ComorosOfficial Name: Union of the Comoros
Must be valid at time of entry
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
One blank page required for entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
Yes – Available upon arrival
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Embassies and Consulates
Lot 207 A, Point Liberty
Telephone: +( 261) (20) 23-480-00
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: (261) (20) 23-480-00
Fax: +(261) (20) 23-480-35
The Union of the Comoros is a developing nation located in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa. Comoros consists of three islands--Ngazidja (also known as Grande Comore), Moheli, and Anjouan -- that cover about 900 square miles. A fourth island, Mayotte, officially changed status from a French “collectivity” to an actual French Department in March 2011. All four islands are within the consular jurisdiction of the U.S. Embassy in Antananarivo, Madagascar. Ngazidja is home to the capital city, Moroni, and is the most developed of the three islands. Facilities for tourism are limited and telecommunication links are unreliable. French, Arabic, Swahili, and Comorian are spoken. Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Comoros for additional information on U.S. – Comoros relations.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
A passport and onward/return ticket are required. Visas are available from the Comoran Mission to the United Nations in New York; U.S. citizens visiting Comoros can obtain a visa upon entry for a fee of sixty Euros. Travelers should obtain the latest details from the Mission of the Union of Comoros, 420 East 50th Street, New York, NY 10022; telephone number (212) 972-8010, fax (212) 983-4712.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Comoros.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
Safety and Security
Comoros has experienced occasional strikes and civil unrest, resulting in violent clashes between police and demonstrators, and has a history of coups since becoming independent. We recommend that U.S. citizens exercise extreme caution near demonstrations and avoid political rallies and street demonstrations, as even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence.
Conditions change rapidly on the islands of the Comoros due to weak political institutions and a lack of economic development. Reports of religious-based violence are rare. Although foreign residents and visitors have not been targeted for violence, the potential for further outbreaks of civil disorder remains, and U.S. citizens should exercise caution and good judgment, keep a low profile, and remain vigilant.
Running water and electric power are unreliable, even at the most upscale hotels on the islands, and nonexistent for the most part outside the few urban areas. Care should be taken to ensure that water is potable and that food is cleaned and properly cooked.
Stay up to date by:
- Bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.
- Following us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.
- Calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the United States and Canada, or a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.
- Taking some time before travel to consider your personal security. Here are some useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
CRIME: You should be vigilant against pickpocketing and other forms of petty crime when visiting crowded market areas, parks, and at the beaches. Violent crime is uncommon; Moheli, for example, has not reported a homicide in decades. The most commonly reported crime is home break-ins. Most reported crimes are crimes of opportunity.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:
- Replace a stolen passport.
- Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape.
- Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and if you want us to, we can contact family members or friends.
- Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Comoros is: 17 for local police; 18 for the Gendarmerie.
Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in another country, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. In some places driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in your host country, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.
Persons violating the laws of Comoros, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs in Comoros are strict, with convicted offenders receiving a mandatory minimum five-year jail sentence and heavy fines.
Arrest notifications in host country: While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas. Please note that there is no official permanent U.S. presence in Comoros – such official notification to U.S. authorities must be made to the U.S. Embassy in Madagascar, and may therefore be extremely slow.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: While religions other than Islam are permitted in Comoros, evangelization is illegal. Violators of this law can be fined or imprisoned. Few establishments accept credit cards in the Comoros; cash transactions are preferred, in Comorian Francs or Euros. U.S. Dollars are not accepted.
LGBT Rights: Consensual same-sex sexual relations are criminalized in the Union of the Comoros. Although the U.S. Embassy is not aware of any recent arrests or prosecutions for such activities, they remain illegal and penalties can include imprisonment and fines. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our LGBT Travel Information page.
Maritime Safety: Avoid all but essential travel by boat. Boat travel between the Comoran islands is poorly regulated, if at all. U.S. government personnel are allowed only to utilize inter-island ferry services that are commercially licensed, running on regularly scheduled routes, and which are equipped with adequate safety devices and ship-to-shore communications capability. U.S. citizens considering boat travel should exercise extreme caution, even if traveling via the shortest routes. Small vessels routinely break down and capsize in rough seas, or are swept against reefs by strong currents that run between the islands. Boats can be overcrowded, in poor condition, and are often equipped with little or no safety equipment. Drowning deaths in these waters are common. The proximity of the Union of the Comoros to waters frequented by pirates also means that small craft on the open seas are particularly vulnerable to potential attack.
ACCESSIBILITY: Individuals with disabilities will find virtually no accommodation for accessibility while in Comoros.
Medical care is substandard throughout the country including Grande Comore. Adequate evacuation insurance coverage for all travelers is a high priority. Travelers should carry their own supplies of prescription drugs and preventive medicines. Malaria is prevalent in Comoros. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that travelers to Comoros should take one of the following antimalarial drugs: mefloquine (Lariam™), doxycycline, or atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone™). Other protective measures, such as the use of bed nets and insect repellents, help to reduce malaria risk. Travelers who become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling in a malaria-risk area, and up to one year after returning home, should seek prompt medical attention, and tell the physician their travel history and what antimalarial medicines they have been taking. For additional information on malaria, protection from insect bites, and antimalarial drugs, please visit the CDC Travelers' Health web pages.
The East African Indian Ocean islands have seen a rise in the cases of chikungunya, a viral dengue-like ailment, and dengue itself. As with malaria, chikungunya and dengue are transmitted by mosquitoes. Every effort should be made to use bed nets, repellents, proper clothing, and other barriers that discourage/prevent mosquito bites. The CDC has further information on chikungunya and dengue on its website. Rabies vaccines should be considered for shorter stays for adventure travelers, hikers, backpackers, or rural travelers who are staying more than 24 hours away from a reliable source of human rabies immune globulin and rabies vaccine for post-exposure treatment. Take seriously all bat, carnivore, and other mammal bites or scratches, and seek post-exposure prophylaxis even if already immunized.
There is a high risk of marine hazards (jellyfish, coral, and sea urchins) as well as traveler’s diarrhea throughout the country. Food and beverage precautions are essential in order to reduce chances of illness. Travelers should carry loperamide (Imodium®) and/or a quinolone (Ciprofloxacin) antibiotic for presumptive self-treatment, if diarrhea occurs.
You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Travel & Transportation
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Comoros, you will encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. In Comoros, one drives on the right side of the street. Roads are ill-maintained, congested, very narrow, and poorly lit at night. Travelers should exercise extreme caution when driving after dark, or walking along trafficked roads. Some urban roads are paved, but many rural roads are not. Most roads are full of potholes and dangerous curves. Roads have no posted speed limits, but road conditions limit speeds to well below 30 miles an hour.
Drivers and front seat passengers are required to wear seat belts. There are no laws regarding child safety seats. There are no organizations in Comoros that provide emergency or roadside assistance. Individuals involved in accidents rely on passersby for assistance. Taxis or a rental car with driver are preferable to public transportation.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Comoros, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Comoros’ Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA's safety assessment page.