BangladeshOfficial Name: People's Republic of Bangladesh
Six months longer than planned stay in Bangladesh
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
Hepatitis A, and typhoid fever vaccinations recommended; frequent visitors should also get Hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, and Rabies vaccinations. Malaria prophylaxis is recommended for travelers to some locations.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
USD 5, 000 or more must be declared
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
You cannot leave with more USD than you initially declared. Bangladeshi Taka (BDT) greater than 5,000 BDT cannot be taken out of the country.
Embassies and Consulates
Baridhara, Dhaka, 1212
Telephone: +(88) (2) 5566-2000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(88) (2) 5566-2000, press "0" and ask for the duty officer
Fax: +(88) (2)5566-2907
Bangladesh is located on the northern edge of the Bay of Bengal; it is bordered on three sides by India and shares a small border with Burma. Approximately 160 million people inhabit Bangladesh. Bangladesh is a parliamentary democracy with a unicameral legislature. The nation is a developing country with severe infrastructure shortcomings. Outside of Dhaka, tourist facilities are under-developed, as are capacities to deal with emergency situations.
Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Bangladesh for information about U.S.-Bangladesh relations.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
Passports and Visas:
- You must have a passport valid for six months longer than your planned length of stay in Bangladesh, at least one blank visa page, a Bangladeshi visa, and an onward or return ticket.
- U.S. citizens are eligible for visas on arrival, but you may encounter delays or be refused entry into countries en route to Bangladesh if you do not have a Bangladeshi visa. Visit the Embassy of Bangladesh website for the most current visa information.
- Short term travelers other than those on government duty must have a minimum of 500 USD in cash or a credit card with them.
- If your U.S. passport is expired, you may obtain a visa in your new passport at the Department of Immigration and Passports. Replacing a lost visa, which is required in order to exit the country, may take three to four business days.
- There are financial penalties for overstaying the terms of your visa and can be very difficult and time-consuming to change your immigration status after you have arrived in Bangladesh. For further information on these rules, visit the Bangladeshi Immigration Police website.
- When traveling by air, all foreigners except children under the age of two must pay a departure tax, which is often included when air tickets are purchased or it is collected at the airport at the time of departure. The amount of the departure tax varies depending on the destination.
- If departing by road in a private vehicle, you must obtain a road permit by contacting the Director General, Immigration and Passports. A refundable cash deposit is typically required; the amount of the deposit is based on the value of the vehicle.
- U.S.-Bangladesh dual nationals and their immediate family members are eligible for a “No Visa Required for Travel to Bangladesh” seal. This endorsement allows travelers the privilege of multiple entries into Bangladesh with no restriction on duration of stay.
- By accepting the “No Visa Required” seal, you may also be implicitly acknowledging Bangladeshi nationality and accepting its associated responsibilities.
- If the passport bearing your original “No Visa Required” seal is lost or expires, you must obtain a new seal in a valid passport prior to entering or departing Bangladesh.
- Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website.
HIV/AIDS: Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Bangladesh. Please verify this information with the Embassy of Bangladesh before you travel.
Customs: For information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
Safety and Security
U.S. citizens contemplating travel to Bangladesh should carefully consider the risks to their safety and security while there, including the risk of terrorism. According to media reports, anti-Western terrorist groups, some on the U.S. government’s list of foreign terrorist organizations, are active in Bangladesh. These organizations include Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami/Bangladesh (HUJI-B), Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, Ansar al-Islam, and Ansarullah Bangla Team. Some elements within these Bangladeshi groups have also associated themselves with transnational terrorist groups, such as al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent.
On September 28, 2015, and in subsequent messages, the U.S. Embassy warned that a terrorist attack could occur against foreigners in Bangladesh, including attacks against large gatherings of foreigners at international hotels. There have been public claims of responsibility by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIL) or Da’esh for the September 28 killing of an Italian national, the October 3 killing of a Japanese national, and the October 24 bombing of a Shia Muslim religious procession. Also, recent incidents of concern include the murders of four secular bloggers, including a U.S. citizen, and similar attacks against associated book publishers on October 31.
- In Bangladesh, political parties and other organizations frequently organize general strikes to disrupt or shut down services. Avoid all demonstrations or political gatherings in Bangladesh.
- Demonstrations sometimes lead to violent clashes resulting in injuries, deaths, property damage, blocked highways, and sabotaged trains and railways. Participants throw rocks, debris, and small homemade explosive devices. Security forces use tear gas and other crowd control measures against demonstrators, including firearms with rubber bullets.
- During strikes, the travel of U.S. Embassy employees and their family members is restricted to the Diplomatic Enclave, which includes the areas of Banani, Baridhara, and Gulshan, from 6:00 p.m. the night before the start of a strike until it officially ends. The U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide consular services outside of the Diplomatic Enclave is therefore limited for the duration of a strike.
- Visitors to Bangladesh should check U.S. Embassy Dhaka’s website for updated information on the current political and security situation.
Specific Areas to Avoid:
- In times of demonstrations, national strikes, or elections, avoid Road 86 in the Gulshan-2 area of Dhaka as one of the major national political party’s headquarters is located there. Take particular precaution against exposed movement during hours of darkness in the vicinity of Gulshan-2 Circle (DIT-2).
- Avoid Naya Paltan area in Dhaka, Baitul Mukarram Mosque (National Mosque), Muktangan (bordered by Baitul Mukarram Mosque to the east, the General Post Office (GPO) to the south, the Secretariat to the West, and Topkhana Road to the North), and Topkhana-Motijheel Road because political rallies can occur at these locations.
- U.S. citizens are advised against traveling to the Khagrachari, Rangamati, and Bandarban Hill Tracts districts (collectively known as the Chittagong Hill Tracts) due to kidnappings and other security incidents.
- If you travel in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, you must register with local authorities and you should exercise extreme caution.
Fire: Fires in Bangladesh are both common and extremely dangerous. You may access the fire department by dialing 199 in Dhaka and (88) (02) 199 outside of Dhaka or by mobile phone from anywhere in Bangladesh by dialing (88) 01713-038181, (88) 01713-038182 or (88) 01730-336699.
For further information:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department's travel website for Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts.
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- See our travel checklist for useful travel tips.
Crime: Dhaka's crime rate is high; the types of crime are comparable to any other world capital or large city. Crime dramatically increases at night. Urban crime can be organized or opportunistic, conducted by individuals or groups, and commonly encompasses fraud, theft, robbery carjacking, rape, assault, and burglary. Incidents of crime and levels of violence are higher in low-income residential and congested commercial areas, but are seen in wealthier areas as well, including the Diplomatic Enclave in Dhaka.
- Pick-pocketing, theft and larceny are common on buses and trains at all hours of the day.
- Police responsiveness varies widely and crimes often go unsolved or unprosecuted.
- Dual U.S-Bangladesh nationals may not be recognized as U.S. citizens by the local authorities.
- Take precautions to avoid crime, including locking home and vehicle doors, hiring a 24-hour guard, varying routes and schedules; keeping your bags or valuables under your legs away from passing vehicle traffic, and ensure that your bag’s carrying straps are not visible; travel in groups; take a native Bangla-speaker if you intend to travel outside urban areas; and carry your mobile phone. If you are assaulted, do not fight with your attacker. Flee to a safe area and report the situation to the local authorities.
Victims of Crime: Victims of crime should contact the nearest U.S. embassy and the police. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
To report a crime locally you may contact:
- The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Bangladesh is (88) (02) 999 or (88) (02) 712-4000 by mobile phone. These numbers connect you to the Dhaka Metro Police Exchange. The Police Exchange can transfer calls to the appropriate police station within the Dhaka metropolitan area, or provide you the phone number for a station outside of Dhaka. There is no guarantee that English will be spoken or understood at the Dhaka Metro Police Exchange or any police station in the country.
- The Dhaka Metropolitan Police Department special unit for non-Bangladeshi citizen victims of crime can be reached at “(88) 01713-398355” and e-mail email@example.com.
- The Sylhet Metropolitan Police Foreigners’ Help Desk can be reached at (88) 01713-374364.
- A 24 hour toll-free helpline specifically for victims of violent crime such as rape or domestic violence which is managed by the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs is available at 10921. Operators are trained to respond in both English and local language and can provide information on shelters, police resources, and hospital facilities in Bangladesh.
The U.S. Embassy can:
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police, but only local authorities can investigate and prosecute crimes
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
- provide an emergency loan
- help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- replace a stolen or lost passport
More info: See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
You must obey all laws in Bangladesh.
- If you violate them, even without knowing you did, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
- Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Bangladesh are severe, including long jail sentences and heavy fines, or death.
- You may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you or if you take pictures of certain buildings.
- Driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail.
- Some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.
Arrest: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Customs and Currency:
- Bangladesh customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation or export of items such as currency, household appliances, alcohol, cigarettes, and weapons.
- Bangladesh does not allow the exchange of local currency (Bangladesh taka) for US dollars (cash and traveler’s checks), unless the customer has a ticket for travel outside of Bangladesh.
- Contact the Bangladeshi Embassy or Consulates for specific information regarding customs requirements. Please see our Customs Information.
Dual Nationality: U.S. citizens holding both U.S. and Bangladeshi citizenship may not be immediately recognized as U.S. citizens by the local authorities and may initially be treated solely as Bangladeshi citizens.
Forced Marriage: A marriage must be entered into with the full and free consent of both individuals. If a U.S. citizen is being forced into a marriage against his or her will, help and advice from the Embassy are available. Please refer to the U.S. Embassy’s information on forced marriage. All travelers to Bangladesh, including Bangladeshi citizens, should maintain possession of their passports and return plane tickets to ensure independence to travel.
- Land disputes are common in Bangladesh and are extremely difficult to resolve through legal channels.
- The U.S. Embassy cannot protect personal property and cannot take sides in a legal dispute.
- U.S. citizens wishing to purchase property should be aware of the risks, including not being physically present to oversee property.
- Involvement in a property dispute may pose dangers such as lengthy court disputes to being threatened, injured, or murdered by hired thugs. Those involved in a court dispute run the risk of having cases filed against them, and they may be arrested and jailed.
- Heavy flooding occurs during the monsoon season (June to October) and 30 percent of the country may be under water.
- Cyclones occur most frequently in May through October, with storm surges of up to 10 meters.
- Bangladesh is one of the most hard-hit countries in the world for tornados.
- Earthquakes generally occur in the northern and eastern parts of Bangladesh, but the potential for catastrophic earthquakes anywhere in the country is ever-present.
Women Travelers: If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Faith-Based Travelers: See Department of State’s International Religious Freedom report for further information.
LGBTI Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual activity is criminalized in Bangladesh and penalties include up to life imprisonment. See State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for more detailed information. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our LGBTI Travel Information page.
Persons with Mobility Issues: Public transportation, sidewalks, many buildings, and public areas are not wheelchair accessible.
Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan covers you when you are outside of the United States.
- We cannot pay your medical bills.
- U.S. Medicare does not pay overseas.
- Doctors and hospitals often expect cash payment for health services.
- We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation, since medical transport out of the country can be prohibitively expensive or logistically impossible.
- See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Medical Care: It is limited and well below U.S. standards. U.S. citizens often travel outside of Bangladesh for medical treatment, including many routine procedures.
- There have been reports of counterfeit medications within the country, but medication from major pharmacies and hospitals is generally reliable.
- Water supplies in Bangladesh are not potable though bottled drinking water, especially major brands, is generally safe for consumption.
- Fecal-oral contamination is common and improperly prepared meat and improperly cleaned vegetables can lead to food-borne illnesses. Wash, soak, peel, and thoroughly cook food to minimize chemical, insecticide, bacterial, and parasitic contamination.
Although the Embassy cannot provide medical advice or provide medical services to the public, a list of hospitals and doctors in Dhaka can be found on the Embassy website.
Prescriptions: Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all recommended vaccinations, per CDC’s information.
Further Health Information:
Travel & Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety:
- Traffic in Bangladesh moves on the left, the opposite of U.S. traffic, and large vehicles generally take the right-of-way.
- Roads are extremely crowded, poorly maintained, and often lack shoulders, have numerous potholes, sharp drop-offs, and barriers that are not sign-posted.
- Drivers are often unlicensed, aggressive, and poorly trained.
- Many vehicles, particularly large trucks and buses, are badly maintained.
- Speed limits and other traffic laws are not commonly posted and are rarely observed by motorists. Vehicles often run red lights and merge directly into traffic without stopping. The practice of using one’s car horn or flashing high-beam headlights to announce one’s presence is the norm in all areas of Bangladesh at all times of day or night.
Road accidents, including fatal head-on collisions, are common in Bangladesh. When traveling by road you should:
- Exercise extreme caution when crossing streets, and when traveling at night by road;
- Use seatbelts if available and wear helmets on motorcycles and bicycles;
- Do not travel by road without an experienced local driver or guide;
- Exercise particular vigilance along intercity highways, as banditry and carjacking have been known to occur;
- Monitor local news for any reports of road disturbances as protestors and demonstrators often use road blockage as a means of publicizing their grievances.
If a serious accident occurs, or if a driver hits a pedestrian or a cow, crowds quickly gather and the behavior of the crowd is often unpredictable. The vehicle and its occupants may be at risk of being attacked in such circumstances depending on who the crowd believes is at fault and what damage occurred. Such attacks may pose significant risk of injury or death to the vehicle's occupants or at least of incineration of the vehicle. It is unsafe to remain at the scene of an accident of this nature. Seek shelter at the nearest police station.
- We strongly urge you to not use buses, rickshaws, and mini-taxis, due to their high accident rate and crime issues. Instead, consider a rental car and driver.
- The Bangladesh passenger rail system is antiquated and overburdened. Some political activists target the rail lines during civil unrest by hurling explosives and removing rail ties from the tracks, making the trips unusually dangerous and causing cancellations. Even in calm times, foreigners are often the center of attention at many train stations because of the relatively atypical presence of foreign travelers on rail in the country.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Bangladesh’s Civil Aviation Authority as not being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Bangladesh’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page