Cote d'Ivoire - Consular Information Sheet
July 19, 2001
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Cote d'Ivoire (a.k.a. Ivory Coast)
is a developing country on the west coast of Africa. Tourism facilities
in Abidjan are good; accommodations outside the capital, however,
are limited in quality and availability. The ocean currents along
the coast are extremely strong and treacherous and result in numerous
drownings each year.
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required. U.S.
citizens traveling to Cote d'Ivoire for business or tourism do
not require visas for stays of 90 days or less. For longer stays
a visa or "carte de sejour" is required (NB: "cartes
de sejour" are not issued to children under the age of 16;
they are covered under their parents' "carte de sejour").
Travelers may obtain the latest information and details from the
Embassy of the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire, 2424 Massachusetts Avenue,
NW, Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 797-0300. There are
honorary consulates for Cote d'Ivoire in San Francisco and Detroit.
Overseas, inquiries should be made at the nearest Cote d'Ivoire
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 traveling to and residing
in Cote d'Ivoire are urged to exercise caution and maintain security
awareness at all times. Cote d'Ivoire is undergoing a period of
extended political, social, and economic uncertainty. There have
been several instances of violence ending in bloodshed since December
1999, when a military coup d'etat overthrew the civilian government.
Although Cote d'Ivoire has returned to civilian rule following
presidential elections in October 2000, there have been several
violent encounters since that time, most recently during a failed
coup d'etat in January 2001. The country has since returned to
relative though uneasy calm. Furthermore, the country is experiencing
a period of economic decline after years of growth, creating the
potential for labor unrest. U.S. citizens should bear in mind
that violent demonstrations have occurred in Cote d'Ivoire in
the past and that further unrest or military action could recur
with little or no warning.
Crime in Abidjan is at a critical level, with numerous carjackings,
home invasions, and muggings. Armed assailants should not be resisted;
they will not hesitate to use their weapons if challenged.
The Liberia/Cote d'Ivoire border region is unsettled and potentially
dangerous. Travelers to this region and other areas of the country
may encounter roadblocks, armed military personnel, vehicle searches,
and police shakedowns. Travelers arriving at or departing from
Abidjan's international airport or over land borders often experience
harassment from customs or immigration officials.
All U.S. citizens who must travel to Cote d'Ivoire should be aware
of their surroundings and use common sense to avoid situations
and locations that could be inherently dangerous. Due to the potential
for violence, U.S. citizens should avoid political rallies and
street demonstrations and maintain security awareness at all times.
Travel at night is strongly discouraged. U.S. citizens are urged
to contact the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Abidjan
upon arrival to register and to obtain the latest information
on crime and security.
CRIME: Crime in Abidjan has increased over the past several
years and is now at a critical level. Street crime of the "grab
and run" variety, as well as pickpocketing in crowded areas,
is widespread. Armed carjacking, robberies of businesses, and
home invasions are on the rise, and are often targeted at expatriate
residents who are seen to be wealthy. Armed criminals have used
force when faced with resistance. Travelers displaying jewelry
and carrying cameras are especially at risk. Travelers have found
it useful to carry limited amounts of cash and only photocopies
of key documents. It is particularly dangerous to visit the Treichville,
Adjame, Abobo, and the Plateau business districts after dark.
The DeGaulle and Houphouet-Boigny bridges, which cross the lagoon
in Abidjan, are dangerous areas for pedestrians, even in the daytime.
Many hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and supermarkets provide
security guards to protect clients and their vehicles.
U.S. citizens should use caution when traveling outside Abidjan,
especially through the central western region of Cote d'Ivoire,
where an increased incidence of crime has been reported. Traveling
at night is discouraged. U.S. citizens contemplating travel to
the central western region and other rural areas of Cote d'Ivoire
are urged to contact the U.S. Embassy in Abidjan for the latest
travel and security information.
Business fraud stemming from Nigerian scam operations targets
foreigners, including Americans, and poses a danger of financial
loss and physical harm. Persons contemplating business deals in
Cote d'Ivoire with individuals promoting investment in Nigeria,
especially the Central Bank of Nigeria or the Nigerian National
Petroleum Company, are strongly urged to check with the U.S. Department
of Commerce or the U.S. Department of State before providing any
information, making financial commitments, or traveling to Cote
Such advance-fee scams are no longer limited to Nigeria, but
have extended also to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ghana. Anyone
receiving an offer to transfer large sums of money, or to purchase
gold or diamonds, should also check with the Department of Commerce
or Department of State before making any commitments.
Single copies of the Department of State's brochure, Tips
for Business Travelers to Nigeria, are available at no
charge from the Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis
Management, Room 4811, Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818.
Please enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope. This brochure
and an accompanying booklet entitled "Nigerian Advance Fee
Fraud" are available for review at the
Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported
immediately to the local police and to 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 Cote d'Ivoire
are adequate in Abidjan, but limited elsewhere. Many medicines
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. 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: Information on vaccinations
and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international
traveler's at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX
(1-888-232-3299); or by 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 Cote d'Ivoire is provided for general reference
only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location
Safety of Public Transportation: Fair
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Automobile accidents are one of the greatest threats to the well-being
of Americans in Cote d'Ivoire. Night driving is particularly hazardous
due to poorly lit roads and vehicles. Direct or indirect requests
for bribes from the police and other security officials are commonplace,
especially at highway checkpoints and near Abidjan's airport.
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: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) has assessed the Government of Cote d'Ivoire Civil Aviation
Authority as Category 2 -- not in compliance with international
aviation safety standards for oversight of Cote d'Ivoire's air
operations. While consultations to correct the deficiencies are
ongoing, Cote d'Ivoire's air carriers are permitted to conduct
limited operations to the U.S. subject to heightened FAA surveillance.
No additional flights or new service to the U.S. by Cote d'Ivoire
air carriers will be permitted unless they arrange to have the
flights conducted by an air carrier from a country meeting international
For further information, travelers may contact the Department
of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit
Internet home page at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa. The U.S.
Department of Defense separately assesses some foreign carriers
for suitability as official providers of air services. In addition,
DOD does not permit its personnel to use air carriers from Category
2 countries for official business except for flights originating
from or terminating in the United States. Local exceptions may
apply. For information regarding DOD policy on specific carriers,
travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.
Airline travel in West Africa is routinely overbooked; schedules
are limited, and airline service is of varying quality. Prudent
passengers get the required seat reconfirmation stamped on the
ticket; ensure that they have emergency funds for food and lodging
in the event of unexpected delays; and arrive at the airport at
least two hours before the scheduled departure time.
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
Ivoirian law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.
Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs
in Cote d'Ivoire are strict and convicted offenders can expect
jail sentences and heavy fines.
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 living in
or visiting Cote d'Ivoire are encouraged to register at the Consular
Section of the U.S. Embassy in Cote d'Ivoire and obtain updated
information on travel and security within Cote d'Ivoire. The U.S.
Embassy is located in Abidjan at 5 Rue Jesse Owens, mailing address
01 B.P. 1712, Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, telephone (225) 20-21-09-79,
consular fax (225) 20-22-45-23, central fax (225) 20-22-32-59.