Congo visa instructions
Hey, you, adventurous globetrotter! If you have found yourself reading this article, there is a big chance you are the one. Because you know what? Anyone considering travel to DR Congo, or the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC in short), must be a thrillseeker! This country is not the typical holiday destination, and if you are not aware yet what am I talking about, hold tight. To give you a bit of context before revealing the most important aspects of the DR Congo visa policy, I will elaborate on this more. First, I want to point out that the Democratic Republic of Congo is not the same country as the Republic of Congo. They both are better distinguished by their capitals and often referred to as Congo - Kinshasa, and Congo - Brazzaville. We will talk about the first one here.
What should I know about the Democratic Republic of the Congo?
DR Congo is a country located in Central Africa, and its official language is French, as well as the local language, Lingala. Talking about tourism in DR Congo, most people would mention the especially astonishing Virunga National Park home to endangered mountain gorillas. Some might even mention some old news of this country coming into tourist interest due to a new volcano Nyamulagira being born in this same national park. Mostly the attention is leaning towards the troubling situation and danger any tourist might encounter while exploring this country.
In 1994 - 2003 this country rich in natural reserves experienced a devastating Congo civil war that ended the authoritarian regime. Even though the war is over, the situation hasn't become all safe yet. Widespread violent crime, civil unrest, terrorism, kidnappings, and a poor medical system are the main reasons most would advise forgoing any travel to DR Congo. They are not wrong in doing so - the situation is unpredictable, and either the organized groups or individual civilians might take advantage by harming both locals or the tourists. What to do if you have set your mind on getting there anyways? Make sure you read all the available latest information on the especially dangerous areas. Consult trustworthy people about the practicalities. Just make sure you plan and set your expectations around all of this situation to keep yourself safe!
How do I travel to the DRC?
Generally, it is suggested to arrive by plane at Kinshasa N'djili Airport or by bus/car from Uganda via the Bunagana-Kisoro border. There is one train line from Zambia, but they are infrequent, and the lines are in very bad shape, therefore better opt for different means of travel. Additionally, you might also consider a boat from Brazzaville to Kinshasa.
Before travelling, make sure you have met these three requirements:
● Have a passport that is valid for six months after entry into the country
● Have a visa for Congo that you have obtained BEFORE travelling
● Have a certified international vaccination card with information about yellow fever vaccination (and for your safety, take anti-malaria treatment/drugs with you. A cholera vaccine is recommended but not required.)
Also, be aware that you will be asked to pay official airport fees during check-in before leaving DRC: $50 airport exit fee, $5 boarding fee (passengers on domestic flights pay $10). If anyone asks you to pay any other unofficial fees or are being detained/harassed by the officials, ask to contact your embassy immediately.
Is the question "how can I get Congo visa?" still bugging you? Let's get to answering that!
How can I get Congo visa?
To do it in person though, the standard procedure is rather usual. To apply for Congo visa, first find the closest diplomatic mission (e.g. embassy), that caters to the nationals of your country. A hint here - there are not that many Congo embassies around the globe, which means - you will have to travel to another country or send the application via post/courier to get it processed. For example, in the EU there are just six countries with those! Check the list of embassies to find out if your homeland is on it Please note, that by searching online, you might even find a webpage offering a Congo e visa. None of the official websites mentions the possibility to obtain a visa this way. Please don't take the word for granted, but the Congo e visa webpage looks like a scam (the texts are incomplete and look unprofessional); therefore, I still suggest contacting the embassy.
Whenever you are sure about the place your application should arrive at, check the actual Congo visa requirements before filling out anything. You see, they might differ for different nationals, and also some changes take place in time. What does it mean for you? Always specify the information with the officials. The embassy is the institution that will process your application. They are the ones to offer the most recent and precise details that will correspond to your case. That is unless you are applying through an intermediary like Pickvisa which will make it way easier - no need on your part to research, liaise and arrange all the necessary details.
Who needs to apply for Congo visa?
There is a very big chance you WILL need to obtain a visa before arriving in DRC. The only visa-exempt foreign nationals are from Burundi, Congo Brazzaville, Rwanda, Zimbabwe. Nationals of Kenya, Mauritius, Tanzania are eligible for a visa on arrival. Everyone else requires a visa made before arrival. Suppose you don't have Congolese identity papers (passport or identity card), even in the case of a multi-citizenship. In that case, you will be considered a foreign passenger and therefore will need a visa!
What types of visa for Congo are there?
The official DR Congo visa policy states several general types of visas valid for 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, and 6 months and allows single or multiple entries. Depending on your travel goals you should get a Tourist Visa, Family Visit Visa, Business Visa, or Transit Visa (valid for 7 days). Additionally, one might apply for a Diplomatic Visa. If you are considering a long-term residency, you will need to obtain a so-called "establishment visa" for professional, studying, matrimonial purposes, or a permanent stay. Congo work visa requirements will fit under this category, too.
What are Congo visa requirements?
There is quite a list of Congo visa requirements if you decide to travel for any reason. Also, each embassy or webpage might tell different things, therefore follow our suggestion to consult someone who knows all details well. The requirements might change depending on your nationality and the type of visa you would want to obtain. In short: requirements could consist of: application form, three coloured photos, passport, and three copies of the main page (must be valid at least 6 months after entering DR Congo), travel itinerary, proof of accommodation (latest information tells, that booking.com reservations are not valid in this case), proof of financial means (according to the US Bureau of Consular Affairs, at least an amount equal to 5400 USD), proof of employment, proof for the visit and the certificate to prove the Yellow Fever vaccination. Congo work visa requirements will be similar, but check the details with your embassy to ensure your employment plans work out fine.
What are Congo visa fees and processing time?
The expected Congo visa fees vary greatly depending on the type you would want to acquire. They range from 30 USD (transit visa) up to 1500 USD (particular types of establishment visa). If you intend to apply for Congo visa, clarify the fee amount that corresponds to your individual needs. Depending on the embassy you are applying to, the average processing time for a Congo Republic visa is up to a month - some embassies are said to be very slow and not pick up their phones, so make sure there is enough time to acquire a visa before departing.
Let's make a quick rundown. If you are travelling to DRC, do thorough research to ensure that you know everything you are getting into. Acquiring a visa for Congo will be a rather standard procedure, but you will have to be mindful of everything surrounding the arrival and departure process. And remember - if you are looking for a more detailed description of the Democratic Republic of the Congo visa requirements, just check our page on this topic or contact the closest diplomatic mission! After all, it is quite obvious that travel arrangements to less popular destinations might cause somewhat of confusion and it is always handy to have a reputable source to turn to when dealing with such serious matters as applying to get a visa for Congo. With that said, I am wishing you good luck in your adventurous endeavors and a...bon voyage!
Ieva Miltina is an activist and entrepreneur of many sorts. By profession project manager of marketing and culture events, in her heart she is a passionate traveler and a cook, soon to become a pastry chef. Deeply rooted in non-formal education she has been involved in youth work since her teenage years and up till nowadays holds a deep interest in innovative approaches to learning and personal development, which she transfers to people from all Europe during various international trainings. Always looking for new discoveries and adventures she happily shares her positive view on the world and the neverending stories with the people who cross her path. While studying hospitality and tourism management she wrote a thesis on home-chefs, which ignited her dream of owning her cozy and heartwarming home restaurant, which will hopefully materialize very soon. Meanwhile writing articles and doing food photography she is working towards another dream of hers - becoming a published author someday.