International Travel and COVID-19

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If you have not completed a COVID-19 vaccine series, you should continue to avoid non-essential travel to all destinations.

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Burkina Faso Travel Advice

Last updated: ET

Latest updates: The Health section was updated - travel health information (Public Health Agency of Canada)

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Risk level

Burkina Faso - AVOID ALL TRAVEL

Avoid all travel to Burkina Faso due to the volatile security situation and the threat of terrorism.

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Safety and security

COVID-19 - Preventative measures and restrictions

COVID-19 preventative measures and restrictions are still in effect in some destinations.

These could include:

  • curfews, movement restrictions, or lockdowns
  • mandatory mask use
  • required proof of vaccination or a COVID-19 test result to access public and private services and spaces

Before travelling, verify if specific restrictions or requirements are still in effect.

Foreign Representatives in Canada

Northern area

The threat of kidnapping persists in Burkina Faso’s northern area, due to the proximity of Mali and Niger, where criminal and terrorist groups are active. Should you plan to go to these areas despite the advisory:

  • be vigilant at all times
  • use varied and unpredictable routes and itineraries
  • use an armed security escort

Risk level(s)

Border regions

The terrorist threat as well as the risk of banditry and kidnapping are high in Burkina Faso’s border regions, especially along its borders with:

  • Benin
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Mali
  • Niger
  • Togo

States of emergency may be in effect in these regions. When a state of emergency is in effect, security forces have increased rights to conduct searches, seizures, and detain persons of interest. Some civil rights may be suspended, including the right to protest and to hold large meetings.

Local authorities may also impose curfews without notice.

Risk level(s)

Political situation

On January 24, 2022, the military announced that it had seized power of the country, detaining the President.

Public celebrations and festive events are prohibited:

  • after midnight from Monday to Thursday
  • after 2 am from Friday to Sunday

If you are in Burkina Faso:

  • follow the instructions of local authorities
  • avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • monitor local media for the latest on the situation

Terrorism

There is a threat of terrorism. In 2018, terrorist groups have declared their intention to target Western companies in the Sahel. There have been multiple attacks in Ouagadougou and elsewhere in the country since 2016,including:

  • on August 11, 2018, a landmine detonated under a National Gendarmerie convoy in the east of the country, 100 km from Fada N'Gourma. A shootout with a group of gunmen then took place. These incidents resulted in several victims
  • on March 2, 2018, attackers staged a double attack against Burkina Faso’s armed forces and against the French embassy, killing at least 8 people and injuring many others
  • on August 13, 2017, assailants shot at clients at Aziz-Istanbul restaurant, killing at least 18 people and injuring several more
  • on January 15, 2016, gunmen stormed the Splendid Hotel and the Café Cappuccino, killing 30 people

Further attacks cannot be ruled out. Targets could include:

  • government buildings, including schools
  • places of worship
  • extraction sites
  • 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

During the attacks in 2016 and 2017, assailants specifically targeted establishments frequented by foreigners. If you are in Ouagadougou, avoid bars and restaurants that are mostly frequented by foreigners at peak hours.

Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.

Stay at hotels that have robust security measures; however, keep in mind that even the most secure locations cannot be considered completely free of risk.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations take place from time to time. 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)

Banditry

Incidents of illegal roadblocks and carjacking have occurred. Armed criminals don’t hesitate to shoot at vehicles to stop and rob their occupants.  The following regions are particularly prone to such incidents:

  • eastern
  • central
  • east-central
  • north-central
  • central plateau

However, such incidents can also happen in other areas, day or night, on both main and secondary roads.

  • Exercise caution at all times
  • If possible, travel in a convoy
  • Avoid travelling during early morning hours and after sundown
  • In the event that you are attacked, don’t resist and contact the local authorities as soon as possible (Gendarmerie – numéro vert 10 10)

Crime 

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs in major cities. In Ouagadougou, the areas around the United Nations roundabout and Central Market are often targeted by thieves. Petty crime occurs to a lesser degree elsewhere in the country.

  • Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • Avoid showing signs of affluence and walking alone after dark
  • Always carry a legally certified photocopy of your passport’s identification page

Road safety

Driving in Burkina Faso can be challenging. Roads are generally narrow, unpaved and poorly lit. Pedestrians, bicycles, carts, vehicles without headlights and potholes pose hazards to drivers. Many trucks transit the country at night. Travel after dark is not recommended.

Public transportation

Public transportation is not recommended.

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

General information about foreign domestic airlines

Mobile networks

Local mobile networks can be unreliable.

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Entry and exit requirements

COVID-19 - Entry, exit and transit restrictions and requirements

Most governments have implemented special entry and exit restrictions and requirements for their territory due to COVID-19. These measures can be imposed suddenly and may include:

  • entry or exit bans
  • quarantine
  • mandatory proof of vaccination or COVID-19 testing
  • suspensions or reductions of international transportation options

Foreign authorities might not recognize or accept proof of vaccination issued by Canadian provinces and territories. You may need to obtain a translation, a notarization, an authentication, or the legalization of the document.

Before travelling:

  • verify if the local authorities of both your current location and destinations have implemented any restrictions or requirements related to this situation
  • consider even your transit points, as there are transit rules in place in many destinations
  • monitor the media for the latest information
  • reconfirm the requirements with your airline or tour operator

The situation could disrupt your travel plans. You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance to change your travel plans.

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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 authorities of Burkina Faso. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives 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 the duration of your stay.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

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.

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Visas

You must have a visa.

Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required

Children and travel

Learn about travel with children.

Yellow fever

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

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Health

Relevant Travel Health Notices

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.

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.

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 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.

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 a risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination for travellers from all countries.

Recommendation

About Yellow Fever

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

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.

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).

Polio - Proof of vaccination required

Polio is present in this country. Polio can be prevented by vaccination, which is part of the routine vaccines for children in Canada.

Recommendation:

  • Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up to date.
  • One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended for adults.  

Proof of vaccination:

If you are staying more than 4 weeks in this country, you may need to show proof of polio vaccination when you leave the country.

Make sure that the polio vaccination is documented on the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis. This is the only document accepted as proof of vaccination. In Canada, they are provided at Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres.

Carry the certificate as proof of vaccination.

Measles

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.

Meningococcal disease

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.

Malaria
  • 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.
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.

COVID-19

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.

For destination entry and exit requirements, including for COVID-19 vaccination requirements, please check the Entry/exit requirements section.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

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 West Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholerahepatitis Aschistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in West Africa. 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.

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

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 of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.  

Schistosomiasis

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.

Insects and Illness

In some areas in West Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness)chikungunyaCrimean-Congo hemorrhagic feverdengue feverleishmaniasislymphatic filariasismalariaonchocerciasis, Rift Valley feverWest Nile virusyellow fever and Zika virus.

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
  • In this country, dengue is a risk to travellers. 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.

Animals and Illness

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

Lassa fever

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.

Camping, forestry work, or other outdoor activities can put travellers at a higher risk.

Lassa virus can be very serious. Avoid rodents and rodent-infested areas.

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.

HIV

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

COVID-19 - Testing

Contact local health authorities, or the nearest Government of Canada office abroad to find out where you can get a COVID-19 test.

Medical facilities and supplies are very limited outside the capital. Clinics and doctors often request cash payment.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

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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.

Restricted activities

Photography

A valid permit is required for photography. These permits and the accompanying list of restrictions, such as military and government installations, are available from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Ouagadougou. 

Drugs

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe.

Ramadan

In 2023, the lunar month of Ramadan is expected to begin on or around March 22.

In public, between sunrise and sunset, be discreet when :

  • drinking
  • eating
  • smoking

Dress and behaviour

Dress conservatively, behave discreetly, and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.

Driving

You should carry an international driving permit

More about the International Driving Permit

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Burkina Faso.

If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Burkina Faso, 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

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. The convention applies between Canada and Burkina Faso.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Burkina Faso, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Burkinabe court.

If you are in this situation:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Burkina Faso 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.

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Money

The currency in Burkina Faso is the CFA franc (CFAF).

Burkina Faso is a cash-based economy. ATMs that work with foreign cards to withdraw local currency are available in the large cities. Euros and U.S. dollars can also be accepted at certain establishments. Credit cards are accepted at few establishments in the capital.

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Natural disasters and climate

The dry season extends from November to May.

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.

Harmattan winds bring sand and dust from the Sahara desert between December and February.

Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.

More about hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones and monsoons

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Need help?

Local services

Emergency services

In case of emergency, dial:

  • 17 for police
  • 18 for firefighters

Consular assistance

Ouagadougou - Embassy of Canada
Street Address318 Professeur Ki-Zerbo Street, Ouagadougou, Burkina FasoPostal AddressP.O. Box 548, Ouagadougou, 01, Kadiogo Province, Burkina FasoTelephone+226 25 49 08 00 / +226 25 31 18 94Fax+226 25 49 08 10 / +226 25 31 19 00Emailouaga@international.gc.caInternetwww.burkinafaso.gc.caFacebookEmbassy of Canada to Burkina Faso and BeninTwitterEmbassy of Canada in Burkina FasoConsular district

Benin

Appointment Book your appointment online

For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in Ouagadougou and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

Disclaimer

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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