Help getting DRC Visa
Replies: 15 - Last Post: Nov 24, 2012 9:08 AM Last Post By: neiloosh
Sep 26, 2012 8:45 AM
Help getting DRC VisaHi! Just arrived in Kigali to be told like everywhere else they only issue visa's to local residents at the DRC Embassy. This seems to be a new thing, which was mandated in the last four months. According to the woman at the embassy, all neighbouring countries (Uganda, Burundi etc) will give the same answer.
So can anyone tell me where an Australian citizen can get a visa to visit DRC?
I am running out of options. My wife already has her visa (she is Canadian and applied in Ottawa). Any help or advice is greatly appreciated!
Sep 26, 2012 9:17 AM
1My understanding is that this has been the situation for at least a year-
It looks like the answer is- in your country of residence.
Sep 26, 2012 10:05 AM
2For sure regarding visas for sure you need to be a resident in the country in which you obtain your visa. There is a different procedure for those who don't have local representation, as was the case for our Australian friend. However, even in that case you were lucky as you actually need to apply via email and have a "flying visa" sent to you.
Text above is lifted from the thread Stokey Girl linked you to - if you are an Aussie this might work for you?
Edited by: itchyfeet38
Sep 26, 2012 10:12 AM
3Sorry didn't make it clear enough. Australia has no DRC embassy or consulate. I've read the previous posts saying its hit and miss for Australian citizens applying in neighbouring countries. On the whole its very unclear how or where I should obtain a visa and I am seeking the most up to date information.
Sep 26, 2012 12:07 PM
4have you tried checking the website of the Congolese foreign ministry? usually there is a list of their emabassies and consulates and the countries that are represented by them. So you should be able to find out in which country you can approach the DRC mission in charge of Australians.
For how long do you plan to stay in DRC? A few years back it was theoretically possible to get a visum on arrival if you stayed only up to 7 days. I haven´t checked how the present situation is though, so this might also have changed.
Sep 26, 2012 6:52 PM
Sep 26, 2012 10:52 PM
6I was planning on 5-6 weeks from early October to mid November, but at the moment just focussed on getting into the country. Trying for a visa at the border is a definite last option, but an option nonetheless. Have a friend looking into the Burundi embassy for us today. Does anyone know anything about the following posted in a previous thread:
"However, even in that case you were lucky as you actually need to apply via email and have a "flying visa" sent to you."
I'm also contacting the National Parks. Was going to visit Gorilla's at Kahuzi Biega anyway, so this may be another option (albeit limited to 7 days).
Sep 27, 2012 1:34 AM
Sep 27, 2012 6:42 AM
8Those "cheap" border visas might not be valid elsewhere in the country.
A friend of mine got a DRC visa last year at Kigali Embassy since there is no Embassy in her country, she had a discussion with the Consul (?). You could ask to meet him.
However, since then the Bukavu and Goma borders have become stricter with the visas and have rejected (some of) these visas. Their behaviour seems to be quite sporadic, difficult to know. And that was from last year. Have not seen any positive reports lately.
Sep 28, 2012 12:46 AM
Sep 28, 2012 12:49 AM
10you did not mention where you want to go in DRC, but before you try to bribe your way across the border in Goma, I´d recommend you to check very closely on the security situation in the Kivus. With M23 things have gone very nasty again, and while local conditions change on a day to day basis you better make sure you stay way out of their (and other armed groups) way. The travel warnings about the region have a reason.
Oct 5, 2012 4:26 AM
11Though I had a VISA I was bounced at the Giseny/Goma border on 20th August.
The reason being they did not like the fact the passport I used to exit Rwanda wasn't the same I would use to make it into DRC. I'm a dual national.
I tried to make it through on my VISA for 48 hours and had to give up at last.
I was not willing to deal in corruption.
Finally, I got what is called a 7 days Flying VISA thanks to someone who made it into immigration offices in Goma.
It cost 180 USD.
After 7 days I got an extra 2 months VISA at 280 USD.
You may consider exploring getting a flying VISA as well.
You'd probably need the assistance of someone who can make it to the office in Goma on your behalf.
Oct 11, 2012 1:45 AM
12Ok so I managed to get a visa and am now in Bukavu. Below is some details and advice for Australians or anyone else wanting to visit that doesn't have an embassy or consulate in their country.
The DRC consulate in Bujumbura, Burundi is currently processing visas for non residents as long as you have a visa for Burundi longer than 10 days. I went overland from Kigali on the bus, got 3 day transit visa at border (US$40) then went to Burundi immigration in Bujumbura the following day to extend visa to 15 day ($30, took 2-3 hours to process). With this visa took photocopies of Burundi Visa, Passport, Yellow Fever Vaccination and Invitation Letter to DRC consulate. They kept passport and yellow fever card, paid US$150 when visa was ready 2 days later.
One thing about Bujumbura consulate, go early. They shut the door at 11am daily! They will still process things for people inside the office, but won't let anyone else in. We went at 8am and had no issues.
We got to Rwanda side of the border and met driver from Wife's work. This meant things were pretty smooth. Went through Rwanda immigration, got in car and drove up hill to Congo immigration. We walked straight into the office and filled out simple arrival card. Guy wasn't impressed that Burundi had given me a visa, but had already stamped Wife's legit visa and the driver explained my situation. He relunctantly stamped my visa, saying it was only because the Ambassador in Burundi had signed it. However if I was on my own at the front window like everyone else they could have easily sent me packing.
Two days later went with another guy from Wife's work to immigration office in Bukavu. Paid another US$50 to get "officially" registered in the country, complete with photocopied form and reciept. This might not have been totally necessary if I was just a tourist, but mainly prevents issues arising between Wife's work and immigration.
So big lessons are get your visa in home country whenever possible. If trying to get through border with visa issued in country that you're not a resident, its best to have someone to meet you at the border and smooth things through. Being fluent in French or Swahili might also help you explain your case better, but they really do have every right to refuse you. As to where Australians can actually apply, its still a mystery. Best thing to do would be contact some local Australian humanitarian organisations (Red Cross, Red R etc) that deploy Australians to DRc and see how they do it. Not impossible, but I can imagine its difficult.
As for currenty situation Bukavu is quite calm and functions pretty well (keeping in mind it's still Africa). You can walk around the streets in the daytime with no problems and catching taxis etc is fine. Its a gorgeous setting on Lake Kivu, just obviously a bit worn and ragged in terms of infrastructure, bad roads and traffic etc. Overall it is well worth a trip, like anywhere you have to be street smart and take obvious precautions, but its by no means "dangerous" to visit Bukavu.
Thanks again for the advice hope this proves helpful for others.
Oct 24, 2012 4:33 AM
13We are Austrians (not Australians!) and got our visas for 2 months at the Harare embassy for 125 USD and 7 days waiting (in Lusaka they refused as "neighbouring country"). Tourists do not need a letter of invitation because "we dont know anybody in your country but we would like to make friends there..."
(Windhoek embassy was also positive on the phone but it was farther away.)
wanda and ot (Lubumbashi, at present)
Oct 26, 2012 8:51 AM
14Do you have any further info on the DRC embassy in Harare? I for some reason thought they did not have representation there, otherwise I would have tried to get my visa there!
Now I am living in Malawi for some months, where DRC definitely does not have representation...
Any word on getting visas in Lusaka or Harare would be greatly greatly appreciated. I have US and Polish passports, though I suspect I might have a hard time entering with the Polish one if all my other travel on this trip has been using the US passport?
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