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Burundi

If you’re travelling to Burundi, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Health
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

Avoid non-essential travel until further notice:

The Irish Authorities advise against all non-essential travel overseas until further notice. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.

If you are currently travelling outside of Ireland:

Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate. For this reason, where commercial flights are still an option, we recommend that people who wish to do so make arrangements to return to Ireland as soon as possible.

We are working with airlines to show maximum flexibility to those passengers who need to change their existing flight arrangements. Where commercial flights are no longer available, we are working side-by-side with our international partners to identify alternative options where possible.

It may not be feasible or possible for everyone who wants to travel back to Ireland to do so in the short term. We ask Irish citizens remaining abroad to make decisions that safeguard their health and well-being and that they follow local public health and safety requirements. We ask that they remain in close contact with family, friends and their local Irish Embassy or Consulate.

We know that this is a stressful situation for citizens and our embassy network is working around the clock to provide people with all the information and assistance that we can, bearing in mind the situation is unfolding across multiple countries and is not one under our control.

What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

The Irish Authorities require anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland, to self-isolate for 14 days. Passengers arriving to Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a mandatory Public Health Passenger Locator Form and to submit it to the relevant authority at their port of entry. This includes Irish residents. Exemptions are in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff. Check the Irish Government Advice Page for full information on these requirements.

Where to go for more information:

We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Overview

Security status

We advise against all travel to Burundi and any Irish citizens there should consider their need to remain.

Latest Travel Alert

There are confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Burundi. The Government of Burundi has suspended all international commercial flights. Additional screening and quarantine measures are in place at all land border crossings.

There has been a general deterioration of the security situation in Burundi, since an attempted coup d'état in May 2015. Although the security situation has stabilised somewhat, the political situation remains tense and the risk of violent incidents persists. If you have to undertake essential travel, you should do so after seeking permission and support from the authorities. In a deteriorating situation, we cannot guarantee that we will be in a position to offer consular assistance should you decide to remain there.

Travel after dark should be avoided, with the Kanyosha, Musaga, Mutakura, Kamenge, Cibitoke, Bwiza, Ngagara, Nyakabiga, Gatumba and Bujumbura-rural areas of Bujumbura being considered particularly dangerous at night.

All travel to the Provinces of Bubanza (including Rukoko Natural Park) and Cibitoke (including travelling by car along the R5 from Bujumbura to Bukavu) should be avoided.

Due to an outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, travellers arriving in Burundi may be subject to a health screening.

There is currently an outbreak of Zika Virus (a dengue-like mosquito-borne disease) in the region. Irish Citizens especially those with a weakened immune system or women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant are advised to follow guidance available on the website of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC).

Emergency Assistance

Because there is no resident Irish Embassy in Burundi, we are limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, please contact our Embassy in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania or the Consular Assistance Unit at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Dublin on +353 1 408 2000.

The Belgian Embassy is able to provide consular assistance to Irish nationals. All visitors or long term residents should register with the Belgian Embassy: Boulevard de la Liberté, 9, Bujumbura; telephone: + 257 22 22 32 66 or + 257 22 22 61 76; email: Bujumbura@diplobel.fed.be.

On 17 July 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).  Travellers arriving in Burundi may be subject to a health screening.

EU Directive on Consular Protection

Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation.

Our tips for safe travels

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates    
  • Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Civil unrest

Burundi has experienced political instability since an attempted coup d'état in May 2015 and the inauguration of President Nkrunziza for a third term in August 2015. The situation remains volatile and sporadic outbreaks of violence and civil unrest continue to occur. You should limit your movements, avoid large gatherings and remain vigilant at all times.

Terrorism

There's a general threat from terrorism in Burundi. Al-Shabaab, the group which claimed responsibility for attacks in Kampala, Uganda, which killed over 70 people, have made public threats against Burundi, specifically the capital Bujumbura.

Kidnapping

There's a high risk of kidnapping near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. Armed groups operate in this area. Cross-border incursions by rebel groups also occur.

Crime

Crime levels are increasing in Burundi and muggings at gun and knife point, burglary, and armed car hijackings have all been reported. You should take sensible precautions: 

  • Arrange guards for homes and stay at hotels that have good security
  • Don't carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
  • Don't carry your passport unless absolutely necessary. Keep copies of important documents, including your passport and visa, separately and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
  • Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don't use ATMs after dark, especially if you're alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business.
  • Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.
  • Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations.
  • Avoid walking in the streets after dark, even in Bujumbura city centre

Reporting crime

If you're a victim of a crime while in Burundi, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Dar es Salaam if you need help.

Driving

If you're planning to drive in Burundi, you should be extremely careful and avoid overland travel after dark. The United Nations advises that travel outside Bujumbura should take place in a convoy of at least two vehicles.

If you want to drive:

  • Bring your full Irish driver's licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you're stopped at traffic lights

Hiring a vehicle

If you're hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you're allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

 

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.

Homosexuality

Homosexual acts are illegal. We advise travellers to exercise caution and discretion.

Photography

You should request permission before taking photographs of military installations, airports, and government buildings.

 

Health

Health

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Vaccinations

Check what vaccinations you may need for your trip at least eight weeks before you travel. We can't advise you on vaccinations, but you can get information about vaccinations from your local GP or an International Health and Travel Centre.

Evidence of vaccination (in the form of a certificate) can be a requirement for entry to some countries.

Medication

Make sure you bring enough medication for your entire trip and for any unexpected delays. You may wish to also bring copies of your prescription in case you lose your medication.

 

Additional Information

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

If you are unsure about the entry requirements for Burundi, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the country's nearest Embassy or Consulate.

You can also check with them how long your passport must be valid for.

Passports

It's advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you when travelling to Burundi and you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times during your stay.

If your passport is lost or stolen while you're abroad, we can help.

What we can do:

  • Issue you a replacement passport that will let you finish your trip, or;
  • Issue you with an emergency travel document to get you home.

We'll do our best to help you as quickly as possible but this can take some time. Your location and circumstances may limit the help we can give you. As Ireland does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Burundi there may be additional complications in processing and application for a new passport.

You should contact the Embassy in Dar es Salaam to find out what you need to do to apply for a passport. They will also be able to advise you on the fees which apply.

Money

The economy in Burundi is cash-based and credit cards are not widely accepted. While some ATMs can be found, they are unreliable and not secure to use. Euros and US dollars printed after the year 2003 are the most easily-exchangeable currencies.

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

In cases of an emergency outside of regular office hours, the Embassy can be contacted by calling the Duty Officer directly on +255 754 783 455.

Embassy of Ireland
Toure Drive
Plot No. 353
Masaki
P.O.Box 9612,
Dar es Salaam
Tanzania

Tel: +255 22 221 3800
Fax: +255 22 2602 362

Monday to Thursday 08:00 - 16:30, Friday 08:00 - 14:00

Contact us