COVID-19: travel health notice for all travellers
Rwanda travel advice
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- Risk level
- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
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Rwanda - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Rwanda due to the ongoing insecurity in some neighbouring countries.
Border with the Democratic Republic of Congo - Avoid non-essential travel
Avoid non-essential travel to areas within 10 km of the border with Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) due to the rebel groups in DRC near the border with Rwanda.
Safety and security
The volatile situation in the eastern part of neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) could lead to possible incursions into western Rwanda by DRC armed rebel groups.
Due to political tensions between Rwanda and Uganda, the land border may be closed without notice.
Attacks in the area bordering Burundi occur regularly. Be extremely vigilant as the security situation can deteriorate suddenly.
The level of crime is relatively low. However, petty theft from cars and hotel rooms occurs. Pickpockets are active in crowded places. House break-ins have occurred in Kigali.
- Remain alert to your surroundings
- Ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
- Don’t show signs of affluence
- Don’t venture out alone or travel outside major cities after dark
Demonstrations take place from time to time. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Mass gatherings (large-scale events)
Security incidents have been recently reported in the Nyungwe Forest National Park. No recent incidents have been reported at Volcanoes National Park.
When visiting a park:
- you must purchase a park permit from Rwanda’s Office of Tourism and National Parks.
- be accompanied by an official guide
- only use established trails
Rwanda’s Office of Tourism and National Parks
Tourist facilities are adequate in Kigali and other major towns, but are limited in remote areas. In remote areas, access to electricity is limited. During the dry season, there may be water shortages in some areas of the country and in some parts of Kigali.
In general, the main roads in Kigali and linking Kigali to other cities are relatively well maintained. However:
- dirt roads are in poor condition
- excessive speed, careless driving, the lack of basic safety equipment on many vehicles, the presence of pedestrians, cyclists and livestock on the roads, and the lack of streetlights pose hazards
- some roads may be difficult or impossible to access during the rainy season
- police checkpoints are frequent
Avoid travel after dark, particularly in rural areas.
In the event of a traffic accident:
- in Kigali, dial 113 for police
- elsewhere, go directly to the nearest police station
Shared buses and minibuses, the most common form of public transportation, can be dangerous due to reckless driving.
- Use licensed public bus and auto taxi companies
- Confirm the fare with the driver before departing
- Be cautious when using motorbike taxis, as they are unsafe
- Don’t use them at night
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Entry and exit requirements
Travellers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Rwandan Ministry of Health has established procedures for travellers wishing to enter the country from areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) affected by the Ebola virus disease. This includes health care and humanitarian workers and volunteers. Among other things, they are subject to a quick thermal scanner screening. You may be subject to a 21-day quarantine period before your travel to Rwanda.
Follow instructions of local authorities if you are travelling to Rwanda from the DRC.
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 the Rwandan authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.
Due to the ongoing outbreak of Ebola virus disease, authorities could close the Rwanda-Democratic Republic of Congo border at any time without notice.
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 Rwanda.
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
Work permit: required
Business visa: required, valid for 90 days and may be extended once (work is not permitted but the holder of this class of visa can change their status)
Citizens of all countries get 30 days visa upon arrival, without prior application. If you plan to stay longer than 30 days after entering Rwanda, you must seek an extension before the expiry of the entry visa. Applications must be made in person at the Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration in Kacyiru, Kigali. Anyone who overstays their visa is subject to a fine.
You can also apply for a tourist visa at the nearest Rwandan diplomatic mission or at the Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration in Kigali.
East African Tourist Visa
The East African Tourist Visa allows for multiple entries to each Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda. It is valid for 90 days and cannot be extended. You must obtain this visa from the country that is the first entry point. If you plan on beginning your trip in Rwanda, you must obtain it online.
You must obtain a work permit issued by the Rwanda Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration if you are planning to work in the country. Requirements for a work permit include that you must have obtained a valid police clearance from the country in which you have been residing for the last six months. Obtaining a police certificate from Canada while in Rwanda can take up to six months.
- Rwanda Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration
- Foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada
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 - 5 April, 2023
- COVID-19 and International Travel - 17 March, 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 low potential for yellow fever exposure in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination may be recommended depending on your itinerary.
- Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of your 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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
In this destination, rabies is commonly carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions, including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.
If you are bitten or scratched by a dog or other animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. In this destination, rabies treatment may be limited or may not be available, therefore you may need to return to Canada for treatment.
Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals).
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.
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.
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.
Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance 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 are more likely to come in contact with animals.
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), HIV, and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.
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.
Medical services and facilities
Medical facilities are limited and scarce outside of Kigali. Hospitals in Kigali are adequate for routine procedures. Serious medical problems require air evacuation to a country with better medical facilities, such as Kenya, South Africa or even Canada.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
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.
Non-biodegradable bags are prohibited in Rwanda. If you arrive with such bags at the airport in Kigali, they might be confiscated.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Drunk drivers are subject to a short prison sentence and a fine.
Photography of government buildings is prohibited. You should also avoid taking photographs in border areas.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Rwanda.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Rwanda, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
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 Rwanda.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Rwanda by an abducting parent:
- act as quickly as you can
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in Rwanda 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
You must carry an international driving permit.
Third-party insurance is required to cover damages if you are involved in an accident resulting in injuries even if you are not found to be at fault. If you are suspected of causing an accident, your driver’s licence can be confiscated during the investigation. If the accident results in death, you may be subject to a jail sentence.
The currency of Rwanda is the Rwandan franc (RWF).
Most hotels accept credit cards; but it is recommended to confirm with your hotel before arrival. In Kigali, several businesses, including restaurants and boutiques, accept credit cards.
Expect to handle other expenses in cash. Most shops will not accept or exchange U.S. dollars printed before 2006.
ATMs are abundant in Kigali, and usually accept Canadian ATM cards. Credit card cash withdrawals are available only through a few banks in Kigali.
Natural disasters and climate
Seismic activity is unpredictable and infrequent, but the possibility of earthquakes exists.
Volcanic eruptions have occurred in Goma (DRC) and may pose a hazard in Gisenyi in northern Rwanda. Nyiragongo volcano, located near Goma, is an active volcano. Exercise a high degree of caution if you travel near the volcano and closely follow the advice of local authorities.
During the two rainy seasons (February to May and September to December), intense thunderstorms are frequent.
Seasonal flooding can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable and bridges damaged.
Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
Emergency services exist but may be subject to certain limitations. In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 112
- medical assistance: 912
- gender- based violence: 3512
Kigali - Office of the High Commission of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Office of the High Commission of Canada in Kigali 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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