COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Chad is a developing country in north central Africa with one of the lowest per capita incomes in the world and has historically faced challenges in the areas of political stability and economic development. Years of war, drought, and regional instability have severely damaged the country's infrastructure and hampered the development of its institutions. Facilities for tourism are limited. The capital is N'Djamena. French and Arabic are the official languages. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Chad for additional information.
SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (STEP) / EMBASSY LOCATION: If you are going to live in or visit Chad, please take the time to tell the U.S. Embassy about your trip by enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). If you enroll, Embassy staff can keep you up-to-date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency.
U.S. Embassy in Chad
Avenue Felix Eboue
Mailing Address BP 413 N’djamena Chad
Telephone: 235 2251-62-11, 2251-70-09, 2251-77-59, 2251-90-52, 2251-92-18, and 2251-92-33.
Emergency after-hours telephone: 235 6351-7800
Facsimile: 235 2251-56-54
ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S. CITIZENS: A valid passport and visa are required to enter Chad. The Government of Chad requires proof of yellow fever vaccination or a medical waiver on entry. According to Chadian law, visitors must check in with the National Police and obtain a registration stamp within 72 hours of arrival. You may obtain further entry information from the Embassy of the Republic of Chad at 2401 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 652-1312. If you are overseas, you should inquire at the nearest Chadian embassy or consulate. The Government of Chad recently announced that it would not grant airport visas for tourists or business visitors. Anyone traveling to Chad on a tourist or official passport must obtain a Chadian visa prior to arrival. Airport visas are available only to those traveling on diplomatic passports and must be requested ahead of time.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Chad.
Information about dual nationality and the prevention of international child abduction can be found on the State Department’s website. For further information about customs regulations, please read the Customs Information page.
THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY: U.S. citizens planning travel to Chad should read the current Worldwide Caution Travel Alert and the Travel Warning for Chad, which warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to Chad. Due to the insecurity caused by high levels of violent crime, the potential risk of clashes between Chadian security forces and criminal or other armed groups, and the risk of sudden, unanticipated outbreak of conflict among the populations living in these areas, we caution against all travel to eastern Chad, the Chad/Sudan border area, and the Chad/Central African Republic border area. The U.S. Embassy in Chad reviews each request for official government travel outside the capital, and prohibits travel to eastern Chad and most border regions without expressed authorization. If you are affiliated with humanitarian relief efforts, you should review security precautions and consider measures to mitigate your exposure to violent crime. The Government of Chad requires a travel authorization (autorisation de circuler) for anyone traveling to a humanitarian zone or refugee camp. If you are residing in Chad, you should exercise caution throughout the country.
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CRIME: U.S. citizens and many foreigners are perceived to be wealthy and should take precautions to avoid becoming crime victims. You should not leave cash or valuables unsecured in your hotel room, nor should you wear expensive jewelry or show large amounts of cash. You should dress modestly, walk outside only during daylight hours, and lock your car doors. Petty crimes such as purse snatching, pick-pocketing, and theft from vehicles do occur, particularly in areas frequented by expatriates. The potential for violent crime against expatriates remains a concern. Carjacking, burglary, and vehicle thefts increase during times of political instability. Historically, expatriate residences have been targeted for armed robbery, and some foreigners have been assaulted in the process, although there have been no recent incidents reported.
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:
There is no local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Chad.
Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Chad, 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 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 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 Chad, 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.
Based on the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, bilateral agreements with certain countries, and customary international law, if you are arrested in Chad, you have the option to request that the police, prison officials, or other authorities alert the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of your arrest, and to have communications from you forwarded to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
Photography: All photography requires a government permit. Taking photos of military sites, official buildings, and airports is strictly prohibited, even with a permit. Such sites are not always clearly marked. Film and cameras may be confiscated, often by undercover police.
Satellite Phones: Satellite phones are illegal in Chad and at the moment no permits are available. Travelers using satellite phones in Chad risk seizure of phones and possibly arrest.
Accessibility: While in Chad, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation more challenging than what you find in the United States.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Medical facilities in Chad are extremely limited. Medicines are in short supply or unavailable, including many over-the-counter preparations sold in the United States. Travelers should carry any needed, properly labeled, medicines with them. In the event of major injury or illness, visitors generally will require medical evacuation.
There are two medical clinics in the capital of N’Djamena which offer "international standard" medical care: International SOS and Europ-Assistance. These are not walk-in clinics and advance membership is required to access services. This information is provided for informational purposes only and in no way constitutes an endorsement, expressed or implied, by the United States Department of State
Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease. Plasmodium falciparum malaria, the type that predominates in Chad, is resistant to the antimalarial drug chloroquine. Because travelers to Chad are at high risk for contracting malaria, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise that travelers should take one of the following antimalarial drugs: mefloquine (Lariam - TM), doxycycline, or atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone -TM). 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 antimalarials they have been taking. For additional information on malaria, including protective measures, visit the CDC Travelers’ Health web site.
Other widespread illnesses in Chad include diarrhea and upper respiratory infections. HIV/AIDS is becoming an increasingly serious problem as infection rates are at alarming levels (up to 25 percent in high-risk groups). Meningitis outbreaks usually occur annually and several other diseases (cholera, diphtheria, chicken pox, typhoid) periodically appear.
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.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: You can’t assume your insurance will go with you when you travel. It’s very important to find out BEFORE you leave whether or not your medical insurance will cover you overseas. You need to ask your insurance company two questions:
In many places, doctors and hospitals still expect payment in cash at the time of service. Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctors’ and hospital visits in other countries. If your policy doesn’t go with you when you travel, it’s a very good idea to take out another one for your trip. Medical evacuation out of Chad is difficult and expensive. There are only two companies that have agents and medical clinics in Chad capable of handling emergencies including medical evacuation: International SOS and Europ-Assistance. For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Chad is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Roads are in poor condition and dangerous. In the capital city of N'Djamena, only the main roads are paved; although the government continues with its construction program, hard surface highways are still limited in number and distance in Chad; the rest of the roads are either hard-packed dirt or looser dirt and sand. During the rainy season (mid-June to mid-September) many roads become impassable or are restricted by rain barriers, while during the dryer season, clouds of dust rising from the roads reduce visibility.
Visitors should take great care while driving. Both paved and unpaved roads are poorly maintained, and often have large ruts and potholes. All drivers should adjust their speed accordingly. At night, streets are not lit and drivers frequently operate cars or motorcycles without lighting headlights; it is imperative to watch for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and livestock, as they may not be visible until they are in very close proximity.
Driving in Chad tends to be erratic both in cities and in rural areas. In cities, particularly N'Djamena, motorists share the roads with bicycles, motor scooters, pedestrians, and non-motorized wheelchairs. Lanes are not marked, and it is not uncommon for a normally two-lane thoroughfare to become a four-lane road during rush hours (generally 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Monday - Thursday; 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. on Friday). Drivers are urged to be particularly observant at these times because motorists often attempt to overtake slower traffic by moving into oncoming lanes, usually at high speeds. There are only a few traffic lights in N'Djamena, they are often out of service, and drivers frequently do not obey those traffic lights that are in service. Drivers yield to traffic on their right, particularly when entering the many traffic circles.
In rural areas, drivers should watch for livestock crossing the roads, and for large hawks that rest on the roads. These birds can be fearless, and cause damage by smashing into drivers' windshields; drivers may avoid this by slowing down when approaching the hawks, and allowing them sufficient time to fly away. Finally, drivers should be alert to older transport trucks traveling between cities, which do not always have functioning headlights.
No emergency services exist, so drivers should exercise extreme caution. Travelers should always wear seat belts. When traveling by car, be sure to carry a spare tire. Roadside service is limited to good Samaritans and children who will help push cars to the side or out of holes. When traveling outside the capital, it is imperative to carry sufficient quantities of drinking water. Drivers should ensure that their gas tanks are at least half-full at all times, as gas stations are not widely available. Gas may be purchased in an emergency in bottles from roadside stands, but it is generally of poor quality.
Travelers on roads in all areas of the country are subject to attack by armed bandits.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Chad, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Government of Chad’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.
CHILDREN’S ISSUES: Although no Chadian law currently exists which prohibits international adoptions, no law exists which explicitly allows them either. The dearth of legal precedent and unclear civil codeand judicial review outlining international adoptions in Chad can complicate the process; Chad is not a signatory of the Hague Adoption Convention. For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children’s Issues website.
* * *This replaces the Country Specific Information for Chad dated January 3, 2013, with changes to the ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS and the TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS sections.