Senegal 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 Senegal 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 per stamp.
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED: Obtainable upon arrival.
VACCINATIONS: Yellow fever.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY: None.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT: None.
Embassies and Consulates
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Senegal for information on U.S. – Senegal relations.
Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements
Please visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on entry/exit requirements related to COVID-19 in Senegal.
Visit the Embassy of Senegal website for the most current visa information. Evidence of yellow-fever vaccination is required for entry into Senegal for travelers arriving from yellow-fever endemic countries.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Senegal.
Safety and Security
Visit the U.S. Embassy Dakar website for current messages to U.S. citizens regarding safety and security.
Terrorism: Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. While Senegal has not experienced any recent terrorist attacks, many places throughout West Africa, including Kayes Region of Mali on Senegal’s border, have witnessed suck violence. More generally, terrorists increasingly have utilized less sophisticated methods of attack – including knives, firearms, and vehicles – to 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)
Crime: Street crime, including robberies at knife-point and home burglaries, is common in Senegal, particularly in urban areas. Beware of pickpockets, purse-snatchers, and thieves on motorized scooters. Robberies occur regularly along the Corniche d’Ouest, an area heavily frequented by tourists and westerners.
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 Senegal. Scams are often initiated through Internet postings/profiles or by unsolicited emails and letters. Common scams include:
- Romance/Online dating
- Money transfers
- Lucrative sales
Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should first contact the U.S. Embassy and then the local police.
Report crimes to the local police at 17 or to the Gendarmerie at 800-00-20-20 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +(221) 33-879-4000. 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.
Swimming: An increasing number of children drown each year in the Atlantic Ocean in Senegal. Riptides can occur anywhere on the coast.
Do not swim in the ocean if you are inexperienced in swimming in water where very strong rip currents occur.
Do not dive into water of unknown depths.
Do not swim alone, especially at isolated beaches.
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. 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.
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
Special Circumstances: Senegal is generally a very tolerant society, with excellent relations between the approximately 95 percent of the Senegalese population who practice Islam and the remaining five percent that practice Christianity and other religions. Senegalese culture is conservative, however, particularly in rural regions. Be mindful of local social and cultural mores which pertain to dress, displays of affection, and interactions between men and women.
Personal Identification: Senegalese law requires all persons to carry valid personal identification at all times, and authorities may detain anyone, including U.S. citizens, who do not cooperate and provide identification. However, to minimize inconvenience in the event of theft, it is recommended that U.S. citizens carry copies, rather than originals, of their passports and other identification documents.
Currency: Senegal’s currency is the franc of the Communauté Financière d'Afrique (fCFA), which has an exchange rate fixed to the Euro. Senegal’s economy operates primarily on a cash basis. Credit cards are not widely accepted. Although ATMs are available in some areas (primarily Dakar), they are not always reliable and should generally be avoided. Mobile money services, using local cell phone accounts, are becoming more common. You may be able to transfer money from the United States using a commercial wire-transfer company.
LGBTI Travelers: Same-sex sexual relations are criminalized in Senegal. LGBTI individuals routinely face discrimination. Under Article 319 of the Senegalese criminal code, “unnatural acts” are punishable by imprisonment of one to five years and a fine of fCFA 1,000,000 (USD $2,000). Several high-profile cases of arrest under these laws have occurred.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: There are almost no accommodations made for individuals with disabilities in Senegal. The few that exist are inadequate or very different from what you will find in the United States.
Women Travelers: Rape is a crime in Senegal punishable by up to 10 years in prison in Senegal. However, it is rarely prosecuted. Spousal rape is not criminalized. Domestic violence which causes lasting injury is punishable by up to twenty years in prison and, when it causes death, is punishable by life in prison. However, the law against domestic violence is rarely enforced.
Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is not specifically outlawed in Senegal and is commonly practiced in the south and southeast of the country.
See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Please visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Senegal.
Several hospitals and clinics in Dakar can treat major and minor injuries and illnesses; however, medical facilities outside Dakar are extremely limited, and unprepared to handle major injuries. There is inadequate inpatient psychiatric care and limited office-based psychiatric treatment in Dakar.
For emergency services in Senegal, dial 800-881-881 (Toll Free/Numero Vert) for SAMU.
Ambulance services are either unavailable or are unreliable in most areas except Dakar, where ambulance services exist but can often arrive with great delay depending on availability (up to 30-45 minutes). In such event that ambulances are not immediately available (the services will often provide an estimated time of arrival), injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for an ambulance.
The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.
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.
Always carry prescription medication in its original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.
The following diseases are present:
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Water Quality: In many areas, tap water is not potable. 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. Wash raw vegetables and fruits in a bleach solution before eating.
Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.
- Air pollution is a significant problem in several major cities in Senegal. Consider the impact seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution may have on you, and consult your doctor before traveling if necessary.
- The air quality varies considerably and fluctuates with the seasons. It is typically at its worst in during the Harmattan winds in January and February, which frequently carry dust and sand particles from the Sahara and result in poor air quality throughout the country. People at the greatest risk from particle pollution exposure include:
- Infants, children, and teens
- People over 65 years of age
- People with lung disease such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema
- People with heart disease or diabetes
- People who work or are active outdoors
Travel and Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety: Drivers tend to exceed speed limits, follow other vehicles closely, ignore lane markings, and attempt to pass even when facing oncoming traffic. Roadways are poorly lit and poorly marked, and many sections have deteriorated surfaces. Due to limited street lighting, pedestrians are difficult to see at night. Drivers in both rural and urban areas may frequently expect to encounter and share the road with motorcycles, bicyclists, pedestrians, livestock, and animal carts. For information about automobile accidents in Senegal, visit the U.S. Embassy Dakar website.
While most main roads in Senegal are in relatively good condition for daytime driving, secondary roads are poor by U.S. standards. During the rainy season, many roads are passable only with four-wheel drive vehicles.
Traffic Laws: Traffic circulates on the right in Senegal. All drivers are expected to carry the following documents in their vehicles: (1) valid driver's license; (2) valid insurance papers; (3) vehicle registration/matriculation card ("carte grise"); (4) "vignette" tax disc for the current year; and (5) valid identification. Copies of U.S. passports must be clear enough to identify the driver of the vehicle.
Public Transportation: U.S. citizens should avoid using motorbikes, van taxis ("cars rapides"), and public transportation. Regulated orange-striped sedan auto taxis are safer, but make sure to agree on a fare before beginning the trip.
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 Senegal, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Senegal’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 Senegal 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.
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
For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.
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