FOLLOW US

World Travel Guide > Guides > Africa > Chad

Chad travel guide

About Chad

From the natural wonders of the Sahara Desert and Lake Chad to the tribal culture and hospitality that flourishes across the country, Chad quietly gets on with creating unforgettable experiences, while the rest of the world looks on unaware.

With a predominantly rural population, urban life is restricted to N’Djamena, the capital. As Chad’s commercial hub it attracts people from over 200 different ethnic groups. The result is a diverse set of social structures rubbing alongside one another and stark contrasts between the capital’s modernist heart and the ancient ways of nomadic tribespeople such as the Tuareg and Toubou.

Ethnicity remains far more important than Chadian identity and tribes hold dear a rich cultural heritage that remains largely unchanged by time or the outside world.

Chad’s prehistoric cave paintings, found amid gnarled rock formations in the Sahara Desert, document the existence of large animals in the region for millennia, so it is therefore unsurprising that even today the country is home to some of Africa’s most iconic species, including elephant, rhino, giraffe, leopard and lion.

Birdsong, made all the sweeter by the desert landscape, is near constant in the hidden palm-fringed oases of the Sahara, while the clear blue waters of Lake Chad form the second largest wetland in Africa and an important source of water for not only birds but reptiles and larger mammals too.

Whether it is to experience the solitude of the Sahara, seek out the hospitality of the Tuareg or witness animals surviving in the one of the most extreme landscapes on Earth, Chad offers hardy travellers an extraordinary experience. It may be nicknamed the “dead heart of Africa,” but as anyone who knows this country will tell you, that moniker couldn’t be further from the truth.

Key facts

Area:

1,284,000 sq km (495,800 sq miles).

Population:

14,496,739 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

9.1 per sq km.

Capital:

N’Djamena.

Government:

Republic.

Head of state:

Chairman of the Transitional Military Council: Mahamat Idriss Déby since April 2021.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Chad on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

International travel

As of 5 July 2021, there is no longer a ban (related to the Alpha variant of COVID-19) on travellers from the UK entering Chad.

Non-vaccinated travellers need to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate dated no more than 96 hours prior to arrival in Chad.

Vaccinated travellers (presenting a vaccination certificate) are exempt from this requirement.

Travellers departing from Chad are required to conform with the COVID-19 requirements of their destination (and any relevant transit) country.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Chad.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID-19. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Healthcare in Chad

For contact details for doctors visit our list of healthcare providers.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health

View Health for further details on healthcare in Chad.

See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Further information

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.

Political situation

There continues to be potential for instability in Chad, particularly in its border regions and in the run-up to and during major political events, such as Chad’s planned national dialogue and elections, which are due to take place by the end of 2022.

In April 2021, an armed convoy belonging to the rebel group “Le front pour l’alternance et la concorde au Tchad” (FACT) crossed into north-western Chad from Libya, and engaged in fighting with government forces. Following the death of President Idriss Deby Itno, a Transitional Military Council was established to govern Chad. All British nationals were advised to leave the country due to the increased risk of instability. The UK Embassy Office closed temporarily, and reopened in May 2021.

During April-May 2021, tensions remained high, with violent clashes between protesters and security forces in N’Djamena and southern Chad. A number of people were killed, with reports of live ammunition having been used against demonstrators.

In May 2021, there were reports of armed forces entering south-western Chad from the Central African Republic before being repelled by Chadian forces. Chadian rebel groups in neighbouring countries and elsewhere continue to threaten Chad.

Inter-communal clashes in Abéché (eastern Chad) and Sandana (southern Chad) in January and February 2022 respectively led to several deaths.

On 14 May 2022, there were protests in N’Djamena and other towns which included anti-French sentiments; Total petrol stations in N’Djamena were attacked and damaged. Further protests and attacks against perceived French targets could take place.

You should exercise extra vigilance and caution, and avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings of people. If you become aware of any nearby protests leave the area immediately. You should keep informed of developments through local media.

Crime

The number of reports of car-jackings on roads outside N’Djamena has increased, including during daylight hours. You should use a police or military escort when driving outside the capital, and carry working communications equipment.

Armed robberies, particularly from cars, in some residential areas of N’Djamena are common. Foreigners are sometimes targeted.

Be vigilant and take particular care in the capital. Travel by car and not by foot, especially if you are alone, or motorbike. Keep doors locked and windows closed. Do not carry large sums of money, jewellery, or other valuables. Avoid isolated or less developed areas of towns and do not travel alone at night.

Local travel

There are around 1 million displaced people in Chad, including refugees from Sudan, Central African Republic and Nigeria and displaced people in the Lake region. A state of emergency remains in place in the Lake region.

Chad and Sudan have agreed to enhance the role of the joint border force but banditry and violent crime in eastern Chad still exist. The border with Sudan is subject to closure at little notice.

The border between Chad and Central African Republic has been closed and instability in neighbouring Central African Republic remains concerning. In May 2021, there were reports of armed forces entering south-western Chad from the Central African Republic before being repelled by Chadian forces.

The area bordering Libya is heavily land-mined. The northern regions of Borkou, Ennedi and Tibesti remain unsafe.

Road travel

Road travel can be dangerous due to the state of the roads and quality of driving. Accidents involving motorbikes are particularly common. Crowds can quickly gather around the scene of an accident and, while rarely violent, can be intimidating. Try to make contact with the police or other local authority immediately if you’re involved in an accident.

For travel outside the capital, you will need authorisation from the Ministry of the Interior, which is normally granted without difficulty after a few days. Roads are poor and often impassable during the rainy season (July-October), especially in the south. Heavy rains can result in major flooding in many areas, particularly in the south and east.

You should travel in convoy, keep doors locked and carry spare fuel and supplies. Police checkpoints are common: you may be asked to show your passport, driving licence and vehicle registration documents. Do not travel by road after dark.

You should be careful on the road passing in front of the Presidential Palace in N’Djamena. In three separate incidents in March 2019, 2 motorists were killed, and a motorcyclist shot, by Palace guards. Avoid stopping in front of the Palace and driving close to the guards, and do not use this road at night.

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Chad.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners like restaurants, bars, markets, hotels, shopping centres and places of worship.

You should avoid places where there are political or other large public gatherings. Be vigilant, remain alert and pay attention to your surroundings at all times. You should follow local news reports and be alert to developments.

Following the terrorist attacks on hotels in Bamako (Mali) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) in November 2015 and January 2016, in which a number of people were killed, it’s possible that terrorist groups including Boko Haram and Ansaru will try to carry out similar attacks in Chad.

There have been numerous attacks by armed elements in the Lake Chad region since 2016. The terrorist group Boko Haram remains active in this region. In an attack in March 2020, Boko Haram are reported to have killed at least 92 Chadian soldiers in Boma, Lac province. Military operations are ongoing and a state of emergency remains in place.

In 2015, there were a number of terrorist attacks in the capital N’Djamena.

Security in the capital has been reinforced and police check points and vehicle checks are routine. There have been no subsequent terrorist attacks in N’Djamena.

Terrorist Kidnaps

There is a heightened threat of kidnap in Chad, particularly in the Lake Chad Basin and the border areas with the Far North region of Cameroon, Sudan and the Central African Republic.

Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) maintain an intent and capability to conduct kidnaps in Chad, and have also taken hostages from neighbouring Cameroon, northern Nigeria and the Diffa region of Niger. If you’re working or travelling in areas where there is a Boko Haram or ISWA presence, especially around the Lake Chad Basin, you should be aware of the risk of terrorist kidnapping. You should maintain a high level of vigilance at all times, including when travelling, when in crowded public places, including camps for displaced people, religious gatherings and insecure spaces like places of worship, markets, shopping malls, hotels, bars, restaurants and transport hubs. You should ensure you have carefully considered the threat and have reasonable, proportionate mitigation measures in place.

British nationals are viewed as legitimate targets, including those engaged in tourism, humanitarian aid work, journalism or business sectors. If you’re kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to serve as a protection or secure your safe release.

The long-standing policy of the British Government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British Government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners builds the capability of terrorist groups and finances their activities. This can, in turn, increase the risk of further hostage-taking. The Terrorism Act (2000) makes payments to terrorists illegal.

Terrorist groups operating in Chad

Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa (ISWA)

Boko Haram or Jama’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihad (JASDJ) is an Islamist terrorist group operating in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger. The group aspire to establish a Sharia State in Nigeria and West Africa, destabilise the Nigerian government and remove western influence from the country.

The group was formerly linked to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). On 12 March 2015, Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL) accepted a pledge of allegiance by Boko Haram. In August 2016, the group split into 2 factions: Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) and JASDJ or Boko Haram. ISWA is affiliated with ISIS core in Iraq and Syria and has expressed an intention to target Nigerian government, Christian and western interests.

The terrorist threat in the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin

There is a very high threat of kidnapping by terrorist groups operating in the Sahel region. A number of western nationals including tourists, NGO workers and diplomats have been kidnapped in the Sahel over the last ten years, and several are still being held. Some, including several British nationals, have been killed by their captors. Those engaged in humanitarian aid work, journalism or business sectors are viewed as legitimate targets. If you’re kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to serve as a protection or secure your safe release.

There are a number of terrorist groups active in the region. These include Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM), Islamic State West Africa (ISWA), Islamic State Greater Sahara (ISGS), Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Al Murabitoun, Ansar Dine and Boko Haram. These groups are capable of carrying out attacks and kidnaps over long distances. Kidnapping for ransom is the primary source of finance for Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM). Criminal gangs also carry out kidnapping for terrorist groups in return for financial rewards.

Read more about the threat from terrorism in the Sahel region.

The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage taking. The Terrorism Act (2000) also makes payments to terrorists illegal.

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.

You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas. See Travelling during Ramadan

Penalties for the use and possession of drugs are severe and usually include a prison sentence. Conditions in local prisons are harsh.
 
Homosexuality is not widely accepted in Chadian society. Same-sex sexual activity is a criminal offence in Chad, with penalties of imprisonment ranging from 3 months to 2 years and a fine of between 50,000 and 500,000 CFA francs. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

Photographing of military sites, government buildings and airports is prohibited. Other photography needs a government permit.
 
You should carry identification at all times (either a residence permit or a certified copy of your passport). Failure to produce ID can lead to detention by the police, or delays should you have to leave the country.

This page has information on travelling to Chad.

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Chad set and enforce entry rules. If you’re unsure how Chad’s entry requirements apply to you, contact its UK embassy, high commission or consulate.

All travellers

All travellers should familiarise themselves with the entry rules for Chad before travel.

If you’re fully vaccinated

If you’re fully vaccinated, you can enter Chad without needing to test or quarantine.

Proof of vaccination status

You must present proof that you have been fully vaccinated to enter Chad.

Chad will accept the UK’s proof of COVID-19 vaccination record and proof of COVID-19 vaccination issued in the Crown Dependencies. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status.

You can use a printed (PDF) copy of the UK COVID Pass to demonstrate your vaccination record when entering Chad.

If you’re not fully vaccinated

If you’re not fully vaccinated, you’ll need to show proof of a negative PCR test (taken no more than 96 hours before entry) in order to enter Chad.

Children and young people

Children under 12 years do not need to show proof of vaccination to enter Chad.

If you’re transiting through Chad

Transiting is when you pass through one country on the way to your final destination.

Check with your airline before departing.

Exemptions

There are no exemptions to Chad’s entry requirements.

Check your passport and travel documents before you travel

Passport validity

If you are visiting Chad, your passport should be valid for six months from the date you arrive.

If you are a resident in Chad, your passport must be valid for six months from the date you arrive.

Check with your travel provider to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Visas

British nationals need a visa to visit Chad. To apply for a visa contact the Chadian Embassy in Belgium at 52 Boulevard Lambermont, 1030, Brussels, Telephone: +32 2 215 1975, Fax: +32 2 216 3526, or the Chadian Embassy in France at 65 rue des Belles Feuilles, 75116, Paris, Telephone: +33 (0)1 45 53 36 75, Fax: +33 (0)1 45 53 16 09.

If your visa is valid for longer than a short visit, the immigration officer on arrival will ask you to register at the Commissariat Central (police headquarters) on Avenue General Kerim Nassour (formerly Boulevard de Strasbourg) within 3 days. You will need to provide a passport photograph.

When you are in Chad

Keep your passport, and those of immediate family members, up to date, along with any visas that you may require; a replacement emergency travel document may take time to issue, which could make travelling more complicated.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

A yellow fever certificate is required for travel to Chad and may be requested by airlines prior to travel to and upon arrival in Chad.

If you have a health condition, or you are pregnant, you may need specialist healthcare abroad. Check whether your destination country can provide the healthcare you may need and ensure you have appropriate travel insurance for unexpected medical evacuation or local treatment.

See the Coronavirus travel health and Healthcare sections in the Coronavirus page for COVID-19 health information.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or brought in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, check this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Medical treatment

Medical facilities in Chad are poor. Hospitals in N’Djamena are stretched at the best of times and sometimes affected by strikes. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

Health risks

Malaria and water-borne diseases are common. There has been a resurgence of cases of diseases e.g poliomyelitis and measles. You should drink or use only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks. Food purchased from local street vendors may not meet adequate hygiene standards.

There has been an outbreak in cases of Chikungunya in Abéché. Check the Chikungunya factsheet on the TravelHealthPro website for more information and follow the advice on avoiding mosquito bites.

According to UNAIDS, in 2018, the number of adults aged 15 or over in Chad living with HIV was estimated to be around 120,000; the prevalence percentage was estimated at around 1.3% 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.

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, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Check our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should check 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. Check how the FCDO 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 cannot 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 FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you cannot find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice team 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, or contact us on Twitter or Facebook. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

A digital image at https://illuminoto.com

Book a Hotel