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Information for U.S. Citizens in the Middle East

International Travel

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Learn About Your Destination

Bangladesh

Bangladesh
People's Republic of Bangladesh
Exercise increased caution in Bangladesh due to crime, terrorism and the upcoming general election. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Reissued after periodic review with updates to crime, terrorism, kidnapping, and a short-term event.

Exercise increased caution in Bangladesh due to crime, terrorism and the upcoming general election. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.  

Reconsider travel to:

  • Chittagong Hill Tracts Region due to occasional communal violence, crime, terrorism, kidnapping, and other security risks.

Country Summary: Travelers should be aware of petty crimes such as pickpocketing in crowded areas. Crimes such as muggings, burglaries, assaults, and illegal drug trafficking constitute the majority of criminal activity in Bangladesh’s major cities, but there are no indications foreigners are being targeted because of their nationality. These crimes tend to be situational, based on time and location.

Terrorist attacks can happen with little or no warning, with terrorists targeting public areas such as tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, restaurants, places of worship, school campuses, and government facilities.

The next general election is anticipated to occur before January 2024, and political party rallies and other election-related activities have already commenced. Political rallies and demonstrations may be held with increasing frequency or intensity as the general election draws nearer. Travelers to Bangladesh should practice vigilance and remember that demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.  

Because of security concerns U.S. government employees in Bangladesh are subject to some movement and travel restrictions. The U.S. government may have limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Bangladesh due to these travel restrictions, a lack of infrastructure, and limited host government emergency response resources.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Bangladesh.

If you decide to travel to Bangladesh:

Chittagong Hill Tracts Region - Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel to the Khagrachari, Rangamati, and Bandarban Hill Tracts districts (collectively known as the Chittagong Hill Tracts) due to occasional communal violence, crime, terrorism, kidnapping, and other security risks. Kidnappings have occurred in the region, including those motivated by domestic or familial disputes, and those targeting religious minorities. Separatist organizations and political violence also pose additional threats to visitors to the region, and there have been recent instances of IED explosions and active shooting. Prior approval from the Government of Bangladesh’s Ministry of Home Affairs Office of Public Safety is required if you plan to travel to these areas.

Please visit our website for information on Travel to High-Risk Areas.

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Embassy Messages

Alerts

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY:


Six months beyond planned stay.

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:


Two.

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


Yes. Visa on arrival is available for some travelers. Check the Bangladeshi Embassy website for the latest information.

VACCINATIONS:


Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations required; Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis, and Rabies vaccinations recommended. There is no risk of Yellow Fever in Bangladesh; however, proof of Yellow Fever vaccination is required if you are traveling from a country with a risk of Yellow Fever and are older than one year of age.

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


You must declare 5,000 U.S. dollars and above.

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


You cannot depart with more USD than you declared upon entry. You cannot take more than 5,000 Bangladeshi taka (appx. $58.82 USD) out of Bangladesh without a declaration. More information is available here: Bangladesh Customs, National Board of Revenue (NBR)

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Dhaka

Madani Avenue, 
Baridhara, Dhaka, 1212 
Bangladesh 
Telephone: +(88) (2) 5566-2000 
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(88) (2) 5566-2000. When you hear the recorded message, press “0” to connect with the Embassy Duty Officer 
Fax: +(88) (2) 5566-2907 
Email:DhakaACS@state.gov 
The Consular Section’s American Citizen Services unit operates Sunday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by appointment only. Emergency appointments are available outside of business hours upon request.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Passports and Visas:

  • Passports must be valid for six months beyond your planned stay in Bangladesh, have at least one blank page, and have a Bangladeshi visa. You must possess an onward or return ticket.
  • We strongly recommend obtaining a visa before traveling. Although U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for a tourist visa on arrival, there is no guarantee you will receive one. U.S. citizens born outside the United States may be subject to increased scrutiny or further requirements at the port of entry. Recently, some U.S. citizens have been denied entry into Bangladesh despite believing they had fulfilled the requirements for a visa on arrival.  Visit the Embassy of Bangladesh website for visa information.         
  • Short term travelers can be denied entry if they cannot demonstrate sufficient financial liquidity.
  • Visas must be in a valid passport. In country, you may obtain a replacement visa at the Department of Immigration and Passports. Replacing a visa, which is required in order to exit the country, may take three to four business days.
  • There are penalties for overstaying a visa, and it can be very difficult and time-consuming to change immigration status after arrival. Overstay penalties are as follows:
    • 1 to 14 days = 200 Bangladeshi taka per day + 160 U.S. dollars (or equivalent in Bangladeshi taka) processing fee payable at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka.
    • 15 to 30 days = 500 Bangladeshi taka per day + 160 U.S. dollars (or equivalent in Bangladeshi taka) processing fee payable at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka.
    • 31 to 90 days: Fine adjudicated and processed at Department of Immigration and Passport Office, 7th Sher-E-Bangla Nagar, Agargaon, Dhaka. Over 90 days: Potential prosecution by the Department of Immigration and Passport Authority under Article 31 of the Foreigners Act of 1946.
    • For further information, visit the Bangladeshi Immigration Police website.

Exit Taxes:

  • When traveling by air, all foreigners except children under the age of two must pay a departure tax. While often included when air tickets are purchased, it may be collected at the airport at the time of departure. The amount varies depending on the destination.
  • If departing by road in a private vehicle, you must obtain a road exit permit by contacting the Director General, South Asia Wing, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

U.S.-Bangladesh Dual Nationals:

  • If you are a U.S.-Bangladeshi dual national, you and your immediate family members are eligible for a “No Visa Required for Travel to Bangladesh” seal. Your nearest Bangladeshi Embassy or Consulate can issue this seal in your U.S. passport.
  • If you hold both U.S. and Bangladeshi citizenship, you may not be immediately recognized as a U.S. citizen by the local authorities and may initially be treated as a Bangladeshi citizen.
  • Read more information about dual nationality on our website.

Customs:

  • Bangladeshi customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary import or export of items such as currency, household appliances, alcohol, cigarettes, and weapons.
  • Bangladesh does not allow the exchange of local currency (Bangladeshi taka) for U.S. dollars (cash and traveler’s checks) unless the customer has a ticket for travel outside Bangladesh.
  • Contact the Bangladeshi Embassy or Consulates for specific information regarding customs requirements. Please also see our Customs Information.

HIV/AIDS: Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Bangladesh. Please verify this information with the Embassy of Bangladesh before traveling.

 

Safety and Security

The U.S. government assesses that there remains a credible terrorist threat against foreigners in Bangladesh.  U.S. citizens in Bangladesh should take precautions, remain vigilant, and be alert to local security developments.

There has been no significant terrorist attack in Bangladesh since March 2017, but the country remains a target of several foreign terrorist organizations.  Since 2015, ISIS-affiliated terrorists have conducted over 30 attacks that targeted foreigners, religious minorities, and local police/security services.  In March 2017, ISIS claimed responsibility for at least three bombings in multiple locations in Bangladesh, including two suicide attacks that targeted security forces near Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.  The third bombing transpired during a police raid against suspected terrorists, killing seven onlookers and injuring 40.  In July 2016, ISIS attacked a Dhaka restaurant frequented by Westerners, killing 20 hostages, including a U.S. citizen.  If you observe high-profile police activity, depart the area immediately. 

Al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) retains a presence in Bangladesh; the group last carried out attacks in 2015 and 2016 that killed several secular bloggers, publishers, and human rights activists; a U.S. citizen was among the victims.

The following groups, including several on the U.S. government’s list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, are active in Bangladesh:

  • Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS), known locally as Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB or “Neo-JMB”)
  • Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), known locally as Ansar al-Islam
  • Lashkar-e-Tayyiba
  • Indigenous sectarian groups

U.S. government personnel in Bangladesh live, work, and travel under strict security guidelines and are prohibited from:

  • Traveling on foot (walking, running) and biking outside of designated areas and times;
  • Traveling via non-registered rickshaws outside designated areas and times;
  • Traveling via commercial ride-share services, public buses, or compressed natural gas autorickshaw (CNG);
  • Visiting public establishments outside of designated areas and times without prior notification; and
  • Attending widely-publicized large gatherings, including events at international hotels,.
  • Tourism: The tourism industry is nascent, unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are often not identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance

 

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs are particularly severe.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

  • Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Bangladesh are severe, including long jail sentences, heavy fines, or even death.
  • You may be taken in for questioning if you do not have your passport with you, or if you take pictures of certain buildings, such as military facilities, embassies, police stations, shipyards, traffic inspection facilities, or airports. This list is not meant to be exhaustive. You should exercise caution when photographing government facilities in general.
  • Driving under the influence is illegal and could result in immediate incarceration.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Drones: All forms of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), colloquially known as “drones,” are highly regulated and restricted in Bangladesh and are subject to import and flight restrictions. Failure to obtain import and/or flight permission can result in detention and/or arrest, as well as confiscation of the RPAS. Visit the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh website for the latest RPAS regulations.

Forced Marriage: A marriage must be entered into with the full and free consent of both individuals. We can provide help and advice if you are being forced into a marriage against your will. Please refer to our information on forced marriage. All travelers to Bangladesh, including Bangladeshi citizens, should maintain possession of their passports and return plane tickets to ensure independence to travel.

Registration for Renters: The Bangladesh Government requests biodata and other personal information from all residents. This registration is mandatory for renters but is voluntary for homeowners and foreigners. Dual nationals, former Bangladesh nationals, and “No Visa Required” seal holders are considered Bangladeshi for registration purposes.

Property Disputes: 

  • Land disputes are common in Bangladesh and are extremely difficult to resolve through legal channels.
  • We cannot protect personal property and cannot take sides in a legal dispute.
  • If you wish to purchase property in Bangladesh be aware of the risks including those of not being physically present to oversee your property.

Natural Disasters: 

  • Heavy flooding occurs during the monsoon season (June to October), and 30 percent of the country may be under water. Lightning strikes are common during the monsoon season and outdoor activity should be avoided during storms.  Landslides can also occur during heavy rains, particularly in the hill tracts area of the Bandarban district in the southeast.
  • Cyclones occur most frequently in the pre-monsoon (April and May) and post-monsoon (October and November) seasons and could include wind speeds of up to 150 km/hr and storm surges of up to 5 meters.
  • Bangladesh is at severe risk from tornadoes.

Bangladesh is in a zone 2B earthquake fault region, with a moderate probability of damaging ground motion. The overwhelming majority of structures in Bangladesh would not withstand a moderate earthquake. Although earthquakes are more likely to occur in the north of the country, destruction from an earthquake is expected to be most acute in urban areas. Post-earthquake disaster relief capabilities are extremely limited.

You should make contingency plans for travel in Bangladesh. Leave emergency contact information with family members outside of Bangladesh and enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). General information about natural disaster preparedness is available from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and at Ready.gov. For more information on disaster preparedness, please visit:

Fire Safety: Fires in residential and commercial buildings are not uncommon in Bangladesh, and first responders' capacity to control flames is limited. Many multi-story residential buildings and shopping malls lack proper fire extinguishers, emergency exits, among other fire safety features. Stay aware of your surroundings and emergency exits.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

LGBTQI+ Rights: Consensual same-sex sexual activity is criminalized in Bangladesh and penalties include up to life imprisonment. See our LGBTQI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details. In 2016, AQIS specifically targeted and killed two prominent members of the Bangladesh LGBTQI+ community in their apartment because of their human rights activism and sexual orientation.

Persons with Mobility Issues: Public transportation, sidewalks, many buildings, and most public areas are not wheelchair accessible.

Health

For emergency services in Bangladesh, dial 999.

Ambulance services are widely available, but training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards.  

COVID-19 Testing:  PCR and/or antigen tests are available for U.S. citizens in Bangladesh. The government of Bangladesh has provided a list of recommended COVID-19 testing facilities for international passengers here. Those wishing to get tested will have to pay for their own COVID-19 test.  Results are often delivered via text message and are, in most cases, linked to a QR code.

COVID-19 Vaccines:  The COVID-19 vaccine is available for U.S. citizens to receive in Bangladesh. The Government of Bangladesh started its national COVID-19 vaccination program in January 2021. The program includes AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Janssen (Johnson and Johnson), Sinopharm, and Sinovak vaccines. The Government of Bangladesh is now offering COVID-19 vaccines to those who do not have a Bangladesh national ID (NID) or a locally registered birth certificate, including all foreign nationals. Individuals who have yet to receive a vaccine are encouraged to call the Bangladesh Health hotline at 16263 to identify the nearest vaccine center.  Please carry a passport or another form of government-issued identification and be ready to provide a Bangladeshi mobile phone number.

Those who do not have an NID or locally registered birth certificate may not register for a vaccine via the surokkha.gov.bd vaccine portal, and as a result, would be unable to receive a Bangladeshi vaccine certificate with a QR code. Anyone vaccinated at a vaccine center, however, will receive a handwritten vaccine card to carry as proof of vaccination against COVID-19.  

Those interested in obtaining a booster dose may follow the procedure described above and should be ready to present proof of previous vaccination against COVID-19. Individuals become eligible for a booster dose four months after their last dose is administered. This information is also available at the Directorate General for Health Services website.

If any U.S. citizen wishes to register through the Surokkha website to get the QR coded vaccine certificate, they should follow the instructions below and provide the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka with all the required information so that we can forward it to the Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the purpose of vaccination against COVID-19.

Visit the FDA’s website to learn more about FDA-approved vaccines in the United States.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.

Medical Insurance: Make sure health insurance plans provide coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on overseas insurance coverage.

We strongly advise supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Medical Care: Though quality of care is below U.S. standards, most common illnesses can be treated locally. U.S. citizens often travel outside Bangladesh for routine surgical procedures and complicated medical treatment.

  • A centrally coordinated medical emergency response system is not available. A list of hospitals and doctors in Dhaka can be found on the U.S. Embassy website.
  • Bangladesh has no prohibitions on specific medications. Always carry prescription medication in original packaging with a doctor’s prescription.
  • The sale of counterfeit medications has been reported, but medications from major pharmacies and hospitals are generally reliable.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  •  In the past few years, a large number of both Chikungunya and Japanese Encephalitis cases has been reported. You should consider the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine for prevention.
  • Dengue is endemic in Bangladesh and during the 2019 summer season, increased cases are being reported as compared to the last 5 years. Should you develop symptoms of fever, headache, rash, or muscle/joint aching, you should seek medical attention early in your illness.
  • Malaria is reported in 13 districts in the northeast and southeast regions of Bangladesh. If planning travel there, you should consult with your physician regarding taking medication for malaria prophylaxis.
  • The CDC also considers Bangladesh an area with risk of Zika infection, though it is uncommon. Pregnant women, travelers with a pregnant partner, and women considering becoming pregnant should speak to their healthcare provider about possible Zika risk before travel.

Prevention is key:

  • Regular use of insect repellent and long garments is recommended as protection against mosquito-borne illness.
  • Water supplies in Bangladesh are non-potable. Bottled drinking water is generally safe for consumption.
  • Foodborne illnesses are common. Wash, soak in sanitizing solution, peel, and thoroughly cook all food to minimize chemical, bacterial, and parasitic contamination.

Air quality in Dhaka is consistently poor and especially hazardous from November to March. We recommend avoiding prolonged outdoor exposure during these months. N95 filtration masks/respirators that are NIOSH certified are helpful, but you need to have a good fit and seal when using them. Current Dhaka air quality can be found here.

Further health information:

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety:

  • Bangladeshis drive on the left, the opposite of U.S. driving patterns.
  • Roads are extremely crowded, are poorly maintained, often lack shoulders, have sharp drop-offs, and have barriers that are not sign-posted.  Roadways often contain a mix of human and vehicular traffic, occasionally traveling against the flow of traffic.
  • Drivers are often unlicensed, aggressive, and poorly trained. Many vehicles, particularly large trucks and buses, are poorly maintained. Larger vehicles generally take the right-of-way.
  • Speed limits and other traffic laws are not commonly posted and are rarely observed by motorists. Vehicles often run red lights and merge directly into traffic without stopping.
  • Drivers use car horns or flash their high-beam headlights to announce their presence in all areas of Bangladesh day or night.

Road accidents, including fatal head-on collisions, are common in Bangladesh. When traveling by road:

  • Exercise extreme caution when crossing streets, even in areas frequented by pedestrians.
  • Use seatbelts if available and wear helmets on motorcycles and bicycles.
  • Do not travel by road without an experienced local driver or guide.
  • Exercise particular vigilance along intercity highways, as banditry and carjacking have been known to occur.
  • Monitor local news for any reports of road disturbances, as protestors and demonstrators often use road blockage as a means of publicizing their grievances.

If a serious accident occurs, or if a driver hits a pedestrian or livestock, crowds quickly gather, and the behavior of the crowd is often unpredictable. The vehicle and its occupants may be at risk of being attacked in such circumstances depending on who the crowd believes is at fault and what damage has occurred. Such attacks may pose significant risk of injury or death to the vehicle’s occupants or of damage to the vehicle. It is unsafe to remain at the scene of an accident of this nature. Seek shelter at the nearest police station.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. We also suggest that you visit Bangladesh’s National Tourism Organization website.

Public Transportation:

  • The U.S. Embassy prohibits U.S. government officials and their family members from using buses, trains, motorcycles, rickshaws, and compressed natural gas autorickshaws (CNGs) due to high accident rates and crime issues.
  • The Bangladeshi passenger rail system is antiquated and overburdened. Some political activists target rail lines during civil unrest by hurling explosives and removing rail ties from the tracks, making trips unusually dangerous and frequently causing cancellations. Even in peaceful times, foreigners are often the center of attention at many train stations because of the relatively atypical presence of foreign travelers on rail in the country.

Aviation Safety Oversight:

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) current determination is that the Government of Bangladesh’s Civil Aviation Authority does not provide safety oversight of its air carrier operators in accordance with the minimum safety oversight standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel: The U.S. Coast Guard has concerns about the security practices in the ports of Bangladesh. Until those concerns can be addressed, the Coast Guard advises that Mariners and passengers on commercial vessels traveling through the ports of Bangladesh should exercise increased caution.

Mariners planning travel to Bangladesh should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts within the MARAD website. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website and the NGA broadcast warnings website. Select “broadcast warnings” from within the NGA site.

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Bangladesh.  For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

Last Updated: September 21, 2023

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Dhaka
Madani Avenue,
Baridhara, Dhaka, 1212
Bangladesh
Telephone
+(88) (2) 5566-2000
Emergency
+(88) (2) 5566-2000. When you hear the recorded message, press “0” to connect with the Embassy Duty Officer
Fax
+(88) (2) 5566-2907

Bangladesh Map