International Travel and COVID-19
- be sure to get vaccinated, and complete any additional recommended doses, at least 14 days before your departure
- review the travel health notice for COVID-19 and International Travel
If you have not completed a COVID-19 vaccine series, you should continue to avoid non-essential travel to all destinations.
Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa) Travel Advice
Last updated: ET
Latest updates: Safety and security - Addition of information on a terrorist threat in Goma, North Kivu Province.
On this page
- Risk level
- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
- Need help?
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 the DRC - Avoid all travel
Avoid all travel to the eastern and northeastern areas of the 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 are currently in these areas, you should regularly review the situation to determine whether your continued presence in the area is warranted.
Kasaï provinces - Avoid all travel
Avoid all travel to the following provinces due to frequent clashes between security forces and armed militias:
Safety and security
COVID-19 - Preventative measures and restrictions
COVID-19 preventative measures and restrictions are still in effect in some destinations.
These could include:
- curfews, movement restrictions, or lockdowns
- mandatory mask use
- required proof of vaccination or a COVID-19 test result to access public and private services and spaces
Before travelling, verify if specific restrictions or requirements are still in effect.
On May 12, 2022, the Embassy of the United States in the Democratic Republic of the Congo issued the following security alert: “The U.S. Embassy advises U.S. citizens that there is a risk of a terrorist attack on an unspecified ferry departing from Goma, North Kivu Province, DRC.”
Security alert - Embassy of the United States in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
The security situation in the DRC is unpredictable and could deteriorate suddenly.
Demonstrations may occur. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent suddenly.
- 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
There is a threat of terrorism in the Democratic Republic of Congo, particularly in the region of Beni-Butenbo in North Kivu, in the vicinity of Boga in Ituri and 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 the DRC (MONUSCO).
The affected provinces are:
- North Kivu
- South Kivu
The government of the 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
The situation in the Kivus remains unstable. Armed conflicts continue in some areas outside provincial capitals, despite the signing of peace accords and the presence of UN forces.
Members of various armed groups continue to plunder and commit violent crimes against civilians, including murder, kidnapping, armed assault and rape. The FARCD, sometimes with the assistance of MONUSCO, has been fighting armed groups in order to eradicate them. The resulting humanitarian crisis has led to significant population movements.
Caution is advised in Goma (the capital of North Kivu) and Bukavu (capital of South Kivu), although the situation in those cities is more stable. It is very important that you take into account the information provided by Congolese authorities and MONUSCO, to help avoid dangerous situations.
The use of public transportation here is not advised, as is the case throughout the country.
The North Kivu territories of Beni, Masisi, Rutshuru and Walikale and South Kivu’s Kabare and Shabunda are particularly dangerous. In the Kivus, military operations to eradicate elements of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) could lead to a deterioration of safety in different areas outside the two capitals.
Local businesses and services, including airports, are often disrupted in these provinces.
If you are in North Kivu or South Kivu, you must continually reassess the situation to determine whether your continued presence in the area is warranted.
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. The DRC borders with Burundi and Rwanda can be closed on short notice.
The border crossings between the 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.
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 the 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.
There is an increase in cases of kidnappings-for-ransom in the provinces of Maniema, South Kivu and North Kivu, including in Goma. Foreigners are increasingly targeted.
Be vigilant at all times and have varied and unpredictable routes and schedules.
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 the 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 the 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 the 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.
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
COVID-19 - Entry, exit and transit restrictions and requirements
Most governments have implemented special entry and exit restrictions and requirements for their territory due to COVID-19. These measures can be imposed suddenly and may include:
- entry or exit bans
- mandatory proof of vaccination or COVID-19 testing
- suspensions or reductions of international transportation options
Foreign authorities might not recognize or accept proof of vaccination issued by Canadian provinces and territories. You may need to obtain a translation, a notarization, an authentication, or the legalization of the document.
- verify if the local authorities of both your current location and destinations have implemented any restrictions or requirements related to this situation
- consider even your transit points, as there are transit rules in place in many destinations
- monitor the media for the latest information
- reconfirm the requirements with your airline or tour operator
The situation could disrupt your travel plans. You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance to change your travel plans.
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 the 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 the 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 the 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 the DRC in Ottawa or in Gombe, Kinshasa, at the DRC’s immigration department (Direction générale de migration), 65 Boulevard du 30 juin (next to the Regideso building).
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 the 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 the 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 about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
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.
For destination entry and exit requirements, including for COVID-19 vaccination requirements, please check the Entry/exit requirements section.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Polio *Proof of vaccination*
- Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up to date.
- One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended as an adult.
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.
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).
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.
*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.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Central Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Central Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
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.
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.
- 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 typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in Central Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis, Rift Valley fever, West Nile virus, yellow fever and Zika virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
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 currently a risk of chikungunya in this 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas of Central Africa, like Ebola, rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Monkeypox is a risk in this country. It is a viral disease that can cause serious illness.
Monkeypox is mainly spread to humans through direct contact with:
- infected animals (mainly African rodents and non-human primates), by bite, scratch, or contact with their body fluids.
Human to human spread is not common but can occur through:
- direct contact with the skin lesions or scabs of an infected person or materials contaminated by their lesions (such as bedding and clothing)
- prolonged contact with a coughing or sneezing person with a rash due to monkeypox
Risk is generally low for most travellers. Wash your hands frequently and avoid contact with potentially infected animals and people.
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
Ebola virus disease (EVD)
Sporadic outbreaks of Ebola virus disease (EVD) occur in this country.
EVD is caused by a virus that is spread through contact with infected bodily fluids (from people or animals). It is very serious and often fatal.
Avoid contact with body fluids of people with EVD or unknown illnesses. Avoid contact with wild animals. There is a vaccine to prevent EVD available under certain circumstances; however, it is not authorized for sale in Canada.
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.
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.
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.
Medical services and facilities
COVID-19 - Testing facilities
Consult the following links to find out where you can get a COVID-19 test:
- Local COVID-19 testing procedures - Institut National de la Recherche Biomédicale (in French)
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.
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.
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
The 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
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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