Road Conditions and Safety: Road safety throughout Niger is a concern. Travel outside Niamey and other cities often requires four-wheel-drive vehicles. Driving at night is always hazardous and should be avoided. There have been occasional car-jackings and highway robberies throughout the country.
The main causes of accidents are driver carelessness, excessive speed, poorly maintained vehicles, and poor to non-existent road surfaces. Urban traffic includes bicycles, pedestrians, livestock, donkey carts, and hand carts as well motor vehicles. Overloaded trucks, buses, and other vehicles are common everywhere. Disabled vehicles are generally repaired in place, often partially blocking traffic lanes.
Police checkpoints are common both in cities and on rural roads. On rural roads, police will check for license, registration, proof of insurance, and destination.
Traffic signals in Niamey often do not work properly. Traffic signs are often missing, damaged, or obscured.
Traffic Laws: All drivers must have either a valid Nigerien or international driver?s license. Local liability insurance is required for all vehicles. Traffic laws are based on the French system. Unless marked otherwise, at traffic circles and intersections, traffic must yield to vehicles entering from the right.
Headlights should not be used during the day. Except in emergencies, only police and military vehicles are allowed to use headlights during daylight hours. Horns should not be used after dark.
Drivers are required to pull over for: official motorcades or military convoys with headlights on, public emergency vehicles with sirens on, and funeral processions.
Accidents involving minor damage (?fender benders?) generally only require an exchange of insurance information. However, accidents involving more serious damage or injuries, or where there is any dispute over insurance or who is at fault, will require police involvement. In any accident where the police are involved, vehicles should not be moved before the police arrive.
Public Transportation: While taxis are available at a fixed fare in Niamey, most are in poor condition and do not meet basic U.S. road safety standards. Inter-city ?bush-taxis? are available at negotiable fares, but these vehicles (minibuses, station wagons, and sedans) are generally older, unsafe models that are overloaded, poorly maintained, and driven by reckless operators seeking to save time and money.
A national bus company (SNTV) operates coaches on inter-city routes and, since being reorganized in 2001, has provided reliable service and has experienced no major accidents. Air Transport, Rimbo, and Garba Messag? are private bus companies operating in Niger. Concerns exist regarding the youth of drivers and the speed with which the private buses travel the Nigerien roads.
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 Niger, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Niger?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.
Health and emergency services are extremely limited in Niamey, and completely inadequate outside the capital. Air quality is poor in Niamey. Travelers with respiratory conditions are cautioned that they may experience worsening symptoms in Niger.
Documentation of yellow fever vaccination is required for those over nine months of age upon arrival in Niger.
Mosquito borne illnesses such as malaria are the leading cause of dealth in Niger. Documentation of yellow fever immunization is required for travelers prior to arrival in Niger. Zika virus is a risk in Niger. Because Zika infection in a pregnant woman can cause birth defects; pregnant women should not visit Niger. All travelers should follow steps to prevent mosquito bites and sexual exposure to Zika during and after the trip.
Diarrheal illness is quite prevalent, even in cities and luxury accommodations. Tap water is not potable.
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 (our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.
If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Government of Niger to ensure the medication is legal in Niger. Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor?s prescription.
The following diseases are prevelant in Niger:
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
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.
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.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our 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 is strong societal stigma against same-sex sexual activity in Niger, but no laws criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual activity in general. The law states, however, that an ?unnatural act? with a person of the same sex who is under 21 is punishable by six months to three years in prison and a fine of between 9,000 and 90,000 CFA francs ($16-$160).
Dress restrictions: Local culture and Islamic tradition encourage conservative dress for both men and women. There have been incidents of groups of men assaulting women who appear to be African and who are wearing clothing other than traditional garments.
Photography restrictions: Tourists are free to take pictures anywhere in Niger, except near military installations, radio and television stations, the Presidential Palace, airports, or diplomatic facilities. Tourists should not photograph military or police personnel, or political or student demonstrations, and should seek prior permission before taking a close-up ?portrait? photo of an individual.
Currency regulations: Niger shares the West African Franc (CFA) with several other West African countries. The CFA may be converted into dollars. Foreign currency exchange over 1 million CFA (about $1,900 at an exchange rate of about 530 CFA/$1) requires authorization from the Ministry of Finance (forms available from all major banks).
Telephone service: Due to poor line quality, callers often experience delays in getting a telephone line, and faxes are often unclear. Service quality is generally better with cellular service, which is available from multiple providers in urban areas. Connections between cell phones and land lines are often poor quality and may fail to connect at all.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Nigerien law mandates that the state provide for persons with physical and mental disabilities, but there are no specific regulations mandating accessibility to buildings, transportation, and communication for those with special needs. There is extremely limited accessibility to public transportation, road crossings, taxis, restaurants, cafes, bars, and other tourist spots.
Women Travelers: Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Niger is punished by a fine and a jail sentence. Between 1998 and 2006 the practice of FGM on girls aged 15 to 49 was reduced by 50% (5% to 2.2%) although ethnic and regional disparities remain, with a pocket of the most intense FGM practice persisting in far Western Niger. Forced marriage or marriage without the consent of one or both parties still happens in Niger, and victims are often minor 15-18 year old girls. Women have limited access to education and employment (less than 15% of women can read.)
See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Safety and Security
Travelers to Niger are urged to exercise extreme caution due to the risk of terror attacks and kidnapping threats against Westerners. U.S. citizens should reduce exposure to locations frequented by Westerners such as restaurants and nightclubs. Visitors are urged to stay in hotels with armed Nigerien security presence.
Due to security threats, the U.S. Embassy restricts the travel of U.S. government employees and official visitors outside of Niamey. These restrictions may limit the ability of the U.S. Embassy to assist visitors in these areas.
The border region with Mali continues to be of specific concern. There are frequent and ongoing reports of terrorists and affiliates crossing into and through Niger from Mali. A U.S. citizen was kidnapped from the area in October 2016.
Niger?s southeastern border with Nigeria and east of Maradi are poorly controlled. Boko Haram and several factions affiliated with ISIS have conducted cross-border attacks into Niger. The Government of Niger has increased its security forces in the border areas, but the situation remains unstable and travel is not advised.
For travel in any remote area of the country, the Department of State urges travelers to use guides and to travel with a minimum of two vehicles equipped with global positioning systems (GPS) and satellite phones.
Street demonstrations occur frequently in Niger. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational without warning. Avoid demonstrations and maintain security awareness at all times. Refer to the U.S. Embassy Niger website for the most updated safety and security information.
Crime: Thefts and petty crimes are common day or night. Tourists should not walk alone in Niger, but areas in Niamey near the Gaweye Hotel, the National Museum, the Petit March?, and on or near the Kennedy Bridge are of particular concern. In general, walking at night is not recommended.
Counterfeit and pirated goods are available, but transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law. Carrying them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines.
Victims of Crime:
If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. There is no local equivalent to a ?911? emergency line in Niger. U.S. citizens can try calling local police by dialing ?17? on Nigerien phones or +227-20-72-25-53, but calls to these numbers often go unanswered, especially outside of normal working hours. The Embassy highly recommends hiring guards for your residence if you are planning to live in Niger.
Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the 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
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- 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 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. 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
Visit the Embassy of Niger?s website for the most current visa information.
A passport, visa, and proof of vaccination against yellow fever are required for entry into Niger. For additional immunization information, visit the CDC?s Health Information for Travelers to Niger.
Travelers from the United States should obtain a visa from the Embassy of Niger before arriving in Niger. Failure to do so could result in being denied entry to Niger. Travelers should obtain the latest information on entry/exit requirements from the Embassy of the Republic of Niger, located at 2204 R Street NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone: (202) 483-4224.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Niger.
See the Department of State?s Fact Sheet on Niger for additional information on U.S. – Niger relations.
Travel Embassy and Consulate
Rue des Ambassades, P.O. Box 11 201
Niamey, Niger Republic
Telephone: +(227) 20-72-26-61
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(227) 20-72-31-41 or 99-49-90-66