International Parental Child Abduction

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Country Information

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.)
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Reconsider travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) due to crime and civil unrest. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Reconsider travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) due to crime and civil unrest. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do not travel to:

  • Eastern DRC and the three Kasai provinces due to armed conflict.

Violent crime, such as armed robbery, armed home invasion, sexual assault, and physical assault, is common. Assailants may pose as police or security agents.  Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious crime.

Many cities throughout the country experience demonstrations, some of which have been violent. The government has responded with heavy-handed tactics that have resulted in civilian casualties and arrests.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens outside of Kinshasa due to extremely limited infrastructure and poor security conditions, notably in eastern DRC and Kasais.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo:

  • Avoid demonstrations.
  • Use caution when walking or driving at night.
  • Always carry a copy of your U.S. passport and visa (if applicable). Keep original documents in a secure location. 
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations.  Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

The Eastern DRC Region and the Three Kasai Provinces

Parts of eastern DRC and the provinces of Kasai Oriental, Kasai Central, and Kasai Occidental are unstable due to armed group activity and military operations. Major outbreaks of violence include the targeting of civilians in these areas.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens outside of Kinshasa due to extremely limited infrastructure and poor security conditions, notably in eastern DRC and Kasais.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

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Hague Convention Participation

Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No

What You Can Do

Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Kinshasa

310 Avenue des Aviateurs
Kinshasa/Gombe
Telephone: +(243) 97-261-6145 (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(243) 081-556-0151

General Information

For information concerning travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

Hague Abduction Convention

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.

Return

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.  

The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children’s Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children’s Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Website:  childabduction.state.gov
Email: AfricaIPCA@state.gov

Parental child abduction is a crime in the Democratic Republic of the Congo according to the Law on Child Protection of 2009, Article 131.

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court.  Please see Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 

Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children’s Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States.  Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for information and possible assistance.

Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children’s Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are authorized to provide legal advice.

The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

Mediation

U.S. Department of State is not aware of any government agencies or non-governmental organizations that offer mediation programs. 

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Last Updated: June 1, 2015

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Kinshasa
310 Avenue des Aviateurs
Kinshasa/Gombe
Telephone
+(243) 97-261-6145 (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.)
Emergency
+(243) 081-556-0151
Fax
No Fax

Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.) Map