AS OF NOVEMBER 4, AUTHORITIES IN SIERRA LEONE HAVE MAINTAINED SOME RESTRICTIONS IN RESPONSE TO THE CORONAVIRUS DISEASE (COVID-19) PANDEMIC. A 12-MONTH STATE OF EMERGENCY IS IN PLACE THROUGH AT LEAST MARCH 2012. A NATIONWIDE 2300-0500 CURFEW ALSO REPORTEDLY REMAINS IN PLACE, AND WEARING A FACEMASK IN PUBLIC IS MANDATORY. RESTRICTIONS ON INTERNATION AND DOMESTIC TRAVEL HAVE BEEN LIFTED; HOWEVER, HEALTH SCREENINGS AND OTHER HEALTH MEASURES ARE LIKELY AT ALL CROSSING POINTS AND PORTS OF ENTRY. TRAVELERS ARE REQUIRED TO REGISTER TRIPS ON THE GOVERNMENT'S TRAVEL PORTAL. TRAVELERS WILL ALSO HAVE TO PROVIDE A NEGATIVE PCR COVID-19 TEST RESULT ISSUED WITHIN 72 HOURS BEFORE DEPARTURE TO ENTER THE COUNTRY. ADDITIONAL TESTS, INCLUDING A COVID-19 PCR AND RDT TEST, ARE CONDUCTED ON ARRIVAL. BEFORE DEPARTURE, TRAVELERS WILL BE REQUIRED TO PRODUCE A NEGATIVE PCR TEST CONDUCTED WITHIN 72 HOURS OF THEIR INTENDED DEPARTURE FROM THE COUNTRY. TRAVELERS WHO ARRIVE IN SIERRA LEONE FEWER THAN FIVE DAYS BEFORE DEPARTING ARE EXEMPT FROM THE TEST. REQUIREMENTS FOR SELF ISOLATION (FOR PERSONS WAITING FOR TEST RESULTS ON ARRIVAL) ARE IN PLACE. PERSONS TESTING POSTIVE FOR COVID-19 MAY BE SUBJECT TO QUARANTINE AT A STATE RUN FACILITY. SIERRA LEONE IS LIKELY TO MAINTAIN ITS CURRENT DOMESTIC HEALTH MEASURES AND RESTRICTIONS; HOWEVER, SHOULD AN INCREASE IN CASES BE OBSERVED, ADDITIONAL TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS MAY BE IMPOSED.
Note: this page contains basic risk information. For more details, please contact the Risk Services Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are traveling to Sierra Leone 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 country has been relatively stable since the official end of the civil war in 2002 and the withdrawal of UN peacekeepers in 2005. Sierra Leone is a presidential republic currently led by President Julius Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP); Maada Bio came to power following mostly peaceful elections in 2018. Tensions between members of the SLPP and the former ruling All People's Congress (APC) occasionally result in minor violence and have the potential to negatively impact the country's stability. Tensions increase significantly during and after elections, in which politically motivated violence may occur. High levels of poverty, unemployment and other socioeconomic grievances continue to carry the potential to incite sporadic outbreaks of unrest.
Geopolitical risk is considered moderate for Sierra Leone. The country has been relatively stable since the official end of the civil war in 2002 and the withdrawal of UN peacekeepers in 2005. Sierra Leone is a presidential republic currently led by President Julius Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone People's Party. General elections are scheduled for March 2018 and will be the country's fourth round of democratic elections since the end of the civil war. Ongoing tensions between members of the APC and the former ruling Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP). High levels of poverty, unemployment and other socio-economic grievances continue to carry the potential to incite sporadic outbreaks of unrest.
The threat of civil unrest in Sierra Leone is moderate. Protests occasionally occur in Sierra Leone and often devolve into violence. Most demonstrations are related to economic conditions or political developments, such as national elections, governmental actions, or inactions. Protests are most common in Freetown near government buildings, university campuses, or other public places and often cause transportation delays.
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 United States, regardless of local law.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately.
Exports: Sierra Leone's customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning the export of gems and precious minerals, such as diamonds and gold. All mineral resources, including gold and diamonds, belong to the State, and only the Government of Sierra Leone can issue mining and export licenses. The National Minerals Agency (NMA) can provide licenses for export, while the agency’s Directorate of Precious Minerals Trading is responsible for Kimberly Process certification of diamonds. For further information on mining activities in Sierra Leone, contact the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources, or see the Department of State’s annual Investment Climate Statement.
The Embassy has received reports in recent years of U.S. citizens investing in Sierra Leone who have been victims of fraud, often in the mining industry. Examples of fraud include advance-fee schemes where individuals have approached U.S. citizens urging them to purchase diamonds directly from Sierra Leone. The U.S. Embassy cannot interfere or intervene in any legal disputes, including those related to precious minerals. Please be aware that the U.S. Embassy cannot conduct checks on potential local partners.
Photography: Travelers must obtain official permission to photograph government buildings, airports, bridges, or official facilities including the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the U.S. Embassy.
Dual Nationals: U.S. citizens who are also Sierra Leonean nationals must provide proof of payment of taxes on revenue earned in Sierra Leone before being granted clearance to depart the country.
LGBTI Travelers: Consensual sexual relations between men are criminalized in Sierra Leone. Although the U.S. Embassy is not aware of any recent prosecutions for consensual sexual activity between men, such activity is illegal and penalties can include imprisonment. While there is no explicit legal prohibition against sexual relations between women, lesbians of all ages can be victims of “planned rapes” initiated by family members in an effort to change their sexual orientation.