Equatorial Guinea

Compliance/Financial Considerations

If you intend to do any of the following in Equatorial Guinea, please contact Risk Services at risk@berkeley.edu or 642-5141:

  • Hire a local to work for you as an employee
  • Purchase or lease office or research space
  • Purchase or lease an automobile
  • Establish a long-term (over 90 days) or ongoing project
  • Conduct a clinical trial 


Foreign activities may trigger many U.S. laws, including:

  • Import Controls
  • Export Controls
  • Tax Reporting
  • Foreign Bank Account Reporting
  • Country Embargoes and Targeted Sanctions
  • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
  • Anti-Boycott Laws 

Import Controls. UC employees must adhere to U.S. import requirements, and may need to enlist the services of a customs broker, especially for shipments arriving by sea and subject to the Importer Security Filing 71730, also known as ISF 10+2. 

Export Controls. Export controls may apply to advanced software and technology, research data, and other sensitive assets. UC’s Export Compliance FAQ contains useful information and can be found here.  Go here for the University of California plan for compliance with federal export controls. If you plan on taking or sending potentially export-controlled materials to Equatorial Guinea, consult the campus Research Administration Compliance Office at 642-0120. 

Tax Reporting. The University and its employees may be taxed in foreign countries. The United States does not have a tax treaty with Equatorial Guinea. For more information about double taxation issues, contact the Controller’s Office at:

Foreign Bank Account Reporting. The U.S. Treasury Department requires U.S. citizens with a financial interest in or signatory authority over a financial account in a foreign country, where accounts exceed $10,000 at any point during a calendar year, to report such accounts on a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FinCen Report 114). Those needing to complete the form should contact the Controller’s Office at cashiers@berkeley.edu or 643-9803 for assistance. An IRS 1040 Schedule B form (Part III–Foreign Accounts and Trusts) must be filed by the signatory for any foreign bank account, regardless of the account balance. 

Country Embargoes and Targeted Sanctions. In general, collaborations between University personnel and scholars at foreign institutions or organizations do not require export licenses unless they involve export-controlled or -restricted research or involve scholars in sanctioned countries. Before engaging in an international collaboration, the University needs to determine whether export licenses are required and to verify that the foreign collaborator is not blocked or sanctioned. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is responsible for enforcing all U.S. embargoes and sanctions. Depending on each country’s embargo or sanction program, activities may be prohibited without specific authorization or license. UC’s International Collaborations webpage contains additional information on this topic.   

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is intended to stop bribery. It prohibits offering to pay, paying, promising to pay, or authorizing the payment of money or anything of value to a foreign official. The term “foreign official” generally includes any employee or contractor of a foreign government, and may include individuals employed by foreign universities. It is also unlawful to make a payment to a third party knowing that all or part of the payment will go to a foreign official. For more information, review the federal government’s Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. If you need further clarification, contact the UC Berkeley Office of Legal Affairs at 642-7122. Transparency International’s 2018 survey of perceived public sector corruption rated Equatorial Guinea at 16 out of 100 (172nd out of 180 countries reviewed, i.e. very corrupt).

Anti-Boycott Laws.  The U.S. Department of Commerce is responsible for oversight of laws prohibiting individuals and entities from participating in boycotts not approved or sanctioned by the U.S. government. The Export Administration Act requires that requests to participate in such boycotts or to conduct activities in any of the boycotting countries be formally reported to the Department of Commerce and/or IRS.

For other compliance-related issues, refer to UC’s International Compliance webpage.   


Foreign Bank Accounts. Employees wishing to open a foreign bank account should contact the Controller’s Office at cashiers@berkeley.edu or 643-9803. Requests to open accounts must be made through the Office of the President’s Banking and Treasury Services Group by the Chancellor or the Chancellor’s designee. 

Real Estate Agreements. Only employees with delegated authority to sign contracts on behalf of The Regents may enter into agreements, leases, or other contracts.  Foreign affiliates or operations must submit to the Real Estate Services Office property management agreements, personal property leases, or contracts with a term longer than one year or in an amount greater than $25,000 per year. The campus then seeks approval from the University president or designee. For more information, consult the Guidelines for the Establishment and Operation of Foreign Affiliate Organizations and Foreign Operations


The US State Department's page on EQUATORIAL GUINEA may be found HERE.

Personal Safety


Note: this page contains basic risk information. For more details, please contact the Risk Services Office at risk@berkeley.edu.

If you are traveling to Equatorial Guinea on University-related business, please sign up for the University’s travel insurance program by going here. For more information on the travel insurance program, please go here.

Because everyone’s health is unique, we suggest seeking the advice of a medical professional before traveling internationally. Members of the campus community interested in protecting their health while abroad may schedule an appointment with the University Health Services International Travel Clinic

The threat of civil unrest in Equatorial Guinea is moderate.  Protests occasionally occur in Equatorial Guinea, but seldom devolve into violence. Most demonstrations are related to economic conditions or social issues. Though uncommon, protests have occurred in the capital Malabo, and occasionally cause minor transportation delays.

Crime generally poses a moderate threat in Equatorial Guinea. Criminal activity is prevalent in urban and rural locations, particularly in Malabo and Bata.

Nonviolent crime poses a moderate threat to foreign nationals, expatriates, and local staff and is widespread in Malabo and Bata. Thieves typically target purses, bags, wallets, smartphones, and other electronic devices. These opportunistic crimes can occur anywhere, but especially on buses, in crowded public areas, in taxis or cars, in restaurants or bars, and outside of ATMs/banks. Foreign nationals are typically targeted by criminals due to their perceived wealth.  

Crimes against foreign nationals, expatriates, and local staff are more likely to escalate late at night or if the victim attempts to resist. Criminals often act alone or in groups.  

Scams pose a moderate threat to foreign nationals in Equatorial Guinea. Organized crime groups and corrupt law enforcement officers typically perpetrate this crime, which may include extortion and advance fee scams.  

Overall, the threat of violent crime in Equatorial Guinea is moderate; foreign nationals are sometimes targeted by criminals. Violent crime, including armed robbery, burglary, rape, mugging, and assault, poses the greatest threat in Malabo, Bata, and rural areas; this may be due to the concentration of low-income communities. Criminals in Equatorial Guinea may use force if a victim resists; do not resist.   

Gender-based violence and/or discrimination poses a moderate threat to foreign nationals, expatriates, and local staff in Equatorial Guinea. Although there is no legal restriction on same-sex conduct, there is societal stigmatization against the LGBT community. Local social norms favor discretion in sexual relations; same-sex couples that publicly express affection may face harassment from locals.

Anti-LGBT violence may systemically occur in Equatorial Guinea.


Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.  Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or law enforcement officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately.

Photography: In the recent past, a special permit from the Ministry of Information and Tourism was required for virtually all types of photography in Equatorial Guinea. Although the law has changed, police or security officials may still attempt a fine or detain people taking photographs. Federal laws forbid taking photos of the Presidential Palace and its surroundings, military installations, airports, harbors, government buildings, and any other area the government deems as sensitive. Police and security officials have taken photographers into custody for perceived or actual violations of this policy, or to seize the camera (and/or cell phone) of persons photographing in the country. Also, the police may use this as a reason to try to extort money and/or threaten foreigners with torture or abuse. As these situations have the potential to become hostile, you should exercise prudence and caution while taking photographs. 

LGBTI Travelers: While there are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events, societal norms do not allow for the public discussion of homosexuality. No antidiscrimination law exists to protect LGBTI individuals.