Bangladesh Traveler Information - Travel Advice
Travel Advice with a Travel Advisory overview from the US State Department. Here we cover Visa, Safety & Security, local Laws and Insurance in our Bangladesh Traveler Information guide.
At AARDY we can’t recommend travel insurance enough. Whether you are just traveling a few hundred miles from home to see family, or traveling to the other side of the world, travel insurance should be considered an essential part of your holiday packing. The hope is that you won’t have to use your travel insurance, and that you’ll have a fun and enjoyable trip. The following Bangladesh Traveler Information should help you make the most of your trip to Bangladesh.
Note: Always check that your destination country is one approved for travel by your travel insurance provider.
PASSPORT VALIDITY: Six months beyond planned stay.
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES: One.
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED: Yes. Although U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for a tourist visa on arrival, there is no guarantee they will receive one. Some U.S. citizens have been denied entry into Bangladesh despite believing they had fulfilled the requirements for a visa on arrival.
VACCINATIONS: Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations required; Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis, and Rabies vaccinations recommended. There is no risk of Yellow Fever in Bangladesh; however, proof of Yellow Fever vaccination is required if you are traveling from a country with a risk of Yellow Fever and are older than one year of age.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY: You must declare 5,000 U.S. dollars and above.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT: You cannot depart with more USD than you declared upon entry. You cannot take more than 5,000 Bangladeshi taka out of Bangladesh.
Embassies and Consulates
Baridhara, Dhaka, 1212
Telephone: **+(88) (2) 5566-2000
**Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(88) (2) 5566-2000. When you hear the recorded message, press “0” to connect with the Embassy Duty Officer
Fax: +(88) (2) 5566-2907
The Consular Section’s American Citizen Services unit operates Sunday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by appointment only, except in the event of an emergency.
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Bangladesh for information about U.S.-Bangladesh relations.
Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements
Passports and Visas:
- Passports must be valid for six months beyond your planned stay in Bangladesh, have at least one blank page, and have a Bangladeshi visa. You must possess an onward or return ticket.
- **We strongly recommend obtaining a visa before traveling. **Although U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for a tourist visa on arrival, there is no guarantee you will receive one. U.S. citizens born outside the United States may be subject to increased scrutiny or further requirements at the port of entry. Recently, some U.S. citizens have been denied entry into Bangladesh despite believing they had fulfilled the requirements for a visa on arrival. Visit the Embassy of Bangladesh website for visa information.
- Short term travelers can be denied entry if they cannot demonstrate sufficient financial liquidity.
- Visas must be in a valid passport. In country, you may obtain a replacement visa at the Department of Immigration and Passports. Replacing a visa, which is required in order to exit the country, may take three to four business days.
There are penalties for overstaying a visa, and it can be very difficult and time-consuming to change immigration status after arrival. Overstay penalties are as follows:
- 1 to 15 days = 200 Bangladeshi taka per day + 160 U.S. dollar (or equivalent in Bangladeshi taka) processing fee
- 16 to 30 days = 500 Bangladeshi taka per day + 160 U.S. dollar (or equivalent in Bangladeshi taka) processing fee
- 31 days or more = Adjudication at immigration office
For further information, visit the Bangladeshi Immigration Police website.
- When traveling by air, all foreigners except children under the age of two must pay a departure tax. While often included when air tickets are purchased, it may be collected at the airport at the time of departure. The amount varies depending on the destination.
- If departing by road in a private vehicle, you must obtain a road exit permit by contacting the Director General, Immigration and Passports. A refundable cash deposit is typically required; the amount of the deposit is based on the value of the vehicle.
U.S.-Bangladesh Dual Nationals:
- If you are a U.S.-Bangladeshi dual national, you and your immediate family members are eligible for a “No Visa Required for Travel to Bangladesh” seal. Your nearest Bangladeshi Embassy or Consulate can issue this seal in your U.S. passport.
- If you hold both U.S. and Bangladeshi citizenship, you may not be immediately recognized as a U.S. citizen by the local authorities and may initially be treated as a Bangladeshi citizen.
- Read more information about U.S.-Bangladeshi dual nationality on our website.
- Bangladeshi customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary import or export of items such as currency, household appliances, alcohol, cigarettes, and weapons.
- Bangladesh does not allow the exchange of local currency (Bangladeshi taka) for U.S. dollars (cash and traveler’s checks) unless the customer has a ticket for travel outside Bangladesh.
- Contact the Bangladeshi Embassy or Consulates for specific information regarding customs requirements. Please also see our Customs Information.
HIV/AIDS: Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Bangladesh. Please verify this information with the Embassy of Bangladesh before traveling.
Find information about the prevention of international child abduction on our website.
Safety and Security
The U.S. government assesses that there remains a credible terrorist threat against foreigners in Bangladesh. U.S. citizens in Bangladesh should take precautions, remain vigilant, and be alert to local security developments.
There has been no significant terrorist attack in Bangladesh since March 2017, but the country remains a target of several foreign terrorist organizations. Since 2015, ISIS-affiliated terrorists have conducted over 30 attacks that targeted foreigners, religious minorities, and local police/security services. In March 2017, ISIS claimed responsibility for at least three bombings in multiple locations in Bangladesh, including two suicide attacks that targeted security forces near Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. The third bombing transpired during a police raid against suspected terrorists, killing seven onlookers and injuring 40. In July 2016, ISIS attacked a Dhaka restaurant frequented by Westerners, killing 20 hostages, including a U.S. citizen. If you observe high-profile police activity, depart the area immediately.
Al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) retains a presence in Bangladesh; the group last carried out attacks in 2015 and 2016 that killed several secular bloggers, publishers, and human rights activitists; a U.S. citizen was among the victims.
The following groups, including several on the U.S. government’s list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, are active in Bangladesh:
- Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS), known locally as Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB or “Neo-JMB”)
- Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), known locally as Ansar al-Islam
- Indigenous sectarian groups
Only adult family members, 18 years of age and older, are permitted to accompany U.S. government employees assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Bangladesh. U.S. government personnel in Bangladesh live, work, and travel under strict security guidelines and are prohibited from:
- Traveling on foot (walking, running) and biking outside of designated areas and times;
- Traveling via non-registered rickshaws outside designated areas and times;
- Traveling via motorcycle or compressed natural gas autorickshaw (CNG) on public thoroughfares and sidewalks;
- Visiting public establishments outside of designated areas and times; and
- Attending large gatherings, including events at international hotels, without prior permission.
**Tourism: **The tourism industry is nascent, unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are often not identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either 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 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.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
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 are particularly severe.
- Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Bangladesh are severe, including long jail sentences, heavy fines, or even death.
- You may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you, or if you take pictures of certain buildings, such as military facilities, embassies, police stations, shipyards, traffic inspection facilities, or airports. This list is not meant to be exhaustive. You should exercise caution when photographing government facilities in general.
- Driving under the influence is illegal and could result in immediate incarceration.
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.
Drones: All forms of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), colloquially known as “drones,” are highly regulated and restricted in Bangladesh and are subject to import and flight restrictions. Failure to obtain import and/or flight permission can result in detention and/or arrest, as well as confiscation of the RPAS. Visit the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh website for the latest RPAS regulations.
Forced Marriage: A marriage must be entered into with the full and free consent of both individuals. We can provide help and advice if you are being forced into a marriage against your will. Please refer to our information on forced marriage. All travelers to Bangladesh, including Bangladeshi citizens, should maintain possession of their passports and return plane tickets to ensure independence to travel.
Registration for Renters: The Bangladesh Government requests biodata and other personal information from all residents. This registration is mandatory for renters, but is voluntary for home-owners and foreigners. Dual nationals, former Bangladesh nationals, and “No Visa Required” seal holders are considered Bangladeshi for registration purposes.
**Property Disputes: **
- Land disputes are common in Bangladesh and are extremely difficult to resolve through legal channels.
- We cannot protect personal property and cannot take sides in a legal dispute.
- If you wish to purchase property in Bangladesh, be aware of the risks, including those of not being physically present to oversee your property.
- Involvement in a property dispute may pose dangers ranging from lengthy court disputes to being threatened, injured, or murdered. If you are involved in a court dispute, you run the risk of having cases filed against you, and you may be arrested and jailed.
**Natural Disasters: **
- Heavy flooding occurs during the monsoon season (June to October), and 30 percent of the country may be under water.
- Cyclones occur most frequently in the pre-monsoon (April and May) and post-monsoon (October and November) seasons and could include wind speeds of up to 150 km/hr and storm surges of up to 5 meters.
- Bangladesh is at severe risk from tornadoes.
Bangladesh is in a zone 2B earthquake fault region, with a moderate probability of damaging ground motion. The overwhelming majority of structures in Bangladesh would not withstand a moderate earthquake. Although earthquakes are more likely to occur in the north of the country, destruction from an earthquake is expected to be most acute in urban areas. Post-earthquake disaster relief capabilities are extremely limited.
You should make contingency plans for travel in Bangladesh. Leave emergency contact information with family members outside of Bangladesh and enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). General information about natural disaster preparedness is available from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and at Ready.gov. For more information on disaster preparedness, please visit:
- U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
- FEMA: Earthquakes
- FEMA for Kids: Emergency Preparedness
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Earthquake Preparedness
- Ready.gov: Tornadoes
- Travel.state.gov: Natural Disasters
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
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 Rights: Consensual same-sex sexual activity is criminalized in Bangladesh and penalties include up to life imprisonment. Seeour LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details. In 2016, AQIS specifically targeted and killed a prominent member of the Bangladesh LGBTI community in his apartment because of his human rights activism and sexual orientation.
Persons with Mobility Issues: Public transportation, sidewalks, many buildings, and most public areas are not wheelchair accessible.
**We do not pay medical bills. **Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
**Medical Insurance: **Make sure health insurance plans provide coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly advise supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Medical Care: Though quality of care is below U.S. standards, most common illnesses can be treated locally. U.S. citizens often travel outside Bangladesh for routine surgical procedures and complicated medical treatment.
- A centrally-coordinated medical emergency response system is not available. A list of hospitals and doctors in Dhaka can be found on the U.S. Embassy website.
- Bangladesh has no prohibitions on specific medications. Always carry prescription medication in original packaging with a doctor’s prescription.
- The sale of counterfeit medications has been reported, but medications from major pharmacies and hospitals are generally reliable.
**Vaccinations: **Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- In the past few years, a large number of both Chikungunya and Japanese Encephalitis cases has been reported. You should consider the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine for prevention.
- Dengue is endemic in Bangladesh and during the 2019 summer season, increased cases are being reported as compared to the last 5 years. Should you develop symptoms of fever, headache, rash, or muscle/joint aching, you should seek medical attention early in your illness.
- Malaria is reported in 13 districts in the northeast and southeast regions of Bangladesh. If planning travel there, you should consult with your physician regarding taking medication for malaria prophylaxis.
- The CDC also considers Bangladesh an area with risk of Zika infection, though it is uncommon. Pregnant women, travelers with a pregnant partner, and women considering becoming pregnant should speak to their healthcare provider about possible Zika risk before travel.
Prevention is key:
- Regular use of insect repellent and long garments is recommended as protection against mosquito-borne illness.
- Water supplies in Bangladesh are non-potable. Bottled drinking water is generally safe for consumption.
- Foodborne illnesses are common. Wash, soak in sanitizing solution, peel, and thoroughly cook all food to minimize chemical, bacterial, and parasitic contamination.
Air quality in Dhaka is consistently poor and especially hazardous from November to March. We recommend avoiding prolonged outdoor exposure during these months. N95 filtration masks/respirators that are NIOSH certified are helpful but you need to have a good fit and seal when using them. Current Dhaka air quality can be found here.
Further health information:
Travel and Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety:
- Bangladeshis drive on the left, the opposite of U.S. driving patterns.
- Roads are extremely crowded, are poorly maintained, often lack shoulders, have sharp drop-offs, and have barriers that are not sign-posted. Roadways often contain a mix of human and vehicular traffic, occasionally traveling against the flow of traffic.
- Drivers are often unlicensed, aggressive, and poorly trained. Many vehicles, particularly large trucks and buses, are poorly maintained. Larger vehicles generally take the right-of-way.
- Speed limits and other traffic laws are not commonly posted and are rarely observed by motorists. Vehicles often run red lights and merge directly into traffic without stopping.
- Drivers use car horns or flash their high-beam headlights to announce their presence in all areas of Bangladesh day or night.
Road accidents, including fatal head-on collisions, are common in Bangladesh. When traveling by road:
- Exercise extreme caution when crossing streets, even in areas frequented by pedestrians.
- Use seatbelts if available and wear helmets on motorcycles and bicycles.
- Do not travel by road without an experienced local driver or guide.
- Exercise particular vigilance along intercity highways, as banditry and carjacking have been known to occur.
- Monitor local news for any reports of road disturbances, as protestors and demonstrators often use road blockage as a means of publicizing their grievances.
If a serious accident occurs, or if a driver hits a pedestrian or livestock, crowds quickly gather, and the behavior of the crowd is often unpredictable. The vehicle and its occupants may be at risk of being attacked in such circumstances depending on who the crowd believes is at fault and what damage has occurred. Such attacks may pose significant risk of injury or death to the vehicle’s occupants or of damage to the vehicle. It is unsafe to remain at the scene of an accident of this nature. Seek shelter at the nearest police station.
- The U.S. Embassy prohibits U.S. government officials and their family members from using buses, trains, motorcycles, rickshaws, and compressed natural gas autorickshaws (CNGs) due to high accident rates and crime issues.
- The Bangladeshi passenger rail system is antiquated and overburdened. Some political activists target rail lines during civil unrest by hurling explosives and removing rail ties from the tracks, making trips unusually dangerous and frequently causing cancellations. Even in peaceful times, foreigners are often the center of attention at many train stations because of the relatively atypical presence of foreign travelers on rail in the country.
Aviation Safety Oversight:
Current aviation safety and security protocols for Bangladeshi airports are not equivalent to those of the United States.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) current determination is that the Government of Bangladesh’s Civil Aviation Authority does not provide safety oversight of its air carrier operators in accordance with the minimum safety oversight standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
U.S. Department of Defense personnel are prohibited from using Biman Airlines.
**Maritime Travel: **Mariners planning travel to Bangladesh 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 (select “broadcast warnings”.)
For additional travel information
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution and Travel Advisories.
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
International Parental Child Abduction
Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Bangladesh. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.”
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