Entry & Exit Formalities
Yellow-fever vaccination certificates are compulsory for entry or exit, although they are not always asked for.
Customs in Rwanda has one particular peculiarity: a total ban on bringing plastic bags into the country. While this is enormously progressive (and was designed to stop the disfiguring of the countryside), it's not enforced with any great rigour and suitcases are rarely searched. Otherwise, customs in Rwanda is fairly relaxed.
Nearly all visitors require a visa for Rwanda, and as of January 2018 all nationalities can get one on arrival.
Almost everyone requires a visa to enter Rwanda.
- From January 2018 citizens from all nations (no longer just those from Australia, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, the UK and the USA) can automatically receive visas on arrival at Kigali International airport and all land borders.
- The cost of the 30-day tourist visa depends on your nationality. Citizens of Australia, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, the UK and the USA will pay US$30, while many others may need to hand over US$50.
- Another option is to apply for your visa online before you travel by registering at Rwanda Immigration (www.migration.gov.rw). Single-entry (V1) and conference visas (T6) take three days to process (both are valid for 30 days). You have the option to pay online or upon arrival.
- To extend your stay or apply for any other type of visa, you must do so at Rwanda Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration in Kigali’s Kacyiru district, about 7km northeast of the city centre near the US Embassy. For extensions you'll need to bring the appropriate form (available online), a passport-sized photo, your passport, a letter of introduction or a letter addressed to the Director of Immigration explaining why you require a visa, and RFr30,000. Extensions take five days to issue.
- Rwanda is one of the countries covered by the East Africa Tourist Visa, and for those also visiting Kenya and Uganda on the same trip it is a cheaper alternative. The visa costs US$100, is valid for 90 days and is multiple entry (if staying within the three countries) – it is available online (www.migration.gov.rw), upon arrival or from embassies abroad. If acquiring the visa before travel, your first port-of-call must be the country through which you applied for the visa. These visas can not be extended.