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Learn About Your Destination

Sao Tome and Principe

Sao Tome and Principe
Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe
Exercise normal precautions in Sao Tome and Principe.

Reissued with obsolete COVID-19 page links removed.

Exercise normal precautions in Sao Tome and Principe.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Sao Tome and Principe.

If you decide to travel to Sao Tome and Principe:

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Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Six months

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page per stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Yes, for stays over 15 days

VACCINATIONS:

Yellow Fever

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

 None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

Report required when exiting with more than 10,000 Euros (see below)

Embassies and Consulates

There is no U.S. diplomatic presence in São Tomé and Príncipe. Contact the U.S. Embassy in Luanda, Angola if you need consular assistance while in São Tomé and Príncipe.

U.S. Embassy Luanda, Angola

Rua Presidente Houari Boumedienne #32
Miramar, Luanda
Angola

Telephone: 
+ (244) 222-64-1000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 
+ (244) 222-64-1112
Email:
consularluanda@state.gov

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

You must present a passport and proof of yellow fever vaccination to enter Sao Tome and Principe. Holders of a valid U.S. passport do not require a visa when visiting for a period of up to 15 days. Apply for a visa online here: http://www.smf.st/evisa/index.php.

Sao Tome and Principe does not currently maintain an embassy in the United States. Travelers transiting Angola can obtain the latest information on entry requirements from the Embassy of Sao Tome and Principe in Luanda, on Rua Comandante N’zagi, 64/66, Miramar, Luanda, Angola, C.P. 1304. For all other inquiries, please contact Sao Tome and Principe’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations at 400 Park Avenue, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10022.

There are no restrictions on bringing foreign currency into Sao Tome and Principe. Visitors leaving the country must report carrying any sums equal to or greater than 10,000 Euros and be able to provide financial statements proving that they entered the country carrying a larger sum than the amount with which they plan to depart.

Lost or Stolen Passports: U.S. citizens whose passports are lost or stolen while in Sao Tome and Principe could face delays in receiving a replacement passport. An applicant must normally come to the Embassy in Luanda to present an application for a lost or stolen passport. There is one commercial flight per week from Sao Tome to Luanda, so a person without a passport would face great difficulty in both boarding an international flight in Sao Tome and disembarking from that flight in Luanda. If an applicant is unable to travel to Luanda, the logistical difficulties in processing a passport application from a remote location will cause at least several days’ delay.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Sao Tome and Principe.

Sao Tome and Principe may deny entry to people coming from Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) affected countries. 

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

There have been isolated incidents of civil unrest in the city of Sao Tome. Avoid large gatherings or any other events where crowds have congregated to demonstrate or protest. 

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Sao Tome and Principe is 222-22-22. In the event of fire, dial 112.

Crime: Burglary, pick-pocketing, and armed home invasion have occurred on the islands, particularly around the winter holidays. Pickpocketing is prevalent in crowded areas such as markets, beaches, busy streets, or near hotels.

To minimize your risk of being the victim of crime, you should:

  • Not display large amounts of cash,
  • Carry a minimal amount of cash,
  • Avoid wearing flashy or expensive jewelry,
  • Put valuables and extra cash in your hotel safe.

If you are the victim of an attempted robbery or carjacking, you are encouraged to surrender your property to avoid injury, and to report all incidents to the police and the U.S. Embassy in Luanda. Police response time can be slow.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime: Report crimes to the local police at 222-22-22, or dial 113 for rapid response police. For cases of domestic violence, dial 150. Contact the U.S. Embassy in Luanda, Angola at +(244) 222641 000.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

The U.S. Embassy can:

  • Help you find appropriate medical care,
  • Assist you in reporting a crime to the police,
  • Contact relatives or friends with your written consent,
  • Explain the local criminal justice process in general terms,
  • Provide a list of local attorneys,
  • Provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the United States,
  • Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution,
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport.

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance.

Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities are inconsistent. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be certified 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 access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws while in Sao Tome and Principe. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.

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.

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

Illegal drugs: Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Sao Tome and Principe are severe. Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

Language: Portuguese is the official language of Sao Tome and Principe. English is not widely spoken or understood. 

Currency: Credit cards are not widely accepted in Sao Tome and Principe. ATMs in Sao Tome and Principe mostly accept cards from local banks. Travelers must exchange their currency for the Sao Tomean Dobra. Banks only accept a limited range of foreign currency for exchange. U.S. dollars and Euros are both widely accepted for exchange at banks. 

Photography: Taking photographs of the Presidential Palace, military, or other government buildings is strictly forbidden.

Faith-Based Travelers: See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.

LGBTQI+ Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Sao Tome and Principe. Some societal discrimination does exist, and there are no legal protections for LGBTQI+ individuals against discrimination.

See our LGBTQI+ Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Sao Tome and Principe law does not prohibit discrimination against those with disabilities, but reported discrimination is rare. The law does not mandate accessibility and it is not provided in most areas.

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

Women Travelers: Domestic violence is a crime, punishable by up to eight years in prison when it results in harm to the health of the victim, and up to 16 years in prison when it leads to a loss of life. However, domestic violence remains widespread throughout the country. 

See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Health

Medical facilities in Sao Tome and Principe are extremely limited. You will need to travel abroad for all but minor medical needs. The only hospital in the country is on Sao Tome, Hospital Central Ayres de Menezes. They have general surgery, general medicine, and an intensive care unit. Access to medicines, including antibiotics, can be limited. Facilities are antiquated and newer equipment is needed. A few clinics provide very basic services. Payment in cash is almost always expected before treatment is rendered. The availability of medicine in local stores or pharmacies is very limited. You should carry prescription medication in its original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.

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

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most medical care providers in Sao Tome and Principe only accept cash payments and expect payment in advance. Even if your health insurance does provide overseas coverage, you will have to pay your medical charges at the time of service and later seek reimbursement from your insurance company.

See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

The following diseases are prevalent:

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

Further health information:

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Most roads do not have sidewalks, forcing pedestrians and livestock to use the roadways both day and night. Secondary roads are poorly lit, in disrepair, and may be impassable to all but four-wheel drive vehicles during the November-April rainy season. Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of death among travelers to Malawi. Safety hazards include the lack of road shoulders, potholes, pedestrians, bicyclists, and livestock. You should drive defensively and avoid road travel outside cities at night. Road support networks for stranded drivers do not exist. Fuel supply, both diesel and gasoline, is often erratic and travelers should plan accordingly. We do not recommend travel by foot along roadways.

Traffic Laws: Police roadblocks are common but properly documented drivers usually pass quickly and without incident. Malawian police operate radar-based speed traps throughout the country and you are expected to pay fines on the spot—please ensure you get a receipt. You must obtain a locally issued driver's license if you remain in Malawi for an extended period and plan to drive. Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You should always wear a seat belt whenever available and insist drivers maintain a safe speed.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Malawi, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Malawi’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Port Security: The Commandant of the Coast Guard has determined that effective anti-terrorism measures are not in place in Sao Tome and Principe ports and has imposed conditions of entry on vessels that arrive in U.S. ports having visited ports in Sao Tome Principe. Mariners and passengers on commercial vessels traveling through the ports of Sao Tome and Principe should exercise increased caution.

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

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

Last Updated: August 2, 2023

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Luanda
Rua Presidente Houari Boumedienne #32 Miramar, Luanda Angola
Telephone
+(244) 222-64-1000
Emergency
+(244) 222-64-1000
Fax
+(244) 222-64-1232

Sao Tome and Principe Map