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Uganda
Official Name:

Republic of Uganda

Last Updated: January 30, 2017

Embassy Messages

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 Kampala

Plot 1577 Ggaba Road
Kampala, Uganda

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Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

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6 months

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

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One page for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

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Yes

VACCINATIONS:

VACCINATIONS REQUIRED FOR ENTRY:

Yellow Fever; Polio (for children under 5)

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

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None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

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None

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U.S. Embassy Kampala

Plot 1577 Ggaba Road
Kampala, Uganda

Telephone:+(256)(0) 414-306-001 and +(256)(0)312-306-001

Emergency After-Hours Telephone+(256)(0) 414-306-001 and +(256)(0)312-306-001

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Uganda for information on U.S. – Uganda relations. 

Effective July 1, 2016, visas and residency permits will no longer be available at Entebbe Airport upon arrival.

All visa and work permit (E-Visa and E-permits) applications must be completed via the Government of Uganda’s website. Under the new application process, you must apply online for all immigration services such as visas, permits, and passes at least two weeks prior to travel. The fee for a single entry tourist visa is $50.

For the most up-to-date visa information, contact the Embassy of Uganda at 5911 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011; telephone (202) 726-7100 or visit their website. Travelers may also contact the Permanent Mission of Uganda to the United Nations in New York. Overseas, inquiries can be made at the nearest Ugandan embassy or consulate.

Please be aware that a visa does not determine how long you may remain in Uganda. The Ugandan immigration officer at the port of entry determines the length of authorized stay, which is generally from two weeks to three months for tourists. Immigration policies are not always consistently applied and may change without notice. Pay close attention to the validity of your visa or special pass to avoid fines or travel interruptions. Ugandan immigration imposes a fine of up to $100 per day for visa overstays and sometimes detains individuals who overstay their visas until the fine is paid. Extensions of duration of stay may be requested at Ugandan immigration headquarters on Jinja Road in Kampala. For more information on immigration issues, please see the Directorate of Citizen and Immigration Control website.

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

The U.S. government rates Uganda as a medium threat for terrorism. Al-Shabaab has threatened attacks inside Uganda and in the region. U.S. citizens should avoid large public gatherings.

Northern and Eastern Uganda
Relative stability has returned to northern Uganda. The Ugandan government continues to expand and improve the capacity of the civilian police force in northern Uganda. African Union forces have continued military operations against the Lord’s Resistance Army in the DRC, Central African Republic, and South Sudan, but LRA attacks against civilians in these countries continue. 

Cattle rustling, armed banditry, and attacks on vehicles are no longer common in the Karamoja region of northeastern Uganda and U.S. Embassy personnel are no longer required to take additional security measures to travel to the Karamoja Region. Basic services have been introduced to the region but emergency medical care and auto repair services are still lacking in remote areas. Road conditions in Karamoja are particularly poor, the use of four wheel drive vehicles is encouraged, and vehicle accidents occur at a high rate.

Crime has increased in the Gulu and Lira areas in the last year.

Southwestern Uganda/Western Uganda
U.S. citizens traveling in southwestern Uganda should review the Travel Warning for the DRC for the most up-to-date information regarding the conflict in the DRC and be aware of the historical conflict in the districts of North and South Kivu in the DRC and the close proximity of fighting to the Ugandan border. Refugee flows across the border can number in the thousands and there is a risk of incursions by armed combatants. There is a potential for violence related to ethnic and tribal tensions in the western districts of Bundibuguyo, Ntoroko and Kasese near the border with the DRC. U.S citizens should be vigilant and monitor local media for the latest news.    

Demonstrations
Demonstrations in Kampala and other cities periodically occur in response to local political developments. Police routinely use tear gas – and sometimes live ammunition, resulting in deaths – to disperse protests in urban areas. U.S. citizens are urged to monitor media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times. Avoid demonstrations as even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent without notice.

Crime: The U.S. government rates Uganda as critical for crime, which is the highest rating on the U.S. government scale. U.S. citizens in Uganda should exercise the highest level of awareness, as crime is indiscriminant and can happen anywhere and at any time.

Pick pocketing, purse snatching, and thefts from hotel rooms, parked vehicles and vehicles stalled in traffic jams are common. Armed robberies of pedestrians also occur, sometimes during daylight hours and in public places.  Victims are generally injured only if they resist.

Food and drinks should never be left unattended in public. Women have reported being drugged and taken to another location and sexually assaulted. Similar tactics are used to rob individuals on public transportation. Remain with a group of friends in public, as single individuals are more likely to be targeted. 

Financial crime is common in Uganda. Wire transfer, check, and credit card fraud is widespread.  ATM machines are often tampered with or compromised, and advance fee fraud is perpetrated via email. U.S. vendors are cautioned against accepting third-party checks as payment for goods to be shipped to Uganda and should check with the Embassy’s Economic and Commercial Section to verify the legitimacy of Ugandan companies.

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

Victims of Crime: Victims of sexual assault should seek medical assistance and counseling immediately regarding prophylactic treatment to help prevent the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. A list of local medical providers can be found on the U.S. Embassy website.

Report crimes to the local police at 999 and contact the U.S. Embassy at (256) (0) 414-306-001. 

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the 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 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:

  • 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.

Medical facilities in Uganda are limited and only equipped to handle minor medical emergencies. Surgical capabilities are inadequate and blood supplies may be insufficient. Outside Kampala, hospitals are scarce and offer only basic services. Travelers should carry their own supplies of prescription drugs and preventive medicines. A list of medical providers is available at the U.S. Embassy website.

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.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Embassy of Uganda to ensure the medication is legal in Uganda. Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.

The following diseases are known to occur in Uganda:

  • HIV
  • Malaria
  • Polio
  • Typhoid
  • Tuberculosis
  • Ebola hemorrhagic fever and Marburg hemorrhagic fever
  • Pneumonic plague
  • Meningitis
  • Yellow fever
  • Schistosomiasis

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. 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 immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Currency: U.S. currency notes in denomination less than $100 may be exchanged at a less favorable exchange rate. Travelers cannot exchange or use U.S. currency printed earlier than 2006. Western Union, MoneyGram, and other types of money transfer facilities are available in Kampala and other cities throughout the country. ATMs are available but many only function for customers who have an account with a specific Ugandan bank.

Ugandan Customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning the importation of pets. Contact the Ugandan Embassy for specific information. 

Charities/NGOs: The Embassy is unable to provide information regarding the bona fides of nongovernmental (NGO) and charity organizations operating in Uganda, and U.S. citizens planning to work for or donate money to an NGO should have the charity provide references of past volunteers whom they may contact. U.S. citizens have reported intimidation and harassment by directors of organizations when questioned about the organization's activities or use of donated funds.

Information about registering an NGO can be obtained from the Ugandan NGO Board, which has offices within the Ministry of Internal Affairs. They can be reached at 256 414 341 556. If a Certificate of Good Conduct/Criminal Background Check is needed to start or work for an NGO you can obtain it by contacting your local police or on the FBI website before traveling.

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

LGBTI Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual relations are criminalized in Uganda. Social acceptance of homosexuality remains very low. LGBTI individuals – or suspected LGBTI individuals – could face harassment, imprisonment, blackmail, and violence.  Individuals or organizations viewed as supporting LGBT rights also face harassment. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our  Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance:
The law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment, education, access to health care, and the provision of other state services but the government does not enforce the law consistently. No statutory requirement exists mandating that buildings be accessible to persons with disabilities. Accessibility to public transportation, foot paths and road crossings, free or reduced fares, taxis, communication, lodging, medical facilities, restaurants, cafes, bars, and other tourist spots is similarly non-existent.

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

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Road Conditions and Safety: Alcohol is frequently a contributing factor in road accidents, particularly at night. Nighttime travel should be avoided whenever possible. Highway travel at night is particularly dangerous, including on the road between Entebbe Airport and Kampala. The Embassy recommends caution on this road and use of a reliable taxi service to and from the airport. With the exception of the Kampala-Entebbe airport road, U.S. Embassy employees are prohibited from driving during hours of darkness on roads outside the limits of cities and large towns.

Drivers should take extra care as pedestrians often walk in the roads and may not be visible to motorists. Large branches or rocks in the road sometimes indicate an upcoming obstruction or other hazards. Ugandan law requires that the drivers stop and exchange information and assist any injured persons injured in an accident. In some cases where serious injury has occurred, there is the possibility of mob anger and violence against the driver perceived to be at fault. In these instances, Ugandans often do not get out of their cars, but drive to the nearest police station to report the accident. 

Public Transportation: Most inter-city transportation in Uganda is by small van or large bus. Many drivers of these vehicles have little training, and some are reckless. Vans and buses are often poorly maintained, travel at high speeds, and are the most common vehicles involved in the many deadly single and multi-vehicle accidents along Ugandan roads. Accident victims have included U.S. citizens traveling in vans and personal cars, as passengers on motorcycle taxis locally known as "boda bodas" and as pedestrians.  U.S. Mission employees and their dependents are prohibited from using boda bodas and matatus (minibus taxis) due to accident and crime risks. Large trucks on the highways are often overloaded with inadequately secured cargo and poor braking systems.

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