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World Travel Guide > Guides > Africa > Sierra Leone

Money and duty free for Sierra Leone

Currency and Money

Currency information

Leone (SLL) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of SLL5,000, 2,000, 1,000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Coins are in denominations of SLL100 and 50.

Credit cards

Credit cards (Visa only) are accepted in some shops, supermarkets, hotels and restaurants in Freetown.

ATM

ATMs are few and far between in Sierra Leone. There are a number of ATMs (Visa only) in Freetown with limited others in other major centres such as Bo, Kenema, Makeni and Koidu. Some are not internationally connected and these are often liable to fraud. There are no Mastercard cashpoints in Sierra Leone.

The ATM system of accessing money is not yet developed enough for elaborate scam schemes to have been put in place, however it is advisable to exercise caution and use common sense when taking money out from an ATM.

Thieves are rare in Sierra Leone as a result of a strict societal sense of justice, however, like anywhere in the world, caution when dealing with money in public places is suggested.

Travellers cheques

These are generally not recommended as opportunities to cash them are limited, but they can be exchanged at a number of banks.

Banking hours

Mon-Thurs 0800-1330, Fri 0800-1400.

Currency restrictions

The import and export of local currency is limited to Le50,000. Under the 2005 Anti-Money Laundering Act, the import of foreign currency is limited to $10,000 in cash, unless it is through a financial institution. Foreign currency being brought into the country must be declared upon arrival. The export of foreign currency must not exceed the amount declared upon arrival.

Currency exchange

All foreign exchange transactions must conducted through official exchange offices and banks. Currency can also be changed on the side of the street from illegal traders near major banks, however these are not recommended and are to be used at your own discretion.

Sierra Leone duty free

Overview

The following may be imported into Sierra Leone without incurring customs duty:

• 200 cigarettes or 225g of tobacco.
• 1.1L of wine or spirits.

Banned Imports

Narcotics, unlicensed firearms, pornography, and precious metals and stones.