The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to Burundi due to political tensions, political and criminal violence, and the potential for civil unrest. This replaces the Travel Warning dated November 15, 2016.
The political situation in Burundi is tenuous, and there is sporadic violence throughout the country, including frequent gunfire and grenade attacks by armed groups. Police and military checkpoints throughout the country restrict freedom of movement, and police have searched the homes of private U.S. citizens as a part of larger weapons searches. U.S. citizens should take these facts into consideration when developing their personal safety plans.
Rebel forces, ex-combatants, and youth gangs have crossed into Burundi from the Democratic Republic of Congo and attacked and kidnapped civilians. Armed criminals have ambushed vehicles, particularly on the roads leading out of Bujumbura. Use caution if traveling by car, and travel with multiple vehicles when possible.
U.S. Embassy personnel are subject to restrictions when traveling in certain areas of Burundi and may be subject to other constraints as security conditions warrant. U.S. Embassy personnel are prohibited from traveling outside of Bujumbura at night, and trips to the Bujumbura neighborhoods of Bwiza, Cibitoke, Gasenyi, Kamenge, Kinama, Musaga, Mutakura, and Ngagara require advance approval.
For more information:
See our Fact Sheet on Burundi for information on U.S.-Burundi relations.
Requirements for Entry
Visit the Embassy of Burundi website or the nearest Burundi embassy or consulate for visa information.
Mandatory Registration: All non-Burundian residents of one year or more are required to register their presence at the main office of the Migration Police -Police de l'Air, des Frontiereset des Etrangers (PAFE) in Bujumbura. Contact the PAFE 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 Warning for Burundi.
The overall security situation remains unpredictable since the ongoing political crisis was precipitated by election-related violence and a failed coup d’etat in May 2015.
Violent incidents have occurred throughout the country, but primarily concentrated in Bujumbura, including:
International borders may close without notice.
Regional terror groups have threatened U.S. and other Western and Burundian interests and are capable of crossing borders to carry out attacks.
Searches: Security forces have subjected foreigners (including U.S. citizens) to home and car searches. Uniformed police are authorized to conduct home searches between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. only, and must present identification and a warrant. Report improper searches to the U.S. Embassy.
Roadblocks: Police conduct vehicle searches and check identity papers at checkpoints throughout the country. Travelers report harassment, bribe solicitation, intimidation and physical violence, particularly at checkpoints leaving Bujumbura towards the Rwandan border.
Crime: Most crimes are committed at night outside city centers. Armed robberies resulting in fatalities or serious injuries occur daily, although the vast majority do not involve foreigners. Petty theft is also common.
Victims of Crime: Legal response or recourse to crime is limited.
U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault or domestic violence should first contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance.
The emergency number in Bujumbura is 112, but it often goes unanswered. To report a crime, seek assistance in person. Police lack the resources to respond appropriately to emergencies.
Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
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. Convictions for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs are severe, and result in long jail sentences and heavy fines. You may be taken in for questioning by the police if 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 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. Providers include Leo U-com, Econet, and Onamob.
Currency: The Burundian franc (BIF) is the official currency. U.S. dollars and euros are accepted in urban areas. Most transactions are conducted in cash; credit cards are rarely accepted outside of Bujumbura. Most vendor and banking institutions will take only bills in near-mint condition, printed after 2009. 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.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following web pages for details:
LGBTI Travelers: While the law criminalizes same-sex sexual acts with penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment of three months to two years, there have been no prosecutions to date.
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: 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.
See our tips for Women Travelers.
Consult the CDC website for Burundi prior to travel.
Medical facilities and ambulance service are severely limited throughout the country. In the capital, Hopital Bumerec offers medical and emergency care, including referrals and medical evacuation. Medicines are in short supply and may be counterfeit.
You are responsible for all medical costs. U.S. Medicare does not cover you overseas. Most care providers expect payment in U.S. dollars/Burundian franc before treatment is performed.
Medical Insurance: If your health insurance plan does not provide coverage overseas, we strongly recommend supplemental medical insurance and medical evacuation plans.
Carry medication in its original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.
Malaria is endemic. Use CDC recommended mosquito repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR-3535. Sleep under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets. Chemoprophylaxis is strongly recommended for all travelers, even for short stays. Food-borne and water-borne illnesses are common.
The following diseases are prevalent:
Further health information:
Road Conditions and Safety: National highways are in fair to good condition, though large holes are common. During the rainy season, February to May, many roads become impassable. Flooding and landslides also destroy bridges and block routes. Most roads in the interior are in disrepair. U.S. Embassy personnel are prohibited from driving outside of cities after dark.
make driving dangerous, particularly outside of towns and especially at night. Poor driving standards and wayward pedestrians, cyclists, and livestock create further hazards.
Rural areas: Be aware of increased risk of ambush and highway robbery. Service stations are scarce and fuel shortages are common. Professional roadside assistance is not available outside the capital. Carry:
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.
Accidents: 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 maintenance, and the risk of petty crime. U.S. Embassy personnel are prohibited from using public transportation including taxis. Fatal collisions occur frequently. Hire private transport from a reliable source.
Taxis: If you are forced to use a taxi, negotiate the fare before beginning your journey. Taxis are not metered, so confirm with your hotel about fares you should expect on trips.
Hiring a vehicle: Reputable car rental firms will include the services of a driver. Be particularly vigilant at airports, where criminals use luggage tag information in order to present themselves as pre-arranged drivers.
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 aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION IS PROVIDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY AND MAY NOT BE TOTALLY ACCURATE IN A SPECIFIC CASE. QUESTIONS INVOLVING INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN LAWS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE APPROPRIATE FOREIGN AUTHORITIES OR FOREIGN COUNSEL.
For information concerning travel to Burundi, 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 Burundi.
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.
Burundi 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 Burundi and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.
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 Burundi 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.
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's Issues
SA-17, Floor 9
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Parental child abduction is not a specific crime in Burundi.
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 Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information.
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 Burundi 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 U.S. Embassy in Burundi for information and possible assistance.
Neither the Office of Children’s Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy in Burundi are authorized to provide legal advice.
The U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura, Burundi 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 following persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.
Under the laws of Burundi, mediation is a possible remedy for both abduction and access cases.
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 when 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:
To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney.
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.
Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.
Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.
Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).
Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.
Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.
Please check back for update.
Available. Issued upon written request by the Officer of Vital Statistics (Officier de l'Etat Civil) of the town of birth.
Available. Issued by the Officer of Vital Statistics (Officier de l'Etat Civil) of the town in which the death occurred.
Available. When requesting civil marriage certificates (acte de mariage) from the Officer of Vital Statistics (Officier de l'Etat Civil), Mairie de Bujumbura, B.P. l790, Bujumbura, applicants should furnish full names, date and place of marriage, and the name of the person who performed the marriage. The certificate measures approximately l7 x l3.5 inches. Persons married in accordance with Christian religious ceremonies in places of worship duly licensed for the purpose are issued the certificates without cost by the officiating minister of a recognized religious denomination. Many marriages fail to be registered because they are performed in the interior on the basis of tribal rather than Christian rite or civil law procedures.
Available. Issued by the Officer of Vital Statistics (Officier de l'Etat Civil) of the town of the applicant's last residence in Burundi.
If desired, may be obtained by written request addressed to the Clerk of the Lower Court (Greffier du Tribunal de lere Instance) in the town in which the judgment was rendered.
Available. Issued by the Census Office (Bureau de la Population) of the town of the applicant's last residence.
Available. Issued by the Census Office (Bureau de la Population) of the town of last residence.
Available. Certificate of good conduct (Certificat de bonne conduite, vie et moeurs). Issued by the Governor of the Province or the town of applicant's last residence in Burundi.
Available. Issued upon written request by the clerk of the Court (Greffier du Tribunal) where the conviction occurred.
Available. (Extrait du Casier Judiciaire). Applicant must obtain a form for this purpose from the Ministere de la Justice, Police Judiciaire, B.P. 1880, Bujumbura, complete it according to instructions, and return it to the same address.
Available. Issued upon written request by the Census Office (Bureau de la Population) of the town of applicant's residence at the time he was registered for military service.
Avenue des Etats-Unis
B.P. 34, 1720
Tel: (257) 22-34-54
Fax: (257) 22-29-26
Nonimmigrant visas only for all of Burundi. Immigrant visa applications for citizens of Burundi are processed by the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi.