Special Travel Circumstances in Cameroon

Cameroon does not recognize dual nationality and considers U.S. citizens of Cameroonian descent to have lost their Cameroonian citizenship. Naturalized U.S. citizens should enter Cameroon using their U.S. passports, and should be alert to possible hostility on the part of Cameroonian officials regarding their changed citizenship. Cameroonian law enforcement, customs, and other officials wield significant authority, and disputes with Cameroonian authorities can result in detention, confiscation of documents, and considerable expense and delays to the traveler. You should show the same deference and respect to Cameroonian officials as you would give to similarly ranked individuals in the United States.

Currency: Cash in local currency, the Central African franc (FCFA), is the most common (and almost only) form of payment accepted throughout the country. A few large hotels in Yaoundé and Douala will change U.S. dollars at a poor exchange rate. Larger banks in Yaoundé, Douala, and other cities often have ATMs. Credit card cash advances are not available, and most banks do not cash personal checks for non-clients. U.S-dollar-denominated traveler’s checks are not accepted in Cameroon, and while credit cards are accepted at some larger hotels and shops in Yaoundé and Douala, you should be cautious, as identity theft is endemic in the region. Western Union and other money transfer services have extensive networks in many parts of Cameroon. The U.S. Embassy does not provide currency exchange, check cashing, or other financial services. In recent years, business travelers have experienced difficulty in obtaining adequate services from Cameroon's banking sector. Business travelers find it useful to employ the services of a local agent in the Cameroon market. Counterfeit currency appears to be a growing problem.

Customs: Cameroonian customs authorities may enforce strict import and export regulations, particularly with regard to pharmaceuticals and wood products. Customs regulations restrict trade in ivory and items protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Some wood products available in Cameroon may be made from endangered tropical hardwood. Trading in such banned woods is a federal offense, punishable by civil and criminal penalties in the United States. Please see our Customs Information sheet and the U.S. Commercial Service’s Country Commercial Guide for Cameroon.

Game Parks: While visiting game parks and reserves, tourists should bear in mind that they are ultimately responsible for maintaining their own safety. Tourists should use common sense when approaching wildlife, maintain a safe distance from animals, and heed all instructions given by guides or trackers. Even in the most serene settings, the animals in Cameroon's game parks are wild and can pose a lethal threat. Most game parks require that a professional guide accompany visitors. You should not pressure or pay those persons to be more flexible in their duties.

Sexual Orientation: Cameroon’s penal code punishes homosexual acts with jail terms of up to five years, and the Government of Cameroon actively prosecutes and convicts individuals under this code. Members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community are advised to maintain a low profile to avoid harassment, discrimination, and possible detention. Allegations of brutality, illegal searches and seizures, and coerced confessions have been made against law enforcement officials investigating such cases.

Corruption: Corruption is a pervasive problem in Cameroon that has the potential to hamstring business opportunities. Potential investors are encouraged to follow all U.S. and local laws, and remain vigilant in business dealings. The Government of Cameroon takes an active interest in combating corruption, although results have proven uneven.

Photography: While photography is not officially forbidden, security officials are sensitive about photographs taken of government buildings, military installations, and other public facilities, many of which are unmarked. Photography of these subjects may result in seizure of photographic equipment by Cameroonian authorities. Due to the threat of harassment and the lack of signs designating sites prohibited for photography, and the fact that some Cameroonians object to having their picture taken, you should ask permission before taking photographs.

Disclaimer

You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.

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