Chadians appreciate an opportunity to “get to know” potential partners before beginning concrete discussions. Meetings usually begin with polite inquiries about personal and family health before getting down to business. It is helpful in Chad to supplement written communication with as many face-to-face contacts as possible. Patience and persistence are necessary to do business in Chad.
The use of the Internet is still very limited, and few companies have websites, though this is changing among the younger generation of Chadians.
For up-to-date travel advisories, consult the State Department travel page for Chad. COVID-19 restrictions may remain in place for a substantial period.
U.S. citizens require a visa to enter Chad. Travelers must obtain a Chadian visa in advance and should not count on obtaining a visa at the airport upon landing. U.S. visitors must register with the National Police at the Commissariat Central on Rue du Colonel Moll in N’Djamena within 72 hours after arrival. Travelers are advised to carry their passports at all times, since authorities often request identification. Long-term visas (Visa de Long Séjour) are also available, valid for up to one year.
U.S. travelers can obtain tourist, business, and diplomatic visas from the Embassy of the Republic of Chad, 2002 R Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20009. Telephone: (202) 462-4009; fax: (202) 265-1937. Entry visas are also available at Chadian embassies or consulates in Algeria, Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, China, Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Germany, India, Italy, Kuwait, Libya, Niger, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sudan, Russia, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.
U.S. companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States are advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following link:
Chad uses the Central African CFA Franc (FCFA), which is pegged to the Euro at a fixed rate of one Euro to 655.957 FCFA. Exchange rates with the USD vary according to the strength of the dollar versus the Euro. The average exchange rate in 2019 was 592.73 FCFA per U.S. dollar. Increasingly, ATMs in N’Djamena and other large cities accept U.S. ATM networks. Travelers checks may be accepted at international hotel brands.
Internet accessibility in Chad is limited but increasing. Visitors to N’Djamena generally obtain 3G/4G mobile phone coverage, with worse coverage outside the capital and large cities. Visitors should bring a GSM-compatible with a removable SIM card to utilize the local network, though some U.S. network permit roaming. SIM cards are relatively inexpensive and easy to purchase. Wi-Fi is present in some hotels. Voltage is 220V and electrical outlet plugs are Type C or F, as commonly found in Europe. Most vehicles are manual transmission.
N’Djamena International Airport is administered by the International Agency for Air Navigation Security in Africa (ASECNA). International flights operate between N’Djamena and Paris, Addis Ababa, Istanbul, Yaoundé, and Cairo, among others. N’Djamena is served by several international carriers, including Air France, ASKY Airlines, EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, Turkish Airlines, and the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS). Some domestic flights operate between N’Djamena and provincial capitals Moundou and Abéché, among others. Several small companies offer chartered flights to domestic cities and Zakouma National Park in southeast Chad. Cargo service is offered to Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. Air travel from Chad to other African countries can be costly and time-consuming.
Most domestic travel is conducted by road. Beware poor travel infrastructure and avoid travel at night. Many investors hire a driver in N’Djamena. Road conditions in Chad and the region are challenging. Many primary roads are paved; other roads are dirt and sand. During the rainy season (May to October) many roads become impassable or are restricted by flooding. It is imperative to watch for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and livestock, as they may not be visible until they are in very close proximity.
In cities, motorists share the roads with bicycles, motor scooters, pedestrians, and non-motorized carts. Rush hours are generally 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday - Thursday; and 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday. Drivers are urged to be particularly observant at these times. There are only a few traffic lights in N’Djamena and they are often out of service. Drivers are supposed to yield to traffic on their right, particularly when other cars are entering traffic circles.
In rural areas, drivers should watch for livestock crossing the roads, and for large birds that rest on the roads. Drivers should be alert to older trucks, which do not always have functioning headlights.
Emergency services are poor, so drivers should exercise extreme caution. Travelers should always wear seat belts. When traveling by car, be sure to carry a spare tire. Professional roadside service is not available. When traveling outside the capital, it is imperative to carry sufficient quantities of drinking water. Drivers should ensure that their gas tanks are at least half-full at all times, as gas stations are not widely available. Unleaded Gasoline may be purchased in an emergency from roadside stands, but it is of poor quality.
Travelers on roads in all areas of the country are subject to attack by armed bandits.
There is no rail or water transport in Chad. The nearest port is Douala, Cameroon, 1,800 km (1,120 miles) from N’Djamena.
Please visit the State Department travel page for Chad for additional information.
French and Arabic are the official languages of Chad. Chadian Arabic varies considerably from Classical Arabic. Chadians may be able to understand the latter, while speakers of Classical Arabic may have difficulty understanding Chadian Arabic. Although there is a growing number of English speakers in the government and business communities, proficiency in French remains important.
Medical facilities are limited throughout the country. In the capital, International SOS offers limited U.S. standard medical and emergency care including ambulances, referrals, and evacuation. Membership is required and should be purchased prior to arrival in country. There are five hospitals in N’Djamena. Hopital de la Renaissance is the only one recommended for use by U.S. citizens; however, adequate care is contingent upon personnel availability, some medical equipment is nonoperational and medical supplies and medical personnel can vary.
Malaria is widespread and malaria prophylaxis is strongly recommended. The following diseases are prevalent: African trypanosomiasis, chikungunya, diarrheal illnesses, hepatitis A, malaria, and upper respiratory infections. Yellow fever and cholera vaccination are required for entry. Vaccinations against typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria, meningitis, and hepatitis are recommended. Please visit the State Department travel page for Chad for additional information.
Local Time, Business Hours, and Holidays
Chad lies entirely in the West African time zone (WAT), which is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+1). Chad does not observe Daylight Savings Time. Chad observes the following public holidays:
New Year’s Day January 1
Maouloud-Al Nebi (M) Variable
Easter Monday Variable
Labor Day May 1
Eid-Al-Fitr (M) Variable
Chad Independence Day August 11
Eid-Al-Adha (Tabaski) (M) Variable
All Saints Day November 1
Proclamation of the Republic November 28
Freedom & Democracy Day December 1
Christmas Day December 25
Note: (M) - Muslim holidays are based on the lunar calendar, and the exact dates may vary in different countries. Travelers may want to confirm the dates of these holidays before traveling.
For government offices, working time is usually Monday through Thursday from 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM, with a 30-minute break at 12:00, and Friday from 7:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Commercial working hours vary but in general are from 8:00 AM to 12:30 PM and from 4:00 to 8:00 PM. Offices close Friday afternoons. Offices are closed on Sundays, but markets and restaurants are usually open seven days a week.
Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings
Articles such as clothing and other personal effects along with professional tools and devices, musical instruments, and other personal items may be allowed duty-free entry for short- and long-term residents. Foreigners wishing to import personal vehicles have two alternatives:
(1) Those intending to stay for a predetermined length of time can obtain a Form D18 from the Chadian Customs office. The form allows for temporary admission of a vehicle for up to two years. The vehicle will receive temporary transit tags along with an assigned validity date; the vehicle must then be re-exported at the end of the stipulated period.
(2) Those intending to stay in Chad for a longer period must present their vehicles to Customs, who will determine duty based on the invoice value or, in the absence of an invoice, the estimated value calculated by the Customs office. Customs duties are based on the following duty schedule: 30 percent Import Tariff; VAT Tax of 18 percent, 2 percent for a license fee (“redevance”) and 4 percent Income Tax. Upon payment of duties, the vehicle is inspected by the Bureau of Transportation and receives a tag number.