Equatorial Guinea - Consular Information Sheet
May 24, 2001
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Equatorial Guinea is a developing
country in central Africa. Malabo, the capital, is located on
the island of Bioko, off the coast of Cameroon. The mainland territory
of Equatorial Guinea is located between Cameroon and Gabon. The
principal city on the mainland is Bata. Facilities for tourism
are limited. The official languages are Spanish, which is widely
spoken, and French, which is sometimes used in business dealings
and with government officials.
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A passport and evidence of immunization
against yellow fever are required for entry into Equatorial Guinea.
U.S. citizens are not required to have visas to enter Equatorial
Guinea. However, travelers should obtain the latest information
and details from
the Embassy of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Suite 410,
1712 I Street, N.W., Washington D.C. 20006, telephone 202-296-4174,
fax 202-296-4195 or on the Internet at http://www.equatorialguinea.org.
Overseas inquiries may be made to the nearest Equatoguinean embassy
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.
CRIME: Violent crime is rare and the overall level of
criminal activity is low in comparison to other countries in the
region. There has, however, been a rise in non-violent street
crime and residential burglaries.
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 are extremely limited.
Pharmacies in Malabo and Bata are well-stocked, but in other areas
many medicines are unavailable. Travelers are advised to bring
with them any special medication they require. There is no trauma
center in the country. In case of serious illness or accident,
a medical evacuation to another country is required.
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 including 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) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Malaria prophylaxis and vaccinations
against hepatitis A and B, tetanus, diphtheria, polio, typhoid
fever and meningococcal meningitis are strongly recommended.
Further information on vaccinations and other health precautions
may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's
International Travelers Hotline at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (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 Equatorial Guinea is provided for general reference
only and may not be totally accurate in a particular location
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Nonexistent
Equatorial Guinea has no equivalent to the emergency telephone
number 911. American citizens should contact the Consular Agent
in Bata (see paragraph 14) or the U.S. Embassy in Yaounde if they
need emergency assistance.
Equatorial Guinea's road network, both paved and unpaved, is
poorly maintained and unsafe. Vehicles are poorly maintained.
During the rainy season, many roads are passable only with four-wheel-drive
vehicles. Livestock and pedestrians create constant road hazards,
and road safety rules are routinely ignored. There are few road
and traffic signs; speed limits are neither posted nor enforced.
Traffic stops, as well as police and military roadblocks are
common. Traffic stops may be on any pretext, such as making an
illegal turn or driving a dirty vehicle. Travelers should be prepared
to accept a traffic citation, which must be paid at police headquarters.
Travelers are advised not to offer money to police on the road.
If stopped at a roadblock, always cooperate with local officials.
Motorists should be aware that security forces frequently use
roadblocks to solicit money, especially around the holidays. Roadblocks
are also used to control the movements of political dissidents.
Travelers should not pick up hitchhikers on the roads as police
at roadblocks may infer involvement in the hitchhiker's affairs.
Local law states that vehicles involved in an accident should
not be moved until the police arrive and a police report can be
made. If an accident results in injury, drivers should be aware
of the possibility of there developing a "village justice"
mentality. If an angry crowd should form, the traveler should
proceed directly to the local police headquarters or to any other
safe location where she or he can receive assistance. Once safely
away from danger, the traveler should contact the local police.
For 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. For specific information
concerning Equatorial Guinea's driving permits, vehicle inspection,
road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Embassy of Equatorial
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 Equatorial Guinea, the U.S. Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Equatorial Guinea's
Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation
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 the DOD at 1-(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
Equatoguinean law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested
or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in
illegal drugs are strictly enforced. Convicted offenders can expect
jail sentences and fines.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS: The government of Equatorial Guinea
has established stringent currency restrictions, applied upon
arrival and departure from the country. Visitors for business
or tourism must declare any currency in excess of 50,000 CFA (currently,
approximately 70 dollars (US)) upon arrival. Although this requirement
is not clearly posted, travelers who fail to declare their excess
currency risk forfeiture of any amount over the 50,000 CFA limit
upon departure. They may also be frisked and have their bags searched
to ascertain whether they are attempting to take excess currency
out of the country.
Cash in Central African francs (CFA) is usually the only form
of payment accepted in Equatorial Guinea. Credit cards and checks
are not accepted. Most local businesses do not accept Travelers'
checks or dollars. Dollars may be changed at local banks for Central
African francs (CFA). Credit card cash advances are not available.
PHOTOGRAPHY RESTRICTIONS: Special permits from the Ministry
of Information and Tourism (or from the local delegation outside
Malabo) are required for virtually all types of photography. Police
or security officials may charge a fine, attempt to take a violator
into custody or seize the camera and film of persons photographing
the Presidential Palace and its environs, military installations,
government buildings, airports, harbors and other areas.
CUSTOMS RESTRICTIONS: Travelers are advised that the import
or possession of camouflage patterned clothing, large knives,
binoculars, firearms, or a variety of other items may be deemed
suspicious by the security forces and grounds for confiscation
of the item and detention of the possessor.
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
U.S. REPRESENTATION: The United States closed its Embassy
in Malabo in November 1995, and the U.S. does not currently have
a diplomatic presence in Equatorial Guinea. The U.S. does have
a consular agent who is based in Bata and travels to Malabo twice
a month. The consular agent is available to assist American citizens
with problems that may arise during their sojourns in the country.
The consular agent is Timothy L. Edwards, and he may be reached
at 240-7-5507. U.S. citizens are encouraged to register their
presence in Equatorial Guinea with the consular agent, through
the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Yaounde, Cameroon
or with the Embassy Branch Office in Douala, Cameroon. Travelers
may obtain updated travel and security information from these
offices. The U.S. Embassy in Yaounde is located on Rue Nachtigal.
The mailing address is B.P. 817, Yaounde, Cameroon, telephone
237-23-40-14, fax 237-23-07-53. The Embassy Office in Douala may
be contacted at 237-42-53-31, fax 237-42-77-90.