Central African Republic - Consular Information Sheet
June 5, 2001
WARNING (ISSUED MAY 30, 2001): The Department of State
warns U.S. citizens to defer travel to the Central African Republic
due to the uncertain security situation following an attempted
coup in the capital city of Bangui. On May 28, military forces
loyal to former President Kolingba launched an attack on a number
of government and military installations. Fighting is limited
to Bangui and its suburbs; other regions of the Central African
Republic remain calm. Bangui's international airport is under
government control but is closed to regularly scheduled commercial
Although the conflict does not appear to be directed toward U.S.
citizens or the general civilian population, the U.S. Embassy
has advised U.S. citizens in Bangui to review their personal security
situations and to remain in their homes until the situation stabilizes.
The Embassy is closed and its ability to provide consular assistance
to U.S. citizens in the Central African Republic is severely limited.
For further information on travel to the Central African Republic,
consult the Department's latest Consular Information Sheet for
the Central African Republic available via the Internet at http://travel.state.gov.
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: The Central African Republic (CAR)
is a developing African country. The capital is Bangui. Facilities
for tourism are limited. The Dzanga-Sangha National Park, a primeval
rain forest in the southwestern region of the country, is an interesting
site for eco-tourism. Hunting expeditions are available through
licensed companies in the CAR.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A valid passport and visa are required.
Current information on entry requirements may be obtained from
the Embassy of the Central African Republic, 1618 22nd Street,
N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 483-7800/7801, fax
(202) 332-9893. Overseas inquiries should be made at the nearest
Central African Republic embassy or consulate.
Due to its inability to provide security arrangements for foreigners
traveling outside the capital of Bangui, the CAR Government in
October 1997 closed all overland points of entry for tourists
into the CAR. CAR citizens and citizens of neighboring countries
are not affected by this government decree.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: As a result of the 1998 and 1999
elections, Bangui has returned to normal following the three military
mutinies that took place in the capital city in 1996 and 1997,
leading to violence and looting. No specific threats were directed
against U.S. citizens. However, American citizens should avoid
political rallies and street demonstrations and maintain security
awareness at all times.
CRIME INFORMATION: Street crime in downtown Bangui, while
uncommon, does occur. Armed gangs operate in outlying residential
areas, although police anti-crime efforts have somewhat reduced
this problem. Armed highway robbery in rural areas is common,
especially in the dry season from December until May. When a crime
does occur, the victim may have to pay to send a vehicle to pick
up police officers due to the shortage of police vehicles.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported
immediately to 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 more 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 are limited, and
the quality of acute care is unreliable. Sanitation levels are
low. Many medicines are not available. Travelers are advised to
bring their own properly-labeled supplies.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always
valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs
do not provide payment for medical services outside the United
States. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment
for health services. Uninsured travelers who require medical care
overseas may face extreme difficulties.
Please check with your own insurance company to confirm whether
your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical
evacuation and for adequacy of coverage. Serious medical problems
requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United
States can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Please ascertain
whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor
or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses that 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) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: 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 the
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 CAR 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: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Due to the risk of armed attacks on motorists in the central,
eastern and northern regions, overland travel in these areas without
a military escort should be avoided. Most remote areas in the
country that are frequented by tourists and hunters are accessible
only by four-wheel drive vehicles, although some roads are not
passable at all during the rainy season (May through October).
U.S. citizens traveling to the Central African Republic should
be aware of periodic fuel shortages. During these periods of shortages,
taxi service in Bangui is reduced, and it is difficult to rent
a vehicle with fuel for travel outside the capital.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial
air service by local carriers at present, nor economic authority
to operate such service between the U.S. and the CAR, the U.S.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the CAR's
civil aviation authority for compliance with international aviation
For further information, travelers may contact the Department
of Transportation within the U.S. at telephone 1-800-322-7873,
or visit the
FAA's Internet web site 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 the DOD at telephone 618-256-4801.
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. Persons violating
CAR laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.
Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs
in CAR are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences
and heavy fines.
PROHIBITIONS ON PHOTOGRAPHY: Taking photographs of police
or military installations, or any other government buildings,
is prohibited. These official buildings and installations are
often unmarked. Unauthorized photography may result in seizure
of photographic equipment by Central African Republic authorities.
Police or other government authorities can provide information
and grant permission for photographing a particular subject or
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 Bangui
at Avenue David Dacko, and to obtain updated information on travel
and security in Central African Republic. The mailing address
for the U.S. Embassy in Bangui is B.P. 924, telephone (236) 61-02-00;
fax (236) 61-44-94; the after-hours telephone for U.S. citizens
is (236) 61-34-56 or 61-69-14.
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated July 20, 2000,
to add the Travel Warning.