Exercise normal precautions in Liberia. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
Exercise increased caution in:
Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.
If you decide to travel to Liberia:
Urban Areas and Public Beaches
Violent crime, such as armed robbery, is common. Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious crimes.
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Liberia for information on U.S. - Liberia relations.
Requirements for Entry:
If you do not obtain a Liberian visa prior to arrival, you may be deported immediately. Visit the Embassy of Liberia website for the most current visa information.
Sums in excess of $10,000 USD must be reported at the port of entry, and no more than $7,500 USD in foreign currency banknotes can be moved out of the country at one time. Larger sums must be transferred via bank drafts or other financial instruments.
Expect strict enforcement of border controls, and occasional border crossing closings, by Liberian, Ivorian, Sierra Leonean, and Guinean authorities. Corruption has been reported at many border locations and you may be asked for money prior to crossing the border. Some travelers have found that asking for official signed receipts for the payment of any unexpected “fines” can deter requests for bribes.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Liberia.
Liberia's police force has limited resources. The Liberia National Police have a strong presence in Monrovia, but less of a presence outside of the capital city. The police can be both a source of assistance and a source of problems for visitors. Travelers may be detained by police officers soliciting bribes. You are encouraged to carry a photocopy of your passport with you at all times as proof of identity and citizenship. If detained or arrested, you should ask to contact the U.S. Embassy immediately.
You should be aware of your surroundings at all times and use caution when moving around, especially at night. Travel outside of Monrovia after dark is strongly discouraged, as roads are in poor condition and there are few public street lights.
Avoid crowds, political rallies, and street demonstrations, and maintain security awareness.
Crime: Crimes of opportunity, such as residential burglary or armed robbery (typically using a knife or machete) have affected U.S. citizens and are more common at night. Criminal activity has been reported in both urban and rural areas. The Liberia National Police have limited capacity to respond to crime events.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Liberia is also 911. However, emergency services are not provided reliably or consistently. Also, there is no landline telephone service in Liberia, and cellular phone communication is subject to occasional disruptions in service. A call to 911 in Liberia may go unanswered, and you should employ other resources to obtain emergency assistance.
Corruption: 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.
Scams: Perpetrators of business fraud often target foreigners, including U.S. citizens. The best way to avoid becoming a victim of fraud is to use common sense – if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. U.S. citizens should carefully check any unsolicited business proposal originating in Liberia before committing any funds, providing any goods or services, or undertaking any travel, particularly if the proposal involves mining or the sale of gold and diamonds. There has also been an increase in romance fraud as Liberians initiate internet relationships with a U.S. citizen for the purpose of eventually requesting money.
Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should seek medical assistance as needed, and should contact the U.S. Embassy as soon as possible.
Report crimes to the local police at 911 and contact the U.S. Embassy at + (231) 77-677-7000.
Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
For further information:
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 Liberia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
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.
Photographs: Photographing military installations, air and sea ports, and important government buildings is prohibited. You should not take photographs of sites or activities that may be considered sensitive, as police may confiscate the camera.
Infrastructure: Lodging, fuel, transportation, utilities, and telephone services are not consistently available, especially outside of Monrovia. Hotel rooms can be difficult to find without an advance reservation. There is no working landline telephone system in Liberia. You should rent or purchase a local cellular phone. Commercial air courier service is available.
Financial Issues: The Liberian dollar is the official currency; however, the U.S. dollar is accepted as legal tender. Liberian dollars are preferred for smaller purchases, especially outside of Monrovia. Wire transfers may be limited and subject to fees if you do not have a Liberian bank account. ATMs are not widely available. Traveler's checks and credit cards are not regularly accepted, except at some major hotels in Monrovia. There have been some reports of financial information being compromised even at hotels where credit cards are routinely accepted.
Swimming Hazard: Do not swim in the Atlantic if you are unfamiliar with swimming in water where very strong rip currents occur. Riptides can occur anywhere on the coastThe Liberia Weather Service does not provide information on where and when these tides form, and there are no lifeguards posted on beaches.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
LGBTI Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual relations are criminalized in Liberia. Voluntary sodomy is a first-degree misdemeanor with penalties ranging up to one year in prison.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: There are no accommodations for individuals with disabilities in Liberia. U.S. citizens with disabilities that hinder mobility should take this into consideration before planning travel to Liberia.
Women Travelers: Rape is a crime in Liberia punishable by up to life in prison. However, the Liberian government does not effectively enforce the law, and rape is a serious and pervasive problem. Domestic violence also remains a serious problem despite being punishable by up to six months in prison.
Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is not specifically against the law in Liberia and is often performed during initiation into the Sande secret societies.
See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Hospitals and medical facilities in Liberia are poorly equipped and are incapable of providing many 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. Within Liberia, medicines are scarce, often beyond expiration dates, possibly counterfeit, and generally unavailable in most areas.
Malaria and yellow fever are prevalent throughout the country. Yellow fever immunization is required to enter Liberia and recommended for all residents. Chemoprophylaxis (anti-malarial medication) is recommended for all travelers, even for short stays.
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 to cover medical evacuation.
If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Liberia to ensure the medication is legal in Liberia. Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.
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: Expect time-consuming detours around the many bridges and roads damaged by war, neglect, or the heavy annual rains occurring between May and November. Traffic accidents are frequent and often result in injury or loss of life. Approach intersections with extreme caution. Potholes and poor road surfaces are common. Vehicles are often overloaded with people and goods, and make frequent stops without signaling. Drivers overtake on the right and left lanes. Many vehicles operate with threadbare tires, and blowouts are frequent.
Traffic Laws: Drivers in Liberia are expected to hold either a Liberian or an international driver’s license; a driver’s license from your home country will not be sufficient. At the same time, traffic laws are either nonexistent or not enforced. You are required to pull off the road to make way for high-speed car convoys carrying government officials. Be aware that mob violence is not uncommon if you are involved in a traffic accident. If you are involved in an accident, unless it is physically unsafe to remain in your vehicle, it is often safest to stay in your locked car and call the police immediately.
Public Transportation: Public taxis are poorly maintained and usually overloaded. Taxis have been occasionally targeted for robbery. If you must travel as a passenger, it is best to ask a trusted friend to drive you in his or her personal vehicle and to travel with all doors locked and all windows rolled up. Public buses are crowded and may make you vulnerable to pick-pockets or robbers. Three-wheeled “kekes” (motorized rickshaws) are extremely dangerous and should be avoided.
For more information, please visit our Road Safety page. Visit the website of Liberia’s national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety.
Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Liberia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Liberia’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 Liberia 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.
DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION IS PROVIDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY AND MAY NOT BE TOTALLY ACCURATE IN A SPECIFIC CASE. QUESTIONS INVOLVING INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN LAWS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE APPROPRIATE FOREIGN AUTHORITIES OR FOREIGN COUNSEL.
While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent. Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:
The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.
To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.
For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney.
Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.
For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.
Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction.
Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.
Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.
Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).
Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.
Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.
Please check back for update.
Birth Certificates are currently available only from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in Monrovia. Certificates are free for those 12 and under, and cost 500 LD (approx. US $7). Under Liberian law, anyone with knowledge of a birth can register that birth. Supporting documentation is required (such as medical facility records or sworn affidavits), but the origins of this documentation are rarely investigated. Certificates are generally processed in about three (3) business days.
There are no reliable checks and balances in the Liberian birth certificate application process. Applicants could easily procure a birth certificate with any information (date of birth, location of birth, parents) desired. Because of this, adjudicators are encouraged to request secondary documentation of relationship when encountering such documents.
Death Certificates are available only from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in Monrovia. In order to file for a death certificate, an applicant must either have an official record of death from a medical facility, or a confirmed record of the disposition of the body (i.e. funeral home record, photos of burial, etc.) Applications must be made IN PERSON and carry a 500 LD (approx. US $7) fee. Certificates are generally processed in about three (3) business days.
Please check back for updates.
Liberia recognizes two different types of marriage and divorce: traditional and western. In order to be legally recognized by the Government of Liberia, marriage or divorce MUST be registered (and given the accompanying certificate) in one of these two ways.
Note: Liberian law requires at least one party in a divorce application be resident in Liberia at the time of the application.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs governs all traditional marriages and divorces in Liberia. The application for each must be made IN PERSON and carries a US $50 fee for marriages and a US $75 fee for divorces. Certificates are generally processed in about one week.
As recently as June 2011, local police have charged several current and former Ministry of Internal Affairs staff members with forging marriage documents. Adjudicators are encouraged to request secondary documentation of relationship when encountering such documents.
The National Archives governs all western marriages, while the resident civil law court handles divorces for such cases. The application for each must be made IN PERSON (though divorce proceedings are usually handled exclusively by legal representatives) and carries a US $50 fee for marriages and a US $150 fee for divorces. Certificates are generally processed in about one week, however, there is typically an additional two to three (2-3) business days of processing after the certificates have been signed.
The marriage process requires signatures from two witnesses and an officiant, but DOES NOT require any secondary proof of relationship. In practice, the divorce process does not always mandate that either party be present (sworn affidavits can be provided.) Adjudicators are encouraged to request secondary documentation of relationship when encountering such documents.
Adoption certificates, commonly referred to as Adoption Decrees, are available from the Probate Court at the Temple of Justice and registered with the National Archives in Monrovia. Parties must appear at the court but are allowed to execute an adoption through their attorney or legal representation. Prior to issuance of the decree, parties must provide evidence that they have conducted a home study with Ministry of Health and filed all required petitions, relinquishment statements, and affidavits with the Probate Court. The Probate Court will charge a filing fee, in addition to the legal fees or execution fee charged by the attorney.
Decrees are issued by the Presiding Judge of the Probate Court for that term. As with other court documents, the decrees are issued on white legal-size paper and will have several rubber stamps (usually red or gold in color) bearing the court seal. Once issued by the court, parties must register the adoption decree at the National Archives and pay the required $40 USD authentication and registration fees. Once registered, the decree will also bear a numerical coding and seal/signature from the Registrar of Deeds and Titles at the National Archives. Certified copies of the adoption decree are available from the National Archives for $75 USD.
As with other legal documents issued in Liberia, there is no system to check that the process is followed correctly. Often, adoption decrees are issued before any of the required paperwork has been filed with the appropriate ministries. Adjudicators are encouraged to request to see the relinquishment statements and other associated affidavits which should have accompanied the adoption petition at the court.
Note: While the 2009 Presidential Moratorium on inter-country adoptions remains in place, it is not unusual to see recently issued adoption decrees.
Applications for Liberian police clearances must be made IN PERSON at the Records and Identification Section of the Liberia National Police Headquarters in Monrovia. The cost is 200 LD or US $5 per application. The record review process is done manually and typically takes one to two (1-2) weeks. In practice, however, the review process can take as little as five (5) business days and as long as three (3) weeks.
Applicants not resident in Liberia can request that their biographic information and fingerprints be sent to the Liberia National Police via the police headquarters of their home country, however, in practice, these requests are rarely completed.
Note: The Liberia National Police does not maintain a nationwide criminal database. As a result, the Headquarters typically does not have records of crimes committed in the outer counties of the country. As of 2014, two (2) letters of support – one from a community leader and one from the community police station are required to begin the police clearance process.
Liberia has certified that all passports issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (hand written, biometric and ECOWAS) are valid for international travel. Though the ECOWAS passport was previously only authorized for use within the region, it is currently the primary passport issued by the Government of Liberia. Passport applications must be made at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Passport Office and must be accompanied by either a Liberian birth certificate or a Liberian naturalization certificate. The passport issuance fee is US $23.
Note: The Liberia Nationality Law requires that one be “of Negro descent” in order to qualify for Liberian citizenship.
Monrovia, Liberia (Embassy)
502 Benson Street
Tel: (231) 77-677-7000 or (231) 77-677-7001
Fax: (231) 77-677-6370
The consular section at the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia processes non-immigrant, immigrant, follow-to-join refugee and asylee and diversity visa applications for all individuals resident in Liberia.