Travel advice and advisories for Bangladesh

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Risk level

Bangladesh – Exercise a high degree of caution

Exercise a high degree of caution in Bangladesh due to the threat of terrorism, political demonstrations, nationwide general strikes and violent clashes.

Chittagong Hill Tracts region – Avoid all travel

Avoid all travel to the Chittagong Hill Tracts region due to politically motivated violence, kidnappings and sporadic ethnic clashes.

 

 

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Safety and security

COVID-19 – Preventative measures and restrictions

COVID-19 preventative measures and restrictions are still in effect in some destinations.

These could include:

  • curfews, movement restrictions, or lockdowns
  • mandatory mask use
  • required proof of vaccination or a COVID-19 test result to access public and private services and spaces

Before travelling, verify if specific restrictions or requirements are still in effect.

Foreign Representatives in Canada

Chittagong Hill Tracts region

There is a serious risk of politically motivated violence, kidnapping and sporadic ethnic clashes in this region.

Violent clashes occur between indigenous communities that are organized under opposing political groups. The clashes result from their desire to obtain political control over specific geographic areas.

These groups also engage in extortion and drug, money and weapons smuggling.

If you decide to visit the Chittagong Hill Tracts region despite this advisory, you must contact the Chittagong Divisional Commissioner’s Office at least 10 days before you arrive.

Chittagong Divisional Commissioner’s Office

Southern Bangladesh

Many Rohingya refugees have entered southern Bangladesh, especially in the Ukhia and Teknaf sub-districts, in the south of Cox’s Bazar district. Bangladeshi authorities regulate access to these areas.

If you provide any humanitarian assistance in this region, make sure to do so through an established humanitarian agency that is registered with Bangladeshi authorities.

Stay informed on the ongoing situation.

Cox’s Bazar

Public infrastructure in the Cox’s Bazar area has severely degraded over the few past years. Resources such as basic food and potable water are limited.

Terrorism

There is a threat of terrorism throughout the country, especially in Dhaka. Extremists have carried out attacks using improvised explosive devices and suicide bombers. Westerners have been targeted. Although such incidences have been less frequent since 2020, smaller attacks and attempted attacks still occur.

Further attacks are likely. Targets could include:

  • government buildings, including schools
  • places of worship
  • airports and other transportation hubs and networks
  • public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
  • police stations

Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.

Be particularly vigilant during religious holidays. Limit your attendance at events where a large number of people, including foreigners, may gather. These include:

  • sporting events
  • festivals
  • public celebrations
  • hotels and conference centres

 Terrorists have used such occasions to mount attacks.

Civil unrest

Demonstrations, blockades, nationwide general strikes—known as hartals—and politically motivated violence have occurred. These incidents are likely to reoccur.

During strikes, demonstrations or election periods, avoid:

  • Road 86 (north of Gulshan Circle 2)
  • the Road 79–Gulshan Avenue intersection

Large gatherings often occur in those areas, making it difficult to pass safely.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Demonstrations

Sudden violent demonstrations and clashes can take place on Friday afternoons following Jumma prayers.

Previous violent demonstrations have resulted in several hundred deaths. Attacks using explosive devices have occurred in crowded public places, hotels, movie theatres and railway stations.

Blockades

During blockades, protesters have set fire to vehicles and damaged railway tracks, leading to derailments and injuries.

  • Avoid travelling during blockades, as attacks may occur
  • Prepare to have sufficient food, water and fuel available, as there may be shortages

General strikes

General strikes can effectively shut down all businesses and disrupt transportation, including in the diplomatic/expatriate areas. Passengers at Hazrat Shah Jalal International Airport may be stranded without transportation.

You may also have difficulty finding essential supplies such as fuel.

There is a high incidence of violence during these events.

During a general strike:

  • avoid travelling within Dhaka, outside the Baridhara and Banani areas
  • avoid all travel outside Dhaka

Politically motivated violence

Attacks have occurred at political rallies in several cities, including:

  • Chittagong
  • Dhaka
  • Khulna
  • Sylhet

Certain groups have used explosive devices and firearms during confrontations between rival political factions, demonstrators and police.

Be vigilant in Dhaka around:

  • the National Parliament House and the Bangladesh Secretariat
  • the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque
  • the University of Dhaka
  • the Mirpur, Motijheel, Naya Paltan, Purana Paltan and Shahbag districts
  • the commercial district of Kawran Bazar

Crime

Violent crime

Violent crime, such as armed robberies and rapes, occurs.

Kidnappings for ransom have also occurred, though they rarely involve foreigners.

Religious minorities have been the targets of attacks. These minorities include:

  • Hindus
  • Buddhists
  • Christians
  • secular writers, including some foreigners

Petty crime

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, purse snatching and mugging, are common, particularly in tourist areas.

  • Avoid walking in public alone or after dark
  • Avoid showing signs of affluence
  • Do not wear jewellery
  • Ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • Decline help from anyone who approaches you at the airport with an offer to arrange transportation or assist with luggage

Women’s safety

Women travelling alone may face some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.

  • Avoid travelling alone, including on public transportation, especially at night
  • Don’t go to the police station by yourself

Safe-travel guide for women

Forced marriage

Forced marriages affecting foreigners take place. Sometimes, the affected person doesn’t know about or consent to the marriage.

Some Canadians could be forced into marital arrangements and detained against their will. They could be subjected to:

  • threats
  • intimidation
  • violence by family members

Once you’re abroad, your family members may retain your passport to prevent you from returning to Canada. Keep digital or physical copies of your travel documents in a safe place.

If you’re in Canada

If you’re in Canada and you believe that you’re being forced to travel overseas to marry, call your local police for assistance.

If you’re abroad

If you’re abroad and you believe that you’re being forced to marry, contact the nearest office of the Government of Canada. You may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.

Useful links

  • General information and advice about forced marriage
  • Safe-travel guide for women

Fraud

Credit card and ATM fraud occurs, especially in Dhaka.

When using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention if others are handling your cards
  • use ATMs located in public areas or inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check f
    or any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

More about overseas fraud

Essential services and tourist facilities

Planned power cuts occur daily in most parts of the country and can last for many hours.

Water supplies are also inconsistent. Several areas of the country can go for days without any water.

Be aware that tourist facilities are inadequate throughout the country.

Road safety

Road conditions and road safety are poor throughout the country. Road travel is dangerous, particularly after dark. Many vehicles operate without headlights or with full high beams.

Traffic in urban areas is extremely congested and chaotic. Road accidents causing injuries or death are common. Crowds, which can turn hostile, often gather around the scene of such accidents.

In you are involved in a serious accident where you could be deemed at fault:

  • immediately make your way to a police station
  • lock your doors and windows and call police if you cannot move your vehicle

Public transportation

Safety standards for public transportation, including buses, trains and ferries, are poor.

Thieves are present on trains, ferries and long-distance buses. They also target rickshaw, CNG (motorized rickshaw) and taxi passengers, particularly around dusk.

Be extremely cautious if using public transportation.

  • Avoid travelling alone and after dark
  • Use only registered taxis booked through a hotel

Buses

Buses are generally in poor condition. They are often involved in accidents.

Trains

Rail travel is slow and derailments occur. Trains are often overcrowded. Lock your compartment if you travel by train at night,

Ferries

Ferry accidents are common due to poor safety practices or extreme weather conditions.

If you choose to travel by ferry:

  • make sure the vessel you are boarding is carrying appropriate safety equipment and that life jackets are provided for all passengers and accessible at all times
  • don’t board vessels that appear overloaded or unseaworthy
  • verify the safety standards of ferries with your tour operator

Piracy

Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in coastal waters. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.

Live piracy report – International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

General information about foreign domestic airlines

 

 

 

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Entry and exit requirements

COVID-19 – Entry, exit and transit restrictions and requirements

Most governments have implemented special entry and exit restrictions and requirements for their territory due to COVID-19. These measures can be imposed suddenly and may include:

  • entry or exit bans
  • quarantine
  • mandatory proof of vaccination or COVID-19 testing
  • suspensions or reductions of international transportation options

Foreign authorities might not recognize or accept proof of vaccination issued by Canadian provinces and territories. You may need to obtain a translation, a notarization, an authentication, or the legalization of the document.

Before travelling:

  • verify if the local authorities of both your current location and destinations have implemented any restrictions or requirements related to this situation
  • consider even your transit points, as there are transit rules in place in many destinations
  • monitor the media for the latest information
  • reconfirm the requirements with your airline or tour operator

The situation could disrupt your travel plans. You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance to change your travel plans.

Useful links

  • Travel restrictions and health requirements – United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and International Air Transport Association (IATA)
  • Foreign Representatives in Canada

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the Bangladeshi authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.

Passport

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months at the time of arrival in Bangladesh.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links

  • Foreign Representatives in Canada
  • Canadian passports

Visas

Tourist visa: required
Business visa: required
Student visa: required

You should obtain a visa before travelling to Bangladesh. While you can apply for single-entry tourist and business visas upon arrival, which are valid for stays of up to 30 days, there is a risk of you being denied entry into the country.

Other entry requirements

Customs officials may ask you to show them a return or onward ticket and proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay.

You must carry all documents pertaining to the purpose of your visit. If you’re travelling for business, you must also produce:

  • a hotel booking confirmation
  • a letter of invitation or letter of offer from a local company providing details regarding the purpose and duration of your stay

Exit requirements

If you enter Bangladesh on a business visa, you’ll have to provide local authorities with an Income Tax Clearance Certificate or an Income Tax Exemption Certificate upon departure.

Dual citizenship

Dual citizens can obtain a “No Visa Required” stamp on their passport. However, it may limit the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular services.

If you entered Bangladesh with this stamp, make sure it’s transferred to any new passport you obtain while in the country.

Recognition of dual citizenship

Children and travel

Learn about travel with children.

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

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Natural disasters and climate

Earthquakes and tsunamis

Bangladesh is located in an active seismic zone.

Bangladeshi authorities usually issue tsunami warnings immediately following a large earthquake.

A tsunami can occur within minutes of a nearby earthquake. However, the risk of tsunami can remain for several hours following the first tremor. If you’re staying on the coast, familiarize yourself with the region’s evacuation plans in the event of a tsunami warning. 

In the event of an earthquake:

  • monitor local media for the latest information
  • follow the instructions of local authorities

Useful links

  • Earthquakes – What to Do?
  • Tsunami alerts – U.S. Tsunami Warning System

Monsoons and cyclones

The rainy (or monsoon) season extends from June to October. Every year during the monsoon season, a third of Bangladesh’s territory is seriously affected. Seasonal flooding can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable and bridges damaged.

Bangladesh’s coastline is also subject to cyclones. Heavy rain can cause flooding throughout the country, resulting in significant casualties and extensive damage to infrastructure.

If you decide to travel to Bangladesh during the rainy season:

  • know that you expose yourself to serious safety risks
  • be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip
  • stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
  • stay away from disaster areas
  • carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
  • follow the advice and instructions of local authorities, including evacuation orders

Useful links

  • Hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones and monsoons
  • Bangladesh Meteorological Department
  • Large-scale emergencies abroad

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