Living in Rwanda

Advice for British people living in Rwanda including information on health, education, benefits, residence requirements and more.

This guide sets out essential information for British nationals residing in Rwanda including advice on health, education, benefits, residence requirements and more. We are unable to provide any guidance on general lifestyle enquiries apart from the information and links listed below. See our services for British nationals.


See our travel advice sections on health, safety and security. Medical facilities in Rwanda are limited and some medicines are often unavailable. There are hospitals in Kigali and over the region that can treat minor ailments. For any major medical problems, including dental it is advisable to obtain medical treatment in Nairobi or South Africa where more advanced medical care is available.

Travellers to Rwanda are recommended to take out comprehensive medical insurance. See our travel advice section on health and safety & security.


You should follow the advice of Rwanda’s government and your local authority. You can also read Rwanda travel advice for our latest guidance.

For information on getting a COVID-19 vaccine as a UK national in Rwanda, see our coronavirus travel advice.


The number of schools in Rwanda have increased in recent years. Most schools follow what they describe as an international curriculum, which is usually closest to a British curriculum. These schools usually start formal teaching from Grade 1, i.e. six year olds.


See register a birth abroad.


See what to do after someone dies.

See also: bereavement information for Rwanda. list of funeral directors in Rwanda.

Employment and recognised qualifications

Employment opportunities are available for British nationals. However, you require a valid work permit to work in Rwanda. You may also be required to provide a police clearance /disclosure from your home country before receiving a work permit. The Rwandan Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration handles all work permit applications. Arrangements for applying for work permits should be made prior to entering the country.

Entry and residence requirements

All British passport holders require a visa to travel to Rwanda and they can be obtained on arrival at the aiport, at the Rwandan High Commission in the UK or online prior to arrival at the main port of entry. The visa fee is USD30 for a period for 30 days.

Yellow Fever Vaccination requirement

Yellow fever vaccination is required for travellers arriving from all countries. Following an increase in cases of yellow fever in the region, the Rwandan authorities announced on 28 March 2016 that travellers arriving at Kigali International Airport without a valid yellow fever certificate will have to pay $40 for a vaccination on arrival.

Driving Licences and Vehicles

UK driving licences are acceptable for visitors, but for a maximum of 1 months. Anyone intending to stay in the country longer is expected to obtain a Rwandan driving licence. In order to obtain a Rwandan driving licence one must contact the Rwanda Traffic Police website for more details.


Social security pensions are available for locals only and residents only. British nationals living in Rwanda are not entitled to social security pensions. Link to mainstream page for UK benefits Link to the UK retiring abroad.

Sponsoring Family Members

Family members of a British National need a valid relevant visa to live in Rwanda. This is not required if the family members holds a Rwandan nationality.

Social Ethics and Traditions

Rwadans are friendly to visitors. English,French and Kinyarwanda are the official languages and English is widely spoken in major towns and tourist areas. A visitor should be able to get along quite well with English only. Remember to be sensitive to the different culture and people around you and do not engage in behaviour that may cause offence. Rwandan people are very friendly and welcoming but can be reserved. The dress code is sometimes conservative.

Accommodation and buying property

See buying a property abroad.

Other useful information

Rwanda list of lawyers.

Notary services for Rwanda.

Returning to the UK

At the end of your stay you should check that your visa/residence permit is valid otherwise you will be liable to pay a fine to the Rwanda Directorate of Immigration & Emigration.

See tax if you return to the UK.

See bringing your pet to the UK.


Emergency numbers in Rwanda are:

112 Police

111 Fire Brigade

113 Traffic accident

If you need urgent help, contact the British High Commission in Kigali.


This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the High Commission by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. The FCDO and the British High Commission will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain any further information must contact the relevant local authority.

Published 8 January 2013
Last updated 23 March 2021 + show all updates
  1. Coronavirus section added with a link to guidance on vaccines.

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