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. The Union of the Comoros consists of three islands -- Ngazidja (also known as Grande Comore), Moheli, and Anjouan -- that cover about 900 square miles. The fourth Comoros island, Mayotte, claimed by Comoros but administered by France, 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. Shikomorian, French, and Arabic 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 had a history of coups in the first 20 years after independence in 1975. The political situation has stabilized recently with three peaceful transfers of power since 2001. 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.
To stay connected:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.
- Follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and Facebook.
- Bookmark the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.
- Follow the U.S. Embassy in Madagascar on Twitter and visiting the Embassy’s website.
- In the event of an emergency, contact us at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the United States and Canada, or via a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.
- Take some time before traveling to consider your personal security and checking for 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 bootleg goods 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 Comoros, you are subject to its laws. 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. You can be prosecuted in the United States for engaging in sexual conduct with children or for using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country regardless of the legality of these activities under that country’s laws. Counterfeit and pirated goods are illegal in the United States and if you purchase them in a foreign country, you may be breaking local law as well.
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.
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.
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.
ACCESSIBILITY: Individuals with disabilities will find virtually no accommodation for accessibility while in Comoros.
Medical care is considered 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.
Mosquito borne illnesses such as malaria, dengue fever, rift valley fever, and chikungunya are a significant problem. Prevention of bites is important for all areas. Travelers should carry and use CDC recommended insect repellents containing either 20% DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. Treating clothing and tents with permethrin and sleeping in screened or air conditioned rooms under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets will help diminish bites from mosquitoes as well as ticks, fleas, and chiggers.
Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease that is highly prevalent throughout Comoros in all seasons, in cities and towns as well as rural areas. Before traveling you should discuss with your doctor which is the best antimalarial medication for you. Atovaquone-proguanil (Malarone), doxycycline, or mefloquine (Lariam) are appropriate antimalarials for this region. For information that can help you and your doctor decide which of these drugs would be best for you, please review the CDC’s “Choosing a Drug to Prevent Malaria.” If you become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling in Comoros, or for up to one year after returning home, you should seek prompt medical attention, tell the physician your travel history and what antimalarials you have been taking.
The East African Indian Ocean islands have seen a rise in 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 to prevent mosquito bites. The CDC has further information on chikungunya and dengue on its website.
Rabies immunization is recommended for all travelers staying for more than four weeks and 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. Even in urban areas, dogs may have rabies. Bites and scratches from dogs, bats, or other mammals should be immediately cleaned with soap and water and medical evaluation sought to determine if additional rabies immunization is warranted (even if immunized prior to travel).
There is a high risk of marine hazards (jellyfish, coral, and sea urchins) for those who are swimming, snorkeling, or scuba diving in Comoros.
Diarrheal illness is very common among travelers to Comoros, even in large cities and luxury accommodations. Travelers can diminish diarrhea risk through scrupulous washing of hands and use of hand sanitizers, especially before food preparation and eating. The greatest risk of traveler’s diarrhea is from contaminated food. Choose foods and beverages carefully to lower your risk (see Food & Water Safety). Eat only food that is cooked and served hot; avoid food that has been sitting on a buffet. Eat raw fruits and vegetables only if you have washed them in clean water or peeled them. Drink only beverages from factory-sealed containers, and avoid ice. Talk to your doctor about short course antibiotics and loperamide (Imodium®) to take with you in case of diarrhea while traveling.
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.
U.S. citizens should be aware that because of ongoing flight safety concerns, the U.S. Embassy in Madagascar prohibits employees and contractors from using domestic, inter-island air services for routine travel between the Comoran islands unless specifically authorized by means of a pre-flight review by the Embassy. International flights serving Grande Comore operated by international carriers are not affected by this prohibition.