Sudan - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel

Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, and other aspects of international travel. 

Last published date: 2021-02-12

Business Customs:

Business is Sudan follow contemporary western customs. Business etiquette, dress, business cards, gifts, are generally accepted international business standards.   

Travel Advisory:

Find information on State Department travel advisories to Sudan.

The Government of Sudan requires U.S. citizens to present a passport and an entry visa or entry permit upon arrival at any port of entry.  Most U.S. citizen travelers must obtain an entry visa from a Sudanese embassy before arriving in Sudan – they are NOT available at the airport.  There are two exceptions to this requirement: U.S. citizens possessing a Sudanese national identification document (such as a Sudanese passport or national identification card), and travelers with a sponsor (a business or organization) that has obtained an entry permit for them in advance from the Sudanese Ministry of Interior may apply for an entry visa at Khartoum International Airport.  At the time of writing this report, the Government of Sudan still routinely denies entry visas to travelers whose passports contain visas issued by the Government of Israel or other evidence of travel to Israel, such as exit or entry stamps.

Additional information on obtaining a Sudanese visa can be found here:

https://www.sudanembassy.org/service/entry-visa/

U.S. companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States are advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process.  Visa applicants should go to the following link:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas.html

Currency:

The Sudanese Pound (SDG) is the official currency.  Sudanese businesses are developing an electronic debit payment system, drawing upon cash deposits in local Sudanese banks.  Most transactions are on a cash basis. Credit cards are generally not accepted, even at large hotels.  Travelers are advised to carry sufficient funds in U.S. dollars to cover all expenses for the duration of your stay.  Bills must be printed after 2006 and be unblemished.  There are reports that travelers carrying large amounts of U.S. currency have been detained as the current national state of emergency prohibits carrying more than $3000 or its equivalent in foreign currency.  

Sudan has no international ATMs.  Local ATMs draw on local banks only.  Western Union operates in Khartoum only.  In 2020, Sudan is experiencing a cash shortage and it can be difficult to exchange U.S. dollars for Sudanese pounds.  Travelers are advised to only exchange currency at reputable banks; exchanging currency outside of official banking channels is illegal and is punishable by imprisonment and fines.

Telecommunications/Electronics:

Sudan has internet coverage serviced by only two major providers, Zain and MTN.  Any unlocked cell phone can be used in Sudan, but one must purchase a sim card from a local service provider.  U.S. cell phone service generally does not work in Sudan.  Business traveler hotels have WiFi, but access to many websites are blocked.  Sudan utilizes 220-volt, U.K plugs for electrical service.   

Transportation:

International air service to Khartoum is limited.  Egypt Air, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenyan Airways, Saudia Airlines, Turkish Airways, and several Emirati carriers (Etihad, Emirates, Fly Dubai, and Air Arabia) are among the major carriers that serve Khartoum.  No American carrier currently flies directly to Sudan, but Khartoum can be connected through airports in Dubai, Addis Abba, Cairo, etc.  Two private domestic airlines, Badr and Tarco, reliably service Khartoum, Port Sudan, and other sizable Sudanese cities.

Language:

Arabic and English are the official working languages of the national government of Sudan, although Arabic is more broadly spoken among the population.

Health:

Sudan’s water treatment and sanitation systems need significant investment.  Caution should be taken when drinking local water and eating local produce.

Several diseases are prevalent in Sudan.  A World Health Organization (WHO) card with yellow fever/cholera vaccination when arriving from a yellow fever or cholera infected area is required.  Please visit State Department’s website for more information.

Local time, business hours, and holidays:

Sudan is located in the Central Africa Time (CAT) Zone (UTC+2).  Sudan’s work week runs from Sunday to Thursday.

A list of local holidays can be found here:

https://www.officeholidays.com/countries/sudan/2020