Safety and Security
The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to plan proposed travel to Liberia carefully and to exercise caution when traveling in Liberia. Before traveling to Liberia, U.S. citizens are urged to make arrangements for transportation from the international airport into the city center. Taxis are available at the international airport, which is located 40 miles outside of Monrovia, but public transportation (such as buses) is not available. U.S. citizens traveling to Liberia are also urged to ensure that they have confirmed reservations at a reputable hotel, as rooms can be scarce and difficult to find without advance plans.
U.S. citizens who travel to or reside in Liberia should realize that Liberia's police force has limited resources and is rebuilding. There is a UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), but its mandate is to ensure political stability. UN Police (UNPOL) officers serve as advisors to the Liberian National Police. They do not have the authority to arrest or detain, and they are unarmed. The Liberia National Police has a strong presence in Monrovia, but less of a presence outside of Monrovia. The police can be both a source of assistance as well as a source of problems for visitors. Concerns about police corruption continue, and travelers may be detained by police officers soliciting bribes. U.S citizens are encouraged to carry a photocopy of their passports with them at all times so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and citizenship is readily available. If detained or arrested, U.S. citizens should ask to contact the U.S. Embassy.
U.S. citizens in Liberia should be aware of their surroundings at all times and use caution when moving around, especially at night. Travel outside of Monrovia after dark is strongly discouraged, as roads are in poor condition and there are few public street lights. U.S. citizens should avoid crowds, political rallies, and street demonstrations, and should maintain security awareness at all times.
Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs' website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.
You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the United States and Canada, or a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Take some time before travel to consider your personal security – things are not the same everywhere as they are in the United States. Here are some useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas.