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Cote d ivoire
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Latest travel advice for Côte d'Ivoire including safety and security, entry requirements, travel warnings and health

2017-02-10T13:31:25.438+00:00: Latest update: Summary – there have been widespread military protests, most recently in Adiaké, 90km east of Abidjan; although the situation has returned to normal, you should continue to take care, avoid military bases, large crowds and demonstrations, monitor local media and follow instructions given by local police and security personnel

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to within 20km of the border with Liberia. See Local travel

On 7 and 8 February 2017 there were reports of shots fired in the air by protesting military personnel in Adiaké, 90km east of Abidjan, on 9 February soldiers apologised for their actions and the situation appears to have returned to normal. This follows demonstrations by the military and widespread public sector strikes in a number of cities during January 2017.

On 13 January 2017, the government and soldiers reached a deal to end a dispute on pay and conditions. The public sector suspended their strike action at the end of January 2017. However, there could be further demonstrations including in Abidjan. Although the situation has returned to normal, you should continue to take care, avoid military bases, large crowds and demonstrations, monitor local media and follow instructions given by local police and security personnel.

There is a high threat from terrorism in Côte d’Ivoire. A terrorist attack took place at Grand Bassam, near Abidjan on 13 March 2016 in which 18 people were killed including a number of foreigners. Further attacks on beach resorts, hotels, cafés and restaurants visited by foreigners are possible and could occur without warning. Be especially vigilant in these places. See Terrorism

Violent crime can occur at any time. Be particularly vigilant and take care when travelling by road, especially at night. See Crime

You should avoid large public gatherings and political rallies. See Security

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

Safety and security

Security

Following peaceful presidential elections in 2015 the risk of a return to the levels of conflict experienced between December 2010 and May 2011 is low. However, the security situation in Abidjan and other parts of the country can deteriorate at short notice. There have been recent clashes between police and students at the Felix Houphouet Boigny university campus in the Cocody area of Abidjan. Further incidents are possible.

If you’re staying longer in Côte d’Ivoire you should regularly review personal security arrangements and seek professional security advice. You should keep a stock of food and water.

Crime

There’s a risk of crime in Abidjan, including violent crime, car-jackings, armed break-ins to private residences, hold-ups in the street, and theft from cars. These incidents aren’t common, but they do occur. If possible, avoid using public transport, shared taxis, or walking around after dark. On bridges to and from the Le Plateau areas of Abidjan pedestrians have been attacked and robbed even during the day. Avoid displaying your wallet; for instance, have money to hand to tip supermarket trolley attendants. In vehicles, keep doors locked, windows shut and valuables out of sight. Attacks by armed robbers have occurred on the main road between Yamoussoukro and Korogho. Attacks have been reported in the west of the country, during daylight hours as well as night.

Local travel

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to within 20km of the border with Liberia owing to the risk of serious violence by local militias. Fatal clashes between militias and the security forces have taken place in this area as recently as December 2015. Seek professional local advice before embarking on any travel to these areas. Take care if you intend to travel to any rural areas.

Roadblocks and checkpoints

You might still encounter checkpoints in and around Abidjan. You might also find official and unofficial roadblocks and checkpoints on the major routes outside of Abidjan. Take great care and co-operate with those operating them.

Road travel

Driving standards and road conditions in Côte d’Ivoire are poor, although they are improving in Abidjan where the road infrastructure is being upgraded. Avoid driving outside towns and cities at night as roads and vehicles can be poorly lit. You should be cautious of stray livestock that could cause a safety hazard. Grass or leaves strewn on the carriageway often means an accident or other hazard ahead. During the rainy season roads, especially those that are minor and unpaved, may become impassable.

Take care when using public transport; driving standards and vehicle maintenance are poor. Unskilled drivers, poorly maintained vehicles and overloaded vehicles and inadequate lighting make driving conditions hazardous. Taxis are available in main cities, but are likely to be in bad mechanical condition. There’s an online taxi booking service operated by Africab, whose service is becoming increasingly popular.

Floods

The rainy season in Côte d’Ivoire is generally from May to November. Torrential rains can cause floods, landslides and large potholes. Monitor local weather reports and expect difficulties when travelling to affected areas during this season. The Our Africa has more details.

Air travel

The European Commission has published a list of air carriers that are subject to an operating ban or restrictions within the European Union. You should check the list to see whether this will affect your travel.

There have been no reported outbreaks of the Ebola virus in the Côte d’Ivoire. The World Health Organisation declared the end of the latest outbreak of the Ebola virus in neighbouring Liberia on 9 June 2016 and on 1 June 2016 in Guinea. You should monitor changes to travel restrictions and make sure that you have adequate and flexible travel arrangements in place for your onward journey from Côte d’Ivoire.

Swimming

Ocean currents are very strong along the coast. Many drownings occur each year.

Consular assistance

The British Embassy in Abidjan (Telephone: +225-22 44 26 69) can provide emergency consular assistance

Terrorism

There is a high threat from terrorism.

A terrorist attack took place at Grand Bassam, near Abidjan on 13 March in which 18 people were killed including a number of foreigners. Further attacks on beach resorts, hotels, cafés and restaurants visited by foreigners are possible and could occur without warning. Be especially vigilant in these places.

The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of of further hostage-taking and finances terrorist activity. The Terrorism Act (2000) also makes payments to terrorists illegal.

There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.

Local laws and customs

Religions have a strong influence on life in Côte d’Ivoire, which has a tradition of respecting different beliefs and faiths. You should respect local religious customs and traditions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure they do not cause offence. There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in the country and you should take care not to offend.

Possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs is a serious offence and can result in lengthy prison sentences and heavy fines.

Homosexuality isn’t illegal in Côte d’Ivoire, but there’s no legal recognition of homosexual couples. The government doesn’t recognise same sex marriage and there are no specific anti-discrimination laws protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals. As public attitudes may be less tolerant, you should be discreet.

It’s prohibited to take photographs near sensitive installations, including military sites and government buildings, such as radio and TV stations, the Presidency building, airport, de Gaulle and Houphouet-Boigny bridges in Abidjan.

Entry requirements

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Visas

British nationals need a valid visa before entering Côte d’Ivoire. You should apply to the Embassy of Côte d’Ivoire in London.

It’s possible to apply for a visa online. After registering and paying online, the visa is collected on arrival at Abidjan airport. Make sure you follow instructions on the website carefully to avoid any difficulties with airlines or immigration authorities.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry into Côte d’Ivoire. Keep your passport safe, if criminals have possession of your passport, they may use your identity to commit crimes.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) aren’t valid for entry or transit through Côte d’Ivoire. However, ETDs are accepted for exit from Côte d’Ivoire.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

Health

Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre on the TravelHealthPro website and by NHS (Scotland) on the fitfortravel website. Useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website.

Medical treatment of a reasonable standard is available in Abidjan, but it can be expensive, and emergency facilities are limited to a few major hospitals. Medical facilities outside the major towns are often rudimentary. Serious medical treatment would require medical evacuation to Europe. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation

Malaria is endemic.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 180 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS.

Travel advice help and support

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send us a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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  • British Embassy Abidjan

    Title:British Embassy Abidjan
    Email:British.Embassy.Abidjan@fco.gov.uk
    Address:

    Ambassade de Grande-Bretagne, Cocody Quartier Ambassades
    Impasse du Belier, Rue A 58, 01 BP 2581 Abidjan 01
    Abidjan
    01 BP 2581
    Cote d’Ivoire

    Contact: Enquiries: Telephone +225 2244 2669
    Enquiries: Fax number: (+225) 2248 9548
    Consular assistance (24 hour): +44 (0)1908 516 666
    Visiting:Opening Hours
    Monday to Thursday: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
    Friday: 8:30 am to 2:30 pm

    For consular information and emergency assistance call +44 (0)1908 516 666 or +225 2244 2669
    Services:
  • Department for International Trade Cote d'Ivoire

    Title:Department for International Trade Cote d'Ivoire
    Email:Marcel.Ngosso@fconet.fco.gov.uk
    Address:

    Marcel Ngosso
    Ambassade de Grande-Bretagne, Cocody Quartier Ambassades,
    Rue l’Impasse du Belier, Rue A 58, 01 BP 2581,
    Abidjan 01
    Cote d’Ivoire

    Contact: Phone: +225 22 44 26 69
    Visiting:
    Services:

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