Yemen Travel Information

Photo Welcome to Yemen. Although the country is rapidly modernizing, you'll find plenty of old-style Arabia - from spicy soups to presumptuous palaces - wherever you travel. One of the most striking features of Yemen is its astonishing architecture. The country is covered in ancient skyscrapers - eight-story buildings made from stone and mud - where people live on top of their animals and the views are spectacular. You'll also see mind-blowing mosques, sultans' palaces and villages perched on top of seemingly inaccessible mountains.

Unlike other people of the Arabian Peninsula who have historically been nomads or semi-nomads, Yemenis are almost entirely sedentary and live in small villages and towns scattered throughout the highlands and coastal regions.

Yemen was one of the oldest centers of civilization in the Near East. Between the 12th century BC and the 6th century AD, it was part of the Minaean, Sabaean, and Himyarite kingdoms, which controlled the lucrative spice trade, and later came under Ethiopian and Persian rule. In the 7th century, Islamic caliphs began to exert control over the area.

At unification, both the YAR and the PDRY were struggling underdeveloped economies. In the north, disruptions of civil war (1962-70) and frequent periods of drought had dealt severe blows to a previously prosperous agricultural sector. Coffee production, formerly the north's main export and principal form of foreign exchange, declined as the cultivation of qat increased. Low domestic industrial output and a lack of raw materials made the YAR dependent on a wide variety of imports.

The United States established diplomatic relations with the Imamate in 1946. A resident legation, later elevated to embassy status, was opened in Taiz (the capital at the time) on March 16, 1959and moved to Sanaa in 1966. The United States was one of the first countries to recognize the Yemen Arab Republic, doing so on December 19, 1962. A major U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) program constructed the Mocha-Taiz-Sanaa highway and the Kennedy memorial water project in Taiz, as well as many smaller projects.

Important: Travel to Yemen may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's Yemen visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: Republic of Yemen
Capital city: Sanaa
Area: 527,968 sq km
Population: 24,771,809
Ethnic groups: predominantly Arab
Languages: Arabic
Religions: Muslim
Government: republic
Chief of State: President Abd Rabuh Mansur HADI
Head of Government: Prime Minister Muhammad Salim BA SINDWAH
GDP: 57.97 billion
GDP per captia: 2,300
Annual growth rate: 10.5%
Inflation: 19.5%
Agriculture: grain, fruits, vegetables, pulses, qat, coffee, cotton
Major industries: crude oil production and petroleum refining
Natural resources: petroleum, fish, rock salt, marble
Location: Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Red Sea, between Oman and Saudi Arabia
Trade Partners - exports: China 29.5%, Thailand 13.4%, South Korea 10.6%, India 7.5%, Japan 6%, US 5.8%, UAE 4.7%
Trade Partners - imports: UAE 18.8%, China 11.8%, Saudi Arabia 8.9%, Kuwait 6.6%, India 6.5%, France 4.7%, US 4.2%