Electricity

Electrical current in Algeria is 230 volts, 50Hz. European two-pin and Schuko plugs are standard.

Language

Arabic and Berber are the official languages in Algeria. The most widely spoken foreign language is French, followed by English.

Money

The unit of currency is the Algeria Dinar (DZD), which is divided into 100 centimes. Algeria has a cash-based economy and although ATMs are available in the bigger cities and more popular hotels, most won't accept international cards. Currency can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and the larger hotels.

Tipping

A 10 percent tip is expected but may be factored into the price at more upmarket venues.

Health

Travellers visiting Algeria don't require any specific vaccinations, but caution should be taken by those with respiratory diseases as they may be exposed to dust and sandstorms. Bottled water is recommended as tap water isn't considered safe, while keeping hydrated is necessary as there is a threat of heat stroke. Healthcare services are not up to the standards many expats are used to but private hospitals and clinics in Algiers or Oran are adequate to some degree. Travel insurance is recommended for evacuation or treatment in nearby countries.

Safety

Travellers to Algeria should always be vigilant and check with their tour operator or travel agent before embarking. Travel to most of the southern part of Algeria is advised against by most Western governments, including: Tamanrasset, Tindouf, Boumerdès, Bouira and Tizi Ouzou. Long trips and overland travel should be avoided, as well as crowds and protests. The most dangerous areas usually lie on its borders and the militarised Sahel region.

Local customs

Greetings and hospitality are important to Algerians. Male tourists should shake hands with Algerian men, but wait for women to offer a handshake. Female tourists should use their own judgement as to whether a handshake or a polite hello is the right greeting.

As Algeria is a predominantly Islamic country, visitors should avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public during the month of Ramadan. For the same reason, drinking alcohol is generally frowned upon.

Women are expected to dress conservatively. Homosexual activity is illegal and punishable by imprisonment. Photographing of police or military personnel or facilities is strictly prohibited.

Doing business

Pleasantries are considered essential to business dealings in Algeria, so it's important not to release a handshake too hastily and to ask after health and family. Closeness is an expression of warmth and familiarity to Algerians. Business cards are used but some effort should be made to have them translated to Arabic and French.

Duty free

Travellers over the age of 17 do not pay duty on 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco. The same applies for 250ml of eau de toilette, 50ml of perfume in opened bottles and 1 litre of alcoholic beverages per person. Narcotics and gold are prohibited.

Communications

The international access code for Algeria is +213 and the area code for Algiers is 21. Mobile coverage and internet access are steadily improving in the bigger cities.

Passport & Visa

Passports must be valid for at least six months after intended stay. Visas are required for all visitors except when in transit and spending less than 24 hours without leaving the airport. A transit visa for up to 48 hours can be obtained from airport authorities. Visitors may be required to produce return/onward tickets, other documents for next destination, and proof of sufficient funds. Those arriving from yellow fever risk countries must carry proof of vaccination.

Entry requirements

US nationals require a passport valid for at least six months from the arrival date. Visa required.

UK nationals require a passport valid for at least six months from the arrival date. Visa required.

Canadian nationals require a passport valid for at least six months from the arrival date. Visa required.

Australian nationals require a passport valid for at least six months from the arrival date. Visa required.

South African nationals require a passport valid for at least six months from the arrival date. Visa required.

Irish nationals require a passport valid for at least six months from the arrival date. Visa required.

New Zealand nationals require a passport valid for at least six months from the arrival date. Visa required.

Useful contacts

National Tourist Office, Algiers: +213 21 43 8060

14 (Ambulance and Fire Services), 1548 (Police).

Embassies / consulates in other countries

Algerian Embassy, Washington: +1 202 265 2800

Algerian Embassy, London (also responsible for Ireland): +44 20 7299 7077

Algerian Embassy, Ottawa: +1 613 789 8505

Algerian Embassy, Canberra (also responsible for New Zealand): +61 2 6286 7355

Algerian Embassy, Pretoria: +27 12 342 5074

Embassies / consulates in Algeria

United States Embassy, Algiers: +213 770 082 000

United Kingdom Embassy, Algiers: + 213 770 085 000

Canadian Embassy, Algiers: +213 770 08 30 00

Australian Embassy, Paris, France (also responsible for Algeria): +33 1 4059 3300

South African Embassy, Algiers: +213 21 484 418

Embassy of Ireland, Berne, Switzerland (also responsible for Algeria): +41 31 350 0380

New Zealand Embassy, Cairo, Egypt (also responsible for Algeria): +20 2 246 16000

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