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10 Countries Where VPNs Are Banned Or Banned

10 Countries Where VPNs Are Banned Or Banned


VPNs have become the best digital tools to maintain your privacy and protect your confidential data. More importantly, they can help you visit websites that are not normally accessible in your country. However, as you can imagine, this can be a problem for some governments, which have either banned or made VPNs illegal.

As a way to stop you from using a VPN, some countries have made these tools illegal – which means you will face serious consequences if your VPN use is detected. With this said, we will give you a list of countries that have blocked VPNs, while providing other key information you need to keep in mind.

Before jumping into individual descriptions of the situation in these countries, we would like to give you an overview of the current situation. Therefore, the following table will show the places where VPNs are considered illegal, as well as the places where their use is highly restricted or regulated.

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Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice and is provided for informational purposes only. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are aware of your local laws. Consult a qualified legal professional to advise you.

As you can see, we have countries where VPNs are illegal. We also have countries where VPNs are restricted in a certain way. With that, let us give you additional information about the current situation in those countries.

Where are VPNs illegal and banned in 2021?

Below are the countries that have banned VPN services. This means that the use of VPNs in these countries is considered a criminal activity.

1. Belarus

VPN Legal Status – Belarus

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Although Belarus is no longer officially part of Russia, it has taken more than a few pages from its neighbors. Being one of Europe’s last true dictatorships, it should come as no surprise that freedom of information isn’t at the top of the government’s list of things to like.

In Belarus, it is illegal (since 2012) to visit foreign websites. Doing so will result in a fine equal to half the average salary in the state – $120. In 2015, more laws were passed that forced ISPs to spy on their users and keep logs for government use. Thus, using a VPN to access foreign sites can get a Belarus user into hot water.

We should also note some recent (and very surprising) developments in this country. Belarus has become the first country to make IPv6 mandatory for ISPs. This means that you should not be mistaken in thinking that Belarus relies on an outdated Internet infrastructure. In other words, you should stay on the safe side – and stay away from VPNs.

2. Iraq

VPN Legal Status – Iraq

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Iraq was and remains a hotbed of conflict on the world stage. In the wake of the great turmoil that followed the fall of Saddam Hussein, the country struggled to return to stability and normalcy. The last fly in the peace salve is ISIS, which has wreaked havoc on the war-torn country.

ISIS is known for its adeptness in using social media for propaganda and recruitment. Therefore, in an alleged attempt to stop these, the Iraqi government has blocked access to a number of digital services.

Incredibly, this is one of the more subtle approaches the Iraqi government has taken. Previously, the government had simply shut down the internet – a heavy-handed way of censoring anyone’s book. As you might expect, VPNs are also part of the ban, and if you get caught using one to access content that the Iraqi government doesn’t like, you could have a big problem on your hands.

3. Oman

VPN Legal Status – Oman

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Unlike the UAE, the law regarding VPNs in Oman is quite straightforward. Personal use of VPNs is illegal and carries a fine of over a thousand dollars. Even before a law was proposed that specifically made VPNs illegal, VPNs were de facto Illegal as an unlicensed form of encryption. Corporate use of VPNs is legal in Oman if the government grants permission to do so.

We should also note that some changes (for the better) have occurred recently due to the coronavirus outbreak. More precisely, Oman has decided to unblock some VoIP applications such as Skype for Business, Google Meet and Zoom.

However, we are sure that this development is temporary, as it seems unlikely that Oman will change its attitude towards VPN services and blocked sites in the foreseeable future. With this said, we do not recommend using VPN apps in this country.

4. Turkmenistan

VPN Legal Status – Turkmenistan

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Turkmenistan only has one ISP and one mobile operator. Both organizations are wholly owned by the state, which means that the country is tightly controlled.

In fact, users trying to access blocked websites and apps may permanently block their SIM cards, forcing them to buy new cards and move to a new number. So there is absolutely no scope for using VPN services within the borders of this country.

It should also be noted that Turkmenistan has been blocking VPN apps in this country on several different occasions. This means that even downloading this type of software has become very difficult. With all that said, it is best to stay away from VPN services while you are in Turkmenistan, as this will most likely lead to a serious problem.

5. North Korea

VPN Legal Status – North Korea

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It feels weird until he put this reclusive country on the list. why? Because it almost doesn’t matter whether VPNs are legal or illegal in North Korea. After all, there is hardly any internet at all.

While it’s hard to know the exact details of, well, anything in this country, it appears that there are only about 7,000 web users out there. Almost all of these are part of the government. This means that if you are in North Korea and reading this, you already know that VPNs are illegal there.

The latest from North Korea

So, to be more precise, only about 7,000 people in the country have access to the global network. Other citizens have access to a unique government-owned intranet that appears to have only 28 sites. Any attempt to gain unauthorized access to the wider web will likely not end well for the perpetrator.

Which countries have restricted (not become illegal) the use of VPNs in 2021?

Next, we’ll list the countries where VPN use is legal – but there are local restrictions you should keep in mind. This means that you are free to use the VPN in a restricted or limited manner.

1. China

VPN Legal Status – China

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You may have heard of China’s Great Firewall, the nickname given to the system of Internet regulation and censorship that the Chinese government exercises with an iron fist.

China views the internet within its borders as something that it must assert its complete control over, and so it has banned almost all internet services that most of us in other countries would take for granted. This includes anything with the word “Google” in front of it, Facebook, YouTube, and more recently – this list has Wikipedia as well. The list of blocked sites is actually quite long.

More about using a VPN in China

If you access the internet from within mainland China and try to get news or social media content that is not approved by the government, you will run into a brick wall. That’s unless you’re using a VPN that works in China.

So, as expected, in July 2017, the Chinese government ordered Chinese ISPs to ban the use of VPNs. The plan finally went into effect in 2018. However, it is important to say that most of the legal cases do not target individuals but the VPN service providers themselves.

2. Turkey

VPN Legal Status – Turkey

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Turkey has long been known as one of the greatest success stories in the Islamic world. It was a relatively free and prosperous country that had good relations with the Western world.

However, in the past few years, the country has had a rather rough time, and even its attempt to become a member of the European Union no longer seems likely. The current president and his government are not big fans of social media and have imposed a ban on social media when things in the country were at an all-time low.

There is already an excellent site called turkey blocks, which charts government actions against specific internet services as they occur. In December of 2016, they reported that dangerous VPN campaigns had started in the country, and this was the start of the country’s war against VPN services. However, there are still fully functional VPNs for Turkey.

3. The United Arab Emirates

VPN Legal Status – United Arab Emirates

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The United Arab Emirates is an absolute monarchy, and it is one of the last countries in the world to have such a system. It has one of the most stringent legal punishment systems in the world – with extensive use of corporal punishments for actions that would hardly be crimes in the rest of the world.

VPNs are friendly to UAE residents who want to expose government abuses, and therefore there are legal actions in place against them. However, the laws of the UAE regarding VPNs are quite complex. The Cybercrime Act basically states that it is illegal to use a VPN for the purpose of committing a crime.

In other words, it’s not that VPNs themselves are illegal, but that if you use them to get around government-blocked services or content, you could face jail time or a hefty fine.

The UAE Telecommunications Authority says VPNs are not prohibited as long as you use them to do legal things. However, this is exactly the list of things the government wants to block that people need VPNs for in the first place, so it becomes a moot point. Finally, here are your top choices for VPNs in the UAE.

4. Russia

VPN Legal Status – Russia

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Russia has never been known as a bastion of freedom. Russian President (and perpetual internet meme) Vladimir Putin has always put the kibosh on any opposition. In July of 2017, the president reportedly signed a law banning VPNs. Then, in 2019, Russia started forcing VPNs to implement lists of blocked sites.

We’re talking about a dozen or so VPN services, all of which have since refused to comply β€” with the exception of Kaspersky’s Secure Connection VPN. This is also the reason why not many VPNs offer servers in this country, so be sure to take a look at the best VPNs for Russia.

This is the latest in a long line of laws Putin has signed to control public information. It’s a way to eliminate access to content that the government says is unacceptable.

You should also know that a set of recently introduced laws requires ISPs to install special equipment with the aim of tracking, filtering and rerouting Internet traffic. In other words, this is another great reason to consider your privacy if you are connecting to the Internet from within Russia.

5. Iran

VPN Legal Status – Iran

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Like the UAE, Iraq and Oman, Iran is not a big fan of information from the outside world that reaches its citizens. Unlike those other countries, Iran is in fact a republic rather than an absolute monarchy. Iran has a president who has a term of only four years. Other than that, above the president there is a supreme guide who has no limited mandate and who has the final say in all decisions. So, well, maybe it’s no different after all.

Iran really doesn’t like the idea of ​​its people being exposed to…

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