Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Learn About Your Destination > Senegal International Travel Information
U.S. Embassy Dakar
Route des Almadies
Telephone: +(221) 33-879-4000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(221) 33-879-4000
Please visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on entry/ exit requirements related to COVID-19 in Senegal.
Visit the Embassy of Senegal website for the most current visa information. Evidence of yellow-fever vaccination is required for entry into Senegal for travelers arriving from yellow-fever endemic countries.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Senegal.
Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on our websites.
Visit the U.S. Embassy Dakar website for current messages to U.S. citizens regarding safety and security.
Casamance region: There are sporadic reports of armed banditry in the Casamance region. Landmines from prior conflicts remain a concern, particularly in more remote parts off main roads. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in the Casamance region.
Terrorism: Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. While Senegal has not experienced any recent terrorist attacks, many places throughout West Africa, including Kayes Region of Mali on Senegal’s border, have witnessed such violence. More generally, terrorists increasingly have utilized less sophisticated methods of attack – including knives, firearms, and vehicles – to target crowds. Frequently, they seek out unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as:
Crime: Street crime, including robberies at knife-point and home burglaries, is common in Senegal, particularly in urban areas. Beware of pickpockets, purse-snatchers, and thieves on motorized scooters. Robberies occur regularly along the Corniche d’Ouest, an area heavily frequented by tourists and westerners.
Demonstrations occur frequently. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events.
International Financial Scams: See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information.
Internet romance and financial scams are prevalent in Senegal. Scams are often initiated through Internet postings/profiles or by unsolicited emails and letters. Common scams include:
Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should contact the local police and the U.S. Embassy.
Report crimes to the local police at 17 or to the Gendarmerie at 800-00-20-20 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +(221) 33-879-4000. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
Swimming: An increasing number of children drown each year in the Atlantic Ocean in Senegal. Riptides can occur anywhere on the coast.
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always 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 access and provide urgent medical treatment areas outside of major cities. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. 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 immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:
Special Circumstances: Senegal is generally a very tolerant society with excellent relations between the approximately 95 percent of the Senegalese population who practice Islam and the remaining five percent that practice Christianity and other religions. Senegalese culture is conservative, however, particularly in rural regions. Be mindful of local social and cultural mores pertaining to dress, displays of affection, and interactions between men and women.
Personal Identification: Senegalese law requires all persons to carry valid personal identification at all times, and authorities may detain anyone, including U.S. citizens, who do not cooperate and provide identification. However, to minimize inconvenience in the event of theft, it is recommended that U.S. citizens carry copies, rather than originals, of their passports and other identification documents.
Currency: Senegal’s currency is the franc of the Communauté Financière d'Afrique (fCFA), which has an exchange rate fixed to the Euro. Senegal’s economy operates primarily on a cash basis. Credit cards are not widely accepted. Although ATMs are available in some areas (primarily Dakar), they are not always reliable and should generally be avoided. Mobile money services, using local cell phone accounts, are becoming more common. You may be able to transfer money from the United States using a commercial wire-transfer company.
LGBTI Travelers: Same-sex sexual relations are criminalized in Senegal. LGBTI individuals routinely face discrimination. Under Article 319 of the Senegalese criminal code, “unnatural acts” are punishable by imprisonment of one to five years and a fine of fCFA 1,000,000 (USD $2,000). Several high-profile cases of arrest under these laws have occurred.
See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.
Travelers with Disabilities: The law in Senegal prohibits discrimination against persons with physical or mental disabilities but the law is not enforced. Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is as prevalent as in the United States. Expect accessibility to be limited in public transportation, lodging, communication/information, and general infrastructure.
The availability of rental, repair or replacement parts for aids, equipment, and devices for people with disabilities, including service providers such as sign language interpreters or personal assistants, is limited, especially outside of the capital city.
Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.
Women Travelers: Rape is a crime in Senegal punishable by up to 10 years in prison, though it is rarely prosecuted. Spousal rape is not criminalized. Domestic violence that causes lasting injury is punishable by up to twenty years in prison. Domestic violence that results in death is punishable by life in prison. However, the law against domestic violence is rarely enforced.
Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is not specifically outlawed in Senegal and is commonly practiced in the south and southeast of the country.
See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Please visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Senegal.
Several hospitals and clinics in Dakar can treat major and minor injuries and illnesses; however, medical facilities outside Dakar are extremely limited and unprepared to handle major injuries. There is inadequate inpatient psychiatric care and limited office-based psychiatric treatment in Dakar.
For emergency services in Senegal, dial 800-881-881 (Toll Free/Numero Vert) for SAMU.
Ambulance services are either unavailable or unreliable in most areas except Dakar, where ambulance services exist but can often arrive with great delay (up to 30-45 minutes). In the event an ambulance is not immediately available (the services will often provide an estimated time of arrival), injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for an ambulance.
The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.
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 care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Always carry prescription medication in its original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.
The following diseases are present:
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Water Quality: In many areas, tap water is not potable. Bottled water and beverages are generally safe, although you should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested. Be aware that ice for drinks may be made using tap water. Wash raw vegetables and fruits in a bleach solution before eating.
Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.
Road Conditions and Safety: Driving is generally riskier and more challenging than in the United States. Drivers tend to exceed speed limits, follow other vehicles closely, ignore lane markings, and attempt to pass even when facing oncoming traffic. Roadways are poorly lit and poorly marked, and many sections have deteriorated surfaces. Due to limited street lighting, pedestrians are difficult to see at night. Drivers in both rural and urban areas may frequently expect to encounter and share the road with motorcycles, bicyclists, pedestrians, livestock, and animal carts. For information about automobile accidents in Senegal, visit the U.S. Embassy Dakar website.
While most main roads in Senegal are in relatively good condition for daytime driving, secondary roads are poor by U.S. standards. During the rainy season, many roads are passable only with four-wheel drive vehicles.
Traffic Laws: Traffic circulates on the right in Senegal. All drivers are expected to carry the following documents in their vehicles: (1) valid driver's license; (2) valid insurance papers; (3) vehicle registration/matriculation card ("carte grise"); (4) "vignette" tax disc for the current year; and (5) valid identification. Copies of U.S. passports must be clear enough to identify the driver of the vehicle.
Public Transportation: U.S. citizens should avoid using motorbikes, van taxis ("cars rapides"), and public transportation. Regulated orange-striped sedan auto taxis are safer, but make sure to agree on a fare before beginning the trip.
See our Road Safety page for more information.
Aviation Safety Oversight: There is direct commercial air service between the United States and Senegal. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is in the process of assessing the government of Senegal’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards, and the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is assessing the implementation of ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) for aviation security. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Senegal should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website and the NGA broadcast warnings.