Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Country Information > Republic of the Congo International Travel Information
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Republic of Congo for information on U.S.-Republic of Congo relations.
Requirements for Entry:
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.
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.
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:
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
For further information:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.