Republic of the Congo - Traveler Information
Travel Advice with a Travel Advisory overview from the US State Department. Here we cover Visa, Safety & Security, local Laws and Insurance in our Republic of the Congo Traveler Information guide.
At AARDY we can’t recommend travel insurance enough. Whether you are just traveling a few hundred miles from home to see family, or traveling to the other side of the world, travel insurance should be considered an essential part of your holiday packing. The hope is that you won’t have to use your travel insurance, and that you’ll have a fun and enjoyable trip. The following Republic of the Congo Traveler Information should help you make the most of your trip to Republic of the Congo.
Note: Always check that your destination country is one approved for travel by your travel insurance provider.
PASSPORT VALIDITY: 6 months.
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES: 1 page.
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED: Yes, obtain in advance.
VACCINATIONS: Yellow fever.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY: Not to exceed 5 million CFA ($10,000).
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT: Declare CFA over 1 million.
Embassies and Consulates
Boulevard Denis Sassou Nguesso
Republic of the Congo
Telephone: +242 06 612 2000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +242 06 612 2010
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Republic of Congo for information on U.S.-Republic of Congo relations.
Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements
Requirements for Entry:
- Visa, obtain before traveling
- World Health Organization (WHO) card with yellow fever vaccination
- Invitation letter or a hotel reservation (multiple copies)
Visit the Embassy of the Republic of the Congo website and or the nearest Congolese embassy or consulate for tourist visa information and document requirements for work visas, and review the Before You Go Checklist. Working without authorization is punishable by prison and/or deportation.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of the Republic of Congo.
Safety and Security
Political violence and civil unrest may occur. In the past, political demonstrations have led to armed clashes, deaths, and injuries. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in the Pool region as official travel to the region must be approved by the Embassy on a case-by-case basis.
- Avoid demonstrations.
- Maintain caution at public gatherings and areas frequented by foreigners.
- Use vigilance during your movements around the country.
- Be cautious when traveling outside of cities and along border areas.
- Monitor news and consular messages.
National Parks and Wildlife Areas: Heed all instructions given by guides or trackers. Armed poachers are present in some parks and forested border regions. Ensure you have the proper medical and medevac insurance for safari/adventure tours.
Roadblocks: Armed soldiers or national police may conduct vehicle searches and check passengers for identity papers. These roadblocks often are poorly marked, and local authorities may target foreigners to solicit bribes.
Crime: While not common, violent crime, such as armed robbery and assault, remains a concern throughout the Republic of the Congo.
Victims of Crime:
- Legal action or recourse is extremely limited. U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should first contact the U.S. Embassy.
- Report crimes to the local police (French) at +242 06 665-4804 and the U.S. Embassy at +242 06 612 2000.
- Emergency services are limited in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire and virtually non-existent elsewhere.
- Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime. There is a CFA 15,000 franc charge for the police report ($26).
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
- provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- replace a stolen or lost passport
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
For further information:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the Department of State's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, and Travel Advisories.
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. Emergency response and subsequent appropriate medical treatment is not available in-country. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. You may be taken in for questioning by the police if unable to produce an acceptable form of identification. Convictions for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs result in long prison sentences and heavy fines.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. Dual nationality is legally recognized; if however, Congolese officials prosecute you as a Congolese citizen, we may be limited in our ability to assist. See our webpage for further information.
Photography: It is illegal to take pictures of government buildings, military installations, key infrastructure such as ports, train stations, and airports, and along border areas. You could be detained or arrested, fined, and have equipment confiscated. Do not take photos of Congolese without their permission.
Phone Service: Cell phones are used extensively. SIM cards can be purchased locally to use with a compatible cell phone. Telecommunications systems outside of cities are unreliable or non-existent.
Currency: The Central African CFA franc (XAF) is the official currency. It is a cash economy. ATMs dispense funds in local currency. You must declare CFA over 1 million upon arrival with a bank or cashier’s receipt or risk fines and CFA confiscation.
Customs: Arts and crafts, particularly wooden objects, are subject to an export tax. Ask to speak with the airport supervisor if customs agents solicit bribes when you seek to export these items.
Artifacts: It is prohibited to export items of historical significance such as wood pieces, sculptures, and paintings. Violators risk imprisonment and heavy fines. For a list of prohibited items, contact a Congolese embassy or consulate.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report – see country reports
- Human Rights Report – see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Republic of Congo. However, LGBTI individuals face societal discrimination and harassment. There have been reports of police in Pointe-Noire verbally, physically, or sexually abusing openly gay young men and harassing gay men in order to elicit bribes.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Access to transportation, lodging, and public buildings is limited. There are few sidewalks and no curb-cuts, and most buildings lack functioning elevators.
Women Travelers: Only a fraction of rapes are reported. Police reports verifying rape cost CFA 30,000 francs ($52) to cover medical examination and report expenses. Domestic violence is widespread but rarely reported.
See our tips for Women Travelers.
Medical facilities are extremely limited. There is a shortage of qualified medical personnel and supplies.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. Health care providers expect payment in cash CFA before treatment is performed.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance (our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.
If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Embassy of the Republic of Congo in Washington, D.C. to ensure the medication is legal in Republic of Congo. Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.
Malaria is endemic. Use CDC recommended mosquito repellents and sleep under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets. Chemoprophylaxis is recommended for all travelers even for short stays.
The following diseases are prevalent:
Further health information:
Travel and Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety: Fatal accident rates are rising in areas with new highways, attributed to excessive speed, erratic driving habits, and lack of safety standards. Several highways have been completed, connecting the southern port city of Pointe-Noire to Brazzaville and to the northern town of Ouesso on the border with Cameroon and west to neighboring Gabon. However, most roads are dirt tracks and require an off-road vehicle; during the rainy season, September-December and February-May, they become impassable. Other hazards include pedestrians, cyclists, wheelchairs, and animals.
Be aware of increased risk of ambush and highway robbery when driving in rural or isolated areas. Carry:
- spare tires
- food and water
- satellite phone
- maps and navigation equipment
- first aid kit
- protective clothing
Service stations and fuel are scarce in rural areas. Professional roadside assistance is not available.
Traffic Laws: A valid U.S. state or international driver’s license is required. Use of cell phones while driving is prohibited.
- Resist paying bribes. Politely ask for a ticket or for the officer’s name and badge number if no violation is alleged.
- Ask to contact the U.S. Embassy if you are not released.
- Report attempts to solicit bribes to the U.S. Embassy.
Accidents: Remain inside the vehicle and call for police. If a hostile mob forms, leave the scene and proceed directly to the nearest police station or gendarmerie to report the incident. Do not stop at the scene of an accident or at intersections where people have gathered.
- Travel can be unsafe due to reckless driving, overcrowding, poor vehicle maintenance, and the potential for crime.
- Hire only government authorized green and white taxis in Brazzaville and blue and white taxis in Pointe-Noire.
- Maintenance varies greatly; taxis do not undergo routine inspections and are generally not air conditioned.
- Negotiate fares before embarking since taxis are not metered. Most taxi drivers will round-up fares or not return change.
- The line between Pointe-Noire and Brazzaville is back in service for freight only Railroad travel is prone to, minor derailments, and frequent delays caused by mechanical issues or landslides.
- Accidents may occur but travel is relatively safe.
- Expect delays since captains wait to fill seats before departing.
- Operating hours are 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily (stops 12 noon on Sunday) though service between Brazzaville and Kinshasa may close with minimal notice.
- A visa is required to cross the Congo River between Brazzaville and Kinshasa (DRC).
Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in the Republic of the Congo, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of the Republic of Congo’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
For additional travel information
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution and Travel Advisories.
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
International Parental Child Abduction
Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in the Republic of the Congo. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.
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