Must be valid at time of entry
One page required for entry stamp
Yellow fever vaccine required
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Benin for information on U.S. – Benin relations.
A passport and visa are required. Visas are not available at the airport upon entry. Entry at land borders requires a visa. Visit the Embassy of Benin website for the most current visa information.
The Embassy is located at: 2124 Kalorama Road, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008; Telephone: 202-232-6656.
Visitors to Benin should also carry the WHO Yellow Card (“Carte Jaune”) indicating that they have been vaccinated for yellow fever. Visit the Center for Disease Control website for more information.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Benin.
Public demonstrations, political gatherings, student protests, and strikes are common throughout Benin, particularly on Friday afternoons.
Swimming conditions along Benin’s coastline are dangerous due to strong tides, waves, and rip currents; several people drown each year.
CRIME: Street crime is a significant problem in Cotonou. Robbery and muggings occur along the Boulevard de France (the beach road by the Marina and Novotel Hotels), on the beaches near hotels frequented by international visitors, within the Haie Vive and Les Cocotiers neighborhoods (where popular bars and restaurants are located), and in other parts of the city. Most reported incidents involve the use of force, by armed persons, with minor injury to the victim. Travelers should avoid the Dantokpa market between the hours of dusk and dawn.
If you are a victim of crime, you should contact the U.S. Embassy immediately.
Victims of Crime:
U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should first contact the U.S. Embassy. Report crimes to the local police at +(229) 21 30 30 25 or +(229) 21 30 20 11 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +(229) 21-30-75-00.
Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance.
Precautions: Monitor news and consular messages.
For further information:
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.
U.S. citizens are advised to keep a photocopy of the photo page of their passport (notarized by an official of a local municipality) at all times when traveling in Benin.
The Embassy has received reports of officials requesting a "gift" to facilitate official administrative matters. Such requests should be politely but firmly declined.
Photography of government buildings and official sites is prohibited without the consent of the Government of Benin. You should ask permission before taking pictures of people.
Obtaining customs clearance at the Port of Cotonou for donated items shipped from the United States to Benin may be a lengthy process. In order to obtain a waiver of customs duties on donated items, the donating organization must secure prior written approval from the Government of Benin. Please contact the U.S. Embassy for more detailed information. Please see our Customs Information.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Benin. Benin’s laws on sexual morality provide latitude for authorities to prosecute a range of sexual activity, but its penal code does not mention or criminalize same-sex sexual relations. In general, Beninese authorities do not act against those in same-sex relationships. Local social norms favor discretion in sexual relations and are not uniformly accepting of same-sex relationships.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: The condition of the sidewalks (when present) is often poor. Wheelchair accessibility is extremely limited.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Medical facilities in Benin are limited and not all medicines are available. Travelers should carry their own supplies of prescription drugs and preventive medicines.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: If your health insurance plan does not provide coverage overseas, we strongly recommend supplemental medical insurance and medical evacuation plans.
Carry prescription medication in original packaging, and a copy of your doctor’s prescription.
The following diseases are prevalent:
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Road Conditions and Safety: With the exception of the road linking Cotonou in the south to Malanville on the border with Niger in the north, roads in Benin are generally in poor condition and are often impassable during the rainy season. During the rainy season from mid-June to mid-September, dirt roads become impassable. Four-wheel drive vehicles with full spare tires and emergency equipment are recommended.
Gasoline smuggled from Nigeria is widely available in glass bottles and jugs at informal roadside stands throughout Cotonou and much of the country. This gasoline is of unreliable quality, often containing water or other contaminants that can damage or disable your vehicle. Drivers should purchase fuel only from official service stations. There are periodic gas shortages, especially in the north of the country where there are few service stations.
The U.S. Embassy prohibits travel by diplomatic personnel outside of metropolitan areas after dusk and urges all U.S. citizens to avoid night driving. There have been numerous carjackings and robberies on roads in Benin after dark, several of which resulted in murder when the driver refused to comply with the assailants' demands.
See our Road Safety page for more information.
Traffic Laws: Traffic moves on the right. The national police periodically conduct vehicle checks at provisional roadblocks in an effort to improve road safety and reduce the increasing number of carjackings. When stopped at such a roadblock, you must have all of the vehicle's documentation available to present to the authorities.
Public Transportation: Cotonou has a limited public transportation system. Many Beninese people rely on bicycles, mopeds, and motorbikes for hire (known as “zemidjans”). Travelers using zemidjans, particularly at night, are much more vulnerable to being mugged, assaulted, or robbed. Buses and bush taxis offer service in the interior. U.S. Embassy personnel are required to wear safety helmets when on a motorcycle and are prohibited from using zemidjans.
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 Benin, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Benin’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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For information concerning travel to Benin, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Benin.
The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA). The report is located here.
Benin is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between Benin and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.
Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.
Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Benin and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.
The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction. For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children’s Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child. The Office of Children’s Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's Issues
SA-17, Floor 9
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Parental child abduction is not a specific crime in Benin.
Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court. Please see Pressing Criminal Charges for more information.
Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country. Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Benin and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.
The Office of Children’s Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States. Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the U.S. Embassy in Benin for information and possible assistance.
Neither the Office of Children’s Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy in Benin are authorized to provide legal advice.
The U.S. Embassy in Cotonou, Benin posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.
This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.
Under the laws of Benin, mediation is a possible remedy for both abduction and access cases.
Benin is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (the Hague Adoption Convention). Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with 8 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 204.3 as it relates to orphans as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(b)(1)(F).
Below is the limited adoption information that the Department has obtained from the adoption authority of Benin. U.S. citizens adopting children from Benin, as well as U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents living in Benin who would like to adopt from the United States or from a third country, should contact the adoption authority of Benin to inquire about applicable laws and procedures. See contact information below.
The type of adoption in Benin that resembles U.S. adoption practice most closely is adoption plenière ("Plenary Adoption"). Adoption pleniereprovides the same rights and privileges to an adopted child as biological children of the adopting parent(s). Benin may have particular requirements on the age, marital status and family size for prospective adoptive parents, as well as requirements for which children can be adopted. Prospective adoptive parents should verify these requirements directly with the adoption authority of Benin.
Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are adoptable. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, with the intention of returning for the child when they are able to do so. In such cases, the birth parent(s) rarely would have relinquished their parental rights or consented to their child(ren)’s adoption.
Please visit the Department of State’s Country Specific Information for more information on travelling to Benin and the U.S. Embassy Cotonou website for information on consular services.
BENIN’S ADOPTION AUTHORITY:
Ministère de la Famille et de la Solidarité Nationale
Direction de la Famille de l'Enfance et de l'Adolescence (D.F.E.A.)
Address: 01 B.P. 2802 Cotonou, Bénin
Tel: (229) 21 31 67 07 / 21 31 67 08 / 21 30 03 33
Fax: (229) 21 31 64 62
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
|A-3 1||None||Multiple||24 Months|
|E-1 2||No Treaty||N/A||N/A|
|E-2 2||No Treaty||N/A||N/A|
|G-5 1||None||Multiple||24 Months|
|H-1B||None||Multiple||36 Months 3|
|H-1C||None||Multiple||36 Months 3|
|H-2R||None||Multiple||36 Months 3|
|H-3||None||Multiple||36 Months 3|
|H-4||None||Multiple||36 Months 3|
|J-1 4||None||Multiple||36 Months|
|J-2 4||None||Multiple||36 Months|
|O-1||$10.00||Multiple||36 Months 3|
|O-2||$10.00||Multiple||36 Months 3|
|O-3||$10.00||Multiple||36 Months 3|
|P-1||$10.00||Multiple||36 Months 3|
|P-2||$10.00||Multiple||36 Months 3|
|P-3||$10.00||Multiple||36 Months 3|
|P-4||$10.00||Multiple||36 Months 3|
|Q-1 6||$10.00||Multiple||15 Months 3|
|S-5 7||None||One||1 Month|
|S-6 7||None||One||1 Month|
|S-7 7||None||One||1 Month|
|V-2||None||Multiple||120 Months 8|
|V-3||None||Multiple||120 Months 8|
Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.
The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:
An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.
Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.
The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.
Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.
Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.
There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.
Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.
In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).
However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.
Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.
Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.
Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.
Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.
Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.
No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.
V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.
Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:
The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.
The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.
The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.
Please check back for update.
Available. The Mayor's office or Prefecture issues birth certificates, at the place of birth.
Available. The marriage certificate is granted either at the applicant's place of birth or the place where the marriage was held, by the Mayor's office or Prefecture.
Available in part. Persons born in countries that use the Casier Judiciaire (a combined prison and police record) may obtain a copy of this record from the competent authorities in their native country. In the case of countries other than Benin, this record should contain the police and prison records from Benin, if any. A native-born Beninese should apply to the Tribunal de Premiere Instance that has his birthplace within its jurisdiction. The document may be obtained by mail. Benin police clearances are valid only for three months from the date of issuance. No such limiting language will appear on the face of the Police Clearance document.
Available in part. See "Police Record".
Available. Documents concerning military service are available from the Prefecture or Mayor's office at the person's place of birth.
Available. A Certificate of Residence is available to residents or former residents from the Mayor's office or Subprefecture of the applicant's place of residence or former place of residence.
Cotonou, Benin (Embassy)
Tel: (229) 21-30-06-50
Fax: (229) 21-30-06-70
All visa categories for all of Benin.