Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Cotonou, Benin

Location:  Benin

Event: Benin has six confirmed cases of COVID-19 within its borders.

In accordance with local public health recommendations, the U.S. Embassy in Cotonou, Benin has reduced operations to emergency services only from March 30 to April 13.  U.S. citizens with emergencies should contact American Citizen Services at or call +229 21 36 75 00. Those seeking emergency visa assistance should email

Country Update

The Government of Benin has issued a decree establishing a health cordon around the zone composed of the municipalities of Cotonou, Abomey-Calavi, Allada, Ouidah, Sèmè-Podji, Porto-Novo, Akpro-Missérété and Adjarra effective from March 30 through April 13. While the government has not yet announced full details of the impact of the health cordon, during this period the Embassy expects the movement of people into and out of the zone to be restricted, public transportation to be suspended, and gatherings of more than five people in both public and private places to be prohibited. 

Visit the Government of Benin’s COVID-19 website for additional information on these new measures. 

Traveling to Benin

All travelers arriving in Benin will be required to self-isolate in a government-designated quarantine facility for a period of 14 days.  For non-Beninese travelers, the costs of stay will be incurred by the traveler. 

Departing Benin

As of March 26, Ethiopian Airlines is the only commercial carrier serving Cotonou’s Cadjehoun Airport with a regularly scheduled flight.  U.S. citizens who are considering returning to the United States are urged to work with Ethiopian Airlines immediately to make travel arrangements while flights are available.

If you are unable to book a commercial flight, please send an email to  with the subject line “Return Travel to the U.S.”  Please include the following information for each U.S. citizen, and each U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident guardian accompanying minor U.S. citizen children, in your family or group:

  • Full name as it appears on your passport
  • Citizenship (only for U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents)
  • Date of birth
  • Passport number/LPR Card Number
  • Date of passport/LPR Card issuance and expiration
  • Email address and contact phone number
  • Current location
  • Desired onward destination in the United States

The Department of State is not currently organizing an evacuation of American citizens from Benin.  We will contact you if a repatriation flight is being arranged and provide you with logistical information, including its cost per seat.  It is important to note that these seats are traditionally offered at-charge on a first-come, first-serve basis to U.S. citizens and, space permitting, for qualifying non-citizen dependents.  Private American citizens seeking to depart are required to sign a promissory note and will be billed at a later date for the cost of the flight.

Actions to Take:

  • Review the Global Level 4 Health Advisory advising U.S. citizens to reconsider travel abroad due to COVID-19 and take into account that emergency medical care may not be available anywhere within Benin.
  • Check with your airlines regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.
  • Make plans to depart Benin without U.S. Government assistance or, if remaining in Benin, prepare to shelter in place for an indefinite period of time.
  • Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information.
  • Visit our Embassy webpage on COVID-19 for information on conditions in Benin.
  • Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the United States.