Location: Cabo Verde
Event: State of Emergency Extended for Santiago and Boa Vista/Repatriation Flight Postponed Until After May 14
On May 1, the Cabo Verdean government extended the State of Emergency for the islands of Santiago and Boa Vista through May 14, as well as nation-wide restrictions on inter-island movement of people to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Given the continued restrictions, U.S. Embassy Praia is postponing plans for a charter repatriation flight to the United States until after the State of Emergency is lifted and inter-island movement resumes to allow passengers from all nine islands to be accommodated on the flight. Therefore, the Embassy’s final repatriation operation will now take place after May 14.
COVID-19 Cases in Cabo Verde
As of May 1, Cabo Verde had 122 confirmed COVID-19 cases (56 cases on Boa Vista, 63 on Santiago, and three on São Vicente). Additional information is available at https://covid19.cv.
State of Emergency and Required Use of Facemasks
Cabo Verde’s State of Emergency has been extended through May 14 for Boa Vista and Santiago. For the other islands – São Vicente, Santo Antão, São Nicolau, Sal, Maio, Fogo, and Brava – certain restrictions on businesses and public areas remain in effect under the “State of Calamity” designation. Additionally, as of April 25, under Cabo Verdean law, all individuals outside their home are required to wear a facemask. U.S. citizens are reminded that all Cabo Verdean laws and regulations apply to them, and they could be arrested or fined for failure to abide accordingly.
During this period of shelter-in-place, food and supplies are still coming in to all islands, and DHL continues to facilitate international shipping. Please visit local pharmacies to refill necessary medications and arrange shipment of any requirements from the United States.
Restrictions on Commercial Air Travel
On March 28, the Government of Cabo Verde implemented a national State of Emergency, including the suspension of international travel into/out of the country, and severe restrictions on all air and maritime inter-island connections. Cabo Verde Airlines has announced that all of its commercial flight operations are suspended until July 1, 2020, while SATA Airlines has stated that its flights between Praia and Boston are suspended until June 6, 2020. Although airlines are advertising and selling tickets, the Cabo Verdean government has not announced when it will allow international commercial air travel to resume.
Restrictions on Inter-island Travel
At present, the Cabo Verdean government only permits inter-island movement for people who are returning home to another island after being unable to travel due to the State of Emergency. The government has not included an exception to its ban on inter-island travel for foreigners traveling to return to their home countries. The government has not confirmed when these restrictions on inter-island travel will end.
Possible Repatriation Flight
U.S. Embassy Praia continues active planning for a charter repatriation flight to the United States once the State of Emergency is lifted for all nine islands and the Cabo Verdean government permits the inter-island travel necessary to allow U.S. citizens from all islands to take advantage of the flight. Therefore, the Embassy’s plans for a final repatriation operation have been delayed until after May 14.
The Embassy’s repatriation plan currently includes a flight to Boston with multi-island pick-up stops in Cabo Verde – including on Sal, São Vicente, and Santiago – and the transfer of passengers from other islands by ferry to a flight pick-up location. Due to the evolving public health situation across Cabo Verde, the dates and route of this potential flight have yet not been finalized, and planning is still subject to change. We will provide updates as additional information becomes available.
Once the flight is confirmed, which is envisioned as the last repatriation operation to be undertaken by the U.S. government in Cabo Verde, seats would be made available to U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs), and potentially to other qualified travelers (e.g. third-country nationals and holders of a valid U.S. immigrant visa). The cost of the one-way ticket for this flight would be approximately: Adult – $1604.25; Child – $1259.75; Infant – $151.85, with all passengers required to sign a DS-5528 promissory note to reimburse the U.S. government for the cost of the flight.
While we do not yet have an exact date for this repatriation operation, the Embassy continues to collect all the necessary paperwork for potential passengers. Therefore, if you are interested in being included on this potential flight, please complete and submit this secure form. (NOTE: If you have already submitted this information using the secure form, you DO NOT need to do so again.) Interested parties should also verify that their travel documents have not expired, and remain current and valid for travel.
In order to be considered for this flight, we must also have your DS-5528 and a copy of your passport (and LPR card, if applicable) on file in advance. All passengers must sign a promissory note (form DS-5528) before boarding this flight, and you should complete the DS-5528 form online as soon as possible. We will have hardcopies of these forms printed and ready for signature at the airport in Praia. Please also email us a copy (scanned or photograph) of your U.S. or Cabo Verde passport, and LPR “green” card, if applicable, to PraiaRepatriation@state.gov as soon as possible.
Please do not call the Embassy to confirm receipt of your information; we will contact you with additional details if this flight is confirmed. If you have already received confirmation that you are on the list, you DO NOT need to send an email to reconfirm. Also, interested parties should refrain from appearing in person at the Embassy, which is closed to the public in compliance with regulations under the current State of Emergency.
Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, U.S. Embassy Praia has organized eight charter repatriation flights enabling more than 400 U.S. citizens and others to return safely to the United States. Please be aware, however, that these repatriation efforts are now winding down. The U.S. Embassy urges all U.S. citizens who are unsure about wanting to go home to err toward returning NOW. Otherwise, they need to be prepared to shelter-in-place for an indefinite period of time, even should the local situation take a turn for the worse.
STEP and Emergency Consular Services
Announcements regarding 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 to 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. Should you wish to stop receiving these updates, please send an email to PraiaConsular@state.gov requesting to be removed from STEP enrollment.
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, LPRs, and other qualified travelers needing repatriation assistance from Cabo Verde to the United States.
- Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information.
- Consider What the U.S. Government Can and Can’t Do 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 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-19 for information on conditions in Cabo Verde.
- Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the United States.
- 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