Foreign travel advice

Guinea

Summary

Local elections are due to take place in 2017. Outbreaks of violence, including fatalities, have occurred following previous elections. You should monitor local and international media reports and avoid large demonstrations or rallies (both political and non-political) or close to military barracks.

The World Health Organisation declared Guinea Ebola transmission free on 1 June 2016. You should check this travel advice before travelling to Guinea and follow the health advice on the NHS Choices website.

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.

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

Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Guinea. Attacks could be indiscriminate. You should be vigilant, especially in places visited by foreigners.

The Guinean authorities maintain police and local militia checkpoints across the whole country. Carry identification with you at all times.

Road travel can be hazardous due to poor driving standards and the state of the roads. Essential supplies, such as fuel, may run low from time to time. You should avoid travelling at night outside Conakry.

Motorists have encountered theft at gun point, particularly at night.

Exchanging foreign currency on the street or using unofficial money changers is illegal and can result in military detention.

If you need consular help, call the British Embassy.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

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

Motorists have encountered theft at gun point, particularly at night. These crimes are often carried out by individuals dressed in police or military uniforms and carrying military weapons. There have been incidents of violent car-jackings, especially in the outlying suburbs of Conakry. Burglaries and break-ins are common.

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

Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Guinea. 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 places.

Guinea contributes to the UN peacekeeping initiative in Mali (MINUSMA) and may therefore be considered a legitimate target by Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQ-M) and its associated groups.

AQ-M and its associates mainly operate in the Sahel. The Sahel region includes Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, but the threat may extend to other neighbouringcountries and the region due to the porous nature of the borders. Read more about the threat from terrorism in the Sahel region.

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

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.

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.