Travel Facts

US State Dept Travel Advisory

The US Department of State currently recommends US citizens exercise increased caution in Benin due to crime, kidnapping, terrorism, and maritime crime. Some areas have increased risk. Consult its website via the link below for updates to travel advisories and statements on safety, security, local laws, and special circumstances in this country.

Passport/Visa Requirements

US citizens should make sure their passport will not expire for at least 6 months after they enter the country even if they do not intend to stay that long. They should also make sure they have at least 1 blank page in their passport for any entry stamp and or visa that will be required. A visa is required. US citizens will need to get in touch with the country’s embassy or nearest consulate to obtain a visa prior to visiting the country.

US Embassy/Consulate

[229] 21-30-06-50; US Embassy Cotonou, Marina Avenue, 01 BP 2012, Cotonou, Benin;;

Telephone Code


Local Emergency Phone

Local numbers only


An International Certificate of Vaccination for yellow fever is required for travelers arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission and for travelers having transited through the airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. See WHO recommendations. On 21 March 2022, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Travel Alert for polio in Africa; Benin is currently considered a high risk to travelers for polio; the CDC recommends that before any international travel, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series; before travel to any high-risk destination, CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine.


Tropical; hot, humid in south; semiarid in north

Currency (Code)

Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (Western African CFA francs, XOF)

Electricity/Voltage/Plug Type(s)

220 V / 50 Hz / plug types(s): C, E

Plug Type CPlug Type E

Major Languages

French, Fon, Yoruba

Major Religions

Muslim 27.7%, Roman Catholic 25.5%, Protestant 13.5%, Vodoun 11.6%, other Christian 9.5%, other traditional religions 2.6%, other 2.6%, none 5.8

Time Difference

UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Potable Water

Opt for bottled water

International Driving Permit


Road Driving Side


Tourist Destinations

Cotonou; Ouidah; Porto Novo; Royal Palaces at Abomey

Major Sports

Soccer, tennis, track and field

Cultural Practices

Many people in Benin eat using the fingers of the right hand; eating or offering food to others with the left hand is considered rude.

Tipping Guidelines

Tipping in restaurants is appreciated; round up the bill in smaller establishments or tip up to 10%. Tipping at bars is unexpected. When taking a taxi, round up the fare. Tipping in hotels is not required, but if you enjoyed your stay you could tip the bellboy 200 francs per bag and the maid 200 francs per night.


Tribal masks, basketware, pottery, handwoven textiles, brassware

Traditional Cuisine

Kuli-kuli — ground, smashed peanuts mixed with salt, pepper, and other spices shaped into balls or biscuits and deep-fried

Please visit the following links to find further information about your desired destination.

World Health Organization (WHO) - To learn what vaccines and health precautions to take while visiting your destination.

US State Dept Travel Information - Overall information about foreign travel for US citizens.

To obtain an international driving permit (IDP). Only two organizations in the US issue IDPs:
American Automobile Association (AAA) and American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA)

How to get help in an emergency? 
Contact the nearest US embassy or consulate, or call one of these numbers:
from the US or Canada - 1-888-407-4747 or from Overseas - +1 202-501-4444

Page last updated: Thursday, December 01, 2022