International Travel

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Nigeria

Nigeria
Federal Republic of Nigeria
Reconsider travel to Nigeria due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and piracy. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Reconsider travel to Nigeria due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and piracy. 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

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, claiming hundreds of lives each year. 

Avoid travel to the Gulf of Guinea due to the threat of piracy. 

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 for Nigeria.

If you decide to travel to Nigeria: 

  • 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

The security situation in northeast Nigeria is fluid and unpredictable, particularly in Borno and Yobe States and northern Adamawa State. Terrorist groups based in the Northeast target churches, schools, mosques, government installations, educational institutions, and entertainment venues. Hundreds of thousands of Nigerians have been displaced as a result. 

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Embassy Messages

Alerts

Quick Facts

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) 460-3600 (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 valid passport, a visa, and proof of polio and yellow fever vaccinations. You should obtain your Nigerian visa from a Nigerian embassy or consulate in advance of your travel. You can obtain a “visa upon arrival” at the airport only 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. - Nigerian 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 Nigerian Embassy before travel.

Vaccinations: A World Health Organization (WHO) yellow card is required for entry into the country. The Nigerian authorities require yellow fever vaccination within the past 10 years and that adults have a polio booster after the original childhood vaccine series. The US 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 nationality, prevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

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

Do not travel to northern Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe States due to terrorism. While the epicenter for terrorist activity is in Borno State, other states in the Northeast and other parts of Nigeria may also be affected.

Boko Haram, and ISIS West Africa, extremist groups based in the northeast, have previously targeted churches, schools, mosques, government installations, educational institutions, and entertainment venues in Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Plateau, Taraba, the Federal Capital Territory, and Yobe states. Hundreds of thousands of Nigerians have been displaced as a result of violence in the north. Islamic State West Africa, which is now a distinct group from Boko Haram, is present in Nigeria, and may seek to attack locations frequented by westerners including major population centers. 

Terrorists groups 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.

Violent crime, such as armed robbery, assault, carjacking, kidnapping, and rape, is common throughout the country.

Due to the risk of kidnappings, robberies, and other armed attacks, U.S. citizens should also avoid all but absolutely essential travel to: Bayelsa, Delta, Kaduna, Katsina, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, and Zamfara States.

Avoid travel to the Gulf of Guinea due to the threat of piracy.

Sporadic rural violence occurs between communities of farmers and herders, claiming hundreds of lives each year. Since 2017, the most frequent reports of these incidents were in the states of Plateau, Adamawa, Taraba, Nasarawa, Benue, Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara.

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 constraints as security conditions warrant.

Crowds and Demonstrations:

U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments, avoid demonstrations and large political gatherings, and be vigilant regarding their personal security at all times throughout the country. U.S. citizens should also carry identification and a cell phone or other means of communication that works in Nigeria, and it is advisable to pre-program the U.S. Embassy’s telephone number and email address into the device.

Crime: Armed muggings, assaults, burglaries and home invasions, car-jackings, rape, and extortions occur regularly and often involve violence. Law enforcement authorities usually respond slowly or not at all and provide little or no investigative support to victims.

Fraud:

The U.S. Embassy in Abuja and Consulate General in Lagos receive frequent reports of online financial scams, often involving a fraudulent romantic partner requesting money for hospital bills, arrests, or legal expenses to depart Nigeria. Local hospitals and authorities know to contact the U.S. Embassy and Consulate General in the event that a U.S. citizen is in need of assistance. Be skeptical about sending money to anyone known only through online contact.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for more information on scams.

Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should first contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Report crimes to the local police at 112 and contact the Embassy at +(234)(9) 461-4328 or Consulate General at +(234)(1) 460-3600.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime. Justice in Nigeria may be uneven. Many crimes are go unsolved, or are not prosecuted to a successful conclusion for the victim.

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 or Consulate 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.

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. See our webpage for further information.

Bribes: Soldiers staffing checkpoints at night and police at intersections during the day will often solicit bribes. Display requested documents, but do not surrender them, as officials may take them if bribes are not paid.

Petty corruption is rampant. Poorly paid government officials and private company employees may ask for “fees” for doing their job, and travelers may be inconvenienced for not paying bribes. Requesting official signed receipts for the payment of any unexpected “fines” or “fees” can sometimes deter such improper behavior.

Currency: The local currency, the Naira, is non-convertible. There are currency exchange kiosks in international airports, major hotels, and banks where one can exchange USD for Naira; however, outside of major cities, there are few official currency exchange locations. Some currency exchange kiosks do not publically post their exchange rates, so it is important to first ask about the rate prior to transaction. Obtaining U.S. dollars is increasingly difficult. Visitors should expect to pay most bills in cash.

Debit and Credit Cards: While credit cards may be accepted at established businesses in major cities, they are rarely accepted elsewhere. Virtually all credit card readers in Nigeria require embedded “smart” chips. Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) that can accept international debit cards or credit cards for withdrawals are rare and unreliable. Debit and credit card use should be considered carefully and only if utilizing two factor authentication (e.g. PIN) to ensure a secure transaction. To prevent anti-fraud triggers that may cancel your access to your funds while traveling in Nigeria, you are advised to inform your banks and credit card companies in advance of travel to Nigeria.

Traveler’s Checks: Most banks do not cash traveler’s checks or personal checks. Inter-bank transfers are often difficult to accomplish, may only be transferred from abroad to Nigeria, and only if you have a local bank account. International money-transfer businesses are an alternative means to send money abroad.

Photography: It is illegal to take photos or videos in/around:

  • all government buildings
  • airports
  • bridges
  • near military installations/operations

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 10 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 10 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 were inconsistent and often minor. According to the Violence against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act, currently applicable only in the Federal Capital Territory until adopted by the states, it is punishable by 12 years to life imprisonment for offenders older than 14 and a maximum of 14 years’ imprisonment for all others. Rape remains a serious problem.

The VAPP Act also addresses sexual violence, physical violence, psychological violence, harmful traditional practices, and socioeconomic violence. Federal law criminalizes female circumcision or genital mutilation. 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.

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.

Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.

Typical childhood diseases such as measles, mumps and chickenpox are common in Nigeria. Children and adults should be up to date with all these immunizations as well as such travel related immunizations such as hepatitis A, meningococcal, typhoid and Yellow Fever.

Malaria is prevalent throughout the country and yellow fever is present. Yellow fever immunization is required to enter Nigeria and recommended for all residents. 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.

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:

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 secure 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" often drive on the wrong side of the road or on sidewalks.

Traffic Laws and Culture: Motor vehicle accidents can be reported by dialing “119,” the local equivalent to 911. Traffic control officers may occasionally seek bribes when citing drivers for traffic violations. 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.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.

Visit the website of Nigeria’s National Tourism Ministry.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) periodically assesses the government of Nigeria’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Nigeria’s air carrier operations. At the time of this posting, Nigeria had a Category 1 ranking (i.e. meets FAA guidelines for direct flights to/from the United States). Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel and Safety: 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.

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: November 15, 2018

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