Travel Documentation in Chad
With no English travel guides on the market, topics like documentation requirements for travel to Chad can appear murky. Nevertheless, four things seem clear:
- All non-Africans who wish to travel to Chad must have a passport and a Chadian Visa (citizens of some African nations need not obtain a visa)
- To travel outside of the capital (N'Djamena), travelers will need to obtain a special permit called "Autorisation de Circuler" (see below)
- Those who wish to take pictures while in Chad should first obtain a camera permit (see below)
- First time visitors should register their passport at the police station in N'Djamena upon arrival (see below)
These foundational requirements are widely accepted, although the details surrounding their fulfillment vary by source. Below these processes are disambiguated as much as is possible.
Obtaining a visa to Chad will be different depending on which country you are departing from. Click here to view all the countries with Chadian embassies. Many sites will refer users to the website "chadembassy.org" to access the Chadian Embassy in Washington. NOTE that this website is not the correct one and is instead a website with only travel advertisements. Chadembassy.com is another fake website. As of September 2011, the Embassy of Chad remains in the process of moving their website from www.chadembassy-usa.org to chadembassy.us. Thus, THE CURRENT PROPER WEBSITE for Americans to visit is chadembassy.us. Although slightly more attractive than the old website, this new site seems much less functional. Information for obtaining a visa will be under the "Consular Services" drop down menu, on the "Visa" page.
In addition to omissions of important supporting documents, the current website contains confusing instructions. Although step two of the stated process indicates that an applicant should "complete the online visa application forms," no such forms are provided. Also, the payment section states that "fees are to be paid online via credit card," yet nowhere on the site is a page to submit payment found.
Chad Now has a copy of the Chad visa application form that applicants can utilize until the embassy resolves their website issues. Chad Now contacted the embassy September 15, 2011 concerning the online payment issue. At that time, the embassy indicated that payment was to be submitted via money order.
Also, applicants still are expected to somehow provide return service for their visas. In other words, you, the applicant, are expected to somehow have the visa sent back to you. Return service is not covered in your visa fee, and you cannot pay extra to have them mail it back to you. The embassy recommends that applicants use FedEx to come pick up your visa and ship it to you. Nevertheless, you must sign up for a special FedEx account before using their pick up services. A simpler but less secure option is to include in your initial application a self-addressed, stamped envelope for return delivery via USPS.
Travel Outside N'Djamena
If you wish to travel outside of the capital, you will probably need to obtain documentation. Travel accounts vary on this matter. We have decided to simply include a summarized narrative of one American traveler in Chad. It is our hope that potential visitors to Chad will not be discouraged by the confusing process. Admittedly, patience is a virtue in Chad.
Summarized from Angry Wind by Jeffrey Taylor, concerning his trip to Chad in 2004:
Upon arrival, he had to get a permit to leave N'Djamena. The Ministry for the Development of Tourism held jurisdiction over foreigners. The Ministry was a couple of two story stucco buildings near the Chari River. He approached a guard, who directed him to the office of the Director of Hotels (on the second floor). The Director then led him downstairs and around the side of the building to the Directorate of the Promotion of Tourism. His request for Autorisation de Circular had to be approved by the Minister of Public security himself (who may or may not be there at the time of your arrival). He had to write a personal letter, in his name, stating his itinerary and mode of transport. There were two parts to the necessary documentation - an official letter from the director and a personal request for permit. The packet then had to be taken by the employee to the Ministry of Public Security for a requisite ministerial signature.
Visitors who wish to take pictures in Chad should attempt to obtain a camera permit. This permit will require its own application, and at this time, it seems camera permits are only granted from the Ministry of Communications in N'Djamena (inside the government complex). Those who wish to obtain a camera permit will need to provide their reasons for taking pictures. The government prohibits photography of administrative facilities, military sites, airports, and parks and wildlife reserves, as the permit clearly states (Cette autorisation n'est pas valable pour les facades administratives, les sites militaires, les aeroports, les parcs et reserves de faunes). If you are a tourist and are planning on taking pictures in Chad, please read our note on local attitudes and techniques for photography.
Registering on Arrival
Upon arriving at N'Djamena Airport (IATA Code: NDJ), visitors pass through a very simplified immigration process. After immediately descending from the plane, passengers are taken to immigration (inside the airport) via minibus. Then you hand your immigration card (which is filled out while still on the plane) to an immigration worker, who will look it over and possibly ask a question (such as, "How long will your stay be?"). Then, he will stamp your passport and release you into the city. Nevertheless, there is a second step. If this is your first trip to Chad (on your current passport), then you must register at the police station within three days of arriving in the capital. If you've been to Chad before (on the same passport), then you don't need to register your passport. Be sure to take three passport-size photos with you, as they will request them. Also take your passport.
For help finding the police station in N'Djamena and navigating to the passport office once you're there, visit our N'Djamena police station page.
Many sources report that travelers must register at every town they travel to in Chad. This process should not be a lengthy one, but be ready for an inquiry into your reasons for traveling.Travel Home Give us your input
Chad Embassies Abroad
United States - Washington D.C.
2002 R Street, NW
Washington D.C. 20009
Canada - Ottawa
340 Gloucester St. Ste. 606
ON K1R 1A8
France - Paris
65 rue des Belles
Feuilles - 75116
Germany - Bonn
Egypt - Cairo
12 Midan El Rifai
China - Beijing
21 Guanghua Lu
Greece - Athens
Eleni Haziroglou 114
Argyroupoli 164 52
Nigeria - Lagos
2 Goriola Street
Taiwan - Taipei
8F, 9, Lane 62
Tienmu W. Rd
Belgium - Brussels
Austria - Vienna
3150 Wilhelmsburg, Hauptplatz
Tips for Photography in Chad
In recent years, many foreign visitors intending to take pictures in Chad have encountered local populations that are less than accepting of having their picture taken. Reports indicate that in more rural areas, this is not as much of a problem. But in N'Djamena and Abeche, travelers do encounter resistance to photography. There are several key techniques for taking pictures.
1. Have a photo permit. If you take pictures in N'Djamena/Abeche without a photo permit, and your actions lead to an interrogation by government employees, lacking a photo permit would not be good.
2. Ask permission. It is very important to talk to the people you are photographing. People are interested in you, and they would love to hear who you are and why you are visiting Chad. Tell them why you are taking pictures ("to teach the people back home about your beautiful country" would be a great reason) and ask permission to take their picture.
3. Get them to take your picture. If you have someone take a picture of you first, and then you show them the picture on a digital display, they will greatly enjoy that. Then they will be more likely to let you take some of your own.
As soon as you raise a camera to take a picture of someone in Chad, you are stating that they look "different," or "entertaining." This is an alienating relationship, and it can lead to displeasure. Talking to people, asking permission, and making yourself the subject can break through this stigma.