Road Conditions and Safety: Road conditions are extremely poor. Watch out for:
- Large potholes and degraded roadways
- Unpaved roads throughout CAR
- Drivers ignoring traffic laws to drive on the smoothest section of roads
U.S. Embassy Bangui advises against:
- Overland travel in the northern, eastern, and western regions due to the risk of armed attacks on motorists
- Driving after dark
Traffic Laws: If you are involved in a traffic accident, you should wait until the police or the Gendarmerie arrive unless your health or safety is threatened. There are currently no distracted driving laws in effect in the Central African Republic, but police may pull over drivers who talk or text while driving for not following safe driving procedure.
Public Transportation: The city of Bangui has a public transportation system consisting of green buses and yellow taxis, though these vehicles are often dangerously overcrowded and very badly maintained.
See our Road Safety page for more information.
Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in CAR, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of CAR?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.
Please visit the Embassy?s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in the Central African Republic.
For emergency services in the Central African Republic, dial 117 (local equivalent of ?911?) or 2161-2200 (the Gendarmerie.)
Ambulance services are:
- Not present throughout the country.
- 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.
The U.S. Embassy in Bangui cannot cover 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 and often medical facilities in CAR require payment before treatment.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most healthcare 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 the 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.
Medical facilities are extremely limited in CAR, and the quality of care is unreliable. Sanitation levels are low. Many medicines are not available. You should carry a sufficient supply of properly labeled prescription drugs and other medications with you for your entire visit.
The following diseases are prevalent:
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Resources for Travelers regarding specific issues in the Central African Republic.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.
Local laws and Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws and penalties. 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.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Identification: Local law requires passports to be carried on your person at all times. Failure to produce your passport may result in detention and/or a fine.
Drugs: Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in CAR are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
Photography: Taking photographs of police or military installations, airports, or any other government buildings is prohibited. Unauthorized photography may result in the seizure of photographic equipment and detention of the photographer, by CAR authorities. Police or other government authorities can provide information and grant permission for photographing a particular subject or location. Locals in CAR may be very sensitive to all photography; you should obtain permission first.
Corruption: Corruption remains a serious problem among CAR security forces, some members of which have harassed travelers for bribes. At night, the roads in the capital are often manned with impromptu checkpoints, at which police or soldiers ask motorists and travelers for money.
Banking: Banking infrastructure remains limited in CAR, and facilities for monetary exchange exist only in the capital. There are few ATMs in CAR. Exchange bureaus and banks normally accept dollars and euros, with the exception of West African Francs (CFA). Credit cards are not widely accepted in CAR, and purchases of goods and services, including hotel rooms and airline tickets, are cash transactions.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report ? see country reports
- Human Rights Report ? see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
LGBTI Travelers: The penalty for "public expression of love" between persons of the same sex is imprisonment from six months to two years or a fine. When one of the participants is underage, the adult may be sentenced to two to five years imprisonment or a fine.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance. Public infrastructure is generally in poor condition and sidewalks, buildings, and public transportation do not cater to those with special accessibility needs.
Women Travelers: Sexual assault and domestic violence are widespread in CAR. See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Safety and Security
The U.S. Department of State advises against all travel to CAR. U.S. Embassy Bangui cannot provide consular services to U.S. citizens in CAR at this time. U.S. citizens in need of assistance should contact the U.S. Embassy in Yaound?, Cameroon.
U.S. citizens should carry all proper paperwork at all times, including their passport.
Demonstrations occur spontaneously. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events. Mob violence targeting those implicated in crimes or road accidents can occur. Harassment of foreign nationals is common.
- 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.
Outside Bangui, criminals and armed groups frequently conduct armed robberies, physical and sexual assaults, homicides, and kidnappings of civilians to include foreigners and humanitarian workers; road travelers are especially vulnerable. Outbreaks of intercommunal violence and armed conflict can occur without warning anywhere in the country including Bangui. Large areas of CAR?s territory are controlled by armed groups.
Crime: Crime in Bangui is common. Beware of:
- Petty theft in large market areas;
- Armed gangs in Bangui and outlying residential areas;
- Violent demonstrations, looting, burning of buildings, and roadblocks during periods of civil unrest and conflict; and
- Checkpoints staffed by armed actors seeking bribes and impeding the work of peacekeeping forces.
Victims of Crime:
U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon for assistance.
Report crimes to the local police at 117 (local equivalent of ?911?) or the Gendarmerie at 2161-2200 and contact the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon at +(237) 22220-1500 ext. 4341/4023. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime. Victims of crime in Bangui may have to pay to send a vehicle to pick up police officers due to the shortage of police vehicles and fuel.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
The U.S. Embassy in Cameroon 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 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 in Cameroon for assistance.
Tourism: No formal tourism industry infrastructure is in place. Tourists are considered to be participating in activities at their own risk. Emergency response and subsequent appropriate medical treatment is not available in-country. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Entry exit Requirementsh
Please visit the Embassy?s COVID-19 page for more information on entry/exit requirements related to COVID-19 in the Central African Republic.
Travelers entering CAR are required to have:
- A valid passport
- Evidence of yellow fever vaccination
The Central African Republic does not require visas for visits under 180 days by U.S. passport holders. However, not all airlines will board U.S. passport holders without a valid visa, so travelers are advised to check with their carrier.
For visa and entry requirement information contact:
- The Embassy of the Central African Republic, 2704 Ontario Road, NW, Washington, D.C. 20009, telephone: (202) 483?7800 / 7801, fax: (202) 332?9893.
- Outside the United States, contact the nearest CAR Embassy or, if none in the country, the nearest French Embassy.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of CAR.
See the Department of State Fact Sheet on the Central African Republic (CAR) for information on U.S. – CAR relations.
Travel Embassy and Consulate
The U.S. Embassy in Bangui does not provide consular services at this time. Contact the U.S. Embassy in Yaounde.
Avenue Rosa Parks
P.O. Box 817
Telephone: +(237) 22220-1500 ext. 4341/4023 (Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. ? 12:00 p.m. local time)
Emergencies: +(237) 22220-1500, ext. 4531 or +(237) 22222-25-893