Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Country Information > Sao Tome and Principe International Travel Information
There is no U.S. diplomatic presence in São Tomé and Príncipe. Contact the U.S. Embassy in Libreville, Gabon if you need consular assistance while in São Tomé and Príncipe.
Sablière B.P. 4000
Telephone: +(241) 01-45-71-00
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(241) 07-38-01-71
Fax: +(241) 01-45-71-05
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on São Tomé and Príncipe for information on U.S.-São Tomé and Príncipe relations.
You must present a passport and proof of yellow fever vaccination to enter São Tomé & Príncipe. Holders of a valid U.S. passport do not require a visa when visiting for a period of up to 15 days.
São Tomé & Príncipe does not currently maintain an embassy in the United States. Travelers transiting Gabon can obtain the latest information on entry requirements from the Embassy of São Tomé & Príncipe in Gabon, B.P. 49, Libreville, Gabon, telephone +(241)-72-15-27, fax +(241)-72-15-28. For all other inquiries, please contact São Tomé & Príncipe’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations at 400 Park Avenue, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10022, +1 (212) 317 0644.
There are no restrictions on bringing foreign currency into São Tomé & Príncipe. Visitors leaving the country must report carrying any sums equal to or greater than 10,000 Euros, and be able to provide financial statements proving that they entered the country carrying a larger sum than the amount with which they plan to depart.
Lost or Stolen Passports: U.S. citizens whose passports are lost or stolen while in São Tomé & Príncipe could face delays in receiving a replacement passport. An applicant must normally come to the Embassy in Libreville to present an application for a lost or stolen passport. Though there are several commercial flights per week from São Tomé to Libreville, a person without a passport would face great difficulty in both boarding an international flight in São Tomé, and disembarking from that flight in Libreville. If an applicant is unable to travel to Libreville, the logistical difficulties in processing a passport application from a remote location will cause at least several days’ delay.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of São Tomé & Príncipe.
São Tomé & Príncipe may deny entry to people coming from Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) affected countries.
There have been isolated incidents of civil unrest in the city of São Tomé. Avoid large gatherings or any other events where crowds have congregated to demonstrate or protest.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in São Tomé & Príncipe is 2-22-22-22. In the event of a fire, dial 112.
Crime: Crimes such as burglary, pick-pocketing, and armed home invasion have occurred on the islands, particularly around the winter holidays. Pick-pocketing is prevalent in markets, on the streets, or near hotels.
To minimize your risk of being the victim of crime, you should:
If you are the victim of an attempted robbery or carjacking, you are encouraged to surrender your property to avoid injury, and to report all incidents to the police and the U.S. Embassy in Libreville. Police response time can be slow.
Victims of Crime: Report crimes to the local police at +2-22-22-22 and contact the U.S. Embassy in Libreville, Gabon at +(241) 01-45-71-00.
Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance.
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities are inconsistent. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be certified 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. 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 while in São Tome & Príncipe. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy in Libreville immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Illegal drugs: Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in São Tomé & Príncipe are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
Language: Portuguese is the official language of São Tomé & Príncipe. English is not widely spoken or understood.
Currency: Credit cards are not widely accepted in São Tomé & Príncipe. ATMs in São Tomé & Príncipe only accept cards from local banks. Travelers must exchange their currency for the São Tomean Dobra. Banks only accept a limited range of foreign currency for exchange. U.S. dollars and Euros are both widely accepted for exchange at banks.
Photography: Taking photographs of the Presidential Palace, military, or other government buildings is strictly forbidden.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in São Tomé & Príncipe. Some societal discrimination does exist, and there are no legal protections for LGBTI individuals against discrimination.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: São Tomé & Príncipe law does not prohibit discrimination against those with disabilities, but reported discrimination is rare. The law does not mandate accessibility and it is not provided in most areas.
Women Travelers: Domestic violence is a crime, punishable by up to eight years in prison when it results in harm to the health of the victim, and up to 16 years in prison when it leads to a loss of life. However, domestic violence remains widespread throughout the country.
See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Medical facilities in São Tomé & Príncipe are extremely limited. You will need to travel abroad for all but minor medical needs. The only hospital in the country is on São Tomé, Hospital Central Ayres de Menezes. A few clinics provide very basic services. Payment in cash is almost always expected before treatment is rendered. The availability of medicine in local stores or pharmacies is very limited. You should carry prescription medication in its original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.
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 medical care providers in São Tomé & Príncipe only accept cash payments and expect payment in advance. Even if your health insurance does provide overseas coverage, you will have to pay your medical charges at the time of service and later seek reimbursement from your insurance company.
See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
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:
Road Conditions and Safety: Streets in the capital city of São Tomé and major roads outside of the capital city are paved, but large potholes are common. There are no sidewalks or shoulders outside of São Tomé, so pedestrians, bicyclists, and animals on the roads can be a major hazard. Secondary roads are unpaved. In rural areas, drivers are expected to honk their horn periodically as a warning signal of their approach. There is no street lighting outside of the capital city. Some roads may be impassable without a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
Only a few miles of paved roads exist on the island of Príncipe; the conditions are similar to those found on São Tomé.
Public Transportation: Although taxis are fairly safe, you should make sure that the taxi has seatbelts and negotiate the rate before entering the taxi. If you are staying at a hotel, ask the front desk personnel to call a taxi for you, as they generally use reliable providers. Hotels can also identify private drivers for hire.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.
Air Travel: Airline service to São Tomé & Príncipe is limited. Flights are offered from Lisbon by TAP Air and STP Airways and regionally by Ceiba Airline and Afric Aviation. Ceiba and Afric Aviation flights are subject to frequent delays and sudden cancellations. African Connection flies between São Tomé & Príncipe islands four times a week and also has charter flights.
Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in São Tomé & Príncipe, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of São Tomé & Príncipe’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 São Tomé & Príncipe should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at www.marad.dot.gov/msci. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings website.