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Central African Republic

Central African Republic
Central African Republic
Do not travel to the Central African Republic (CAR) due to Embassy Bangui’s limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens, crime, civil unrest, and kidnapping.

Reissued with obsolete COVID-19 page links removed.

Do not travel to the Central African Republic (CAR) due to Embassy Bangui’s limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens, crime, civil unrest, and kidnapping.

Country Summary: Although there have been no specific incidents of violence or threats targeting U.S. citizens, civil unrest, demonstrations, and election-related violence (including renewed outbreaks of armed conflict) may occur throughout the country, including the capital of Bangui.

Violent crime, such as armed robbery, aggravated battery, and homicide, is common.

Armed groups control large areas of the country and they regularly kidnap, injure, and/or kill civilians.  In the event of unrest, airport, land border, and road closures may occur with little or no notice.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in the Central African Republic; U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel outside the Embassy compound.  Family members cannot accompany U.S. government employees who work in the Central African Republic.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to CAR.

If you decide to travel to Central African Republic (CAR): 

  • Enroll your trip in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
  • Draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney.
  • Discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, belongings, non-liquid assets (collections, artwork, etc.), funeral wishes, etc.
  • Share important documents, login information, and points of contact with loved ones so that they can manage your affairs, if you are unable to return as planned to the United States.  Find a suggested list of such documents here.
  • Be sure to appoint one family member to serve as the point of contact with hostage-takers, media, U.S. and host country government agencies, and Members of Congress, if you are taken hostage or detained.
  • Establish a proof of life protocol with your loved ones, so that if you are taken hostage, your loved ones can know specific questions (and answers) to ask the hostage-takers to be sure that you are alive (and to rule out a hoax).
  • Leave DNA samples with your medical provider in case it is necessary for your family to access them.
  • Erase any sensitive photos, comments, or other materials from your social media pages, cameras, laptops, and other electronic devices that could be considered controversial or provocative by local groups.
  • Leave your expensive/sentimental belongings behind.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Country Security Report for Central African Republic (CAR).
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.

Embassy Messages


Quick Facts


6 months.


One page required for entry stamp.




Yellow Fever.


All currency must be declared upon entry.



Embassies and Consulates

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
+(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

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Travelers entering CAR are required to have:

  • A valid passport with at least one blank page
  • A visa
  • Evidence of yellow fever vaccination

Visas are no longer available upon arrival in the Central African Republic. You must obtain your visa in advance of travel to avoid excessive fees and unexpected potential travel interruptions imposed at the port of entry. Visit the Embassy of CAR website for the most current visa information.

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


Safety and Security

The U.S. Department of State advises against all travel to CAR. U.S. Embassy Bangui cannot provide consular services to U.S. citizens in CAR at this time. U.S. citizens in need of assistance should contact the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon.

U.S. citizens should carry all proper paperwork at all times, including their passport.

Demonstrations occur spontaneously. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events. Mob violence targeting those implicated in crimes or road accidents can occur. Harassment of foreign nationals is common, as are demonstrations against international organizations and interests.

  • Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly become violent.
  • Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations.
  • Check local media for updates and traffic advisories.

Armed Conflict: There are ongoing military operations throughout CAR; armed groups remain active in large parts of the country. Outside Bangui, criminals and various armed actors frequently perpetrate violence against civilians to include foreigners and humanitarian workers; road travelers and those operating outside Bangui are especially vulnerable. Armed robberies, physical and sexual assaults, ambushes, homicides, illicit taxation and extortion, arbitrary search and seizures, unlawful detentions, and kidnappings of civilians are common. Armed actors in northwestern CAR have increasingly used landmines and other explosive devices along roads and in areas near the Cameroonian border. Outbreaks of intercommunal violence and armed conflict can happen without warning anywhere in the country including Bangui.

Crime:  Crime in Bangui is common.  Beware of:

  • Petty theft in large market areas;
  • Armed gangs in Bangui and 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 are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon for assistance.

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.
  • Provide general information regarding the victim’s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion.
  • 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 in Cameroon for assistance.

Tourism:  No formal tourism industry infrastructure is in place. Tourists are considered to be participating in activities at their own risk. Emergency response and subsequent appropriate medical treatment is not available in-country. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws and penalties. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities prior to practicing or operating a business.

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.

Identification:  Local law requires passports to be carried on your person at all times. Failure to produce your passport may result in detention and/or a fine.

Drugs: Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in 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 will result in the seizure of photographic equipment and detention of the photographer, by CAR authorities. Police or other government authorities can provide information and grant permission for photographing a particular subject or location. Locals in CAR may be very sensitive to all photography; you should obtain permission first.

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

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

LGBTI Travelers: The penalty for "public expression of love" between persons of the same sex is imprisonment from six months to two years or a 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 with Disabilities: The law in Central African Republic does not prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities. Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is not as prevalent as in the United States. Expect accessibility to be limited in transportation, lodging, communication/information, and general infrastructure.

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

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


For emergency services in the Central African Republic, dial 117 (local equivalent of “911”) or 2161-2200 (the Gendarmerie.)

Ambulance services are:

  • Not present throughout the country.
  • Injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for an ambulance.

U.S. Embassy Bangui does not pay medical bills for U.S. citizens. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance and often medical facilities in CAR require payment before treatment.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most healthcare providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on the types of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.

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 CAR, and the quality of care is unreliable. Sanitation levels are low. Many medicines are not available. You should carry a sufficient supply of properly labeled prescription drugs and other medications with you for your entire visit.

The following diseases are prevalent:

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Resources for Travelers regarding specific issues in the Central African Republic.

Vaccinations: Be current on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Road conditions are extremely poor.  Watch out for:

  • Large potholes and degraded roadways
  • Unpaved roads throughout CAR
  • Drivers ignoring traffic laws to drive on the smoothest section of roads
  • Impromptu checkpoints by armed groups and or government organizations
  • National Government Curfew is in effect from 2200-0500

U.S. Embassy Bangui advises against:

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

Traffic Laws: If you are involved in a traffic accident, you should wait until the police or the Gendarmerie arrive unless your health or safety is threatened. There are currently no distracted driving laws in effect in the Central African Republic, but police may pull over drivers who talk or text while driving for not following safe driving procedure.

Public Transportation: The city of Bangui has a public transportation system consisting of green buses and yellow taxis, 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 CAR, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of 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.

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

 For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

Last Updated: December 11, 2023

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy in Yaounde, Cameroon
Avenue Rosa Parks
P.O. Box 817
Yaounde, Cameroon
+(237) 22220-1500 ext. 4341/4023
+(237) 22220-1500, ext. 4531

Central African Republic Map