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Central African Republic (CAR)
Official Name:

Central African Republic

Last Updated: August 31, 2017
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 in Yaounde, Cameroon

Avenue Rosa Parks
P.O. Box 817
Yaounde, Cameroon

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Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

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6 months

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

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1 page per stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

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No, but may still be required by airline.

VACCINATIONS:

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Yellow Fever

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

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All currency must be declared upon entry

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

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None

Country Map

The U.S. Embassy in Bangui does not provide consular services at this time. Contact the U.S. Embassy in Yaounde.

U.S. Embassy in Yaounde, Cameroon

Avenue Rosa Parks
P.O. Box 817
Yaounde, Cameroon
Telephone: +(237) 22220-1500 ext. 4341/4023 (Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. local time)
Emergencies: +(237) 22220-1500, ext. 4531 or +(237) 22222-25-893
YaoundeACS@state.gov

See the Department of State Fact Sheet on the Central African Republic (CAR) for information on U.S. - CAR relations.

Travelers entering CAR are required to have:

  • A valid passport
  • Evidence of yellow fever vaccination

The Central African Republic does not require visas for visits under 180 days by U.S. passport holders. However, not all airlines will board U.S. passport holders without a valid visa, so travelers are advised to check with their carrier.

For visa and entry requirement information contact:

  • The Embassy of the Central African Republic, 2704 Ontario Road, NW, Washington, D.C. 20009, telephone: (202) 483–7800 / 7801, fax: (202) 332–9893. 
  • Outside the United States, contact the nearest CAR Embassy or, if none in the country, the nearest French Embassy.

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

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

The U.S. Department of State advises against all travel to the CAR. Review the Travel Warning for the Central African Republic. Embassy Bangui cannot provide consular services to U.S. citizens in the CAR at this time. U.S. citizens in need of assistance should contact the U.S. Embassy in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

Before traveling outside of Bangui, contact the Gendarmerie Nationale about travel restrictions or required permissions. U.S. citizens should:

  • Carry all proper paperwork at all times, including travel orders from your organization.
  • Obtain a permit to travel to the southwest due to the presence of sensitive mining areas.

Despite the peaceful election of a new president and National Assembly in 2016, and the continued presence of a United Nations stabilization force, the security situation in the CAR remains fragile.

Spontaneous demonstrations take place in the CAR from time to time. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. Avoid the areas of demonstrations if possible, and exercise caution within the vicinity of any demonstrations. Stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

In the interior of the country, we receive frequent reports of armed robbery and kidnapping by highwaymen (called “coupeurs de routes” or “zaraguinas”), especially during the December to May dry season.  Travel in the interior is strongly discouraged due to:

  • Militias and armed individuals and groups operating throughout the country;
  • Lack of government presence and control, including in Bangui;
  • Attacks on travelers throughout the CAR, including on Westerners, missionaries, and NGO workers; and
  • Presence of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in eastern CAR.

Crime: Crime in Bangui is common. Beware of:

  • Petty theft in large market areas;
  • Armed gangs in outlying residential areas;
  • Violent demonstrations, looting, burning of buildings, and roadblocks during periods of civil unrest and conflict; and
  • Checkpoints staffed by armed actors seeking bribes and impeding the work of peacekeeping forces.

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

Victims of Crime:

U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should contact the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon

Report crimes to the local police at 117 (local equivalent of “911”) or the Gendarmerie at 2161-2200 and contact the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon at + (237) 22220-1500 ext. 4341/4023. 

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

Victims of crime in Bangui may have to pay to send a vehicle to pick up police officers due to the shortage of police vehicles and fuel. 

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

The U.S. Embassy in Cameroon 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 in Cameroon for assistance.

For further information:

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 to cover medical evacuation.

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. 

Medical facilities are extremely limited in the CAR, and the quality of care is unreliable. Ongoing disruptions in electricity and water treatment and lack of basic services, such as sanitation, contribute to a high incidence of malaria and other waterborne diseases. Many prescription medicines are not available in country.

The following diseases are prevalent:

  • Dengue
  • Meningococcal meningitis
  • Rabies
  • Malaria
  • Diarrheal diseases
  • HIV
  • Schistosomiasis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Zika

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 and penalties. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 

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.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Drugs: Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in the CAR are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

Photography: Taking photographs of police or military installations, airports, or any other government buildings is prohibited. Unauthorized photography may result in the seizure of photographic equipment by the CAR authorities. Police or other government authorities can provide information and grant permission for photographing a particular subject or location.  Locals in the CAR may be very sensitive to all photography; you should obtain permission first.

Corruption:
Corruption remains a serious problem among the CAR security forces, some members of which have harassed travelers for bribes. At night, the roads in the capital are often manned with impromptu checkpoints, at which police or soldiers ask motorists and travelers for money.  

Banking: Banking infrastructure remains limited in the CAR, and facilities for monetary exchange exist only in the capital. There are few ATMs in the CAR. Exchange bureaus and banks normally accept dollars and euros, with the exception of West African Francs (CFA). Credit cards are not used in the CAR, and purchases of goods and services, including hotel rooms and airline tickets, are cash transactions. 

Faith-Based Travelers: See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.

LGBTI Travelers: Same-sex sexual relations are illegal in the CAR and the penal code criminalizes consensual same-sex sexual activity. The penalty for "public expression of love" between persons of the same sex is imprisonment for six months to two years or a stiff fine. When one of the participants is underage, the adult may be sentenced to two to five years imprisonment or a fine. 

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Public infrastructure is generally in poor condition and sidewalks, buildings, and public transportation do not cater to special accessibility needs.

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

Women Travelers: Sexual assault and domestic violence are widespread in the CAR.  See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Road Conditions and Safety: Road conditions vary. Watch out for:

  • Large potholes and degraded roadways
  • Unpaved roads throughout the CAR
  • Drivers ignoring traffic laws to drive on the smoothest section of roads
  • Roads to tourist areas are accessible only by four-wheel-drive vehicles and inaccessible during the October to May rainy season.

We recommend you avoid:

  • Overland travel in the northern, eastern, and western regions due to the risk of armed attacks on motorists
  • Driving after dark outside of Bangui

Traffic Laws: If you are involved in a traffic accident, we recommend that you wait until the police or the Gendarmerie arrive unless your health or safety is threatened.  

Police may pull over drivers who are talking on cell phones or texting while driving for not following safe driving procedure.

Public Transportation: The city of Bangui does have a public transportation system consisting of green mini-buses, yellow taxis, and taxi motorcycles, though these vehicles are often dangerously overcrowded and very badly maintained.

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