Guinea

10 M
Population
Franc
Currency
Safety and security

Political situation

Although the political situation in Guinea has stabilised following the closely contested presidential elections on 11 October 2015, there are ongoing political tensions. These have led to sporadic violent demonstrations in the capital with demonstrators blocking roads near the airport. Monitor local media reports and keep away from large demonstrations.

Crime

Theft at gunpoint is increasingly common throughout Guinea, especially at night. Violent muggings can occur even in broad daylight for cash and other valuables such as mobile telephones. There have been incidents of violent car-jackings, especially in the outlying suburbs of Conakry like Kipe. These crimes are often carried out by individuals dressed in police or military uniforms, and carrying military weapons.

There are regular reports of robberies on the route Mamou, Faranah, Kissidougou, Guekedou, Macenta, Nzerekore. The British Embassy is aware of unconfirmed reports of police extorting cash from foreigners and Guineans.

If you plan to arrive in Conakry on a flight after dark you should arrange your airport transfer before you travel.

Those involved in trading gold and diamonds should take particular care; this trade attracts criminal gangs, who are known to resort to kidnapping and extortion. Trading scams involving diamonds, gold export and gold certification have been reported.

Those who commit criminal offences, including gem smuggling, can expect to be subjected to local law. There are heavy penalties for those convicted. Local prison conditions are harsh with food and water often not supplied on a regular basis. Pre-trial detention is extensive and can last for many months.

The local police number for downtown Conakry is (+224) 622 039 258.

Local travel

Areas of Guinea bordering Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone are often tense with an increased military presence.

Road travel

Road travel is hazardous during the rainy season from May to October. Torrential rains can cause floods and landslides. Monitor local weather reports and expect difficulties when travelling to affected areas during this season. Avoid travel outside cities after dark.

Taxis and long distance buses are poorly maintained, and the drivers often unqualified. Few motorists have any form of insurance. Most major hotels and travel agencies offer cars for hire, with a chauffeur if required.

The standard of road maintenance is low. Beware of deep potholes. Many roads are not metalled and are not repaired after the rainy season. Roads within Conakry and other principal towns can quickly become flooded and impassable.  

Supplies of fuel may run low from time to time; it is worth considering carrying an emergency stock, especially when making a long journey.

Police and local militia maintain checkpoints across the country. Vehicles and passengers are submitted to checks on documentation and baggage. Corruption and extortion are common at roadblocks. Occasionally, checkpoints can be a pretext for armed robbery.

Air travel

We do not have reliable information about safety and/or maintenance standards of local airlines, but flights are frequently delayed or cancelled.

If you plan to arrive in Conakry on a flight after dark you should arrange your airport transfer before you travel. Corruption at the airport by officials is common.

Sea travel

There have been reports of attacks of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Guinean territorial waters.

Consular assistance

The British Embassy in Conakry, can only provide limited emergency consular assistance. The opening hours of the Consular Section are 10am to noon, Monday to Thursday.

If you need consular help, call the British Embassy and follow the instructions to be connected with consular officers.

Terrorism

There is a general threat from terrorism.

Terrorist groups in West Africa have recently demonstrated their capability and intent by mounting attacks in Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Mali, targeting beach resorts, hotels, cafes and restaurants visited by foreigners. Be especially vigilant in these locations.

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

Don’t become involved with drugs of any kind.

All precious stones require an export licence. Those who commit criminal offences, including gold or gem smuggling, can expect to be subjected to local law. There are heavy penalties for those convicted. Local prison conditions are harsh and pre-trial detention can last for many months.

Foreigners and Guinean nationals are required to show identification if asked by the police or other law enforcement agencies. You are allowed to carry photocopies of the relevant pages of your passport, provided they are certified by the Guinean police. Keep the original in a safe place.

Although homosexuality is not explicitly mentioned in the Guinean Penal Code, Article 325 of the Code states that ‘indecent acts and acts against nature committed with an individual of the same sex will be punished by imprisonment of six months to three years and a fine of 100,000 to 1,000,000 Guinean francs. If the act is with a minor of less than 21 years, the maximum sentence will be pronounced. If the act is committed with violence or attempted violence the sentence will be 5-10 years.’ We have no reports of any attacks on persons linked to their sexuality. However, homosexuality is not widely accepted or understood.

Photography and filming in many parts of the country is forbidden or subject to strict rules which are enforced rigidly. It is forbidden to photograph or film anything of strategic value e.g. bridges. Do not photograph military or police installations or government buildings. Individuals may prefer not to be photographed. If in doubt, seek permission or do not take pictures.

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

All British nationals need a visa to enter or live in Guinea. You can get visas for both private and business travel and residency at the Embassy of the Republic of Guinea.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of your application for a visa to enter Guinea and must be valid for at least the duration of your stay in Guinea.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

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

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 facilities are poor. Equipment is basic and often not sterile. You should carry basic medical supplies, and consider including an emergency dental kit if travelling outside Conakry. There are minimal facilities for dealing with heart problems and major trauma. For serious medical treatment, medical evacuation to Europe is necessary. There are some well-stocked pharmacies in Conakry but few outside the capital. Make sure you have adequate supplies of prescription medication, bearing in mind the risk of delays due to flight cancellations. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.  

The World Health Organization declared the end of Ebola virus transmission in Guinea on 1 June 2016.

If you’re concerned that you might have been exposed to Ebola, or are showing symptoms, you should seek immediate medical advice. If you’re in the UK call NHS on 111. Cholera and malaria are also present in Guinea and have similar early symptoms to Ebola.

There are no central contact numbers for hospitals in Guinea. Only private clinics can be contacted by telephone. In Conakry, Clinique Pasteur can be contacted on (+224) 621 35 01 01 or 664 26 98 53, and the Clinique Ambroise Pare can be contacted on (+224) 631 40 10 40.

Money

Credit cards are not widely used. ATM facilities accept foreign cards, but should not be relied on as a means of getting money. International credit cards may be used to draw cash over the counter. Outside Conakry banking can be difficult.

Exchanging foreign currency on the street or using unofficial money changers is illegal. Those using money changers, even for small amounts, including at the international airport, have been arrested and detained in military custody. Obtaining hard currency in Guinea is very difficult.