Security Alert
May 17, 2024

Worldwide Caution

International Travel


Learn About Your Destination


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

Updated with return to full operational status, removal of obsolete COVID-19 page links, and updates to Do Not Travel Areas.

Reconsider travel to Nigeria due to crimeterrorismcivil unrestkidnapping, and armed gangs. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do Not Travel to:

  • Borno, Yobe, Kogi, and northern Adamawa states due to terrorism and kidnapping
  • Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, and Zamfara states due to kidnapping
  • Abia, Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Enugu, Imo, and Rivers states (with the exception of Port Harcourt) due to crimekidnapping, and armed gangs.

Country Summary
Violent crime – such as armed robbery, assault, carjacking, kidnapping, hostage taking, roadside banditry, and rape – is common throughout the country. Kidnappings for ransom occur frequently, often targeting dual national citizens who have returned to Nigeria for a visit, as well as U.S. citizens with perceived wealth. Kidnapping gangs have also stopped victims on interstate roads.

Terrorists continue plotting and carrying out attacks in Nigeria. 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. Terrorists are known to work with local gangs to expand their reach.

There is civil unrest and armed gangs in parts of Southern Nigeria, especially in the Niger Delta and Southeast regions. Armed criminality and gangs, including kidnapping and assaults on Nigerian security services is also pervasive in this region.

Violence can flare up between communities of farmers and herders in rural areas.

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 country information page for additional information on travel to Nigeria.

  If you decide to travel to Nigeria:

  • Carry proper identification, including a U.S. passport with a current Nigerian visa, if needed.
  • Use caution when walking or driving at night.
  • Keep a low profile.
  • Review travel routes and times to vary your predictability.
  • 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.
  • Have evacuation plans that do not rely on U.S. government assistance.
  • Establish a “proof of life” protocol with your loved ones, so that if you are taken hostage, your loved ones know specific questions (and answers) to ask the hostage-takers to be sure that you are alive (and to rule out a hoax).
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Obtain comprehensive medical insurance that includes medical evacuation.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Country Security Report for Nigeria.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations.  Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.

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

The security situation in these states is fluid and unpredictable due to widespread terrorist activity, inter-communal violence, and kidnapping. Security operations to counter these threats may occur without warning.

Terrorist groups based in the Northeast routinely target humanitarian camps, security forces, churches, schools, mosques, government installations, educational institutions, entertainment venues, and road travelers.

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.

Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara states – Level 4: Do Not Travel

The security situation in these states is fluid and unpredictable due to widespread inter-communal violence and armed criminality, especially kidnapping and roadside banditry. Security operations to counter these threats may occur without warning.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Abia, Anambra, Bayelsa, Delta, Enugu, Imo, 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, violent civil unrest, and armed gangs.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.


Embassy Messages


Quick Facts


6 months. Passports with the “X” gender marker are not accepted.


1 page




Polio and Yellow Fever


No limit if declared


No limit if declared

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Abuja

1075 Diplomatic Drive
Central District Area, Abuja
Telephone: +234 209 461 4328


U.S. Consulate General Lagos
2 Walter Carrington Crescent,
Victoria Island,
Lagos, Nigeria
Telephone: +234 201 460 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: +234 201 460 3400

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.

What does "Visa on Arrival" mean in Nigeria? Nigeria's "Visa on Arrival" requires pre-approval. You must receive a Visa on Arrival approval document from a Nigerian embassy or consulate prior to travel to Nigeria. A Visa on Arrival is only available for the purpose of business travel, as defined by the Nigerian government. No Visa on Arrival is available for tourism. If you attempt to travel to Nigeria without a visa issued into your passport or a Visa on Arrival approval document from a Nigerian embassy or consulate, you will be refused entry. This information is subject to change. Please refer to the Nigerian Immigration Services (NIS) guidelines ( and utilize the forms available on their website.

Visit the Embassy of Nigeria website for the most current visa information.

The Nigerian Fire Arms Act (1990) provides that no person shall have in his possession or under his control any firearm or ammunition except such person that has a license from the President or from the Inspector General of Police. U.S. citizens found with firearms (declared or undeclared) will be arrested.   

You cannot legally depart Nigeria unless you can prove, by presenting your visa and entry stamp, that you entered Nigeria legally.  In addition, if you exceed your authorized period of stay (as determined by the duration of stay given by the entry officer), you will be required to pay a fine before being allowed to depart. The fine can be up to $4,000 USD depending on the length of overstay.

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 non-expired Nigerian passports.

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.

Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to 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.

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

Safety and Security

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 target crowds more effectively. Frequently, their aim is focused on 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)

Please see our most recent Travel Advisory for more details.

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 and often do not have the resources to provide 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. 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. Others may not be 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 victims’ compensation programs in the United States.
  • Provide information on 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. You should consider traveling to the United States, Europe, or South Africa for treatment for serious conditions.  U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance

Maritime Security: Piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea continue to trend upwards. Pirates/armed groups operating in the region typically carry out attacks on vessels using automatic weapons. Attacks, kidnappings for ransom, and robbery of crew, passengers, and ship’s property continue to be common occurrences.

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.  Possession, use, or sale of cannabis and related products is prohibited under Nigerian law.  U.S. citizens who violate the law may be subject to arrest and prosecution. 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 (holders of U.S. and Nigerian citizenship), 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.

Travelers with Disabilities:  The law in Nigeria prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, or mental disabilities; however, the law is very unevenly enforced. Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is not as prevalent as in the United States. 

Few government buildings, schools, banks, or grocery stores have accessible facilities, including in Abuja and Lagos. Some hospitals and clinics are equally inaccessible to people with disabilities and lack wheelchair ramps or lifts, including some of the hospitals travelers commonly use. Expect accessibility to be very limited in transportation, lodging, communication/information, and general infrastructure, and largely absent outside of major cities. 

Much of the disability equipment for sale locally is refurbished rather than new. Replacement parts can be found in local informal markets and are also generally refurbished parts. Imported higher-end equipment such as electric wheelchairs and lifting equipment can be purchased from a limited number of medical equipment suppliers in the major cities.

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

Women Travelers:  Rape is a crime in Nigeria. 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. Rape remains a rampant problem.

The VAPP Act, currently applicable only in the Federal Capital Territory, 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.


Nigerian medical facilities are generally poorly equipped. Many medicines are unavailable, including medications for diabetes or asthma. Take care 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.

For emergency services in Nigeria, dial 112.

Ambulance services are: 

  • not present throughout the country or are unreliable in most areas.
  • not equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment. 
  • 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/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 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:

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.
  • Hospitals and doctors often require payment “up front” prior to service or admission. Credit card payment is not always available. Most hospitals and medical professionals require cash payment.
  • 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.
  • Psychological and psychiatric services are limited, even in the larger cities, and approaches to treatment and services might be significantly different than the United States.

Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery:

  • Medical tourism is a rapidly growing industry worldwide. People seeking health care overseas should understand that medical systems operate differently from those in the United States and are not subject to the same rules and regulations. Anyone interested in traveling for medical purposes should consult with their local physician before traveling. 
  • Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for information on medical tourism, the risks of medical tourism, and what you can do to prepare before traveling to Nigeria.
  • We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation in the event of unforeseen medical complications.
  • Your legal options in case of malpractice are very limited in Nigeria.  


  • Exercise caution when purchasing medication overseas. Pharmaceuticals, both over the counter and requiring prescriptions 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.
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration are responsible for rules governing the transport of medication back to the United States. Medication purchased abroad must meet their requirements to be legally brought back into the United States. Medication should be for personal use and must be approved for usage in the United States. Please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration websites for more information.  

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:

  • 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.
  • 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 vary widely and are not enforced by Nigerian courts.
  • Even though you may have a surrogacy contract, it is not clear if the contract will stand in court as a custody agreement. Therefore, parents should consider obtaining a custody order in Nigeria to be certain their parental rights are recognized.
  • 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 delays in documenting your child’s citizenship. Be aware that individuals who attempt to circumvent local law risk criminal prosecution.

Water Quality:

  • Tap water is unsafe.  Bottled water and beverages are generally safe.  Be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested, and  may use tap water to make ice for drinks.

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:

Air Quality:

  • Reliable air quality data for Nigeria is limited. However, satellite data suggests that on average it is significantly worse than in the United States. Poor waste management practices and commercial pollution exacerbate seasonal weather variations that affect air quality. Consider the impact seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution may have on you, and consult your doctor before traveling if necessary.
  • The air quality varies considerably and fluctuates with the seasons.  It is typically at its worst from the end of November to mid-March, which is the harmattan season (a very dry season in West Africa when winds blow sand and dust from the Sahara Desert). People at the greatest risk from particle pollution exposure include: 
    • Infants, children, and teens.
    • People over 65 years of age.
    • People with lung disease such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. 
    • People with heart disease or diabetes. 
    • People who work or are active outdoors. 
  • Travelers with allergies and/or respiratory disease may experience illness and are encouraged to bring ample supply of prescription medications.

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 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.

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 several cities; 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.

The Commandant of the Coast Guard has determined that effective anti-terrorism measures are not in place in Nigeria ports and has imposed conditions of entry on vessels that arrive in U.S. ports having visited ports in Nigeria. Mariners and passengers on commercial vessels traveling through the ports of Nigeria should exercise increased caution.

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: January 24, 2024

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Abuja
1075 Diplomatic Drive
Central District Area, Abuja
+234 209 461 4328 (Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.)
+234 209 461 4000
No Fax

Nigeria Map