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U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520

Consular Information Sheet

 


Please click on this link to read important information you should see before you travel abroad

This information is current as of today,

Central African Republic

Americans planning travel to Central African Republic should read Travel Warning for Central African Republic  and Worldwide Caution  Public Announcement available on the Department of State web site at http://travel.state.gov

April 13, 2006

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION:The Central African Republic (CAR) is a developing African nation that has experienced several periods of political instability since independence from France in 1960.  The capital is Bangui.  While the country's Dzanga-Sangha National Park, a primeval rain forest in the southwest region of the country, is an attractive site for ecotourism, facilities for tourism are very limited.   Read the Department of State Background Notes on the CAR for additional information.

ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS:  A valid passport, visa, and evidence of yellow fever vaccination are required for entry.  Travelers should obtain the latest information and details from the Embassy of the Central African Republic, 1618 22nd Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 483-7800/7801, fax (202) 332-9893.  Overseas, inquiries should be made to the nearest Central African Republic embassy or consulate.  NOTE: In any country where there is no Central African Republic diplomatic mission, the French Embassy has authorization to issue a visa for entry into the Central African Republic.  See our Foreign Entry Requirements brochure for more information on the CAR and other countries.

Find more information about Entry and Exit Requirements pertaining to dual nationality and the prevention of international child abduction.  Please refer to our Customs Information to learn more about customs regulations.

SAFETY AND SECURITY:  See the Department of State’s Travel Warning for the CAR.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, including the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, can be found.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas.  For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s pamphletsA Safe Trip Abroad and Tips for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa.

CRIME:  With unemployment at about 80 percent, crime is a significant problem.  Americans should exercise caution while traveling around the city and immediate environs.  Armed gangs operate in outlying residential areas.  Looting has occurred during periods of civil unrest.  There continue to be reports of armed highway robbery in rural areas, especially during the December through May dry season.  When a crime does occur in Bangui, the victim may have to pay to send a vehicle to pick up police officers due to the shortage of police vehicles; the other option is to use a vehicle to take the police to the scene of the crime.

INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME:  The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance.  The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred.  Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed. 

See our information for Victims of Crime.

MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION:  Medical facilities are limited in the CAR, and the quality of acute care is unreliable.  Sanitation levels are low.  Many medicines are not available; travelers should carry properly labeled prescription drugs and other medications with them.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC’s Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel.  For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en.  Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

MEDICAL INSURANCE:  The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.  Please see our information on Medical Insurance overseas.

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS:  While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.  The information below concerning the CAR is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Due to the risk of armed attacks on motorists in the central, eastern, and northern regions, overland travel in these areas without a military escort should be avoided.  Most remote areas in THE CAR that are frequented by tourists are accessible only by four-wheel drive vehicles, although some roads are not passable at all during the rainy season, from May through October.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. 

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and the CAR, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the CAR’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards.  For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s web site at http://www.faa.gov/safety/programs_initiatives/oversight/iasa.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES:  Taking photographs of police or military installations or any other government buildings is prohibited.  Unauthorized photography may result in the seizure of photographic equipment by CAR authorities.  Police or other government authorities can provide information and grant permission for photographing a particular subject or location.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES:  While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law.  Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses.  Persons violating the CAR’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.  Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in the CAR are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.  Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.  Please see our information on Criminal Penalties.

CHILDREN'S ISSUES:  For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children’s Issues website.

REGISTRATION / EMBASSY LOCATION:  In November 2002 the U. S. Embassy in Bangui closed and the Department of State formally suspended operations in April 2003.  In early 2005 limited American staff returned to the Embassy.  However, because there is currently no consular officer posted in Bangui, the Embassy can only provide limited emergency services to U.S. citizens.

U.S. citizens in the CAR are strongly advised to register their presence in the country by using the State Department’s travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov.  Americans without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy in Bangui.  By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.  The U.S. Embassy in the CAR is located at Avenue David Dacko, B.P. 924, Bangui; tel. (236) 61-02-00; fax (236) 61-44-94.  For additional information on safety and security in the CAR, contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Yaounde, Cameroon at telephone (237) 223-4014, (237) 223-0512, or 223-0581; fax (237) 223-0753; website: http://yaounde.usembassy.gov/.  Americans may also obtain updated information from the American Embassy in N'djamena, Chad at telephone (235) 51-70-09, 51-92-33 or 51-90-52; fax (235) 51-56-54; website http://ndjamena.usembassy.gov/ 
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This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated May 2, 2005, to update the sections on Safety and Security.