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Latest updates: Laws and culture - Ramadan 2019.
Bangladesh - AVOID NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL
Avoid non-essential travel to 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.
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
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
- 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.
Chittagong Hill Tracts region
There is a serious risk of politically motivated violence, kidnapping and ethnic clashes in this region. If you choose to travel to the Chittagong Hill Tracts region despite the associated risks, you should register at the Divisional Commissioner’s Office in Chittagong before heading out to the region.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Forced marriages involving Canadians have taken place, sometimes without the Canadian’s prior knowledge or consent.
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
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.
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.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
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 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.
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 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).
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Travellers to countries in South Asia should speak to a health care provider 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.
- 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.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
- 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.
* 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 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 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.
Travellers at higher risk should discuss with a health care provider 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 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 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 South Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria and Zika virus.
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.
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, 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.
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
- 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 provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
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.
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.
- 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
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
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.
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.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can face life imprisonment or a death sentence.
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.
You must carry a photocopy of your passport in case local authorities ask to verify your identification.
Traffic drives on the left.
You must carry an International Driving Permit.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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
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.
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.
- 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.
Dhaka - High Commission of Canada
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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