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The Republic of Guinea-Bissau, a small country in western Africa, is one of the world’s poorest nations.  The capital is Bissau and the official language is Portuguese.  The country underwent a civil war in 1998-99 that devastated the economy.  Tourist facilities and infrastructure in general are very limited and not up to American standards.  Read the Department of State Background Notes on Guinea–Bissau for additional information.



Image of Guinea-Bissau
Country Name: Guinea-Bissau
Continent: Africa
Capital City: Bissau
Boundary Countries:

Guinea, Senegal

Recommended Hospitals in Capital:
Main Cities:

Bissau, Cacheu, Farim, Gabu,Bolama

Country Size: 36,120 sq km
Population: 1,472,780



Portuguese (official), Crioulo, African Languages

Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF); note - responsible authority is the Central Bank of the West African States
Predominant Religions:

indigenous beliefs 50%, Muslim 45%, Christian 5%

National Holidays: Independance Day,24 September (1973)
Economic Status:

The country underwent a civil war in 1998-99 that devastated the economy. One of the 10 poorest countries in the world, Guinea-Bissau depends mainly on farming and fishing. The inequality of income distribution is one of the most extreme in the world.


People's Revolutionary Armed Force (FARP): Army, Navy, AirForce,paramilitary force

US Presence:
U.S. Virtual Consulate in Guinea-Bissau
Route des Almadies – BP 49
Dakar, Senegal
Telephone: (221) 33-879-0000
Document Requirements:

A valid passport, visa, and proof of onward/return ticket are required.  Since January 2007, the Bissau-Guinean Embassy in Washington, DC, has been temporarily closed.  The Embassy of Guinea-Bissau does not have a website.  Due to lack of consular representation in the U.S., it is difficult to obtain the required visa for entry into Guinea-Bissau.  Since most flights destined for Guinea-Bissau must pass through Dakar, Senegal, or Lisbon, Portugal, most travelers are able to apply for visas at the Bissau-Guinean embassies in those countries.  Although it is possible to obtain a visa upon arrival in Bissau if arrangements are made in advance, there are no clear instructions for how to make those arrangements.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Guinea-Bissau.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website.  For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.

Major Airports:

Airports:  28, Airports w/paved runways:  3
Bissau – Osvaldo Vieira International Airport (BXO/GGOV)
Bissau Airport, Guinea Bissau, Aptado Postal 10527, Bissau Docex, 1501, GUINEA BISSAU
Tel: +245 245272, +245 215381, +245 215090
Fax: +245 215090

Servicing Airlines:
Risks and Precautions:

Although the civil war that led to the closure of the US Embassy ended in 1999 and elections were held in June and July 2005, travelers should be aware that political tensions persist. Sporadic politically motivated violence has taken place in the past two years. Due to the potential for violence, US citizens should avoid political gatherings and street demonstrations, and maintain security awareness at all times. Unexploded military ordnance and landmines remain scattered throughout the country, although the capital city of Bissau was declared “mine-free” in June 2006 by the national de-mining center (CAAMI), which is responsible for de-mining operations and maintains lists of known minefields. To minimize the risks posed by both bandits and landmines, US citizens are encouraged to limit driving outside of towns to daylight hours only and to remain on well-traveled roads at all times. Although there is a fairly low incidence of normal daytime street crime, travelers should observe security precautions in the city, particularly with regard to pickpocket activity in marketplaces. Travelers should refrain from walking alone at night. The lack of reliable public electricity means that urban streets are dark at night, even in Bissau. There have been periodic incidents of bandits accosting travelers in rural areas.

Mortality Statistics:

Infant MR total:  103.5 deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth:  TOTAL 47.18 years(male 45.37/female 49.04)

Immunization Indicators:

Required: Yellow Fever

Recommended:Malaria, Hep A & B Meningococcal, Rabies,Typhoid,

Boosters: MMR, DPT,polio

Infectious Disease Concerns:

degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and yellow fever are high risks in some locations
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis

Overall Quality of Medical Services:

While modern medical facilities are virtually nonexistent in Guinea-Bissau and travelers should not rely on them, emergency medical care may be possible at a new hospital in Bissau operated by the Sant’Egidio Community.  Monday to Saturday there are flights from Bissau to Dakar, Senegal, where more acceptable levels of medical care are available. 

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 0
Referrals: 2
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Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:

Dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, and onchocerciasis (river blindness) are other diseases carried by insects that also occur in this region. Endemic foci of river blindness exist. The risk for contracting African sleeping sickness (trypanosomiasis), which is caused by the bite of an infected tsetse fly, is high in all countries except The Gambia, Niger, and Mauritania. A number of rickettsial infections also occur in this region. Plague occurs sporadically or in outbreaks. Schistosomiasis can be contracted in fresh water in this region. Other infections that tend to occur more often in longer-term travelers (or immigrants from the region) include tuberculosis, HIV and hepatitis B.

Communications Info:

Country Calling Code:  +245    
Internet Country Code:  .gw


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