Liberia - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel
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Business Customs

Acceptable business etiquette includes wearing a business suit and tie, or traditional African attire. It is also appropriate for a foreign business executive to dress in traditional Liberian clothing. Appearance is important and seen as an indicator of character and a show of respect, especially during formal meetings. Casual wear is appropriate for outdoor activities such as picnics, field trips, informal social gathering, or site visits. It is preferable to refer to people by their professional titles, and present business cards with one hand, usually the right hand. Standard English is the medium for formal meetings but a pidgin version of English, known as colloquial or Liberian English is also widely spoken. Liberians tend to shake hands ending with a finger snap (usually in casual situations), but a traditional handshake is common for formal and business situations. It is polite to greet everyone (or shake everyone’s hand) individually before taking a seat for a meeting. Visitors should arrive for appointments on time, but it is not unusual for meetings to be delayed or cancelled at short notice. It is prudent to confirm appointments prior to setting out for meetings. Liberians tend to speak their minds in business meetings, but it is normal for speakers to feel like they need to talk for a while to get their points across; emphasis is put on being a good orator. Direct eye contact is common; however, the level of eye contact may vary depending on the hierarchy and the nature of relationship between the speaker and listener. In a typical Liberian setting, priority is giving to ladies in term of seats as men tend to give up seats for women first. Bargaining in business transactions is acceptable until an agreeable price can be reached. The COVID-19 pandemic has also seen a lot of Liberians adopt virtual conference technologies including Zoom, Webex, and Google Meet, to connect with international counterparts.

Travel Advisory

Please refer to U.S. Travel Advisory and the Consular Information Page of the U.S. Embassy in Liberia

Visa Requirements

Travelers entering Liberia must have a valid passport (with at least one blank page and six months validity) and a valid visa, plus evidence of yellow fever vaccination (Yellow Book). Liberian visas are not issued at the airport except in emergency situations or cases where there is no Liberian Embassy in the country of residence. This requires approval in advance by an Immigration Commissioner (i.e., before the traveler arrives).

U.S. citizens traveling to Liberia must obtain a Liberian visa before arriving. Consult the Consular Section of the Embassy of Liberia to the United States. Overseas inquiries should be made at the nearest Liberian embassy or consulate.

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 State Department’s website for Liberia travel information.


The local currency is the Liberian dollar (LRD) which comes in paper denominations of twenty, fifty, one hundred, five hundred, and one thousand. In November 2022, the CBL introduced Liberia dollar coins into circulation. The U.S. dollar (USD) is commonly accepted as legal tender alongside the LRD. Cash, rather than electronic payment, is usually required for most local purchases or payments. Liberia has a floating exchange rate system with both the LRD, also known as “Liberty” notes, and USD used as legal tender. Liberia is largely a cash-based economy, and credit cards or traveler’s checks are not commonly accepted, even by major hotels or restaurants. Some major supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, and large merchandise stores in Monrovia do accept Visa cards at their POS terminals. Growing number of shopping centers or stores also accept payments via mobile money. Travelers should exercise caution in using credit cards wherever they are accepted. Travelers are also advised to carry some amount of U.S. dollars for tips and incidental purchases. A few commercial banks or hotels will cash traveler’s checks, but those that do often have unfavorable rates. Amount exceeding US $5,000 must be transmitted via bank draft or other financial instruments. Sums of more than US $10,000 must be reported at the port of entry, and no more than $7,500 in foreign currency banknotes can be moved out of the country in a single transaction. Larger sums must be transferred via bank drafters, electronic fund transfer (EFT), or other financial instruments.


Mobile phones and accessories, including SIM and calling cards, are commonly sold at stores, supermarkets, hotels, major restaurants, the airport, and by street vendors. It is advisable to purchase a cell phone and a SIM card with a registered local number while on business trips. Mobile phone subscribers are scattered throughout the country, operators’ network signals do not cover all regions; while some areas do not have network coverage at all, some other areas can intermittently lose network signal. Many mobile phone subscribers use the WhatsApp messaging application to communicate, given its low-cost relative to sending regular text messages.

Internet services are available from several wireless ISPs as well as the mobile operators. Major hotels provide WiFi access, which may sometimes be slow and oversubscribed. The high subscription cost and limited bandwidth of connections means that internet access is expensive and data rates are low. In Liberia the standard voltage is 220V, the standard frequency is 60Hz/50 Hz and power sockets (outlet types) that are used are type A, B, C, and F.


Most roads in Liberia are unpaved and many interior roads become practically impassible during the May through October rainy season. Roberts International Airport (RIA), the country’s only international airport, is located near a town called Harbel, about 40 miles (64 km) east of Monrovia. In April 2021, the government began the expansion and reconstruction of the highway from the airport to the ELWA Junction in Paynesville. When it is completed, the four-lane highway will be the most convenient route between the airport and the capital Monrovia. Few car rental agencies or taxi services in Monrovia offer onsite airport services upon request, but taxi or car rental services can be pre-arranged with hotels or by contacting a stand-alone rental service. James Spriggs Payne Airport is a smaller single runway airport located in Monrovia and provides limited domestic or regional flights. For further travel advice, please visit the U.S. Department of State International Travel Information for Liberia webpage and the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) Liberia webpage.

The Freeport of Monrovia is Liberia’s largest port and main destination for cargo. Its main pier is 600 meters long and capable of berthing three to four ships, depending on the vessel size. The second largest port, the Port of Buchanan, is about 90 miles southeast of Monrovia and used mainly by large concession companies to export minerals and timber. Smaller, less developed ports in Greenville and Harper Ports are used largely to ship logs, timber, and palm oil.


English is the official and the most common language in Liberia, spoken throughout the country. A pidgin version of English, known as colloquial is also widely spoken. There are 16 tribes, each of whom has its own tribal language or dialect spoken mainly among family members, relatives or tribal groups. Liberians speak several indigenous languages in the country, mostly among only a small proportion of the population.


Hospitals and medical facilities in Liberia are poorly equipped and incapable of providing many complex medical services. Emergency services are often below the standards in the United States or Europe, and the blood supply is mostly unreliable and unsafe for transfusion. For serious medical problems, business travelers generally evacuate to the United States, India, Europe, or South Africa for treatment. Some government officials and private citizens also seek advanced treatment in Ghana and South Africa. Within Liberia, good quality medicines are scarce, possibly counterfeit, and generally inadequate in most remote areas.

Malaria and yellow fever are prevalent throughout the country, particularly during a rainy season (May-October). The government requires yellow fever immunization persons entering Liberia and it is highly recommended for all residents. Chemoprophylaxis (anti-malarial medication) is highly recommended for all travelers, even for short stays. For further health advice, please see the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website and the U.S. Department of State International Travel Information for Liberia webpage.

Local time, business hours, and holidays

Liberia is on the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) zone. The Liberian Decent Work Act (Labor Law) dictates that working hours cannot exceed eight hours per day or 48 hours a week. Business hours normally run from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday to Friday. A few government offices and some business houses open from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm on Saturday. Some international organizations, the U.S. Embassy, and UN agencies work for a half-day on Friday, closing by 12:00 or 1:00 pm. Below is the list of Liberian national holidays that are observed nationwide during 2023.

List of national holidays in Liberia when all public and private places of work are closed in 2023.
*January 1SundayNew Year’s Day
February 11SaturdayArmed Forces Day
March 9ThursdayDecoration Day
March 15WednesdayJoseph Jenkins Robert’s Birthday
April 8SaturdayFast and Prayer Day
May 14SundayNational Unification Day
July 26WednesdayIndependence Day
August 24ThursdayNational Flag Day
November 24FridayThanksgiving Day
November 29WednesdayWilliam V.S. Tubman’s Birthday
December 25MondayChristmas Day
*January 1SundayNew Year’s Day

Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings

The 2020 Amended Liberia Revenue Code provides for exemption of duty payments on goods imported by or on account of the President of Liberia, the Government of Liberia, chief justice and associate justices of the Supreme Court, members of the Liberian legislature, as well as representatives (diplomats) of foreign governments or international organizations. It also provides exemption for reasonably used households and personal effects imported in reasonable quantities, under special circumstances relating to senior government officials, and the personal effects for personal use of people arriving from abroad.