Algeria Travel Information

Photo After a century of rule by France, Algeria became independent in 1962. The surprising first round success of the fundamentalist FIS (Islamic Salvation Front) party in December 1991 balloting caused the army to intervene, crack down on the FIS, and postpone the subsequent elections. The hydrocarbons sector is the backbone of the economy, accounting for roughly 52% of budget revenues, 25% of GDP, and over 95% of export earnings. Algeria has the fifth-largest reserves of natural gas in the world and is the second largest gas exporter; it ranks fourteenth for oil reserves.

Ninety-one percent of the Algerian population lives along the Mediterranean coast on 12% of the country's total land mass. Forty-five percent of the population is urban, and urbanization continues, despite government efforts to discourage migration to the cities. About 1.5 million nomads and semi-settled Bedouin still live in the Saharan area. According to the National Office of Statistics (ONS) the data for the year 2002 indicate that 75% of the Algerian population is below 30.

Since the 5th century B.C., the indigenous tribes of northern Africa (identified by the Romans as "Berbers") have been pushed back from the coast by successive waves of Phoenician, Roman, Vandal, Byzantine, Arab, Turkish, and, finally, French invaders. The greatest cultural impact came from the Arab invasions of the 8th and 11th centuries A.D., which brought Islam and the Arabic language.

The hydrocarbons sector is the backbone of the Algerian economy, accounting for roughly 60% of budget revenues, nearly 40% of GDP, and over 95% of export earnings. Algeria has the fifth-largest reserves of natural gas in the world and is the second-largest gas exporter; it ranks 14th for oil reserves. Its key oil and gas customers are Italy, Spain, France, and the United States. U.S. companies have played a major role in developing Algeria's oil and gas sector; of the $2.5 billion in U.S. investment in Algeria, the vast bulk is in the petroleum sector.

In July 2001, President Bouteflika became the first Algerian President to visit the White House since 1985. This visit, followed by a second meeting in November 2001 and a meeting in New York in September 2003, is indicative of the growing relationship between the United States and Algeria. Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, contacts in key areas of mutual concern, including law enforcement and counter- terrorism cooperation, have intensified. Algeria publicly condemned the terrorist attacks on the United States and has been strongly supportive of the international war against terrorism.

Important: Travel to Algeria 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 Algeria visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: People's Democratic Republic of Algeria
Capital city: Algiers
Area: 2,381,741 sq km
Population: 37,367,226
Ethnic groups: Arab-Berber 99%, European less than 1%
Languages: Arabic
Religions: Sunni Muslim
Government: republic
Chief of State: President Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA
Head of Government: Prime Minister Abdelmakek SELLAL
GDP: 263.3 billion
GDP per captia: 7,300
Annual growth rate: 2.4%
Inflation: 4.5%
Agriculture: wheat, barley, oats, grapes, olives, citrus, fruits
Major industries: petroleum, natural gas, light industries, mining, electrical, petrochemical, food processing
Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, uranium, lead, zinc
Location: Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Morocco and Tunisia
Trade Partners - exports: US 20.6%, Italy 14.2%, Spain 9.8%, France 8.9%, Netherlands 6.7%, Canada 6.1%, Brazil 4.4%
Trade Partners - imports: France 15.1%, China 10%, Italy 9.9%, Spain 7.3%, Germany 5.4%, US 4.6%