Special Travel Circumstances in Congo, Democratic Republic of the

Photography: Travelers should note that it is strictly forbidden to take pictures of government buildings, officials (including police or soldiers), or international borders in the DRC. Persons caught photographing such sites or persons will likely be fined, have their photographic equipment confiscated, and will risk detention and possible arrest.

Travel to and from Congo-Brazzaville (Republic of Congo): Passenger and VIP ferry service, known locally as “Carnot Rapide,” is available to and from Kinshasa and Brazzaville. The ferries operate daily and make multiple stops throughout the day, with the last boat departing at 3:00 p.m. Prices for the ferries are: US $15 for the passenger and US $25 for the VIP ferry (Carnot Rapide). If ferry service is functioning, U.S. citizens are required to have a special exit permit from the DRC's Immigration Service and a visa from the Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) to cross the Congo River from Kinshasa to Brazzaville.

Phone Service: In the DRC, cellular phones are the norm, as other telephone service is unreliable and landlines are nearly non-existant. Depending on the type of phone, it may be possible to purchase a SIM card locally to use a U.S.-compatible cell phone in the DRC.

Currency: U.S. currency is widely accepted in urban areas, but most vendors and banking institutions will accept only bills printed from 2006 or later, with the large, off-center portraits that provide stronger protection against counterfeiting. In addition, bills must be in near perfect condition; even those with minor stains or small tears will be rejected. One-dollar bills are rarely accepted. You should examine U.S. bills before accepting them to ensure that they are legitimate; counterfeit currency is widely circulated. Currency exchange should be conducted only at reputable banks and not on the street.

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