including the ongoing peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban. On 14 April 2021, NATO announced its forces would leave Afghanistan within a few months.

The risk for violence around political events and rallies remains. You should avoid all political demonstrations and public gatherings. Keep up to date with developments in the security situation, including through monitoring local media.

Road travel

Road travel is highly dangerous. Insurgents have set up false vehicle checkpoints from which violent attacks have been launched, and there continue to be fatal roadside bombings and attacks on military and civilian vehicles. In addition to the threat from terrorism and kidnapping, there is also a continuing criminal threat from carjacking and robbery. Avoid travelling between cities at night.

Public transport is dangerous. Taxis and long distance buses are often poorly maintained, uninsured and driven by unqualified drivers. Privately hired transport is often driven by uninsured, unqualified drivers. You should carry out long distance journeys by air where possible.

If you travel by road you should only travel in secure transport with close protection, using reputable local drivers and guides. Make sure doors are locked and windows closed. You should consider strongly the use of armoured vehicles. Most road surfaces are in a very poor condition. The overall standard of driving is poor and most local drivers are uninsured. Accidents may lead to confrontation and threatening behaviour.

You can drive in Afghanistan with a valid driving licence for up to one year. If you’re staying longer in Afghanistan you will need to get a local licence.

Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)

There have been a number of serious attacks on both western and Afghan NGOs and vehicles belonging to them, in which people have been killed or injured. NGO workers have been kidnapped near their places of work. Most attacks continue to occur in the east and south of Afghanistan with a recent increase in activity in the central areas. The International NGO Safety Organisation (INSO) issues regular security updates for NGOs.

Air travel

All airlines from Afghanistan have been refused permission to operate services to the EU because Afghanistan is unable to ensure that its airlines meet international safety standards. FCDO staff are advised to use carriers which aren’t subject to the EU operating ban.

A list of recent incidents and accidents can be found on the website of the Aviation Safety network. The FCDO cannot offer advice on the safety of individual airlines. However, the International Air Transport Association publishes a list of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices. This list is not exhaustive and the absence of an airline from this list doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s unsafe.

Transiting UAE

Flying to Dubai and then transferring is the most common route into Afghanistan. If you’re planning to travel this route, you should also check travel advice for the United Arab Emirates.

Please be aware of the recent announcement regarding further UK border controls measures, including that from 1pm on 29 January, direct flights from the UAE to England and Scotland are prohibited.

It is illegal to transit the United Arab Emirates carrying unlicensed personal protection equipment. This includes, but is not limited to, body armour (including ballistic vests), weapon holsters and handcuffs. Other specialist technical equipment such as satellite phones, listening and recording devices, powerful cameras and binoculars, while freely available in the UK, may also need licences. Persons found carrying any such items without a licence may be subject to conviction resulting in imprisonment and substantial monetary fines in accordance with Emirati law.

Crime

Crime is a serious concern, particularly in rural areas. British nationals of Afghan origin have been targeted by criminals, including kidnappers, as they are often perceived as being wealthier than locals. Foreigners have been the victims of violent attacks, including armed robbery and rape. Do not display any obvious signs of wealth, or carry large sums of money. Do not travel alone, especially on foot. Take particular care after dark.

Harassment of foreign women is not unusual including uninvited physical contact and unwanted attention.

Advice to business

Specific guidance for companies seeking to do business in Afghanistan can be found on the Department for International Trade (DIT) website. DIT are also able to put you in touch with companies operating in Afghanistan who offer security services. For more information see Operating in High Risk Environments: advice for business.

Local travel

If you’re travelling around Afghanistan, including Kabul, you should seek professional security advice and continually reassess your personal security. The British Embassy in Kabul operates under strict security protocols and always uses armoured vehicles; staff receive regular security briefings to enable them to carry out their work in as safe an environment as possible. See Terrorism

Only travel with reputable local guides and to fully protected workplaces. Take the greatest possible care and vary your routines. Do not publicise your travel, including on social media. If possible, maintain radio or telephone communications to report your movements. Avoid any protests, demonstrations or large gatherings.

There are large amounts of unexploded bombs and land mines (both anti-tank and anti-personnel) throughout the country.

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Afghanistan.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

Multiple threats are issued daily. Terrorists and insurgents conduct frequent and widespread lethal attacks against Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF), domestic and international political and civilian targets including within the city gates, and those working in the security, humanitarian and reconstruction fields. You should note an overall increased threat to Western interests in Kabul, including from high-profile, large-scale attacks.

Past incidents include:

  • on 8 June 2021, 10 HALO Trust staff were killed and 16 were injured in an attack by an armed group at a demining camp in Baghlan Province
  • on 8 May 2021, explosions near a school in Kabul killed 85 people, predominately female students, and injured nearly 150 people
  • on 30 April 2021, explosions in Pul-e-Alam, capital of Logar Province, killed 30 people and injured 90 more people
  • on 24 November 2020, a terrorist attack killed at least 17 people and injured over 50 people with two explosions in Bamian city market
  • on 21 November 2020, a terrorist attack launched several rockets aimed at the Green Zone, stated to have been targeting both foreign and government officials
  • on 2 November 2020, a terrorist attack targeted a building within the Kabul University complex, killing at least 19 civilians and wounding 12 people
  • on 12 May 2020, a terrorist attack targeted a maternity ward at a hospital in Kabul city, killing 24 and wounding at least another 20 people
  • on 25 March 2020, a terrorist attack targeted a Sikh Gurdwara in Kabul city, killing 25 and wounding at least another eight people
  • on 18 October 2019, a suicide bomber targeted a mosque in Deh Bala, Nagarhar, killing 69 and wounding 36 people.
  • on 18 August 2019, a suicide bomber struck at a Shia wedding ceremony in the west of Kabul, killing 63 people and wounding more than 180 other people.
  • on 7 August 2019, a suicide vehicle based device struck a police location in Kabul city, killing 14 and injuring 145, 92 of whom were civilians

The insurgency has a strong anti-Western focus; this could make any UK interest or person a target. Attacks include bombs (roadside and other), suicide bombs (either on foot or by vehicle), indirect fire (rockets and mortars), direct fire (shootings and rocket propelled grenades), kidnappings and violent crime. Daesh continue to be a serious threat. They are fiercely hostile to the UK and other western countries.

If you decide to travel to Afghanistan, you should read this section in conjunction with the Safety and Security section.

You should be particularly vigilant on public or religious holidays, in and around landmark locations and places where large public crowds can gather. Hotels used by the government of Afghanistan and western nationals, ministries, military establishments, airports (including Kabul International) and religious sites have been attacked and further attacks are possible. Installations and life support facilities have been subject to attacks in recent years, specifically for their link to Western countries. Avoid regular visits to public places frequented by foreigners, including hotels, restaurants, shops and market places, especially at times of day when they are particularly busy and congested.

The British Embassy does not allow official visitors to stay in any hotel overnight, and has placed restaurants off limits to staff. Make sure your accommodation is secure, and review your security measures regularly.

Kidnap

The risk of being kidnapped throughout Afghanistan remains a very high and constant threat. At least four foreign nationals have been kidnapped in Kabul since July 2016, some of whom remain in captivity:

  • in January 2020, an international commercial contractor was kidnapped in Kabul or in a nearby province: the victim remains missing
  • on 2 August 2018, 3 international workers were killed shortly after kidnap in Kabul

Over 100 westerners have been kidnapped in Afghanistan since 2001, a number of them have been British nationals. The motivation and desire to undertake kidnapping in Afghanistan is likely to continue. You should take the utmost care, vary routines and avoid setting regular patterns of movement. You should take professional security advice while in the country.

Those engaged in tourism, humanitarian aid and some other development work, journalism or business sectors are viewed as legitimate targets. If you’re kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to serve as a protection or secure your safe release.

The long-standing policy of the British Government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British Government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners builds the capability of terrorist groups and finances their activities. This can, in turn, increase the risk of further hostage-taking. The Terrorism Act (2000) makes payments to terrorists illegal.

Regions

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advise against all travel to the whole of Afghanistan.

Kabul

The FCDO advise against all travel to Kabul’s Enhanced Security Zone and Hamid Karzai International Airport, and against all travel to all other areas within the city of Kabul.

You should note an overall increased threat to Western interests in the capital. There’s an ongoing threat from high-profile, large-scale attacks.

If you’re travelling in Kabul, take particular care on Airport road, Jalalabad road and Darulaman road. Avoid travelling on Jalalabad and Darulaman roads during commuter or other busy times (around 7am to 9am and 3pm to 4pm local time), when traffic can be heaviest and the risk of an attack against government and western people or interests is most likely. Avoid travelling along Airport road as attacks are likely throughout the day.

Northern Afghanistan

The FCDO advise against all travel to Faryab, Jowzjan, Baghlan, Takhar, Kunduz, Badakhshan, Sar-e-pul, Balkh and Samangan provinces.

There have been a number of attacks against aid workers and military vehicles resulting in deaths and injuries, and there are ongoing military operations throughout the north. The FCDO advice against all travel to Badakhshan includes travel to or climbing and trekking within the Wakhan Corridor.

On 10 November 2020, the district headquarters in Almar, Faryab province was attacked with one VBIED and follow-up small arms fire. Four people were killed and another 13 were wounded during the incident.

On 8 February 2017, six Afghan staff of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were shot and killed in Jowzjan Province, Afghanistan. Two further staff members travelling in the same convoy are so far unaccounted for.

Eastern Afghanistan

The FCDO advise against all travel to Ghazni, Kapisa, Khost, Kunar, Laghman, Logar, Nangarhar, Nuristan, Paktika, Wardak, Paktya and Parvan provinces, Bamian province and the province of Panjshir.

The eastern region has been extremely volatile for some time, with almost daily suicide and roadside bomb attacks, shootings and rocket attacks. The region close to the Pakistani border is extremely dangerous with a high number of insurgents operating freely.

On 2 August 2020, a Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) detonated at the entrance to Jalalabad prison. An armed assault team then stormed the prison, reportedly taking control of security posts within the premises. Several hundred prisoners escaped although reporting suggests a number of these have since been recaptured. At least 39 people were killed and over 50 wounded including civilians, and members of the ANDSF. A number of attackers were killed during the assault which lasted more than 18 hours. ISKP subsequently claimed responsibility for the attack.

There are regular, large military operations in this region. There have been numerous daily attacks against Afghan and non-Afghan forces. There are also daily incidents of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), suicide and rocket attacks, and direct fire attacks on security forces patrols, checkpoints and bases as well as on the local population.

On 21 January 2019, insurgents attacked a military compound in Maidan Shar, with an estimated death toll of over 100.

The 24 November 2020 terror attack in the provincial capital of Bamian was the first major attack in the city, home to a large Shi’a community, in nearly 20 years.

Southern Afghanistan

The FCDO advise against all travel to Helmand, Kandahar, Nimroz, Uruzgan and Zabul provinces.

The southern region of Afghanistan remains extremely volatile, with regular suicide and roadside bomb attacks, shootings and rocket attacks. Helmand and Kandahar see the highest number of attacks in this particularly restive area of Afghanistan.

On 8 November 2020, the District ANP Headquarters was the target of a VBIED attack in Maiwand district, Kandahar province. The blast resulted in the death of three members of the ANDSF and eight Afghan civilians. Another 20 people were wounded by the blast.

On 22 October 2020, at least 20 members of the ANDSF were killed and a number taken hostage following an insurgent attack targeting an Afghan National Army base in Delaram, Nimroz province.

Western Afghanistan

The FCDO advise against all travel to Badghis, Farah, Herat, Ghowre and Daykondi provinces.

There have been roadside bombs, suicide attacks, rocket attacks and criminal kidnappings throughout the western provinces and increased lawlessness in Western Ghowr. There is little security infrastructure in Daykondi and westerners have been kidnapped there.

On 11 January 2019, insurgents stormed the police headquarters in Herat city, killing 5 and wounding 4. On 19 May, an explosive device hit Iranian civil engineers and their protection detail working on a railway project, killing 2 and injuring 7. On 31 July, an explosion on a bus in Farah Province killed at least 27 people and wounded 17.

Afghanistan is an Islamic country. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times. Be particularly careful during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas. See our guidance on travelling during Ramadan.

Homosexuality is illegal. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

It is forbidden to seek to convert Muslims to other faiths.

You’re not allowed to use, or bring into the country narcotics, alcohol or pork products.

Photographing government buildings, military installations and palaces is not allowed. Avoid photographing local people without their agreement.

It’s illegal to buy or export historical antiquities without a receipt from an authorised supplier or dealer. When you leave Afghanistan you may be asked for proof that you bought the item. If you do not have a receipt, you could be detained and you may face a fine or prison sentence.

The guidance on this page covers arrival by air to Kabul and reflects the FCDO’s current understanding of requirements. The FCDO maintains its advice against all travel to Afghanistan. There are also COVID-19 related restrictions on travel to Afghanistan.

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Entry to Afghanistan

The IATA now states that a negative pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test result is required for entering Afghanistan. Travellers are advised to check with their travel provider and follow individual airline requirements on this. However, due to the security situation the FCDO advise against all travel to the whole of the country.

Testing on arrival

There is currently no testing on arrival.

Quarantine requirements

There are currently no compulsory quarantine requirements or temperature checks at the airports.

Data collection

Visitors will be asked to complete a landing form detailing their visit, including passport and visa information, as is standard practice in many other countries.

Testing on departure

Many airlines currently require passengers to present a COVID-19 negative certificate in order to travel out of Afghanistan. From 15 January, pre-departure COVID-19 testing will be required for passengers travelling to Scotland from outside the Common Travel Area. From 18 January, pre-departure COVID-19 testing will also be required for all in-bound passengers travelling to England. Travelers are responsible for organising their own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government requirements. Please note some airline pre-departure test timings (96 hours) for Afghanistan departures/arrivals may be different to UK pre-departure test timings (72 hours) for UK arrivals. Contact your airline or travel provider for details of local test centres and procedures.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

You must get a visa before travelling to Afghanistan. You cannot get a visa on arrival. If you’re intending to work in Afghanistan and do not hold a Diplomatic or Official passport you will need a work permit which in turn needs a medical certificate. For further information contact the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in London, including information on any changes in visa process during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Afghanistan.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are not valid for entry into Afghanistan. However, ETDs are accepted for exit from Afghanistan although a local exit visa may also be required before holders can leave. This will depend on circumstances and may take time to process. You will also be required to obtain a local police report for all lost or stolen passports. Consular staff will offer further advice and information on an individual case by case basis

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

Travelling with children

If you’re travelling alone with a child you may need to produce documentary evidence of parental responsibility. The FCDO does not allow staff based in Afghanistan to travel with their partners or children. For further information on exactly what is needed at immigration, contact the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in London.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Afghanistan on the TravelHealthPro website.

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Afghanistan.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate
of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Other health risks

Diarrhoeal diseases and other gastrointestinal infections are common causes of ill health, becoming worse in the hotter months.  

The dry dusty conditions in summer and winter can cause irritation to the eyes, throat, nose and skin.

Respiratory tuberculosis is common in the Afghan population. 

Malaria is present except in the high mountainous regions of the country and in winter. 

Local medical care

Only very limited medical facilities are available in Afghanistan. Make sure you have all the prescription medication you need during your visit. Supplies are unlikely to be available locally.  Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 112 or 020 112 from mobile (in Kabul only) and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Afghanistan is in an active earthquake zone. You should familiarise yourself with safety procedures in the event of an earthquake. More information about your risks in the event of an earthquake, especially around buildings, can be found at International Rescue Corps. Consider signing up to the US Geological Survey (USGS) 24/7 global monitoring agency. USGS provide a newsfeed or @USGSted twitter feed that distributes alerts for earthquakes with magnitudes over 5.5 or of significant impact.

During heavy rains and winter periods, significant flooding can occur, particularly outside the capital. During winter and spring, heavy snowfall often leads to avalanches in mountainous regions. Afghanistan lacks the infrastructure to respond comprehensively to these events so you should be prepared for every eventuality.

If a natural disaster occurs you should follow the advice of local authorities.

Carry sufficient cash in US Dollars for your visit. Credit cards are not accepted. Some ATMs in Kabul dispense dollars as well as the local currency, Afghanis. Banks are closed on Fridays, but there are ATMs in various locations in Wazir Akbar Khan and elsewhere. Travellers’ cheques are not widely accepted and it can take a fortnight for them to clear.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or cannot offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you cannot find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.