BE AWARE: You can only apply for a Congolese visa in your home country or country of residence (you will need to show proof thereof). Each tourist needs an invitation letter from a Congolese citizen or registered organization (see sample). Always carry your vaccination papers with you to avoid a fine of $70! If you travel with a UN passport, take your regular passport along, too. Rwandan officials want to see both.
Some humanitarian organisations ignore the immigration rules, putting their own staff at risk.
Residence permit (Visa d’etablissement):
- Be aware that you will lose your visa upon leaving the country. You will need to get an additional 7-month multiple-entry visa for $186. You’ll need to bring two passport photo, no further copies needed. Make sure that you activate your so-called visa de sortie et retour before the first three months after delivery otherwise you’re going to lose it.
- Foreigners living in North Kivu (not tourists) need to go to DGM in Goma to request a blue card called jeton d’identification (see below). They’ll be asking you for it at the border. You’ll need to bring your passport, four passport photos, one copy each of your passport front page, visa as well as your visa sortie retour in case you have a visa d’établissement, and a signed and stamped orde de mission from your employer. It should take no more than two days and is for free. You need to renew it every year.
- $233/1month, $300/2 months, $350/3 months. You will need to provide a copy of your passport and visa together with two current passport photos.
- Some of the best search engines for cheap flights are Momondo, Ita Matrix, Swoodoo, Kayak, Vayama, Opodo, Travelpapa, Expedia, and Priceline.
Ethiopian Airlines are operating flights from Addis to Goma. For more information, contact Abhijeet Debnath at +243 997384, GOMSM@ethiopianairlines.com
There are several flights from many towns of Congo to Goma. There is a daily flight from Kinshasa to Goma which is operated by CAA (for more see section ‘Get around’. Alternatively, it is possible to fly to Kigali -in neighboring Rwanda- by direct flights from Europe (France, Belgium, Germany), then by road to Goma.
From Kigali-Goma, you can take either a taxi for $80 (even though they will first try to charge you $100) or a collective bus for $5. Taxi drivers include: +250 784 656 676; +250 788 699 510, +250 735 563 780, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- From Kisoro, Uganda, you can take a minibus in Bunagana at the Uganda border. From Rwanda there are hourly minibuses from Kigali to Goma, such as Atraco Express and Okapi Car. These will take approximately three and a half hours. From Butembo you can fund a bus from Butembo bus station. They may leave early in the morning.
- There are daily ferries from Bukavu via Idjwi Island. There are several companies that offer the 2-5 hour trip. Prices vary from 10$ to 50$.
- From Gisenyi both towns are on the border and walking between the two city centers takes no more than half an hour. The border with Rwanda is open from 6am until 10 pm every day.