How to Enter Congo, Democratic Republic of the

Do I need a passport or visa to enter?

A passport, visa, and proof of yellow fever vaccination are required for entry. It is your responsibility to obtain a visa from a DRC embassy and arrange onward travel before arriving. U.S. citizens entering the country without visas have been detained and deported. Likewise, travelers arriving in the DRC without proper proof of yellow fever vaccination have been temporarily detained, fined, or had their passports confiscated. For inquiries and further information on entry/exit formalities, please visit the Congolese Immigration website (in French). Please note that generally visa applicants must apply in their country of residence; thus, U.S. citizens should apply for a visa to the DRC at the DRC Embassy in Washington, D.C. Congolese immigration in some cases has denied entry to foreigners with visas issued by Congolese embassies not in their country of origin.

All journalists working in the DRC must obtain permission from the Congolese Ministry of Information in Kinshasa. The U.S. Embassy recommends that journalists enter the DRC via Kinshasa. Visitors who wish to travel to any mining areas must first obtain government approval from the appropriate government agencies or ministries, a cumbersome and often time-consuming process.

On occasion, travelers to the DRC experience difficulties at the airport and other ports of entry, such as temporary detention, passport confiscation, and demands by immigration and security personnel for unofficial “fees.” If confronted with harassment, please ask to contact the U.S. Embassy’s Consular Section at 081-556-0151. All resident foreigners, including U.S. citizens, are required to register at the office of the Direction General of Migration (DGM) in the commune of their place of residence.

For departure from the DRC, airlines require a valid visa for all destination countries before they will issue a ticket or allow a passenger to board. All departing travelers, including U.S. officials, must pay a $50 airport exit fee, in cash. Airlines and the DGM also require that passengers have the correct entry stamp in the passport they wish to use to exit the country. Dual nationals arriving in the DRC should carefully consider which passport they use to enter the DRC. Passengers who are unable to leave the country on the passport they used to enter the DRC may not be able to continue on their travel itinerary.

You may obtain additional information about visas from the Embassy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1726 M Street NW, Washington, D.C., 20036, tel.: (202)234-7690, fax: (202) 234-2609, or the DRC's Permanent Mission to the UN, 866 United Nations Plaza, Room 511, New York, N.Y. 10017, tel.: (212)319-8061, fax: (212)319-8232. Overseas, inquiries should be made at the nearest Congolese embassy or consulate.

The United States Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of the DRC.

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.


You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.

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