Chad Travel Information

Photo Chad, part of France's African holdings until 1960, endured three decades of ethnic warfare as well as invasions by Libya before a semblance of peace was finally restored in 1990. The government eventually suppressed or came to terms with most political-military groups, settled a territorial dispute with Libya on terms favorable to Chad, drafted a democratic constitution, and held multiparty presidential and National Assembly elections in 1996 and 1997, respectively.


There are more than 200 ethnic groups in Chad. Those in the north and east are generally Muslim; most southerners are Christians or animists. Through their long religious and commercial relationships with Sudan and Egypt, many of the peoples in Chad's eastern and central regions have become more or less Arabized, speaking Arabic and engaging in many other Arab cultural practices as well. More than three-quarters of the Chadian population is rural.


Chad has a long and rich history. A humanoid skull found in Borkou is more than 3 million years old. Because in ancient times the Saharan area was not totally arid, Chad's population was more evenly distributed than it is today. For example, 7,000 years ago, the north central basin, now in the Sahara, was still filled with water, and people lived and farmed around its shores. The cliff paintings in Borkou and Ennedi depict elephants, rhinoceroses, giraffes, cattle, and camels; only camels survive there today.


In 2002, Chad's nominal GDP was estimated at just over $1.84 billion with per capita income at about $237. Cotton, cattle, and gum arabic are Chad’s major exports. More than 80% of the work force is involved in agriculture (subsistence farming, herding, and fishing). Like many other developing countries, Chad has a small formal sector and a large, thriving informal sector.

Relations between the United States and Chad are good. The American embassy in N'Djamena, established at Chadian independence in 1960, was closed from the onset of the heavy fighting in the city in 1980 until the withdrawal of the Libyan forces at the end of 1981. It was reopened in January 1982. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Information Service (USIS) offices resumed activities in Chad in September 1983.

Important: Travel to Chad may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's Chad visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: Republic of Chad
Capital city: N'Djamena
Area: 1.284 million sq km
Population: 10,975,648
Ethnic groups: Sara 27.7%, Arab 12.3%, Mayo-Kebbi 11.5%, Kanem-Bornou 9%, Ouaddai 8.7%, Hadjarai 6.7%, Tandjile 6.5%, Gorane 6.3%, Fitri-Batha 4.7%, other 6.4%, unknown 0.3%
Languages: French
Religions: Muslim 53.1%, Catholic 20.1%, Protestant 14.2%, animist 7.3%, other 0.5%, unknown 1.7%, atheist 3.1%
Government: republic
Chief of State: President Lt. Gen. Idriss DEBY Itno
Head of Government: Prime Minister Emmanuel NADINGAR
GDP: 19.56 billion
GDP per captia: 1,900
Annual growth rate: 1.8%
Inflation: 2%
Agriculture: cotton, sorghum, millet, peanuts, rice, potatoes, manioc
Major industries: oil, cotton textiles, meatpacking, brewing, natron
Natural resources: petroleum, uranium, natron, kaolin, fish
Location: Central Africa, south of Libya
Trade Partners - exports: US 83.2%, China 6.8%, France 5.6%
Trade Partners - imports: Cameroon 17%, France 15.8%, China 10.8%, Finland 6.6%, Sweden 6%, Saudi Arabia 5%, Belgium 4.4%, US 4%