Australian Government advice for Liberia
When travelling to Liberia, you should always get travel insurance in case the worst happens. To help you ensure you travel safely, we have included the travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for Liberia.
This Advice was last issued on Wednesday, 30 October 2013. It has been reviewed and reissued with editorial amendments. We continue to advise Australian to reconsider their need to travel to Liberia at this time because of the tense and unpredictable security environment and the risk of serious crime.
- We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Liberia at this time because of the tense and unpredictable security environment and the risk of serious crime.
- If you do decide to travel to Liberia, you should exercise extreme caution.
- You should avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings as they may turn violent.
- You should exercise particular caution in the areas bordering Cote d’Ivoire due to the presence of armed groups and the continued risk of cross-border attacks.
- Liberia is recovering from a devastating civil war which ended in August 2003 and left it with little or no infrastructure. Although there is a large deployment of UN peacekeepers and police advisers in Liberia, the security situation remains unpredictable. The potential for unrest and violence is high due to ongoing political and social tensions.
- Because of the unpredictable security situation we strongly recommend that you register your travel and contact details with us so we can contact you in an emergency.
- Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Liberia. The Australian High Commission in Accra, Ghana provides consular assistance to Australians in Liberia.
- Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
Entry and exit
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Liberia for the most up to date information.
You must present your passport at a police station within 48 hours of arrival in Liberia.
Liberia is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as endemic for yellow fever. Yellow fever is a serious and potentially fatal disease preventable by vaccination.
A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for entry into Liberia. For more information about yellow fever, including Australian re-entry requirements, see the Department of Health website .
Make sure your passport has at least six months validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.
Safety and security
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General advice to Australian travellers .
Civil unrest/Political tension
We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Liberia at this time because of the tense and unpredictable security environment and risk of serious crime.
You should avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings as they may turn violent.
Liberia is recovering from a devastating civil war which ended in August 2003 and left the country with little or no infrastructure. Although there is a large deployment of UN peacekeepers and police advisers in Liberia, the security situation remains unpredictable. The potential for unrest and violence is high due to ongoing political and social tensions.
Tens of thousands of refugees and displaced persons are placing a strain on food supplies and housing in the capital Monrovia and other major cities.
There are large numbers of displaced people and armed groups in the areas bordering Cote d’Ivoire. You should exercise particular caution in these areas. The large numbers of people in refugee camps may lead to increased risk of disease, greater strain on resources and an increased risk of crime. This border area has been unstable recently, with cross border attacks occurring in the second half of 2012, increasing the risk to travellers.
Violent crime occurs throughout Liberia and foreigners are a target for robbery. There is a high incidence of rape, with an increasing number of expatriate victims. Crime levels are higher at night and travelling alone or after dark is not recommended. Police forces do not have the capacity to provide effective protection.
Due to the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, victims of violent crime, especially rape, are strongly encouraged to seek immediate medical assistance.
If you are in Liberia you should consult a reputable security company about your individual security requirements.
Commercial and internet fraud is prevalent and often originates in West African countries. Victims have been defrauded and those who travel to the originating country have had their lives endangered. Some victims have been killed. Criminals have been known to seek details of 'safe' bank accounts overseas in which to transfer large sums of money (as a donation or for a percentage of the amount involved). They may also provide fake cashier cheques for 'urgent' shipments of large quantities of goods, request sizeable fees for a fake government contract and extort money from individuals they have convinced to travel to Africa for a business opportunity. If you are a victim of a financial scam, we advise you to obtain legal advice and not to travel to Africa to seek restitution as there is a risk of physical assault from the perpetrators. Our international scams page provides more detail on these types of scams.
Some Australian citizens have also been defrauded or had their lives endangered by bogus internet friendship, dating and marriage schemes operating from West African countries. These scams typically result from connections made through internet dating schemes or chat rooms. Once a virtual relationship develops, the Australian citizen is asked by their friend or prospective marriage partner to send money to enable travel to Australia. Once the money has been received, the relationship is usually terminated and any chance of recovering the funds is highly unlikely. In some instances, foreigners who have travelled to Africa to meet their friend or prospective marriage partner have been kidnapped and held to ransom.
Money and valuables
Before you go, organise a variety of ways of accessing your money overseas. Credit cards are not accepted in Liberia and few commercial establishments accept travellers' cheques. There are a limited number of ATMs in Monrovia. Consult with your bank to find out which the most appropriate currency to carry is and whether your ATM card will work overseas.
Make two photocopies of valuable documents such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.
While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.
As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority .
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.
You will be required to show photographic identification at government security checkpoints.
Poor road conditions, poorly maintained vehicles and a lack of sufficient street lighting make driving in Liberia dangerous, especially after dark. For further advice, see our road travel page.
Public transport options are limited.
Tourist facilities are severely limited outside of Monrovia and infrastructure is poor.
Strong coastal currents are common in Liberia and you should seek advice from locals before swimming.
Please refer to our air travel page for information about aviation safety and security.
When you are in Liberia, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter .
It is a requirement to carry photographic identification with you at all times.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe and can include heavy fines and lengthy jail sentences.
Homosexual acts are illegal. Penalties include imprisonment up to one year. See our LGBTI travellers page .
Possession of pornographic material is illegal.
Photography around military installations, air and seaports and government buildings is prohibited.
While the United Nations lifted the ban on the importation of rough diamonds from Liberia, laws controlling the international trade in rough diamonds continue to operate. You should seek up-to-date legal advice before trading in diamonds. Penalties for illegally exporting diamonds from Liberia can include jail sentences.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.
Liberia is a very conservative society and you should take care not to offend. We encourage travellers to be aware of local customs regarding dress. Typical dress for women includes loose fitting clothing that covers the arms and legs and a headscarf.
Information for dual nationals
Our Dual nationals page provides further information.
We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.
Medical facilities are poor in the capital Monrovia and non-existent elsewhere. Physicians and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for medical care. In the event of a serious accident or illness, medical evacuation to a destination with appropriate facilities would be necessary. Medivac costs could exceed $A100,000.
The rate of HIV/AIDS infection in Liberia is high. You should exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.
Malaria and other tropical diseases are common in West African countries, including Liberia. You should consider taking prophylaxis against malaria, and taking measures to avoid insect bites such as using an insect repellent at all times, wearing long, loose-fitting, light coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.
Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including cholera, typhoid, lassa fever, hepatitis and tuberculosis) are common, with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. It is advisable to boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, and avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Do not swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases such as bilharzia (schistosomiasis). Seek medical advice if you have fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.
Liberia is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as endemic for yellow fever. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, which is preventable by vaccination. We strongly recommend that you are vaccinated against yellow fever before travelling to Liberia . A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for entry into the country.
Where to get help
Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Liberia. You can obtain consular assistance from the nearest Australian High Commission which is in Accra, Ghana at:
Australian High Commission, Accra
2, Second Rangoon Close
(cnr Josef Broz Tito Ave)
Telephone: (+233) 302 216 400
Facsimile: (+233) 302 216 410
If you are travelling to Liberia, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we strongly recommend that you register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.
In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the Embassy, you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.
Natural disasters, severe weather and climate
The rainy season is May to November when flooding may occur. Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service . If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.
For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling with children page.