COVID-19: travel health notice for all travellers
Benin travel advice
Latest updates: The Health section was updated - travel health information (Public Health Agency of Canada)
Last updated: ET
On this page
- Risk level
- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
- Need help?
Benin - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Benin due to crime.
North of National Highway 7 - Avoid non-essential travel
Avoid non-essential travel to the area north of National Highway 7, due to the threat of terrorism, banditry and the risk of kidnapping.
W National Park and areas along the borders with Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria - Avoid all travel
Avoid all travel to W National Park due to the threat of terrorism, banditry and the risk of kidnapping and to the area within 50 km of the borders with Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria in the departments of Atacora, Alibori and Borgou.
Safety and security
The security situation is generally stable. You should be vigilant at all times, however, and avoid demonstrations, large crowds and public areas where unrest may occur.
Areas along the borders with Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria
Armed groups operate along the borders with Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria, including in national parks, in the departments of Atacora, Alibori and Borgou, as well as the area north of National Highway 7. Attacks and kidnappings take place.
Exercise a high degree of caution in regions bordering Nigeria in the departments of Collines, Plateau and Ouémé because of potential incursions by Nigerian militants.
The land border crossing linking Sèmè-Kpodji to Seme Border in Nigeria is only open between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Petty crimes, such as purse snatching and pickpocketing, occur.
Robberies and muggings are a significant problem in Cotonou near the port, near railways and along the beaches near hotels frequented by international visitors.
Armed robbery, especially at night, has increased in Cotonou and is common in the area bordering Nigeria.
Carjackings are on the rise throughout the country.
Avoid driving and walking after nightfall.
Do not show signs of affluence, and ensure that your personal belongings and travel documents are secure, particularly in the Dantokpa market.
There is a threat of terrorism. Benin’s involvement in a regional military offensive against Boko Haram makes it a potential target for terrorist attacks.
Attacks may occur at any time.
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.
Demonstrations may occur. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)
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
Credit card and ATM fraud occurs. 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 conditions range from fair to poor.
Watch for vehicles changing lanes without warning because of broken-down vehicles and potholes in their path.
There are paved roads in Cotonou and along the coast, and one leading north to Niger. Other roads are made of hard-packed sand and may become impassable during the rainy seasons.
Poor driving habits, inadequate street lighting, motorcycle traffic and overloaded trucks pose additional hazards.
Avoid overland travel after dark, particularly on the coastal highway, in the border regions with Nigeria and Nigeria, and on the road linking Cotonou and Parakou.
In case of an accident resulting in injury, take the individual directly to the hospital. If witnesses are hostile, go immediately to the nearest police station.
Fuel shortages are frequent in the rural areas of northern Benin.
Public transportation in Cotonou, including moped taxis, is not reliable.
Buses can be used for travel within Benin.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Information about foreign domestic airlines
General safety recommendations
Cotonou is the main port and the largest city in Benin. Tourist facilities are available there but are limited elsewhere in the country.
Exercise caution and avoid visiting beaches alone. Ocean currents are very strong along the coast. Many people drown each year.
Entry and 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 Beninese authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives 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 Benin.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
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 foreign representative for your destination.
Tourist visa: required
Business visa: required
Student visa: required
You must obtain your visa prior to arriving in Benin. You can apply online through the Benin government website.
Some fraudulent websites offer Benin visas.
Use the official Benin entry and stay visa application website only for your visa applications.
E-visa - Republic of Benin
Children and travel
Learn more about travelling with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Relevant Travel Health Notices
- Global Measles Notice - 5 April, 2023
- Polio: Advice for travellers - 19 May, 2023
- COVID-19 and International Travel - 17 March, 2023
This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.
Be sure that your routine vaccinations, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.
Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary.
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.
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.
- Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to arrange for vaccination.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
In this destination, rabies is commonly carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions, including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.
If you are bitten or scratched by a dog or other animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. In this destination, rabies treatment may be limited or may not be available, therefore you may need to return to Canada for treatment.
Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals).
Polio (poliomyelitis) is an infectious disease that can be prevented by vaccination. It is caused by poliovirus type 1, 2 or 3. Circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus 2 (cVDPV2) is present in this country.
Polio is spread from person to person and through contaminated food and water. Infection with the polio virus can cause paralysis and death in individuals of any age who are not immune.
- Be sure that your polio vaccinations are up to date before travelling. Polio is part of the routine vaccine schedule for children in Canada.
- One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended as an adult.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
Safe food and water precautions
Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.
- Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
- Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs.
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.
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 of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
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.
Insect bite prevention
Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:
- Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
- Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
- Minimize exposure to insects
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed
To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.
Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.
There is a risk of chikungunya in this country. The risk may vary between regions of a 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, risk of dengue is sporadic. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
- Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
- The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
- 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.
Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.
Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.
Lassa fever is a risk in this country.
Lassa fever is caused by a virus carried by rodents. Humans get sick when they inhale or come into close contact with feces, saliva, or urine of infected rodents or the blood or bodily fluids of infected humans.
Lassa virus can be very serious. Avoid rodents and rodent-infested areas.
Mpox (monkeypox) is a risk in this country. It is a viral disease that can cause serious illness in some circumstances. Risk is generally low for most travellers.
Mpox spreads in 3 ways:
- from animals to humans through direct contact or by eating or preparing undercooked meat of infected animals or coming into contact with an infected animal's body fluids
- from person to person through close contact, including direct contact with the skin lesions, blood, body fluids, or mucosal surfaces (such as eyes, mouth, throat, genitalia, anus, or rectum) of an infected person
- through direct contact with contaminated objects such as bedding and towels, or by sharing personal objects used by an infected person
Follow recommended public health measures and avoid contact with animals such as rodents and primates to help prevent getting or spreading the infection
Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:
- washing your hands often
- avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
- avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.
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.
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.
Medical services and facilities
Medical facilities are adequate in Cotonou but supplies of medicine are limited throughout the country.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
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.
Laws and illegal activities
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines. If you are travelling with prescription medicine, carry proof of your prescription.
Sexual relations with minors under 21 years of age are illegal and severely punished by law.
Do not take pictures of military zones, airports or government offices. You should ask permission before taking any picture.
Although the laws of Benin law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. However, homosexuality is not widely accepted in Benin. Homosexual behaviour could lead to arrest under laws such as indecent exposure.
2SLGBTQI+ travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Benin.
Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Benin.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Benin, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
Travellers with dual citizenship
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Benin.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Benin by an abducting parent:
- act as quickly as you can
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in Benin to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
An International Driving Permit is required.
Exercise common sense and discretion in dress and behaviour. You should respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.
The currency is the West African Financial Community franc, or CFA franc (XOF).
Natural disasters and climate
In the south, there are two rainy seasons: from April to mid-July and mid-September to October. In the north, the rainy season extends from June to September.
Unpaved roads can become impassable during the rainy seasons.
The harmattan, a burning, dusty and sand-filled wind, blows in from the desert from December to March. Keep informed of local weather forecasts and plan your activities accordingly.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 117
- medical assistance: +229 21 30 17 69 or +229 21 30 06 56
- firefighters: 118
Cotonou - Consulate of Canada
Ouagadougou - Embassy of Canada
BeninAppointment Book your appointment online
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou 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, expressed 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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