COVID-19: travel health notice for all travellers
Benin travel advice
Latest updates: Thorough review and update of the entire travel advice
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.
Border areas with Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria - Avoid all travel
Avoid all travel to within 50 km of the borders with Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria in the departments of Atacora, Alibori and Borgou due to the threat of terrorism, banditry and the risk of kidnapping. This warning includes the W National Park and the Pendjari National Park.
Safety and security
Border areas 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 occur in these areas.
There is also a risk of incursion by Nigerian militants into the Nigerian border regions in the Collines, Plateau and Ouémé departments.
Petty crimes, such as purse snatching and pickpocketing, occur.
Theft is frequent in Cotonou:
- near the port and railroads
- in popular tourist areas, including beaches and the Dantokpa market
- near hotels frequented by foreign tourists
During your trip to Benin:
- ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and your other travel documents, are secure at all times
- avoid showing signs of affluence or wearing expensive jewellery
- avoid carrying large sums of cash
- be aware of your surroundings, especially in busy tourist areas
- stay in accommodations with adequate security measures
Violent crime occurs occasionally. Incidents include:
- armed robberies, particularly at night in Cotonou and the Nigerian border region
- car and motorcycle hijackings
- sexual assaults
Tourists are usually not targeted, however you could be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
During your stay :
- be aware of your surroundings at all times
- avoid going out and driving after dark
- keep doors locked and windows closed at all times
- if attacked, don’t resist
There is a threat of terrorism. 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.
Be particularly vigilant during:
- sporting events
- religious holidays
- public celebrations
- major political events, such as elections
Terrorists may use such occasions to mount attacks.
Many fatal accidents occur due to poorly maintained vehicles and roads, and failure to observe speed limits. Helmets should be worn when riding motorcycles, as emergency services have variable response times.
Road conditions vary considerably throughout the country. Roads are paved and in fairly good condition in Cotonou, along the coast and as far north as Niger. Elsewhere, most secondary roads are unpaved and can become impassable during the rainy season. Drivers may change lanes without warning because of broken-down vehicles and potholes.
Driving can also be dangerous due to:
- insufficient lighting
- vehicles not using their headlights at night
- lack of guardrail
- lack of traffic signs
- the presence of pedestrians on the road
- overloaded vehicles
Drivers don’t always follow traffic laws. They can be reckless.
If you choose to drive in Bénin:
- always drive defensively
- plan your trip in advance, especially if you're visiting a rural area
- avoid traveling after dark, especially:
- on the freeway along the coast;
- in areas close to the Togo and Nigeria borders;
- on the road between Cotonou and Parakou.
Roadblocks are common throughout the country.
You may be asked for identification.
- Be prepared to show your identification
- Keep a certified copy of your passport with you at all times
- Do not pass through a roadblock without stopping, even if it appears to be unattended
- If stopped, follow police instructions
Tourist facilities are limited outside Cotonou.
If you plan to travel outside Cotonou:
- plan your trip accordingly
- bring a cell phone, charger and local emergency numbers
- use a reputable tour operator
Fuel shortages occur occasionally. They could lead to a reduction in essential services and the formation of queues at gas stations.
- Plan accordingly
- Keep a supply of fuel on hand
- Make sure you always have access to an emergency kit
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
Credit card and ATM fraud
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
Cybercrime, malware attacks and online extortion occur in Benin.
Cybercriminals can compromise public Wi-Fi networks in order to steal personal data or credit information.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks
- Avoid shopping on unencrypted websites
- Be cautious when posting information on social media
- Be wary of unsolicited emails offering attractive business opportunities
- Don't click on suspicious links that ask for your banking information in an e-mail or text message
Romance scams on dating sites or through social media have occurred.
- Beware of people who show a keen interest online
- Keep in mind that you may be the victim of a scam if you go to Benin to meet someone that you met online
- Always meet new acquaintances in a secure and familiar location
- Be mindful of the risk of inviting new acquaintances in your hotel room or apartment
Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment or verbal abuse.
Coastal waters can be dangerous. Changing tides and strong winds can cause dangerous riptides.
Beaches are generally unsupervised. Not all have warning flags to warn of dangerous conditions.
Rescue services do not always meet international standards.
Many drownings occur every year.
- Never swim alone
- Keep a safe distance from boats and prohibited areas
- Consult local residents and tour operators for information on possible risks and safe swimming areas;
- Monitor weather alerts
Public transport services are limited and unreliable.
The quality and safety of private long-distance buses varies widely. Collective taxis, taxis brousses or bush taxis, are generally overcrowded and poorly maintained.
Most motorcycle taxis, the zemijahns, are unregistered. They are sometimes the target of violent crime, particularly at night.
- Use only official car taxis
- Make sure the driver does not pick up other passengers on the way to your destination
- Negotiate the fare in advance.
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
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
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 claim to offer Benin visas.
Make sure you use Benin’s official website only for your entry visa and stay 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).
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.
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.
There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.
Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.
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 risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus. Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.
Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease that is caused by parasites spread through the bites of mosquitoes.
Malaria is a risk to travellers to this destination.
Antimalarial medication is recommended for most travellers to this destination and should be taken as recommended. Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic before travelling to discuss your options. It is recommended to do this 6 weeks before travel, however, it is still a good idea any time before leaving.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times:
- Cover your skin and use an approved insect repellent on uncovered skin.
- Exclude mosquitoes from your living area with screening and/or closed, well-sealed doors and windows.
- Use insecticide-treated bed nets if mosquitoes cannot be excluded from your living area.
- Wear permethrin-treated clothing.
If you develop symptoms similar to malaria when you are travelling or up to a year after you return home, see a health care professional immediately. Tell them where you have been travelling or living.
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.
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.
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.
There is a risk of schistosomiasis in this destination. Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease caused by tiny worms (blood flukes) which can be found in freshwater (lakes, rivers, ponds, and wetlands). The worms can break the skin, and their eggs can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, flu-like symptoms, or urinary problems. Schistosomiasis mostly affects underdeveloped and rural communities, particularly agricultural and fishing communities.
Most travellers are at low risk. Travellers should avoid contact with untreated freshwater such as lakes, rivers, and ponds (e.g., swimming, bathing, wading, ingesting). There is no vaccine or medication available to prevent infection.
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.
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.
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.
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
Health facilities and supplies of medication are limited throughout the country.
Private clinics and hospitals are better equipped and generally have qualified medical staff.
Private doctors and hospitals generally require immediate payment in cash.
Medical evacuation is often very costly and may be necessary in the event of serious illness or injury.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Some prescription medications may not be available in Benin.
If you take prescription medications, you’re responsible for determining their legality in the country.
- Bring sufficient quantities of your medication with you
- Always keep your medication in the original container
- Pack them in your carry-on luggage
- Carry a copy of your prescriptions
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.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect a jail sentence and a heavy fine.
The laws of Benin law do 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.
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.
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
You must carry an international driving permit to drive in Benin.
If you have an accident and injure someone, take the person directly to hospital. If witnesses to the accident react with hostility, go immediately to the nearest police station.
Dress and behavior
To avoid offending local sensitivities:
- dress conservatively
- behave discreetly
- respect religious and social traditions
- seek permission from locals before photographing them
Photography of sensitive installations is prohibited. This includes:
- military sites
- government buildings
The currency is the West African Financial Community franc, or CFA franc (XOF).
Benin has a cash-based economy. Credit cards are generally accepted in major hotels, but rarely in restaurants and other shops.
ATMs compatible with foreign cards are available in banks and some large hotels but are rare outside the major cities.
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.
Seasonal flooding can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable due to mudslides and landslides. Bridges, buildings, and infrastructure may be damaged.
- Monitor local media for the latest updates, including road conditions
- Stay away from flooded areas
- Monitor weather reports
- Follow instructions from local authorities, including evacuation orders
The harmattan, a hot, dusty, sand-laden wind, blows from the Sahara from December to March.
The harmattan can disrupt travel and reduce visibility. It can also severely affect the health of people suffering from respiratory ailments.
- Keep informed of local weather forecast
- Plan your activities accordingly
Forest and brush fires are frequent between July and August, especially in the northern part of the country.
Air quality in areas affected by forest fires can deteriorate due to dense smoke.
In the event of a major fire:
- stay away from affected areas, especially if you suffer from respiratory problems
- follow the instructions of local emergency services personnel
- monitor local media to stay informed of the evolving situation
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 117
- medical assistance: +229 21 30 17 69 or +229 21 30 06 56
- firefighters: 118
Cotonou - Office of the Embassy 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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