Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Learn About Your Destination > Guinea-Bissau International Travel Information
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. Bissau Liaison Office
Rua José Carlos Schwarz 245, Bairro d’Ajuda
Telephone: (245) 325-6382
Emergency Telephone: Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal at (221) 33-879-4000
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.
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.
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 crime.
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.
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 often pose as U.S. citizens who have no one else to turn to for help. Common scams include:
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:
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.
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.
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 LGBTI community often are unreported due to stigma or fear of retaliation.
Travelers with Disabilities: The law in Guinea-Bissau prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, or mental disabilities, but the law is not enforced. Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is not as prevalent as in the United States. The most common types of accessibility may include accessible facilities, the availability of information, access to services and ease of movement. Expect accessibility to be limited in public transportation, most lodging facilities, communication/information, and general infrastructure. The availability of rental, repair, or replacement parts for aids, equipment, and devices for people with disabilities, including service providers such as sign language interpreters or personal assistants, is limited, especially outside of the capital city.
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.
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. Existing ambulances are 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.
The U.S. Embassy in Dakar maintains a list of local doctors and hospitals on this page under "local resources.". We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.
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.
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.
While there has been significant progress in locating and removing land mines left in place from Guinea-Bissau’s civil war and war of independence, a substantial number remain. 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.
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, as 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 informal 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.