COVID-19: travel health notice for all travellers
Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa) travel advice
Latest updates: The Health section was updated - travel health information (Public Health Agency of Canada)
Last updated: ET
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Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa) - AVOID NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL
Avoid non-essential travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) due to the current political and security situation.
Eastern and northeastern areas of DRC - Avoid all travel
Avoid all travel to the eastern and northeastern areas of DRC, in particular:
- the provinces of:
- North Kivu
- South Kivu
- Tanganyika (northeastern area of the former province of Katanga);
- Bas-Uele, Haut-Uele and Ituri (northeastern area of the former province of Orientale)
- points of entry to Burundi, Uganda and Rwanda
- areas bordering South Sudan (including the Garamba National Park) and Uganda
If you decide to travel to these areas despite this advisory, you should regularly review the situation to determine whether your continued presence in the area is warranted.
The security situation around Goma, in North Kivu, is unstable. If you are in the region, be ready to leave on short notice should the situation deteriorates further.
Kasaï provinces - Avoid all travel
Avoid all travel to the following provinces due to frequent clashes between security forces and armed militias:
Mai-Ndombe province - Avoid all travel
Avoid all travel to the province of Mai-Ndombe due to intercommunal violence.
Safety and security
The security situation in DRC is unpredictable and could deteriorate suddenly.
Demonstrations may occur. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent suddenly. In 2022, there were violent protests against the UN, MONUSCO and the international community. Further demonstrations against these organisations could occur, as tensions remain.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Don’t attempt to cross road blockades, even if they appear unattended
- Plan to have adequate water and food supplies in the event that main supply points are temporarily inaccessible
- Monitor local media for the latest information
Mass gatherings (large-scale events)
There is a threat of terrorism in the Democratic Republic of Congo, particularly:
- in the region of Beni-Butembo and Goma in North Kivu
- in the vicinity of Boga in Ituri
- towards the border with Uganda
Terrorist groups argue over control of good-trafficking routes, mining sites, and agricultural areas.
Attacks on civilians and government targets occur frequently. Attacks are directed at all persons, regardless of religious identity. Further attacks are likely.
Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as restaurants, bars, coffee shops, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
Large-scale events could be targeted.
- Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.
- Monitor local media
- Follow the instructions of the local authorities
Curfews can be imposed without notice.
Always comply with the directives issued by local authorities.
The situation remains challenging in the eastern part of the country due to the continued presence of armed groups and their regular clashes with the Congolese armed forces (FARCD), whether or not they are backed by the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in DRC (MONUSCO).
The affected provinces are:
- North Kivu
- South Kivu
The government of DRC has difficulty imposing order throughout the territory, and crime is rampant. The United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) has identified the FARDC and the Congolese National Police (PNC) as being responsible for several human rights violations.
Provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu
Situation in the Kivus
Since November 12, 2022, clashes between the Congolese army and the M23 rebel group have intensified around Goma, North Kivu. The security situation is unstable. If you are in the region, be ready to leave on short notice should the situation deteriorate further.
The situation in the Kivus remains unstable. Despite the signing of peace accords and the presence of UN forces, armed conflicts continue in some areas outside provincial capitals. Members of various armed groups continue to plunder and commit violent crimes against civilians. These crimes include murder, kidnapping, armed assault and rape.
Congolese armed forces (FARDC), sometimes with the assistance of UN forces (MONUSCO), have been fighting armed groups to eradicate the threat. Since November 2021, a joint military operation between DRC and Uganda is also underway in North Kivu and Ituri provinces to fight rebels in the region. The humanitarian crisis resulting from the fighting has led to significant population movements.
In late 2021, the M23 rebel group resumed its activities in the North Kivu province. Since then, the group has launched a number of attacks against FARDC and MONUSCO forces, including near:
- Virunga National Park
- the tri-border area with Uganda and Rwanda
In response to these incidents, the FARDC and MONUSCO increased their operations in the region, including in and around Goma. Local authorities are on high alert and there is an increased military presence in the city.
Military operations could lead to a deterioration of safety in different areas outside the two capitals, Goma and Bukavu. Although the situation in those cities is more stable, some territories are particularly dangerous, including:
Avoid all travel to the Kivus. If you decide to travel despite this advisory:
- continually reassess the situation to determine whether your presence in the area is warranted
- take into account the information provided by Congolese authorities and MONUSCO, to help avoid dangerous situations
- avoid public transportation, as is the case throughout the country
- expect disruptions to local businesses and services, including airports
The province of Tanganyika, and especially Manono Territory in the northeastern part of the former province of Katanga, is the theatre of an ethnic conflict between the Pygmies and the Luba. The Mai-Mai militia periodically re-engage.
Despite initial progress on the disarmament of militia groups in the province of Ituri, armed confrontation continues in the northeastern part of the former province of Orientale. Outside Ituri’s main city, Bunia, public safety measures are inadequate.
Garamba National Park and border areas with South Sudan and Uganda
Despite the intensified operations by the Ugandan, Congolese and South Sudanese armed forces and the UN, the Lord’s Resistance Army continues to commit acts of violence against the civilian population. Many people have been killed and thousands have fled the region.
Points of entry from Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda
Points of entry from Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda should be avoided at all times because of continuing insecurity and lawlessness in those areas. DRC borders with Burundi and Rwanda can be closed on short notice.
The border crossings between DRC and Rwanda at Bukavu and Goma are closed from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Since 2017, clashes have resulted in hundreds of deaths in the provinces of Kasaï, Kasaï‑Central and Kasaï‑Oriental. There is also a risk of kidnapping.
Intercommunal violence in Mai-Ndombe
There has been a rise in intercommunal violence in the province of Mai-Ndombe since June 2022, particularly in the territory of Kwamouth where thousands of residents have been displaced. The violence has led to hundreds of casualties. Attacks have also taken place in neighbouring provinces, including in the community of Maluku in the north of Kinshasa province.
You should choose a hotel in the country’s capital that is located in the municipality of Gombe, which is both the seat of government and the business sector.
Be extremely cautious outside Gombe and use only reliable means of transportation (see Public transportation).
Avoid any travel after dark.
Crime is rampant in DRC as a result of the extreme poverty and the prevailing climate of impunity.
Violent crime and pickpocketing occur in both urban and rural areas, especially after nightfall in crowded public areas and on public transportation.
Some police, or individuals posing as police personnel, stop motorists or pedestrians to extort money.
Avoid walking alone and displaying signs of wealth. Avoid getting into vehicles with strangers, even if they identify themselves as police officers. Always keep vehicle doors locked and windows closed. Do not leave the main highways and do not park in unsupervised areas. Do not stop at the scene of an accident or near a crowd.
Individuals offering discounted precious metals and diamonds have robbed foreign nationals.
ATM fees are very high, so people often withdraw significant amounts of cash in one transaction. Thieves target foreigners who withdraw cash from an ATM. Therefore, be very cautious when withdrawing cash, even in hotels.
Local authorities may increase the number of checkpoints at night, especially:
- in Gombe
- in Kintambo, Limete, Mont Ngafula, N’Djili, Ngaba and Ngaliema
- around Camp Kokolo
Carry government-issued identification (carte rose, carte grise and driver’s licence) at all times and comply with local authorities’ instructions.
If approached by an officer, ask to see his/her credentials. Criminals could try to impersonate law enforcement officers in an attempt to rob you.
Kidnappings-for-ransom in the provinces of Maniema, South Kivu and North Kivu, including in Goma, occur regularly. Foreigners have been targeted.
Express kidnappings targeting foreigners are on the rise. Victims are usually abducted for a few hours in broad daylight and stripped of their possessions.
These attacks are often perpetrated by small groups of individuals dressed in police uniforms. The threat is particularly high in the Gombe district in Kinshasa.
If you plan to travel to the DRC despite the risks:
- be vigilant at all times
- avoid walking in areas accessible to the public
- use varied and unpredictable routes and itineraries
- travel only in a convoy of at least two vehicles for long trips
- if you are threatened, don’t resist
Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in coastal waters. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.
Live piracy report - International Maritime Bureau
In general, roads in DRC are not well maintained and are poorly lit.
Some roads may become impassable during the rainy season. You should use a four-wheel-drive vehicle, even in some parts of the capital, Kinshasa.
The road between Kinshasa and Matadi is paved, but the risk of being in an accident is very high because vehicles are poorly maintained, overcrowded and often abandoned on the poorly lit road.
Drivers are aggressive.
Local authorities may try to confiscate your identity documents in an attempt to extract a bribe. To reduce this risk, if you are stopped for an identity check, show your documents through the raised window of the vehicle.
You should also check with local authorities to see if you need to obtain prior authorization for in-country travel.
You should not use the public transportation system in DRC. Routes are not clearly posted, bus stops are poorly located and vehicles are often overcrowded. A large number of old vans in very poor condition are still in circulation.
Not all taxis are marked and they generally do not meet safety or roadworthiness standards. Use only officially recognized taxis.
Private transportation services can be hired at some hotels.
It is possible to rent a car with or without a driver through rental companies or travel agencies.
Rail service is unsafe and you should not travel by train. There are frequent delays because of the poor state of the rail lines and mechanical breakdowns. Trains are overcrowded and are often frequented by thieves .
A ferry links Kinshasa and Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. The service is mainly used by the local population and you should not use it. Smaller motor boats also provide service. These vessels are often overcrowded and you must line up early to secure a spot.
Presidential and other official motorcades pose hazards to motorists and pedestrians.
Motorists must pull over when sirens or security forces indicate a motorcade.
Do not take photographs of motorcades using communication devices that were not acquired or registered in DRC, including cell phones and hand-held radios.
Proceed on your way only when security forces permit you to do so.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Information about foreign domestic airlines
In a crisis, N’Djili International Airport in Kinshasa may close.
The parliament building is located on the road to the airport. When demonstrations are at the site, the airport is difficult to access.
General security information
Tourism facilities are very limited in Kinshasa and virtually non-existent outside the capital. Plan your trip in advance to reduce the risk to your safety.
If you are going to Kinshasa, ensure that there is someone to meet you when you arrive at the airport.
Telephone communication is poor, including with a cell phone.
Entry and exit requirements
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from Congolese authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave from DRC.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Tourist visa: required
Business visa: required
Student visa: required (Students must obtain a tourist visa)
Transit visa: required
To enter DRC, Canadians must obtain a visa from the DRC embassy in Ottawa before leaving Canada.
Visas are not available at ports of entry, and it is not possible to obtain a visa at DRC embassies outside of one’s country of residence.
A multiple-entry visa is required for foreigners who want to enter DRC more than once (this is often the case with travellers using the ferry service between Kinshasa and Brazzaville, Congo). The multiple-entry visa is available at the embassy of DRC in Ottawa or in Gombe, Kinshasa, at DRC’s immigration department (Direction générale de migration), 65 Boulevard du 30 juin (next to the Regideso building).
Foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada
Mandatory registration for foreigners residing in Kinshasa
All foreigners residing in Kinshasa must register with the local authorities and obtain a residence card within 10 days of arrival.
You may be fined if you do not comply with this requirement.
Due to the ongoing outbreak of Ebola virus disease you may be subject to a quick thermal scanner screening or a health questionnaire at the airports upon boarding or disembarking a plane.
Difficulties at ports of entry
Travellers going to DRC commonly encounter difficulties at the airport and other ports of entry.
Arrival at N’Djili International Airport in Kinshasa can be chaotic. Travellers can sometimes be temporarily detained and asked by security and immigration officers to pay unofficial “special fees.”
If you report to a border post without the required documents, you risk being turned back and expelled by immigration control officers.
Upon entry, all foreigners (resident and non-resident) must declare all amounts of currency exceeding the equivalent of US$10,000. Similarly, all foreign currency must be declared when leaving the country.
All air passengers leaving DRC must pay an airport infrastructure development tax (IDEF) in the amount of US$58 (subject to change without notice). You must obtain proof of payment of the IDEF (called a Go Pass) to be permitted to board your flight. This document is available at special counters in banks or designated institutions, and at airports.
Crossing to Brazzaville
To cross the Congo River from Kinshasa to Brazzaville, you must have an entry visa issued by the Embassy of the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville).
Children and travel
Learn more about travelling with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Relevant Travel Health Notices
- Global Measles Notice - 8 September, 2022
- Polio: Advice for travellers - 21 March, 2023
- COVID-19 and International Travel - 17 March, 2023
- Mpox (monkeypox) in Africa - 31 January, 2023
This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.
Be sure that your routine vaccinations, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.
Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of yellow fever vaccination for travellers from all countries.
- Vaccination is recommended.
- Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to arrange for vaccination.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).
Polio - Proof of vaccination required
Polio is present in this country. Polio can be prevented by vaccination, which is part of the routine vaccines for children in Canada.
- Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up to date.
- One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended for adults.
Proof of vaccination:
If you are staying more than 4 weeks in this country, you may need to show proof of polio vaccination when you leave the country.
Make sure that the polio vaccination is documented on the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis. This is the only document accepted as proof of vaccination. In Canada, they are provided at Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres.
Carry the certificate as proof of vaccination.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
This country is in the African Meningitis Belt, an area where there are many cases of meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease is a serious and sometimes fatal infection. Travellers who may be at high risk should consider getting vaccinated. High-risk travellers include those living or working with the local population (e.g., health care workers) or those travelling to crowded areas or taking part in large gatherings.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
- There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.
Safe food and water precautions
Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.
- Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
- Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs.
Cholera is a risk in parts of this country. Most travellers are at very low risk.
To protect against cholera, all travellers should practise safe food and water precautions.
Travellers at higher risk of getting cholera include those:
- visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation
- visiting areas where outbreaks are occurring
Vaccination may be recommended for high-risk travellers, and should be discussed with a health care professional.
Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
Insect bite prevention
Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:
- Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
- Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
- Minimize exposure to insects
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed
To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.
Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.
African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a tsetse fly. Tsetse flies usually bite during the day and the bites are usually painful. If untreated, the disease is eventually fatal. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from bites especially in game parks and rural areas. Avoid wearing bright or dark-coloured clothing as these colours attract tsetse flies. There is no vaccine available for this disease.
There is a risk of chikungunya in this country. The risk may vary between regions of a country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- In this country, risk of dengue is sporadic. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
- Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
- The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Onchocerciasis (river blindness) is an eye and skin disease caused by a parasite spread through the bite of an infected female blackfly. Onchocerciasis often leads to blindness if left untreated. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from blackfly bites, which are most common close to fast-flowing rivers and streams. There is no vaccine available for onchocerciasis although drug treatments exist.
Lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis, is caused by filariae (tiny worms) spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can cause a range of illnesses. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for lymphatic filariasis although drug treatments exist.
Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may put you at higher risk of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.
Closely supervise children, as they’re more likely to come in contact with animals.
There is a risk of plague in this country. Plague is a bacterial disease that can cause serious illness, and if left untreated, death.
The occurrence of cases in areas where the plague bacteria are known to circulate can be influenced by weather and environmental conditions. In some countries, this results in seasonal outbreaks.
Travellers to areas where plague routinely occurs may be at risk if they are camping, hunting, or in contact with rodents.
Plague is spread by:
- bites from fleas infected with the plague
- direct contact with body fluids or tissues from an animal or person who is sick with or has died from plague
Overall risk to travellers is low. Protect yourself by reducing contact with fleas and potentially infected rodents and other wildlife.
Mpox (monkeypox) is a risk in this country. It is a viral disease that can cause serious illness in some circumstances. Risk is generally low for most travellers.
Mpox spreads in 3 ways:
- from animals to humans through direct contact or by eating or preparing undercooked meat of infected animals or coming into contact with an infected animal's body fluids
- from person to person through close contact, including direct contact with the skin lesions, blood, body fluids, or mucosal surfaces (such as eyes, mouth, throat, genitalia, anus, or rectum) of an infected person
- through direct contact with contaminated objects such as bedding and towels, or by sharing personal objects used by an infected person
Follow recommended public health measures and avoid contact with animals such as rodents and primates to help prevent getting or spreading the infection
Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:
- washing your hands often
- avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
- avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Sporadic outbreaks of Ebola disease occur in this country.
Ebola disease can be caused by 6 different viruses, including Sudan virus and Ebola virus, which spread through contact with infected bodily fluids (from people or animals). It is very serious and often fatal.
Practise good hygiene (frequent and proper hand washing) and avoid contact with the body fluids of people with Ebola disease or unknown illnesses. Avoid contact with wild animals.
Of the different viruses that cause Ebola disease, there is only a vaccine to prevent disease caused by Ebola virus. It is available under certain circumstances; however, it is not authorized for sale in Canada. There are currently no approved vaccines or effective treatments for Ebola disease caused by the other viruses, including Sudan virus.
Medical services and facilities
New medical facilities in Kinshasa provide adequate care but, with a few exceptions, medical equipment and health-care services are rudimentary. They are inadequate throughout the rest of the country.
If you travel beyond Kinshasa, you will need air evacuation for any serious illness, injury or surgery. Such an evacuation is very expensive and often requires payment upfront.
Attacks against Ebola treatment centres
Attacks against medical staff and Ebola treatment centres have occurred in the past and resulted in casualties. Attacks could occur in the future.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Local authorities may ask you to present your passport and visa at any time. In such situations, you are advised to remain calm and cooperative. Failure to comply could result in expulsion.
- Always carry a certified copy of your passport and visa with you
- Always keep your original passport in a secure place
Persons convicted of the possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs can expect prison terms and heavy fines.
Taking photographs in public places, including at N’Djili International Airport in Kinshasa, is prohibited and could lead to arrest and detention.
You should carry an International Driving Permit.
Other traffic laws
Motorists and pedestrians are required to stop for the raising and the lowering of the national flag at approximately 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. every day. Policemen and/or military personnel often detain and fine people who fail to do so.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
If local authorities consider you a citizen of the Democratic Republic of Congo, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.
Travellers with dual citizenship
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in the Democratic Republic of Congo by an abducting parent:
- act as quickly as you can
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in the Democratic Republic of Congo to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
The currency is the Congolese franc (CDF).
Payments can be made in foreign currency, particularly U.S. dollars. Merchants and foreign exchange dealers require that foreign currency be in good condition (not torn) and recently issued (U.S. dollars printed after 2009), due to the amount of counterfeit currency in circulation.
Credit cards are not generally accepted, except by certain hotels, restaurants and major stores. Systematically check and keep all hotel bills.
Major hotels have ATMs from which you can obtain a cash advance with certain credit cards; however, they do not always work.
Natural disasters and climate
The rainy season extends from April to October in the north and from November to March in the south. Flash flooding and landslides may occur during these periods and could severely disrupt essential services.
If you are in the affected areas:
- exercise caution
- monitor local news and weather reports
- follow the instructions of local authorities
DRC is located in an active seismic area.
Volcanic eruptions are common in some parts of the country. Mount Nyiragongo, situated on the edge of Goma, is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. The latest eruption in May 2021 forced the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people, caused significant damage to infrastructure, and resulted in many casualties.
If you are travelling near an active volcano:
- exercise caution
- take official warnings seriously and respect exclusion zones
- monitor local media to stay up-to-date on latest developments and volcanic activity levels
- follow the advice of local authorities
There is no centralized number to reach emergency services. Research and carry contact information for local police and medical facilities.
Kinshasa - Embassy of Canada
Republic of Congo
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in Kinshasa and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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