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Togo Visa Or Entry Stamp - Tips

Thu, 8 Jul 2010 00:41:49

Togo Visa or Entry Stamp Togo Consular Information Sheet July 26, 2007COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Togo is a small, economically stagnant country in West Africa in a state of political uncertainty. French is the official language, but Ewe and Mina are commonly spoken as well. Tourism facilities are limited, especially outside the capital city, Lomé. Read theDepartment of State Background Notes on Togo for additional information.

ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A passport and visa are required. Travelers are encouraged to obtain visas prior to arrival due to recent difficulties with requesting them at the airport in Lomé or at some of the land borders. Visas issued in Togo are limited to 7 days and can take an hour or more to be issued. Travelers applying for visa extensions can also experience significant delays. Vaccination against yellow fever is required before entry. U.S. citizens should carry copies of their U.S. passports and vaccination records with them at all times while traveling in Togo so that, if questioned by local officials, they have proof of identity, U.S. citizenship, and required vaccinations readily available. 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. See our web site for more information about dual nationality, the prevention of international child abduction and Customs Information . SAFETY AND SECURITY:U.S. citizens are urged to avoid political rallies and street demonstrations and maintain security awareness at all times. Togo has experienced periodic violence, strikes, and political tensions since 1990. Following the death of President Eyadema in February 2005, political activists took to the streets and held demonstrations throughout the country that resulted in more than 500 deaths. Land borders with Ghana and Benin are routinely shut down during elections, which are expected to take place during the fall of 2007. While there is considerable optimism about the election process and that it will be non-violent, the potential for demonstrations remains.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affair’s Internet site at http://travel.state.gov, where the current Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, including the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada, or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad. CRIME: Over the past year, Togo has seen a marked increase in incidents of violent crime throughout the country, including several recent machete attacks in poorly lit areas of Lomé. Particular areas for Americans to avoid within Lomé, especially during the hours of darkness, include the Grand Marché area, the beach road, and the Ghana-Togo border areas. Travelers should avoid the beach even during daylight hours as purse-snatching occurs there regularly.

Pick pocketing and theft are common in Togo, especially along the beach and in the market areas of Lomé. Incidents of residential burglary continue to increase, even against foreigners. Theft while riding in taxis is also increasing, as thieves steal bags, wallets, and passports. Taxicabs should not be shared with strangers.

Perpetrators of business fraud often target foreigners, including Americans. Formerly associated with Nigeria, these fraud schemes are now prevalent throughout western Africa, including Togo, and pose a danger of both financial loss and physical harm. An increasing number of Americans have been the targets of such scams, losing anywhere from several thousand to several hundred thousand dollars. Typically, these scam operations begin with an unsolicited communication, usually by e-mail, from an unknown individual who describes a situation that promises quick financial gain, often by assisting in the transfer of a large sum of money or valuables out of the country. The scenarios vary: an American must pretend to be the next-of-kin to a recently deceased Togolese who left a fortune unclaimed in a Togolese bank, or a person claiming to be related to present or former political leaders needs assistance in transferring large sums of cash, or even a business deal that appears to be legitimate. The requests are usually for the payment of advance fees, attorneys’ fees, or down payments on contracts. The final payoff does not exist; the purpose of the scam is to get any money possible and to gain information about the American’s bank account. The best way to avoid becoming a victim of advance-fee fraud is common sense – if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. You should carefully check out any unsolicited business proposals originating in Togo before you commit any funds, provide any goods or services, or undertake any travel. Please check the Embassy web site at http://lome.usembassy.gov/ for the most current information on fraud in Togo. For additional information, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs’ brochure on International Financial Scams. INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed. See our information on Victims of Crime. MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Medical facilities in Togo are limited and of very poor quality, with no adequate emergency medical care. Availability of medications through local pharmacies is unreliable, and travelers should carry all necessary medications, properly labeled, with them. Malaria, a serious and sometimes fatal disease, is prevalent in Togo. For additional information on malaria, including protective measures, see the CDC travelers’ health web site at http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/. Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC’s internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith/en. MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Please see our information on medical insurance overseas. 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.

While some major thoroughfares in urban parts of Togo are paved, many secondary streets are not, and become severely flooded every time it rains. Driving conditions are hazardous throughout Togo due to the presence of pedestrians, large numbers of small motorcycles, disorderly drivers (moped, car and truck drivers), livestock on the roadways, and the poor condition of the roads, including deep potholes. Overland travel off the main network of roads generally requires a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Many drivers in Togo do not obey traffic laws and most traffic signals do not function properly. Drivers should be prepared for other vehicles to run red lights or stops signs and drive in the wrong direction on one-way streets.

Nighttime travel on unfamiliar roads is dangerous. Poorly marked checkpoints, often manned by armed, undisciplined soldiers, exist throughout the country, including in the capital. Banditry, including demands for bribes at checkpoints, has been reported on major inter-city highways, including the Lomé - Cotonou coastal highway. Travelers are advised to be aware of their surroundings and to drive defensively. At official checkpoints, Togolese security officials prefer that you approach with your dome light on, and have your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance ready.

Americans should be aware of the staged-accident ploy when driving in Lomé. In this scam, a motorbike will cut in front of you, cause a collision, and draw a crowd, which can turn hostile if you attempt to leave the scene of the so-called accident. Such encounters appear designed to extort money from the vehicle driver. Pedestrians also cause staged accidents. Genuine accidents can also draw hostile crowds. Travelers should drive with their car doors locked and windows closed, and have a cell phone in the vehicle. If you are involved in this kind of accident and can drive away, you should leave the scene, drive to a safe location, and alert both the police and the U.S. Embassy. Violent carjackings are periodically reported in Togo and tend to increase during the summer months and holiday season.

Travelers are advised to exercise caution when using any form of local public transportation. Never get into a taxi with unknown passengers and always agree on the fare before getting in. Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. Visit a website of the country’s tourist office at http://www.togo-tourisme.com/. AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Togo, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Togo’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/safety/programs_initiatives/oversight/iasa. SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Power outages, voltage fluctuations, and water shortages are common throughout the country. Only certain U.S. credit cards are accepted in Togo. Most major hotels and their restaurants accept American Express, MasterCard, and Visa, while smaller hotels and restaurants do not. Travelers planning to use credit cards should know which cards are accepted before they commit to any transaction. Travelers should keep all credit card receipts, as unauthorized card use and overcharging are common. There are some Automatic Teller Machines that dispense local currency in major banks and they are generally considered safe. Well-known money transfer firms, including Western Union, operate in Togo.

Photographing places affiliated with the government of Togo, including official government buildings, border crossings, checkpoints, police stations, military bases, utility buildings, airports, government vehicles, and government or military personnel, is strictly prohibited, and local authorities will confiscate film and cameras. Government buildings are not always clearly identifiable, as they vary from being very well marked to not marked at all.

Please see our Customs Information.

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 laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Togoleseare severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. Please see our information on Criminal Penalties. CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information see our Office of Children’s Issues web pages on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction. REGISTRATION / EMBASSY LOCATION: Americans living or traveling in Togoare encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department’s travel registration web site so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security within Togo. Americans withoutInternet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located on Boulevard Eyadema, Neighborhood Lomé II, Lomé; telephone (228) 261-5470, fax (228) 261-5499. The local mailing address is B.P. 852, Lomé. Its web site is http://lome.usembassy.gov/.

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This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated February 23, 2007 to update sections on Entry / Exit Requirements, Safety and Security, Crime, and Traffic Safety and Road Conditions. *********************************************************** See http://travel.state.gov/travel_warnings.html for State Department Travel Warnings ******************************************************************************** To change your subscription, go to http://www.state.gov/misc/echannels/66822.htm Togo Visa or Entry Stamp

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