Cameroon - Consular Information Sheet
June 6, 2001
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Cameroon is a developing African
country. In eight of the country's ten provinces, French is the
predominant language. In the other two provinces (Northwest and
Southwest), English is more commonly spoken. Facilities for tourism
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A valid passport and visa are
required. Travelers should obtain the latest information and details
from the Embassy of the Republic of Cameroon, 2349 Massachusetts
Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 265-8790/94.
Overseas, inquiries should be made at the nearest Cameroonian
embassy or consulate.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments
have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include
requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission
for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not
present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required,
may facilitate entry/departure.
SAFETY and SECURITY: U.S. citizens should avoid crowds,
political rallies and street demonstrations and maintain security
awareness at all times.
CRIME: Armed banditry is a serious problem throughout
all ten provinces of Cameroon. To curb banditry, security personnel
may request persons to show their passport, residence card, driver's
license and/or vehicle registration at random checkpoints.
The risk of street and residential crime is high, and incidents
of violent crime are on the rise throughout the country. Reports
of carjackings and burglaries remain high, particularly in Yaounde
and Douala. Carjackings have also been reported on rural highways.
Crimes against property, such as carjacking, have often been accompanied
by violent acts. At all times, the U.S. Embassy advises travelers
to remain aware of their surroundings and to follow routine security
precautions, such as locking car, hotel, and house doors. Travel
after dark is extremely risky and should be avoided if possible.
Tourists and business people should note that there is an increasing
circulation of counterfeit U.S. and Cameroonian currency in the
Business travelers are also advised that using the services of
a local agent is a strongly recommended first step in establishing
a presence in the Cameroonian market. In recent years, business
travelers have experienced difficulty in obtaining adequate services
from Cameroon's banking sector. Caution is required in pursuing
joint ventures and licensing arrangements in Cameroon.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported
immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or
Consulate. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's
pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad,
for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available
by mail from the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs,
or via the
Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical facilities in Cameroon are
limited. Sanitation levels are low, even in the best hospitals.
While some medicines are available through local pharmacies, travelers
should carry needed prescription medicines and medication with
them. Hospitals and doctors often expect immediate cash payment
for health care services.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges
Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior
to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas
and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical
evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs
incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage
is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do
not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.
However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance
plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including
emergency services such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans
should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require
payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical
evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of 50,000 dollars
(US). Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often
face extreme difficulties, whereas travelers who have purchased
overseas medical insurance have, when a medical emergency occurs,
found it life-saving. When consulting with your insurer prior
to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas
healthcare provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for
expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage
for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the
event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available
via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202)
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Malaria prophylaxis and vaccination
against hepatitis A and B, tetanus, diphtheria, polio, typhoid,
and meningococcal meningitis are recommended. Cholera certification
and yellow fever vaccination may be required for entry. Failure
to present evidence of yellow fever vaccination may result in
the traveler's being vaccinated at the airport with needles of
questionable cleanliness and sterility. Children's immunizations
should be up-to-date.
Additional information on vaccinations and other health precautions
may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's
hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747);
fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via CDC's
Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Cameroon is provided for general reference only,
and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair to Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor to Nonexistent
Cameroon's road network, both paved and unpaved, is underdeveloped
and unsafe. In general, roads and vehicles are poorly maintained.
During the rainy season (May to October), many roads are passable
only with four-wheel-drive vehicles. There are few road and traffic
signs. Livestock and pedestrians create constant road hazards
and road safety rules are routinely ignored. Buses and logging
trucks traveling at high speeds are a threat.
Drivers are advised against nighttime travel. Outside major towns,
especially in the Far North province, armed bandits pose a threat.
additional general information about road safety, including links
to foreign government sites, see the Department of State,
Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial
air service at present, or economic authority to operate such
service, between the U.S. and Cameroon, the U.S. Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) has not assessed Cameroon's Civil Aviation
Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department
of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit
Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa. The U.S.
Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air
carriers for suitability as official providers of air services.
For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers,
travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Cameroonian customs authorities may
enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into
or export from Cameroon of items such as large quantities of medicine;
customs restrict the importation of ivory. It is advisable to
contact the Embassy of Cameroon in Washington or one of Cameroon's
consulates in the United States for specific information regarding
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and may not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Cameroon's dual
colonial history is reflected in the country's judicial system.
In the eight provinces that were once held by France, civil law
prevails, while the two provinces that were British-held follow
a common-law system. Persons violating Cameroonian laws, even
unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties
for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Cameroon
are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and
PHOTOGRAPHY RESTRICTIONS: While photography is not officially
forbidden, security officials are sensitive about photographs
taken of government buildings, military installations, and other
public facilities, many of which are unmarked. Photography of
these subjects may result in seizure of photographic equipment
by authorities. Due to the threat of harassment and the lack of
signs designating sites prohibited for photography, photography
is best practiced in private homes and among friends.
CURRENCY REGULATIONS: Credit cards and checks are rarely
accepted. Cash, in local currency, is usually the only form of
payment accepted throughout the country. Credit card cash advances
are not available and most banks do not cash personal or traveler's
checks. Two banks in Douala, Societe Generale des Banques du Cameroun,
telephone (237) 43-00-02 and Cofinest, telephone (237) 43-10-53,
have wire transfer services through Western Union. The Embassy
does not provide currency exchange, check cashing or other financial
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For
information on international adoption of children and international
parental child abduction please refer to our Internet site
at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: U.S. citizens are encouraged
to register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Yaounde
or with the Embassy Office in Douala, and to obtain updated information
on travel and security in Cameroon. The Embassy is located on
Rue Nachtigal in Yaounde. The mailing address is B.P. 817, Yaounde,
Cameroon, telephone: (237) 23-40-14, fax (237) 23-07-53. The Embassy
Office in Douala can be contacted at (237) 42-53-31; fax is (237)
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated March 14,
2000, to add a section on Custom Regulations and update sections
on Country Description, Entry/Exit Requirements, Medical Facilities,
Medical Insurance, Other Health Information, Traffic Safety and
Road Conditions, Criminal Penalties, and Currency Regulations.