Message for U.S. Citizens: U.S. Embassy Praia, Cabo Verde (April 22, 2020)
Location: Cabo Verde
Event: Repatriation Flight Postponed Until After May 2/Five New COVID-19 Cases Confirmed in Praia
The Cabo Verdean government has informed U.S. Embassy Praia that charter repatriation flights will not be allowed to resume until after May 2, 2020, the last day of the current State of Emergency due to recent developments with COVID-19 in Cabo Verde. Therefore, the Embassy’s plans for a final repatriation operation have been delayed until after May 2.
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 LPRs, and potentially to third-country nationals eligible for Visa Waiver entry into the United States (e.g., Canadian citizens) and eligible 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 card (if applicable) as soon as possible, even if you have done so previously.
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 you 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 five charter repatriation flights enabling nearly 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.
COVID-19 Cases in Cabo Verde
As of April 22, Cabo Verde had 73 confirmed COVID-19 cases (52 cases on Boa Vista, 20 cases on Santiago, and one on Sao Vicente), with five new cases confirmed in Praia on April 22. Additional information is available at https://covid19.cv.
State of Emergency
Cabo Verde’s state of emergency has been extended until May 2 for Boa Vista, Santiago, and Sao Vicente, the three islands with confirmed cases of COVID-19. For islands with no known cases – Santo Antão, São Nicolau, Sal, Maio, Fogo, and Brava – the state of emergency has only been extended until April 26. U.S. citizens are reminded that the national state of emergency and all Cabo Verdean laws apply to them, and U.S. citizens could be arrested or have their vehicles confiscated if they fail to abide by current restrictions, which include limitations on the use of personal vehicles and the number of people who may travel together.
Restrictions on Commercial Air Travel
On March 28, the Government of Cabo Verde implemented a national state of emergency, which includes thesuspension 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. While no specific details have been announced, the government’s restrictions on international commercial air travel are expected to extend beyond the end of Cabo Verde’s current state of emergency.
Restrictions on Inter-island Travel
In response to the dramatic increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Boa Vista, the Prime Minister announced that the only exception to the current ban on inter-island movement of people is for those who are returning home to another island after being unable to travel due to the state of emergency. Those requesting this exception to the travel ban also require testing to ensure they do not pose a risk to public health.
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 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. 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 eligible individuals 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 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-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.