Foreign travel advice

Congo

Summary

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The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:

  • the Boko, Kindamba, Kinkala, Mayama and Mindouli districts of Pool region
  • the Mouyondzi district of Bouenza region
  • within 50km of the border with the Central African Republic in Likouala region

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:

  • Brazzaville region, except for the city of Brazzaville
  • the Ngabe district of Pool region

Previous periods of unrest have seen an increased police and military presence in Brazzaville. You should maintain a high level of security awareness, avoid political protests and avoid travel after dark.

There is no British Embassy in the Republic of Congo and the level of consular assistance the FCO can offer to British nationals is limited. If you need consular assistance you should contact the British Embassy in Kinshasa, DRC.

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in the Republic of Congo, attacks can’t be ruled out.

Safety and security

You may be asked to provide proof of identity by the police. You should carry a colour photocopy of your passport and Republic of Congo visa with you at all times during your stay. If you’re a resident, you should also keep a colour copy of your residency card.

Crime

There’s been a steady increase of crime reported in Brazzaville and Pointe Noire. Foreigners in particular may be targeted by criminals. You should take sensible precautions to safeguard yourself and your belongings, particularly in Brazzaville and Pointe Noire. Don’t walk in the streets after dark, or carry large amounts of money or valuables. The chance of being targeted by criminals is higher in rural areas.

Criminals have been known to target the beaches at Pointe Noire. Stay on main beaches, secure valuables, and avoid all beaches at night.

Local travel

There continue to be reports of sporadic rebel group activity and military operations against them, large numbers of displaced people, and continued instances of crime and armed banditry in the Pool region. Don’t attempt to travel through this region by road or rail. Any attempt to travel by night may be prevented, and a permit from the Congolese army plus a military escort may be required for travel by day.

There are no rail services running between Brazzaville and Pointe Noire. When rail services were running there were several instances of criminal gangs targeting trains on this route.

Avoid travelling anywhere around the country at night.

Boat travel

The river crossing/border with Kinshasa is subject to closure without warning. The ferry stops running in late afternoon, and there’s no service on Sundays. Check the situation locally before travelling.

Road travel

Road conditions are generally poor and deteriorate during the wet season (November to May). Overland travel off the main roads requires a four-wheel drive vehicle. Lock vehicle doors and keep windows closed when driving; watch out for armed gangs who may target your car. Don’t drive off the main routes or park in unsupervised areas.

There are frequent vehicle checkpoints throughout the Republic of Congo, which can be poorly marked. If you’re asked to produce documents for inspection at a checkpoint, remain in your vehicle and show them documents through closed windows.

Air travel

All airlines from the Republic of Congo have been refused permission to operate services to the EU because of safety concerns. British Embassy staff aren’t allowed to use any of the airlines operating between Brazzaville and Pointe Noire.

Political situation

Any periods of unrest are likely to be accompanied by an increased police and military presence in Brazzaville. You should maintain a high level of security awareness, avoid political protests and avoid travel after dark.

Terrorism

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in the Republic of Congo, attacks can’t be ruled out.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.

Entry requirements

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Visas

You must get a visa before travel. For more information, see the website of the honorary consulate of the Republic of Congo in the UK.

Passport Validity

Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

Health

Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre on the TravelHealthPro website and by NHS (Scotland) on the fitfortravel website. Useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website.

If you become ill during or immediately after travelling to the Republic of Congo, seek medical advice immediately. Medical facilities in the country are limited, particularly in rural areas, and medical evacuation is likely to be necessary for all but the most basic treatments.

Make sure you have adequate travel and medical insurance to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation; this should specifically include the very high costs of evacuation by air ambulance. If you take medication regularly, bring a properly-marked supply, sufficient for the time you will be in the country.

There have been reported incidents of packs of rabid dogs in Pointe Noire.

Outbreaks of the human form of the Ebola fever have occurred in recent years. Don’t eat bushmeat as this is widely thought to be responsible for a number of diseases, including Ebola. An Ebola outbreak was declared in Equateur province in neighbouring country, Democratic Republic of Congo, in May 2018. The latest updates can be found on WHO’s website.

Travel advice help and support

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.