TOGO

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Togo is a small West African nation with a developing economy. French is the official language. Tourism facilities are limited, especially outside Lome, the capital city.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: A passport and visa are required. Travelers should obtain visas prior to arrival because only visas of limited validity are available at the airport and some border posts. Travelers applying for visa extensions have experienced significant delays. Travelers may obtain the latest information and details from the Embassy of the Republic of Togo, 2208 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 234-4212. Overseas, inquiries should be made at the nearest Togolese embassy or consulate.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Togo has experienced periodic violence, strikes, and political tensions since 1990. These periods of unrest often lead to a clampdown by security forces, particularly in Lome. In addition, the government may open or close its border with Ghana from time to time. Motorists should be prepared to stop at numerous police checkpoints in Lome and upcountry. U.S. citizens should avoid political rallies and street demonstrations and maintain security awareness at all times.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Pickpocketing and theft are common, especially along the beach and in the market areas of Lome. There has been an increase in reports of armed violent car thefts.

Business fraud stemming from Nigerian scam operations targets Americans and poses dangers of financial loss and physical harm. Persons contemplating business deals in Togo with individuals promoting investment in Nigeria, especially the Central Bank of Nigeria or the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, are strongly urged to check with the U.S. Department of Commerce or the U.S. Department of State before providing any information, making financial commitments, or traveling to Togo.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. The pamphlets "A Safe Trip Abroad" and "Tips for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa" provide useful information on protecting personal security while traveling abroad and on travel in the region in general. Both are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.

MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical facilities in Togo are limited. There is no emergency medical care. However, some medicines are available through local pharmacies. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. The Medicare/Medicaid program does not provide for payment of medical services outside the United States.

MEDICAL INSURANCE: Please check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical evacuation. Please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death. Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via its home page at http://travel.state.gov and autofax service at (202) 647-3000.

OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's international travelers hotline at telephone 1-877-fyi-trip (1-877- 394-8747); fax, 1-888-cdc-faxx (1-888-232-3299); or by visiting the CDC Internet home page at http://www.cdc.gov.

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Togo is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor

Rural roads are generally paved; however, conditions are poor and dangerous with pedestrians and livestock often on the roadways. Overland travel off the main network of roads generally requires a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Poorly marked armed checkpoints, often manned by undisciplined soldiers, exist throughout the country. Nighttime travel on unfamiliar roads is dangerous. Banditry, ranging from extortion by security forces to armed robbery, has been reported on all major inter-city highways, including the Lome-Cotonou coastal highway.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers at present, nor economic authority to operate such service, between the U.S. and Togo, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Togo's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Togo's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at telephone 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA Internet home page at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa.htm. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the Pentagon at telephone (703) 697-7288.

POWER SHORTAGES: In early 1998, Lome experienced acute power outages lasting at times more than 24 hours. Although Togo is taking measures to increase its energy-generating capacity, power outages are occasionally experienced in tourist facilities, especially upcountry.

CREDIT CARDS: Only certain credit cards are accepted in Togo. Travelers planning to use them should know which cards are accepted before they commit to any transaction.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Togolese law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Togo are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

Y2K INFORMATION: U.S. citizens contemplating traveling or residing abroad in late 1999 or early 2000 should be aware of potential difficulties. They may wish to consider taking practical precautions against possible disruptions of services triggered by the Y2K computer phenomenon. Please monitor the homepage of the Department of State for updates on Y2K issues.

CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children, international parental child abduction, and international child support enforcement issues, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues or telephone (202) 736-7000.

EMBASSY LOCATION/REGISTRATION: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy and to obtain updated information on travel and security in Togo. The Embassy is at the intersection of Rue Pelletier Caventou and Rue Vauban, Lome, telephone (228) 21-29-91 (days) or (228) 21-29-93 (after hours), fax (228) 21-79-52, mailing address is B.P. 852, Lome.

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This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated July 10, 1998 to update information on Entry Requirements, Areas of Instability, Crime Information, Power Outages, Credit Cards,and U.S. Embassy Location/Registration.

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