Equatorial GuineaOfficial Name: Republic of Equatorial Guinea
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
One page required for entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
Not required for stays of less than 90 days.
Polio vaccination up to 1 year before travel is recommended. See Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements below and our Polio Fact Sheet
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Embassies and Consulates
Carretera Malabo II
Malabo, Guinea Ecuatorial
Telephone: +(240) 333-095-741
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(240) 222-516-008
Equatorial Guinea is an oil-rich, developing country on the western coast of central Africa. Its capital and main port, Malabo, is located on the island of Bioko, off the coast of Cameroon. A secondary port, Luba, is also on Bioko. The mainland territory of Equatorial Guinea is bordered by Cameroon and Gabon. The principal city on the mainland is Bata. Official languages are Spanish, which is widely spoken, and French, which is widely understood and sometimes used in business dealings. Portuguese was recently made the country’s third official language, but is not widely used or spoken.
Equatorial Guinea is nominally a multiparty constitutional republic. In practice, however, all branches of government are dominated by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has ruled since 1979. In November 2009, he was declared the winner of the presidential election with over 95 percent of the vote.
Equatorial Guinea is a beautiful country with many interesting sites and beaches, but there is little tourism information to assist in planning a vacation. Facilities for tourism are limited but growing.
Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Equatorial Guinea for additional information on U.S.- Equatoguinean relations.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
Although the Government of Equatorial Guinea’s website states that U.S. citizens do not require a visa to enter Equatorial Guinea, you will be required to fill out two visa application forms, present two passport photos, and provide evidence of your ability to finance your visit. If you are traveling on business, the Government of Equatorial Guinea requires a letter from your employer, stating the nature and duration of business. In addition, a certification of vaccination for small pox, yellow fever, and cholera are required to enter Equatorial Guinea. In practice, U.S. citizens are rarely asked to provide either the above paperwork or proof of vaccination upon entrance.
The CDC recommends the yellow fever vaccination. Small pox and cholera vaccinations are generally not available in the United States. Immigration officials may bar entry into the country for those that cannot comply with the vaccination requirements.
All other nationals must acquire a visa prior to arriving in country. It is extremely difficult to obtain a visa upon entry into Equatorial Guinea. U.S. citizens staying longer than 90 days should register with the local police station.
Private ships landing at an Equatoguinean port must get clearance prior to approaching the shore.
You can obtain the latest information and entry and exit information from the Embassy of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, 2020 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009, telephone (202) 518-5700, fax (202) 518-5252.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Equatorial Guinea.
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
While Equatorial Guinea remains quite safe, westerners are increasingly targeted for petty crime, harassment by officials, and similar situations that have the potential to turn violent. There is no indication that U.S. citizens are being specifically targeted at this time.
Although large public demonstrations are uncommon, you should avoid large crowds, political rallies, and street demonstrations.
Stay up to date by:
- Bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains 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 and reviewing the Traveler’s Checklist.
CRIME: Although violent crime remains rare, there has been a rise in violent burglaries/home invasions and in overall hostility directed at westerners by police and other officials. In addition, many situations, including petty or street crime and official harassment, have the potential to turn violent. U.S. citizens are advised to carry copies of their passports and other pertinent documents at all times.
Since July 2013, there has been a significant increase in attacks against women, including U.S. citizens, by small groups posing as taxi drivers and passengers (it is common for Equatoguinean taxis to pick up additional passengers until they reach capacity). To date, the attacks have been most severe in the continental city of Bata and surrounding areas, but have also occurred in Malabo. Victims are commonly held captive for up to an hour, threatened at knife-point, and robbed. Attacks have occurred at all times of the day and during the evening. Local police are beginning to take action to curtail the problem, but the U.S. Embassy strongly recommends taking taxis only in groups, using taxi drivers personally known to you, or avoiding the use of taxis altogether, especially in Bata. If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our Information for Women Travelers.
You should exercise prudence and normal caution, including avoiding dark alleys, remote locations, and traveling alone. Sexual assault is extremely rare against westerners. There is little evidence of racially-motivated hate crimes or crime targeted against elderly travelers or the LGBT community. Generally, the police are responsive to reports of crimes by U.S. citizens, but it is common to be asked to pay a substantial sum of money (between US $50 to $100) in order to file a police report or obtain a copy of a police report on file.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, but also if you purchase them you may 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.
There is no local equivalent of the “911” emergency system in Equatorial Guinea. To reach local police in Malabo, you can call 113.
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 Equatorial Guinea, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. If you break local laws in Equatorial Guinea, 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 wherever you go. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States. For example, 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.
In the recent past, a special permit from the Ministry of Information and Tourism was required for virtually all types of photography. Although the law has changed, police or security officials may still attempt to impose a fine on people taking photographs. It is still forbidden to take photos of the Presidential Palace and its surroundings, military installations, airports, harbors, government buildings, and any other area deemed sensitive by the local government. Police and security officials have attempted to take photographers into custody for perceived or actual violations of this policy, or to seize the camera of persons photographing in the country. As these situations have the potential to become hostile, you should exercise prudence and caution while taking photographs.
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.
Official Corruption: It is not uncommon for a uniformed member of the police or security forces to stop motorists on the pretext of minor or nonexistent violations of the local motor vehicle regulations in order to extort small bribes. Visitors are advised not to pay bribes, and to request that the officer provide a citation to be paid at the local court or a receipt stating the violation, amount due, and the officer’s name. If it appears that you may be asked to go to a police station or are held up at roadblocks for an extended period of time, you should contact the U.S. Embassy’s duty officer at +240 222-516-008 to report the situation.
Currency: Equatorial Guinea is almost exclusively a cash economy. The country has very few hotels that accept credit cards. Generally, credit cards and checks are not accepted, and credit card cash advances are not available. Most local businesses do not accept travelers' checks, dollars, or euros. However, dollars can be exchanged at local banks for Central African Francs (CFA). Cash in CFA is usually the only form of payment accepted throughout the country. ATMs are increasingly available in major cities, but their use is still not widespread. Although they are generally secure, travelers may find them out of order, so it is best not to rely entirely on ATMs to obtain cash.
LGBT RIGHTS: There are very few openly Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) individuals in Equatorial Guinea, so detailed information on LGBT rights and statistics relating to crimes against or harassment of LGBT individuals are not readily available. For further information on LGBT travel, please read our LGBT Travel Information.
ACCESSIBILITY: While in Equatorial Guinea, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. Accommodations for individuals with disabilities is not mandated by Equatoguinean law, and travelers with disabilities may encounter difficulties accessing transportation and public buildings. Although sidewalks are increasingly available in major cities (especially in Malabo and Bata), road crossings are frequently uneven and curbs in need of repair. Neither Malabo nor Bata has a public transportation system, and few vehicles are accessible to individuals with disabilities. Public buildings, including restaurants, bars, medical facilities, stores, and government offices, are rarely accessible and frequently have steps or partially obstructed entrances.
Medical facilities are limited, though improving. Pharmacies in Malabo and Bata stock basic medicines including antibiotics, but cannot be counted on to supply advanced medications. Outside of these cities, many medicines are unavailable. You are advised to carry a supply of properly-labeled prescription drugs and other medications adequate to cover your entire stay. Sanitation levels in hospitals are very low, except for the Hospital La Paz Medical Center in Malabo and, to a lesser extent, in Bata, which meet many of the medical standards of a modern hospital in a developed country. Doctors and hospitals often require immediate payment for health services, and patients are sometimes expected to supply their own bandages, linen, and toiletries. Emergency medical services (ambulances, trained paramedics) are only sporadically available and should not be relied upon in the event of an emergency.
Polio is an increasingly serious health concern in Equatorial Guinea. You can find further information about polio and recommended precautions for those traveling to Equatorial Guinea on the CDC website.
Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal mosquito-borne disease that is very common in most of the country; all travelers are recommended to take antimalarials. Despite aggressive attempts to control malaria in Malabo, the city is still a high risk area for malaria. Plasmodium falciparum, the predominant malaria strain in Equatorial Guinea, is resistant to the anti-malarial drug chloroquine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise that you take one of the following anti-malarial drugs: mefloquine, doxycycline, or atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone™). If you become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling in a malaria-risk area, and for up to one year after returning home, you should seek prompt medical attention and tell your physician your travel history and what antimalarial medication you have been taking.
Visit the CDC's Travelers' Health page for additional information on malaria, including protective measures.
There is a high risk of diarrheal disease throughout the country. Food and beverage precautions are essential to reduce the likelihood of illness. Travelers should carry loperamide and/or a quinolone antibiotic for presumptive self-treatment of diarrhea if it occurs.
Yellow fever can cause serious medical problems, but the vaccine, required for entry, is very effective in preventing the disease. Yellow Fever vaccination is recommended for all those over nine months of age.
In addition to malaria, many insect-borne illnesses such as dengue fever are present. To help prevent mosquito bites and illness, wear long sleeves and use topical repellants and bednets.
All routine US immunizations should also be up to date prior to arrival in Equatorial Guinea. This includes measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, Hepatitis A and tetanus, all of which are more common in Equatorial Guinea than in the United States. In addition to the required yellow fever vaccine and polio booster (if necessary), it is also recommended that all travelers receive typhoid immunization, but it is not required for entry.
Rabies immunization is recommended for all travelers staying for more than four weeks or who will have remote, rural travel or expect animal exposure. Even in urban areas, dogs may have rabies and 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.
Equatorial Guinea is in the highest risk category for tuberculosis with over 100 cases per 100,000 population. Travelers planning to stay more than one month should have pre-departure tuberculin skin test status documented. Domestic help should be screened for TB.
Schistosomiasis, a parasite transmitted by waterborne larvae that penetrate intact skin, presents significant risk on the mainland including Bata, but not on Bioko island. Travelers should avoid non-treated, freshwater exposure on the mainland.
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, which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Travel & Transportation
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Equatorial Guinea, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. U.S. citizens on short stays are permitted to drive with an International Driver’s License. Generally, Equatorial Guinea's road networks are increasingly well-developed. New road construction and repair are taking place all over the country, and road conditions have improved markedly. Speed limits are posted in kilometers but rarely observed, and travelers should remain alert for pedestrians and livestock, even on multi-lane highways. Traffic signals and crosswalks are increasingly common, but not always heeded by local drivers. Driving while intoxicated is widespread and rarely penalized, particularly at night and during weekends and holidays. Travelers should take additional care when driving at night as many motorists do not use headlights and roads are inconsistently lit. If you plan on staying in Equatorial Guinea and will be driving around the country for any length of time, you should attempt to purchase a cell phone for use in case of an emergency.
Equatoguinean cities have no reliable form of public transportation. Taxis, which are inexpensive and readily available, are often poorly-maintained, and taxi drivers frequently drive dangerously or while impaired. Travelers should be aware that taxis will stop to pick up additional passengers and may detour or drop passengers off out of sequence. Single travelers, particularly women, are advised to avoid taxis if possible, or to use taxi drivers personally known to them or recommended as being safe and reliable.
Travelers outside the limits of Malabo and Bata will encounter military roadblocks, and police checks are increasingly common in both cities. You should be prepared to show proper identification (for example, a copy of your U.S. passport) and to explain your reason for being at that particular location. The personnel staffing these checkpoints are often poorly-trained and normally do not speak or understand English or French; travelers who do not speak Spanish should have their reason for being in the country and their itinerary written down in Spanish, especially if planning to travel into the countryside. Travelers should be aware that many military facilities are poorly marked and inconsistently staffed, especially in isolated areas. Travelers should try to avoid these sites whenever possible.
There are currently no distracted driving laws in effect in the Equatorial Guinea, but police may pull over drivers who talk or text while driving for not following unspecific safe driving procedures.
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 Equatorial Guinea, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Equatorial Guinea’s 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.