NigerOfficial Name: Republic of Niger
Must be valid at time of entry
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
Two pages are required for entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
Yellow fever vaccination required
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Embassies and Consulates
Rue des Ambassades, P.O. Box 11 201
Niamey, Niger Republic
Telephone: +(227) 20-73-31-69 or +(227) 20-72-39-41
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(227) 20-72-31-41
Niger is a developing, landlocked African nation whose northern expanse includes the Sahara Desert. Tourist facilities are minimal, particularly outside the capital city, Niamey, and the ancient caravan city of Agadez. Visitors should be aware of the ongoing terrorist threat in Niger and the presence of landmines in the region of Agadez. Conditions of insecurity persist in the northern and western portions of Niger, particularly along the porous border between Niger and Mali, as well as eastern parts of Niger along the border of Nigeria around Diffa. French is the official language; English is not widely used. Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Niger for additional information on U.S.-Niger relations.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
A passport, visa, and proof of yellow fever inoculation are required. Travelers from the United States should obtain a visa from the Embassy of Niger before arriving in Niger. Failure to do so could result in being denied entry to Niger. Travelers should obtain the latest information on entry/exit requirements from the Embassy of the Republic of Niger, 2204 R Street NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone: (202) 483-4224.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Niger.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our web site. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page
Safety and Security
The border region with Mali continues to be of specific concern since the Malian government's temporary loss of control over its northern region in early 2012 and the ongoing international military intervention that began in early 2013. The border is porous, and there are frequent reports of terrorists and affiliates crossing into Niger. The Government of Niger has increased its security forces in the border area, but the situation remains unstable and travel there is not advised. Conditions of insecurity persist in the northwestern areas of Niger, as well as the southern border with Nigeria. You are urged to exercise extreme caution when traveling in Niger due to the seriousness of the kidnapping threats against Westerners. U.S. citizens should reduce exposure to locations routinely frequented by Westerners such as restaurants and nightclubs.
Due to security threats, the U.S. Embassy continues to restrict the travel of U.S. government employees and official visitors in the areas north of Niamey and east of Zinder. Travel of U.S. government employees and official visitors outside of Niamey requires coordination with the Regional Security Office and, depending on the specific location, final approval by the Ambassador. Travelers should exercise caution in the border area between Niger and Nigeria. Terrorist groups in Nigeria have grown increasingly bold and have conducted kidnappings outside of national borders. In November, the Department of State announced the designation of Nigerian-based Boko Haram and Ansaru as foreign terrorist organizations. These groups have conducted large-scale, military-style attacks on civilian and government targets in northern Nigeria, to include fortified targets such as police stations, and potentially pose a threat to government facilities and other institutions in Niger. A French family of seven was kidnapped while entering a national park in Cameroon in February 2013 and in November another French citizen was taken from Cameroon. The U.S. Embassy continues to evaluate proposed travel and official and personal activities for employees on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with Nigerien security authorities.
Although the U.S. government places the highest priority on the safe recovery of kidnapped U.S. citizens, it is U.S. policy not to make concessions to kidnappers. Consequently, the type of assistance that the U.S. government can provide to kidnap victims is limited.
As noted in the Department of State’s Worldwide Caution, both the United States and the European Union have designated the Islamist extremist group al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) as a terrorist organization. In November 2013, both Boko Haram and al Murabitun were added to State Department’s list of terrorist organizations. AQIM has declared its intention to attack Western targets throughout the Sahel (including Mali, Mauritania, and Niger), and has claimed responsibility for the following events:
- June 2013: Prison break in Niamey, in which nine known terrorists escaped along with more than 20 convicted felons. One escapee, subsequently recaptured in Mail, has been indicted for killing a U.S. citizenemployee of the U.S. Defense Attaché Office in Niamey in 2000.
- May 2013: Simultaneous suicide-terrorist attacks on a Nigerien military facility in Agadez and a uranium mine in Arlit.
- 2012 and 2013: Ongoing armed conflict in northern Mali.
- December 2012: Assassination attempt on a Malian ex-army officer in Niamey; the assailant had terrorist ties.
- October 2012: Unidentified gunmen kidnapped six people in Dakoro. While none of the hostages were U.S. citizens, the attackers appeared to be seeking to capture Westerners.
- January 2011: Two French nationals were kidnapped in Niamey. They were found dead less than 24 hours later following a rescue attempt by French and Nigerien military forces.
- September 2010: Seven people, including five French nationals, a citizen of Togo, and a citizen of Madagascar, were kidnapped by AQIM from the northern mining town of Arlit. The hostages from Togo and Madagascar and one French hostage were released in 2011 and the remaining French nationals were freed in November 2013.
- April 2010: A French citizen and his Algerian driver were kidnapped. The Algerian was freed. AQIM claims that the French citizen was killed in retaliation for a July 2009 attempted rescue operation conducted by Mauritanian and French military forces, but the remains have not been recovered.
For travel in any remote area of the country, the Department of State urges you to use registered guides and to travel with a minimum of two vehicles equipped with global positioning systems (GPS) and satellite phones (if possible). Travelers are advised to avoid restricted military areas and to consult local police authorities regarding itinerary and security arrangements.
Avoid street demonstrations and maintain security awareness at all times. Large and small street demonstrations occur regularly in Niger, often near government buildings, university campuses, or other gathering places such as public parks. In September 2013, a protest in Niamey against a security checkpoint in the Goudel district resulted in injuries and the use of tear gas by security forces. Later in the month, at the same location, protesters burned tires because previous demonstrators were still jailed.
Demonstrations often occur spontaneously. However, large student demonstrations typically occur between December and May. You should be particularly vigilant at these times and avoid travel within the city if you hear reports of demonstrations. During previous student demonstrations, rock-throwing demonstrators have targeted non-governmental organization (NGO) and diplomatic vehicles bearing “IT” or “CD” plates. Many past demonstrations have involved rock throwing and tire burning, especially at key intersections in Niamey.
You should maintain security awareness at all times and avoid large public gatherings and street demonstrations. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational without warning. While the Embassy endeavors to alert U.S. citizens to demonstrations through the warden system when possible, due to the spontaneous nature of many street demonstrations it is not possible to inform U.S. citizens each time a demonstration occurs. Local radio and television stations are good sources for information as well.
Note to Non-Governmental Organization Workers: Following the murder of a French tourist in the region of Agadez in 2005, the Government of Niger began requiring not only that NGOs be registered and officially recognized, but also that they inform the Nigerien government of each mission they plan to undertake in Niger. The U.S. Embassy strongly recommends that NGO workers take the following steps to avoid detention and/or expulsion by Nigerien authorities:
- Make sure that your NGO has registered and received official recognition from the Government of Niger. For details on how to do this, please visit the Office of Decentralized Cooperation and Non-Governmental Organizations (Direction De La Cooperation Decentralisée et Des Organisations Non Governementales) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (Ministre des Affaires Etrangères et de la Coopération).
- Carry with you a copy of the official recognition (Arrêté) of the right of your NGO to operate in Niger.
If your international NGO sponsor is without a permanent presence in Niger, verify that the NGO group has informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation at least two weeks prior to the start of a mission in Niger. This notice should be in writing and should include the purpose of the mission, the dates of the mission, where the mission will take place, and the types and license plate numbers of the vehicles involved in the mission. The Ministry of the Interior should be copied on this notice of mission.
If your NGO is a national NGO, i.e., its headquarters is in Niger, verify that the group has informed the Ministry of Planning, Land Management, and Community Development (Ministre du Plan, de l’Aménagement du Territoire et du Développement Communautaire) at least two weeks prior to the start of a mission in Niger. This notice should be in writing and should include the purpose of the mission, the names of the individuals who will be working for the NGO on the mission, the dates of the mission, where the mission will take place, and the types and license plate numbers of the vehicles involved in the mission. The Ministry of the Interior should be copied on this notice of mission.
NGOs should ask for a receipt of each notification provided to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, the Ministry of the Interior, or the Ministry of Planning, Land Management, and Community Development.
The U.S. Embassy strongly recommends that NGO workers present themselves at the regional governor’s office prior to beginning their mission in a particular region of Niger, in addition to the requirements listed above. Again, NGO workers should ask for a receipt of their presentation to the regional governor. It would also be wise to provide the regional governor with the same written notification that was provided to the ministries listed above.
Because of safety and security concerns, Peace Corps suspended its operations in Niger in January 2011.
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 Foursquare, 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: The crime rate, primarily for thefts, robberies, and residential break-ins, is high. Foreigners are vulnerable to bribery attempts and extortion by law enforcement authorities. Thefts and petty crimes are common day or night. Armed attacks can be committed at any time of day, generally by groups of two to four persons, with one assailant confronting the victim with a weapon while the others provide surveillance or a show of force. There has also been an increase of daytime purse snatchings by thieves traveling in pairs on motorcycles. Tourists should not walk alone around the Gaweye Hotel, the National Museum, and on or near the Kennedy Bridge at any time, or the Petit Marché area after dark. These areas are especially prone to muggings – avoid them. Walking at night is not recommended, as streetlights are scarce and criminals have the protection of darkness to commit their crimes. Recent criminal incidents in Niger have included carjacking, home invasions and muggings. Travelers should keep electronics out of sight, and always keep vehicle doors locked and windows rolled up when stopped at stoplights. Use caution and common sense at all times to avoid thieves and pickpockets.
In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. You will find these products being sold on the streets and in local shops and market places. Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law. In addition, carrying them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, 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 a violent crime 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 to a “911” emergency line in Niger. U.S. citizens can try calling local police by dialing “17” on Nigerien phones or +227-20-72-25-53, but calls to these numbers often go unanswered, especially outside of normal working hours. The Embassy highly recommends hiring guards for your residence if you are planning to live in Niger.
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 Niger, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own. For instance, you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. It is also illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. 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. 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. If you break local laws in Niger, 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 Niger's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Niger are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
Based on the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, bilateral agreements with certain countries, and customary international law, if you are arrested in Niger, you have the option to request that the police, prison officials, or other authorities alert the U.S. Embassy of your arrest, and to have communications from you forwarded to the U.S. Embassy.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Dress restrictions: Local culture and Islamic tradition encourage conservative dress for both men and women. There have been incidents of groups of men assaulting women who appear to be African and who are wearing clothing other than traditional garments.
Photography restrictions: Tourists are free to take pictures anywhere in Niger, except near military installations, radio and television stations, the Presidential Building, airports, or diplomatic embassies or facilities. Tourists should not photograph military or police personnel, or political or student demonstrations, and should seek prior permission before taking a close-up “portrait” photo of an individual.
Currency regulations: Niger shares the West African Franc (CFA) with several other West African countries. It is fully convertible into dollars. Foreign currency exchange over 1 million CFA (about $2,000 at an exchange rate of 500 CFA/$1) requires authorization from the Ministry of Finance (forms available from all major banks).
Telephone service: Due to poor line quality, callers often experience delays in getting a telephone line, and faxes are often unclear. Service quality is generally better with cellular service, which is available from multiple providers in urban areas.
LGBT RIGHTS: There is strong societal stigma against same-sex sexual activity in Niger, but no laws criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual activity in general. The law states, however, that an “unnatural act” with a person of the same sex who is under 21 is punishable by six months to three years in prison and a fine of between 10,000 and 100,000 CFA francs ($20-$206).
In January security forces arrested two individuals of the same sex who were found naked together in an isolated parked car. Authorities briefly jailed the two men and convicted them of public indecency. Ultimately authorities levied a small fine, and the men served no further jail time.
Gay men and lesbians experienced societal discrimination and social resentment. Reportedly, two gay rights associations conducted their activities secretly, in part because they are not officially registered. The social pressure to conform is great, and many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals marry and have families, often while pursuing LGBT relationships in secret. There are no reports of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. International organizations and NGOs continued their awareness-raising efforts in this regard, focusing on social stigma in general. There are no documented cases of discrimination in employment, occupation, housing, statelessness, or access to education or health care based on sexual orientation. Stigma or intimidation was a likely cause in preventing incidents of abuse from being reported.
For more detailed information about LGBT rights in [country name], you may review the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our LGBT Travel Information page.
ACCESSIBILITY: While in Niger, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. Nigerien law mandates that the state provide for persons with physical and mental disabilities, but there are no specific regulations mandating accessibility to buildings, transportation, and communication for those with special needs. There is extremely limited accessibility to public transportation, road crossings, taxis, restaurants, cafes, bars, and other tourist spots. Most buildings, transportation, and educational facilities do not provide for people with special needs and, because most streets are unpaved, individuals in wheelchairs or who have difficulty walking face challenges.
Health facilities are extremely limited in Niamey, and completely inadequate outside the capital. Although physicians are generally well trained, almost all hospitals in Niamey suffer from inadequate facilities, antiquated equipment, and shortages of supplies, particularly medicines. Emergency assistance is also extremely limited. Travelers must carry their own properly labeled supply of prescription drugs and preventative medicines. Travelers are highly encouraged to have travel insurance to cover medical emergencies and the possible need for medical evacuation.
As vaccine preventable illnesses are common in Niger, all routine immunizations recommended by the CDC in the US should be up to date before traveling to Niger.
Extremely high levels of malaria transmission occur in all areas south of the Sahara and in some cities and towns within the desert areas. Plasmodium falciparum, the most dangerous and potentially fatal strain of malaria, is the predominant type found in Niger. Due to the high risk of malaria, the CDC advises that even short-term travelers to Niger take anti malarial drugs. The drugs recommended include: mefloquine (Lariam™), doxycycline, or atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone™). Chloroquine is not effective for most strains of African malaria and should not be used. You should take appropriate anti-malarials with you to Niger as often the drugs sold in local pharmacies are not effective or are counterfeit. The CDC has determined that a traveler who is on an appropriate anti-malarial drug has a greatly reduced chance of contracting the disease. Other personal protective measures, such as the use of insect repellents on the skin and on clothing as well as insecticide treated bed nets markedly reduce the 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 anti-malarial drugs they have been taking.
Yellow fever occurs in the southern (non-desert) areas of Niger. This is another mosquito-borne illness for which preventing mosquito bites is important. Yellow fever immunization is required for travelers over one year of age and should be obtained prior to arrival in Niger.
Meningococcal meningitis is common in Niger and the meningococcal vaccine is recommended for all travelers during the dry season (December through June), especially if prolonged contact with the local populace is anticipated, and for all children and health care workers throughout the year. Epidemic activity occurs in most regions, but is predominant in the southern half of the country.
Diarrheal illness is common throughout Niger. Avoid raw fruit and vegetables (especially salads) as they are frequently contaminated with diarrhea causing organisms. They should be cooked thoroughly before eating. Fruits that you can peel such as bananas or oranges are safer than leafy vegetables like lettuce and spinach which are exceptionally hard to adequately clean. Tap water is unsafe to drink throughout Niger. Bottled water and beverages are safe, although visitors should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water. Ice made from tap water is unsafe in drinks.
Rabies is not uncommon in Niger and travelers spending more than four weeks, or who anticipate significant animal exposure, should be immunized prior to arrival. Avoiding contact with dogs is the most important way to diminish rabies risk and any dog scratches or bites should be immediately washed with soap and water; seek medical attention for possible rabies immunization.
Schistosomiasis, a worm transmitted to humans through fresh water is common in in Southern Niger, especially the Niger River. The larval stages of this worm can penetrate intact skin with even wading in infected waters. Travelers should avoid freshwater exposure in these areas.
You can find more 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 Niger, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Niger is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Road safety throughout Niger is a concern, and visitors are strongly urged to avoid driving at night outside of major cities. The public transportation system, urban and rural road conditions, and the availability of roadside assistance are all poor. The main causes of accidents are driver carelessness, excessive speed, poorly maintained vehicles, and poor to non-existent road surfaces. Other factors include the hazardous mix of bicycles, mopeds, unwary pedestrians, donkey carts, animals (cattle, goats, camels), and buses on roads that are generally unpaved and poorly lit. Overloaded tractor-trailers, “bush taxis,” and disabled vehicles are additional dangers on rural roads, where speeds are generally higher. Travel outside Niamey and other cities often requires four-wheel-drive vehicles, which creates an additional security risk, since these vehicles, especially Toyota Land Cruisers, are high-theft items. Driving at night is always hazardous and should be avoided. Banditry is a continuing problem in northern and eastern Niger, as well as along the border with Mali. There have been occasional car-jackings and highway robberies throughout the country.
While taxis are available at a fixed fare in Niamey, most are in poor condition and do not meet basic U.S. road safety standards. Inter-city “bush-taxis” are available at negotiable fares, but these vehicles (minibuses, station wagons, and sedans) are generally older, unsafe models that are overloaded, poorly maintained, and driven by reckless operators seeking to save time and money. A national bus company (SNTV) operates coaches on inter-city routes and, since being reorganized in 2001, has provided reliable service and experienced no major accidents. Air Transport, Rimbo, and Garba Messagé are private bus companies operating in Niger. There is some concern regarding the youth of drivers and the speed with which the private buses travel the Nigerien roads. The U.S. Embassy strongly recommends against traveling outside of any city at night, as most roads and vehicles do not meet U.S. safety standards, and unlit vehicles, livestock, and pedestrians are common on roads.
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 Niger, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Niger’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. You can find further information on the FAA’s safety assessment page.