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May 28, 2021

COVID-19 Travel Guidance for U.S. Citizens

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July 21, 2021

Update on U.S. Passport Operations

International Travel

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Country Information

Guinea-Bissau

Guinea-Bissau
Republic of Guinea-Bissau
Do not travel to Guinea-Bissau due to COVID-19. Reconsider travel to Guinea-Bissau due to crime, and civil unrest.

Do not travel to Guinea-Bissau due to COVID-19.  Reconsider travel to Guinea-Bissau due to crime, and civil unrest.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Guinea-Bissau due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country.  Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine.  Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC's specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.

Visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 and related restrictions and conditions in Guinea-Bissau.

Country Summary:  Non-violent crime is common in Guinea-Bissau.  Aggressive vendors, panhandlers, and occasionally criminals target foreigners at the Bissau airport and other crowded areas, especially Bandim Market in the center of the capital. Local police lack the resources, capacity, and training to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.

The country has been beset by chronic political and institutional dysfunction for decades, and there is the potential for violence.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens because there is no U.S. Embassy in Guinea-Bissau.

Read the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Guinea-Bissau:

  • See the U.S. Embassy’s webpage regarding COVID-19. 
  • Visit the CDC’s webpage on Travel and COVID-19.    
  • Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
  • Avoid demonstrations and crowds.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry.
  • Only travel during daylight.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events, and adjust your plans based on new information.
  • Make contingency plans to leave the country.
  • 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 Guinea-Bissau.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Last Update: Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information.

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Embassy Messages

Alerts

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY:


Six months.

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:


1 page.

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


Yes.

VACCINATIONS:


Yellow Fever.

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


None.

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


None.

Embassies and Consulates

There is currently no permanent U.S. diplomatic or consular presence in Guinea-Bissau. The U.S. Ambassador to Senegal is dually accredited to Guinea-Bissau.

The Office in Bissau does not offer consular services. Consular services are provided by the Embassy in Dakar, Senegal.

U.S. Embassy Dakar
Route des Almadies
Dakar, Senegal
Telephone:
(221) 33-879-4000
Emergency after-hours telephone: (221) 33-879-4000
Email: DakarACS@state.gov

U.S. Bissau Liaison Office
Edifício SITEC
Rua José Carlos Schwarz 245, Bairro d’Ajuda
Bissau, Guinea-Bissau
Telephone:
(245) 325-6382
Emergency Telephone: Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal at (221) 33-879-4000 

Destination Description

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

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Please visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on entry/ exit requirements related to COVID-19 in Guinea-Bissau. 

A valid passport, visa, and proof of onward/return ticket are required for U.S. citizens to enter Guinea-Bissau. The Bissau-Guinean Embassy in Washington, D.C., suspended operations in January, 2007. The Embassy of Guinea-Bissau does not have a website. Due to Guinea-Bissau’s lack of consular representation in the United States, it can be difficult for U.S. citizens to obtain the required visa for entry into Guinea-Bissau. Since most flights destined for Guinea-Bissau must pass through Dakar, Senegal, or Lisbon, Portugal, most travelers are able to apply for visas at the Bissau-Guinean embassies in those countries. Visa upon arrival is also available in Bissau.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Guinea-Bissau.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction, and Customs Information on our websites.

Safety and Security

Guinea-Bissau lacks sufficient resources and infrastructure to ensure a stable security environment. Guinea-Bissau’s instability is exacerbated by drug trafficking, as it is used as a transit point for drug shipments from Latin America.

Crime: Non-violent crimes occur frequently. Law enforcement lacks the resources to respond effectively to crime.

Foreigners are primarily targeted for:

  • Petty-theft
  • Pick-pocketing
  • Theft of valuables from vehicles
  • Minor assaults

Expatriates and travelers are occasionally targeted for crimes of opportunity (petty theft, pickpocketing, theft from vehicles, minor assaults). Street criminals, aggressive vendors, and panhandlers frequently target foreigners in crowded areas and markets (particularly the popular Bandim Market) and travelers exiting the Bissau airport. According to law enforcement officials, travelers should also be cautious of the Mindara and Reino neighborhoods due to crimes.

The risk of being targeted by criminal actors greatly increases at night, due to Guinea-Bissau`s limited security infrastructure and lack of street and building lighting. Visitors are strongly discouraged from walking after dark, especially alone or in isolated areas. Even during daylight hours and in groups, travelers are advised to maintain a heightened level of security awareness, particularly in public places, tourist areas, and crowded locations.

Corruption exists at all levels of government. Police and emergency personnel are poorly trained and lack resources to respond to crime and emergency situations effectively. Even if the police do respond to an incident, they usually lack the training and experience to conduct a proper investigation.

People violating Bissau-Guinean laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or temporarily detained. All foreign visitors should carry identification (such as a certified copy of passport and/or residence permit).

Narcotics trafficking is linked to criminal activity and aggressive assaults in rural areas of Guinea-Bissau. 

Demonstrations occur frequently. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events.  

  • 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.

International Financial Scams:  See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information.

Internet romance and financial scams are prevalent in Guinea-Bissau. Scams are often initiated through Internet postings/profiles or by unsolicited emails and letters. Scammers almost always pose as U.S. citizens who have no one else to turn to for help. Common scams include:

  • Romance/Online dating 
  • Money transfers 
  • Lucrative sales
  • Contracts with promises of large commissions 
  • Free Trip/Luggage 
  • Lotteries 
  • Work permits/job offers 
  • U.S. visa opportunities

Victims of Crime: Police and emergency personnel in Guinea-Bissau lack the basic resources necessary to effectively respond to crime and emergency situations.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

The U.S. Embassy in Senegal 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 in Senegal 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. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

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.

Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Guinea-Bissau are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Drug trafficking is endemic in Guinea-Bissau.

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.

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

LGBTI Travelers: See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details. There are no laws that criminalize sexual orientation in Guinea-Bissau. LGBTI people face discrimination. The cases of violence against LGBT community often are unreported due to stigma or fear of retaliation.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: While in Guinea-Bissau, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation limited and very different from in the United States.

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

Women Travelers: Rape, including spousal rape, is a crime punishable by 2-6 years in prison. Domestic violence is illegal, but widespread and rarely prosecuted.

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) is against the law but is still commonly practiced, especially in the north of the country.

See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Health

Please visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Guinea-Bissau. 

Modern medical facilities are virtually nonexistent in Guinea-Bissau, and travelers should not rely on them. More acceptable levels of medical care are available in Dakar, Senegal.

No emergency services are available in Guinea-Bissau. 

Ambulance services are:

  • Not widely available and training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards. 
  • Not staffed with trained paramedics and often have little or no medical equipment.
  • 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.

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 Guinea-Bissau to ensure the medication is legal in Guinea-Bissau. Always, carry prescription medication in original packaging, along 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:

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

The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic. 

Water Quality: In many areas, tap water is not potable. Bottled water and beverages are generally safe, although you should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested. Be aware that ice for drinks may be made using tap water.

Travel and Transportation

Since there are land mines left in place from the civil war and the war of independence, travelers should not leave designated roads and pathways and should not drive at night. The land mines are scattered in several areas throughout Guinea-Bissau, including the Bafata, Oio, Biombo, Quinara, and Tombali regions. While there has been significant progress in locating and removing land mines, a substantial number remain.

Public Transportation: The public transportation system, urban and rural road conditions, and availability of roadside assistance are all poor.

Exercise caution if using taxis as many are in sub-standard condition. If you do take a taxi, for your safety, inform the driver that you do not want additional patrons to be picked up along the route. Taxis in Bissau serve as a type of bus service, in which each passenger pays for a seat. Furthermore, the Embassy does not recommend that visitors use the unconventional bus system in Bissau, the “Bus Rapides” or “Toca-Tocas.”

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 Guinea-Bissau, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Guinea-Bissau’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 Guinea-Bissau 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 website.

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

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

Last Updated: November 17, 2020

Travel Advisory Levels

Information for Vaccinated Travelers

The CDC's latest guidance on international travel for vaccinated people can be found here.

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Dakar
Route des Almadies
Dakar, Senegal
Telephone
+ (221) 33-879-4000
Emergency
+ (221) 33-879-4000
Fax
No Fax

Guinea-Bissau Map