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Congo, Democratic Republic of (DRC)

If you’re travelling to the Democratic Republic of Congo, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Health
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact


General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

General advice to avoid non-essential travel and ‘Normal Precautions’ list of exemptions:

In accordance with Government policy, which is based on official public health advice, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.

Travel to a very limited set of locations is exempted from this advice. Individuals arriving into Ireland from these locations will not be required to restrict their movements upon entry. These locations currently have a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) security status rating. As of 4 August 2020, these locations are:

  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • Greenland
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Norway
  • Slovakia

Inclusion on the list is based on the current epidemiological situation and related public health information in each location. The list and related travel advice will be reviewed on a fortnightly basis, based on advice from officials, including public health experts. Any updates or changes will be based on Government decisions. The latest updates will always be uploaded first to this General COVID-19 Travel Advisory. Country-specific tabs will be updated subsequently, and as quickly as possible, but this advisory is the primary source of information for the latest version of the list. The above list was updated on 4 August following the latest review.

If you are considering travelling outside of Ireland:

Irish citizens travelling to locations with a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) rating are advised to follow the public health guidelines of the local health authorities and to continue to practice physical distancing measures, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette etc. The security rating for all other locations remains unchanged at either to ‘avoid non-essential travel’ (“orange”) or to ‘do not travel’ (“red”).

The purpose of the Department’s Travel Advice is to provide information to the general public so that individuals can make informed decisions for themselves.  The COVID19 pandemic continues to accelerate internationally, and there are significant risks associated with international travel. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. Any citizens who are considering travel abroad are advised to monitor closely our travel advice and we recommend that citizens download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. Citizens travelling abroad should also register with their local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Should you need to travel for essential reasons, you should inform yourself about any requirements in place in the destination to which you are travelling.  Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate as scheduled. Testing and restrictions may be imposed or may already be in place in other countries. It is important to check with your insurance provider on coverage at this time.

What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

The Irish Authorities advise anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland and individuals arriving in Ireland from locations with a security rating of ‘normal precautions’ (“green”), to restrict their movements for 14 days, and this includes citizens and residents returning to Ireland. Restricting your movements means staying indoors in one location and avoiding contact with other people and social situations as much as possible. To ensure that this is being observed all passengers arriving to Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a mandatory Public Health Passenger Locator Form and to submit it to the relevant authority at their port of entry. For further details please see the Irish Government Advice Page. Exemptions are also in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff. Check the Irish Government Advice Page for full information on these requirements and further advice on returning from abroad.

Where to go for more information:

We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.


Security status

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises against all travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

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.

There are confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in DRC. International commercial flights have been suspended, and restrictions on movement have been introduced in Gombe, the central business district of Kinshasa.

There are confirmed outbreaks of Ebola in North Kivu and Ituri Provinces. On 17 July 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).  Risk remains very high at national and regional levels. For more information we advise you to consult

The Ministry of Health in Rwanda has established new policies for every traveller wishing to enter Rwanda from Ebola-affected areas of the DRC. Affected travellers should provide advance notice of their intention to travel to Rwanda to the Rwandan Ministry of Health and will need to comply with quarantine procedures for a period of 21 days before onward travel within or through Rwanda is permitted.

The HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) and HSE Departments of Public Health are implementing measures that will help provide appropriate support to all humanitarian aid workers returning to Ireland from Ebola-affected areas in DRC. One of these measures is establishing a register of all aid workers going to these countries so that on their return to Ireland the HSE can undertake assessment of their potential exposures to Ebola while in DRC.

If your organisation has humanitarian aid workers in Ebola affected regions of DRC, then the HSE requests you to complete a registration form. Other relevant information that the HAW should be made aware of before travel are available on the HPSC website

There is currently an outbreak of Zika Virus (a dengue-like mosquito-borne disease) in the region. Irish Citizens especially those with a weakened immune system or women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant are advised to follow guidance available on the website of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC).

If you decide to remain in DRC you should avoid travelling around Kinshasa and other large cities on and around any days of planned demonstrations, including to and from N'djili (Kinshasa) International airport. If demonstrations are taking place you should monitor local media for updates, avoid moving around urban areas and stay indoors. If you encounter a demonstration you should leave the area immediately. Under no circumstances should you attempt to watch or photograph demonstrations.

You should also make contingency plans in the event of demonstrations, including keeping a stock of essential supplies and up-to-date travel documents and visas. Be aware however that, if unrest in the country worsens, commercial flights may be suspended and border crossing points closed. This will restrict your ability to leave the country.

Emergency assistance

Because there is no resident Irish Embassy in DRC, we are limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, please contact our Embassy in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania or the Consular Assistance Unit at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Dublin on +353 1 408 2000.

Other EU embassies

You can also try contacting the Embassies, Consulates of other EU countries for emergency consular assistance, advice and support. Please note however that the lack of infrastructure throughout the country and continued insecurity in eastern DRC often prevent these Missions from providing normal levels of consular assistance.

Our tips for safe travels

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates
  • Read our Topical 'Know Before You Go' guide.

Safety and Security

Safety and security


The political situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is fragile. Things can deteriorate quickly and dangerous incidents can happen. For this reason, we advise against non-essential travel to the country, particularly all travel to the eastern, north-eastern and Bas-Congo areas, including the town of Goma.

Be aware that if unrest in the country worsens, commercial flights may be suspended and border crossing points closed. This will restrict your ability to leave the country.

Border areas

If you are travelling to the DRC, avoid entering or leaving overland from Uganda, Rwanda or Burundi except via Goma and Bukavu and be extremely careful at crossing points. The border crossings between Rwanda and the DRC at Gisenyi/Goma and Cyangugu/Bukavu are currently open between 6am and 6pm. Both borders are liable to short notice closure and you shouldn’t rely on them as a point of exit from the DRC. The border with Angola can also be subject to closure at short notice. You must have the correct documentation for to enter the country, including a visa issued by the nearest DRC Embassy to your country of residence. It is no longer possible to buy a short-term pass at the border to enter the country.


Avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, which can sometimes turn confrontational. Always keep yourself informed of changes to the political situation by monitoring local and international media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser.


Crime is on the rise, particularly in Kinshasa, and you should be extremely careful, especially at night and always take sensible precautions: 

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place. 
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
  • Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business.
  • Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.
  • Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations.

Street crime

In Kinshasa, robberies by gangs of street children are increasingly common and becoming more aggressive. You should always stick to the main thoroughfares when driving and make sure that you park in a supervised area.

Reporting crime

There’s no emergency services number in the Democratic Republic of Congo, equivalent to the 999 service in Ireland.

If you’re a victim of crime, notify the nearest police station or gendarmerie. However, you should be aware that laws and regulations are not administered consistently in the DRC and legal recourse in cases of theft and robbery is limited. If you need assistance, you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Pretoria.


If you’re planning to drive in Democratic Republic of Congo, you should be extremely careful. Roads are generally in poor condition, and often impassable in the rainy season. If you want to drive:

  • Bring your full Irish driver’s licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law
  • Be aware of Democratic Republic of Congo’s traffic laws, such as speed limits
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights
  • Stick to the main routes  and always park in a supervised area


Travellers are frequently detained and questioned by poorly disciplined security forces at numerous official and unofficial roadblocks and border crossings throughout the country. Requests for bribes in such instances are common, and security forces are reported to have occasionally injured or killed people who refuse to pay.

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Practical advice

  • Read our travel advice, inform yourself before travelling and get advice locally when you arrive
  • Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them
  • Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or even illegal


Taking photos of, or near, military or security installations and staff, and some public buildings, is prohibited and can result in arrest and detention.



Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Medical facilities

The Centre Prive d'Urgence (CPU) clinic in Kinshasa is able to cope with basic health problems and to stabilise a patient after most serious accidents. Medical evacuation is advisable as soon as possible. Outside Kinshasa, western standard medical facilities are practically non-existent.


Malaria is prevalent in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Before travelling, get up-to-date medical advice as to whether you will need anti-malarial medication. When you arrive, avoid being bitten by mosquitoes by using bed nets and repellents, and wearing closed shoes, long sleeves and trousers.

Other illnesses

There are confirmed outbreaks of Ebola in North Kivu and Ituri provinces. Rabies, polio, meningitis and cholera are also common. There is outbreak of polio in Tanganyika province along Lake Tanganyika. Plague is endemic in North Eastern Province Orientale.

There is currently a Measles outbreak in DRC. The World Health Organisation recommends that travellers get vaccinated against measles at least 15 days prior to travel.

WHO advice for international travel in relation to measles can be found here


HIV/AIDS is prevalent in the Democratic Republic of Congo. You should exercise necessary caution if engaging in activities that expose you to possible infection. If you suspect that you have been exposed to possible infection, you should seek immediate medical attention.


Check what vaccinations you may need for your trip at least eight weeks before you travel. We can’t advise you on vaccinations, but you can get information about vaccinations from your local GP or an International Health and Travel Centre.

Evidence of vaccination (in the form of a certificate) can be a requirement for entry to some countries.


Make sure you bring enough medication for your entire trip and for any unexpected delays. You may wish to also bring copies of your prescription in case you lose your medication.

Medical emergency facilities

In Kinshasa:

  • Centre Prive d’Urgence (CPU), Corner of Avenue Commerce and Bas-Congo, Kinshasa-Gombe, DRC, Telephone: + 243 89 50 302. Open 24 hours for emergency treatment.
  • Centre Medical de Kinshasa (CMK), Avenue Wagenia No 168, Kinshasa-Gombe, DRC, Main Telephone: +243 89 50 300 or +243 99 82 65004, Emergency number: + 243 90 884 0277. Open 24 hours. Offers general and emergency medical services.
  • CMM Emergency Medical Centre, Avenue 48 de la Mongala, Kinshasa, DRC, Telephone: +243 81 884 1774, Offers general medical services.

In Goma:

  • Maison Medicale Du Centre (MMC), 20 Avenue Kamina, Goma, DRC, Telephone: +243 80 84 20 442 or 99 77 57 226 or 80 85 92 778

Additional Information

Additional information


All Irish nationals need a visa issued by the nearest Democratic Republic of Congo Embassy. It’s no longer possible to buy a short-term pass at the border to enter the country.

You can also check with the Embassy how long your passport must be valid for.


It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you when travelling to the Democratic Republic of Congo and you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times during your stay.

If your passport is lost or stolen while you’re abroad, we can help.

What we can do:

  • Issue you a replacement passport that will let you finish your trip, or;
  • Issue you with an emergency travel document to get you home.

We’ll do our best to help you as quickly as possible but this can take some time. Your location and circumstances may limit the help we can give you. As Ireland does not have an Embassy or Consulate in the Democratic Republic of Congo there may be additional complications in processing and application for a new passport.

You should contact our Irish Embassy in Tanzania to find out what you need to do to apply for a passport. They will also be able to advise you on the fees which apply.

Departure tax

There is a departure tax of $50 per passenger plus a fee of 5,000 Congolese Francs on international flights and $10 per passenger on domestic flights. These are official fees paid when checking in. Get an official receipt plus a copy for each fee. You should hand the originals on request to immigration and at boarding, and keep the copies.


The climate in the Democratic Republic of Congo is tropical. It’s generally hot and humid in the equatorial river basin. The southern highlands are cooler and drier. The eastern highlands are cool and wet. 

As the country is located on the equator, there are climatic variations to the north and south. North of the equator the rainy season is from April to October, the dry season lasting from December to February. South of the equator the rainy season is from November to March, the dry season lasting from April to October.


Earthquakes occasionally take place in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The most recent one occurred in 2015 and measured approximately 5.6 on the Richter scale.

If you’re travelling to or living in the Democratic Republic of Congo, make sure you know what to do in the event of an earthquake.


Mount Nyiragongo in the north east of the country (20 km from Goma) is an active volcano and local authorities, the UN and local NGOs continue to monitor its activity. If you are in the area (against our travel advice) then you should follow local advice in the event of an eruption.


There are occasional droughts in the dry season.


The Congo River floods during the rainy season causing widespread disruption in the river basin.

More advice

Ireland doesn’t have an Embassy or Consulate in the Democratic Republic of Congo so we can’t verify detailed travel advice to ensure that it’s accurate, appropriate and up to date. However, we encourage you to conduct your own research and to read these links to travel advice from other foreign ministries:

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

In cases of an emergency outside of regular office hours, the Embassy can be contacted by calling the Duty Officer directly on +255 754 783 455.

Embassy of Ireland
Toure Drive
Plot No. 353
P.O.Box 9612,
Dar es Salaam

Tel: +255 22 221 3800
Fax: + 255 22 2602 362

Monday to Thursday 08:00 - 16:30, Friday 08:00 - 14:00

Contact us