MadagascarOfficial Name: Republic of Madagascar
Must be valid at least six months at the time of entry
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
Three blank pages 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
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Madagascar for information on U.S. – Madagascar relations.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
U.S. citizens must have a valid visa to enter Madagascar. If you are planning to stay less than three months, you can purchase a visa at the airport upon arrival with U.S. dollars, Euros, or Malagasy Ariary. Credit cards are not accepted. Please see the website for the Embassy of Madagascar for various visa fees. Travelers who purchase visas at the airport must present a return ticket, and a U.S. passport with 6 months validity and three blank pages. To save time on arrival, you can also obtain a visa prior to departure from the Embassy of Madagascar. Travelers staying for longer than three months and those who intend to adjust their visa status must obtain their visas from the Embassy of Madagascar. Per official sources, Malagasy visas, including the Residency Card, are now biometric.
In order to request an extension of your visa, you must present a current police certificate which is available from the U.S. Department of Justice. The U.S. Embassy in Antananarivo cannot help you extend your visa.
Visa overstays are a violation of local laws and U.S. citizens who overstay their visas will be subject to fines and potentially prosecution. The Embassy cannot intervene in such cases.
Evidence of yellow fever immunization is required for all travelers who have been in an infected zone within six months of their arrival in Madagascar. Screening for Ebola infection will be conducted at the airports. Contact the CDC for further immunization information.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Madagascar.
Though not legally required, a parent traveling to and from Madagascar with minor children might find it advisable to have a notarized letter of consent to travel from the absent parent, preferably in French. The letter of consent (in English) is a requirement for minor children transiting South Africa.
Safety and Security
While demonstrations and political violence have abated with the installation of a democratically elected government, U.S. citizens are strongly advised to closely monitor local news and pay attention to the information provided by the U.S. Embassy in Antananarivo. You should also be aware of the potential for mob violence and ‘popular justice’ that is sometimes directed towards foreign nationals.
Street altercations and traffic accidents can quickly draw large and sometimes violent crowds. You should exercise caution and remain calm if you find yourself in a dispute, particularly in a public place. If you feel threatened by large crowds, seek the direct intervention of local law enforcement and contact the U.S. Embassy immediately. Maintain security awareness at all times and avoid political gatherings and street demonstrations.
Travel in the provincial areas is generally safe, but caution should be exercised at all times, especially during election cycles. There are random police vehicle checkpoints throughout Madagascar, so all visitors should carry photo identification (residency card, U.S. passport) in the event of police questioning. These checkpoints are routine in nature, and should not result in vehicle and/or person searches as long as valid identification and visas are shown.
CRIME: Over the last several years, Madagascar has experienced a dramatic spike not only in the number of crimes, but also in their severity and type, including armed attacks. The U.S. Embassy has received increased reports of more home invasions, robberies and assaults. The majority of reported crimes targeted Malagasy nationals, but U.S. citizen visitors should remain vigilant, particularly in large urban centers and coastal cities frequented by tourists.
Carjackings, though infrequent in cities, are known to occur; armed banditry attacks on vehicles carrying goods and people—specifically taxi-bes (which operate within urban centers) and taxi-brousses (which travel to outlying regions). Additionally, pick-pocketing, purse snatching, residential and vehicular theft, and gun violence are becoming increasingly common in Madagascar.
Coastal cities like Toamasina and Mahajunga have experienced a particularly significant rise in crime over the last year, and violent assaults on foreign travelers in high-traffic tourist areas—like Nosy Be, the Ankarana and Montagne d’Ambre National Parks adjacent to Diego, Isahlo, and the area surrounding Tolagnaro (Ft. Dauphin) —have also been reported. While the government has recently increased the presence of dedicated police units at the most frequented tourist sites, U.S. citizens are advised to visit remote sites in large groups guided by reputable tour operators.
Victims of Crime: Report crimes to the local police at 117, 22-227-35, or 22-357-09/10. U.S. citizens can also call the U.S. Embassy at (261) 20-23-480-00 if assistance is needed in communicating with law enforcement officials.
Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
- provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical
- support in cases of destitution
- help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- replace a stolen or lost passport
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
For further information:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department's travel website for Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts.
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Persons violating Malagasy laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Madagascar are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. If you break local laws in Madagascar, 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.
Exporting Gemstones/Precious Materials: Madagascar is renowned for its natural resources, including a wide variety of gemstones and other precious materials. The Government of Madagascar recently imposed restrictions on the export of precious gems; before purchasing or transporting any gemstones, it is advisable to seek clarification of the applicable laws. Any precious materials should be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity and a certificate to allow for exportation from Madagascar.
Cash/Credit Cards: Madagascar is primarily a cash-driven economy. Although some high-end establishments catering to tourists accept credit cards (normally only Visa-logo cards), most shops and restaurants are cash only. Although the government changed the local currency from the Malagasy Franc (FMG) to the Ariary several years ago, many Malagasy still think in terms of FMG. When talking about prices, it is important to quantify whether the price is in Ariary or FMG (1 Ariary = 5 FMG). ATMs that accept Visa (generally not MasterCard) are available in large cities. Dollars are not widely accepted, and US $100 bills are frequently refused at banks and local businesses.
If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips on the Women Travelers page on our website.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.
LGBTI Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual relations are criminalized in Madagascar with and between persons under the age of 21, and Malagasy law contains no anti-discrimination protections for LGBTI persons. Penalties can include imprisonment and fines.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: There is ample public transportation, but entering and exiting vehicles is precarious, and they are not equipped to accommodate passengers with disabilities. Vehicles are often still in motion as passengers enter and exit. There are no sidewalks in the vast majority of the country, and the roads are hazardous for foot travel with swerving vehicles and uneven surfaces. There are no pedestrian crossing signs or designated pathways, and crossing any street involves an element of risk. Pedestrian injuries are common. Public spaces are not wheelchair accessible.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.
The following diseases are prevalent:
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Travel & Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety: While in Madagascar, you will encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. In Madagascar, you drive on the right side of the road, generally yielding the right of way to vehicles coming in from the left. Some major intersections and traffic circles have police directing traffic. If a policeman has his back to you at an intersection, you are required to stop.
Night travel by private or public transportation outside Antananarivo is strongly discouraged, due to poor lighting and road conditions. Roads tend to be narrow and winding with many one-lane bridges and blind curves, and most roads outside of main routes and city centers are cobblestone, gravel, or packed dirt. Most vehicles tend to drive in the center of the road unless another vehicle is present. It is common to find livestock or human-drawn carts in the middle of the road, even at night. Local practice is to blow the horn before going around a curve, to let others know of one's presence. There are few pedestrian crosswalks and no working traffic signals.
- Seatbelt use is mandatory.
- You may not use cell phones while driving, even with a hands-free attachment.
- Child safety seats are not mandatory, but we highly recommend you use them.
- You are required to wear a helmet when on a motorcycle.
- If you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol, your car will be impounded for a few days, and you will have to pay a fine.
- If you are involved in an accident involving injuries and/or deaths, there is a mandatory court case. The losing party of the court case must then pay all costs.
Public Transportation: Public transportation is unreliable and vehicles are poorly maintained. Rail services are extremely limited and unreliable.
Domestic and international air services operate regularly but are subject to delays and occasional breakdowns. Air Madagascar often changes in-country flight schedules based on demand; flights that are not full may be cancelled with little or no prior warning to passengers. Overbooking is also common. Reconfirmation of tickets prior to flight day is recommended, especially when flying from provincial airports.
See our Road Safety page for more information. The Ministry of Public Works, telephone (20) 22-318-02, is Madagascar's authority responsible for road safety.
Aviation Safety and Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Madagascar, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the Government of Madagascar’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.