Currency: Algerian dinars
Exchange rate: 124 per € (official, June 2016)
Time zone: UTC + 1
Country code (phone): +213
Climate (for capital): Mediterranean
Entry and residence regulations
The entry regulations are designed in such a way that entry is not made much easier. For trips to Algeria, a fee-based visa must be applied for at the Algerian embassy in Berlin or at the Algerian consulate general in Bonn in good time (at least 2 weeks) before departure. Prior telephone information should be obtained. Application forms are available from the Algerian Embassy in Berlin or the Algerian Consulate General in Bonn. They can be downloaded from the Algerian embassy website.
According to mathgeneral, the Algerian embassy only issues visas if applicants can specify their travel route and can provide evidence that a tour operator has been commissioned to organize the trip. The consular department of the Algerian embassy or consulate has a list of tour operators ready. The passport must be valid for at least another 6 months, children must have their own travel documents.
Restrictions are also subject to those who enter the country by motor vehicle: if a vehicle owner sells his vehicle without authorization from customs or tries to leave the country without the vehicle in which he entered, he or she faces high fines, including imprisonment. Photographing public and especially military facilities is strictly prohibited; Homosexuality is a criminal offense. Draconic punishments also apply to drug possession and trafficking.
Customs regulations can change at short notice and should be checked prior to departure.
As an employee of German development cooperation, the GIZ office or the German embassy in Algiers is the first point of contact when it comes to permanent installation. A longer, work-related residence permit can be refused without giving reasons.
Money and money transfer
The Algerian dinar is not convertible and may not be imported or exported. It is divided into 100 centimes, which, however, do not play a role in practice, since the value of a dinar corresponds to the value of a cent anyway, so for simplification, 100 dinars can be regarded as 100 cents (which roughly corresponds to the official rate at the moment (December 2016) about 1: 115).
There are very few ATMs, the exchange at them is limited (up to approx. 150 euros). Larger hotels and better equipped restaurants accept payment by credit card (Visa). Setting up an Algerian bank account is possible for foreigners, especially if a local employer insists on the transfer. However, it is not absolutely necessary to have an account with an Algerian bank.
Travel and traffic
The south of Algeria around Tamanrasset is well worth seeing – a very worthwhile travel destination if it is an organized desert trip with local guides (Touaregs) (provided the travel warning has been lifted). Air Algerie flies to Tamanrasset; there the journey must be carried out by a special “agence de voyage”.
Taxis are popular in inner-city traffic. The price has to be negotiated (if it is longer distances); the meter breaks occasionally or the taxi driver refuses to use it. Buses are also an alternative, but they are often overcrowded. Quite a few destinations can also be reached by foot, although the security issue must again be considered.
In our opinion, there is nothing to be said against train travel either (see subsection “Security”).
The Foreign Office currently advises against traveling inland, especially to Kabylia and to southern Algeria in the desert areas (partial travel warning). In addition, the respective senders – if they are employees of the embassy or development cooperation – are required to instruct their employees accordingly, so that their freedom of movement is restricted as a result.
The area between Algiers and Tipaza, ie a strip of about 50 km along the coast, is usually accessible without problems.
If the current security situation permits, you can take the train from Algiers to Oran, Setif or Bejaja; a pleasant and comfortable form of travel.
The old town of Algiers (Kasbah) should if possible only be entered and crossed with a local guide, often uninvited police will join them.
Up-to-date official safety information is also of interest from the British and American sides.
Occasional isolated cases of malaria have occurred in Algeria. However, the risk is minimal and does not justify any special measures. Food poses a greater risk. Ice cream, for example, is offered in tasty quality in the center of Algiers; but there is always the risk of gastric and intestinal infections. Food that needs to be refrigerated may have been thawed because the cold chain was not seamless.
The sending organizations normally require their employees to be vaccinated against at least hepatitis and tetanus, and additional protective measures if necessary.
Country-specific health information can be found on the following websites:
- Travel medical information service
- Medical information from the Federal Foreign Office
- Country information on travel medicine from the CRM Center for Travel Medicine
Tap water is possibly harmless, but tastes unpleasant because of the strong chlorination. Mineral water is widely available in large quantities and in good quality and should also be used for tea and coffee.
In the event of dog bites, a rabies check should be carried out if prophylaxis was not available.