Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Country Information > Burundi International Travel Information
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Burundi for information on U.S.-Burundi relations.
Please visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Burundi.
Requirements for Entry:
Visit the Embassy of Burundi website or the nearest Burundi embassy or consulate for the most current visa information.
Mandatory Registration: All non-Burundian residents who intend to stay one year or more are required to register their presence at the main office of the Commissariat Général des Migrations in Bujumbura. Contact their office at +257 22 25 79 00 for more information.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to, or foreign residents of, Burundi.
See the Department of State’s Travel Advisory for Burundi.
Incidents of violence occur country-wide.
Regional terror groups have threatened U.S., Western, and Burundian interests and are capable of crossing borders to carry out attacks.
Searches: Security forces routinely search vehicles and homes (including those of foreigners and U.S. citizens). Residential searches are allowed between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.; police must present identification and a warrant. Report improper searches to the U.S. Embassy.
Roadblocks: Police maintain checkpoints throughout the country. Travelers have reported harassment, bribe solicitation, intimidation, and (rarely) physical violence, especially during heightened security situations.
Crime: Theft, robbery, and burglary are common; armed or violent crime causing injury or fatality occurs often. Petty crime occurs at all hours; serious crimes occur mostly at night. Although rarely targeted, foreigners should take precautions.
Demonstrations occur occasionally. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events.
Internet romance and financial scams may occur in Burundi. Scams are often initiated through Internet postings/profiles or by unsolicited emails and letters. Scammers almost always pose as U.S. citizens who have no one else to turn to for help. Common scams include:
Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. Report crimes to the local police by dialing 117 and contact the U.S.
Embassy at +257 22 20 70 00. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the Embassy for assistance.
Tourism: No formal tourism industry infrastructure is in place. Tourists participate in activities at their own risk. 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.
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws, regardless of your nationality. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.
Convictions for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs are severe and result in long jail sentences and heavy fines. You may be questioned by the police if you are unable to produce an acceptable form of identification.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Power Outages: Power outages occur frequently and may affect public services such as access to potable water.
Photography: It is illegal to take pictures of government buildings, military installations, and key infrastructure such as airports and border controls. You could be detained or arrested, fined, and you could have your equipment confiscated. Do not take photos of Burundians without their permission.
Phone Service: Cell phones are used extensively. SIM cards can be purchased locally and used with a compatible cell phone. You must present a copy of your ID and/or passport for registering your SIM card.
Currency: The Burundian franc (BIF) is the official currency although U.S. currency may be required in certain cases. Most transactions are conducted in cash. Credit cards are rarely accepted outside of a few upmarket hotels and restaurants in Bujumbura. Most vendor and banking institutions will take only U.S. bills in near-mint condition, printed after 2017. Examine U.S. bills to ensure they are legitimate. Exchange currency only at reputable banks. ATMs are available at the international airport and in Bujumbura, but they dispense only Burundian francs. The U.S. Embassy does not exchange currency for U.S. citizens.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:
LGBTQI+ Travelers: Burundian law criminalizes consensual same-sex sexual acts with penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment of three months to two years, but prosecutions are rare. People have, however, been detained based on their perceived sexual orientation. There were also reports that members of the LGBTQI+ community were threatened, beaten, and arrested by local administrators and other citizens with the support of security forces.
Travelers with Disabilities: The law in Burundi prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual or mental disabilities, but the law is rarely enforced. Some groups report that discrimination is prevalent. Expect accessibility to be limited in transportation, lodging, and public buildings with few sidewalk and no curb cuts. Most buildings lack functioning elevators.
Women Travelers: Sexual and domestic violence, including rape, is a widespread problem. In some cases, police and magistrates require victims to pay the costs of incarceration for the perpetrator. Center Seruka and Center Nturengaho provide shelter and counseling to victims of rape and domestic violence. Several international NGOs provide free medical care for victims, mostly in urban areas. U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance.
See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Please visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Burundi.
Most medical facilities in Burundi are inadequate for even routine care. Emergency services are severely limited. If you do need medical care, you will be asked to pay cash in advance and may be denied treatment if unable to do so. Credit cards are generally not accepted; insurance companies are not billed. In an emergency, a medical evacuation would likely be necessary.
There is no single number for emergency medical services in Burundi. Contact a doctor or hospital directly.
Ambulance services are:
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.
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. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance for medical evacuations, especially given the quality of medical care in Burundi.
Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Check with the Burundi Ministry of Public Health to ensure the medication is legal in Burundi.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.
Air pollution is a significant problem in several major cities in Burundi, primarily due to the lack of regulation on fuel/vehicle exhaust and burning trash. Consider the impact heavy particulate pollution may have on you and consult your doctor before traveling if necessary.
The air quality varies considerably depending on proximity to major roads and fires. People at the greatest risk from particle pollution exposure include:
Health facilities in general
Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy
General Health: The following diseases are prevalent:
Use the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended mosquito repellents and sleep under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets. Chemoprophylaxis is recommended for all travelers even for short stays.
HIV/AIDS: HIV transmission is common in Burundi. Be careful when handling sharp objects like needles and avoid unprotected sexual activity.
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Resources for Travelers regarding specific issues in Burundi.
The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals we do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.
Road Conditions and Safety: National highways are in poor to good condition although large potholes are common. During the main rainy season from February to May, many roads become impassable. Flooding and landslides also destroy bridges and block routes. Many roads in the interior are in disrepair. U.S. Embassy personnel are prohibited from driving outside of Bujumbura before 06:00 and after 18:30.
There is a general lack of:
The conditions mentioned above make driving dangerous, particularly outside of towns and at night. Poor driving standards and pedestrians, cyclists, and livestock on the roads create further hazards.
Rural areas: When travelling outside of Bujumbura, be aware of increased risks of ambush and highway robbery, which usually happen at night. Motorists in Burundi should be careful to keep their doors locked and windows closed when driving around the capital. Service stations are scarce and fuel shortages are common. Professional roadside assistance is not available outside the capital. Carry with you:
Traffic Laws: An international driving permit and third-party insurance is required. Long-term residents can apply for a Burundi driver’s license. Use of cell phones while driving is illegal. Give buses and taxis a wide berth as they start and stop abruptly, often without pulling to the side of the road.
Many passenger doors on buses open on the side facing the road since many right-hand drive vehicles are imported to Burundi even though Burundi is a left-hand drive country.
In the case of an accident, call and attempt to have police respond. If a hostile mob forms or you feel your safety is in danger, leave the scene and proceed to the nearest police station or gendarmerie to report the incident. Do not stop at the scene of an accident.
Public Transportation: Public transit is unregulated, unreliable, and generally unsafe due to overloading, reckless driving, inadequate vehicle maintenance, and the risk of petty crime. Hire private transportation from a reliable source. U.S. Embassy personnel are prohibited from using public transportation, including taxis, taxi-motos, taxi-bikes and buses. Fatal collisions occur frequently. Due to security concerns, the bus depots near the former Central Market are also off-limits to U.S. Embassy personnel.
If you use a taxi, negotiate the fare before beginning your journey. Taxis are not metered, so confirm with your hotel what fare you should expect on trips.
See our Road Safety page for more information.
Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Burundi, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Burundi’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.