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Angola - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Angola. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to high levels of crime throughout the country, as well as the presence of landmines and unexploded ordnance on roads and bridges in certain areas.
Provinces of Cabinda and Lunda North - Avoid non-essential travel
Global Affairs Canada advises against non-essential travel to the provinces of Cabinda and Lunda Norte due to security concerns. Because these areas are not easily accessible, the ability of the Embassy of Canada in Harare and the Consulate of Canada in Luanda to offer assistance is severely limited or non-existent.
See Safety and security for more information.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Province of Cabinda (see Advisory)
Militant groups claiming independence are active in this province, and clashes with security forces are possible. Murders, kidnappings and sexual assaults have occurred and foreigners have been targeted. These militant groups have indicated their intention to continue to conduct attacks on foreigners. Access to basic goods and services is restricted in Cabinda.
Province of Lunda Norte (see Advisory)
The presence of foreigners in this diamond-producing area may create some tensions, and security forces engaged in the expulsion of illegal diamond miners may be suspicious of foreign observers. The presence of diamonds increases levels of crime. Travellers may be asked for a letter from their employer, an organization or an individual explaining the reasons for their travel. Access to basic goods and services is restricted in Lunda Norte.
Crime is a concern throughout the country, including in the capital, Luanda, where it is a regular occurrence. Areas frequented by foreigners are often targeted. Do not walk around Luanda after dark. Muggings (particularly for mobile phones) and armed robberies have been reported. Carjackings, usually targeting four-wheel drive and luxury vehicles, occur. Pickpockets are active outside the arrivals and departures gates at the Luanda airport. Incidents of rape have been reported.
Do not show signs of affluence. When withdrawing money, whether from an automated banking machine (ABM), an exchange bureau or a bank, be aware that criminals with phones may be observing, even from inside the building, and may attack you afterward.
Be vigilant when travelling after dark, particularly to and from the airport. You should not resist if threatened by carjackers or robbers. Do not make eye contact with assailants or indicate that you might be able to identify them.
Due to the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, victims of violent crime, especially rape, are strongly encouraged to seek immediate medical assistance.
There’s a risk of kidnapping, particularly in Luanda. Foreigners seem to be a preferred target. Victims are often taken from their car by criminals seeking a ransom. Be on the alert for ploys to stop your vehicle and use varied and unpredictable routes and schedules of travel.
Demonstrations occasionally occur and could turn violent without warning. You should avoid large crowds, follow the advice of security forces and monitor the local media for up-to-date information.
There is a high risk from landmines and unexploded ordnance, especially near bridges and on unpaved roads outside major cities. Many areas of the countryside, including secondary roads, are heavily mined. Even roads that have been frequently travelled and are thought to be landmine-free may be unsafe.
Roads, especially secondary and tertiary roads, and bridges are generally in poor condition. Incidents of drivers under the influence of alcohol are common, especially on weekends, and the return trip to Luanda from beach outings can be particularly hazardous due to reckless driving habits. Be extremely careful of unexpected hazards on the road, such as pedestrians and animals.
Always drive with the doors locked and the windows rolled up. Keep your valuables out of sight.
Overland travel outside of urban centres should be undertaken in convoys of at least two vehicles, ideally four-wheel drive vehicles.
Door-to-door taxis are scarce and expensive, so it is advisable to hire a car with driver. Local drivers can overcome the problem of few parking spaces and can negotiate heavy traffic and the idiosyncrasies of local traffic flows, including any accident.
It is recommended that visitors avoid using public transportation, including buses and van taxis.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
General security information
You should be careful at all times and carry locally certified copies of the identification page of your passport as well as original travel documents issued by Angolan authorities, such as resident or work permits, visas and driver’s licence. Make sure your documents are up-to-date. Police checkpoints are common in both urban and rural areas. You should be prepared to present copies of your identification documents. Do not challenge the authority of requesting officials. Failure to produce identification documents can result in a large fine.
When travelling in the provinces, always carry original documentation. If photocopies are to be used in place of originals, the copies must be notarized by an Angolan notary public. Note that notarized photocopies are normally not acceptable for travel outside Luanda.
Foreigners travelling into the interior of Angola sometimes require an internal travel document. This is normally provided by the Angolan organization or individual that invited the foreigner to Angola.
Shortages of food, lodging, medicine, transportation, electricity, fuel and water occasionally occur in most parts of the country. While Luanda does not experience shortages of food, lodging is scarce and tourist facilities are very expensive; the cost of living in Luanda is very high.
Poisonous snakes are a potential danger in the countryside.
Interruptions in telecommunications are common. International calls are difficult to place from outside the capital. Most personal cellular phones are incompatible and must be reprogrammed for use within Angola.
It is the sole prerogative of every country or territory to determine who is allowed to enter or exit. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry or exit requirements. The following information has been obtained from Angolan authorities and is subject to change at any time. The country- or territory-specific entry/exit requirements are provided on this page for information purposes only. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, information contained here is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Republic of Angola and its consulate for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Angola, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Passports handed over to the local Angolan immigration authorities for visa renewal may be kept for eight weeks or longer due to backlogs. Passport holders must ensure they retain a legible copy of the receipt, as well as an Angolan notarized copy of their passport and current visa, to show on demand, if necessary, or risk heavy fines or deportation.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives for up-to-date information.
You must also be in possession of a visa and an onward or return ticket. To obtain any visa, you must first acquire a criminal clearance certificate, which can only be obtained while in Canada from your local police or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, before travelling. The police clearance must be submitted in both English and Portuguese, and the Portuguese copy must be notarized.
The length of stay on your tourist visa may not exceed 30 days, but the visa can be renewed once, for a maximum of 30 days. Angolan visas take an entire page in your passport and are preferably followed by one blank page. Ensure you have enough pages remaining in your passport, as additional pages cannot be added to a passport, and issuing a new passport may take several weeks. While in Angola with family members, including children, ensure that their documentation is up-to-date at all times.
Airport and road check procedures have been reinforced: any issue relating to documentation or identification, including visas and vaccination cards, can lead to delays or denial of entry. Ensure that you have obtained the appropriate visa before arriving in Angola. Visas cannot be obtained at the airport. If you arrive in Angola without the required visa, you could face arrest and/or deportation. Travellers who overstay their visa are subject to heavy fines and possible arrest.
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
Employment visa: Required
Transit visa: Required
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
- Yellow Fever in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo - August 17, 2016 00:00 EDT
- Measles: Global Update - July 28, 2016 00:00 EDT
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider 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 and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
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 (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Yellow Fever Vaccination
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.
|* 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.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
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 bacterial disease that is most often spread by drinking water or eating food that has been contaminated. It causes diarrhea and in severe cases it can lead to dehydration and even death.
Most travellers are at very low risk. Travellers at higher risk include those visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation, or to areas where outbreaks are occurring. Travellers at higher risk should discuss with a health care provider the benefits of getting vaccinated.
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 pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers at high risk visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider 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.
- Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The risk of dengue is higher during the daytime, particularly at 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.
- 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 Central Africa, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
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 provider.
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
Medical treatment is very expensive, and payment in advance is required. Medical facilities are very poor throughout the country, including in Luanda. Many doctors do not speak English or French, including in Luanda. Serious medical emergencies should be treated outside the country.
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
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Laws and illegal activities
Involvement in black-market currency conversion could lead to arrest.
Punishment for drug-related offences can be severe.
The laws of Angola prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. LGBT travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Angola. See Homosexual, bisexual and transgender travel for more information.
Some handicrafts considered of cultural value may be retained by customs. It is illegal to remove turtle shells and ivory from the country.
Avoid photographing airports, major roads, bridges, communications installations, military personnel and government buildings. Taking photos of urban areas may be frowned upon by police.
An International Driving Permit is recommended.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Angola. However, Canadian officials may be limited in their ability to provide you with consular services if local authorities consider you an Angolan citizen. You should always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. You may also need to carry and present an Angolan passport for legal reasons, for example to enter and exit the country (see Entry/exit requirements to determine passport requirements). Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
The currency in Angola is the kwanza (AOA). It is not convertible on the international market. Dollars can be converted into kwanzas, or vice versa, at the few exchange bureaus in Luanda or at local banks. Receiving foreign currency is often very difficult due to present scarcity (even for those with foreign currency accounts). Kwanzas cannot be taken out of the country. No more than US$15,000 can be taken into or out of Angola, unless an official declaration is made upon entry.
Newer U.S.-dollar bills are favoured, due to the ease with which the older bills are counterfeited. Credit cards are accepted at only a few of Luanda’s largest hotels and restaurants, and it varies as to which cards are accepted. VISA is the most commonly accepted credit card. Leave a copy of your card information with a trusted family member or friend in case of emergency.
Traveller’s cheques are difficult to cash in Angola; normally, they are accepted only at some of the best hotels.
Automated banking machines dispense kwanzas only. Some ABMs in Luanda accept VISA cards, but only to withdraw kwanzas. Note that machines often malfunction or run out of cash. Debit cards do not work.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
The rainy season extends from November to April. Heavy rains can cause sudden flooding throughout the country and may damage infrastructure. Expect delays and allow for more time to reach your destination, as roads may be affected.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 113
- medical assistance: 116
- firefighters: 115
Luanda - Consulate of Canada
Harare - Embassy of Canada
For emergency assistance after hours, call the Embassy of Canada in Harare, Zimbabwe, and follow the instructions. You may also call the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at +1 613 996 8885.
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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