Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:
Special Circumstances: Senegal is generally a very tolerant society with excellent relations between the approximately 95 percent of the Senegalese population who practice Islam and the remaining five percent that practice Christianity and other religions. Senegalese culture is conservative, however, particularly in rural regions. Be mindful of local social and cultural mores pertaining to dress, displays of affection, and interactions between men and women.
Personal Identification: Senegalese law requires all persons to carry valid personal identification at all times, and authorities may detain anyone, including U.S. citizens, who do not cooperate and provide identification. However, to minimize inconvenience in the event of theft, it is recommended that U.S. citizens carry copies, rather than originals, of their passports and other identification documents.
Currency: Senegal’s currency is the franc of the Communauté Financière d’Afrique (fCFA), which has an exchange rate fixed to the Euro. Senegal’s economy operates primarily on a cash basis. Credit cards are not widely accepted. Although ATMs are available in some areas (primarily Dakar), they are not always reliable and should generally be avoided. Mobile money services, using local cell phone accounts, are becoming more common. You may be able to transfer money from the United States using a commercial wire-transfer company.
LGBTI Travelers: Same-sex sexual relations are criminalized in Senegal. LGBTI individuals routinely face discrimination. Under Article 319 of the Senegalese criminal code, “unnatural acts” are punishable by imprisonment of one to five years and a fine of fCFA 1,000,000 (USD $2,000). Several high-profile cases of arrest under these laws have occurred.
See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.
Travelers with Disabilities: The law in Senegal prohibits discrimination against persons with physical or mental disabilities but the law is not enforced. Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is as prevalent as in the United States. Expect accessibility to be limited in public transportation, lodging, communication/information, and general infrastructure.
The availability of rental, repair or replacement parts for aids, equipment, and devices for people with disabilities, including service providers such as sign language interpreters or personal assistants, is limited, especially outside of the capital city.
Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.
Women Travelers: Rape is a crime in Senegal punishable by up to 10 years in prison, though it is rarely prosecuted. Spousal rape is not criminalized. Domestic violence that causes lasting injury is punishable by up to twenty years in prison. Domestic violence that results in death is punishable by life in prison. However, the law against domestic violence is rarely enforced.
Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is not specifically outlawed in Senegal and is commonly practiced in the south and southeast of the country.
See our travel tips for Women Travelers.