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Liberia

If you’re travelling to Liberia, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Health
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation:

Avoid non-essential travel until further notice:

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises against all non-essential travel overseas until further notice. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.

If you are currently travelling outside of Ireland:

Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate. For this reason, where commercial flights are still an option, we recommend that people who wish to do so make arrangements to return to Ireland as soon as possible.

We are working with airlines to show maximum flexibility to those passengers who need to change their existing flight arrangements. Where commercial flights are no longer available, we are working side-by-side with our international partners to identify alternative options where possible.

It may not be feasible or possible for everyone who wants to travel back to Ireland to do so in the short term. We ask Irish citizens remaining abroad to make decisions that safeguard their health and well-being and that they follow local public health and safety requirements.  We ask that they remain in close contact with family, friends and their local Irish Embassy or Consulate. 

We know that this is a stressful situation for citizens and our embassy network is working around the clock to provide people with all the information and assistance that we can, bearing in mind the situation is unfolding across multiple countries and is not one under our control. 

What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

The Irish Health Authorities require anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland, to restrict their movements on arrival for 14 days. Check the Irish Health Service COVID-19 Advice Page for full information on these requirements. This includes Irish residents. Exemptions are in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff.

Where to go for more information:

We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and especially their Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Security Status

Avoid non-essential travel

Novel Coronavirus

Cases of COVID-19 have now been confirmed in many African counties. Emergency response procedures are now in place in a number of countries and include restrictions on flights to and from Europe and the introduction of quarantine arrangements. New procedures have in some instances been brought in with immediate effect. In weighing decisions to travel to Africa at this time, Irish citizens should take into consideration the risk of restrictions being introduced during their travel and, also, the impact which responding to COVID-19 may have on local health care systems over the course of their proposed visit.

The first case of COVID-19 in Liberia was confirmed on 16th of March. There are now two confirmed cases. On this basis, Liberia moved from prevention to containment phase. The President of Liberia announced new measures which includes a travel ban from countries with 200+ cases. Many airlines have reduced or suspended their flights to Liberia. Previous precautionary measures remain in place including quarantine in precautionary observation centres for people who have been in affected countries (200+ cases) in the previous 14 days.

More information on Liberia’s restrictions can be found in the health tab and on the National Public Health Institute of Liberia’s website.

Additional information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:

HSE

HPSC

ECDC

World Health Organisation

Latest Alert

A protest took place on 6 January 2020 and further protests may take place in the coming months. If they go ahead, these protests will lead to travel disruptions and increase the risk of localized violence and damage to property. We recommend that you avoid protest areas and demonstrations if possible, stay informed of what is happening around you, and follow the advice of local authorities.

Crime levels are moderate to high in Liberia. Most crimes are opportunistic, and the risk of theft and burglaries increases around Christmas. We advise visitors to be vigilant at all times, particularly after dark when crime levels are higher, and always take sensible precautions (more detail in the safety and security section).

The availability and quality of medical services in Liberia is poor. Citizens should be aware that you may have difficulty accessing even basic medical services, particularly in remote areas. If you need treatment, you may be asked to pay up front. If you have a pre-existing medical condition or underlying health concerns, you should note that it may not be possible to get appropriate drugs or treatment during your stay. If you choose to travel, bring enough medication with you for the duration of your visit.

If you develop fever, unexplained fatigue, diarrhoea or any other severe symptoms while in Liberia, or in the few weeks following your departure from Liberia, you should telephone your GP or Accident and Emergency Department mentioning your symptoms and your travel history, since it may result from an infection like malaria that requires immediate investigation and treatment.

If you're planning to drive in Liberia, you should be extremely careful as traffic accidents are common. Emergency medical services in Liberia are limited, and poorly equipped to deal with road traffic accidents, particularly those involving complex trauma. Therefore, extra caution should be exercised when using the road, either as a driver or as a passenger.

Emergency assistance

Consular assistance in cases of genuine emergency can be sought from the Embassy. If you require emergency assistance out-of-hours, you can contact the Duty Officer on +231-77-675-5707.

Our tips for safe travels

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates    

Read our Topical 'Know Before You Go' guide

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Political Stability / Unrest

Security and stability in Liberia have improved since internal conflict in the country ended in 2003. However, tensions remain and there is still a risk of violence. We strongly advise you to exercise a high degree of caution when travelling to Liberia and to consider and plan any proposed travel carefully. 

There was a protest held on 6 January 2020 and further protests may take place in the coming months. Protests increase the risk of localized violence and damage to property. It is difficult to predict when or how a protest might escalate to violence or property damage and it is advised that such protests are avoiding entirely, if possible. If you find yourself in a demonstration, exit the crowd and avoid confrontation with participants and security forces. Stay informed of what is going on around you by monitoring local media.

Terrorism

The threat of terrorism in Liberia is low, although there is a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which can target areas frequented by foreign tourists.

Crime

Crime levels, including violent crime, armed robberies and sexual assaults, are high in Liberia. Most crimes are opportunistic theft, with the perpetrators often armed with knives or firearms. The risk of burglaries increases around Christmas, from November until the New Year. Be vigilant at all times, particularly after dark when crime levels are higher and always take sensible precautions:

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
  • Take a number of photocopies of your passport with you in case your passport is lost or stolen. Leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
  • Avoid carrying valuables or large sums of cash in public.
  • Take particular care when in large crowds or when out at night, especially in central Monrovia or in the beach area, or at bars or nightclubs. Concerts and sporting events are often crowded and unsafe, and pickpocketing is common.
  • Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.
  • Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations.
  • Make sure that your accommodation and vehicle are well secured, with locked doors and windows at all times.

If you’re a victim of crime while in Liberia, you should make a report to the local police and contact the duty officer on the number provided above.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Liberia, you should be extremely careful as traffic accidents are common and collisions can attract hostile crowds. Road conditions are generally poor, including in Monrovia, and deteriorate during the rainy season from May to October as heavy rains damage road surfaces and create large potholes. Most roads have no street lighting or painted markings. A four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended for minor roads outside of Monrovia. You should avoid travelling after dark outside of urban areas.

Emergency medical services in Liberia are limited, and poorly equipped to deal with road traffic accidents, particularly those involving complex trauma. Therefore, extra caution should be exercised when using the road, either as a driver or as a passenger. Road traffic accidents can lead to heated disputes. If you are caught up in a serious road traffic accident, you are advised to remain inside your vehicle, with the doors locked, until such time as the police arrive. If it becomes unsafe to remain at the scene of a road traffic accident, you should make your way immediately to the local police station to report the incident.

If you are travelling outside of Monrovia, you should plan your journey in advance, and travel in convoy where possible, to avoid being stranded in the case of breakdowns. 

If you want to drive:

  • Bring your full Irish driver’s licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance.
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked, especially when stopped in traffic.
  • Remember that in Liberia, you drive on the right-hand side of the road. 

Public Transport

Private taxis, motorbike taxis or mini buses available for public transport can be hazardous as vehicle maintenance and driving standards are often very poor and vehicles overcrowded. 

Higher risk activities

Currents and riptides are strong and unpredictable on Liberia’s beaches, making swimming conditions very dangerous. Beaches are not manned by lifeguards. Canoes and fishing boats offering passenger services along the coast are often overwhelmed by waves and should be avoided.

Corruption and fraud

Corruption is common in Liberia. Business fraud against foreigners is also a problem. If you’re thinking of making an investment or entering into a contract, we advise you to research the person or company concerned before making any commitments. Be particularly careful when the business opportunity is the result of unsolicited contact or promises rapid financial gain. 

Border Regions

Liberia shares its border with Sierra Leone, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire. If you’re visiting border areas, you should get local advice and keep informed of political developments.

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

While you’re in Liberia, you are subject to local laws and customs. You should respect local traditions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs. Any Irish citizen who commits a criminal offence can expect to be prosecuted and jailed or expelled from the country. Prison conditions are extremely difficult. 

Personal ID

You should carry photographic ID with you at all times, as you may be asked to produce it at any time by immigration officials or the police. We recommend you carry a photocopy of your passport, along with another form of photographic ID. You should store your passport in a safe place.

LGBT

Homosexual activity is illegal. Caution and discretion are advised at all times. Transgender persons may face additional discrimination or adverse treatment.

Religion

Approximately 85% of the population of Liberia practices Christianity, with 12% practicing Islam. While the Constitution protects freedom of religion, some religious tensions exist.

Always be sensitive to local customs when you’re abroad. It is often best to behave conservatively, at least until you know your way around. Avoid public displays of affection and dress modestly, particularly in places of worship.

Illegal activities

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of drugs and for diamond smuggling are severe and you should not become involved in these activities in any way. The importation of firearms into Liberia is prohibited under UN sanctions.

 

Health

Health

The availability and quality of medical services in Liberia is poor. Citizens should be aware that you may have difficulty accessing even basic medical services, particularly in remote areas. If you need treatment, you may be asked to pay up front. If you have a pre-existing medical condition or underlying health concerns, you should note that you may not be able to get appropriate drugs or treatment during your stay. If you choose to travel, bring enough medication with you for the duration of your visit and copies of your prescription.

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The first case of COVID-19 in Liberia was confirmed on 16th of March. The person had travelled to Liberia from an affected country on the 13th of March. A number of measures have been taken which will affect Irish citizens arriving in country. Flights have been banned from countries with more than 200 cases. Any person who, in the fourteen days before arriving in Liberia, has been to a country with 200 or more confirmed cases will be quarantined in an observation centre for 14 days. Those who have been to a region with over 100 cases may also be quarantined depending on their specific travel history and potential for exposure. In addition, all persons who present at the airport with a laissez-passez or a brand new passport will also be taking to the centre for screening. Additionally, large gatherings and internal travel is discouraged. Social distancing and hand hygiene is being promoted. These protocols are likely to change as the global situation develops and this may happen with limited notice. 

Be alert to common signs of infection: respiratory problems, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Seek medical advice if you experience these symptoms.

HSE medical advice to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is below.

Do:

• wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
• cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
• put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands

Don’t:

• touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Liberia.

Additional information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:

HSE

HPSC

ECDC

World Health Organisation

Travel Insurance

Before travelling, we strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you in Liberia for the activities you want to undertake.

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Outbreak

The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has been brought under control in West Africa. On 1st April 2016, the World Health Organisation declared the Ebola public health emergency in West Africa to be over. While the risk of contracting Ebola is extremely low, as it is expected that response systems in Liberia will be capable of containing, and dealing with, potential future flare-ups, travellers should nonetheless exercise due caution, and take necessary precautions to prevent infection. Travellers should avoid being directly exposed to any bodily fluids from a dead or living Ebola-infected person, including through unprotected sexual contact with patients that have recovered from Ebola. If you do become exposed, you should seek rapid medical attention. You should contact the medical care facility by phone before your visit, in order to enable medical personnel to use appropriate protection at the time of admission.

Further information on Ebola is available from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre website.

If you develop fever, unexplained fatigue, diarrhoea or any other severe symptoms while in Liberia, or in the few weeks following your departure from Liberia, you should telephone your GP or Accident and Emergency Department mentioning your symptoms and your travel history, since it may result from an infection like malaria that requires immediate investigation and treatment.

Yellow fever

The yellow fever vaccination is an entry requirement for Liberia and a yellow fever vaccination certificate will be requested by border control on arrival in the country.

Malaria

Malaria, including cerebral malaria which can be fatal within 72 hours, is endemic in Liberia and we strongly recommend using a malaria prophylaxis, together with other precautions such as using bed nets and insect repellents, and wearing closed shoes, long sleeves and trousers. You should also bring enough malaria treatment for the duration of your visit.

Water-borne diseases

Cholera and other water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea, giardia, dysentery and typhoid are also very common, so practise good hygiene, drink and brush your teeth with bottled water only, and avoid eating uncooked vegetables, salads, seafood and meats.

Lassa Fever

Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic fever illness that is transmitted to humans via contact with food or household items contaminated with urine or feces of infected Mastomys rats; or through contact with the bodily fluids of a person with Lassa fever. Lassa fever is endemic in Liberia and the country is currently facing an outbreak. We advise Irish citizens to seek immediate medical attention if they experience symptoms of Lassa fever. More information is available on the WHO website

General diseases

Other diseases including but not limited to, rabies, HIV, hepatitis A and B, meningitis and polio and are also present in some parts of Liberia and can pose a risk.

 

Additional Information

Additional information

Climate

The climate in Liberia is consistently hot and humid year round, with temperatures fluctuating between 25 and 35 degrees Celsius. The dry season extends from November to April and the rainy season lasts from May to October. The rainy season brings extremely heavy rainfalls and thunderstorms. Travellers should be careful when travelling during the rainy season as flash floods can occur in exceptional circumstances.

Banking and Money

The official currency of Liberia is the Liberia Dollar. However, US dollars are widely accepted. Liberia is a cash-based economy and you should bring enough cash to cover your expenses while you’re here. Credit cards and travellers’ cheques are very rarely accepted and you shouldn’t rely on them.

Although there are a number of ATMs in Monrovia, many don’t accept foreign bank or credit cards and the security of the transactions can’t be guaranteed. The exchange rate given by ATMs is also highly unfavourable.

There are restrictions on how much cash you can bring into the country, and you should verify the latest requirements with your nearest Embassy of the Republic of Liberia before travelling. Always be careful when carrying cash. Facilities to exchange Euro for dollars in Liberia are very limited, and you should not assume that you will be able to exchange Euro in Liberia.

Visas and Immigration

Irish citizens require a valid visa to enter Liberia. Visa applications from Ireland should be submitted to the Embassy of the Republic of Liberia in London. Those travelling to Liberia are also required to show evidence of having received a yellow fever vaccination. 

Language

English is the official language of Liberia.

Water and Power

Mains water is limited, and tap water should be boiled before drinking it. Bottled water is readily available.

Power is improving but remains unreliable, particularly during the dry season. Rented accommodation and hotels rely on generators and private water supplies. 

 

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

Embassy of Ireland,
LCL Compound,
12/13th Street,
Sinkor,
Monrovia,
Liberia

Tel: +231-776-756-020

Monday to Thursday 09:00-17:00; Friday 09.00 – 13.00

Contact us