Nigeria 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 Nigeria Traveler Information guide.
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Note: Always check that your destination country is one approved for travel by your travel insurance provider.
PASSPORT VALIDITY: 6 months.
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES: 1 page.
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED: Yes.
VACCINATIONS: Polio and Yellow Fever.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY: None.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT: None.
Embassies and Consulates
1075 Diplomatic Drive
Central District Area, Abuja
Telephone: +(234) (0) (9) 461-4328 (Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(234) (0) (9) 461-4000
U.S. Consulate General Lagos
2 Walter Carrington Crescent,
Telephone: +(234) (0) (1) 460-3400 (Monday through Thursday 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(234) (0) (1) 460-3400
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Nigeria for information on U.S.-Nigeria relations.
Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements
A passport valid for six months, a visa, and proof of polio and yellow fever vaccinations are required to enter Nigeria. You must obtain your Nigerian visa from a Nigerian embassy or consulate in advance of your travel. You can only obtain a “visa upon arrival” at the airport by official prior arrangements before travel. Visit the Embassy of Nigeria website for the most current visa and entry information.
You cannot legally depart Nigeria unless you can prove, by presenting your entry visa, that you entered Nigeria legally.
U.S. - Nigeria dual-national citizens are now required to have a valid Nigerian passport in order to depart the country. Dual-national citizens can be, and often are, denied boarding until they have obtained current Nigerian passports.
Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors and foreign residents of Nigeria. Nigerian authorities may deny entry to foreigners who are “undesirable for medical reasons,” and may require HIV tests for foreigners intending to marry Nigerian citizens. Please verify this information with the Embassy of Nigeria before travel.
Vaccinations: A World Health Organization (WHO) yellow card is required for entry into the country. The Nigerian authorities require a yellow fever vaccination within the past ten years and that adults have a polio booster after the original childhood vaccine series. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes a country-specific list of recommended vaccines to receive prior to arrival. See also the Health section below.
Safety and Security
Please see our most recent Travel Advisory for more detailed information.
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)
For more information, see our Terrorism page.
Crime: Muggings, assaults, burglaries, car-jackings, rape, kidnappings, and extortion occur regularly. Law enforcement authorities usually respond slowly or not at all, and provide little or no investigative support to victims.
The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens beyond Abuja and Lagos and their immediate surrounding areas, as U.S. government employees may be subject to travel constraints as security conditions warrant.
Demonstrations occur frequently. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events.
- 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 Nigeria. 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
- Contracts with promises of large commissions
- Inheritance notices
- Nigerian Letter or “419” Fraud
Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or Consulate General in Lagos for assistance. Report crimes to the local police at 112 and contact the Embassy at +(234)(9) 461-4328 or Consulate General at +(234)(1) 460-3400. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.
Justice in Nigeria may be uneven. Many crimes go unsolved, or are not prosecuted to a successful conclusion for the victim.
See our webpage on help for U.S. citizen 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 information on victim’s compensation programs in the United States.
- Victims Assistance Programs in Nigeria:
- 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 are encouraged to contact the Embassy or Consulate 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 treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. Even within major cities, the limited number of first responders and extreme traffic congestion can cause lengthy delays in response time. Emergency services comparable to those in the United States or Europe are non-existent, and the blood supply is unreliable and unsafe for transfusion. For serious medical problems, you should consider traveling to the United States, Europe, or South Africa for treatment. U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
For further information:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from 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 Worldwide Caution, Travel Advisories, and Alerts.
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
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. 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 or Consulate General immediately. In cases where detainees are dual citizens (Nigerian nationals), the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General may not be promptly notified. 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
LGBTI Travelers: Consensual, same-sex sexual relations are illegal in Nigeria. Entering same-sex marriage contracts and civil unions (defined to include “any arrangement between persons of the same sex to live together as sex partners”) is also criminalized, with punishments including fines and prison sentences of up to 14 years. Same-sex marriage contracts and civil unions entered into in a foreign country are not recognized under Nigerian law.
Public displays of affection between persons of the same-sex are also punishable by up to ten years’ imprisonment. Furthermore, the law allows for the prosecution of persons who support or belong to advocacy groups relating to LGBTI issues, with prison sentences of up to ten years. U.S. citizens who participate in free speech or assemblies relating to same-sex marriage could potentially be prosecuted under this law.
In the following northern states, where Sharia law applies, penalties can also include death: Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Sokoto, Yobe, and Zamfara.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Persons with disabilities can expect to experience difficultly in terms of accessibility and accommodation.
Women Travelers: There is no comprehensive national law for combatting violence against women. Rape is a crime in Nigeria, but sentences for persons convicted of rape and sexual assault are inconsistent and often minor. According to the Violence against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act, rape is punishable by 12 years to life imprisonment for offenders older than 14 and a maximum of 14 years’ imprisonment for offenders younger than 14. The VAPP is currently applicable only in the Federal Capital Territory until adopted by the states. Rape remains a rampant problem.
The VAPP Act also addresses sexual, physical, psychological, and socioeconomic violence, and harmful traditional practices. Federal law criminalizes female circumcision or genital mutilation (FGM/C). Twelve states have also banned FGM/C, though the practice remains common in parts of both northern and southern Nigeria.
See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Nigeria has a number of well-trained doctors, yet medical facilities are generally poor. Many medicines are unavailable, including medications for diabetes and hypertension. Caution should be taken when purchasing medicines locally, as counterfeit pharmaceuticals are a common problem and may be difficult to distinguish from genuine medications. Hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.
Emergency services comparable to those in the United States or Europe are non-existent, and the blood supply is unreliable and unsafe for transfusion. For serious medical problems, you should consider traveling to the United States, Europe, or South Africa for treatment.
U.S. citizens should dial 112 in case of an emergency. Emergency numbers may not be reliable.
Ambulance services are not present throughout the country or are unreliable in most areas.
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 types of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. Check with the Federal Ministry of Health in Nigeria to ensure the medication is legal in Nigeria.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Air Quality: U.S. citizens with respiratory issues should note that the end of November to mid-March is harmattan season (a very dry season in West Africa when winds blow sand and dust from the Sahara Desert).
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 major cities, but health care in rural areas may be below U.S. standards.
- Public medical clinics lack basic resources and supplies.
- Private hospitals usually require advance payment or proof of adequate insurance before admitting a patient.
- Generally, in public hospitals only minimal staff are available overnight (in non-emergency wards). 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.
Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery:
- We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation in the event of unforeseen medical complications.
- Exercise caution when purchasing medication overseas. Pharmaceuticals, both over the counter and requiring prescription 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. citizens have suffered serious complications or died while seeking medical care from non-traditional “healers” and practitioners. We recommend that you have access to licensed emergency medical facilities in such cases.
Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy:
- Although surrogacy agencies/clinics claim surrogacy is legal in Nigeria, there is no legal framework for foreigners to pursue surrogacy in Nigeria. As a result, surrogacy agreements between foreign intending parents and gestational mothers are not enforced by Nigerian courts.
- Surrogacy for same-sex couples is illegal in Nigeria.
- If you decide to pursue parenthood in Nigeria via assisted reproductive technology (ART) with a gestational mother, be prepared for long and unexpected delays in documenting your child’s citizenship. Be aware that individuals who attempt to circumvent local law risk criminal prosecution.
- If you are considering traveling to Nigeria to have a child through use of assisted reproductive technology (ART) or surrogacy, please see our ART and Surrogacy Abroad page.
- No areas have safe tap water. 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.
- Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Adventure Travel.
The following diseases are prevalent:
- Diarrheal illness
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Lassa Fever
- Meningococcal meningitis
- Yellow fever
Chemoprophylaxis (anti-malarial medication) is recommended for all travelers, even for short stays. You should:
- Bring malaria chemoprophylaxis with you as counterfeit drugs are common in Nigeria.
- Carry and use insect repellents containing either 20 percent DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535.
- Treat clothing and tents with permethrin.
- Sleep in screened or air-conditioned rooms under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets.
- Air pollution is a significant problem in several major cities in Nigeria. Consider the impact seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution may have on you, and consult your doctor before traveling if necessary.
Travel and Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety: Roads are generally in poor condition, causing damage to vehicles and contributing to hazardous traffic conditions. There are few working traffic lights or stop signs, and few traffic control officers to manage traffic during power outages. The rainy season, generally from May to October, is especially dangerous because of flooded roads and water-concealed potholes.
All drivers and passengers should wear seat belts, lock doors, and keep windows closed. You should have appropriate automobile insurance. Drivers and passengers of vehicles involved in accidents resulting in injury or death have experienced extra-judicial actions, i.e., mob attacks, official consequences such as fines and incarceration, and/or confrontations with the victim's family.
Driving between 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. should be done with extreme caution. Automobiles, trucks, or "okadas" (motorbikes) often drive on the wrong side of the road or on sidewalks.
Traffic Laws: Motor vehicle accidents can be reported by dialing “119.” Traffic control officers may occasionally seek bribes when citing drivers for traffic violations. If stopped by traffic police, drivers should stop as instructed. However, drivers should also keep their doors locked and only roll their windows down an inch for sound. Do not pay any bribes. If requested to drive an officer to the police station, do not do so, especially at night as some traffic police are imposters.
Motorists seldom yield the right-of-way and give little consideration to pedestrians and cyclists. Chronic fuel shortages have led to long lines at service stations, which disrupt or block traffic for extended periods.
Public Transportation: We recommend avoiding public transportation throughout Nigeria. Public transportation vehicles, such as buses and motorbikes, are unsafe due to poor maintenance, high speeds, and overcrowding. Motorbikes are banned within Abuja's city limits and many major thoroughfares in Lagos. “Okada” drivers and passengers are required to wear helmets in a number of cities in the country; police can fine violators on the spot.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Nigeria’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Nigeria’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Nigeria or through the Gulf of Guinea 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 ICC and NGA 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 Nigeria. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.