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Niger - AVOID ALL TRAVEL
Global Affairs Canada advises against all travel to Niger, with the exception of the capital, Niamey, due to the risks of terrorism and kidnapping.
Safety and security
Safety and security
There is a threat of terrorism throughout Niger due to the country’s participation in and support for stabilization and counter-terrorism interventions in Mali, its involvement in a regional military offensive against Boko Haram in the Chad Basin area and its close proximity to unstable countries, such as Libya and Nigeria. Citizens of countries that support the Nigerian government or regional interventions, are at particular risk, but all travellers should exercise increased vigilance in the region. Terrorist groups have attacked civilian, government and military targets, and further attacks cannot be ruled out.
Targets could also include places of worship, schools, transportation hubs, public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets and hotels, and sites frequented by foreigners). Be aware of your surroundings at all times in public places. .
Be extremely vigilant in crowded places, near government buildings and in places of worship.
Bandits and terrorist groups operate freely in certain isolated regions of the country. There is a heightened risk of armed hold-ups in the areas north of the Tahoua-Zinder-Diffa axis.
Niamey (see Advisory)
Although the security situation has improved in Niamey, there is still a threat of kidnapping. After dark, be extremely vigilant and limit or avoid travelling. All travel between the airport and Niamey should be done in convoy of at least two vehicles.
Areas bordering Nigeria
A state of emergency and a curfew are in effect in Niger’s Diffa region. A state of emergency is in effect in the Nigerian states of Borno and Yobe, which border southeast Niger. Instability in these states could spill over into Niger.
There is a high threat of kidnapping from terrorist groups throughout Niger. Do not travel to isolated areas, particularly to the regions of Agadez, Arlit, Tahoua and Tillabéry, nor to the regions bordering Mali and Burkina Faso.
Foreign nationals have been kidnapped. In October 2016, an American aid worker was kidnapped in central Niger. Use varied and unpredictable routes and schedules when moving from one place to another, remain extremely vigilant, limit your movements and avoid travelling after dark.
There is a moderate level of crime in Niger, including in the capital. However, muggings, armed assaults and theft can happen. In Niamey, pickpocketing and purse snatching also occur. Foreign nationals in particular are targeted.
Avoid walking after dark and displaying any signs of affluence in public. Do not leave valuables or bags unattended.
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, especially those organized by students, workers or political figures, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
Fraud is commonplace. See our Overseas Fraud page for more information on scams abroad.
Except for main routes, roads are generally in poor condition throughout the country. Local driving habits, bicycles, mopeds, pedestrians, roaming farm animals, slow-moving donkey carts and broken-down vehicles pose hazards.
If you must travel outside of Niamey despite our advisory, do so only during daylight hours and in a convoy of several vehicles in excellent mechanical condition and accompanied by an experienced driver. Bring sufficient supplies of food and water and a medical kit. Lock car doors and keep windows shut at all times. You should carry a satellite phone when travelling in remote areas. Emergency roadside or medical assistance is not available.
Do not travel after dark. Nighttime attacks on tourists have occurred in most of the country, specifically, on the Agadez-Arlit, Agadez-Tahoua and Tillabéry-Niamey roads and within the city of Zinder.
Do not leave the main roads. There are landmines in the northern region of Agadez, which occasionally cause injuries and deaths.
In case of an accident, report to the nearest police station to file a report.
Public transportation is not recommended, including transportation organized by hotels. Consider hiring a driver for your stay in Niger.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
General safety information
Carry identification at all times and safely store photocopies of passports, visas and travel documents. Keep a photocopy of your passport in case of loss or seizure.
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 Niger 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 Niger or one of its consulates 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 present a passport to visit Niger, 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.
Canadians must obtain a visa to visit Niger. Obtain your visa prior to arrival.
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
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 are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
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.
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.
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 Vaccination
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.
|* 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.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
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 bacterial disease that is most often spread by drinking water or eating food that has been contaminated. It causes diarrhea and in severe cases it can lead to dehydration and even death.
Most travellers are at very low risk. Travellers at higher risk include those visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation, or to areas where outbreaks are occurring. Travellers at higher risk should discuss with a health care provider the benefits of getting vaccinated.
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 among pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers at high risk 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.
Rift Valley fever
Rift Valley fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can be fatal. It is spread to humans through contact with infected animal blood or tissues, eating or drinking unpasteurized dairy, or from a mosquito bite. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from bites and avoid infected animals and unpasteurized dairy. There is no vaccine available for Rift Valley fever.
- 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 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 are limited in Niamey and inadequate outside the capital. Emergency and ambulance services are very limited. In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation is required.
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.
An International Driving Permit is required.
Illegal or restricted activities
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Although the laws of Niger do not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex, homosexuality is not socially tolerated. Members of the LGBT community could face arrest under other charges, such as committing “unnatural acts.” LGBT travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Niger. See Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender travel for more information.
Do not photograph political or student demonstrations.
Photography of military installations, radio and television stations, the airport, bridges and the Presidential Palace is prohibited. Seek permission before taking any photographs.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Niger. If local authorities consider you a Niger citizen, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services, thereby preventing Canadian consular officials from providing you with those services. 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 Niger 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.
Islamic practices and beliefs are closely adhered to in Niger’s customs, laws and regulations. Men and women should dress conservatively (for example, cover your arms and legs), behave discreetly and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.
During the lunar month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim calendar), refrain from drinking, eating, and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. In 2017, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around May 27.
The consumption of alcohol is tolerated.
The currency is the African Financial Community franc (CFA). Niger is a cash-based society and credit cards are rarely accepted. Avoid offers of large amounts of banknotes in exchange for foreign currency from other than reputable exchange bureaus.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
There are three seasons in Niger. The cool, dry season extends from November to February; the hot, dry season extends from March to June; and the rainy season extends from June/July to September/October. During the rainy season, most of the secondary roads may be impassable. Follow weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 17
- medical assistance: 15
- firefighters: 18
There is no resident Canadian government office in Niger. The Embassy of Canada in Bamako, Mali, has consular responsibility for Niger.
Bamako - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in Bamako, Mali 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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