Democratic Republic of Congo Visa Requirements
GENERAL INFORMATION YOU SHOULD BE AWARE OF BEFORE VISITING THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
The Democratic Republic of Congo is Africa’s second largest country, covering an area of 905,355 square miles, with a population of about 78 million people. The Democratic Republic of Congo is situated in the central part of Africa and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean.
People are drawn to the DRC thanks to it being home to the famous but critically endangered mountain gorillas, the okapis and the lowland gorillas and most can be found in the Virunga National Park located in Nud Kivu.
The Virunga National Park is Africa’s oldest national park and within it lies an active stratovolcano, mount Nyiragongo, standing at 3,470 metres tall. The Democratic Republic of Congo is also home to Africa’s second largest river and the world’s deepest river, the Congo River which runs across the northern reaches of the country and has long been a site of historical importance.
The landscape of this country is something straight out of a story book, dense undulating rain forests, enormous waterfalls and fascinating wildlife, it is definitely an adventurer’s paradise.
Most adventurers who wish to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo will have to apply for a Democratic Republic of Congo visa, this information piece tells you everything you need to know about visa requirements for visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It is important that you familiarise yourself with these legal requirements of entry before your visit, since in most cases, you will have to obtain a Democratic Republic of Congo visa prior to your travels.
Visa requirements are governed by the Democratic Republic of Congo embassy or Diplomatic mission, located in the area you reside and can be found through visiting the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of Congo and may be subject to change without prior notice.
Rather check the country’s official website or enquire from a reputable travelling agency or tour operator like MoAfrika Tours what the latest updates or changes to the requirements for a visa application may be.
WHAT IS A VISA?
A visa is issued to international travellers visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo for a short stay on a temporary basis for tourism, business, study or medical reasons. Visas are normally issued for a maximum 30 or 90 days, depending on your country of residence.
A valid visa allows you to enter the country through a port of entry and stay in the country for the period specified in your visa.
Note that you are restricted to the activity or reason stated in your application, for example, if you applied for a visa for a holiday or family visit, you are not allowed to work in the country during your stay.
VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR VISITING THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
The Democratic Republic of Congo tourist visa is issued for short-term purposes – up to 90 days maximum, you will need a passport valid for at least six more months from the date of entry and with at least two blank pages for stamps.
Visitors holding passports from countries that are classified as ‘exempt’ do not need to apply for a visa prior to arriving in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Instead, they are issued with a short-stay visa at the point of entry for a period of time relevant to the status of the visitor’s country.
The Democratic Republic of Congo announced in September 2019 that they will be launching e-visas soon, unfortunately it is not yet available, so you may only get a visa on arrival if you are from one of the qualifying countries or if you are arriving from a country with no embassy, in which case you can obtain a seven day visa on arrival (extendable in the DRC).
The good news is that applying for a tourist visa has been made even easier since the Democratic Republic of Congo’s government made it possible to get the visa directly through the Virunga National Park.
The time it takes to process a Democratic Republic of Congo tourist visa is a minimum of two to five business days upon receipt of a complete application, depending on the number of entries allowed, the visa will only be valid for 30 days after the date issued.
Unfortunately, you will need a transit visa if you wish to travel through the Democratic Republic of Congo
COUNTRIES EXEMPTED AND COUNTRIES THAT NEED VISAS
All visitors to the Democratic Republic of Congo except those from the countries listed below, must have a visa to enter the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Nationals of the following countries may enter the Democratic Republic of Congo without a visa for stays of up to 90 day: The Democratic Republic of Burundi, Congo, Rwanda and Zimbabwe.
Holders of diplomatic or service passports issued to nationals of Angola (on duty), Iran and South Africa do not require a visa for the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Citizens of Kenya, Mauritius and Tanzania can visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo by obtaining a visa on arrival valid for up to seven days.
If you are from a country with no Democratic Republic of Congo embassy you can then apply for a visa confirmation (“visa volant”). A letter of request should be sent via e-mail to the Direction Générale de Migration with a photocopy of your passport and the inviting person/organization.
A confirmation is sent to you, which is then used to obtain a visa on arrival, valid for seven days and extendable in the DRC.
DIFFERENT KINDS OF VISAS
When applying for a Democratic Republic of Congo visa, you need to know which one to apply for according to your reason for traveling to the DRC. There are two types of visas available, the Tourist visa which is reserved for tourist/vacation reasons and the business visa which is reserved for conducting business in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Both of these visas are issued as single entry or multiple entry which means you can enter the Democratic Republic of Congo once or unlimited times within the validity of your visa.
There is also the transit visa available which needs to be obtained if you are travelling through the Democratic Republic of Congo, the price and validity will depend on how long you wish to stay and from which consulate/diplomatic mission or country you apply from.
HOW AND WHERE TO APPLY FOR VISAS WHEN VISITING THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
If you are from a country that does not qualify for a visa on arrival you will have to make an appointment at your nearest Democratic Republic of Congo Embassy or Diplomatic Mission.
From there, depending on which country’s embassy or diplomatic mission you use, you might be required to give biometric scans of your fingerprints or facial features.
This is a quick, discreet and non-intrusive process that captures a facial image with a digital camera and a 10-digit fingerprint scan with a digital finger scanner and is done at the embassy or diplomatic mission.
You will need to complete a Democratic Republic of Congo visa application form, obtainable from the embassy/diplomatic mission offices. Gather all the required documents, pay the visa fee and then submit the documents and application at the embassy/diplomatic mission. Some offices require you to submit the documents in person, whereas others also allow submissions through the mail.
Remember if you are from a country that does not have a Democratic Republic of Congo embassy or diplomatic mission, you are eligible for a visa on arrival, valid for seven days and extendable in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
DOCUMENTS NEEDED FOR APPLICATION FOR A VISA
When you apply for a Democratic Republic of Congo visa, you need the following documents to support your application: (Note that the exact required documents depend on the purpose of your travel as well as the embassy or consulate in which you apply).
- One copy of the application form
- One passport-size pictures of yourself with your name written on the back
- Your passport, valid for at least six more months from the date of entry and with at least two blank pages
- One passport copy (BIO page only) and copies of previous DRC visas (If applicable)
- A residence permit or other proof of legal residence if you are not a citizen of the country from which you are applying
- Copy of flight itinerary (not an actual booking or ticket)
- Proof of accommodation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, such as your hotel booking confirmation or a letter from your host.
- Company letter explaining the purpose of the trip (For Business Travelers ONLY)
- Proof of payment of the visa fee, payment must be made in cash only (Exact amount) or money order with the amount only (leave all other fields blank). This measure is in effect until further notice
- Copy of international yellow fever vaccination certificate
- If you apply by mail, a self-addressed and prepaid envelope for the return of your passport and documents
COST OF A DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO VISA
Fees for a Democratic Republic of Congo visa may vary depending on the consulate/diplomatic mission and country in which you are applying from. You will have to check the exact cost with them first. However, the below is an example of the last known fees charged:
Airport transit visa (One way)
Airport transit visa (Roundtrip transit)
Single entry (1-month validity visa)
Single entry (2 months validity visa)
Single entry (6 months validity visa)
Multiple entries (1-month validity visa)
Multiple entries (2 months validity visa)
Multiple entries (3 months validity visa)
Multiple entries (6 months validity visa)
VACCINES NEEDED WHEN VISITING THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
An international yellow fever vaccination certificate is a compulsory requirement for all travellers to the Democratic Republic of Congo, a yellow fever certificate is valid 10 days after the vaccination is administered, making it important to get the vaccination in time before leaving for the Democratic Republic of Congo. You may be refused entry if you leave it too late and arrive in the Democratic Republic of Congo within the 10-day waiting period.
The CDC and WHO recommend the following vaccinations for the Democratic Republic of Congo: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, yellow fever, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has had outbreaks of Malaria, Chikungunya and Dengue fever in recent years, They are mosquito-borne diseases and are potentially life-threatening, so it is highly recommended that you use mosquito repellents when visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo and that you take antimalarial medication before, during, and after your trip to prevent malaria. Your doctor can help you decide which medicine is right for you.
OTHER SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS WHEN VISITING THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
VISITING THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO WITH MINORS
If you are travelling to the Democratic Republic of Congo with a minor, please take note of the additional documents you will need per child:
- There must be a completed visa application, signed by a parent and a copy of both parents’ passports, along with a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate.
- If the child is only traveling with one parent, a letter of consent or affidavit from the other parent consenting to such travel is then required.
- If the child is traveling alone then a letter of consent or affidavit from both parents consenting to such travel is required
WHAT HAPPENS IF ONE OVERSTAYS ON A VISA IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Foreign visitors who overstay on a visa are normally declared ‘undesirable persons’ and may incur a ban from the Democratic Republic of Congo for a period, which prevents them from applying for a visa and re-entering the DRC for a prescribed period of time.
You may also be charged a fine for each day that you overstay on your visa. There may even be legal action taken against you, it is highly recommended that you extend your visa well in advance.
Individuals who have been affected by the overstay visa regulations of a country can usually lodge a visa overstay appeal
ENJOY A SAFE HOLIDAY IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO WITH A REPUTABLE TOUR OPERATOR
MoAfrika Tours is a leading tour operator in South Africa that offers an outstanding selection of tours to the Democratic Republic of Congo. We have a close association with the most reputable tour operators in the Democratic Republic of Congo who make safety a priority.