Guinea-Bissau

2 M
Population
Franc
Currency
Safety and security

Crime

Crime rates in Guinea-Bissau are low but Guinea-Bissau is an extremely poor country. You should take sensible precautions, and avoid carrying valuables in public.

Local travel

Land mines remain a problem in parts of the country and de-mining operations are continuing. The capital city of Bissau was declared mine-free in June 2006 by the national de-mining centre (CAAMI), which is responsible for de-mining operations and maintains lists of known minefields. Outside of the capital city, you should take local advice and stick to paved roads.

If you’re travelling to or from Guinea-Bissau by road through Senegal you should see our travel advice for Senegal.

Road travel

Traffic is generally light but road conditions (including in the capital) and driving standards are poor. You should avoid road travel at night and take suitable precautions in the rainy season (June to October) when road and driving conditions can become particularly poor.

Political situation

Guinea-Bissau is an inherently unpredictable country in which political instability can, and does, occur without warning. A military coup d’état in April 2012 established a transitional government which the UK did not recognise. Successful internationally recognised democratic elections (Legislative and Presidential) were held in 2014. Jose Mario Vaz was elected as President, and Domingos Simoes Pereira became Prime Minister. Tension between these two offices resulted in a political crisis in August 2015 when President Vaz removed the Prime Minister and a period of political instability followed, with the country having had 5 new governments in two and a half years. Umaro Sissoko was appointed as Prime Minister on 18 November 2016 and the new cabinet was named on 3 December 2016.

Terrorism

There is an underlying threat from terrorism.

As seen in Mali, Côte D’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, terrorist groups continue to mount attacks on beach resorts, hotels, cafés 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

Do not become involved with drugs of any kind. There are heavy penalties for those convicted and local prison conditions are harsh.

Carry ID (passport or residence permit) with you at all times, particularly when driving or taking a taxi, when the likelihood of having to produce it is high.

The FCO is not aware of any laws against homosexuality. It is generally tolerated if couples are discreet.

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 visa to enter Guinea Bissau. Guinea Bissau does not have an Embassy in London. Contact the Guinea Bissau Embassy in Paris at 94 Rue St Lazare for further information. Guinea Bissau also has Embassies in neighbouring countries, including Senegal, which issue visas.

Yellow fever

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

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Guinea-Bissau.

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.

UK health authorities have classified Guinea-Bissau as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For more information and advice, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

Medical facilities in Guinea Bissau are extremely limited and hospitals are not fully operational. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

There are occasional outbreaks of cholera, particularly during the rainy season and in areas where there is poor sanitation.

In the 2010 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that around 20,000 adults aged 15 or over in Guinea-Bissau were living with HIV; the prevalence percentage was estimated at around 2.5% of the adult population compared to the prevalence percentage in adults in the UK of around 0.2%. You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS.

Money

Guinea-Bissau is very much a cash economy. Credit cards are rarely used and there are few ATMs. The CFA Franc is the local currency.