Cameroon 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 Cameroon 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 Cameroon Traveler Information should help you make the most of your trip to Cameroon.
Note: Always check that your destination country is one approved for travel by your travel insurance provider.
PASSPORT VALIDITY: Six months.
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES: One page per stamp.
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED: Yes.
VACCINATIONS: Yellow fever.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY: None.
Embassies and Consulates
Avenue Rosa Parks
(in the Mbankolo Quartier, adjacent to the Mount Febe Golf Club)
P.O. Box 817
Telephone: +(237) 22220-1500 Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(237) 22220-1500
Fax: +(237) 22220-1572
Embassy Branch Office, Douala, Cameroon
Corner of Rue Ivy and Rue French, Ecobank Building, Bonanjo
Telephone: +(237) 23342-5331 or+ (237) 23342-0303 Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(237) 23342-5331 or +(237) 23342-0303
Fax: +(237) 23342-7790
See the Department of State Fact Sheet on Cameroon for information on U.S. – Cameroon relations.
Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements
Requirements for Entry:
- Current immunization records, including evidence of yellow fever vaccination are required for entry into Cameroon.
- World Health Organization (WHO) card with yellow fever vaccination.
- Proof of polio vaccination for visits longer than four weeks.
Visas: Obtain your visa before traveling. Visit the Cameroon Embassy website for the most current visa information. Overseas inquiries should be made at the nearest Cameroon Embassy or Consulate.
Dual Nationality: Cameroon does not recognize dual nationality. U.S. citizens should always present themselves as U.S. citizens to Cameroonian authorities, regardless of their country of birth. U.S. citizens must always enter and exit Cameroon on a U.S. passport with a valid Cameroonian visa otherwise they are liable to be denied entry or detained. Furthermore, presenting oneself as a Cameroonian citizen may impede our ability to provide consular services.
HIV/AIDS restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Cameroon.
Safety and Security
Embassy personnel are restricted from traveling to the Northwest, Southwest, North, and Far North Regions of Cameroon, as well as within 20 kilometers of the border with the Central African Republic in Adamawa and East Regions, and within 20 kilometers of the border with Nigeria and north of Ngaoudere in the Adamawa Region.
The terrorist organizations Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa are active in Far North, North, and Adamawa Regions of Cameroon. There have been suicide bomb attacks in public places in urban areas resulting in numerous deaths and injuries. Attacks are indiscriminate, and have impacted places frequented by foreigners. Refrain from travel outside of city limits after dark, and be cautious when in places of worship, markets, hotels, parks, and sporting venues. Terrorist attacks are most common outside major towns, especially in the regions bordering Nigeria and Chad. Terrorists regularly cross the border to carry out attacks in Cameroon’s Far North, North, and Adamawa regions. Violent criminal attacks are common in the regions bordering the Central African Republic (CAR). The following is specific safety and security information related to various parts of Cameroon:
Bakassi Peninsula: Cameroon's military authorities restrict access to the Bakassi Peninsula. U.S. citizens should avoid this area.
Far North Region and Mayo-Louti: Avoid all travel to the Far North Region, which includes the regional capital cities of Maroua and the Lake Chad region. Terrorists affiliated with Nigeria-based Boko Haram have kidnapped foreigners and conducted suicide bombings. You may encounter fighting between Cameroonian security forces and Boko Haram or ISIS-West Africa. Armed robbery is also a threat.
Gulf of Guinea/Coastal Areas: Piracy and kidnappings by criminal groups remain a threat. See the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
Southwest and Northwest Regions: Avoid these regions due to the presence of an active separatist movement. Armed clashes between government and secessionists occur on a daily basis, as well as kidnappings and other acts of violence.
The North Region, and borders with Nigeria, Chad, and CAR: Avoid these border areas due to the terrorist threat, risk of kidnapping, armed robbery, assaults, and carjackings.
Travel Advisories are in effect for neighboring countries Nigeria, Chad, and CAR. Escalating military operations against Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa by security forces in neighboring countries have adversely affected security in the border regions of Cameroon. As a result, there have also been movements of large numbers of people into and across parts of northern Cameroon, including internally displaced persons and refugees from Nigeria. Conflict in CAR periodically spills over the border. U.S. government travel is highly restricted in border areas and requires adequate security support.
Humanitarian and religious workers in eastern Cameroon should coordinate efforts with the Embassy and the Office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Yaoundé.
- Avoid demonstrations and public gatherings in Cameroon. Even events intended to be peaceful can quickly turn violent.
- Monitor consular messages and local and international news from reliable sources.
Roadblocks: Security forces stop motorists on the pretext of minor or non-existent violations to conduct vehicle searches and check passengers for identity papers. They may also extort bribes. We advise travelers not to pay bribes, and to ask the police officer to provide a citation to be paid at the local court.
To protect yourself:
- Drive with doors locked and windows closed at all times.
- Do not permit soldiers or police officers to enter your vehicle, and do not get into the vehicle of anyone purporting to be a security official.
- If stopped, remain inside your vehicle with doors locked and open the window slightly to communicate.
- Carry color photocopies of your passport and other identity documents to show to security or police officials.
- Remain courteous and calm; if threatened, do not resist.
- Report any incident to the U.S. Embassy in Yaoundé.
Crime: Foreigners in Cameroon have been victims of all types of crime: murder, sexual assault, kidnapping, carjacking, burglary, theft, armed robbery, and home invasion. These crimes are often accompanied by violence, particularly in case of victims trying to resist. The risk of street and residential crime is high.
Transport Crimes: U.S. Embassy personnel are prohibited from using taxis. Violent assaults on taxi passengers are common. Petty theft is prevalent and occurs on trains, buses, and taxis.
The Hilton and Mont Febe hotels offer a shuttle service from Yaoundé-Nsimalen Airport to downtown Yaoundé. You should use this service or retain the services of a reputable private transport company.
- Be vigilant, particularly on public transportation.
- Avoid walking alone, especially after dark, and displaying cash and valuable personal property.
Financial crimes: Visitors and residents are often targets of scammers. Financial, commercial, and internet offers may be scams; many victims pay large amounts of money before they suspect anything.
- Do not share your personal financial or account information.
- Complete financial transactions with trusted partners only, insist on written contracts, and avoid informal agreements. The U.S. Embassy cannot intervene in private legal matters.
- Remain vigilant in business dealings – corruption is a pervasive problem throughout the country.
Victims of Crime:
U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should first contact the U.S. Embassy.
Report crimes to the local police by calling 117 and contact the U.S. Embassy at + (237) 22220-1500. Dial +237 22222-2525 in Yaounde or dial 112 in major cities to contact ambulance services. If you have been a victim of sexual assault or rape, consider contacting a medical provider for HIV post-exposure prophylaxis.
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,
- 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 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, and
- replace a stolen or lost passport.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the U.S. 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. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical response and treatment are typically available only in Douala and Yaounde. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of these two cities and 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. You may be taken in for questioning by the police if unable to produce an acceptable form of identification, travel permit, or Cameroonian driver’s license. Convictions for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs, can be severe.
Photography: It is illegal to take pictures of government buildings, military installations, and other public facilities, many of which are unmarked. You could be fined, have your photographic equipment confiscated, or be detained or arrested. Do not take photos of people without their permission.
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.
Phone Service: Cellular phones are the norm, as other telephone service is unreliable and landlines are nearly non-existent. It may be possible to purchase a SIM card locally and use a U.S.-compatible cell phone. You will need to show your passport.
Currency: The Central African franc (XAF) is the official currency of Cameroon, but U.S. dollars and Euros are accepted in urban areas. Cameroon is primarily a cash economy. Due to the potential for fraud and other criminal activity, avoid using credit cards and be cautious when using ATMs. Exchange currency only at reputable banks. Money transfer services are found throughout the country.
Customs: Strict import and export regulations, particularly with regard to pharmaceuticals and wood products, are enforced. It is illegal to buy, sell, kill, or capture any protected wild animal or trade its parts without a license, including ivory. Cameroon is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. You will be prosecuted and could receive a prison sentence or a fine if you buy or traffic in these goods.
Wild Animal Parks: Heed all instructions given by guides or trackers. Use common sense and maintain a safe distance around wildlife. Even in the most serene settings, wild animals pose a lethal threat. There have been reports of armed poachers attacking tourists.
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, and
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad.
LGBTI Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual activity is illegal and punishable by a prison sentence of six months to five years and a fine ranging from 20,000 to 200,000 CFA francs ($35-$353). Homophobia is a major concern and LGBTI individuals face social stigmatization, harassment, and discrimination. Police and civilians may extort money from presumed LGBTI individuals with the threat of exposure or arrest. Suspected members of the LGBTI community have received anonymous threats by phone, text, and email.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Persons with disabilities face limited access to transportation, public buildings, hotels, and communication accommodations. There are few sidewalks and no curb-cuts, and most buildings lack elevators.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Consult the CDC website for Cameroon prior to travel. Also consult with a knowledgeable travel medicine clinician at least a month before travel. Taking malaria prophylaxis is advisable as this is a high risk malaria zone. Malaria is a serious, mosquito borne infection that can cause death. Prevention medication generally is started before arriving in Cameroon and continued for a period of time after departing the malaria zone.
Yellow Fever: Proof of Yellow Fever vaccination is required for entry and exit. The vaccine date on the yellow vaccination record card must be at least 10 days old before arrival in the country.
EATING AND DRINKING SAFELY
Travelers’ diarrhea is a common problem caused by unclean food and water; please consult your travel medicine clinician for advice on prevention and for prescription medicine to treat diarrhea, which you should carry with you.
MEDICAL CARE IN CAMEROON
Medical facilities in Cameroon do not approach the U.S. standard. Services may be nonexistent in many rural areas. Emergency care and hospitalization are hampered by a lack of trained specialists, outdated diagnostic equipment, poor sanitation, and medications in short supply. These issues are more severe in rural areas. Non-French speakers will face language barriers at health facilities in many parts of the country.
Plan for how you will get health care during your trip, should the need arise:
- Carry a list of local doctors and hospitals at your destination.
- We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. Care providers expect payment in local currency in full before treatment is performed.
- 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.
- Medical Evacuation Insurance: We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
- Carry a card that identifies, in the local language, your blood type, chronic conditions or serious allergies, and the generic names of any medications you take.
- Some prescription drugs may be illegal in other countries. Check with the government of Cameroon to verify that all of your prescription(s) are legal to bring with you. As always, carry your prescription in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.
- Bring all the medicines (including over-the-counter medicines) you think you might need during your trip, including extra in case of travel delays. Ask your doctor to help you get prescriptions filled early if you need to.
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:
Travel and Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety: Cameroon's roads networks are poorly maintained and not well lit. During the rainy season from April to November many roads are not passable even with four-wheel-drive vehicles. Traffic safety is hazardous due to lack of traffic signs, poorly trained/disciplined drivers, inadequately maintained vehicles, and indifference among many drivers toward the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. Other driving risks include excessive speed, erratic driving habits, lack of vehicle maintenance, and pedestrians, wildlife, and livestock.
Outside of major cities, travel with extra fuel, food, and water, as well as a reliable means of communication, such as a satellite phone or radio, as mobile phone coverage is limited. Professional roadside assistance service is not available.
Traffic Laws: You are able to drive in Cameroon with your state driver’s license for up to three months.
Accidents: Accidental injury due to hazardous road conditions is a major threat to health and safety. In the event of an automobile accident, remain inside the vehicle and wait for police. Although it is illegal to move your vehicle before the police arrive, if a hostile mob forms or you feel your safety is in danger, leave the scene and proceed directly to the nearest police station to report the incident. Do not stop at the scene of an accident or at intersections where people have gathered, as mobs can develop quickly.
Public Transportation: Avoid all travel by public transportation, and hire private transport from a reliable source. Any form of public transportation is unregulated, unreliable, and generally unsafe. Mini-buses, buses, trains, and ferries are in poor mechanical condition and are often filled well beyond their intended capacity. Make sure any car you hire is adequately insured, preferably by written confirmation from the insurance company (rather than the car hire firm). If you are hiring a driver and car, make sure you are not liable for any accident or damage. 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 Cameroon, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has not assessed the government of Cameroon’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Cameroon should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at www.marad.dot.gov/msci. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast guard homeport 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 Cameroon. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.”
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