Algeria - الـجـزائـر is an Arab and Berber country in North Africa. It has a Mediterranean Sea coastline in the north. It is surrounded by Morocco to the northwest, Tunisia to the northeast, Libya to the east, Niger to the southeast, Mali to the southwest, Mauritania and Western Sahara to the west. After Sudan, Algeria is the second-largest country in Africa.
Much of recent Algerian history has been dominated by civil wars and subsequent warlordism. That said, the country is gradually restoring order and will prove an interesting - if difficult - destination.
Officially, 220V 50Hz. Outlets are the European standard CEE-7/7 "Schukostecker" or "Schuko", or the compatible, but non-grounded, CEE-7/16 "Europlug" types. U.S. and Canadian travelers should pack an adapter for these outlets if they plan to use North American electrical equipment in Algeria.
Algiers - Capital
Roman ruins at Timgad, outside Batna
The fantasy architecture of the M'zab Valley
For inquiries about visa application status, please contact the visa office from Monday to Thursday from 9:00 to 11:00AM
Please read carefully the instructions before filling out the application forms. Answer all the questions on the application form and fill out all the sections of the form. For example, if your parents are deceased, give their full names. Do not leave the section blank or write simply “Deceased”.
Both forms must bear the original signature of the applicant.
Please note that no old visa forms will be accepted to apply for a visa. Use only the new application forms. Any application submitted using an old form will be rejected.
Remember to submit your passport when you apply for a visa and please attach two recent passport pictures (glued or stapled) to the two forms, one on each form. The passport must be valid at least 06 months after the date of entry to Algeria.
A non-refundable money-order (individual) made payable to the order of the Embassy of Algeria in the amount of $100 for US citizens. All other nationals must check with the Visa Section for the applicable requirements and fees.
Business Visa applicants must include a letter on official letterhead from their employer stating the purpose of their trip, and the full names and addresses of their contacts in Algeria. Applicants must submit with their application an invitation letter from the Algerian company they intend to visit.
Work Visa applicants must submit with their visa application an employment authorization delivered by the Algerian Ministry of Labor. The Embassy will not accept any authorization faxed or mailed separately.
Tourism Visa applicants must submit an itinerary of their airline travel and a confirmed Hotel reservation in Algeria.
Family / Guest Visa: Applicants must provide with their application an invitation from their host in Algeria and notarized at the city hall of the place of residence of the Algerian host. The Embassy will not accept invitations faxed or sent separately.
Spouses of Algerian Citizens should submit a copy of the valid Consulate Registration Card of their spouse and a sponsorship letter signed by the Algerian spouse.
Return of Passports: Applicants may pick up their passports at the Embassy or send a prepaid self-addressed envelope with an express US postal service, including an air bill naming them as the sender and receiver of the mail. The Embassy is not responsible for the lost or delays of document by the post office or other visa services.
There are regular direct flights from:
Spain: Barcelona, Madrid & Alicante
France: All major cities
Italy: Rome & Milan
Germany: Frankfurt, Berlin.
Switzerland: Geneva, Basel.
United Arab Emirates: Dubai, Sharjah, and Ajman.
You can reach Algeria by train from Tunisia, although you will have to change the train at the border post. Trains are reasonable, but less comfortable than in Europe. All border points with Morocco are currently closed.
The realistic and most secure way to reach Algeria by car is across the Tunisian border. The Mauritanian and Malian borders present some security problems, and the Moroccan border is closed. Note that, if you want to get into Algeria from Niger or from the Tozeur border post in southern Tunisia, you'll have to contract an official guide to accompany you across the Saharan routes; otherwise, police will not allow you to get into Algeria with your car. There are no problems if you want to get into Algeria from the Tunisian border posts in the north.
Alicante to Algiers and Oran
Almeria to Gazhaouet
Barcelona to Algiers and Oran
Napoli to Tunis & take a road for 1 hour
Roma (Civitavecchia) to Tunis & take a road for 1 hour
In Oran, taxi rides are very cheap, and a few dinars will do for a couple of miles. Bus prices are almost the same. Cabs are cheaper if they carry 2 to 4 people.
Travel on camels in the Sahara desert. Locations:
Fettate (Sahara specialty, in Tamanrasset)
Taguella (bread of sand, a nomad specialty)
Couscous (steamed semolina with a red or white sauce containing meat and/or potatoes, carrots, courgette, and chick peas)
Buseluf (stew of lambs head & feet with courgette & chick peas) Dowara (stew of stomach and intestines with courgette & chick peas)
Chorba (a meaty soup)
Rechta (hand made spaghetti, usually served with a clear chicken broth, potatoes & chick peas)
Chakchouka (normally, it has green peppers, onions and tomatoes; egg may be added)
Mechoui (charcoal grilled chicken, fish, or other meat)
Mediterranean juices (grenadine, orange); very sweet green tea, and strong coffee.
Qalb El Louz (dessert containing almonds)
Baklawa (almond cakes drenched in honey)
Ktayef (a kind of baked vermicelli, filled with almonds and drenched in sugar, syrup, and honey)
Algeria produces a selection of wine (not in big volume in more) and also beer. However, Algeria is a Muslim country, and you do not find alcohol sold everywhere, you have to know where to find it. Wine and alcoholic drinks are sold in the few bar restaurants in the big cities, high end hotels, and night clubs. Some bar restaurants can be found in nice parks, so if you are in a nice wooded park, look for the restaurants. The fast food restaurants open and affordable to the public do not sell beer, and the coffee shops do not sell alcohol. If you visit Algiers or coastal cities, there are fish restaurants in almost every fishing port, the fishing is traditional and the fish sold is very fresh; usually, these restaurants sell alcohol but you have to ask (do not expect to see it, some times it is on the menu, some times not). Finally, you can buy your own bottle of Algerian wine to take home in discrete shops that sell alcoholic drinks. It is better to buy it at the Algiers airport. In smaller towns, buying alcohol can be challenging; you usually find them at the edge of the towns in sketchy areas and the conditions in which the alcohol was kept is sometimes questionable. Some Muslims drink but they consider it a sin. It is in private but socially. If some one invites you into his home and does not offer alcohol, he expects you not to be drunk or smell alcohol, and does not expect you to bring your own bottle or even discuss drinking alcohol in front of his wife and kids.
Kabyl jewelry and pottery
The official language is Arabic. Be warned, though, that North African (Maghrebi) Arabic is quite different from the Arabic spoken in other parts of the Arab World, such as Egypt. This is particularly due to Berber and French influences.
French, the colonial language, is still widely spoken, especially in urban areas.
Algeria's Berber (Tamazigh) populations hold strongly to their own languages.
Arabic-sabah al khair - means "Good morning"; Arabic-ahlan/Marhaba - means Hello; Beber-Azul - also means Hello.
Generally, only the young generations in Algeria can understand some English, but most people are able to communicate in French.
As in all of North Africa, the dominant religion in Algeria is Islam, and appropriate religious prohibitions and attitudes should be in order. If visiting a mosque, for example, be sure to be dressed conservatively and remove your shoes before entering it. Alcohol policy is not the same all over the country, with some cities prohibiting bars and/or liquor stores. Keep in mind to drink only at home or in a bar; never on the street.
Also, given the ongoing political strife, talking politics is not advisable.
Algiers is frequently struck by power cuts, which means that refrigerated foods may go bad. Therefore, you should take extra care when eating in restaurants, as the likelihood of getting food poisoning is always there.
Mosquitoes are also a problem in Algeria, but they are just a nuisance, as malaria is not common. In urban areas, city-wide sprayings against mosquitoes are periodically carried on.
Always use sun protection when traveling in Algeria.
Despite many western advisory warnings against traveling to Algeria, you should know that terrorism in 2005 was focused only in the following areas: Chlef, Ain Defla, Relizane, Laarba, Medea, and Collo. As of 2009, terrorist attacks are mostly directed against police offices and other government targets. Do not travel after nightfall; travel by plane if you can, instead of by car; avoid minor roads; ask the police if you are unsure about your surroundings, and nothing unusual should happen to you. Also, you should trust only official travel advisories when it comes to personal safety when are in or travel to a foreign country.
All cigarettes are sold freely. Smoking in the presence of someone who is not a smoker in a public place requires his permission, if someone does not like the smoke, cough or ask you not to smoke, just stop and say sorry. This is what the locals do. If you are invited to someone house do not smoke unless the host does and after he does, you can ask for permission to smoke (is it okay if I smoke in here?) If you are in a restaurant or coffee terrace where people smoke, you can smoke, if you are with locals who are not smokers, ask them first if it is okay. Less and less people smoke, it is because of a global health awareness not because of religion. Women smoking, not many, social and not religiously, smoking women are stigmatized by the society.
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|Area||total: 2,381,740 km2|
water: 0 km2
land: 2,381,740 km2
|Population||32,930,091 (July 2006 est.)|
|Religion||Sunni Muslim (state religion) 99%, Catholic 0.5%, Protestant and Jewish 0.5%|