Local laws and customs
French is the official language in Mali. It’s widely spoken and understood in the major towns and cities, whereas English is not. Elsewhere in the country, local languages are normally used.
Mali is a secular country, but predominantly a Muslim country and the country’s laws and customs are very different to those in the UK. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas. See Travelling during Ramadan
Don’t photograph military or government installations; ask permission before taking photographs.
Carry some form of identification at all times. This would normally mean your passport or residence permit. If you drive outside the main towns, the likelihood of having to produce some form of identification is high.
Women are expected to dress modestly.
Homosexuality is not illegal in Mali, but discrimination is widespread. Arrests have been made for ‘immoral behaviour’. LGBTI individuals have experienced physical, psychological, and sexual violence, which society views as corrective punishment and police frequently refuse to intervene. There have been incidences of homophobic attacks, and arrests targeting the LGBT community in Bamako. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
Used Household Goods and Personal Effects
- Copy of passport showing entry permit
- Packing list in French or English
- Original bill of lading (OBL) / express release accepted / air waybill (AWB)
- Original detailed inventory in French dated, valued, and signed by the owner of the goods
- Letter of employment
- Certificate of change of residence from the City Hall (or embassy), which certifies that the owner of the goods is a current resident and is departing the country
- Diplomatic franchise (diplomats)
- All containers arriving at TOE Bamako are scanned.
- Documents must be received by agent at least 15 days before the arrival of the shipment to minimize any port charges.
- It takes approximately 20–40 days to obtain the free-entry certificate.
- Express releases are acceptable but result in additional fees of EUR 100.00.
- A certificate for free entry must be obtained from the Customs head office; shipments are then duty free.
- The tax on new household items for all shipments is 45% on the declared value (excludes diplomats).
- The “Redevance Statistique” is 2.5% of the valued inventory for non-Malian citizens and 3.5% for returning citizens (excludes diplomats).
- The Fonds de Garantie Routier is 1% tax of the valued inventory for all shipments transported by road fromAbidjan,Ivory Coast toBamako,Mali.
- The diplomatic organization will apply for a diplomatic exemption document to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on behalf of the owner of the goods; it takes approximately15 days to obtain the exemption, to begin clearance (diplomats).
- Documents must be received by agent at least 15 days prior to arrival of the shipment in free entry status from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (diplomats).
- 1000 cigarettes or 250 cigars or 2 kilograms of tobacco;
- 2 bottles of alcoholic beverages;
- a reasonable quantity of perfume for personal use.
Home computers are not accepted as personal effects and are subject to duties and import taxes.
- New electrical items are subject to payment of Customs duties and taxes.
- Invoices of all electrical items and furniture must be more than six months old.
- Vehicle – New cars are dutiable, and import license is required for new cars.
- Pets – a Health Certificate from veterinarian require
Narcotics and foreign products labeled as originating in Mali are prohibited imports. The following products require prior approval from the relevant ministry: medicines, veterinary products, vehicles larger than sedans, arms and ammunition, tobacco products, and fishing nets with holes less than 50 millimeters in diameter.
- Alcohol and other spirits are prohibited and should be sent separately
- Weapons (Certificate required)
- Books, films and pictures may be subject to censorship and will be confiscated if found to be contrary to local customs
Miscellaneous (Pets, Motors, and others.)
- Original registration card
- Original bill of lading (OBL) / air waybill (AWB)
- Non-sale certificate
- Purchase invoice / certificate of value
- The duty rates on motor vehicles is as follows:
- If the motor vehicle is new, tax is 44% of the Argus value + EUR 40.00 / year
- If the motor is 10 years or older, tax is 44% of the Argus value + 10 x 40 = EUR 400.00
- Diplomats are exempt from tax on motor vehicles.
- Vaccination record
- Veterinary health certificate / sanitary certificate
- The veterinary health certificate / sanitary certificate must be issued from the country of origin within 3 days of import; it must specify that the animal has been free from any infectious disease or rabies for at least 6 weeks prior to import.
- Veterinary Health certificate from the country of origin, issued no more than 3 days before departure. It must specify that the place of origin has been free from any infectious disease for at least 6 weeks prior to arrival. For dogs it must also specify that no case of rabies has occurred during the same period;
- Rabies vaccination certificate.
To exit a sanitary certificate from the Veterinary Department (see entry ) and a rabies vaccination certificate are required.
Baggage Clearance regulations:
Baggage is cleared at the first point of entry in Mali.
Exempt: baggage of passengers in transit to African states.
Currency Import regulations:
RESIDENTS: local currency (CFA Franc-XOF) and foreign currencies: no restrictions. NON-RESIDENTS: local currency and foreign currencies: no restrictions, if declared when the amount exceeds XOF 25,000.- in order to facilitate re-exportation.
Currency Export regulations:
Local currency (CFA Franc-XOF): unlimited; foreign currencies: equivalent of XOF 25,000.- in banknotes. NON-RESIDENTS who made a declaration on entry may re-export all their currencies less a reasonable amount equivalent to their expenses in Mali. No restrictions on foreign currencies in the form of cheques or letters of credit.