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Country Information

Cameroon

Cameroon
Republic of Cameroon
Exercise increased caution in Cameroon due to crime.

Exercise increased caution in Cameroon due to crime. Some areas have increased risk.  Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do Not Travel to:

  • North, Far North, Northwest and Southwest Regions, and Parts of East and Adamawa Regions due to crime, terrorism, and civil unrest.

Violent crime, such as armed robbery and carjacking, is common. Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Adamawa (to the north or east of Ngaoundere), East (east of Bertoua), North, Far North, Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon due to current official travel restrictions.

Read the Safety and Security section on the Country Information page.

If you decide to travel to Cameroon:

  • Do not display signs of wealth, such as expensive watches or jewelry.
  • Avoid demonstrations and public gatherings. Even events intended to be peaceful can become violent and turn deadly.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and be prepared to adjust your plans.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Cameroon.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations.  Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

North, Far North, Northwest and Southwest Regions, and Parts of East and Adamawa Regions

In the North and Far North Regions, as well as parts of East and Adamawa Regions, terrorists may attack with no warning, targeting local facilities and places frequented by Westerners.  In Adamawa Region, this threat specifically includes any area to the north or east of Ngaoundere.  Kidnapping by terrorists and/or kidnapping for ransom are serious concerns in Cameroon, especially in areas bordering northern Nigeria and the Central African Republic (CAR).

In Northwest and Southwest Regions, an Anglophone separatist movement has led to increased levels of violence.  Armed clashes with the government and other acts of violence have occurred.

Violent crime, including kidnapping, armed robbery, assault, and carjacking, is common within 60 miles of the border with Nigeria’s Adamawa State in the North and Adamawa Regions of Cameroon, the border area with Chad, and the border areas with the CAR.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

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Embassy Messages
Alerts
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:


Six months

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:


One page per stamp 

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


Yes

VACCINATIONS:


Yellow fever

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


While there are no official restrictions, travelers are required to make a declaration when they are exiting with XAF 3,000,000 or more.

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Embassies and Consulates

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 Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

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

Fax: +(237) 22220-1572

YaoundeACS@state.gov

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 Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

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

Fax: +(237) 23342-7790

Destination Description

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

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Requirements for Entry:    

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Current immunization records, including evidence of yellow fever vaccination 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. U.S. citizens must always enter and exit Cameroon on a U.S. passport with a valid Cameroonian visa otherwise they are liable to be denied entry or detained. Furthermore, presenting oneself as a Cameroonian citizen 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 nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

Embassy personnel are restricted from traveling to the Northwest, Southwest, North, Far North, and East Regions of Cameroon, as well as north or east of Ngaoundere in the Adamawa Region.

The terrorist organization Boko Haram is active in Far North, North, and Adamawa Regions of Cameroon. There have been suicide bomb attacks in public places in urban areas resulting in numerous deaths and injuries.  Attacks are indiscriminate, and have impacted 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). The following is specific safety and security information related to various parts of Cameroon:

Bakassi Peninsula: Cameroon's military authorities restrict access to the Bakassi Peninsula.  U.S. citizens should avoid this area.

Far North Region and Mayo-Louti: Avoid all travel to the Far North Region, which includes the regional capital cities of Maroua and the Lake Chad region. Terrorists affiliated with Nigeria-based Boko Haram have kidnapped foreigners and conducted suicide bombings. You may encounter fighting between Cameroonian security forces and Boko Haram or ISIS-West Africa. Armed robbery is also a threat.

Gulf of Guinea/Coastal Areas: Piracy and kidnappings by rebel groups remain a threat. See the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.

Southwest and Northwest Regions: Avoid these regions due to the presence of an active Anglophone separatist movement. Armed clashes between government and secessionists have occurred, as well as kidnappings and other acts of violence.

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

Travel Advisories are in effect for neighboring countries Nigeria, Chad, and CAR. Escalating military operations against Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa 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 reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and requires 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.

Safety Precautions:

  • Avoid demonstrations and public gatherings in Cameroon. 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 minor or non-existent violations to conduct vehicle searches and check passengers for identity papers. They may also extort bribes. We advise you not to pay bribes, and to ask the police officer to 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 all types of crime: murder, sexual assault, kidnapping, carjacking, burglary, theft, armed robbery, and home invasion. These crimes are often violent. The risk of street and residential crime is high.

Transport Crimes: U.S. Embassy personnel are prohibited from using taxis. Violent assaults on taxi passengers are common. 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.

Financial crimes: Visitors and residents are often targets of scammers. 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:

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

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 driver’s 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 their 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 official 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 ranging from 20,000 to 200,000 CFA francs ($35-$353). 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.

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

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.

Health

Consult the CDC website for Cameroon prior to travel. Also consult with a knowledgeable travel medicine clinician at least a month before travel. Taking malaria prophylaxis is advisable as this is a high risk malaria zone. Malaria is a serious, mosquito borne infection that can cause death. Prevention medication generally is started before arriving in Cameroon and continued for a period of time after departing the malaria zone.

Yellow Fever: Proof of Yellow Fever vaccination is required for entry and exitThe vaccine date on the yellow vaccination record card must be at least 10 days old 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 Cameroon do not approach the U.S. standard. Services may be nonexistent in many 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.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. Care providers expect payment in local currency in full before treatment is performed.

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 Cameroon to ensure the medication is legal in Cameroon. Always, carry your prescription 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:

Travel and Transportation

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.

Last Updated: April 10, 2018
Travel Advisory Levels

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
Telephone
+(237) 22220-1500
Emergency
+(237) 22220-1500
Fax
+(237) 22220-1572
Cameroon Map