Travel Alert Status
Level 3: Reconsider Travel
Citizens should carefully consider the risks of traveling to Cote d'Ivoire. U.S. citizens who reside in or travel to Cote d'Ivoire should monitor conditions carefully, maintain situational awareness, and pay very close attention to their personal security. Although the security situation significantly improved in 2013, security conditions can change quickly and without warning. This Travel Warning updates U.S. citizens on the current security situation in Cote d'Ivoire, replacing the Travel Warning of November 16, 2012.
In April 2013, municipal and regional elections were held and were generally peaceful; however, there were limited and localized incidents of violence in the days following the election, as results were announced. Local security forces responded to these events, which were quickly resolved.
If you are planning travel to Cote d’Ivoire, particularly to destinations outside of Abidjan, you should review the most recent U.S. Embassy, or your host organization’s, security assessment for your travel destination. The U.S. Embassy does not restrict its personnel’s travel within Abidjan, Grand Bassam, Assine, Yamoussoukro and Bouake; however, travelers are advised to remain alert and exercise the same level of caution that they would in any major city. Mission staff must inform the Regional Security Office (RSO) of official travel to Abidjan’s Abobo and Yopougon neighborhoods and the Banco Forest. RSO notification is required when traveling to the outer regions of Abidjan, Grand Bassam, Assine, Yamoussoukro and Bouake, in order to assess current security situations.
Crimes, such as muggings, robbery, burglary, and carjacking, pose risks for foreign visitors in Abidjan and around the country. You should take precautions when stopped in heavy traffic or at road blocks due to the threat of assault and/or robbery, and avoid travel outside Abidjan after dark to minimize risk. Additionally, the generally poor road conditions are also a factor in driving after sunset. Local law enforcement authorities have limited capacity to respond to emergencies.
The U.S. Embassy instructs its staff to avoid large gatherings, crowds, demonstrations, and political events. Peaceful demonstrations and/or political events can turn confrontational and possibly become unsafe. You are therefore urged to avoid demonstrations and to exercise caution within the vicinity of demonstrations or political events.
U.S. citizens traveling and residing in Cote d’Ivoire are urged to enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive the most up-to-date security information. By enrolling, you make it easier for the Embassy to contact you in case of emergency.
For further information, consult the Department of State's Country Specific Information for Cote d'Ivoire and the Worldwide Caution, both located on the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website. Current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or a regular toll line at 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).
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.
The Embassy is located at 01 B.P. 1712 Abidjan 01, Cote d’Ivoire. If you have questions or concerns about safety or related issues, you are encouraged to contact the consular section at the Embassy by sending an email message to AbjAmcit@state.gov. You can reach the Embassy Consular’s section by telephone at 225-22-49-45-94 during business hours and at 225-22-49-44-50 for after-hours emergencies.
Safety and Security
Since President Ouattara fully assumed office in May 2011, , incidents of political violence have gradually decreased, but some political tensions still persist with Gbagbo supporters launching violent attacks near the Liberian border in early 2013. Côte d’Ivoire has taken a lead in the military intervention in Mali against Islamist extremists and there is concern that Côte d’Ivoire could become a target itself. In March a cell of ten Egyptians believed to be planning attacks on French interests in Côte d’Ivoire was disrupted in a joint French-Ivoirian security operation in Abidjan.. Côte d’Ivoire is initiating security sector reform and as such, its national police and gendarmerie are in a transitional period. The military often performs traditional civilian law enforcement functions for which is it not properly trained. Military, gendarme, and police forces were killed in attacks by both anti-government and criminal elements in 2012 and 2013.
The Embassy’s ability to provide consular services outside of the Abidjan area, including emergency assistance, is limited. Many areas of Côte d’Ivoire are difficult to access, and travel in these areas is hazardous. Outside the major cities, infrastructure is poor, medical care is limited, and there are few facilities for tourists.
The U.S. Embassy in Abidjan and the Department of State continue to monitor the security situation in Côte d’Ivoire closely. U.S. citizens are reminded that even demonstrations and/or political events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. U.S. citizens are urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations or political events. U.S. citizens in Côte d’Ivoire are advised to stay abreast of media coverage of local events and to remain aware of their surroundings at all times.
U.S. citizens should avoid crowds, be aware of their surroundings, and use common sense to avoid situations and locations that could be dangerous. Swimming in coastal waters is dangerous and strongly discouraged, even for excellent swimmers. The ocean currents along the coast are powerful and treacherous, and several people drown each year.