Foreign travel advice

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Summary

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to the provinces of Haut-Uele, Haut Lomami, Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu, Maniema and Tanganyika, within 50km of the border with the Central African Republic and South Sudan and within a 100km radius of the town of Kananga.

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the cities of Goma and Bukavu and to the districts of N’djili and Kimbanseke in Kinshasa.

Public gatherings and demonstrations can quickly turn violent in the DRC. There are limits to the assistance the FCO can provide in a crisis, depending on the security and transport situation. In the event of serious unrest, commercial flights may be suspended, roads blocked and borders closed, making it difficult to leave the country. Schools may be closed. Internet connections and mobile phone networks may have reduced services or be cut off. You shouldn’t assume that the FCO will be able to provide assistance to leave the country.

On 19 and 20 September 2016 violence relating to political protests in Kinshasa led to dozens of fatalities, closure of local and international schools, cancellation of some flights and restricted access around the city, including to the airport.

There was further unrest in several cities on 19 December 2016 which led to a number of fatalities. There remains an increased military presence in Kinshasa and other major cities, and stop-and-search checkpoints in some areas, especially after dark. You should be extra vigilant and monitor local media and this advice for updates.

You should avoid travelling around Kinshasa and other large cities on and around days of planned protests, including to and from N’djili airport. In particular, you should avoid areas where demonstrations may take place, including official buildings such as the parliament and the offices of the electoral commission. If a demonstration or disturbance takes place, leave quickly and don’t attempt to watch or photograph it.

Consider making contingency plans in the event of demonstrations, including keeping a stock of essential supplies and up-to-date travel documents and visas. See how to prepare for a crisis overseas and information on how to contact the British Embassy. The support the British Embassy is able to provide is limited and dependent on the security situation.

The security situation in eastern DRC remains unstable. The continued presence of armed groups, military operations against them, intercommunal violence and an influx of refugees from neighbouring countries all contribute to a deterioration in the political, security and humanitarian situation. There are continued reports of kidnappings, including of staff from international NGOs. While British government staff do visit Goma, they aren’t always in the area, and as with anywhere outside of Kinshasa the British Embassy’s ability to offer consular assistance is severely limited.

The lack of infrastructure throughout the country and continued insecurity in eastern DRC often prevent the British Embassy in Kinshasa from being able to extend normal levels of consular assistance to British nationals anywhere in the DRC other than Kinshasa.

Before considering travel to Democratic Republic of the Congo you should read this travel advice carefully, keep up to date with the latest security situation and subscribe to e-mail alerts for updates to this travel advice. Any updates to travel advice will also be posted on the UK in DRC’s Facebook page and twitter channel.

Street crime and robbery, including by individuals posing as plain clothes police, is common. Beware of gangs promising you cut price gold and diamonds. International non-governmental organisations in Kinshasa and Goma have been targeted. Take extra care at night. See Crime

There is a low threat from terrorism. See Terrorism

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.