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Cameroon
Official Name:

Republic of Cameroon

Last Updated: November 21, 2016

Embassy Messages

Yaounde

 

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 Yaounde

Avenue Rosa Parks
(in the Mbankolo Quartier, adjacent to the Mount Febe Golf Club)
P.O. Box 817
Yaounde, Cameroon

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Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

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Six months

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

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One page per stamp 

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

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Yes

VACCINATIONS:

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Yellow fever; polio

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

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None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

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None

Country Map

U.S. Embassy Yaounde

Avenue Rosa Parks
(in the Mbankolo Quartier, adjacent to the Mount Febe Golf Club)
P.O. Box 817
Yaounde, Cameroon

Telephone: +(237) 22220-1500

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(237) 22220-1500

Fax: +(237) 22220-1572

Consulates

Embassy Branch Office, Douala, Cameroon
Corner of Rue Ivy and Rue French, Ecobank Building, Bonanjo
Douala, Cameroon

Telephone: +(237) 23342-5331 or+ (237) 23342-0303

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(237) 23342-5331 or +(237) 23342-0303

Fax: +(237) 23342-7790

See the Department of State Fact Sheet on Cameroon for information on U.S. – Cameroon relations. 

Requirements for Entry:     

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Current immunization records, including evidence of yellow fever vaccination, and current immunization records are required for entry into Cameroon.
  • World Health Organization (WHO) card with yellow fever vaccination.
  • Proof of polio vaccination for visits longer than four weeks.

Visas:

Obtain your visa before traveling. Visit the Cameroon Embassy website for the most current visa information.  Overseas inquiries should be made at the nearest Cameroon Embassy or Consulate.

Dual nationality:

Cameroon does not recognize dual nationality.  U.S. citizens should always present themselves as U.S. citizens to Cameroon authorities. Otherwise, it may impede our ability to provide consular services.

HIV/AIDS restrictions:

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Cameroon.

Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

See the Department of State’s Travel Warning for Cameroon.

The terrorist organization Boko Haram is active in Cameroon. There have been several suicide bomb attacks in public places in urban areas resulting in numerous deaths and injuries. Attacks are indiscriminate, including on places frequented by foreigners. Refrain from travel outside of city limits after dark, and be cautious when in places of worship, markets, hotels, parks, and sporting venues. Terrorist attacks are most common outside major towns, especially in the regions bordering Nigeria and Chad. Terrorists regularly cross the border to carry out attacks in Cameroon’s Far North, North and Adamawa regions.

Violent criminal attacks are common in the regions bordering the Central African Republic (CAR).  Embassy personnel are restricted from traveling to the North, Far North, and East Regions of Cameroon, as well as north or east of Ngaoundere in the Adamawa Region.

Far North region and Mayo-Louti: Avoid all travel to the Far North Region, which includes the cities of Maroua and the Lake Chad region.Terrorists affiliated with Nigeria-based Boko Haram have extensively engaged in kidnappings of foreigners and suicide bombings. You may encounter fighting between Cameroonian security forces and Boko Haram. There is also an increased risk of armed banditry.

Bakassi Peninsula: Cameroon's military authorities restrict access to the Bakassi Peninsula where there are also reports of banditry given its isolated location.

The North, Adamawa Regions, and borders with Nigeria, Chad, and CAR: Avoid these border areas due to the extreme terrorist threat, risk of kidnapping, and armed banditry, including assaults and carjackings.

Travel Warnings are in effect for neighboring countries Nigeria, Chad, and CAR. Escalating military operations against Boko Haram by security forces in neighboring countries have adversely affected security in the border regions of Cameroon. As a result, there have also been movements of large numbers of people into and across parts of northern Cameroon, including internally displaced persons and refugees from Nigeria. Conflict in CAR periodically spills over the border. U.S. government travel is restricted to a case-by-case basis with adequate security support. Humanitarian and religious workers in eastern Cameroon should coordinate efforts with the Embassy and the Office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Yaounde.

Gulf of Guinea/Coastal Areas: Piracy and kidnappings by rebel groups remain a threat. See our fact sheet on International Maritime Piracy and Armed Robbery.

Safety Precautions:

  • Avoid demonstrations and public gatherings. Even events intended to be peaceful can become violent and turn deadly.
  • Monitor consular messages and local and international news from reliable sources. 

Roadblocks: Security forces stop motorists on the pretext of a minor or non-existent violation to conduct vehicle searches and check passengers for identity papers. They may also extort bribes. We advise you not to pay bribes and request the police officer provide a citation to be paid at the local court.

To protect yourself:

  • Drive with doors locked and windows closed at all times.
  • Do not permit soldiers or police officers to enter your vehicle, and do not get into the vehicle of anyone purporting to be a security official.
  • Remain inside your vehicle with doors locked and open the window slightly to communicate.
  • Carry color photocopies of your passport and other identity documents to give to security or police officials.
  • Remain courteous and calm and, if threatened, do not resist.
  • Report any incident to the U.S. Embassy in Yaounde.

Crime: Foreigners in Cameroon have been victims of crimes against the person (including murder, sexual assault, and kidnapping) and crimes against property (including carjacking, burglary, theft, armed robbery, and home invasion), often attended by violence. The risk of street and residential crime is high, especially following efforts by authorities to clear streets of illegally constructed homes and market stalls in Yaounde.

Transport crimes: Violent assaults on taxi passengers are common; U.S. Embassy personnel are prohibited from using taxis. Petty theft is prevalent and occurs on trains, buses, and taxis. 

The Hilton and Mont Febe hotels offer a shuttle service from Yaounde-Nsimalen Airport to downtown Yaounde. You should use this service or retain the services of a reputable private transport company.

  • Be vigilant, particularly on public transportation,
  • Avoid walking alone, especially after dark, and displaying cash and valuable personal property.

There have been many crimes involving public transportation. Taxis can be dangerous; U.S. Embassy personnel are prohibited from using commercial taxi cabs.

Financial crimes: Visitors and residents are often targets of scam artists. Financial, commercial, and internet dealings may be scams; many victims pay large amounts of money before they suspect anything.

  • Do not share your personal financial or account information.
  • Complete financial transactions with trusted partners only, insist on written contracts, and avoid informal agreements. The U.S. Embassy cannot intervene in private legal matters.
  • Remain vigilant in business dealings - corruption is a pervasive problem throughout the country.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

 

Victims of Crime:

U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should first contact the U.S. Embassy. Report crimes to the local police by calling 117 and elsewhere in the country and contact the U.S. Embassy at + (237) 22220-1500.  Dial +237 22222-2525 in Yaounde or dial 112 in major cities to contact ambulance services. If you have been a victim of sexual assault or rape, consider contacting a medical provider for HIV post-exposure prophylaxis.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We 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 United States
  • 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 U.S. 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 Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • See Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts.
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook
  • See traveling safely abroad for travel tips.

Consult the CDC website for Cameroon prior to travel. Also consult with a knowledgeable travel medicine clinician at least a month before travel. Malaria prophylaxis is needed as this is a high risk malaria zone. Malaria is a serious, mosquito borne infection which can cause death. Prevention medication must be started up to two weeks before arriving in Cameroon, and must be continued for up to a month after leaving the malaria zone. Yellow fever vaccination is required for entry into the country. The vaccine date on the yellow vaccination record card must be at least 10 days before arrival in the country. Travelers’ diarrhea is a common problem; please consult your travel medicine clinician for advice on prevention and for prescription medicine to treat diarrhea, which you should carry with you.

Medical facilities in cities are extremely limited and are nonexistent in rural areas.  Emergency care and hospitalization are hampered by the lack of trained specialists, outdated diagnostic equipment, and poor sanitation. The scarcity is more severe in rural areas.  Some medicines are in short supply. Carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Non- French speakers will be hampered by a language barrier in many areas.

You are responsible for all medical costs. U.S. Medicare does not cover you overseas. Care providers expect payment in FCF in full before treatment is performed.

Medical Insurance: If your health insurance plan does not provide coverage overseas, we strongly recommend supplemental medical insurance and medical evacuation plans.

The following diseases are prevalent:

HIV/AIDS: 36% percent of female sex workers in 2009 were found to be HIV positive. In 2012, men who have sex with other men (MSM) were found to have high HIV prevalence rates as well (Yaounde: 44.3%, Douala: 24.2 %). HIV/AIDS rates for general population is 4.5%. 

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

Further health information:

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. You may be taken in for questioning by the police if unable to produce an acceptable form of identification, travel permit, or Cameroonian drivers’ license. Convictions for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs, can be severe.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Photography: It is illegal to take pictures of government buildings, military installations, and other public facilities, many of which are unmarked.  You could be fined, have your photographic equipment confiscated, or be detained or arrested.  Do not take photos of Cameroonians without permission.

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.

Phone Service: Cellular phones are the norm, as other telephone service is unreliable and landlines are nearly non-existent. It may be possible to purchase a SIM card locally and use a U.S.-compatible cell phone.

Currency: The Central African franc (XAF) is the currency of Cameroon, but U.S. dollars and Euros are accepted in urban areas. It is primarily a cash economy. Due to the potential for fraud and other criminal activity, avoid using credit cards and be cautious when using ATMs. Exchange currency only at reputable banks. Money transfer services are found throughout the country.

Customs: Strict import and export regulations, particularly with regard to pharmaceuticals and wood products, are enforced.  It is illegal to buy, sell, kill, or capture any protected wild animal or trade its parts without a license, including ivory.  Cameroon is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.  You will be prosecuted and could receive a prison sentence or a fine if you buy or traffic in these goods.

Wild Animal Parks: Heed all instructions given by guides or trackers.  Use common sense and maintain a safe distance when approaching wildlife.  Even in the most serene settings, wild animals pose a lethal threat.  There have been reports of armed poachers.

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

LGBTI travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual activity is illegal and punishable by a prison sentence of six months to five years and a fine.  Homophobia is a major concern and LGBTI individuals face social stigmatization, harassment, and discrimination.  Police and civilians may extort money from presumed LGBTI individuals with the threat of exposure.  Suspected members of the LGBTI community have received anonymous threats by phone, text, and email. In 2015, a transgender woman was subjected to mob violence in Yaounde. 

For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender travel, please read our LGBTI Travel Information page.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Persons with disabilities face limited access to transportation, public buildings, hotels, and communication accommodations.  There are few sidewalks and no curb-cuts, and most buildings lack elevators.

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

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

 

Road Conditions and Safety: Cameroon's roads networks are poorly maintained and not well lit. During the rainy season from April to November many roads are not passable even with four-wheel-drive vehicles. Traffic safety is hazardous due to lack of traffic signs, poorly trained/disciplined drivers, inadequately maintained vehicles, and indifference among many drivers toward the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. Other driving risks include excessive speed, erratic driving habits, lack of vehicle maintenance, and pedestrians, wildlife, and livestock.

Outside of major cities, travel with extra fuel, food, and water, as well as a reliable means of communication, such as a satellite phone or radio, as mobile phone coverage is limited. Professional roadside assistance service is not available.  

Traffic Laws: You are able to drive in Cameroon with your state driver’s license for up to three months.

Accidents: Accidental Injury due to hazardous road conditions is a major threat to health and safety. In the event of an automobile accident, remain inside the vehicle and wait for police. Although it is illegal to move your vehicle before the police arrive, if a hostile mob forms or you feel your safety is in danger, leave the scene and proceed directly to the nearest police station to report the incident. Do not stop at the scene of an accident or at intersections where people have gathered, as mobs can develop quickly.

Public Transportation: Avoid all travel by public transportation, and hire private transport from a reliable source. Any form of public transportation is unregulated, unreliable, and generally unsafe. Mini-buses, buses, trains, and ferries are in poor mechanical condition and are often filled well beyond their intended capacity. Make sure any car you hire is adequately insured, preferably by written confirmation from the insurance company (rather than the car hire firm). If you are hiring a driver and car, make sure you are not liable for any accident or damage.

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 Cameroon, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Cameroon’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.

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