Djibouti - Consular Information Sheet
February 16, 2001
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Djibouti is a developing east African
country on the shore of the Red Sea that achieved independence
from France in 1977. It is governed by an elected president and
parliament. Modern tourist facilities are limited. The capital
is Djibouti City.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport, visa and evidence of yellow
fever vaccination are required. U.S. citizens are encouraged to
carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times so
that, if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and
U.S. citizenship are readily available. Police occasionally stop
travelers on the main roads leading out of Djibouti City to check
Travelers may obtain the latest information on entry requirements
from the Embassy of the Republic of Djibouti, 1156 15th Street,
N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005, telephone (202) 331-0270 or at the
Djibouti Mission to the United Nations, 866 United Nations Plaza,
Suite 4011, New York, N.Y. 10017, telephone (212) 753-3163. Overseas,
inquiries may be made at the nearest Djiboutian embassy or consulate.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: Travelers should exercise caution
when traveling to any remote area of the country, including the
borders with Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia, since the Djiboutian
security forces do not have a widespread presence in those regions.
U.S. citizens are advised to keep themselves informed of regional
developments and to register with the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti
City upon arrival in Djibouti.
U.S. citizens should avoid large crowds, political rallies, and
street demonstrations and maintain security awareness at all times.
CRIME: Petty crime occurs occasionally in the capital
and elsewhere in the country. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S.
passport should be reported immediately to local police and to
the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. The pamphlets A
Safe Trip Abroad and Tips
for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa provide useful information
on safeguarding valuables and personal security while traveling
abroad and on travel in the region in general. Both are available
via the Bureau
of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/
or from the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402, http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical facilities are limited, and
medicines are often unavailable.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always
valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs
do not provide for payment of 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 thousands of dollars. Please ascertain whether
payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor, or whether
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, Bureau
of Consular Affairs' brochure, Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via
of Consular Affairs' home page at http://travel.state.gov/
or via autofax at 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 international traveler's
hotline at telephone 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX
(1-888-232-3299), or by visiting the
CDC's Internet home page at http://www.cdc.gov/.
ROAD SAFETY: 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 Djibouti
is provided for general reference only, and it 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/Ambulance Assistance: None
Land mines are known to be present in the northern districts
of Tadjoureh and Obock. In addition, mines are believed to be
present in the Ali Sabieh district in the south. Travelers should
stay on paved roads and should check with local authorities before
using unpaved roads. Travel by road is not recommended from Tadjoureh
City to Obock district due to the presence of land mines on the
main and side roads and the very poor condition of the roadway.
The two main international routes to Djibouti City via Dire Dawa,
Ethiopia, and Yoboki, Djibouti, are in poor condition due to the
passage of 1000 heavily-laden trucks per day. The presence of
so many trucks on those routes demands vigilance by drivers. Major
roads outside the capital are paved, but they lack guardrails
in some areas, and railroad crossings are not clearly marked.
The Department of Defense and the national police force share
responsibility for road safety in Djibouti. Due to narrow, poorly
maintained, and poorly lit streets, drivers and pedestrians in
Djibouti City should exercise extreme caution to avoid accidents.
Excessive speed, unpredictable local driving habits, pedestrians
and livestock in the roadway, and the lack of basic safety equipment
on many vehicles are daily hazards. Speed limits are posted occasionally,
but they are not enforced. The stimulant drug khat is widely used,
particularly in the afternoons, creating another traffic hazard.
Travelers should be aware that police set up wire coils as roadblocks
on some of the major roads, and these may be difficult to see
There are only two forms of public inter-city travel: by bus
and by a ferry operating between Djibouti City and the towns of
Tadjoureh and Obock. The buses are poorly maintained, and their
operators often drive erratically with little regard for passenger
For additional general information
about road safety, including links to foreign government sites,
please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs'
home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific
information concerning Djibouti driving permits, vehicle inspection,
road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Djibouti
Embassy in Washington, D.C.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial
service at present between the United States and Djibouti, nor
economic authority to operate such service, the U.S. Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) has not assessed Djibouti's Civil Aviation
Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards
for oversight of Djibouti's air carrier operations.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department
of Transportation within the United States at telephone 1-800-322-7873,
or visit the
FAA Internet home page 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 618-229-4801.
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
the laws of Djibouti, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested,
or imprisoned. Penalties for use, possession, or trafficking in
illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail
sentences and fines. Although the mild stimulant khat is legal
and widely used in Djibouti, it is considered an illegal substance
in many countries, including the United States.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Djiboutian Customs authorities may
enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into
or export from Djibouti of firearms. It is advisable to contact
the Embassy of Djibouti in Washington, D.C. for specific information
regarding customs requirements.
CURRENCY ISSUES: Credit cards are not widely accepted
in Djibouti. There are only six ATM's in Djibouti (three in Djibouti
City and one each in Ali Sabieh, Tadjourah and Plateau du Marabout)
and they accept only Visa cards. The ATM's are frequently broken,
and they should not be depended upon as one's sole means for obtaining
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 at the
U.S. Embassy and to obtain updated information on travel and
security within Djibouti. The U.S. Embassy is located at Plateau
du Serpent, Boulevard Marechal Joffre, Djibouti City. The mailing
address is Ambassade Americaine, B.P. 185, Djibouti, Republique
de Djibouti. The telephone number is (253) 35-39-95. Normal working
hours are Sunday through Thursday, 7:00 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. The
after-hours telephone number is (253) 35-13-43, and the fax number
is (253) 35-39-40. The web site address is: http://usembassy.state.gov/posts/dj1/wwwhindex.html