The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to the Central African Republic (CAR), and recommends against all but essential travel outside the capital, Bangui. Travelers in the CAR should exercise extreme caution. This replaces the Travel Warning of December 6, 2010 in light of increased tensions due to upcoming presidential and legislative elections, as well as instability in the east.
Armed militia groups, bandits, and poachers present real dangers, and the Central African government is unable to guarantee the safety of visitors in most parts of the country. There have been repeated attacks on Central African and expatriate travelers in the countryside. Poachers and armed men also pose a threat to game hunters in northern and eastern CAR. The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) poses a similar threat to hunters in eastern CAR.
The country holds presidential and legislative elections on January 23 and the proclamation of first round results is scheduled for February 7. If a second round of elections is necessary, campaigning will begin March 8 and voting will take place on March 20. The release of definitive results is scheduled for April 5. Throughout the campaign period, U.S. citizens in the CAR should expect an increased level of activity including rallies, marches, and other campaign activities. While there is no specific threat of violence, the Embassy encourages U.S. citizens to remain especially vigilant during the electoral period. Bangui suffers from elevated crime rates, both petty and violent, as well as particularly limited transport and medical options. CAR military and civilian security forces (and people posing as such) staff checkpoints throughout the city, frequently harassing local and expatriate travelers for bribes.
U.S. citizens should avoid public demonstrations, as even those intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence.
The U.S. Embassy staff in Bangui can provide only limited services to U.S. citizens at this time. Following an evacuation of all U.S. staff in 2002, the U.S. Embassy in Bangui resumed operations in January 2005. However, the Embassy currently operates with extremely limited staffing. U.S. citizens should be aware that only very basic and limited services are presently available. Additional information can be found at the Embassy Bangui web site.
The U.S. Embassy in Bangui encourages U.S. citizens residing in, or planning to travel to, the CAR to enroll or update their information at the Department of State's Smart Travel Enrollment Program (STEP) web site. Please note that it is important during enrollment, or updating of information, to include your current phone number and e-mail address where you can be reached in case of an emergency. U.S. citizens without internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy in Bangui. By registering, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. While the Embassy's ability to provide emergency consular services is limited, registration will enable electronic receipt of warden messages.
U.S. Embassy Bangui
Avenue David Dacko,
Tel: (236) 2161-0200
Fax: (236) 2161-4494
Emergency after-hours telephone:
(236) 7554-2276 AND (236) 7550-1293
U.S. citizens may also obtain updated information from the U.S. Embassy in N'Djamena, Chad, at telephone (235) 51-70-09, 51-92-33 or 51-90-52; fax (235) 51-56-54;
Travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada, or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444.
For information on general crime and security issues, U.S. citizens should also consult the Department of State's Country Specific Information of Central African Republic as well as The Worldwide Caution located on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website.
Travel Warnings are issued by the U.S. Department of State to describe long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable.
Location: Central Africa, north of Democratic Republic of the Congo
Languages: French (official), Sangho (lingua franca and national language), tribal languages