Checklist for leaving Goma


Many landlords in Goma are either reluctant or unable to pay you back your deposit. I’d strongly advice you to ask for it long in advance or withhold the last month’s payment. Make sure you have a copy of your rent agreement as authorities elsewhere might later ask for it as proof of residence in Goma.

If your staff (cleaner, driver, nanny etc.) loses work following your departure, consider recommending them on North Kivu Life.

Paper work

Before leaving Goma, you might want to consider getting a police clearance and/or proof of residence. A lot of countries, tax authorities, banks and other institutions require such documents and it’d be a pain if you need to organize it after you’re already gone, especially if you need an original copy.

You or somebody you trust (power of attorney not necessary) need to show your passport and bring one passport photo as well as $25 for each document to the mayor’s office, which is open from 9-15h Monday-Friday and from 11-14h on Saturdays.

They didn’t ask for a copy of my rent agreement but it can’t hurt to bring it along, too. You should get the documents the following work day.

Don’t forget to close your bank account if you set one up. Ecobank requires two visits and $45 to close it.


Your luggage

The best way to sell some of your stuff is by posting on North Kivu Life on Facebook. If you don’t know what to do with some of your clothes, beauty products and other eclectic stuff like yoga mats and accessories, don’t sweat. I’d happy to come by and take your donations. If it’s still of good quality, we’ll distribute it for you to a trusted orphanage in Ndosho or the women and children’s prison in Goma. Contact me here.

If you have some books left, please contact Books for eastern Congo. They need plenty of books in all languages.

If you leave with a lot of luggage via Rwanda, authorities might ask you for a list of items. Ask Ryan for advice. He has done it before.

If you have a lot of gear in Goma that you can’t or don’t want to take back on a plane, I highly recommend you to ship it as cargo on a commercial airline. It’s a lot cheaper than DHL (details here). You will need to customs clear the shipment and documents required to pick-up the cargo will differ from airline to airline. Free time also varies from airline to airline but you can use 48 hours as a guideline. If it’s coming in via a courier service, they will take care of the customs clearance (as this is considered a low value shipment) and delivery will usually be taken care of by the courier. Pan-African Logistics in Kigali can handle it for you +250 788 357 412, +250 783 112 906, Feel free to reach out Myriam, who has worked with them. She’s happy to field your questions. She had to pay several hundreds of dollars for storage fees, taxes and inspection at customs importing Congolese art work . You might want to get a certificate for art pieces from the Musee (next to the governor’s office) in order not to get into trouble at customs for stealing cultural property.

If you move inside Congo, I can recommend Kivu Travel and Dispatch Cargo. Details below.



For how to get your dog ready for travel and across the border, see here.


Leaving Goma

If you are flying out of Goma, make sure to bring enough money to pay airport taxes (see prices below) and your yellow fever card or risk a fine. If you have trouble, call travel agent Ngoy at+243 997 703 194.



If any of your accounts online have a two-step verification linked to your Congolese phone number, you should deactivate or change it before you leave.