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Bangladesh
Official Name:

People's Republic of Bangladesh

Last Updated: July 12, 2017

Embassy Messages

Dhaka

 

Further Safety and Security Information

Travel Warnings: Issued when Protracted situations make a country dangerous or unstable. Defer or reconsider travel.

Travel Alerts: Issued when short-term conditions pose imminent threats. Defer or reconsider travel.

Embassy Messages: Issued when local security issues arise.

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Dhaka

Madani Avenue,
Baridhara, Dhaka, 1212
Bangladesh

  • Telephone +(880) (2) 5566-2000
  • Emergency After-Hours Telephone +(880) (2)5566-2000, press ʺ0ʺ and ask for the duty officer
  • Fax +(880) (2)5566-2907
  • Email DhakaACS@state.gov
  • U.S. Embassy Dhaka
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Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

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Six months beyond planned stay.

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

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One.

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

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Required, and must be in a valid passport. 

VACCINATIONS:

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Hepatitis A, typhoid fever vaccinations required; Hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, Rabies vaccinations recommended. There is no risk of Yellow Fever in Bangladesh; however proof of Yellow Fever vaccination is required if traveling from a country with a risk of Yellow Fever and the traveler is older than one year of age.

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

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USD 5, 000 and above must be declared.

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

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You cannot depart with more USD than you declared upon entry. Bangladeshi Taka (BDT) greater than 5,000 BDT cannot be taken out of the country.

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U.S. Embassy Dhaka

Madani Avenue,
Baridhara, Dhaka, 1212
Bangladesh

Telephone: +(88) (2) 5566-2000

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(88) (2) 5566-2000, press "0" and ask for the duty officer

Fax: +(88) (2)5566-2907

Bangladesh is located on the northern edge of the Bay of Bengal; it is bordered on three sides by India and also shares a border with Burma. Approximately 160 million people inhabit Bangladesh. Bangladesh is a parliamentary democracy with a unicameral legislature. The nation is a developing country with significant infrastructure shortcomings. Outside of Dhaka, tourist facilities are underdeveloped, as are capacities to deal with emergency situations.

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Bangladesh for information about U.S.-Bangladesh relations.

Passports and Visas:

  • Your passport must be valid for six months beyond your planned stay in Bangladesh, have at least one blank page, a Bangladeshi visa, and an onward or return ticket.
  • U.S. citizens are eligible for visas on arrival. We strongly recommend obtaining a visa before traveling. Visit the Embassy of Bangladesh website for the most current visa information.
  • Short term travelers can be denied entry if they cannot demonstrate sufficient financial liquidity. 
  • Visas must be in a valid passport. In country, you may obtain a visa in your new passport at the Department of Immigration and Passports. Replacing a visa, which is required in order to exit the country, may take three to four business days.
  • There are financial penalties for overstaying the terms of your visa and it can be very difficult and time-consuming to change your immigration status after you have arrived in Bangladesh. At this time, the penalty for overstays of up to 15 days is 200 Taka per day plus a $160 processing fee. Overstays of 16-30 days will be charged at 500 Taka per day plus a $160.00 processing fee. Overstays in excess of 30 days require adjudication at the Immigration offices. For further information on these rules, visit the Bangladeshi Immigration Police website.

Exit Taxes:

  • When traveling by air, all foreigners except children under the age of two must pay a departure tax. While often included when air tickets are purchased, it may be collected at the airport at the time of departure. The amount of the departure tax varies depending on the destination.
  • If departing by road in a private vehicle, you must obtain a road exit permit by contacting the Director General, Immigration and Passports. A refundable cash deposit is typically required; the amount of the deposit is based on the value of the vehicle.

Dual Citizens:

  • U.S.-Bangladeshi dual nationals and their immediate family members are eligible for a “No Visa Required for Travel to Bangladesh” seal, which can be issued in their U.S. passports by the nearest Bangladeshi Embassy or Consulate.  
  • Accepting the “No Visa Required” seal means a U.S. dual national acknowledges Bangladeshi nationality and accepts its associated responsibilities.
  • Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website.

HIV/AIDS: Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Bangladesh. Please verify this information with the Embassy of Bangladesh before you travel.

Customs: For information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page

The U.S. government assesses that the terrorist threat remains real and credible and that further terrorist attacks could occur against foreigners in Bangladesh. U.S. citizens in Bangladesh should take precautions, remain vigilant, and be alert to local security developments.

Since 2015, ISIS-affiliated terrorists have conducted over 30 attacks that targeted foreigners, religious minorities, and local police/security services. In March 2017, ISIS claimed responsibility for at least three bombings in multiple locations in Bangladesh, including two suicide attacks that targeted security forces near Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. The third bombing transpired during a police raid against suspected terrorists, killing seven onlookers and injuring 40. If you observe high-profile police activity, depart the area immediately. These three bombings were the first major terrorist attacks in the country since July 2016, when ISIS attacked a Dhaka restaurant frequented by Westerners, killing 20 hostages, including a U.S. citizen.

Al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) retains a presence in Bangladesh; the group last carried out attacks in 2015 and 2016 that killed several secular bloggers, publishers, and human rights activitists; a U.S. citizen was among the victims.

Current aviation safety and security protocols for Bangladeshi airports are not equivalent to those of the United States. The United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has raised significant aviation security concerns, as have the United Kingdom Department for Transport, and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regarding Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. In November 2016, an individual armed with a knife attempted to gain entry to the airport through the international departures access point. As of June 2017, the European Union joined Australia in banning direct air cargo services and shipments from Bangladesh pending improvements to Dhaka’s security screening procedures. DOD personnel are prohibited from using Biman Airlines.

The following groups, including several on the U.S. government’s list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, are active in Bangladesh:

  • Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS), known locally as Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB or “Neo-JMB”)
  • Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), known locally as Ansar al-Islam
  • Lashkar-e-Tayyiba
  • Indigenous sectarian groups

U.S. government officials and their adult family members must follow these security and travel restrictions:

  • They may not travel on foot, motorcycle, bicycle, rickshaw, compressed natural gas autorickshaw (CNG), or other uncovered means,
  • Their attendance at large gatherings, including events at international hotels, is restricted and evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Demonstrations/Strikes:

  • Political parties and other organizations frequently organize general strikes to disrupt or shut down services. Avoid all demonstrations or political gatherings in Bangladesh.
  • Demonstrations sometimes lead to violent clashes resulting in injuries, deaths, property damage, blocked highways, and sabotaged trains and railways. Participants throw rocks, debris, and small homemade explosive devices. Security forces use tear gas and other crowd control measures against demonstrators, including firearms with rubber bullets.
  • Visitors to Bangladesh should check U.S. Embassy Dhaka’s website for updated information on the current political and security situation.

Specific Areas to Avoid:

  • Avoid Road 86 in the Gulshan-2 area of Dhaka during demonstrations, national strikes, or elections. Take particular precaution against exposed movement during hours of darkness in the vicinity of Gulshan-2 Circle (DIT-2).
  • Avoid Naya Paltan area in Dhaka, Baitul Mukarram Mosque (National Mosque), Muktangan (bordered by Baitul Mukarram Mosque to the east, the General Post Office (GPO) to the south, the Secretariat to the West, and Topkhana Road to the North), and Topkhana-Motijheel Road because political rallies can occur at these locations.

Kidnapping:

  • U.S. citizens are advised against traveling to the Khagrachari, Rangamati, and Bandarban Hill Tracts districts (collectively known as the Chittagong Hill Tracts) due to kidnappings and other security incidents.
  • If you travel in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, you must register with local authorities and you should exercise extreme caution.

Fire: Fires in Bangladesh are both common and extremely dangerous. To call the fire department, dial 199 in Dhaka or (88) (02) 199 outside of Dhaka, or call by mobile phone from anywhere in Bangladesh by dialing (88) 01713-038181, (88) 01713-038182 or (88) 01730-336699.

Crime: Dhaka's crime rate is high. Crime dramatically increases at night.  Urban crime can be organized or opportunistic, conducted by individuals or groups, and commonly encompasses acts such as fraud, theft, robbery carjacking, rape, assault, and burglary. Incidents of crime and levels of violence are higher in low-income residential and congested commercial areas, but are seen in wealthier areas as well, including the Diplomatic Enclave in Dhaka.

  • Pick-pocketing, theft and larceny are common on buses and trains at all hours of the day.
  • Police responsiveness varies widely and crimes often go unsolved or unprosecuted.
  • Dual U.S-Bangladesh nationals may not be recognized as U.S. citizens by the local authorities.
  • Take precautions to avoid crime: lock home and vehicle doors, hire a 24-hour guard, vary routes and schedules, keep your bags or valuables under your legs and away from passing vehicle traffic, ensure your bag’s carrying straps are not visible, travel in groups, travel with a native Bangla-speaker if you go outside of urban areas, and carry a mobile phone. If you are assaulted, do not fight with your attacker. Flee to a safe area and report the situation to the local authorities.

Victims of Crime: Victims of crime should contact the U.S. Embassy and the police. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

To report a crime locally you may contact:

  • The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Bangladesh is (88) (02) 999. This number connects you to the Dhaka Metro Police Exchange. The Police Exchange can transfer calls to the appropriate police station within the Dhaka metropolitan area, or provide you the phone number for a station outside of Dhaka.  There is no guarantee that English will be spoken or understood at the Dhaka Metro Police Exchange or any police station in the country.
  • The Dhaka Metropolitan Police Department special unit for non-Bangladeshi citizen victims of crime can be reached at “(88) 01700700700” and e-mail diplomathelpdesk@gmail.com.
  • The Sylhet Metropolitan Police Foreigners’ Help Desk can be reached at (88) 01713-374364.
  • A 24 hour toll-free helpline specifically for victims of violent crime such as rape or domestic violence which is managed by the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs is available at 109.  Operators are trained to respond in both English and local language and can provide information on shelters, police resources, and hospital facilities in Bangladesh.

The U.S. Embassy can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police, but only local authorities can investigate and prosecute crimes
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the United States
  • provide an emergency loan
  • help you find emergency accommodations 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:

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan covers you when you are outside of the United States.

  • The Embassy cannot pay medical bills.
  • Be aware that U.S. Medicare and most U.S. Health Insurance coverage does not apply overseas. You should check your insurance to see if it covers costs incurred overseas.
  • Doctors and hospitals often expect cash payment for health services at the time of service.
  • We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation, since medical transport out of the country can be prohibitively expensive.
  • See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

Medical Care: Quality of care is below U.S. standards, but most common illnesses can be treated locally. U.S. citizens often travel outside of Bangladesh for complicated medical treatment, including routine surgical procedures.

  • There have been reports of counterfeit medications within the country, but medication from major pharmacies and hospitals is generally reliable.
  • Water supplies in Bangladesh are not potable, though bottled drinking water is generally safe for consumption. 
  • Fecal-oral contamination is common. Improperly prepared meat and improperly cleaned vegetables can lead to food-borne illnesses. Wash, soak, peel, and thoroughly cook food to minimize chemical, insecticide, bacterial, and parasitic contamination. Although the Embassy cannot provide medical advice or provide medical services to the public, a list of hospitals and doctors in Dhaka can be found on the Embassy website.
  • As a protection against mosquito-borne illness, regular use of insect repellent and long sleeves and pants are recommended.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention specific for Bangladesh

Further Health Information:

Criminal Penalties: You must obey all laws in Bangladesh.

  • If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 
  • Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Bangladesh are severe, including long jail sentences, heavy fines, or even death.
  • You may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you or if you take pictures of certain buildings, such as military facilities, embassies, police stations, shipyards, traffic inspection facilities, or airports. This list is not meant to be exhaustive. You should be cautious when photographing government facilities in general.
  • Driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail.
  • Some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

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.

Customs:

  • Bangladesh customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary import or export of items such as currency, household appliances, alcohol, cigarettes, and weapons.
  • Bangladesh does not allow the exchange of local currency (Bangladesh taka) for U.S. dollars (cash and traveler’s checks), unless the customer has a ticket for travel outside of Bangladesh.
  • Contact the Bangladeshi Embassy or Consulates for specific information regarding customs requirements. Please see our Customs Information.

Dual Nationality: U.S. citizens holding both U.S. and Bangladeshi citizenship may not be immediately recognized as U.S. citizens by the local authorities and may initially be treated as Bangladeshi citizens.

Forced Marriage: A marriage must be entered into with the full and free consent of both individuals. The Embassy can provide help and advice if a U.S. citizen is being forced into a marriage against his or her will. Please refer to the U.S. Embassy’s information on forced marriage. All travelers to Bangladesh, including Bangladeshi citizens, should maintain possession of their passports and return plane tickets to ensure independence to travel.

Registration for Renters: The Bangladesh Government registers all residents, requesting biodata and other personal information. This registration is mandatory for all renters, but is voluntary for home-owners and for foreigners. Foreigners who are dual nationals or who once held Bangladesh nationality or who have a “no visa required” stamp in their passports will be considered Bangladeshi for registration purposes.

Property Disputes: 

  • Land disputes are common in Bangladesh and are extremely difficult to resolve through legal channels.
  • The U.S. Embassy cannot protect personal property and cannot take sides in a legal dispute.
  • U.S. citizens wishing to purchase property should be aware of the risks, including not being physically present to oversee property.
  • Involvement in a property dispute may pose dangers such as lengthy court disputes to being threatened, injured, or murdered. Those involved in a court dispute run the risk of having cases filed against them, and they may be arrested and jailed.

Natural Disasters: 

  • Heavy flooding occurs during the monsoon season (June to October) and 30 percent of the country may be under water.
  • Cyclones occur most frequently in pre-monsoon (April and May) and post-monsoon (October and November) and have wind speeds of up to 150 km/hr and storm surges of up to 5 meters.
  • Bangladesh is at severe risk from tornadoes.

Bangladesh is in a zone 2B earthquake fault region, with a moderate probability of damaging ground motion. The overwhelming majority of structures in Bangladesh would not withstand a moderate earthquake. Although earthquakes are more likely to occur in the north of the country, destruction from an earthquake is expected to be most acute in urban areas. Post-earthquake disaster relief capabilities are extremely limited.

You should make contingency plans for your travel in Bangladesh and leave emergency contact information with family members outside of Bangladesh. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and at Ready.gov. For more information on disaster preparedness, please click on the following links:

Women Travelers: If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

LGBTI Rights: Consensual same-sex sexual activity is criminalized in Bangladesh and penalties include up to life imprisonment. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details. In 2016, AQIS specifically targeted and killed a prominent member of the Bangladesh LGBTI community in his apartment because of his human rights activism and sexual orientation.

Persons with Mobility Issues: Public transportation, sidewalks, many buildings, and public areas are not wheelchair accessible.

Road Conditions and Safety:

  • Traffic in Bangladesh moves on the left, the opposite of U.S. traffic, and large vehicles generally take the right-of-way.
  • Roads are extremely crowded, poorly maintained, often lack shoulders, have numerous potholes, sharp drop-offs, and barriers that are not sign-posted.
  • Drivers are often unlicensed, aggressive, and poorly trained. Many vehicles, particularly large trucks and buses, are poorly maintained.
  • Speed limits and other traffic laws are not commonly posted and are rarely observed by motorists. Vehicles often run red lights and merge directly into traffic without stopping. The practice of using one’s car horn or flashing high-beam headlights to announce one’s presence is the norm in all areas of Bangladesh at all times of day or night.

Road accidents, including fatal head-on collisions, are common in Bangladesh. When traveling by road you should:

  • Exercise extreme caution when crossing streets, even in areas frequented by pedestrians;
  • Use seatbelts if available and wear helmets on motorcycles and bicycles;
  • Do not travel by road without an experienced local driver or guide;
  • Exercise particular vigilance along intercity highways, as banditry and carjacking have been known to occur;
  • Monitor local news for any reports of road disturbances as protestors and demonstrators often use road blockage as a means of publicizing their grievances. 

If a serious accident occurs, or if a driver hits a pedestrian or livestock, crowds quickly gather and the behavior of the crowd is often unpredictable. The vehicle and its occupants may be at risk of being attacked in such circumstances depending on who the crowd believes is at fault and what damage has occurred.  Such attacks may pose significant risk of injury or death to the vehicle's occupants or damage to the vehicle. It is unsafe to remain at the scene of an accident of this nature. Seek shelter at the nearest police station.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. We also suggest that you visit Bangladesh’s National Tourism Organization website.

Public Transportation:

  • We strongly urge you not to use buses, rickshaws, and mini-taxis due to the high accident rates and crime issues. Instead, consider a rental car and driver.
  • The Bangladesh passenger rail system is antiquated and overburdened. Some political activists target the rail lines during civil unrest by hurling explosives and removing rail ties from the tracks, making the trips unusually dangerous and causing cancellations. Even in peaceful times, foreigners are often the center of attention at many train stations because of the relatively atypical presence of foreign travelers on rail in the country.

Aviation Safety Oversight:

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Bangladesh’s Civil Aviation Authority as not being in compliance with ICAO aviation safety standards for oversight of Bangladesh’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

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