International Travel

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Country Information

Benin

Benin
Republic of Benin
Exercise normal precautions in Benin. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Exercise normal precautions in Benin. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Reconsider Travel To:

  • Park Pendjari, Park W and adjacent hunting zones, and other areas near Benin’s northern border with Burkina Faso, due to terrorism and kidnapping.

Exercise Increased Caution In:

  • Urban areas due to crime.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Benin:

Park Pendjari, Park W and Adjacent Hunting Zones – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Extremist groups have carried out attacks in areas of Burkina Faso adjacent to Benin’s northern border, near Parks Pendjari and W and adjacent hunting zones. Attacks may occur with little or no warning. Western tourists have been kidnapped in Park Pendjari, in northern Benin.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Benin’s northern border areas. U.S. government employees are prohibited from personal travel and must obtain special authorization for official travel to Parks Pendjari and W and all adjacent hunting zones, and other areas within 50 km of Benin’s northern border with Burkina Faso.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Urban Areas – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Violent crime, such as armed robbery and assault, is common. 

Last Update: Reissued with update to Level 3 information

... [READ MORE]

Embassy Messages

Alerts

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY:


Must be valid at time of entry

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:


One page required for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


Yes

VACCINATIONS:


Yellow fever vaccine required

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


Not Applicable

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


Not Applicable

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Cotonou

Marina Avenue
01 BP 2012 Cotonou, Benin
Telephone:
+(229) 21-30-75-00
Emergency after-hours telephone: +(229) 21-30-75-00
Fax: +(229) 21-30-66-82
Email: ConsularCotonou@state.gov

 

Destination Description

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

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

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.

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

Safety and Security

Public demonstrations, political gatherings, student protests, and strikes are common throughout Benin.

Due to terrorism and kidnapping concerns, travel for all U.S. government employees to Parks Pendjari and W and adjacent hunting zones, and other areas within 50 km of Benin’s northern border with Burkina Faso, is restricted.

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 urban areas. Robbery and muggings occur on major thoroughfares and in neighborhoods, including those where expatriate and diplomatic staff live and where popular bars and restaurants are located, as well as on the beaches near hotels frequented by international visitors. 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.

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 U.S. Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

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: 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 government of Benin, Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure the medication is legal in Benin. Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with 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:

Health

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:

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Roads in Benin are generally in poor condition. 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 due to road safety and crime concerns.

Traffic Laws: Traffic moves on the right. When stopped by the police, 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.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Benin should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings.

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Benin.  For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.”

Last Updated: June 21, 2019

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Cotonou
Marina Avenue
01 BP 2012 Cotonou, Benin
Telephone
+(229) 21-30-75-00
Emergency
+(229) 21-30-75-00
Fax
+(229) 21-30-66-82

Benin Map