Niger - Consular Information Sheet
August 17, 2001
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Niger is a developing, inland African
nation whose northern area includes a part of the Sahara Desert.
Tourism facilities are minimal, particularly outside the capital
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A passport and visa are required.
Travelers should obtain the latest information on customs and
entry requirements from the Embassy of the Republic of Niger,
2204 R Street NW, Washington D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 483-4224.
Overseas, inquiries should be made at the nearest Nigerien 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.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: Niger returned to a democratically
elected government in December 1999 following several years of
political instability and military rule. While a sense of political
stability has been restored, there continues to be potential for
disturbances, particularly by students, as the new government
enforces economic reform measures. U.S. citizens should avoid
street demonstrations and maintain security awareness at all times.
The Department of State urges U.S. citizens visiting or residing
in Niger to exercise caution when traveling in the northern part
of the country. In January 2001, the region around Agadez and
the Air Mountains experienced increased criminal activity by armed
bandits. In these attacks, groups of foreign travelers, including
Americans, have been robbed of vehicles, cash, and belongings
and left stranded in the remote desert. The government of Niger
is taking steps to address this problem. However, travelers in
northern Niger should consult local police authorities regarding
their itinerary and adequate security arrangements. U.S. citizens
visiting Niger are reminded to register with the U.S. Embassy
CRIME: Crime in Niamey has reached critical levels. Tourists
should not walk alone around the Gaweye hotel, National Museum,
and on or near the Kennedy Bridge at any time. This area is especially
prone to muggings (day and night) and should be avoided. Recent
criminal incidents in Niger have included carjackings, home invasions,
and muggings. In December 2000, an American Embassy employee was
killed and another gravely wounded in a carjacking in central
Niamey. Armed bandits are particularly active in remote regions
in northern and eastern Niger, especially on roads between major
cities. Use caution and common sense at all times to avoid thieves
and pickpockets. Safe security practice information sheets are
available from the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Niamey.
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
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,
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Health facilities are extremely limited
in Niamey and completely inadequate outside the capital. Although
physicians are generally well trained, even the best hospitals
in Niamey suffer from inadequate facilities, antiquated equipment
and shortages of supplies (particularly medicine). Emergency assistance
is limited. Travelers must bring their own supplies of prescription
drugs and preventative 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,
or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Tap water is unsafe to drink
throughout Niger and should be avoided. Bottled water and beverages
are safe, although visitors should be aware that many restaurants
and hotels serve tap water. Ice made from tap water is also unsafe
to consume. 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 (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 Niger 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
Niger is the poorest country in the region with road conditions
generally worse than neighboring countries. U.S. travelers should
exercise caution on Niger's paved and unpaved roadways, as traffic
accidents are frequent. The main causes of accidents are driver
carelessness, excessive speeding, barely maintained vehicles,
and poor to non-existent road surfaces. Other factors include
the hazardous mix of bicycles, mopeds, unwary pedestrians, donkey
carts, farm animals, and buses on roads--which are generally unpaved
and poorly lighted. Overloaded tractor-trailers, "bush taxis",
and disabled vehicles are additional dangers on rural roads, where
speeds are generally higher. Travel outside Niamey and other cities
often requires four-wheel drive vehicles, which creates an additional
security risk since these vehicles--especially Toyota Land Cruisers--are
high-theft items. Driving at night is always hazardous and should
be avoided if at all possible outside major cities. Banditry is
a continuing problem in northern and eastern Niger. There have
been reported carjackings and highway robberies in remote areas
of the country.
While city buses and taxis are available at a fixed fare in Niamey,
most taxis and all buses are very old vehicles that do not meet
basic U.S. road safety standards. Inter-city "bush-taxis"
are available at negotiable fares, but these vehicles (minibuses,
station wagons, and sedans) are generally older, unsafe models
that are overloaded, poorly maintained, and driven by reckless
operators seeking to save time and money. A national bus company
(SNTV) operates inter-city routes, but has recently been reorganized,
so its availability, reliability, and safety are uncertain.
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 Niger, the U.S. Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) has not assessed Niger'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 the
FAA's 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.
DRESS RESTRICTIONS: Local culture and Islamic tradition
encourage conservative dress for both men and women. There have
been incidents of groups of men assaulting women who are, or appear
to be, African and who are wearing other than traditional ankle-length
PHOTOGRAPHY RESTRICTIONS: Tourists are free to take pictures
anywhere in Niger, except near military installations, radio and
television stations, the Presidency Building, airport, or the
Kennedy Bridge. Tourists should not photograph political and student
CURRENCY REGULATIONS: There are no laws restricting foreign
exchange transactions in Niger. The CFA, the money Niger shares
with several other Central and West African Francophone countries,
is fully convertible into French francs.
TELEPHONE SERVICE: Due to poor line quality, callers often
experience delays in getting a line, and telefaxes are often garbled.
CRIME 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 Nigerien
law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.
Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs
in Niger 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 Niamey are encouraged to register at the Consular
Section of the U.S. Embassy in Niamey and obtain updated information
on travel and security within Niger. The U.S. Embassy is located
on Rue des Ambassades, mailing address B.P. 11201, telephone numbers
(227) 72-26-61, 72-26-62, 72-26-63, 71-26-64, and fax numbers
(227) 73-31-67 or 72-31-46. The
Embassy's Internet address is USEMB@INTNET.NE.
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated February 28,
2001 to update sections on Entry/Exit Requirements, Crime, Medical
Insurance, Aviation Safety Oversight, Other Health Information
and Children's Issues.