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Liberia

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Summary

  • Exercise a high degree of caution in Liberia due to the unpredictable security situation and high crime rate.
  • Reconsider your need to travel to Grand Gedeh and River Gee counties due to the presence of armed groups in the areas bordering Côte d'Ivoire and the possibility of cross-border attacks. See Safety and security
  • Pay attention to your personal security at all times as violent crime is common. Avoid protests and demonstrations as they may turn violent. See Safety and security
  • On 9 June 2016, Liberia was declared free of Ebola. Monitor updates from the World Health Organization (WHO). See Health. Screening measures are still in place at entry points. If you have a fever or Ebola-like symptoms, you may be placed in quarantine, or denied entry or exit. See Entry and exit

Entry and exit

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Australian Government cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements. 

Visas

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Liberia for up-to-date information.

Other formalities

Be prepared for health screening at border crossings. If you have a fever or Ebola-like symptoms, you may be quarantined or denied entry or exit.

A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required to enter. Get vaccinated against yellow fever.

More information: Yellow fever fact sheet (Department of Health)

Passport

Check the expiry date of your Australian passport before you travel. Some countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for six months from when you plan to leave that country.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.

Money

Credit cards are rarely accepted.  Only a few commercial establishments accept travellers cheques. There are a limited number of ATMs in the capital, Monrovia. Western Union and Moneygram have agents in Monrovia.

Safety and security

Civil unrest and political tension

Liberia is recovering from civil war. The United Nations (UN) Mission in Liberia in March 2018.

Some political issues remain sensitive, such as the imprisonment of former President Charles Taylor for war crimes. Taylor's supporters have warned that travellers from the United Kingdom may be at risk of reprisal.

  • Reconsider your need to travel to Grand Gedeh and River Gee counties. There are armed groups in the areas bordering Côte d'Ivoire. Cross border attacks occurred in 2014, and could happen again.
  • Avoid discussing political issues.
  • Avoid demonstrations and large gatherings, as they may turn violent.

Crime

Muggings, residential burglary and armed robbery are common. Foreigners are a target for robbery. Police forces can't always provide effective protection.

Pay close attention to your personal security at all times. Don't travel alone or after dark, when crime levels are higher.

If you're a victim of violent crime, including rape, seek immediate medical assistance. See Health

Commercial and internet fraud

Be careful of internet scams and other fraud. Commercial and internet fraud often originates in West African countries. If you're a victim of internet fraud originating in Liberia, don't travel there. Some victims of internet scams originating in Africa have been killed. Others have had their lives endangered.

Be cautious of any request for bank account details. Criminals 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).

Be careful in any business dealings. Methods of fraud include:

  • providing fake cashier cheques for 'urgent' shipments of large quantities of goods
  • requesting fees for a fake government contract
  • extorting money from people they have convinced to travel to Africa for a business opportunity.

If you're a victim of a financial scam, get legal advice. Don't travel to Africa to seek restitution due to the risk of physical assault from the perpetrators.

Be wary of connections made through internet dating schemes or chat rooms. Some Australian citizens have been defrauded or had their lives endangered by bogus internet friendship, and 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. When 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.

More information: Scams

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world.

More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Local travel

Carry photo identification with you at all times. Government security checkpoints will ask to see it.

Tourist facilities are severely limited outside of Monrovia and infrastructure is poor.

Strong coastal currents are common. Seek local advice before swimming.

Road travel

Driving is dangerous, especially after dark, due to poor road conditions, poorly maintained vehicles and insufficient street lighting.

More information: Road safety and driving

Public transport

Public transport options are limited.

Air travel 

The Australian Government doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety.

There have been a number of attacks on security forces by illegal rubber tappers in the Firestone rubber plantation area near Roberts International Airport near Monrovia. Only travel on major routes, particularly within the plantation and near Roberts International Airport, near Monrovia.

More information: Air travel

Laws

Local laws

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular services charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Drug laws

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe, and can include heavy fines and lengthy jail sentences.

More information: Carrying or using drugs

Other laws

The following activities are illegal and may be subject to severe penalties:

  • homosexuality (more information: LGBTI travellers)
  • possession of pornographic material
  • taking photographs around military installations, air and sea ports, and government buildings
  • export of diamonds, except in compliance with Liberian laws controlling the international trade in rough diamonds.

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you can be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law 

Dual nationals

See Dual nationals page.

Local customs

Liberia is a conservative society, particularly outside Monrovia. Take care not to offend.

Avoid clothing choices that offend local customs. Typical dress for women includes loose-fitting clothing that covers the upper arms and legs.

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.

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 won't pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and aren't covered under your policy
  • you're covered for the whole time you'll be away.

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you travel, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

If you need counselling services while overseas, contact the Australian Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305 and ask to speak to a Lifeline telephone counsellor.

Medication

Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

Take prescription medicine with you so you remain in good health. Always carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you take and that it's for personal use only.

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks 

Ebola outbreak

Liberia was declared Ebola free on 9 June 2016.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that Ebola is no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. However, it expects outbreaks in the future. 

Monitor updates from the WHO for the latest details.

More information:

HIV/AIDS

The rate of HIV/AIDS infection is high. Exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.

Yellow fever

The WHO lists yellow fever as widespread in Liberia. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, preventable by vaccination. Get vaccinated against yellow fever before travelling to Liberia. A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for entry into the country.

Mosquito-borne illnesses

Malaria and other mosquito-borne illnesses are common. Protect yourself by:

  • ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof
  • avoid insect bites, including by using insect repellent and wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing
  • consider taking malaria-prevention medication.

Other diseases and health issues

Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including cholera, typhoid, lassa fever, hepatitis and tuberculosis) are common, with serious outbreaks occurring from time to time.

  • Boil drinking water or drink bottled water.
  • Avoid ice cubes.
  • Avoid uncooked and undercooked food.
  • Don't swim in fresh water.

Seek urgent medical attention if you suspect poisoning, if you have a fever or suffer from diarrhoea.

Medical facilities

Medical facilities are poor in Monrovia and extremely limited elsewhere. Plan accordingly.

Physicians and hospitals often expect upfront payment in cash for medical care.

If you become seriously ill or injured, you would need medical evacuation to a destination with appropriate facilities. Medical evacuation could exceed AUD 100,000.

More information:

Natural disasters

Flooding may occur in the rainy season from May to November.

If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities. More information: Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS).

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, travel agent, travel insurance provider, employer or airline.

Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Emergency phone numbers

  • Firefighting and rescue services: 911
  • Medical emergencies: 911
  • Criminal issues: contact local police.  Always get a police report when reporting a crime.

A call to 911 in Liberia may go unanswered. Use other resources to get emergency assistance.

Tourism services and products

For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular services charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

Australia doesn't have an embassy or consulate in Liberia. For consular assistance, contact the Australian Government at the Australian High Commission in Accra, Ghana.

Australian High Commission, Accra

2, Second Rangoon Close
(cnr Josef Broz Tito Ave)
Cantonments
Accra, GHANA
Telephone: +233 302 216 400
Email: AccraHC.Enquiries@dfat.gov.au
Website: ghana.highcommission.gov.au
Facebook: Australian High Commission, Ghana
Twitter: @AusAmbGHA

Information on opening hours and temporary closures: ghana.highcommission.gov.au

If you're  unable to contact the High Commission in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information