Sierra LeoneOfficial Name: Republic of Sierra Leone
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
1 page per stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Embassies and Consulates
Southridge, Hill Station
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Telephone: +(232) (99)105-000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(232)(99) 905-029
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Sierra Leone for information on U.S. – Sierra Leone relations.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
A passport and visa are required for travel to Sierra Leone. Visitors to Sierra Leone are required to show their International Certificates of Vaccination (yellow card) upon arrival at the airport with a record of vaccination against yellow fever. The Embassy of the Republic of Sierra Leone is located at 1701 19th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009; telephone (202) 939-9261. Information may also be obtained from the Sierra Leonean Mission to the United Nations, 245 East 49th St., New York, NY 10017, telephone (212) 688-1656; and from the website of the Sierra Leonean High Commission in London. Overseas, inquiries should be made at the nearest Sierra Leonean embassy or consulate. Visit the Embassy of the Republic of Sierra Leone’s 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 Sierra Leone.
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 Sheet.
Safety and Security
Areas outside Freetown lack basic services. Travelers are urged to exercise caution especially when venturing beyond the capital. Travel outside the capital after dark is not allowed for U.S. Embassy officials and should be avoided by all travelers. Emergency response to vehicular and other accidents ranges from slow to nonexistent.
U.S. citizen travelers should maintain security awareness at all times and carry a means of communication at all times (i.e. a fully charged cell phone with emergency contacts).
Messages regarding demonstrations and strikes, explosive device/suspicious packages, and weather-related events are posted on the Embassy’s website.
Crime: Crime is widespread in Sierra Leone; U.S. citizens have experienced armed mugging, assault, and burglary. Petty crime and pick-pocketing of wallets, cell phones, and passports are very common, especially on the ferry to and from Lungi International Airport, as well as in the bars, restaurants, and nightclubs in the Lumley Beach and Aberdeen areas of Freetown.
Victims of Crime: There is no local number equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Sierra Leone. Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime. U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should first contact the U.S. Embassy at (232) (99) 105 500
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
The U.S. Department of State can:
- 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.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.
LGBTI Travelers: Consensual sexual relations between men are criminalized in Sierra Leone. Although the U.S. Embassy is not aware of any recent prosecutions for consensual sexual activity between men, such activity is illegal and penalties can include imprisonment. While there is no explicit legal prohibition against sexual relations between women, lesbian girls and women can be victims of “planned rapes” initiated by family members in an effort to change their sexual orientation.
Persons with Mobility Issues: Sierra Leone law does not prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities, and offers no specific protections for such persons. The law does not mandate accessibility of buildings or assistance to disabled persons and there is no government policy or program to assist persons with disabilities.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Exports: Sierra Leone's customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning the export of gems and precious minerals, such as diamonds and gold. All mineral resources, including gold and diamonds, belong to the State, and only the Government of Sierra Leone can issue mining and export licenses. The National Minerals Agency (NMA) can provide licenses for export, while the agency’s Directorate of Precious Minerals Trading is responsible for Kimberly Process certification of diamonds. For further information on mining activities in Sierra Leone, contact the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources, or see the Department of State’s annual Investment Climate Statement.
The Embassy has received reports in recent years of U.S. citizens investing in Sierra Leone who have been victims of fraud, often in the mining industry. This includes reports of advance-fee schemes where individuals have approached U.S. citizens urging them to purchase diamonds directly from Sierra Leone. The U.S. Embassy cannot interfere or intervene in any legal disputes, including those related to precious minerals. There are many legitimate business entities operating in Sierra Leone. Please be aware that the U.S. Embassy cannot conduct checks on potential local partners.
Photography: Travelers must obtain official permission to photograph government buildings, airports, bridges, or official facilities including the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the U.S. Embassy.
Dual Nationals: U.S. citizens who are also Sierra Leonean nationals must provide proof of payment of taxes on revenue earned in Sierra Leone before being granted clearance to depart the country.
There are no 911 equivalent ambulance services in Sierra Leone. Travelers should expect only the most rudimentary health care facilities in country. The most recent Ebola Virus Disease outbreak taxed the country's healthcare system and the possibility of another outbreak exists.
The quality of medications in Sierra Leone is inconsistent and counterfeit drugs remain a problem. In the event medications are needed, travelers may contact the U.S. Embassy's American Citizen Services (ACS) Unit to receive general information about reliable pharmacies. ACS maintains a list of physicians, clinics, and pharmacies.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas and has a medical evacuation clause that is valid for West Africa. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance (our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.
Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.
The following diseases are prevalent:
Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For further health information, go to:
Travel & Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety: Most main roads in Freetown are navigable, but narrow and often have potholes. There is limited roadside assistance in country and it is often difficult to find adequate fuel for longer journeys.
Traffic Laws: Serious accidents are common, especially outside of Freetown, where the relative lack of traffic allows for greater speeds. The chance of being involved in an accident increases greatly when traveling at night. In the event of a traffic accident it is important to follow all police instructions. Often large mobs can form at the scene of an accident and threaten the safety of the driver.
Public Transportation: Public transport (bus or group taxi) is erratic, unsafe, and not recommended. Motorcycle taxis are ubiquitous in Freetown and are often the cause of serious accidents. The U.S. Embassy strongly advises against utilizing these motorcycles. Pick pocketing is common in public taxis and mini-buses. U.S. Embassy officials are prohibited from using public transportation or taxis.
Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Sierra Leone the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Sierra Leone’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.