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Guinea-Bissau

Guinea-Bissau
Republic of Guinea-Bissau
Reconsider travel to Guinea-Bissau due to crime and civil unrest.

Reconsider travel to Guinea-Bissau due to crime and civil unrest.

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 Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Guinea-Bissau:

  • Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
  • Avoid demonstrations.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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Embassy Messages

Alerts

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY:


Valid at time of Entry

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:


1 page per stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


Yes

VACCINATIONS:


Yellow Fever

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


None

Embassies and Consulates

The U.S. Embassy in Bissau suspended operations on June 14, 1998, at the outbreak of a violent civil war. There is currently no permanent U.S. diplomatic or consular presence in 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) 33-879-4444
Email: DakarACS@state.gov
The U.S. Embassy in Dakar has jurisdiction over Guinea-Bissau.

U.S. Bissau Liaison Office
Edifício SITEC
Rua José Carlos Schwarz 245, Bairro d’Ajuda
Bissau, Guinea-Bissau
Telephone:
+(245) 325-6382
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal: +(221) 33-879-4444
Fax: +(245) 325-6382

Destination Description

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

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

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.

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 nationality, prevention 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. The country has been plagued by coups and political assassinations.

Crime: Crimes occur frequently. Law enforcement lacks the resources to respond to crime.

Foreigners are primarily targeted for:

  • petty-theft
  • pick-pocketing
  • theft of valuables from vehicles
  • minor assaults

You should:

  • Exercise heightened personal security awareness

The increase in narcotics trafficking has contributed to an increase in criminal activity and aggressive assaults in rural areas of Guinea-Bissau. 

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.

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 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.

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.

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. There is no law prohibing domestic violence, which is widespread.

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

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.

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 (our webpage) 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 prevelant:

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

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- 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.

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: June 4, 2018

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Dakar
Route des Almadies
Dakar, Senegal
Telephone
+(221) 33-879-4000
Emergency
+(221) 33-879-4444
Fax
No Fax

Guinea-Bissau Map