U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520
Consular Information Sheet
This information is current as of today,
Americans planning travel to Niger should read Intercountry Adoption Niger, Avian Flu Fact Sheet and Worldwide Caution Public Announcement available on the Department of State web site at http://travel.state.gov
June 06, 2006
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Niger is a developing, landlocked African nation whose northern area includes the Sahara Desert. Tourism facilities are minimal, particularly outside the capital city, Niamey, and the ancient caravan city of Agadez. Ecotourism and adventure tourism opportunities are plentiful. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Niger for additional information.
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A passport and visa are required. Visas can be obtained at the airport. Travelers should obtain the latest information on entry/exit requirements from the Embassy of the Republic of Niger, 2204 R Street NW, Washington D.C. 20008, telephone: (202) 483-4224. See also our Foreign Entry Requirements brochure for more information on Niger and other countries. Overseas, inquiries should be made at the nearest Nigerien embassy or consulate.
See Entry and Exit Requirements for more information pertaining to dual nationality and the prevention of international child abduction. Please refer to our Customs Information to learn more about customs regulations.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: Niger held generally free and fair local, legislative and presidential elections in 2004. While there was a peaceful transition from one democratically elected government to another, the potential for anti-government demonstrations and other disturbances remains. U.S. citizens are advised to avoid street demonstrations and maintain security awareness at all times. Large student demonstrations in January and February have been annual occurrences historically, and should be avoided since even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational at times without much advanced warning.
For off road travel in remote areas of the country, the Department of State urges U.S. citizens to make use of registered guides and to travel with a minimum of two vehicles. All foreigners traveling in the northern part of Niger must present an approved travel route through the office of the Governor of Agadez. For tourists, this can most easily be done through coordinating all travel with registered tour operators, who coordinate formally and regularly with Nigerien government and security officials on issues related to tourist safety and security in the North. Thus, it is strongly recommended tourists use registered tour operators when traveling to Northern Niger. Names of such tour operators for Northern Niger can be obtained from the tourism association in Agadez. Global positioning systems and satellite phones are also recommended. Travelers are advised to avoid all restricted military areas and to consult local police authorities regarding their itinerary and security arrangements. U.S. citizens visiting Niger are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Niamey.
For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site, where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found.
Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s pamphletA Safe Trip Abroad.
NOTE TO NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION (NGO) WORKERS: Following the murder of a French tourist in the region of Agadez in December 2005, the Government of Niger (GON) began requiring that NGOs not only be registered and officially recognized but that they inform the GON of each mission they plan to undertake in Niger. To avoid detainment and/or expulsion by Nigerien authorities, Embassy Niamey strongly recommends that NGO workers:
- Make sure that their NGO has registered and received official recognition from the Government of Niger. For details on how
to do this please visit the Managing Office of Decentralised Cooperation and Non Governmental Organizations (Direction De
La Cooperation Decentralisee Et Des Organisations Non Gouvernementales) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministre des Affaires
- Carry with them a copy of the official recognition (Arrêté) of the right of their NGO to operate in Niger
- If their international NGO sponsor is without a permanent presence in Niger, the American citizen should verify that their
NGO group has informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at least two weeks prior to the start of a mission in Niger. This notice
should be in written form and should include the purpose of the mission, names of the individuals who will be working for
the NGO on the mission, the dates of the mission, where the mission will take place and the types & license plate numbers
of the vehicles involved in the mission. The Ministry of the Interior should be copied on this notice of mission.
- If their NGO is a national NGO, i.e., has a headquarters operation in Niger, the American citizens should verify that their
group has informed the Ministry of Territorial and Community Development (Minstre de l’Aménagement du Territoire et du Développement
Communautaire) at least two weeks prior to the start of a mission in Niger. This notice should be in written form and should
include the purpose of the mission, the names of the individuals who will be working for the NGO on the mission, the dates
of the mission, where the mission will take place and the types & license plate numbers of the vehicles involved in the mission.
The Ministry of the Interior should be copied on this notice of mission.
- NGOs should ask for receipt of their notification provided to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of the Interior and
Ministry of Territorial and Community Development.
- Embassy Niamey strongly recommends that in addition to the above, NGO workers present themselves at the Regional Governor’s office prior to beginning their mission in a particular portion of Niger. Again, NGO workers should ask for receipt of their presentation to the Regional Governor. It would also be wise to provide the Regional Governor with the same written notification that was provided to the Ministries listed above.
CRIME: Crime is at a critical level due primarily to the amount of thefts, robberies, and residential break-ins, and because of
attempts of bribery and extortion aimed at foreigners by law enforcement authorities. Thefts and petty crimes are common
day or night. However, armed attacks are normally committed at night by groups of two to four persons, with one assailant
confronting the victim with a knife while the others provide surveillance or a show of force. Tourists should not walk alone
around the Gaweye Hotel, National Museum, and on or near the Kennedy Bridge at any time, or the Petit Marche after dark.
These areas are especially prone to muggings and should be avoided. Walking at night is not recommended as streetlights are
scarce and criminals have the protection of darkness to commit their crimes. Recent criminal incidents in Niger have included
carjackings, home invasions, and muggings. In December 2000, an American was killed in a carjacking incident in Niamey, and
another American was gravely wounded in a carjacking incident outside of Niamey in 2004. Travelers should always keep their
doors locked and windows rolled up when stopped at stoplights.
In August 2004, an attack against 2 buses on the Agadez-Arlit road left 3 dead and numerous persons wounded. Due to continued sporadic incidents of violence and banditry and other security concerns, the Department of State urges U.S. citizens visiting or residing in Niger to exercise caution when traveling within the northern and eastern parts of the country, especially along the borders of Mali, Libya, Algeria and Chad. Given the insecurity along these border regions, the Department of State recommends that American citizens in Niger avoid traveling overland to Algeria and Libya.
In previous attacks, groups of foreign travelers, including Americans, have been robbed of vehicles, cash and belongings. The government of Niger is taking steps to address crime/banditry but operates under severe resource constraints.
Use caution and common sense at all times to avoid thieves and pickpockets. An information sheet on safety and security practices is available from the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Niamey.
INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME: 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. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you in finding appropriate medical care, contacting family members or friends and explaining how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you understand the local criminal justice process and find an attorney, if needed.
See our information on Victims of Crime .
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Health facilities are extremely limited in Niamey and urban centers, 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 carry their own properly labeled supply of prescription drugs and preventative medicines.
Malaria is prevalent in Niger. Plasmodium falciparum malaria, the serious and sometimes fatal strain in Niger, is resistant to the anti-malarial drug chloroquine. Because travelers to Niger are at high risk for contracting malaria, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that travelers should take one of the following antimalarial drugs: mefloquine (Lariam -tm), doxycycline, or atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone -tm). The CDC has determined that a traveler who is on an appropriate antimalarial drug has a greatly reduced chance of contracting the disease. Other personal protective measures, such as the use of insect repellents, also help to reduce malaria risk. Travelers who become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling in a malaria-risk area and up to one year after returning home should seek prompt medical attention and tell the physician their travel history and what antimalarials they have been taking. For additional information on malaria, protection from insect bites, and antimalarial drugs, please visit the CDC Travelers’ Health web site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/malinfo.htm.
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, such as safe food and water precautions and insect-bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (877-394-8747); or via CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization’s website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.
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. Please see our information on medical insurance overseas .
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.
Road safety throughout Niger is a concern, and visitors are strongly urged to avoid driving at night outside of major cities. Niger is the poorest country in the Sahel. The public transportation system, urban and rural road conditions, and the availability of roadside assistance are all poor. U.S. travelers should; therefore, exercise caution on Niger's paved and unpaved roadways, as traffic accidents are frequent. The main causes of accidents are driver carelessness, excessive speeding, poorly 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 that 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. Banditry is a continuing problem in northern and eastern Niger. There have been occasional carjackings and highway robberies throughout the country.
While taxis are available at a fixed fare in Niamey, most are in poor condition, and 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 coaches on inter-city routes and, since being reorganized in 2001, has provided reliable service and experienced no major accidents. Air Transport, Rimbo and Garba Messagé are private bus companies operating in Niger. Some Nigeriens evidence concern regarding the youth of drivers and the speed with which the private bus companies travel the Nigerien roads.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. Visit the National Tourism Office on Rue de Grand Hotel in Niamey.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Niger, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Niger’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s Internet web site at www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.htm.
SPECIAL CIRUMSTANCES: 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 garments.
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 demonstrations.
Currency Regulations - The West African Franc (FCFA) is the currency Niger shares with several other West African francophone countries, and is fully convertible into Euros. Foreign currency exchange over 1 million CFA (about $1,785 at 560 CFA/$1) requires authorization from the Ministry of Finance (available from all major banks).
Telephone Service - Due to poor line quality, callers often experience delays in getting a telephone line, and telefaxes are often garbled. Cellular phone service is available in Niamey and in many major cities.
Please see our Customs Information.
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 Nigerien law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use of, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Niger are severe and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. Please see our information on Criminal Penalties.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children’s Issues web page.
REGISTRATION / EMBASSY LOCATION: U.S. citizens living or traveling in Niger are encouraged to register at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department’s travel registration website, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Niger. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy in Niger. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or the Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located on Rue des Ambassades, mailing address B.P. 11201, telephone numbers (227) 20-72-26-61 through 64, and fax numbers (227) 20-73-31-67 or 20-72-31-46. The Embassy’s after hours emergency number is (227) 20-72-31-41. Embassy’s Internet address is http://niamey.usembassy.gov .
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This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated March 6, 2006, to update the phone numbers in the section on Registration / Embassy Location.