Road Conditions and Safety: Road safety is a major concern in C?te d?Ivoire, and U.S. Embassy officers are prohibited from driving outside of major cities after dark, including between Abidjan, Grand Bassam, and Assinie. Visibility is often poor, even in developed areas with streetlights. Roadway accidents involving large commercial or privately owned vehicles are common along roads connecting major cities. It is common to see overturned or broken down vehicles that may block routes and create traffic congestion. Cargo transport vehicles are often overloaded and do not follow standard safety practices.
The Embassy?s ability to provide consular services, including emergency assistance, outside of the Abidjan area is limited. Many areas of C?te d?Ivoire are difficult to access, and travel in these areas is hazardous. Outside the major cities, infrastructure is poor, medical care is limited, and there are few facilities for tourists.
Carjacking incidents have been reported in Abidjan, including vehicles with diplomatic plates. While stopped in traffic, allow enough room between your car and the one in front to maneuver out if needed. Before getting into your car, look around to see if there is anyone paying unusual attention, and if someone appears to be watching, do not go to your vehicle. If confronted, remain courteous and calm and, if threatened with violence, in most cases do not resist. Street criminals often employ threats of violent tactics when accosting their victims. When victims hand over their valuables, the encounter normally ends without further incident or harm. However, street criminals have a track record of following through on violent threats when victims resist handing over their possessions. Please report any incident to the U.S. Embassy.
See our Road Safety page for more information.
Emergency services, such as ambulance service (SAMU), exist in Abidjan and larger towns, but such service is unreliable. Call 185 or 2244-5553. In smaller towns, there are usually no emergency services available.
Traffic Laws: The U.S. Embassy advises its employees to remain at the scene of an accident only if it is safe to do so. If you believe the situation might become hostile, report to the nearest police or gendarmes station.
Impatient drivers frequently disregard traffic laws and drive recklessly. Cars and trucks frequently travel without functioning headlights.
Public Transportation: Abidjan has a poor public transportation system. If you choose to travel by bus, the ?Express? line is believed to be the safest and most reliable service. Taxis are readily available and inexpensive; you may be able to negotiate a better rate. They are, however, poorly maintained and notorious for not respecting the rules of the road. There have been reports of robberies in metered or orange taxis, though they are still widely thought to be the most secure form of public transportation.
Communal taxis (?woro-woros?), used only within the limits of each commune, are not metered and may be dangerous. Do not use local vans (?Gbaka?) because they are frequently involved in accidents. Always travel in groups and avoid driving on roads outside of Abidjan at night.
Aviation Safety Oversight: While there are direct commercial air services to the United States operated by carriers registered outside C?te d?Ivoire, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not yet assessed the Government of C?te d?Ivoire?s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance under 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 C?te d?Ivoire should 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.
Abidjan has privately-run medical and dental facilities that are adequate, but do not fully meet U.S. standards. Good physician specialists can be found, although few speak English. While pharmacies are well-stocked with medications produced in Europe, newer drugs may not be available. If you plan a lengthy trip to C?te d?Ivoire, you should bring enough medication to last the entire stay in your carry-on luggage. Medical care outside of Abidjan is extremely limited.
The rainy season is typically from June to September, and often includes heavy rains and flash flooding, particularly in low-lying areas. U.S. citizens should monitor local weather and news reports, avoid driving through flooded areas, and keep a supply of water and emergency provisions in their residence.
For emergency services in C?te d?Ivoire, no reliable public service is available, but a private service, SAMU ? ?Service d?aide Medicale Urgente,? at +225 22 44 94 09, is available for a fee.
Ambulance services are:
- Not widely available, and training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards.
- 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 insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.
We strongly recommend supplemental medical insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor?s prescription.
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 Abidjan and other major cities, but health care in rural areas is 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, and most hospitals and medical professionals require cash payment.
- Medical staff may speak little or no English.
- Generally, in hospitals only minimal staff is available overnight. 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.
- 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.
- In many areas, tap water is not potable. Bottled water and beverages are generally safe, although you should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested. Be aware that ice for drinks may be made using tap water.
- Swimming in coastal waters is dangerous and strongly discouraged, even for excellent swimmers. The ocean currents along the coast are powerful and treacherous, and numerous people drown each year.
- Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Adventure Travel.
The following diseases are prevalent:
*Extremely high malaria transmission occurs throughout C?te d?Ivoire year round and in all areas, including large cities. Malaria prophylaxis is highly recommended for even short visits.
- Air pollution is a significant problem in several major cities in C?te d?Ivoire. Consider the impact seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution may have on you, and consult with your doctor before traveling if necessary.
- 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.
Local laws and Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. 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 immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Customs: Ivoirian customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes. ATA Carnet Headquarters, at the U.S. Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA Carnet in the United States. For additional information, call (212) 354-4480 or e-mail ATA Carnet Headquarters.
If traveling to another West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) country, expatriate residents leaving C?te d?Ivoire must declare the amount of currency being taken out of the country. Residents traveling to countries that use the CFA franc currency, but are not WAEMU members, are prohibited from taking CFA francs out of C?te d?Ivoire, and are authorized to carry up to the equivalent of 2,000,000 CFA francs (approximately 4,000 USD) in any other currency. You can take funds in excess of that amount out of the country in the form of travelers or bank checks.
If traveling to any other non-WAEMU country, tourists are prohibited from taking more than 500,000 CFA francs (approximately 1,000 USD) and business operators are prohibited from taking more than 2,000,000 CFA francs (approximately 4,000 USD) without government approval.
Corruption: Government corruption remains a serious problem in C?te d?Ivoire, and has an impact on judicial proceedings, contract awards, customs, and tax issues. Uniformed security forces (police, military, and gendarmes) routinely stop vehicles for traffic violations and security checks. If you are stopped, politely present your identification. Police and security officials rarely speak English. If you are stopped at one of these checkpoints and asked to pay a bribe, politely refuse and present your photocopy of your U.S. passport, visa, and entry stamp.
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: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in C?te d?Ivoire. The only mention of same-sex sexual activity in the laws is as a form of public indecency that carries a penalty of up to two years? imprisonment, the same prescribed for heterosexual acts performed in C?te d?Ivoire that contravene the law. Antidiscrimination laws exist, but they do not address discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Societal stigmatization of the LGBTI community is widespread, and police, gendarmes, and members of the armed forces reportedly beat, imprison, verbally abuse, extort, or humiliate members of the LGBTI community. The few LGBTI organizations in the country operate freely, but with caution.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Individuals with disabilities should be aware that there are almost no accessibility accommodations made for individuals with disabilities in C?te d?Ivoire. This is true virtually everywhere, from the airport to hotels and public buildings.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
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 more effectively target crowds. Frequently, their aim is 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
- Shopping malls and markets
- Public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights)
C?te d?Ivoire remains under threat by extremist organizations in the region, including those active across the border in southern Burkina Faso, which has witnessed increased jihadist activity of late (though C?te d?Ivoire is not considered a base of operations).
For more information, see our Terrorism page.
Crime: Crime continues to be the major public security concern in C?te d?Ivoire. Armed carjackings, robberies of businesses, and home invasions target residents, including expatriates, who are perceived as wealthy.
U.S. citizens should exercise caution when visiting Abidjan?s Abobo, Adjame, Angre, Koumassi, Marcory, and Yopougon districts as well as popular neighborhoods for nighttime entertainment, including Plateau, Treichville, and Zone 4.
Carry identification at all times to minimize the risk of harassment at police checkpoints.
C?te d?Ivoire has undertaken security sector reform actions, and, as a result, its national police and gendarmerie are in a transitional period. The military often performs what might be considered traditional civilian law enforcement functions for which it is not properly trained.
Weapons left over after the civil war present a continuing security threat exploitable by criminals and rogue soldiers. Political factions and their supporters armed with these weapons pose an ongoing risk to C?te d?Ivoire?s fragile democratic institutions.
Demonstrations?occur frequently. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events.? Election-related violence comprises another concern; national elections are scheduled for October 2020.
- 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.
Internet romance and financial scams are prevalent in C?te d?Ivoire. 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:
- Romance/online dating
- Money transfers
- Lucrative sales
- Gold purchase
- Contracts with promises of large commissions
- Grandparent/relative targeting
- Free trip/luggage
- Inheritance notices
- Work permits/job offers
- Bank overpayments
Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. Report crimes to the local police at 03-79-91-44 or 03-32-37-64 and contact the U.S. Embassy at (+225) 22-49-40-00 or after-hours at (+225) 22-49-44-50. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- 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 United States
- 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 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 may not be 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
A passport, visa, and proof of vaccination against Yellow Fever are required for entry into C?te d?Ivoire. For additional immunization information, visit the CDC?s Health Information for Travelers to C?te d?Ivoire.
Visit the Embassy of the Republic of C?te d?Ivoire website for the most current visa information. The Embassy of the Republic of C?te d’Ivoire is located at 2424 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20007, telephone (202) 797-0317.
Although e-visas are available at the airport upon arrival, they must be requested online prior to arrival in C?te d?Ivoire. You can find more information online at C?te d?Ivoire evisas.
An export permit issued by the National Museum is required for all high-value pieces of art being removed from C?te d’Ivoire. The export permit costs 2,000 CFA plus 500 CFA per object.
U.S. citizens intending to establish a residence in C?te d?Ivoire must apply for a residency permit (titre de s?jour) at the Office d?Identification Nationale. (Note: Titres de s?jour are not issued to children under the age of 16 who are documented on their parents’ visas.)
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of C?te d?Ivoire.
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on C?te d’Ivoire for additional information on U.S.-C?te d?Ivoire relations.