Passport: is generally required for trips to Guinea-Bissau, passports must be valid for at least 6 months.
Visa: Generally required.
Transit: Transit travelers who fly on to the next connection, have valid documents for the onward journey as well as reserved seats and do not leave the transit room do not need a transit visa.
Application: In person or by post at the embassy or consulate (see Guinea-Bissau – important addresses). The visa may be applied for at the earliest 30 days before entry.
Documents: Tourist Visa: – Passport that is still valid for at least 6 months – 2 originally filled out and signed visa applications (no copy, no fax) – 2 original passport photos (no scans) – flight booking confirmation or ticket copy
business visa : additionally one written on company paper in French and a letter addressed to the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, Visa Department with the following content: name of the traveler, purpose of the trip, place of residence in the destination country (address of the company or organization), declaration of assumption of costs by the German company / organization.
An addressed and prepaid envelope and the fees should be attached to the application.
Processing time: 7 days.
Visa fees: Tourist and business visas (single entry, 30-day stay): 45 euros.
Sufficient funds: Foreigners must have sufficient funds.
Vaccinations: A vaccination certificate with proof of yellow fever vaccination is recommended for entry. Information on international vaccination certificates required for entry can be found in the Guinea-Bissau – Health chapter.
Entry with children
Germany: Children need their own passport (child passport or electronic passport) to enter Guinea-Bissau.
Austria: own passport for children.
Switzerland: own passport for children.
The same visa requirements apply to the children as to their parents.
National currency: 1 CFA (C ommunauté F inancière d ‘ A frique) franc corresponds to 100 centimes.
Currency abbreviation: CFA Fr XOF. – ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG
Banknotes are in circulation with a value of 10,000, 5,000, 2,000 and 1,000 CFA Fr. Coins are available in nominal amounts of 500, 250, 200, 100, 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 CFA Fr.
The CFA Franc (XOF) is issued by the Banque des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (BCEAO, State Bank of the West African States) and used by the 8 members of the African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. The CFA Franc (XAF) issued by the Banque des Etats de l’Afrique Centrale (BEAC, State Bank of the Central African States) is not a legal tender in Guinea-Bissau. The CFA franc is pegged to the euro at a fixed exchange rate.
Currency exchange: Cash (ideally in euros or with a cutback in US dollars) is exchanged. Outside of Bissau, almost only euros are changed.
Exchange rate CFA Franc:
Currency converter at OANDA
Credit Cards: are not accepted anywhere.
Travelers checks: can be exchanged only with difficulty in some banks or on the black market (at very bad rates). No travelers checks are exchanged outside the capital.
ATMs: do not exist in Guinea-Bissau.
Foreign exchange regulations: The import and export of the national currency is prohibited. There is no import restriction for foreign currencies, and declarations are required for sums over $ 5,000. The export is limited to the amount declared upon entry.
Bank opening times: Mon – Fri 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Health and Diseases
The Federal Foreign Office’s health service recommends vaccination protection against tetanus, diphtheria, especially poliomyelitis (polio), rabies, typhoid and meningococcal meningitis (including type A and W). Hepatitis A is widespread in the country, hepatitis B is highly demic. Vaccination against hepatitis A is recommended, and for long-term stays over 4 weeks also against hepatitis B.
The standard vaccinations for children according to the recommendations of the Robert Koch Institute should be up to date.
A vaccination certificate against yellow fever is recommended to all travelers when entering Guinea-Bissau. According to the WHO, there are yellow fever infection areas in the country.
Malaria: Malaria is one of the most important diseases in Guinea-Bissau in terms of both disease rate and mortality. The transmission takes place through the bite of blood-sucking, nocturnal Anopheles mosquitoes. If left untreated, especially dangerous malaria tropica (90% of cases in Senegal) is often fatal in non-immune Europeans. The disease can break out weeks to months after your stay. If fever occurs during this time, it is necessary to inform the attending doctor about staying in a malaria area.
A chemoprophylaxis (tablets) is recommended. For malaria prophylaxis, various prescription medicines (e.g. Malarone®, Doxycyclin, Lariam®) are only partially available in local pharmacies. It is advisable to take a sufficient supply with you. The choice of medication and its personal adaptation as well as side effects or incompatibilities with other medications should be discussed with a tropical medicine / travel medicine before taking it.
Due to the mosquito-borne risk of infection, all travelers are advised to
- Wear body-covering clothing (long pants, long shirts),
- Repeatedly apply insect repellent to all free parts of the body all day (dengue) and in the evening and at night (malaria!)
- to sleep under a mosquito net if necessary
HIV / AIDS: There is always a high risk through heterosexual and homosexual contacts, drug use (dirty syringes or cannulas) and blood transfusions. Condom use is always recommended, especially on the occasion of acquaintances.
A cholera vaccination certificate is not a requirement for entry. However, cholera occurs from time to time (Bissau, Gabu region, Biombo and Oio). The effectiveness of the vaccination is controversial, it is advisable to seek medical advice in good time before the trip.
Appropriate food and drinking water hygiene can prevent most traveler’s diarrhea and cholera.
Some basic rules:
Only drink water of safe origin, e.g. bottled water, never tap water. In case of emergency, use filtered, disinfected or boiled water. Use only drinking water for washing dishes and brushing your teeth. The following applies to food: cooking, peeling or disinfecting. Be sure to keep flies away from your food. Wash your hands with soap as often as possible, but always after using the toilet and always before preparing food and before eating. Hand disinfection, where appropriate, use disposable towels.
Schistosomiasis (schistosomiasis):The risk of transmission of this worm infection exists when bathing in fresh water throughout the country (e.g. in the Senegal River). Bathing in open fresh water should therefore always be avoided.
The health care in Guinea-Bissau is limited rudimentary and the capital Bissau. The hygienic conditions are very bad. Prior advice from a tropical doctor and the conclusion of travel health and return insurance is strongly recommended. It is expressly pointed out that medical treatments are generally only carried out in advance.
In addition to my general disclaimer, please note the following important note:
A guarantee for the correctness and completeness of the medical information as well as a liability for possible damage cannot be assumed. You stay responsible for your healthy.
Transportation options for tourists in Guinea-Bissau
Airplane: There are 10 small runways, but currently there are no national flights.
Ship: Ferries connect the coastal and inland ports and are important for the transport of Guinea-Bissau, since the roads are often impassable. The country’s largest port is in Bissau.
Most cities can be reached by ship, river boats (canoes) connect almost all regions. There are connections from Bissau to Bolama (depending on the tides) and from Bissau to Bafatá. Coastal ferries run from the north coast to Bissau. In addition, the Bijagos archipelago is connected to Bissau by canoes.
Cars: The road network covers 4,150 km, of which the main roads between Bissau and the larger cities in the country are paved. The smaller streets are often impassable during the rainy season. The Federal Foreign Office does not recommend driving your own vehicle to Guinea-Bissau, since foreigners are required to pay large fines even for minor traffic violations. There is a risk of mines when traveling overland. Transport in Guinea-Bissau is mainly handled by minibuses and bush taxis (Peugeot 504).
Documents: an international driver’s license is recommended but not mandatory. A temporary national driver’s license can be issued upon presentation of your own driver’s license.
Point of interest in Guinea-Bissau
The Bijagos Archipelago is certainly a highlight for visitors to Guinea-Bissau – a wonderful retreat with palm trees, white sandy beaches and a cooling breeze.
The islands have long been inaccessible to ships due to many sandbanks, and contact with the rest of Guinea-Bissau has always been limited. The Bijagos Archipelago still occupies a special position in the country.
In the southeast of the archipelago is the Joao Vieira – Poilao National Marine Park . It consists of 4 islands, which among other things offer breeding grounds for 3 endangered sea turtle species. After registering with those responsible for the park, you can visit these places. There are accommodations on Ilha Joao Vieira.
The Orango Islands National Park is one of the few places in Africa where you can find hippos and crocodiles in salt water. The burial sites of the Bijagos kings are also located on the Orango Islands.
The island of Bolama is not far from the mainland, here was the capital of the same name of the Portuguese colony until 1941. The city has been falling into disrepair since the capital was relocated to the mainland. Today you can walk along the streets and discover how trees and shrubs are recapturing Portuguese architecture – a strange aesthetic of decay.
The Cantanhez Forest is located on the mainland near Jemberem, 20 km east of Catio . The forest is good for bird watching, but has more to offer – elephants and chimpanzees live here. Guides to track down the animals can be arranged in the village of Jemberem.
The country’s pleasantly quiet capital, Bissau, offers inviting cafés and restaurants. The sights were damaged by the previous civil war. For example, the roof of the former presidential palace was destroyed by bombing.
At the end of February / beginning of March the worth seeing Carneval takes place in Bissau.