Guidance

Living in Cote d’Ivoire

Information for British nationals in Cote d’Ivoire, including advice on health, education, benefits, residence requirements and more.

Introduction

This guide sets out basic information for British national residing or travelling in Cote d’Ivoire. We are unable to provide any guidance on general lifestyle enquiries apart from the information and links listed below. See our information on the services consulates can and cannot do for British Nationals.

Entry and residence requirements

You will need a visa to visit Cote d’Ivoire. You can get a visa from the Cote d’Ivoire Embassy in London. You can also apply for a biometric E-visa online, to be delivered at arrival if all requirements are met. Please contact the nearest Cote d’Ivoire Embassy for further information.

Visas are usually valid for 60 or 90 days from the date of entry. You should check that the number of days given at the port of entry covers your intended period of stay or visa obtained. A business visa is required to work in Cote d’Ivoire. Whenever a foreigner wants to work in Cote d’Ivoire, the employment contract has to be declared to the local authorities to be granted an authorization. The agreement is needed before entering Cote d’Ivoire. You can apply to have this period renewed and extended if required at the Cote d’Ivoire Immigration Services offices.

Visa requirements are subject to change at any time. You should check with the nearest Embassy for the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire and its consulates for up-to-date information. All travellers are also required to produce evidence of yellow fever vaccination at the port of entry.

French is the official language and is widely spoken. Religion has a strong influence on life in Côte d’Ivoire, which has a tradition of respecting others’ beliefs. You should respect local religious customs and traditions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not cause offence.

Possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs is a serious offence and can result in lengthy prison sentences and heavy fines.

Homosexuality isn’t illegal in Côte d’Ivoire, but there’s no legal recognition of homosexual couples. The government doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage and there are no specific anti-discrimination laws protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals. As public attitudes may be less tolerant, you should be discreet.

Health

Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre on the TravelHealthPro website and by NHS (Scotland) on the fitfortravel website. Useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website. Malaria is endemic.

Medical treatment of a reasonable standard is available in Abidjan, but it can be expensive, and emergency facilities are limited to a few major hospitals. Medical facilities outside the major towns are often rudimentary. Serious medical treatment would require medical evacuation to Europe. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 180 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Driving licenses and vehicles

You can drive in Cote d’Ivoire using an International Driving Permit or a local driving license. A UK driving license is not valid. If you’re applying for a local driving license from the Cote d’Ivoire driving license agency, you must get your UK driving license authenticated by the UK DVLA. You should carry your driving license or International Driving Permit with you at all times when driving.

Leaving Cote d’Ivoire

At the end of your stay in Cote d’Ivoire, you should check that your visa/resident permit is valid or you will be liable to pay a fine to the Cote d’Ivoire Immigration Service.

Disclaimer

This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the high commission by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. The FCO and the British high commission will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain any further information must contact the relevant local authority.

Published 15 January 2016