Summary

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The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:

  • the provinces of Kasaï, Kasaï Central, Kasaï Oriental, Haut-Uele, Haut Lomami, Ituri, North Kivu (except the city of Goma - see below), South Kivu (except the city of Bukavu - see below), Maniema and Tanganyika in eastern DRC
  • areas to the west and east of Kananga, including Tshikapa and Mwene-Ditu (as shown on the map)
  • within 50km of the border with the Central African Republic and South Sudan.

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of the DRC, including the capital city, Kinshasa.

If you’re currently in the DRC and your continued presence is not essential, you should consider leaving the country by commercial means before 17 December.

Elections took place on 30 December 2018. Provisional results were announced on 10 January. Internet connections and mobile phone networks have been reduced or cut off since 31 December. The political and security situation for previous electoral cycles has seen sporadic bouts of unrest and violence. 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. Previous periods of unrest have seen an increased military and police presence in Kinshasa and other major cities, with stop-and-search checkpoints appearing in some areas, especially after dark.

In line with previous elections, the British Embassy Kinshasa has temporarily withdrawn non-essential staff and dependents since 17 December. This has severely reduced the embassy’s capacity to provide consular assistance to British nationals in the DRC. There are limits to the assistance the FCO can provide in a crisis, depending on the security and transport situation. You shouldn’t assume that the FCO will be able to provide assistance to leave the country in the event of serious unrest.

If you choose to remain in the DRC during the remainder of the election period, you should avoid any political rallies or demonstrations, monitor developments closely and keep your departure options under review. Consider making contingency plans, including keeping a stock of essential supplies and up-to-date travel documents and visas. You may wish to sign up for our email alert service to be notified of 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. It is possible that mobile telephone and data networks will not be available during the campaign period. In cases of serious unrest, the British Embassy Kinshasa will provide information via local radio stations and our warden network.

Public gatherings and demonstrations can be called with little or no notice and can quickly turn violent in DRC. In all instances, you should remain vigilant and be aware of disruptions to journeys around Kinshasa, as well as to and from N’Djili airport. If a demonstration or disturbance takes place, leave quickly and don’t attempt to watch or photograph it.

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.

Consular support is severely limited in parts of DRC. 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.

On 1 August 2018, the DRC Government confirmed an outbreak of the Ebola virus in North Kivu province, originating in Béni territory. New cases continue to be reported across the affected areas, the latest updates can be found on the World Health Organisation (WHO) website. See Health

Street crime and robbery, including by individuals posing as plain clothes police, is common. You should avoid using any taxis in DRC. If you must take a taxi, use a privately booked one. Don’t hail taxis in the street. 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

Terrorist attacks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo can’t be ruled out. Attacks could be indiscriminate. You should be vigilant, especially in places visited by foreigners. See Terrorism

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.