LiberiaOfficial Name: Republic of Liberia
Must be valid at time of entry
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
One page required for entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
A certificate documenting Yellow Fever vaccination is required for all those over 1 year of age and is recommended for all those over 9 months of age.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
See Special Circumstances section below
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
See Special Circumstances section below
Embassies and Consulates
502 Benson Street
Telephone: +(231) 77-677-7000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(231) 77-677-7000
Liberia is a country in West Africa that suffered from years of instability and conflict from 1990 to 2003, with attendant destruction of buildings, roads, infrastructure, and public institutions. After comprehensive peace accords ended the conflict in August 2003, a United Nations peacekeeping force (UNMIL) was deployed to facilitate disarmament and demobilization, help arrange democratic elections, and provide for security of the country. In late 2005, Liberians elected Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as president. She was re-elected in November 2011, and her administration continues to make progress in rebuilding the country.
Despite over ten years of peace and economic growth, Liberia is still one of the poorest countries in the world and many basic services (e.g., public power, water and sewage, and landline phones) are either limited or unavailable. Facilities for foreign visitors are adequate in the capital city, Monrovia, but virtually non-existent in the rest of the country. The official language of Liberia is English. Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Liberia for additional information.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
A passport and a Liberian visa are required for entry, as is evidence of yellow fever vaccination. Liberian visas are not issued at the airport, and persons arriving in Liberia without a visa may be deported immediately without being permitted to exit the airport. U.S. citizens arriving from the United States must obtain a Liberian visa before traveling. For the latest information on entry requirements, visa fees, and applicable airport tax for Liberia, contact the Embassy of the Republic of Liberia. Overseas, inquiries should be made at the nearest Liberian embassy or consulate.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Liberia.
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
The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to plan proposed travel to Liberia carefully and to exercise caution when traveling in Liberia. Before traveling to Liberia, U.S. citizens are urged to make arrangements for transportation from the international airport into the city center. Taxis are the only form of public transportation available at the international airport, which is located 40 miles outside of Monrovia. Taxis generally carry multiple passengers to various stops and are poorly maintained. See section on traffic safety and road conditions for additional information. U.S. citizens traveling to Liberia are also urged to confirm reservations at a reputable hotel, as rooms can be scarce and difficult to find without advance plans.
U.S. citizens who travel to or reside in Liberia should realize that Liberia's police force has limited resources. UN Police (UNPOL) officers serve as advisors to the Liberia National Police, but they do not have the authority to arrest or detain, and most are unarmed. The Liberia National Police has a strong presence in Monrovia, but less of a presence outside of the capital city. The police can be both a source of assistance as well as a source of problems for visitors. Concerns about police corruption continue, and travelers may be detained by police officers soliciting bribes. U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a photocopy of their passports with them at all times so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and citizenship is readily available. If detained or arrested, U.S. citizens should ask to contact the U.S. Embassy immediately.
U.S. citizens in Liberia should be aware of their surroundings at all times and use caution when moving around, especially at night. Travel outside of Monrovia after dark is strongly discouraged as roads are in poor condition and there are few public street lights.
U.S. citizens should avoid crowds, political rallies, and street demonstrations, and should maintain security awareness at all times.
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.
- 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 check for useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas.
CRIME: While incidence of crime in Liberia is high, most crimes that occur within the expat community are crimes of opportunity (which increase during the hours of darkness), to include residential burglary or armed robbery (with use of a knife or machete). Criminal activity has been reported in both urban and rural areas. The Liberia National Police have limited capacity to respond to crime events.
Perpetrators of business fraud often target foreigners, including U.S. citizens. Formerly associated with Nigeria, these fraud schemes are now prevalent throughout western Africa and pose a danger of both financial loss and physical harm. An increasing number of U.S. citizens have been the target of such scams. The best way to avoid becoming a victim of fraud is to use common sense – if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. U.S. citizens should carefully check any unsolicited business proposal originating in Liberia before committing any funds, providing any goods or services, or undertaking any travel, particularly if the proposal involves mining or the sale of gold and diamonds. There has also been an increase in the number of Liberian-American Internet relationships in which there are eventual requests for financial assistance under fraudulent pretenses. For additional information, please see the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure on Resources for Victims of International Financial Scams.
Petty corruption is rampant. Poorly paid government officials and private company employees may ask for fees for doing their job, and travelers may be inconvenienced for not paying bribes.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, you may also be breaking local law.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you are the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. This includes the loss or theft of a U.S. passport. The embassy/consulate staff can help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends, and explain how funds may be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you understand the local criminal justice process and find an attorney if needed.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Liberia is also 911. However, emergency services are not provided reliably or consistently. Also, there is no landline telephone service in Liberia, and cellular phone communication is subject to occasional disruptions in service. A call to 911 in Liberia may go unanswered, and you should employ other resources to obtain emergency assistance.
Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
CRIMINAL PENALITIES: 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, it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. In other places, driving under the influence of alcohol 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 Liberian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Liberia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
Photographing military installations, air and sea ports, and important government buildings is prohibited. Visitors should not take photographs of sites or activities that may be considered sensitive, as police are liable to confiscate the camera.
If you are arrested in Liberia, you should immediately request that authorities contact the U.S. Embassy.
Infrastructure: Lodging, fuel, transportation, and telephone services are not consistently available. Services can be nonexistent or severely limited in rural areas. Neither running water nor electricity is commercially available in Liberia, except in some parts of Monrovia. Most hotels have utilities available, but not always on a 24-hour basis. There is no working landline telephone system in Liberia. Several cell phone companies provide service in Monrovia and some areas outside the capital. U.S. cellular phones do not always work in Liberia and it is advisable to rent or purchase a local cellular phone. The postal system is slow and unreliable. Commercial air courier service is available through UPS, FedEx, and DHL.
Financial Issues: The Liberian dollar is the official currency; however, the U.S. dollar is accepted as legal tender and is used alongside the Liberian dollar. While there is no limit on the amount of foreign currency that can be transported into and out of the country, sums in excess of U.S. $10,000 must be reported at the port of entry, and no more than U.S. $7,500 in foreign currency banknotes can be moved out of the country at one time. Larger sums must be transferred via bank drafts or other financial instruments. Persons without a Liberian bank account may be limited in the amount of over-the-counter cash wire transfers per month, and will likely be subject to substantial fees. ATMs are not widely available. Traveler's checks and credit cards are not regularly accepted, except at some major hotels in Monrovia. There have been some reports of financial information being compromised even at hotels where credit cards are routinely accepted. Nearly all transactions are made with cash, and Liberian dollars are preferred for smaller purchases, especially outside of Monrovia.
Swimming Hazard: Liberia has many excellent beaches along the Atlantic coastline that can be enjoyed throughout the year. However, U.S. citizens should be aware of the threat of dangerous rip currents, also known as rip tides. These strong currents can occur anywhere on the coast given the right surf conditions. The Liberia Weather Service does not provide information on where and when these tides form, and there are no lifeguards posted on beaches. Do not swim in the Atlantic if you are unfamiliar with swimming in water where very strong rip currents occur
LGBT RIGHTS: Consensual same-sex sexual relations are criminalized in Liberia. The U.S. Embassy is not aware of any recent prosecutions, but such activity remains illegal as a first degree misdemeanor with penalties ranging up to one year in prison. For more detailed information about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) rights in Liberia, you may review the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013. For further information on LGBT travel, please read our LGBT Travel Information page.
ACCESSIBILITY: There are no accommodations for individuals with disabilities in Liberia. U.S. citizens with disabilities that hinder mobility should take this into consideration before planning travel to Liberia.
Hospitals and medical facilities in Liberia are very poorly equipped and are incapable of providing many services. Emergency services comparable to those in the United States or Europe are non-existent, and the blood supply is unreliable and unsafe for transfusion. For serious medical problems, U.S. citizens in Liberia should consider traveling to the United States, Europe, or South Africa for treatment. Within Liberia, medicines are scarce, often beyond expiration dates, and generally unavailable in most areas; additionally counterfeit medications, often very well packaged, are common in pharmacies throughout the country. As there is neither an effective garbage removal service nor a functioning sewer system, sanitation throughout urban areas is very poor, which increases the potential for disease. Upper respiratory infections and diarrhea are common, as well as more serious diseases such as typhoid and malaria.
Mosquito borne illnesses such as malaria and yellow fever are a significant problem and prevention of bites and proper yellow fever immunization are important for all areas. Travelers should carry and use insect repellents containing either 20 percent DEET, picaridin, and 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, some of which may also carry infections.
Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease that is highly prevalent throughout Liberia in all seasons in both cities and rural settings. Before traveling to Liberia you should discuss with your doctor the best antimalarial medication to avoid malaria which should be taken for even short visits confined to Monrovia.
Atovaquone-proguanil (Malarone), doxycycline, or mefloquine (Lariam) are appropriate antimalarials for this region. Chloroquine is not recommended due to the high incidence of resistance. For information that can help you and your doctor decide which of these drugs would be best for you, please see Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Choosing a Drug to Prevent Malaria. If you become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling in Liberia, 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.
Yellow fever is a virus spread by day biting mosquitoes (in contrast to the night biting malaria carrying mosquitoes). Although rare among travelers, yellow fever can be severe or fatal in 10 percent of those infected and there is no treatment available. It can be nearly 100 percent prevented through use of the yellow fever vaccine which is required for entry into Liberia for anyone over one year of age and recommended for all those over nine months of age.
All routinely recommended immunizations for the United States should be up to date as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, and chicken pox are much more common than in Liberia, especially among children.
Rabies immunization is recommended for all travelers staying for more than four weeks, who will have remote rural travel, or expect animal exposure. 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.
Diarrheal illness is very common among travelers, 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 and 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 because it could be made from unclean water.
Tuberculosis is more than 20 times more common in Liberia than in the United States. Those planning on extended stays or extensive contact with local populations should consider tuberculin skin testing before travel and then again six to twelve weeks after returning from Liberia.
Schistosomiasis is caused by a parasitic worm that is spread by fresh water snails. The larval stage of the worm can burrow through your skin when in contact with contaminated fresh water. Avoid wading, swimming, bathing, or washing in, or drinking from bodies of fresh water such as canals, lakes, rivers, streams, or springs, especially in Bong County.
The filarial infection onchocerciasis, transmitted by black flies, is highly endemic. Exposure of longer than two weeks is generally required for infection. Daytime insect precautions are recommended, especially near the shores of rivers.
Lassa fever, a viral infection transmitted from exposure to rodent urine and feces is endemic in Liberia, causing fatal infection annually, mainly in rural areas. Travelers are advised to avoid rodents and their excreta and ensure that camp sites and bedding are not infested with rodents.
Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) was first detected in Liberia in March 2014. The EVD outbreak crossed into Liberia in the remote border region with Guinea. Travelers are considered at very low risk of infection but are advised to avoid handling or consuming bushmeat to include bats, monkeys, gorillas, and other primates that appear to be responsible for starting human outbreaks of EVD.
You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the Centers for Disease Control website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization website, which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Travel & Transportation
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Liberia is provided for general reference only, and may not be accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Driving in Liberia presents a danger to residents and visitors, as traffic laws are either nonexistent or not enforced. Traffic accidents are frequent and often result in injury or loss of life. Potholes and poor road surfaces are common, making safe driving extremely challenging. Cars, trucks, motorcycles, and taxis are often overloaded with people and goods, and vehicles make frequent stops without signaling. Drivers overtake on the right lanes as well as the left lanes. Many vehicles operate with threadbare tires, and blowouts are frequent. Public taxis are poorly maintained and usually overloaded. All drivers should approach intersections with extreme caution. Public street lights have been installed in some locations in Monrovia and there are a few traffic lights around city. However, drivers outside of Monrovia should remain vigilant as pedestrians, animals, and unrestricted speed limits are attributed to many fatal collisions.
Drivers and pedestrians are cautioned that high-speed car convoys carrying government officials require all other vehicles to pull off the road until they have passed.
Travelers should expect time-consuming detours around the many bridges and roads damaged by war, neglect, or the heavy annual rains occurring between May and November. Travelers can expect strict enforcement of border controls by Liberian, Ivorian, Sierra Leonean, and Guinean authorities. Corruption has been reported at many border locations and travelers may be asked for money prior to crossing the border. At times, border crossings to neighboring countries are closed.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Liberia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Liberia’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.