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By No owner — last modified Sep 17, 2012 04:49 AM

 Gambia - Formalities

Clearance

Clearance formalities can be very time consuming in The Gambia (see Banjul for specific port clearance information). All official offices will need to visited; Immigration, Customs and the Harbourmaster, and various forms will need to be filled in, lists of crew and stores compiled etc.

Don't expect the offices to have the necessary blank forms or paper available. If possible, get a copy of the Clearance certificate from a shipping company in adavance, otherwise you may have to hand draw one! Also, take plenty of paper and pens with you.

Contrary to what you might be told, offices are not open 7 days a week. Try and arrange to arrive on a weekday. The fees charged will probably depend on the official you see. It is also possible that no change will be given, nor a receipt issued. Yachts have reported paying fees ranging from $25 to $150 with some of the smaller yachts paying more than the bigger ones. How you present yourself may also affect the fee you are charged. A small gift (i.e. chocolates, cigarettes, lipsticks) are appreciated and may smooth the way.

The yacht may or may not be inspected.

Last updated November 2016.

Immigration

Passports must be valid for the length of your stay.

Gambia is no longer a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

For citizens of the United Kingdom, full members of the European Union, the Commonwealth, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and several other countries do not require a visa for visits of up to 28 days. Passports are stamped on arrival and an extension can be obtained for another 28 days.

Those arriving without a visa are allowed 2 days to obtain one at the Immigration Office in Banjul. Visas cost 500 Dalasi (12€) per person for the first month. Visas can also be extended here for another month (or in Kaur, or Farafeni), for the same price.

If you do not have all your crew with you when visiting Immigration, they may want to come and inspect the boat.

You must carry ID with you at all times. Carry a photocopy of your passport and keep the original locked away.

Last updated November 2016.

Customs

Firearms must be declared.

Gambia has strict laws on the import/export medications. Visitors arriving with substances containing hydroquinone, hydrocortisone, betamethasone, flucinonide, clobestatol, or clobestatone must have a doctor's prescription or may be subject to fines up to $2,000 and/or three years imprisonment.

Travellers in possession of prescription drugs should carry proof of their prescriptions, such as labeled containers. Police have been known to arrest foreigners carrying unlabelled pills.

Customs will probably want to come and inspect your boat.

Last updated November 2016.

Health

Malaria prophylaxis should be started one week prior to arrival. It is present is all areas throughout the year.

Cholera may be a risk. Water should be treated.

Some prescription and over-the-counter medicines like those containing codeine or diazepam are banned under The Gambia’s drugs laws.

Medical facilities in The Gambia are very limited and the cost of medical evacuation can be very high.

Restrictions

The Gambia is a predominantly Muslim country and care should be taken to dress moderately, especially away from the tourist areas.

Local Customs

There is a zero tolerance towards LGBT people in The Gambia.

Some foreign nationals have been detained by the police in relation to homosexuality and there has been an increase in inflammatory homophobic rhetoric across the country.

The Criminal Code was amended in October 2014 and homosexual activity can now result in a 14 year prison sentence.

Pets

Animals must be declared

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