International Travel

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Country Information

Nigeria

Nigeria
Federal Republic of Nigeria
Reconsider travel to Nigeria due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and maritime crime, which includes kidnappings, hijackings, boardings, theft, etc. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Reconsider travel to Nigeria due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and maritime crime, which includes kidnappings, hijackings, boardings, theft, etc. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do Not Travel to:

  • Borno and Yobe States and Northern Adamawa State due to terrorism
  • Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, and Yobe states due to kidnapping
  • Coastal areas of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers, Delta, and Rivers states (with the exception of Port Harcourt) due to crime, civil unrest, kidnapping, and maritime crime

Country Summary: Violent crime – such as armed robbery, assault, carjacking, kidnapping, and rape – is common throughout the country. Exercise extreme caution throughout the country due to the threat of indiscriminate violence.

Terrorists continue plotting and carrying out attacks in Nigeria, especially in the Northeast. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting shopping centers, malls, markets, hotels, places of worship, restaurants, bars, schools, government installations, transportation hubs, and other places where crowds gather.

Sporadic violence occurs between communities of farmers and herders in rural areas. 

There is maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Nigeria due to security conditions.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Nigeria: 

  • Carry proper identification, including a U.S. passport with a current Nigerian visa if needed.
  • Exercise caution when walking or driving at night.
  • Review travel routes and times to vary your predictability.
  • Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • Be extra vigilant when visiting banks or ATMs.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events, and be prepared to adjust your plans.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Stay alert in locations frequented by Westerners.
  • Avoid demonstrations and large political gatherings.
  • Review your personal security 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 Reports for Nigeria. 
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist

Borno and Yobe states and Northern Adamawa State – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Terrorist groups based in the Northeast target churches, schools, mosques, government installations, educational institutions, and entertainment venues. Approximately two million Nigerians have been displaced as a result of the violence in Northeast Nigeria. 

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, and Yobe states – Level 4: Do Not Travel

The security situation in Northwest and Northeast Nigeria is fluid and unpredictable, particularly in the states listed above due to widespread inter-communal violence and kidnapping.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Coastal areas of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers, Delta, and Rivers states (with the exception of Port Harcourt) – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Crime is rampant throughout Southern Nigeria, and there is a heightened risk of kidnapping and maritime crime, along with violent civil unrest and attacks against expatriate oil workers and facilities.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas

Last Update: Reissued after periodic review with updates to Level 4 areas.

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Embassy Messages

Alerts

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY:


6 months

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:


1 page

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


Yes

VACCINATIONS:


Polio and Yellow Fever

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


None

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Abuja

1075 Diplomatic Drive
Central District Area, Abuja
Nigeria
Telephone: +(234) (0) (9) 461-4328 (Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(234) (0) (9) 461-4000
Email: abujaACS@state.gov

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Lagos
2 Walter Carrington Crescent,
Victoria Island,
Lagos, Nigeria
Telephone: +(234) (0) (1) 460-3400 (Monday through Thursday 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(234) (0) (1) 460-3400
Email: 

Destination Description

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

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

A passport valid for six months, a visa, and proof of polio and yellow fever vaccinations are required to enter Nigeria. You must obtain your Nigerian visa from a Nigerian embassy or consulate in advance of your travel. You can only obtain a “visa upon arrival” at the airport by official prior arrangements before travel. Visit the Embassy of Nigeria website for the most current visa and entry information.

You cannot legally depart Nigeria unless you can prove, by presenting your entry visa, that you entered Nigeria legally.

U.S. - Nigeria dual-national citizens are now required to have a valid Nigerian passport in order to depart the country. Dual-national citizens can be, and often are, denied boarding until they have obtained current Nigerian passports.

Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors and foreign residents of Nigeria. Nigerian authorities may deny entry to foreigners who are “undesirable for medical reasons,” and may require HIV tests for foreigners intending to marry Nigerian citizens. Please verify this information with the Embassy of Nigeria before travel.

Vaccinations: A World Health Organization (WHO) yellow card is required for entry into the country. The Nigerian authorities require a yellow fever vaccination within the past ten years and that adults have a polio booster after the original childhood vaccine series. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes a country-specific list of recommended vaccines to receive prior to arrival. See also the Health section below.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

Please see our most recent Travel Advisory for more detailed information.

Terrorism: Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack –including knives, firearms, and vehicles – to more effectively target crowds. Frequently, their aim is unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as:

  • High-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
  • Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists
  • Places of worship
  • Schools
  • Parks
  • Shopping malls and markets
  • Public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights)

For more information, see our Terrorism page.

Crime: Muggings, assaults, burglaries, car-jackings, rape, kidnappings, and extortion occur regularly. Law enforcement authorities usually respond slowly or not at all, and provide little or no investigative support to victims.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens beyond Abuja and Lagos and their immediate surrounding areas, as U.S. government employees may be subject to travel constraints as security conditions warrant.

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 Nigeria. 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:  

Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or Consulate General in Lagos for assistance. Report crimes to the local police at 112 and contact the Embassy at +(234)(9) 461-4328 or Consulate General at +(234)(1) 460-3400. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.

Justice in Nigeria may be uneven. Many crimes go unsolved, or are not prosecuted to a successful conclusion for the victim.

See our webpage on help for U.S. citizen 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.
  • Provide general information regarding the victim’s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion.
  • Provide a list of local attorneys.
  • Provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the United States.
  • Victims Assistance Programs in Nigeria:
    • National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP)
    • Women Trafficking and Child Labor Eradication Foundation (WOTCLEF)
    • Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF)
  • 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 are encouraged to contact the Embassy or Consulate for assistance.

Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. Even within major cities, the limited number of first responders and extreme traffic congestion can cause lengthy delays in response time. Emergency services comparable to those in the United States or Europe are non-existent, and the blood supply is unreliable and unsafe for transfusion. For serious medical problems, you should consider traveling to the United States, Europe, or South Africa for treatment. U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

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. 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 United States, 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 or Consulate General immediately. In cases where detainees are dual citizens (Nigerian nationals), the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General may not be promptly notified. See our webpage for further information.

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

LGBTI Travelers: Consensual, same-sex sexual relations are illegal in Nigeria. Entering same-sex marriage contracts and civil unions (defined to include “any arrangement between persons of the same sex to live together as sex partners”) is also criminalized, with punishments including fines and prison sentences of up to 14 years. Same-sex marriage contracts and civil unions entered into in a foreign country are not recognized under Nigerian law.

Public displays of affection between persons of the same-sex are also punishable by up to ten years’ imprisonment. Furthermore, the law allows for the prosecution of persons who support or belong to advocacy groups relating to LGBTI issues, with prison sentences of up to ten years. U.S. citizens who participate in free speech or assemblies relating to same-sex marriage could potentially be prosecuted under this law.

In the following northern states, where Sharia law applies, penalties can also include death: Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Sokoto, Yobe, and Zamfara.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights Report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Persons with disabilities can expect to experience difficultly in terms of accessibility and accommodation.

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

Women Travelers: There is no comprehensive national law for combatting violence against women. Rape is a crime in Nigeria, but sentences for persons convicted of rape and sexual assault are inconsistent and often minor. According to the Violence against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act, rape is punishable by 12 years to life imprisonment for offenders older than 14 and a maximum of 14 years’ imprisonment for offenders younger than 14. The VAPP is currently applicable only in the Federal Capital Territory until adopted by the states. Rape remains a rampant problem.

The VAPP Act also addresses sexual, physical, psychological, and socioeconomic violence, and harmful traditional practices. Federal law criminalizes female circumcision or genital mutilation (FGM/C). Twelve states have also banned FGM/C, though the practice remains common in parts of both northern and southern Nigeria.

See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Health

Nigeria has a number of well-trained doctors, yet medical facilities are generally poor. Many medicines are unavailable, including medications for diabetes and hypertension. Caution should be taken when purchasing medicines locally, as counterfeit pharmaceuticals are a common problem and may be difficult to distinguish from genuine medications. Hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.

Emergency services comparable to those in the United States or Europe are non-existent, and the blood supply is unreliable and unsafe for transfusion. For serious medical problems, you should consider traveling to the United States, Europe, or South Africa for treatment.

U.S. citizens should dial 112 in case of an emergency. Emergency numbers may not be reliable.

Ambulance services are not present throughout the country or are unreliable in most areas.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.

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. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on 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. Check with the Federal Ministry of Health in Nigeria to ensure the medication is legal in Nigeria.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Air Quality: U.S. citizens with respiratory issues should note that the end of November to mid-March is harmattan season (a very dry season in West Africa when winds blow sand and dust from the Sahara Desert).

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

Health Facilities in General:

  • Adequate health facilities are available in major cities, but health care in rural areas may be below U.S. standards.
  • Public medical clinics lack basic resources and supplies.
  • Private hospitals usually require advance payment or proof of adequate insurance before admitting a patient.
  • Generally, in public hospitals only minimal staff are available overnight (in non-emergency wards). Consider hiring a private nurse or having family spend the night with the patient, especially a minor child.
  • Patients bear all costs for transfer to or between hospitals.

Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery:

  • We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation in the event of unforeseen medical complications.

Pharmaceuticals:

  • Exercise caution when purchasing medication overseas. Pharmaceuticals, both over the counter and requiring prescription in the United States, are often readily available for purchase with little controls. Counterfeit medication is common and may prove to be ineffective, the wrong strength, or contain dangerous ingredients. Medication should be purchased in consultation with a medical professional and from reputable establishments.

Non-Traditional Medicine:

  • U.S. citizens have suffered serious complications or died while seeking medical care from non-traditional “healers” and practitioners. We recommend that you have access to licensed emergency medical facilities in such cases.

Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy:

  • Although surrogacy agencies/clinics claim surrogacy is legal in Nigeria, there is no legal framework for foreigners to pursue surrogacy in Nigeria. As a result, surrogacy agreements between foreign intending parents and gestational mothers are not enforced by Nigerian courts.
  • Surrogacy for same-sex couples is illegal in Nigeria.
  • If you decide to pursue parenthood in Nigeria via assisted reproductive technology (ART) with a gestational mother, be prepared for long and unexpected delays in documenting your child’s citizenship. Be aware that individuals who attempt to circumvent local law risk criminal prosecution.
  • If you are considering traveling to Nigeria to have a child through use of assisted reproductive technology (ART) or surrogacy, please see our ART and Surrogacy Abroad page.

Water Quality:

  • No areas have safe tap water. 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.

Adventure Travel:

  • Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Adventure Travel.

General Health

The following diseases are prevalent:

Chemoprophylaxis (anti-malarial medication) is recommended for all travelers, even for short stays. You should:

  • Bring malaria chemoprophylaxis with you as counterfeit drugs are common in Nigeria.
  • Carry and use insect repellents containing either 20 percent DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. 
  • Treat clothing and tents with permethrin.
  • Sleep in screened or air-conditioned rooms under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets.

Air Quality:

  • Air pollution is a significant problem in several major cities in Nigeria. Consider the impact seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution may have on you, and consult your doctor before traveling if necessary.

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Roads are generally in poor condition, causing damage to vehicles and contributing to hazardous traffic conditions. There are few working traffic lights or stop signs, and few traffic control officers to manage traffic during power outages. The rainy season, generally from May to October, is especially dangerous because of flooded roads and water-concealed potholes.

All drivers and passengers should wear seat belts, lock doors, and keep windows closed. You should have appropriate automobile insurance. Drivers and passengers of vehicles involved in accidents resulting in injury or death have experienced extra-judicial actions, i.e., mob attacks, official consequences such as fines and incarceration, and/or confrontations with the victim's family.

Driving between 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. should be done with extreme caution. Automobiles, trucks, or "okadas" (motorbikes) often drive on the wrong side of the road or on sidewalks.

Traffic Laws: Motor vehicle accidents can be reported by dialing “119.” Traffic control officers may occasionally seek bribes when citing drivers for traffic violations. If stopped by traffic police, drivers should stop as instructed. However, drivers should also keep their doors locked and only roll their windows down an inch for sound. Do not pay any bribes. If requested to drive an officer to the police station, do not do so, especially at night as some traffic police are imposters.

Motorists seldom yield the right-of-way and give little consideration to pedestrians and cyclists. Chronic fuel shortages have led to long lines at service stations, which disrupt or block traffic for extended periods.

Public Transportation: We recommend avoiding public transportation throughout Nigeria. Public transportation vehicles, such as buses and motorbikes, are unsafe due to poor maintenance, high speeds, and overcrowding. Motorbikes are banned within Abuja's city limits and many major thoroughfares in Lagos. “Okada” drivers and passengers are required to wear helmets in a number of cities in the country; police can fine violators on the spot.

See our Road Safety page for more information, and visit Nigeria’s Federal Road Safety Corps website.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Nigeria’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Nigeria’s air carrier operations.  Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Nigeria or through the Gulf of Guinea 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 ICC and NGA broadcast warnings.

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

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

Last Updated: December 3, 2019

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Abuja
1075 Diplomatic Drive
Central District Area, Abuja
Nigeria
Telephone
+(234) (0) (9) 461-4328 (Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.)
Emergency
+(234) (0) (9) 461-4000 and press "0"
Fax
No Fax

Nigeria Map