MadagascarOfficial Name: Republic of Madagascar
6 months at the time of entry
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
Yes, available upon arrival
Yellow fever, if traveling from a yellow fever endemic country within six months of arrival
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Embassies and Consulates
Lot 207 A, Point Liberty
Telephone: +(261) (20) 23-480-00 (Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(261) (20) 23-480-00
Fax: +(261) (20) 23-480-35
See our Fact Sheet on Madagascar for information on U.S. – Madagascar relations.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
Requirements for Entry:
- Passport, valid for six months from your date of entry and with three blank pages
- Visa, obtain before traveling or purchase at port of entry with U.S. dollars, Euros, or Malagasy Ariary if staying less than three months. Credit cards are not accepted.
- Evidence of onward/return travel
- Proof of sufficient funds
- World Health Organization (WHO) card with yellow fever vaccination if entering from an infected zone within six months of your arrival.
Visit the Embassy of Madagascar website or the nearest Madagascar embassy or consulate for visa information and documents required for visa extensions.
Contact the Embassy of Madagascar to obtain your visa before traveling if you intend to either stay longer than three months or adjust your visa status. Per official sources, Malagasy visas, including the Residency Card, are now biometric.
The website for the Ministry of Interior has information regarding how to request an extension of your visa. The U.S. Embassy in Antananarivo cannot help you extend your visa. Screening for Ebola infection will be conducted at the airports.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Madagascar.
Minor children: 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.
Special Note: Overseas departments and territories of France (e.g., Mayotte) are not included in the Schengen Agreement. See the Embassy of France website for further information.
Safety and Security
While demonstrations and political violence have abated with the installation of a democratically elected government in January 2014, civil unrest and violence may occur and the security situation could deteriorate rapidly. As an example, in June 2016, a series of grenade explosions killed three people and injured dozens in Antananarivo during Independence Day celebrations. Be especially vigilant in the vicinity of government buildings, the national stadium, and historical monuments in Antananarivo, where violent incidents have occurred.
Since 2012, violent confrontations between the Dahalo and security forces have increased in several regions of Madagascar, but particularly in areas south and west of the capital.
In the past year, there have been instances of mob violence and ‘popular justice’ sometimes directed toward foreign nationals, often precipitated by rumors or allegations of injuries to local citizens. Street altercations and traffic accidents can quickly draw large and sometimes violent crowds. Exercise caution and remain calm if you find yourself in a dispute, particularly in a public place. If you feel threatened by large crowds, immediately leave the scene, seek the direct intervention of local law enforcement, and contact the U.S. Embassy.
CRIME: Petty crime in Madagascar is rampant. Skilled pickpockets are very active in downtown Antananarivo, and they primarily target jewelry, purses, and mobile phones. Additionally, criminals have stolen luggage from baggage claim areas at Antananarivo’s Ivato International Airport by simply grabbing items off the conveyor belt and exiting the airport.
More serious crimes, including home invasions, have also plagued Madagascar. Over the last several years, the entire country has experienced a dramatic spike not only in the number of crimes, but also in their severity and type, including armed attacks, robberies, and assaults. U.S. Embassy personnel are instructed not to use taxi-bes (which operate within urban centers) and taxi-brousses (which travel to outlying regions) due to increased risk of carjacking and highway robbery. The majority of reported crimes were directed at Malagasy nationals but Westerners have likewise been targeted.
- Avoid walking alone especially after dark.
- Do not display cash and valuables.
- Drive with doors locked and windows closed.
- Always carry a copy of your U.S. passport and visa. Keep original documents in a secure location.
Coastal cities like Toamasina and Mahajunga have experienced a particularly significant rise in crime over the last year. Violent assaults on foreign travelers in high-traffic tourist areas have been reported in:
- Nosy Be
- Ankarana and Montagne d’Ambre National Parks adjacent to Diego
- area surrounding Tolagnaro (Ft. Dauphin)
- Batteie Beach, north of Toliara (Tuléar)
Visiting remote sites: While the government has increased the number of dedicated police units at popular tourist sites, only visit remote sites in large groups guided by reputable tour operators.
Exercise caution when traveling through these designated areas due to violent highway robberies:
- The general area south of the National Route (RN) 7 and RN 27 including the RN 10, RN 13, and the surrounding areas. Except the tourist area on the coastal roads between Ambovombe and Farafangana, including Fort Dauphin/Tolagnaro area.
- The RN 1B which is located to the west of Antananarivo between Tsiroanomandidy and Maintirano.
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 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 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.
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.
Drugs: Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Madagascar are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
Visa overstays are a violation of local laws and U.S. citizens who overstay their visas will be subject to fines and potential prosecution.
Exporting Gemstones/Precious Materials: The government of Madagascar recently imposed restrictions on the export of precious gems. Before purchasing or transporting gemstones, 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.
Currency: Madagascar is primarily a cash-driven economy. Although some high-end establishments accept credit cards (normally only Visa-network 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 discussing prices, you should quantify whether the price is in Ariary or FMG (1 Ariary = 5 FMG). ATMs, which generally accept Visa-network cards only, are available in large cities. Dollars are not widely accepted, and $100 bills are frequently refused at banks and local businesses.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report – see country reports
- Human Rights Report – see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
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: ee our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Consult the CDC website for Madagascar prior to travel.
See the List of Health Care Providers on the Embassy Antananarivo web page.
You are responsible for all medical costs. U.S. Medicare does not cover you overseas.
Medical Insurance: If your health insurance plan does not provide coverage overseas, we strongly recommend supplemental medical insurance and medical evacuation plans.
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: Road conditions range from minimally acceptable to very poor. There are few pedestrian crosswalks and no working traffic signals.
U.S. Embassy personnel are prohibited from driving outside of major cities after dark. Certain roads in Antananarivo have restrictions on tractor trailers during the day, so trucks use the roads at night and do not always follow the traffic rules. Street lighting is limited, and it is difficult to see pedestrians, carts, and livestock. Additional risks include:
- headlights that are extremely dim or not used
- excessive speeding
There are random police vehicle checkpoints throughout Madagascar, so 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. However, travelers have reported harassment and bribe solicitation.
- Comply with the officers’ requests. Remain courteous and calm.
- Stay inside your vehicle with doors locked and open the window slightly to communicate. Turn on your interior vehicle light at night.
- Tell the officer you are a U.S. citizen and display your U.S. passport through the window.
- Do not leave until instructed to do so.
- Report harassment to the U.S. Embassy.
- Local practice is to blow the horn before going around a curve, to let others know of one's presence.
- 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 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.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Madagascar should check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Security Communications with Industry WebPortal. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website and as a broadcast warning on the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s website.
Assistance for U.S. Citizens
U.S. Embassy Antananarivo
Lot 207 A, Point Liberty