Foreign travel advice

Equatorial Guinea

Summary

There is no British Embassy in Equatorial Guinea. In an emergency, you can get consular assistance from the British High Commission in Yaounde.

Be alert and take sensible personal security precautions. Roadblocks and unannounced identification checks are likely. Carry an appropriate form of identification (passport or residence permit) with you at all times.

If you wish to travel outside Malabo on the island of Bioko, or outside Bata on the mainland, you will need to inform the local authorities in advance.

There have been no cases of Ebola in Equatorial Guinea.

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Equatorial Guinea, attacks can’t be ruled out.

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

Compared with other countries in the region, the level of violent crime in Equatorial Guinea is low and there have been very few cases of British nationals needing consular assistance. However, there are an increasing number of robberies against people travelling by taxi in both Malabo and Bata including a serious incident of robbery and assault in a shared taxi in Bata. Avoid taking taxis with groups of strangers, particularly at night.

There are regular reports of petty theft affecting both visitors and expatriates. Take sensible personal security precautions. Don’t carry valuables or wear jewellery in public and avoid isolated or poorer areas of town. Don’t walk around Malabo and Bata at night and avoid travelling by road after dark.

Local travel

If you do not have an Equatorial Guinean resident permit, please carry a copy of the photo page and visa page of your passport with you if you wish to travel outside Malabo on the island of Bioko, and outside Bata on the mainland.

Land borders can close with little or no notice. Check the situation with the local authorities before travelling to border areas.

Road travel

Most major roads on Bioko Island and the Rio Muni mainland are now paved. In some isolated rural areas the condition of the roads is likely to be poor. Police and military roadblocks are common.

You may be asked to show your passport, or vehicle registration documents and explain your reason for being in the area. Failure to comply can lead to detention.

There are regular reports of extortion by police and uniformed security forces at roadblocks. You are advised not to pay bribes but to ask for a ticket, detailing alleged offences or violations, which can be paid at a local court.

Public transport facilities, particularly on the mainland, are extremely limited.

Air travel

Equatorial Guinean-registered aircraft are banned from EU airspace on safety grounds. British government employees do not use these aircraft unless this is unavoidable.

Sea travel

There have been armed attacks on commercial shipping vessels in the Gulf of Guinea. Take extreme care when travelling in coastal waters.

Political situation

The political situation has been calm in recent years but you should be aware that political events can lead to an increased presence of police, military or security forces on the streets. Avoid any political rallies, demonstrations or large public gatherings.

Commercial disputes

There have been occasions when expatriate staff of foreign companies have been confined to the country for prolonged periods when commercial disputes have arisen.

Consular assistance

There is no British Embassy in Equatorial Guinea. In an emergency, you can get consular assistance from the British High Commission in Yaounde:

email: DLYaoundeConsularprotect@fco.gov.uk

telephone: +237 222 220 545 (office hours only) / +237 677 713 650

If you’re unable to contact the British High Commission in Yaoundé, then in an emergency call the FCO in London:

Telephone: +44 (0) 207 008 1500.

Terrorism

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Equatorial Guinea, attacks can’t be ruled out.

There’s 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

Penalties for the use and possession of drugs are severe and usually include a prison sentence that would be served in local prisons.

Photography of the presidential palace, ports, airports and military installations is strictly prohibited and can lead to imprisonment. Special permits from the Ministry of Information and Tourism are required for all other photography.

Homosexuality is not widely accepted in central African society and some sexual acts between members of the same sex are illegal.

Failure to produce identification documents (passport or residence permit) on request can lead to detention.

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.

Passport validity

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

Visas

British nationals need a visa to visit Equatorial Guinea. For further information on entry requirements, contact the Embassy of Equatorial Guinea in London: 13 Park Place, St James’, London SW1A 1LP; telephone: 020 7499 6867.

Check that your passport is properly stamped at the airport, on arrival and departure, before leaving the immigration desk. There have been reports of travellers being delayed or threatened with detention because their passports have not been properly stamped.

If you replace your passport the Equatorial Guinea authorities will require the old passport prior to issuing a replacement visa in your new passport. The authorities will not admit travellers on visas entered into old passports, even if the visa is still valid.

Long term visitors are required to obtain a residence permit of 1 year validity from the Ministry of National Security. Holders of a residence permit no longer require a visa to exit or enter Equatorial Guinea during the validity of their residence permit.

In 2014 the authorities cancelled a number of incoming and outgoing flights as a preventative measure against the spread of Ebola to Equatorial Guinea. Flights to/from Sao Tome et Principe, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Republic of Congo, Benin, Togo, Nigeria and Gabon have now resumed. If you’re arriving by air you’ll be required to fill in a health questionnaire related to recent travel to Ebola-affected countries (Liberia/Guinea/Sierra Leone).

There have been no cases of Ebola in Equatorial 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 generally poor, apart from the La Paz hospital in Malabo. Pharmacies in Malabo and Bata stock basic medication. Emergency facilities are extremely limited. For serious medical treatment, evacuation to Europe would be necessary. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

Food purchased from local street vendors may not meet adequate hygiene standards. 

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 3101 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Money

It is not possible to use credit cards except at the major airline offices (Air France, Iberia and Lufthansa) and some hotels (Hilton, Sofitel). The local currency is the Central African Franc (CFA), issued by the Banque des Etats de L’Afrique Centrale (BEAC). This is not the same Central African Franc as issued by the Banque des Etats de L’Afrique Ouest (BEAOC) which is not legal tender in Equatorial Guinea. There are only a limited number of ATMs available, located in Malabo and Bata. Not all of these accept international credit and debit cards. Euros, Pound Sterling and US Dollars are the preferred currencies for exchange at local banks.

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.