Central African Republic
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COVID-19 – Global travel advisory
Effective date: March 13, 2020
Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.
This advisory overrides other risk levels on this page, with the exception of any risk levels for countries or regions where we advise to avoid all travel.
Central African Republic - AVOID ALL TRAVEL
Avoid all travel to the Central African Republic due to unstable security conditions and violent crime.
Safety and security
COVID-19 - Preventative measures and restrictions
Preventative measures and restrictions are in place. You must wear a face covering in public.
- Follow the instructions of local authorities, including those related to physical distancing
- Avoid crowded areas
Security conditions remain extremely unstable throughout the Central African Republic, despite the presence of the United Nations stabilization mission, mandated to protect civilians since 2014. Armed groups committing acts of sectarian violence remain a threat. They are responsible for the deaths of thousands of people since 2012, including humanitarian workers. Many areas have recently seen increased violence at the hands of these groups. Security forces cannot guarantee the safety of civilians, particularly outside of Bangui.
If you are in the Central African Republic despite this advisory, take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety. Security conditions can deteriorate suddenly. The Government of Canada’s ability to provide consular assistance in the Central African Republic is extremely limited.
Prefecture of Haut-Mbomou
Elements of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) continue to carry out attacks and abductions in the Haut-Mbomou prefecture, in southeastern Central African Republic. The security situation is volatile. The local population continues to flee LRA attacks.
Security conditions are generally more stable in Bangui than in the rest of the country. There are, however, sporadic violent outbreaks. In April and early May 2018, sectarian violence occurred in Bangui, resulting in deaths and injuries. The security situation could deteriorate again suddenly. Crime rates are high.
Avoid any travel after dark
Avoid the KM-5 district entirely, as there’s a higher risk of violence and criminality here.
Demonstrations and elections
On January 13, 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Central African Republic issued a security alert, after reports of clashes in Bangui.
The political and security situation is volatile and unpredictable in the context of the elections, which took place on December 27, 2020.
Central African armed groups are very active. They have carried out several attacks since December 18, 2020.
Local authorities have imposed a nationwide curfew from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Violent incidents as well as demonstrations have also occurred. They could occur again, pending the elections results. Access to telecommunications, including Internet, could be disrupted.
- Shelter in place
- Plan to have adequate fuel, water and food supplies
- Monitor local media for information on the evolving situation
- Expect a heightened security presence
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
Security Alert – U.S. Embassy in Central African Republic
Demonstrations may occur. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
Avoid moving about Bangui during times of civil unrest.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Rebel activity, armed attacks and banditry are common. Some attacks are random. Shootings and looting occur frequently.
Westerners and employees of international organizations have been the target of attacks and abductions. The risk of abduction for both nationals and foreigners has increased.
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs regularly.
- Exercise caution at all times
- Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
- Don’t show signs of affluence
- Carry only certified copies of your travel documents
Incidents of sexual assault and domestic violence are common. Women travellers may be subject to harassment and verbal abuse.
- Exercise extreme caution
- Never travel alone at night
Safe-travel guide for women
Road conditions and road safety are poor throughout the country. The only paved roads are those from Bangui to Bossembélé, from Bangui to Sibut and from Bangui to Mbaïki. Driving conditions may be more hazardous during the rainy season, when dirt roads may be closed for hours or even days. Buses, trucks and minibuses are the main means of transportation.
Travel outside of Bangui
Avoid any road travel outside Bangui. If you decide to undertake road travel outside Bangui despite this warning, always travel in a four-wheel-drive vehicle, with convoy of at least 2 vehicles and during daylight hours. Regional wars have increased access to weapons, leading to armed attacks and highway robbery.
The police and army sometimes set up road blocks.
In the event of an accident involving injuries, go to the nearest police station and contact the Consulate of Canada in Bangui.
Coordinates of the Consulate of Canada in Bangui
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
General information about foreign domestic airlines
General safety information
Outbound flights from Bangui are infrequent.
Points of entry at land borders are closed to tourists.
Fuel shortages are common. Always carry extra fuel when travelling.
COVID-19 - Entry, exit and transit restrictions and requirements
In an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), most governments have implemented special entry and exit restrictions and requirements for their territory. While some countries have started to ease some of these measures, most remain in place.
Before travelling, verify if the local authorities of both your current location and destinations have implemented any specific restrictions or requirements related to this situation. Consider even your transit points, as many destinations have implemented strict transit rules which could disrupt your travel.
These could include:
- entry bans, particularly for non-residents
- exit bans
- quarantines of 14 days or more upon arrival, some in designated facilities, at your own cost
- health screenings and certificates as well as proof of adequate travel health insurance
- travel authorization documents to be obtained before you travel
- border closures
- airport closures
- flight suspensions to/from certain destinations, and in some cases, all destinations
- suspensions or reductions of other international transportation options
Additional restrictions can be imposed suddenly. Airlines can also suspend or reduce flights without notice. Your travel plans may be severely disrupted, making it difficult for you to return home. You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance related to changes to your travel plans.
- Monitor the media for the latest information
- Contact your airline or tour operator to determine if the situation will disrupt your travel plans
- Contact the nearest foreign diplomatic office for information on destination-specific restrictions
Foreign diplomatic offices in Canada – Global Affairs Canada
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Central African authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave the Central African Republic.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Canadians must also have a visa.
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- Pandemic COVID-19 all countries: avoid non-essential travel outside Canada - January 16, 2021
- Polio: Advice for travellers - February 4, 2020
- Zika virus: Advice for travellers - December 24, 2019
- Global Measles Notice - July 23, 2019
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
This country is in the African Meningitis Belt, an area where there are many cases of meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease is a serious and sometimes fatal infection. Travellers who may be at high risk should consider getting vaccinated. High-risk travellers include those living or working with the local population (e.g., health care workers) or those travelling to crowded areas or taking part in large gatherings.
Polio *Proof of vaccination*
Polio is present in this country. Polio can be prevented by vaccination, which is part of the routine vaccines for children in Canada.
- Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up to date.
- One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended as an adult.
Proof of vaccination:
If you are staying more than 4 weeks in this country, you may need to show proof of polio vaccination when you leave the country.
Make sure that the polio vaccination is documented on the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis. This is the only document accepted as proof of vaccination.In Canada, they are provided at Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres.
Carry the certificate as proof of vaccination.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of yellow fever vaccination for travellers from all countries.
- Vaccination is recommended.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Central Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Central Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Cholera is a risk in parts of this country. Most travellers are at very low risk.
To protect against cholera, all travellers should practise safe food and water precautions.
Travellers at higher risk of getting cholera include those:
- visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation
- visiting areas where outbreaks are occurring
Vaccination may be recommended for high-risk travellers, and should be discussed with a health care professional.
Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in Central Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis, Rift Valley fever, West Nile virus and yellow fever.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a tsetse fly. Tsetse flies usually bite during the day and the bites are usually painful. If untreated, the disease is eventually fatal. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from bites especially in game parks and rural areas. Avoid wearing bright or dark-coloured clothing as these colours attract tsetse flies. There is no vaccine available for this disease.
There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- In this country, dengue fever may occur sporadically. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
- Dengue fever can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The level of risk of dengue fever changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. After a decline in reported dengue cases worldwide in 2017 and 2018, numbers have been steeply rising again.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Onchocerciasis (river blindness) is an eye and skin disease caused by a parasite spread through the bite of an infected female blackfly. Onchocerciasis often leads to blindness if left untreated. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from blackfly bites, which are most common close to fast-flowing rivers and streams. There is no vaccine available for onchocerciasis although drug treatments exist.
Zika virus is a risk in this country.
Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.
Pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy should visit a health care professional before travelling to discuss the potential risks of travelling to this country. Pregnant women may choose to avoid or postpone travel to this country.
- Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
- If you are pregnant, always use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact with anyone who has travelled to this country for the duration of your pregnancy.
- Women: Wait 2 months after travel to this country or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy. If your male partner travelled with you, wait 3 months after travel or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer).
- Men: Wait 3 months after travel to this country or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy.
For more travel recommendations, see the travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers
- There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas of Central Africa, like Ebola, rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Monkeypox is a risk in this country. It is a viral disease that can cause serious illness.
Monkeypox is mainly spread to humans through direct contact with:
- infected animals (mainly African rodents and non-human primates), by bite, scratch, or contact with their body fluids.
Human to human spread is not common but can occur through:
- direct contact with the skin lesions or scabs of an infected person or materials contaminated by their lesions (such as bedding and clothing)
- prolonged contact with a coughing or sneezing person with a rash due to monkeypox
Risk is generally low for most travellers. Wash your hands frequently and avoid contact with potentially infected animals and people.
Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
There are some hospitals in Bangui, but very few elsewhere in the country. Medications are scarce and sanitary conditions are poor. Medical expenses must generally be paid for on the spot and prior to receiving treatment.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Travel health and safety
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Illegal or restricted activities
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
Trading of precious stones
You’ll need a government licence to buy or sell precious stones. There are stiff fines for smuggling.
It’s illegal to photograph government buildings, military and police facilities, the presidential palace, airports and power plants. Power plants may not be clearly marked. Unauthorized photography may result in immediate seizure of your equipment by authorities. Never photograph people without their permission.
Always carry your identity documents (or notarized copies) with you. Failing to do so could result in your arrest and imprisonment.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Central African Republic.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Central African Republic, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
General information for travellers with dual citizenship
Central African law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. However, homosexuality is not widely socially accepted.
LGBTQ2 travellers could face arrest under other charges, such as public indecency.
LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to the Central African Republic.
General safety information and advice for LGBTQ2 travellers abroad
You must carry an International Driving Permit.
Penalties for drinking and driving are severe, and can include jail time.
The currency in the Central African Republic is the African Financial Community franc (XAF). Only Bangui’s major hotels accept international credit cards and the Carte Bleue debit card.
The exchange rate for cash is much lower than for traveller’s cheques. Banks charge a commission on traveller’s cheques. You can only exchange currency in Bangui and Berbérati.
Natural disasters and climate
The dry season extends from December to April. Between February and May, the temperature can reach 40°C in the north. The humidity can be oppressive.
The rainy season extends from May to October. As you head north in the country, the length of the rainy season gradually diminishes to four months, from June to September. Flash floods are common during this season. Some roads may become impassible and floods may cause extensive material damage. If you are in Central African Republic during the rainy season:
- stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
- follow the instructions of local authorities
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: +236 2161 3072
- medical assistance: 114
- firefighters: 118
Bangui - Consulate of Canada
Yaoundé - High Commission of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the High Commission of Canada in Yaoundé, Cameroon and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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