MaliOfficial Name: Republic of Mali
Valid at time of entry
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
One page required for entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Embassies and Consulates
Rue 243, Porte 297
Telephone: +(223) 2070-2300
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(223) 6675-2860
Fax: (223) 2070-2340
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Mali for information on U.S. - Mali relations.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
To enter Mali, you will need a valid passport with at least one blank page, a visa, and evidence of yellow fever vaccination. Visas are not available upon arrival in Mali. You must obtain your visa in advance of travel to avoid excessive fees and unexpected potential travel restrictions imposed at the port-of-entry. Visit the Embassy of Mali website for the most current visa information.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Mali.
Safety and Security
Terrorism: Violent extremist groups such as al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar al-Dine, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad (MUJAO), and extremists tied to al-Murabitun are active in the region. AQIM has declared its intention to attack Western targets throughout the Sahel (including Mali, Mauritania, and Niger). This group has claimed responsibility for numerous recent kidnappings/attempted kidnappings and other violent events in the region. Hotels, restaurants and other areas where Westerners congregate will likely continue to be targeted.
On November 20, 2015, heavily armed assailants stormed the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako using gunfire and grenades. One U.S. citizen and 19 other foreigners were murdered in the attack. Violent extremist and militant elements, including AQIMand al-Murabitoun, have claimed responsibility for this attack. In March 2016 the European Union Training Mission headquarters building, locally referred to as the Azali Nord-Sud Hotel, was attacked.
AQIM operates throughout the West Africa Region. In March 2016, AQIM claimed responsibility for an attack at a beach resort in southern Côte d’Ivoire, resulting in 18 deaths. Additionally, extremist groups attacked UN peacekeepers’ (MINUSMA) base camps in Timbuktu and Kidal in February, and in Gao in June 2016.
Avoid travel to the northern and western parts of the country because of continuing insecurity and ongoing military operations. Also avoid travel to central Mali as the situation there is increasingly unstable. MINUSMA and French troops, in collaboration with Malian security forces, are deployed in the country and are conducting counterterrorism operations that target extremist elements. Extremists have attacked Malian government outposts and targeted vehicle convoys in central and northern Mali with improvised explosive devices.
Traffickers of all kinds operate in the Sahel, and may respond violently if encountered.
Travel Restrictions for U.S. Government Employees: Overnight travel outside of the city of Bamako for official U.S. government employees is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Though this restriction does not apply to private U.S. citizens, it should be taken into account when traveling to and within Mali.
Civil Unrest: Periodic street demonstrations occur throughout Mali. U.S. citizens should avoid street demonstrations and maintain security awareness at all times. Demonstrations can occur spontaneously and the majority are contained by security forces. Some have turned violent and resulted in deaths, particularly in northern regions and at university locations in the south.
Crime: Violent crimes are not frequent, but U.S. citizens should maintain a vigilant posture in all urban areas.
Violent crime against foreigners is infrequent, although there has been a recent uptick in police harassment and violent crime such as banditry, armed robbery, armed carjacking, and assault in Bamako. There are sporadic reports of night time robberies occurring on the roads outside of the capital; tourists should not drive at night (See Travel & Transportation section).
For Your Safety:
- Guard your passport and wallet when in crowded outdoor areas and open-air markets.
- Be vigilant for pickpockets, especially at night.
- Use all available safety measures in your home or hotel, including locking doors and windows at all times, and setting the alarm.
- If asked to stop by police, stop only in well-lit areas or places where several officers are posted.
Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should first contact the U.S. Embassy.
Report crimes to the local police at 8000-1115 (connection and response is not always reliable) and contact the U.S. Embassy during normal consular hours, at (+223) 20 70 25 05, or after-hours at (+223) 66 75 28 60. If you are unable to reach the Consular Section, please call the main Embassy phone at (+223) 20 70 23 00.
Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime. However, response from local authorities and recourse for victims of crime is extremely limited. When you do interact with local police always request a copy of the police report.
Due to the vigilantism which often occurs when criminals are apprehended in Mali, it is best to avoid the large crowds that may gather at the scene of a crime, a vehicle accident, or any altercation.
- 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.
- Follow the U.S. Embassy in Mali on Twitter and visit the Embassy’s website.
- 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 and 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. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Travelers may be detained for questioning if stopped by the police and unable to produce their passport or for taking pictures of certain buildings. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol may lead to arrest. If you break local laws, your U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution. The U.S. government cannot get you out of jail.
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.
Cultural Property: Mali is a signatory to the Treaty on Cultural Property, which restricts exportation of Malian archeological objects, in particular those from the Niger River Valley. Visitors seeking to export any such property are required by Malian law to obtain an export authorization from the National Museum in Bamako. Contact the Embassy of Mali in Washington D.C. or the nearest Malian consulate for specific information regarding customs requirements. U.S. Customs and Border Protection may impose corresponding import restrictions in accordance with the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act.
Currency/Access to Funds: Currency exchange facilities are slow and often use out-of-date exchange rates. The U.S. Embassy is unable to provide exchange facilities for private U.S. citizens. There are several ATMs in Bamako that accept U.S. credit/debit cards, though they do not function reliably. Maximum withdrawals are generally limited to $400, and local banks charge up to $20 per transaction for use of their ATMs. There are some ATMs outside of Bamako in Segou, Sikasso, Koutiala, Gao, and Mopti, though they are sporadic and occasionally inoperable. Credit cards are accepted only at the largest hotels, Banque Atlantique, a few travel agencies (for an extra fee), and very few select restaurants. Cash advances from credit cards are available in Mali only via Western Union.
Photography: Exercise caution when taking photographs in Mali. Photographing any official object, entity, or person is restricted. These restrictions include infrastructure, facilities, government buildings, and individuals. You should obtain explicit permission from the Malian government before photographing transportation facilities and government buildings. Taking a photograph without permission in any public area or around any of the above listed facilities often provokes a prompt response from security personnel or offends the people being photographed. Taking photos of the U.S. Embassy in Bamako is also prohibited.
Communication: Communication infrastructure in Mali is of limited coverage and speed, but it is improving. International telephone calls are expensive, and collect calls cannot be made from outside of Bamako. There are a number of internet service providers in Mali, many of which operate on cellular networks.
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: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Mali. Societal discrimination, however, is widespread. LGBTI individuals have experienced physical, psychological, and sexual violence, which society views as corrective punishment and police frequently refuse to intervene. Most LGBTI individuals isolate themselves and keep their sexual identity hidden.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: There is no law protecting the rights of persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, or mental disabilities in employment, education, access to health care, or in the provision of other state services, nor requiring accommodation and access to public facilities. No special accommodations are made or officially reduced fares or rates are available to persons with disabilities in public transportation or taxis, communications, lodging, medical facilities, restaurants, cafés, bars or other tourist spots. Foot paths and pedestrian-friendly road crossings are rare and generally are inaccessible to persons with disabilities.
Women Travelers: Spousal abuse is common. Spousal abuse is a crime. However, police are reluctant to intervene. The law does not specifically prohibit domestic violence. The minimum age to marry without parental consent is 16 for girls and 18 for boys and girls may marry with parental consent at age 15 if a civil judge approves. However, child marriage remains a common practice.
Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is legal in Mali and widely practiced. The government of Mali prohibits FGM/C in government-funded health care centers.
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 (our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.
Medical facilities are extremely limited, especially outside of Bamako. U.S.-standard care does not exist. Most U.S. medicines are unavailable; European medications are more easily found, and can be obtained at pharmacies throughout Bamako.
- Do not purchase the potentially dangerous counterfeit or expired medications sold on the local market.
- Carry with them an adequate supply of needed medication and prescription drugs, along with copies of the prescriptions, including the generic names for the drugs.
- If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Mali to ensure the medication is legal in Mali.
- Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.
Ebola: In 2014, Mali experienced an outbreak of Ebola virus disease. The Government of Mali, with the help of International partners including the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) responded successfully to halt the spread of this disease. On March 29, 2016, the World Health Organization declared the end of the Ebola Public Health Emergency. While Ebola Virus Disease is no longer present in Mali and the sub region, if another outbreak occurs, travelers should remain vigilant by taking care not to come into contact with anyone who is obviously sick. Visit CDC’s Ebola web page for more information.
The following diseases are prevelant:
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: We recommend you exercise extreme caution when traveling by road. Travelers after dark on roads outside of urban centers are subject to attack by kidnappers and terrorists, and more commonly regular banditry, as roads are poorly lit or traveled. Road travel between Gao Kidal, and Menaka, and outside Timbuktu should be avoided as they are common sites for improvised explosive devices (bombs) and ambushes by armed assailants.
- Remain alert and vigilant while driving.
- Do not make any unplanned stops.
- Do not drive alone at night.
- Keep car doors locked and windows up, even if the need arises to speak to someone outside of the vehicle.
- If you are forced to stop, do not resist the demands of would-be assailants, as they may be armed.
- Avoid using motorbikes, van taxis, and public transportation.
- Many vehicles are not well-maintained, and headlights are either extremely dim or not used at all, while rear lights or reflectors are often missing or broken.
- Driving conditions in the capital of Bamako can be particularly dangerous due to limited street lighting, the absence of sidewalks for pedestrians, and the number of motorcycles, mopeds, and bicycles.
Mali has paved roads leading from Bamako to most major cities in the south and east. During the rainy season from mid-June to mid-September, some unpaved roads may be impassable. Four-wheel drive vehicles with spare tires and emergency equipment are recommended. Professional roadside service is not available. It is imperative to carry sufficient quantities of drinking water and food. Drivers should ensure that their gas tanks are at least half-full at all times, as gas stations are not widely available.
Drivers travel on the right-hand side of the road in Mali. Speed limits range from 40-60 km per hour (25-40 miles per hour) within towns, to 100 km per hour (60 miles per hour) between cities. Road conditions often require much lower speeds.
For safety reasons, do not travel on the Bamako-Dakar railroad.
See 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 Mali, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Mali’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.
The U.S. Government has warned about the risks to civil aircraft operating into, out of, within, or over Mali due to hazards associated with ongoing fighting involving military forces and extremist/militant groups. The FAA advises U.S. civil aviation to avoid flying below a certain altitude in the airspace over Mali. For further information on FAA flight prohibitions, see the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.