Important Coronavirus (COVID-19) travel
In England, you must have a permitted reason to travel abroad and complete the declaration form.
Some countries have closed borders, and any country may further restrict travel or bring in new social distancing rules with little warning. Check our advice for each country you will visit or transit through.
When you return, follow the rules to enter the UK from abroad (except from Ireland).
The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to:
- the whole of The Gambia based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.
Travel to The Gambia is subject to entry restrictions
To enter The Gambia, you will need to show a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before you arrive in The Gambia.
- If arriving from the United Kingdom you will be expected to take a mandatory rapid diagnostic COVID-19 test on arrival. If your results are returned negative you will be allowed to travel on to your destination with advice to report to health authorities if any symptoms develop.
You must present a physical copy of the test results to Ministry of Health officials upon arrival. Failure to present a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before you arrive in The Gambia to Ministry of Health officials or a positive test on arrival will result in you being tested and quarantined for 14 days at your own cost.
- Government provided COVID-19 tests can be taken free of charge at Independence Stadium Bakau, Brusubi Turntable (next to Petroleum House) and Mbollet Market, Brikama.
See Entry requirements for more information before you plan to travel.
Preparing for your return journey to the UK
If you’re returning to the UK from overseas, you will need to:
- provide your journey and contact details before you travel
- check if you need to self-isolate on your return
If your return journey to the UK transits another country, you should check whether it is subject to a travel ban or any other additional requirements. If so, contact your travel provider.
Check our advice on foreign travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and sign up for email alerts for this travel advice.
If you’re planning travel to The Gambia, find out what you need to know about coronavirus there in the Coronavirus section.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides sufficient cover. See the FCDO’s guidance on foreign travel insurance.
For information about COVID-19 vaccines, see the Coronavirus page.
You should avoid large gatherings and protests in public areas, monitor local media for up-to-date information and follow the advice of local authorities. See Political situation
There are a number of checkpoints operating in and around the capital Banjul. Expect your vehicle to be searched if you’re stopped by security forces.
Terrorist attacks in The Gambia can’t be ruled out. Attacks could be indiscriminate. You should be vigilant, especially in places visited by foreigners. See Terrorism
In the years before the new government took office, some foreign nationals were detained by the police in relation to homosexuality. Although homosexuality remains illegal, the new government has taken a softer stance on many issues, including homosexuality. See Local laws and customs
The Gambia has provision in law for the implementation of the death penalty for a number of crimes including arson, murder and treason. In February 2018, President Barrow announced a moratorium on the death penalty. See Local laws and customs
Take care when swimming in the sea. Tides, waves and under currents can all be very strong.
Most visits to The Gambia are trouble-free, although independent travellers are at increased risk due to the lack of local support in an emergency. If you’re travelling independently, make sure next of kin in the UK have details of your itinerary and keep in regular touch. Take out travel and medical insurance before you travel.