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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


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


14,496,739 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

9.1 per sq km.





Head of state:

Transitional president: Mahamat Idriss Déby since October 2022.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Succès Masra since January 2024.

Travel Advice

Your travel insurance could be invalidated if you travel against advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).

Areas where FCDO advises against travel

Borkou, Ennedi Ouest, Ennedi Est and Tibesti provinces

FCDO advises against all travel to the northern provinces of Chad:

  • Borkou Province
  • Ennedi Ouest Province
  • Ennedi Est Province
  • Tibesti Province

Kanem Province, including Nokou

FCDO advises against all travel to the western part of Kanem Province, including the town of Nokou.

Lake Chad region

FCDO advises against all travel to the Lake Chad region.

Within 30km of all Chad’s other borders  

FCDO advises against all travel to within 30km of all of Chad’s other borders.   

The rest of Chad

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the rest of Chad, including the capital, N’Djamena.

Find out more about why FCDO advises against travel.

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and any specific travel advice that applies to you:

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

About FCDO travel advice

FCDO provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

This advice 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 not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Chadian Embassy in Belgium or the Chadian Embassy in France, which does not have a website:

65 Rue des Belles Feuilles, 75116, Paris
Telephone: +33 (0)1 45 53 36 75
Fax: +33 (0)1 45 53 16 09

COVID-19 rules

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Chad.

Passport validity requirements

To enter Chad, your passport must have an ‘expiry date’ at least 6 months after the date you arrive.  

Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.

You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.

Visa requirements

You must have a visa to visit Chad.

Applying for a visa

To apply for a visa contact the Chadian Embassy in Belgium.

Or contact the Chadian Embassy in France, which does not have a website:

65 Rue des Belles Feuilles, 75116, Paris
Telephone: +33 (0)1 45 53 36 75
Fax: +33 (0)1 45 53 16 09          

Registering with the police

If you stay in Chad more than 72 hours, you must register with the police. The immigration officer will tell you to go to the Commissariat Central (police headquarters) on Avenue General Kerim Nassour (formerly Boulevard de Strasbourg). You must bring a passport photograph.

Vaccine requirements

To enter Chad, you must have a certificate to prove you’ve had a yellow fever vaccination if you’re coming from a country listed as a transmission risk.

For full details about medical entry requirements and recommended vaccinations, including yellow fever, see TravelHealthPro’s Chad guide.

Customs rules

There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of Chad. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.

This guide also has safety advice for regions of Chad.


There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.

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 how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in Chad

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

Terrorism attacks could be indiscriminate and occur without warning, including in places frequented by foreign nationals, such as:

  • hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs
  • shopping areas and markets
  • airports and other transport hubs
  • places of worship (especially churches)
  • national parks
  • foreign embassies and other diplomatic or military facilities
  • national and local government facilities

Stay aware of your surroundings, keep up to date with local media reports and follow the advice of local authorities. Avoid all large gatherings, including:

  • music festivals
  • shows and concerts
  • sporting events
  • public marches and demonstrations

Be extra cautious during elections, festivities, and religious and public holidays.

The terrorist groups Islamic State West Africa and Boko Haram remain active in the Lake Chad region. In an attack in 2022, Boko Haram killed at least 30 Chadian soldiers near Baga Sola, Lac Province. A state of emergency is in place in the Lac and Kanem provinces with Chadian security forces conducting military operations.

Terrorist kidnapping

There is a high risk of terrorist kidnapping in the Lake Chad Basin and the border areas with Cameroon, Sudan and the Central African Republic.

British nationals are seen as legitimate targets, including tourists, humanitarian aid workers, journalists and business travellers. If you are kidnapped, the reason for your presence is unlikely to protect you or secure your safe release.  

There is also a high risk of terrorist kidnapping in the Sahel region, which includes Chad, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali. Over the last 10 years, terrorist groups in the Sahel have kidnapped western nationals, including tourists, non-governmental organisation (NGO) workers and diplomats, and are still holding several hostages. Kidnappers have killed some hostages, including several British nationals.

Terrorist groups active in the Lake Chad Basin and the Sahel region include Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM), Islamic State West Africa (ISWA), Islamic State Greater Sahara (ISGS), Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Al Murabitoun, Ansar Dine and Boko Haram. These groups can carry out attacks and kidnappings over long distances. Boko Haram and ISWA also take hostages from neighbouring Cameroon, northern Nigeria and the Diffa region of Niger. Kidnapping for ransom is the main source of finance for JNIM. Criminal gangs also carry out kidnappings for terrorist groups in return for financial rewards.

You should always stay alert, especially when travelling and in crowded public places, including camps for displaced people, religious gatherings and insecure spaces such as places of worship, markets, shopping areas, hotels, bars, nightclubs, restaurants and transport hubs. Make sure you have carefully considered the threat and have reasonable, proportionate mitigation measures in place.

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.

Political situation

There is a continuing risk of instability in Chad, particularly in its border regions and during major political events. Chad is undergoing a political transition, and voting in Presidential elections concluded on 6 May. Following the announcement of preliminary results, protests were called by opposition groups. Legislative elections are also due to take place before the end of 2024.

On 28 February, several people were killed or injured in armed clashes between supporters of the PSF (Socialist Party without Borders) and government forces in Chad’s capital. The leader of the PSF, Yaya Dillo, was amongst those killed.

Public demonstrations, including anti-government protests, are common in Chad. Crowds can gather quickly and may become violent. In 2022, security forces fired live ammunition during a clash with protestors, and civilians were killed and injured.

Demonstrations have targeted foreign, national and local government facilities, resulting in damage. Monitor the local news to help you avoid such gatherings. If a crowd gathers near you, leave the area immediately.

While celebratory gunfire is illegal in Chad, it can occur during celebrations, including during weddings and some political events. Celebratory gunfire led to civilian deaths and injuries in May 2024 after the announcement of provisional election results. In the event of celebratory gunfire, take cover on the lower levels of buildings and away from windows.

In 2021, an armed convoy belonging to the rebel group Le front pour l’alternance et la concorde au Tchad (FACT) crossed into Chad from Libya and fought government forces. President Idriss Deby Itno was killed, and a transitional military council was established to govern Chad. The UK government advised British nationals to leave Chad. The British Embassy in N’Djamena closed temporarily. 



There is a high risk of carjacking on roads outside N’Djamena, including during the daytime.

Armed robbery

Armed robbery is common in some residential areas of N’Djamena, particularly from cars. Robbers sometimes target foreign nationals because they’re considered wealthier.

Protecting yourself and your belongings

Stay alert and be particularly cautious about street crime if you’re on foot in the capital. Do not carry large sums of money, jewellery or other valuables. Avoid isolated or less developed areas of towns and do not go out alone or at night.

To reduce your personal risk, consider using pre-arranged secure cars to get around N’Djamena. Keep car doors locked and windows closed.

Laws and cultural differences

Respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions. Make sure you do not offend local cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you plan to visit religious areas.

Personal ID

Always carry a certified copy of your passport. If you cannot show ID, the police could detain you. You could also face delays if you have to leave the country. If you live in Chad, always carry your residence permit.


Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims. The dates vary by year and country. During this time, do not:

  • eat, drink, smoke or chew gum in public in the daytime, including in your car
  • play loud music or dance
  • swear in public

Get more advice when you arrive from your tour guide, hotel or business contacts.

You should also:

  • check opening hours of shops and restaurants
  • be aware that if hotels and restaurants are providing food or drink in fasting hours, they may separate you from Islamic guests, for example with screens
  • follow local dress codes – clothing that does not meet local dress codes may cause more offence at this time
  • be aware that fasting can cause tiredness, particularly during the later afternoon and early evening
  • be aware that driving may be erratic, particularly when people are trying to get home at dusk
  • be patient and show tolerance

Illegal drugs and prison sentences

Penalties for drug use and possession are severe and usually include a prison sentence. Conditions in local prisons are harsh.

Using cameras

It is illegal to photograph military sites, government buildings or airports without a permit.  

LGBT+ travellers

Same-sex sexual activity is illegal 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. Same-sex relationships are not widely accepted by Chadian society.

Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers.

Transport risks

Road travel

If you are planning to drive in Chad, see information on driving abroad.

You must convert your UK driving licence to a Chadian one to drive in Chad.

Driving standards and security

Road travel can be dangerous due to road conditions and the standard of driving. Accidents involving motorbikes are common. Crowds quickly gather around the scene of an accident and, while rarely violent, can be intimidating. If you’re involved in an accident, try to contact the police or other local authority immediately. Phone: 2020 (police) or 1212 (fire and ambulance).

Do not travel by road after dark due to the risk of crime and poor road conditions. Military guards may think you’re a security risk if you drive near government buildings at night.

Travel in convoy, keep doors locked and carry spare fuel and supplies. There are often fuel shortages.

Police checkpoints are common. Officers may ask you to show your passport, driving licence and vehicle registration documents.

Take care on the road in front of the Presidential Palace in N’Djamena. Do not stop in front of the palace, drive close to the guards or use this road at night. In 2023 a military guard was killed when an unmarked car stopped outside the presidential palace. Guards are likely to be on high alert and may act in an unpredictable way.    

Travelling outside N’Djamena

To travel outside N’Djamena, you must get authorisation from the Ministry of the Interior, which is normally granted without difficulty after a few days. Many businesses arrange escorts when their western staff travel outside the capital for any reason.

Before you consider any travel outside the capital, take professional security advice. You should:

  • follow your employer’s security advice, if available
  • inform the correct Chadian authorities of your journey
  • use a police or military escort and carry communications equipment
  • have the right permits
  • hold appropriate travel insurance

Extreme weather and natural disasters

Find out what you can do to prepare for and respond to extreme weather and natural hazards.

Rainy season

Roads are poor and often impassable during the rainy season from July to October, especially in the south. Heavy rains can cause major flooding in many areas, particularly in the south and east. Bring food and clean water with you.

This section has safety advice for regions of Chad. It only covers regions where FCDO has specific advice.

You should also read FCDO’s overall travel advice and safety and security advice.

Borkou, Ennedi Ouest, Ennedi Est and Tibesti provinces

FCDO advises against all travel to the northern provinces of Chad:

  • Borkou Province
  • Ennedi Ouest Province
  • Ennedi Est Province
  • Tibesti Province

There are many landmines near the Chad-Libya border in these provinces. The northern provinces are also unsafe due to the presence of rebel groups and contested gold mines.   

Kanem Province, including Nokou

FCDO advises against all travel to the western part of Kanem Province, including the town of Nokou due to the risk of terrorism. See Terrorism in Chad.

Lake Chad region

FCDO advises against all travel to the Lake Chad region. There is a high risk of terrorist kidnapping in the Lake Chad region. See Terrorism in Chad.

Within 30km of all Chad’s other borders

FCDO advises against all travel to within 30km of all of Chad’s other borders.

The Chad-Sudan border is closed to travellers.

The Chad-Central African Republic border is closed. The Central African Republic is unstable. In 2021, armed groups reportedly entered south-western Chad from the Central African Republic before Chadian forces repelled them. Chadian rebel groups remain active and could launch attacks in Chad without warning. 

The rest of Chad

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the rest of Chad, including the capital, N’Djamena.

In 2021 and 2022 protesters and security forces clashed violently in N’Djamena and southern Chad. A number of people were killed.

The Sahel region  

There is a high risk of terrorist kidnapping in the Sahel region, which includes Chad, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. See Terrorism in Chad.

Before you travel check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Call 1212 and ask for an ambulance.

Contact your insurance company quickly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Check TravelHealthPro’s current advice on Chad to find out how to reduce the health risks you’ll face there. 

TravelHealthPro also lists the recommended vaccines that could apply to you. At least 8 weeks before you travel, check how to get vaccines and whether you have to pay on the NHS travel vaccinations page.

Altitude sickness is a risk in parts of Chad. Read more about altitude sickness on TravelHealthPro.

You should drink or use only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks.


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.


The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro.

Healthcare facilities in Chad

Medical facilities in Chad are poor. Even in N’Djamena hospitals are stretched 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.

FCDO has a list of medical providers in Chad where some staff will speak English. 

There is also guidance on healthcare if you’re living in Chad.

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

Emergency services in Chad

Ambulance and fire: 1212

Police: 2020

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim

Support from FCDO

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:

Contacting FCDO

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated.

You can also contact FCDO online.

Help abroad in an emergency

If you are in Chad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British High Commission in Yaounde, Cameroon, who provide remote consular assistance for Chad. The British Embassy in N’Djamena does not provide consular services.

FCDO in London

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)

Find out about call charges

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