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Liberia - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Liberia. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to the potential for unrest and violence.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Area bordering Côte d'ivoire
This border area has been highly unstable in the past, and the presence of armed militias and the lack of proper security force patrols increase the risk to travellers.
The second round of Presidential elections is scheduled for November 7, 2017. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, and be vigilant in public places. Monitor the news and follow the instructions of local authorities.
Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world. A high degree of poverty increases the likeliness of criminality, and crime levels in Liberia are high, including in the capital. Muggings, armed assaults and theft are prevalent. Avoid walking alone and displaying any signs of affluence in public, and do not leave valuables or bags unattended. Residential armed break-ins are also common. Crime significantly increases at night due to the lack of electricity in some parts of the capital.
Violent crimes, including aggravated sexual assault and murder, routinely occur and have involved foreigners. Police forces can rarely offer protection and do not have the capacity to investigate and prosecute.
Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
The United Nations Mission in Liberia force provides national authorities with support and guarantees of limited security on major roads as well as around Monrovia and the main population centres. However, security problems persist throughout the country, including in Monrovia and many outlying regions.
Police forces are going through a restructuring process and have limited presence on the ground. The national police can be overextended, particularly when demonstrations and other crowd movements occur.
Cases of attempted fraud are frequently reported in this country. See our Overseas Fraud page for more information on scams abroad.
During the day, travellers may circulate safely on the country’s roads, as well as in the capital, Monrovia, however, renting a car and driving yourself is not recommended. Overland travel can be hazardous and should only be undertaken in a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Roads are generally in poor condition and rarely paved outside Monrovia. Moreover, their condition deteriorates significantly during the rainy season.
Travel after dark is particularly dangerous and is not recommended. There are no operating traffic lights and all roads are unlit; exercise caution when approaching intersections. Overloaded vehicles frequently stop without signalling, pedestrians routinely dodge traffic and roaming animals pose a hazard.
Drivers may be required to pull off the road with headlights turned off when high-speed car convoys carrying government officials announce their presence. It is advisable to wait a few minutes after the convoy passes before resuming your journey.
The number of UNMIL security checkpoints has significantly decreased and they are much less obstrusive than in the past. However, they can still cause significant delays.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
Roberts International Airport (RIA) is located 56 kilometres outside Monrovia. Daytime air service is very limited. Since public transportation to Monrovia is not reliable, arrange to be met upon arrival at the airport and dropped off on departure by reliable contacts. If transportation is not arranged, you are advised to hire cars and drivers from reputable security providers with respect to journey management.
As of October 9, 2017, the Roberts International Airport will be closed to air traffic on Mondays and Thursdays. Contact your airline to confirm your flight.
General safety information
Secure tourist facilities and accommodations are very limited in Monrovia and there is little to no infrastructure outside the capital. Travel outside Monrovia and in rural areas is generally inadvisable. There is no landline telephone system in the country. Mobile telecommunications exist in Monrovia and other major towns, however many remote areas and stretches of road between major towns have no coverage. North American cell phones do not always work in Liberia.
Water is not commercially available in Monrovia and there is no functioning sewage system. However, bottled water is available from many businesses.
Fuel shortages are common and transportation services are severely limited or inadequate in rural areas.
When visiting the beach, swimmers should be aware of dangerous currents.
You should carry valid official photo identification with you at all times, preferably a certified copy of your passport’s identification page. Ensure that you always maintain sufficient supplies of food, water and other essentials.
It is the sole prerogative of every country or territory to determine who is allowed to enter or exit. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry or exit requirements. The following information has been obtained from the Liberian authorities and is subject to change at any time. The country- or territory-specific entry/exit requirements are provided on this page for information purposes only. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, information contained here is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Republic of Liberia for up-to-date information.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Liberia, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must be in possession of a visa to visit Liberia.
Tourist visa: Required
Ordinary visa: Required
Official visa: Required
Immigration officials at the airport may authorize permits for a 48-hour stay only. Travellers wishing to stay longer must present their passport to the Central Bureau of Immigration on Broad Street in downtown Monrovia. The Central Bureau issues permits for stays up to three months for a US$100 fee.
There is a US$25 departure tax to be paid in cash at the airport.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
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.
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.
There is a risk of polio in this country.
- Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up to date. Polio is part of the routine vaccine schedule for children in Canada.
- One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended as an adult.
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).
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.
- 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.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
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.
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 cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in West Africa. 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.
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.
- 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 for children, 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 West Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis, Rift Valley fever, West Nile virus, yellow fever and Zika virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
Onchocerciasis (river blindness) is an eye and skin disease caused by a parasite spread through the bite of an infected female blackfly. Onchocerciasis often leads to blindness if left untreated. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from blackfly bites, which are most common close to fast-flowing rivers and streams. There is no vaccine available for onchocerciasis although drug treatments exist.
Zika virus infection
Zika virus infection is a risk in this country. The mosquito that spreads the virus is found here.
All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites and other diseases spread by insects.
- 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.
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 influenza, ebola, and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
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.
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
Medical facilities and emergency services are poor in Monrovia and non-existent outside the capital. The recent Ebola outbreak resulted in lowered access to quality health care. Medicines are rarely available. Travellers requiring medical assistance for any serious illnesses, or involved in accidents, may require medical evacuation. Medical transport is very expensive and payment is often required up front.
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 are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Restricted or illegal activities
Importation of rough diamonds is subject to strict international trade laws. Seek legal advice before engaging in commercial transactions involving rough diamonds. Penalties for illegally exporting diamonds include imprisonment.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Possession of pornographic material is illegal.
Photography of military installations, airports and seaports, bridges and important government buildings is prohibited.
The laws of Liberia prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Liberia.
See Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit Canadians abroad for more information.
An International Driving Permit is recommended.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Liberia. However, Canadian officials may be limited in their ability to provide you with consular services if local authorities consider you a Liberian citizen. You should always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. You may also need to carry and present a Liberian passport for legal reasons, for example to enter and exit the country (see Entry/exit requirements to determine passport requirements). Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
The currency is the Liberian dollar (LRD). The economy is cash-based. U.S. dollars are widely accepted and easily converted into local currency. Traveller’s cheques, credit and debit cards are not accepted anywhere in Liberia. Automated banking machines (ABMs) are unavailable. You are advised to carry sufficient funds in U.S. dollars to cover expenses.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
The rainy season extends from May to November. Heavy rains may result in localized flash flooding and roads may become impassable in affected areas.
During the dry season, which extends from December to March, the country is affected by the harmattan, a seasonal wind that blows large amounts of sand and dust into the air and can severely limit visibility. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
Emergency services exist but may be subject to certain limitations. In case of emergency, dial 911.
There is no resident Canadian government office in Liberia. You can obtain consular assistance and further consular information from the Embassy of Canada in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.
Abidjan - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, 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. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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