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Liberia - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Liberia due to the potential for violence.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Muggings, armed assaults and theft are prevalent. Avoid displaying any signs of affluence in public. Do not leave valuables or bags unattended.
Armed home break-ins are also common and thieves target areas where foreigners visit or live.
Foreigners have been victims of violent crimes, including aggravated sexual assault and murder.
Crime significantly increases in the darkness of night due to the lack of electricity in some parts of the capital.
If you are the victim of an armed robbery, do not resist. Attackers have sometimes gravely assaulted their victims for failing to comply or not complying quickly enough.
Consider hiring private security because the capacity of police to respond to crimes and other incidents is very limited, particularly outside of Monrovia.
The inauguration of the president-elect should take place on January 22, 2018. On that day, expect increased security measures, including additional road blocks. Plan your movements accordingly and follow the instructions of local authorities.
Demonstrations occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor local media.
Be wary of unsolicited emails offering enticing business or financial opportunities. Do not travel to Liberia with the intention to obtain restitution after losing money to a scam. Instead, seek legal advice on how to deal with the situation.
If you’re travelling to Liberia to meet someone you’ve otherwise only met online, you may be the victim of a scam.
Learn more about overseas fraud.
Some Liberian officials solicit bribes as you go through customs at airports.
Police officers and other government officials may also try to solicit bribes. You may encounter difficulties if you refuse to pay.
If you are dealing with a corrupt official, you may inform them you will contact the Embassy of Canada for advice and ask for a signed official receipt for any moneys paid. This tends to dissuade them from soliciting bribes.
Area bordering Côte d'Ivoire
There have been clashes between armed groups on both sides of the Liberian–Côte d’Ivoire border. The lack of proper security force patrols in this area increases the risk to travellers.
Road conditions and road safety are poor throughout the country. Many roads outside Monrovia are unpaved. Road conditions deteriorate significantly during the rainy season.
You should arrange transportation before you arrive and for the duration of your stay. Avoid driving unless you are familiar with local conditions. If you do plan to drive, opt for a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
To minimize safety risks, plan ahead in case of breakdowns. Crowds tend to form around accidents and they can become violent.
Avoid travelling after dark. There are no operating traffic lights and all roads are unlit. Exercise caution when approaching intersections.
Fuel shortages are common. Keep this in mind if you’re travelling to remote areas.
Be cautious of the following if you do drive:
- poor driving standards and widespread disregard for traffic laws
- overloaded vehicles, which frequently stop without signalling
- pedestrians, who routinely dodge traffic
- roaming animals
Use only licensed taxis. Ask your hotel or host to hire one ahead of time from a reputable company. Transportation services are severely limited or inadequate in rural areas.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Roberts International Airport 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.
General safety information
Secure tourist facilities and accommodations are very limited in Monrovia and there is little to no infrastructure outside the capital.
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.
If you plan to swim in the ocean, be aware of dangerous currents.
Ensure that you always maintain sufficient supplies of food, water and other essentials.
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 Liberian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Liberia.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Tourist visa: Required
Ordinary visa: Required
Official visa: Required
If you plan to reside in Liberia, you must register with the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization.
Authorities at border crossings may require that you undergo a health screening on arrival. If you show symptoms indicative of a potential Ebola infection, authorities may quarantine you or deny you entry.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
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
Public medical facilities and emergency services are poor in Monrovia and unavailable outside the capital. Private emergency services are available, but can be very expensive. Medicines are rarely available.
Travellers requiring medical assistance for any serious illnesses, or who are involved in accidents, may require medical evacuation. Medical transport is very expensive and payment is often required up front.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Restricted or illegal activities
Importation/exportation 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 severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Possession of pornographic material is illegal.
Photography and filming of military installations, airports and seaports, bridges and important government buildings is prohibited.
An International Driving Permit is required.
The use of a seatbelt is mandatory.
Convoys carrying government officials travel at high speeds, and you must pull over and turn off your headlights if you see one approaching. You should wait a few minutes after the convoy passes before continuing on.
Liberian law prohibits sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Liberia.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Liberia.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Liberia, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
The currency is the Liberian dollar (LRD).
The economy is cash based. You can readily exchange U.S. dollars into local currency, but many merchants accept U.S. dollars for payment. Merchants rarely accept traveller’s cheques, credit and debit cards; Visa and MasterCard are accepted at some of the larger hotels.
ATMs are scarcely available and only in Monrovia. You can only use a Visa card to withdraw cash from an ATM. Bring with you 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. Monitor local media to keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
Emergency services exist but police have very limited capacity to respond to emergencies.
In case of emergency, dial 911.
There is no resident Canadian government office in Liberia. Canadians in Liberia can obtain consular assistance from the Embassy of Canada to Côte d’Ivoire in Abidjan.
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. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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