Location: Praia, Cabo Verde
Event: Message for U.S. Citizens: POSSIBLE Repatriation Flights on Tuesday, March 31 and Wednesday, April 1
The U.S. government is working to organize repatriation flights for U.S. citizens in certain West African countries on Tuesday, March 31 and Wednesday, April 1, which would include limited space-available seating for passengers in Praia, Cabo Verde. To register interest in these POSSIBLE flights, U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) must complete and submit this secure form. Even if you have already contacted the U.S. Embassy by telephone or provided the requested information by email prior to today, we ask that you resubmit it using the new secure form. If you have already submitted this information through the secure form, you do not need to do so again.
These repatriation flights would depart from Praia International Airport and arrive at Washington Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia. Travelers would be responsible for any arrangements or costs (lodging, onward destination or local transportation, etc.) beyond the initial destination in the United States.
In the event these repatriation flights become available, the U.S. Embassy would provide final passengers with logistical information, including the confirmed departure date and time, how the space-availability will be managed, and the cost per seat. It is important to note that these seats are traditionally made available first to U.S. citizens and, space permitting, for qualifying non-citizen dependents. Passengers would be required to sign a promissory note agreeing to repay the cost of the flight to the U.S. government after their return to the United States. While we do not yet have a final per-seat cost, we estimate it will be in the range of $1,200-$1,900 (U.S. dollars). Please note, you will not be able to renew your passport until the debt to the U.S. government is paid.
If you have trouble submitting the secure form, please send an email to PraiaRepatriation@state.gov with the subject line “Return Travel to the U.S.” Please include the following information for each U.S. citizen or LPR seeking repatriation assistance. Please note that the information MUST exactly match the information in your U.S. passport or Alien Registration Card (“Green Card”).
- Full name as it appears on your U.S. Passport or Alien Registration Card (“Green Card”)
- Date of birth
- U.S. Passport or Alien Registration Card (“Green Card”) number
- Date of issuance and expiration of U.S. Passport or Alien Registration Card
- Email address and contact phone number
- Current location, including specific island in Cabo Verde
Interested parties should also verify that their U.S. Passport, Alien Registration Card, and/or other documentation are current and valid for travel. For emergency American Citizen Services, including emergency passports, please visit our website for additional information or contact us at PraiaConsular@state.gov.
- Travelers will complete a health check prior to boarding, and anyone with flu-like symptoms will not be allowed to board.
- If you are confirmed for the flight, you will receive written notification and instructions from U.S. Embassy Praia. Please review the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and travel.state.gov websites for the latest procedures and restrictions on entering the United States.
- Onward travel from Washington Dulles International Airport is the responsibility of the traveler.
- Pets are not allowed.
- Normal services at Praia International Airport are closed. The flight is unlikely to include food or beverage service, so passengers are encouraged to bring snacks and/or food.
Here are the answers to some Frequently Asked Questions:
- Can I travel if I have COVID-19? Passengers showing symptoms will not be allowed to board the aircraft. Prior to landing in the United States, paperwork will be disseminated to passengers regarding appropriate healthcare procedures. Quarantine rules apply. Please review the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and travel.state.gov websites for the latest restrictions on entering the United States.
- Will I have to pay for the flight? Yes. Before boarding the plane, you will have to sign a promissory note agreeing to pay back the U.S. government for the cost of the flight. We will provide the exact amount to confirmed passengers and/or in a follow-on STEP notice, but we estimate the per-seat cost will be in the range of $1,200-$1,900 (U.S. dollars).
- What is the baggage limit? We anticipate that each passenger will be allowed two checked bags, but this is not yet confirmed. If baggage is allowed, the combined weight limit for both bags will be 50 pounds total. Passengers may have one (1) personal item and one (1) carry-on; the carry-on must fit into the overhead compartment and weigh no more than 8 kgs. Oversized items can likely be accommodated if they are within the 50-pound limit. Fifty pounds is the anticipated combined limit for both checked bags.
- Do I have the option to pay for additional luggage? Unfortunately, no. The 50-pound limit will be strictly enforced, and there is no mechanism to pay for additional weight. Please plan accordingly.
- Will I have to quarantine or self-isolate in northern Virginia, or may I continue to my destination? You may continue to your destination and will be subject to whatever quarantine or self-isolation procedures are in effect there. Please review the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and travel.state.gov websites for the latest restrictions on entering the United States.
- Is this my last opportunity to get home? While U.S. Embassy Praia continues to explore all options for repatriating U.S. citizens to the United States, including those citizens located outside of Praia, the current restrictions on international flights and inter-island movements severely limit our ability to organize additional repatriation flights or to assist citizens on islands other than Santiago. If you need to get back to the United States and can travel to Praia International Airport, you should take this opportunity. If you have questions about returning to the United States, read the Department of State Global Level 4 Health Advisory for COVID-19.
- I have to travel with specialty equipment, can I have an exception to the baggage limit? Unfortunately, the U.S. Embassy does not anticipate that specialty equipment will be accommodated. The limits are set by the flight provider. The U.S. Embassy will follow up with confirmed passengers should this information change.
- Can my family member accompany me on the plane if he or she is not a U.S. citizen? These seats are traditionally made available first to U.S. citizens and, space permitting, for qualifying non-citizen dependents. Should additional seats be available, they would be allocated to Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) on a space-available basis.
- Can Lawful Permanent Residents travel? Yes, should space be available.
- If I cannot afford a ticket, can I still travel? Yes. Everyone who boards the plane will sign a DS-5528 promissory note agreeing to pay the cost of the flight upon their return to the United States. Please note, you will not be able to renew your passport until the debt to the U.S. government is paid.
- I would like to travel with my family member, but he or she does not have a visa. Can I schedule a visa appointment before the flight? Unfortunately, no. There is not time to facilitate visa interviews for this flight.
- Can my special medical needs be accommodated? Probably. Please include any special requests when you register using the secure form, and we will endeavor to accommodate.
- Will there be meals on the plane? Not yet confirmed. Passengers are encouraged to bring snacks and/or food for the flight.
- Where is the flight going and will you arrange transport to my destination? The flight is going to Washington Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia. Passengers will be responsible for making travel arrangements from there to their final destination.
- Can I bring my pet on this flight? No. This flight does not allow pets in the cabin or in the cargo space.
The Government of Cabo Verde’s current suspension of international travel into/out of the country and severe restrictions on all air and maritime inter-island connections are currently scheduled to remain in place through April 17. U.S. Embassy Praia is not aware of any future commercial flights to the United States during this suspension of travel.
The Embassy continues to explore all options for repatriating American citizens to the United States, including those citizens located outside of Praia; however, the current restrictions on inter-island movements severely limit our ability to assist citizens on islands other than Santiago. (Please note that the Cabo Verdean government has placed Boa Vista island under complete quarantine, and no one is allowed to travel to or depart from the island for at least 14 days.)
We recognize this has been a challenging period for many of our fellow Americans, particularly those seeking to depart Cabo Verde. Thus far, U.S. Embassy Praia has organized two charter repatriation flights to the United States, both of which were sold out. These flights have enabled 362 U.S. citizens and LPRs to safely return to the United States.
Announcements regarding charter repatriations are shared as soon as they are available via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which is the Embassy’s primary means for communicating this information with American citizens, as well as on the Embassy’s internet site and Facebook page. We urge any U.S. citizen or LPR seeking assistance to return to the United States to enroll in STEP as soon as possible, or ensure that their current enrollment remains up to date, so that they have immediate access to the latest information.
Effective March 19, 2020, U.S. Embassy Praia has suspended routine consular services. For emergency American Citizen Services, including emergency passports, please visit our website for additional information or contact us at PraiaConsular@state.gov.
The Department of State has issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory for COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Global COVID-19 Outbreak Notice (“Avoid Nonessential Travel—Widespread Ongoing Transmission”).
Note: This information will continue to be sent regularly for the benefit of new registrants in STEP. We will be sure to highlight any new information from previous emails.
Actions to Take:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)to receive updates from the Embassy.
- Complete and submit this secure form for U.S. citizens and LPRs needing repatriation assistance from Cabo Verde to the United States.
- Consult the CDC websitefor the most up-to-date information.
- Consider What the U.S. Government Can and Can’t for Citizens in a Crisis.
- View President Trump’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America.
- For the most recent information on what you can do to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19, please see the CDC’s latest recommendations.
- Visit the COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov for the latest information.
- Check with your airline, cruise line, or travel operator regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.
- Visit our Embassy webpage on COVID-19for information on conditions in Cabo Verde.
- Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s websiteon the latest travel restrictions to the United States.
U.S. Embassy Praia
Rua Abilio Macedo 6
Praia, Cabo Verde
Phone: (+238) 260-8900
State Department – Consular Affairs
1-888-407-4747 or 1-202-501-4444