Customs regulations and required documents
Personal effects import regulations
Don’t become involved with drugs of any kind.
If you commit a criminal offence, including drug trafficking and diamond smuggling you can expect to be subjected to local law. There are heavy penalties for those convicted. Local prison conditions are harsh.
Homosexuality is illegal. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
Carry photographic identification with you at all times, you may be asked to produce it at any time by immigration officials or the police.
The government office responsible for adoptions in Liberia is the Ministry of Justice. All petitions for adoption are filed in the Probate Court, which issues a decree of adoption if all legal requirements are met. Adoption orders from Liberia are not recognised in the UK. Liberian nationals require a visa to enter the UK. If you are returning to live in the UK, you will need to apply for entry clearance for the child as a child coming for adoption in the UK.
The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) is responsible for managing Liberian customs, including assessing, collecting, enforcing, and auditing all taxes on domestic and international trade. It manages customs processes and procedures through all ports of entry, including land borders. As the lead agency for processing trade taxes (custom duties, tariffs, etc.) at all borders and ports of entry, the LRA is the repository for international trade statistics. Over the past few years, the LRA has automated and continues to automate several of its processes and activities. Some of the eservices are Online and POS payments, ASYCUDA System, E-tax Clearance, Direct Transfer Payment, Mobile Money Payment, Register Property, and Request TIN (Tax Identification Number). For further details on Liberia’s customs regulations, trade taxes, and tax system, please visit the LRA website or contact the following offices:
In January 2019, the National Port Authority (NPA) initiated the implementation of the Cargo Tracking Note/Advanced Cargo Declaration (CTN/ACD) system for all shipments to any destination ports, including transit through Liberia. Therefore, shippers, exporters, and forwarders at various ports of loading around the world are required to obtain a validated Cargo Tracking Number (CTN) using the online platform and to submit the required shipping documents. Additionally, the NPA requires inspection through the exclusive pre-shipment provider for Liberia Bureau Veritas or BIVAC, with such services costing 1.5 percent of the shipment’s value. Pre-shipment inspections are required for goods valued at US$3,500 and above. The penalty for importers who fail to complete the BIVAC pre-shipment inspection ranges from 10 percent to 30 percent of the shipment’s value. After clearing customs, importers present cost information to MOCI for price approval.
BIVAC has listed the following products as items exempt from import duties (customs):
Liberia’s Revenue Code provides the legal and regulatory basis for customs duties and standards. The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) is a semi-autonomous agency that administers and enforces the Revenue Code and other related tax laws. Imports are subject to tariff duties, which vary according to product type, category, volume, etc., and constitute a major source of government income. Import duties are specific (based on volume) for some commodities, and ad valorem (based on cost, insurance, and freight value) for others. Specific duties apply to food, beverages, petroleum products, and certain rubber products. The cost of equipment and machinery used in the year the asset is placed into service is eligible for a tax deduction of up to 30 percent. The construction cost of a new hotel or a tourist resort is eligible for a tax deduction of up to 30 percent of the cost of the investment. Additionally, the cost of buildings or fixtures used to manufacture finished products containing at least 60 percent local raw materials are eligible for a tax deduction of up to 10 percent. Machinery, equipment, raw materials, semi-finished products, and other supplies used for construction projects in the tourism sector are exempt from import duty for up to 90 percent of their dutiable value.
Since 2010, the ECOWAS commission introduced a common external tariff (CET) system based on a value added tax (VAT) regime as part of the regional efforts toward establishing a common custom union across West Africa. The aim is to make trade and commerce easier within the region. However, Liberia continues to use a single-stage goods and services tax (GST) while the government gradually transitions and harmonizes its external and domestic taxations to adapt to the VAT regime. GST is imposed at the manufacturing stage on several goods and services specifically listed in the Liberia Revenue Code; it is levied at the rates of 7 percent (for goods) and 10 percent (for services), except for communication services which are set at 15 percent. The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) and the LRA are working on several policies as well as legal and regulatory frameworks to introduce the value-added tax (VAT) regime that would replace the existing Goods and Services Tax (GST) system. Contact the LRA for specific categories of duties or tariffs.
Additionally, see “Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings” below for related provisions.
Generally, Liberian law prohibits the importation of convict-made goods and recognizes international regulations on narcotics and other contraband. Importation of certain goods, including illegal drugs, weapons, explosives, ammunitions, knives and deadly weapons, and counterfeit money are either prohibited or restricted.
The import of certain endangered species of plant, live animals and their products is prohibited or restricted under CITES.
For further details please refer to CITES: www.cites.org.
Additional Information on regulations:
For flowers and plants: a health certificate issued by the competent authorities in the country of origin is needed.
Cats and dogs must be accompanied by an import permit issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and veterinarian good health and rabies inoculation certificates issued at the point of origin.
Baggage is cleared at the first airport of entry in Liberia.
Exempt: baggage of transit passengers with a destination outside of Liberia.
Currency Import regulations:
Local currency (Liberian Dollar-LRD) and foreign currencies: Up to a maximum of USD 10,000.- or equivalent in other currencies. Higher amounts must be declared on arrival.
Currency Export regulations:
Local currency (Liberian Dollar-LRD) and foreign currencies: up to USD 7,500.- or equivalent. Higher amounts (may only be exported in the form of bank drafts, traveler’s cheques, money orders etc.) must be declared.
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No airport tax is levied on passengers upon embarkation at the airport.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)
Roberts International Airport (RIA) is open for commercial flights. There are no direct flights from the UK. Air France, Brussels Airlines and Royal Air Maroc usually offer a connecting service via Paris, Brussels or Casablanca. However, services between the UK and Casablanca are not operating and there are now no direct flights between London and Paris. Flight availability could change at very short notice. Some regional airlines are operating with reduced flight schedules. If you wish to travel, you should contact your airline or travel agent for confirmation of flight schedules. In Roberts International Airport, you must stand in marked spaces within the terminal to allow for social distancing.
Before arrival, in Liberia, you must download the Lib Travel mobile app from Android Play or the Apple Store. If you have problems with the app, staff at Roberts International Airport can assist you.
You must complete a Health Screening Arrival Form before arrival, for monitoring and contact tracing. You must provide your passport details, contact details in Liberia, next of kin details, your travel details (including flight details, with seat number and any transit locations), any countries visited in the previous 14 days, and you must complete the symptom checker. You must select a payment option for your COVID-19 test (US$75 payment via app or payment on arrival). Each adult traveller must download the app and register individually. You can register children via a parent’s app. When you arrive in Liberia, you must be able to show proof that you have completed the symptom tracker form. If you experience problems using the app, staff will assists you at the airport on arrival. You must wear a mask during transit and upon arrival in Liberia.
Currently all land borders (with Sierra Leone, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire) are closed to travellers. Ports remain open.
All non-exempt travellers arriving in Liberia will be screened for the coronavirus. For exemptions, see Exemptions to PCR testing on arrival. Different rules apply for short-term missions and humanitarian workers, see below.
If you are visiting Liberia for up to 5 days on a short mission (e.g. you were invited by government or an international NGO to provide technical assistance), you are exempt from testing on arrival, if you meet the following requirements:
If you are deploying to Liberia for a period of less than 15 days you should contact your organisation for advice on which rules to follow.
If you are deploying to Liberia for a period of 15-60 days, you should follow a different process:
Exemptions to PCR testing on arrival:
You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.
You should be prepared for travel restrictions, and changes to screening and quarantine requirements with no advance notice.
Depending on the length and reason for you visit, you may not have to isolate on arrival. However, for the majority of travellers Liberia recommends self-isolation for 7 days after arrival. Humanitarian works staying longer than 15 days will need to isolate on arrival for 7 days and then take a further PCR test. There is a risk for British nationals of being put into a government quarantine or medical facility, either on arrival or during your trip to Liberia. Liberian precautionary observation centre (POCs) are basic, and not guaranteed to meet Public Health England standards.
You are at risk of being put into quarantine or instructed to self-isolate even after completing your post-arrival self-isolation, if you develop symptoms (fever, cough or respiratory illness), or it is suspected you have been in contact with some who has tested positive for coronavirus. If you test positive for COVID-19, you may be transferred to a government quarantine facility or treatment centre. You are strongly advised to familiarise yourself with these risks before travelling.
If you are travelling on behalf of government, an international organisation/NGO or a company, you should check with your organisation whether they have pre-arranged a private POC, i.e. quarantine facility, authorised by NHPIL. The British Embassy cannot provide POC facilities. If you show symptoms, you may be transferred to a government POC or treatment centre
Visitors arriving on a laissez-passer (except UN or EU), may also be taken to quarantine for secondary screening. Any suspicion of illegal attempts to circumvent the process will result in removal to quarantine.
Before departure from Liberia, you’ll need a negative COVID-19 test result, and a travel certificate issued by Liberia’s National Public Health Reference Laboratory. For exemptions, see Exemptions to PCR testing on departure.
Exemptions to PCR testing on departure:
Testing protocols could change at short notice. You should monitor this travel advice for updates, contact your airline before travel, and consult government sources for announcements (see Further information).
Before departing Liberia, you should check travel advice of the countries on your route (transit and final destination) for the latest entry requirements and any coronavirus restrictions. Your airline may refuse to allow you to board in Liberia if you do not meet all requirements. The Belgian Government currently lists Liberia as a “red” country for coronavirus risk. There may be additional requirements for transiting through Brussels. You should check travel advice before travelling
If you are unable to leave Liberia and your visa is due to expire, you must apply for an extension. The maximum extension period is 60 days. It is only possible to extend your visa once. To apply for an extension in Monrovia, you should visit the Immigration Office at Gbarngaye’s Town, 24th Street, Sinkor. The office is open 9am to 3pm, Monday to Friday. You should ask for the Registration Section.
You must bring your passport and pay a fee of US$25. If you are staying outside Montserrado County, you should contact your local Immigration Office to seek a visa extension authorised by the Immigration County Commander. If you have already extended your visa once and it is due to expire, you must apply for a residence permit. In this case, please contact the British Embassy for advice by emailing [email protected]
British nationals need a visa to enter Liberia. You can get a visa from the Embassy of the Republic of Liberia in London.
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) aren’t valid for entry into Liberia. However, ETDs are accepted for airside transit and exit from Liberia.
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
If you’re intending to live in Liberia, you will need to register with the Liberian Immigration Service (LIS), Airfield New Road, Sinkor Monrovia. Visitors do not need to register with the LIS.
Liberia has become increasingly stable since the internal conflict ended in 2003. The Liberian government is working closely with the UN and the international community to provide increased stability and development.
Protests and demonstrations do take place in Monrovia on occasion. You should avoid protests, demonstrations, political rallies, large gatherings and crowds and follow the advice of local authorities.
Liberia held Senatorial elections, Representative by-elections and a National Constitutional Referendum on 8 December 2020. Interim results have been announced gradually, but the announcement of finalised results has been delayed. Protests or violence are possible if results are disputed. You should remain vigilant, avoid any large public gatherings and demonstrations, monitor local media for up-to-date information, and follow the advice of local authorities. See Local Travel
Most visits to Liberia are incident free but there is a high level of crime in Monrovia, including armed robbery. Foreigners are occasionally targeted, although Liberians are the main victims of crime. The Liberian National Police has very limited capability to prevent or detect crime, or to provide emergency response in any part of the country. Levels of crime are much higher after dark. Don’t walk anywhere in the city at night.
Take care when walking alone and only do so during daylight hours. Avoid areas where there are few people, such as beaches.
Most crime is opportunistic theft, but there are organised criminal gangs. Thieves are often armed with knives or machetes, but occasionally also carry firearms. While Liberians are the main victims of crime, the relative wealth of international visitors makes them an attractive target for criminals. Avoid carrying valuables or large sums of money in public and be vigilant at all times, especially at night. Mobile phones and laptops are common targets of theft.
Foreigners have been mugged in the Mamba Point and Sinkor areas of Monrovia (including Sinkor beach in broad daylight), where most international visitors stay. Be wary if you are approached by strangers. Criminals also operate in nightclubs and on beaches.
Accommodation occupied by international workers has occasionally been targeted by burglars. Thefts have occurred in taxis. You should avoid local public transport. There is a high incidence of rape in Liberia. There have been cases of rapes and attempted rapes involving foreign women although these are rare.
Take extra care when driving in heavy traffic or off the main roads.
Consider your security arrangements carefully before your arrival in Liberia. Stay only in reputable accommodation with adequate guarding and other security arrangements, and arrange for transport, including travel to and from the airport in advance. Roberts International Airport is around 30 miles from central Monrovia, much of the journey passing through rural areas.
There are sometimes clashes between armed groups from both sides of the Liberian/Cote d’Ivoire border in some of the more remote border areas of Grand Gedeh and River Gee counties. To avoid straying into these areas, use the main roads when travelling in these counties.
The ability of the national authorities to provide emergency help outside Monrovia is limited. Check the security situation before travelling to any part of the country. Violent incidents, particularly in rural areas, are possible as a result of land disputes, illegal mining and occupation of rubber plantations. Organised groups of former combatants may be present in areas of the country where there is limited government security presence, including Sinoe rubber plantation and Sapo National Park.
The Samuel K Doe Stadium in Monrovia can become overcrowded during major football matches or events.
An International Driving Permit (IDP) is recommended. A temporary local licence may be obtained on production of a UK licence, but this may be time consuming and more expensive. From 28 March 2019, you will need to have a 1968 International Driving Permit (IDP). 1949 IDPs previously issued by the UK may no longer be accepted for use in Liberia after this date.
From 1 February 2019, you can only get IDPs over the counter from 2,500 UK Post Offices. You will not be able to buy an IDP outside the UK, so get one before you travel.
The roads from Monrovia to Roberts International Airport, the port town of Buchanan and to the border with Sierra Leone at Bo Waterside, and to the border with Guinea at Ganta are mainly paved and in reasonable condition. Most other roads outside Monrovia are unpaved. Driving and road conditions deteriorate significantly during the rainy season (May to November), and many roads may become impassable.
Avoid travelling at night outside Monrovia, except to or from Roberts International Airport. Roads are treacherous and all roads are unlit. Vehicles often do not have lights. You are more vulnerable to being robbed at an illegal check point at night.
Make precautionary arrangements for dealing with breakdowns, including considering travel with more than one vehicle. Traffic accidents can quickly draw hostile crowds, who may attempt to take justice into their own hands. Use a local driver outside Monrovia rather than driving yourself.
The standard of driving is generally poor. Be particularly alert to dangers from other vehicles swerving to avoid potholes and from taxis slowing or stopping unpredictably to pick up or drop off passengers and motorcycle taxis ‘Pein-Peins’ (the main cause of road accidents). Motorcycle taxis are very dangerous.
Be prepared to stop at checkpoints operated by the Liberian National Police, or other Liberian security authorities, which are found on roads throughout the country. Pull over to the side of the road immediately when instructed by security forces accompanying VIP convoys.
All air carriers certified only by Liberia have been refused permission to operate services to the EU because Liberia is unable to ensure that its airlines meet international safety standards. There are no commercial operators of domestic flights within Liberia. Some airlines have suspended international flights into/out of Liberia.
Keep up to date with real-time information from your airline, tour operator or accommodation provider on the impact on any existing travel plans.
Liberia has many attractive beaches, but the Atlantic Ocean is subject to rip tides and other dangerous currents. Swimmers should take care and seek local advice before entering the water. Avoid canoes and fishing boats offering passenger services. They are regularly overwhelmed by strong waves and currents.