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Sao tome and principe
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Latest travel advice for São Tomé and Principe including safety and security, entry requirements, travel warnings and health

2016-11-17T17:28:21.034+00:00: Latest update: Entry requirements section - British nationals don’t need a visa to visit Sao Tome and Principe for up to 15 days; for longer stays, you should get a visa before you travel

There is no British Embassy in Sao Tome and Principe. If you need consular assistance, you should contact the British Embassy in Luanda, Angola.

Most visits to Sao Tome and Principe are trouble-free.

Crime rates are generally low, but armed robberies do occur. See Crime.

There is a low threat from terrorism. See Terrorism.

You should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.

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

Safety and security

Crime

Crime rates are generally low, but burglaries and armed robberies do occur. Safeguard valuables and cash, particularly at the beach. Use a hotel safe where practical, and keep copies of important documents, including your passport.  

Road travel

You should bring a valid International Driving Permit if you wish to hire a car. Traffic is light but the majority of roads are in poor condition, particularly outside the capital. Most roads are unlit. You should avoid being on the road at night (there are animals on the roads) and during periods of heavy rainfall (landslips and mudslides can occur).

There are shared taxis on Sao Tome, but no other public transport in Sao Tome and Principe.

Air travel

The EU has published a list of air carriers that are subject to an operating ban or restrictions within the community.

Seats on the small aircraft that operate between the main island of Sao Tome and the smaller island of Príncipe need to be booked well in advance or there is a risk that you could become stranded.

Political Situation

Sao Tome and Principe is generally peaceful. Economic difficulties and political rows over the handling of investments in the islands’ development occasionally lead to civil unrest. You should avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings.

Terrorism

There is a low threat from terrorism, but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be in public areas, including those visited by foreigners.

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.

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 don’t need a visa to visit Sao Tome and Principe for up to 15 days. For longer stays, you should get a visa before you travel as problems can occur if you arrive without the necessary documentation. You can apply online. For more information and advice, contact the Sao Tome and Principe Diplomatic Mission in Brussels: Square Montgomery, 175 Avenue de Tervuren, 1150 Brussels; tel: +32 2 734 89 66; fax: +32 2 7348815; e-mail: Ambassade@saotomeeprincipe.be. Specialist travel agents dealing with Sao Tome and Principe may also be able to arrange visas.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.  

Yellow fever certificate requirements

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

Local laws and customs

Drug-smuggling and taking are offences. Punishments can be severe.

Homosexual acts are illegal.

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 facilities on Sao Tome and Principe are limited and many health conditions require evacuation to Europe, South Africa or Gabon for treatment. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

Money

Credit cards are accepted in a very limited number of places. You should confirm with the hotel, restaurant, etc. on arrival that they will accept your card. There are no ATMs. Cash is available from the main bank in Sao Tome using a Visa card or travellers’ cheques.

In an emergency it may be possible to remit funds via a money transfer service like Western Union. You are strongly advised to check the latest position with your travel agent/tour company prior to travel, and to carry sufficient cash.

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.

See also

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  • British Embassy Luanda

    Title:British Embassy Luanda
    Email:postmaster.luand@fco.gov.uk
    Address:

    Rua 17 de Setembro, Nº 4
    Caixa
    Luanda
    Luanda
    1244
    Angola

    Contact: Enquiries: Telephone +244 222 334 582/83; 222 372 917; 222 330 275; 222 396 910
    Enquiries : Fax +244 222 333 331
    Visiting:
    Services:Emergency Travel Documents service (Assistance Services)
    Transferring funds for prisoners / for financial assistance service (Assistance Services)
    Registrations of Marriage and Civil Partnerships (Documentary Services)
    Births and Deaths registration service (Documentary Services)
    Notarial services (Documentary Services)
    Citizenship Ceremony service (Documentary Services)
    Legalisation Service (Other Services)
    Lost or Stolen Passports (Assistance Services)

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