Bangladesh Register Travel insurance Destinations

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Latest updates: Safety and security - elections


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Risk level(s)

Risk level(s)

Bangladesh - Exercise a high degree of caution

Exercise a high degree of caution in Bangladesh due to the threat of terrorism, as well as political demonstrations, nationwide hartals (enforced strikes) and violent clashes, which can occur at any time.

Dhaka - Avoid non-essential travel

Avoid non-essential travel to Dhaka due to the threat of terrorism, crime and political demonstrations.

Safety and security situation

Chittagong Hill Tracts - Avoid all travel

Avoid all travel to the Chittagong Hill Tracts region, due to politically motivated violence and kidnapping, as well as sporadic ethnic clashes.

Safety and security situation

Travel Health Notice - Zika virus

The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued advice for travellers on the Zika virus, recommending that Canadians practice special health precautions while travelling in affected countries. Pregnant women and those considering becoming pregnant should avoid travel to Bangladesh. See Health for more information.

 

Safety and security

Safety and security

Parliamentary elections

Parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place on December 30, 2018. Demonstrations could occur before, during and after the elections.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for the latest information

Chittagong Hill Tracts region

There is a serious risk of politically motivated violence, kidnapping and ethnic clashes in this region. If you are visiting the Chittagong Hill Tracts region despite this advisory, register at the Divisional Commissioner’s Office in Chittagong City before making your way there.

Dhaka

The threat of terrorism in Dhaka is higher than in the rest of Bangladesh (see Terrorism subheading below). If you must travel to Dhaka, be very vigilant and aware of your surroundings at all times.

Terrorism

There is a threat of terrorism. Since September 2015, there have been numerous attacks on individuals and groups, including religious minorities. The attacks have resulted in multiple casualties.

Further attacks are likely.

Targets could include:

  • government buildings, including schools
  • places of worship
  • airports and other transportation hubs and networks
  • public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners

Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.

Limit your attendance at events where a large number of people, including foreigners, may gather, including at:

  • outdoor recreation and cultural events
  • places of worship
  • festivals
  • hotels and conference centres

Be particularly vigilant during religious holidays and if attending sporting events and public celebrations. Terrorists have used such occasions to mount attacks.

Southern Bangladesh

Many Rohingya refugees have entered southern Bangladesh. The largest concentration is in the Ukhia and Teknaf sub-districts, south of Cox’s Bazar district. Bangladeshi authorities regulate access to these areas.

If you are travelling to the region, monitor local news and follow the instructions of local authorities. Make sure any humanitarian assistance you want to provide is done through an established humanitarian agency that is registered with Bangladeshi authorities.

Civil unrest

Political demonstrations, nationwide hartals (enforced strikes), blockades and violent clashes have occurred and are likely to reoccur.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

During hartals, demonstrations or election periods, avoid Road 86 (north of the Gulshan Circle 2) and the Road 79–Gulshan Avenue intersection. Large gatherings are frequently held there, making it difficult to pass safely.

More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Demonstrations and blockades

Sudden demonstrations and violent clashes can take place following Jumma prayers (after noon) on Fridays.

Previous violent demonstrations have resulted in several hundred deaths. Attacks using explosive devices occurred in crowded public places, hotels, movie theatres, railway stations and at political rallies in cities including Chittagong, Dhaka, Khulna and Sylhet. During blockades, protesters set fire to vehicles, including trains, and damaged railway tracks, leading to derailments and injuries. Firebombs thrown at a bus on February 3, 2015, left seven people dead and 16 injured. Such violence could take place again if the security situation deteriorates and disturbances resume.

Avoid travelling during blockades as road, rail and marine transportation may be attacked or blocked. Prepare to have sufficient food, water and fuel available because there may be shortages.

Hartals

Hartals can effectively shut down all businesses and disrupt transportation, including in the diplomatic/expatriate areas.

Passengers at Hazrat Shah Jalal International Airport may be stranded without transportation.

During these enforced strikes and blockades, travel within Dhaka outside the Baridhara and Banani areas and all travel outside Dhaka is strongly discouraged due to the high incidence of violence.

Politically motivated violence

Be vigilant in Dhaka around:

  • the National Parliament House and the Bangladesh Secretariat
  • Baitul Mukarram National Masjid (national mosque)
  • University of Dhaka
  • the Mirpur, Motijheel, Naya Paltan, Purana Paltan and Shahbag districts
  • the commercial district of Kawran Bazar

Certain groups have used explosive devices and firearms during confrontations between rival political factions, demonstrators and police.

Crime

Violent crimes such as armed robberies and rapes occur. Crimes of opportunity have taken place against foreigners in various cities, including Dhaka, Chittagong, Feni, Khulna and Sylhet.

Pickpocketing, purse snatching and mugging are common, particularly in areas frequented by tourists and foreigners. Thieves target rickshaw, CNG (motorized rickshaw) and taxi passengers, particularly around dusk. They are also present on trains, ferries and long-distance buses on major roads between towns.

Cases of abduction for ransom have occurred, though they rarely involve foreigners. To lessen your chances of being victimized:

  • do not show signs of wealth
  • do not wear jewellery
  • ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times
  • avoid walking, taking taxis or other forms of public transportation, alone, particularly after dark

Attacks on minorities

Extremists have targeted religious minorities including Hindus, Buddhist and Christians, as well as secular writers, including some foreigners.

Women’s safety

Unaccompanied women face the highest risk of being victims of crime. Physical and verbal harassment of women occurs. Avoid travelling alone, including on public transportation, especially at night. Do not go to police stations alone.

Safe-travel guide for women

Forced marriage

Forced marriages involving Canadians have taken place, sometimes without the Canadian’s prior knowledge or consent.

Fraud

There have been incidents of credit card fraud at ATMs and with merchants in Dhaka. Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
  • use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

More about overseas fraud

Road safety

Road safety and road conditions are poor. Road travel is dangerous and you should avoid it, particularly after dark. Many vehicles operate without headlights or with full high beams.

Traffic in urban areas is extremely congested and chaotic. Road accidents causing injuries or death are common.

In the event of a serious accident where you could be deemed at fault, immediately make your way to a police station. If you cannot move your vehicle, lock your doors and windows and call for police. Crowds, which can turn hostile, have been known to gather around the scene of such accidents.

Public transportation

Exercise caution when using public transportation, including buses, trains and ferries, due to poor safety standards.

Ferry accidents are common in Bangladesh due to the overloading and poor maintenance of some vessels. Do not board vessels that appear overloaded or unseaworthy.

Rail travel is slow and derailments occur. If you travel by train at night, make sure to lock your compartment.

Only use registered taxis. Always arrange taxis through your hotel or other trusted establishment.

Air travel

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

Tourist facilities are inadequate.

Planned power cuts are a daily occurrence in most parts of the country and can last for many hours. Water supply is also inconsistent and several areas of the country can go for days without any water.

Piracy

Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in coastal waters. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.

Live piracy report - International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre

Entry/exit requirements

Entry/exit requirements

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 Bangladeshi authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.

Passport

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 at the time of arrival in Bangladesh.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

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.

Useful links

Visas

Tourist visa: required (for stays up to 30 days)
Business visa: required (for stays up to 30 days)
Student visa: Required

You can purchase single-entry tourist and business visas upon arrival at the airport in Bangladesh. To avoid complications, however, you should obtain your visa from the High Commission of Bangladesh to Canada or one of its consulates before your departure.

Other entry requirements

You must carry all documents pertaining to the purpose of your visit and declare funds in excess of US$5000. Be prepared to show proof of both onward travel and sufficient funds for your stay.

If you are travelling for business, you must also produce:

  • a hotel booking confirmation
  • a letter of invitation or letter of offer from a local company providing details regarding the purpose and duration of your stay

Dual citizenship

Dual citizens can obtain a “No Visa Required” stamp on their passport but should note that it may limit the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular services. If you entered Bangladesh with a No Visa Required stamp, ensure that it is transferred to any new passport you obtain while in the country.

Recognition of dual citizenship

Children and travel

Learn about travel with children.

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

Health

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

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

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

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.

Influenza

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.

Japanese encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection that can cause swelling of the brain. It is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Risk is low for most travellers. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to mosquito bites (e.g., spending a large amount of time outdoors) while travelling in regions with risk of Japanese encephalitis.

Measles

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

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).

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Travellers going to countries in South Asia should speak to a health care professional about getting vaccinated.

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.

Risk

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.

Recommendation

  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
  • 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.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre


* 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/Water

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 South Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in South Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Cholera

Risk

Cholera is a risk in parts of this country.  Most travellers are at very low risk.

For protection of cholera

All travellers should practise safe food and water precautions.

Cholera vaccination

Travellers at higher risk should discuss with a health care professional the benefits of getting vaccinated.

Travellers at higher risk include those:

  • visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation
  • visiting areas where outbreaks are occurring.

 

Travellers' diarrhea
  • 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

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

Insects and Illness

In some areas in South Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunyadengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis and malaria.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Chikungunya

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.

Dengue fever
  • 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. 
  • 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.
Leishmaniasis, viceral

Visceral leishmaniasis (or kala azar) affects the bone marrow and internal organs. It is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a female sandfly. It can also be transmitted by blood transfusion or sharing contaminated needles. If left untreated it can cause death. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from sandfly bites, which typically occur after sunset in rural and forested areas and in some urban centres. There is no vaccine or medication to protect against leishmaniasis.

Lymphatic filariasis

Lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis, is caused by filariae (tiny worms) spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can cause a range of illnesses. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for lymphatic filariasis although drug treatments exist.

Zika virus infection

Zika virus infection is a risk in this country. Recent or ongoing cases of Zika virus have been reported in this country.

Travel recommendations:

All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites day and night.

Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects such as abnormally small heads (microcephaly).   Zika virus can also be sexually transmitted.

Travellers who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy:

  • Should avoid travel to this country
  • If travel cannot be avoided follow strict mosquito bite prevention measures.
  • Talk to your health care professional about the risk of Zika infection in pregnancy.
  • Use condoms or avoid having sex for the duration of the pregnancy, if you are pregnant and your partner has travelled to this country.
  • Female travellers:  wait at least 2 months after returning from this country before trying to conceive (get pregnant) to ensure that any possible Zika virus infection has cleared your body.
  • Male travellers: wait 6 months after returning from this country before trying to conceive.  Use condoms or avoid having sex during that time.

See travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers
 


Malaria

Malaria

  • There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this 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.
  • Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.

Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in Southern Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.

Avian Influenza

There have been human cases of avian influenza in this country.

Avian influenza is a viral infection that can spread quickly and easily among birds. In rare cases, it can infect people.

Protect yourself: 

  • avoid high risk areas such as poultry farms and live animal markets
  • avoid areas where poultry may be slaughtered
  • avoid contact with birds (alive or dead)
  • avoid surfaces that may have bird droppings or secretions on them
  • ensure all poultry dishes, including eggs, are well cooked

Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

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.

Tuberculosis

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

Health care is inadequate. Patients with serious conditions often require medical evacuations to Singapore or Thailand. Doctors and hospitals may expect immediate cash payment for health services.

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

Laws & 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 drugs

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can face life imprisonment or a death sentence.

Alcohol consumption

Bangladeshi citizens, including dual citizens, may not consume, possess, transport or buy alcohol without a permit.

Muslims may not consume alcohol. Muslims who do face detention or other penalties.

Identification

You must carry a photocopy of your passport in case local authorities ask to verify your identification.

Driving

Traffic drives on the left.

You must carry an International Driving Permit.

LGBTQ2 travellers

Bangladeshi law prohibits sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. Other related offences include being in a same-sex marriage and promoting homosexuality. Convicted offenders can face life imprisonment.

General safety information and advice for LGBTQ2 travellers abroad

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Bangladesh.

If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Bangladesh, 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

Children

If your parents are Bangladeshi, local authorities may consider you a Bangladeshi citizen, regardless of your place of birth or if you have formally obtained Bangladeshi citizenship. 

Culture

The workweek in Bangladesh is from Sunday to Thursday.

During the lunar month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim calendar), use discretion when drinking, eating, and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. In 2019, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around May 5. Business transactions are considerably slower during this period.

Local laws reflect the fact that Bangladesh has strongly conservative social norms.

Dress conservatively, behave discreetly and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities. Women in particular should avoid wearing shorts and sleeveless garments.

Public displays of affection are not socially acceptable.

Property disputes

Property disputes, including those between family members, are common and can turn violent. You should contact a local lawyer if you find yourself in such a situation.

Money

The currency is the taka (BDT).

Credit cards are widely accepted; however, exercise caution when using them.

ATMs are available in larger urban areas and at some major hotels.

There are import and export restrictions on local currency. It is illegal to import more than 5,000 taka and export more than 500 taka.

Natural disasters and climate

Natural disasters & climate

Seismic activity

Bangladesh is located in an active seismic zone. Bangladeshi authorities usually issue tsunami warnings immediately following a significant earthquake. In the event of an earthquake, monitor local media for the latest information and always follow the instructions of local safety authorities.

Monsoon season

The rainy (or monsoon) season extends from June to October. Seasonal flooding can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable and bridges damaged. Every year during the monsoon season, a third of the territory is seriously affected. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.

More about hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones and monsoons

Assistance

Assistance

Local services

Emergency services

Nationwide

  • Police, firefighters and ambulance (from a cellular phone only): 999
  • Helpline for violence against women and children: 10921

If you are in Dhaka, you can also dial the following numbers from any phone:

  • police: 88 017 133 98311 / 8802 951 4400
  • firefighters: 8802 955 5555 / 8802 955 6666 / 8802 955 6667

If you do not have a cellular phone and are outside of Dhaka, research and carry contact information for local police and medical facilities.

Consular assistance

Dhaka - High Commission of Canada
Street AddressUnited Nations Road, Baridhara, Dhaka, BangladeshPostal AddressP.O. Box 569, Dhaka, BangladeshTelephone+880 2 5566 8444Fax+880 2 885 1138Emaildhaka.consular@international.gc.caInternetwww.bangladesh.gc.caServicesPassport Services AvailableFacebookHigh Commission of Canada in Bangladesh

For emergency consular assistance, call the High Commission of Canada in Dhaka 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. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services.

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