Guinea-Bissau 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 Guinea-Bissau 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 Guinea-Bissau Traveler Information should help you make the most of your trip to Guinea-Bissau.
Note: Always check that your destination country is one approved for travel by your travel insurance provider.
PASSPORT VALIDITY: Valid at time of Entry.
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES: 1 page.
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED: Yes.
VACCINATIONS: Yellow Fever.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY: None.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT: None.
Embassies and Consulates
There is currently no permanent U.S. diplomatic or consular presence in Guinea-Bissau. The U.S. Ambassador to Senegal is dually accredited to Guinea-Bissau.
The Office in Bissau does not offer consular services. Consular services are provided by the Embassy in Dakar, Senegal.
U.S. Bissau Liaison Office
Rua José Carlos Schwarz 245, Bairro d’Ajuda
Telephone: (245) 325-6382
Emergency Telephone: Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal at (221) 33-879-4000 or (221) 33-879-4444
Fax: (245) 325-6382
See the Department of State’s Guinea-Bissau Fact Sheet for information on U.S. – Guinea-Bissau relations.
Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements
A valid passport, visa, and proof of onward/return ticket are required for U.S. citizens to enter Guinea-Bissau. The Bissau-Guinean Embassy in Washington, D.C., suspended operations in January, 2007. The Embassy of Guinea-Bissau does not have a website. Due to Guinea-Bissau’s lack of consular representation in the United States, it can be difficult for U.S. citizens to obtain the required visa for entry into Guinea-Bissau. Since most flights destined for Guinea-Bissau must pass through Dakar, Senegal, or Lisbon, Portugal, most travelers are able to apply for visas at the Bissau-Guinean embassies in those countries.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Guinea-Bissau.
Safety and Security
Guinea-Bissau lacks sufficient resources and infrastructure to ensure a stable security environment. Guinea-Bissau’s instability is exacerbated by drug trafficking, as it is used as a transit point for drug shipments from Latin America.
Crime: Crimes occur frequently. Law enforcement lacks the resources to respond to crime.
Foreigners are primarily targeted for:
- Theft of valuables from vehicles
- Minor assaults
- Exercise heightened personal security awareness
The increase in narcotics trafficking has contributed to an increase in criminal activity and aggressive assaults in rural areas of Guinea-Bissau.
Victims of Crime: Police and emergency personnel in Guinea-Bissau lack the basic resources necessary to effectively respond to crime and emergency situations.
Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
The U.S. Embassy in Senegal can:
- 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 U.S. Embassy in Senegal 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.
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 in Guinea-Bissau are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Drug trafficking is endemic in Guinea-Bissau.
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 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
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance. While in Guinea-Bissau, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation limited and very different from in the United States.
Women Travelers: Rape, including spousal rape, is a crime punishable by 2-6 years in prison. There is no law prohibing domestic violence, which is widespread.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) is against the law but is still commonly practiced, especially in the north of the country.
See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Modern medical facilities are virtually nonexistent in Guinea-Bissau, and travelers should not rely on them. More acceptable levels of medical care are available in Dakar, Senegal.
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 to cover medical evacuation.
If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Guinea-Bissau to ensure the medication is legal in Guinea-Bissau. Always, carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.
The following diseases are prevelant:
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
Since there are land mines left in place from the civil war and the war of independence, travelers should not leave designated roads and pathways and should not drive at night. The land mines are scattered in several areas throughout Guinea-Bissau, including the Bafata, Oio, Biombo, Quinara, and Tombali regions. While there has been significant progress in locating and removing land mines, a substantial number remain.
Public Transportation: The public transportation system, urban and rural road conditions, and availability of roadside assistance are all poor.
Exercise caution if using taxis as many are in sub-standard condition. If you do take a taxi, for your safety, inform the driver that you do not want additional patrons to be picked up along the route. Taxis in Bissau serve as a type of bus service, in which each passenger pays for a seat. Furthermore, the Embassy does not recommend that visitors use the unconventional bus system in Bissau, the “Bus Rapides” or “Toca-Tocas.”
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 Guinea-Bissau, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Guinea-Bissau’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.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Guinea-Bissau 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.
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 Guinea-Bissau. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.”