Be warned: DRC visa regulations change
It appears that the Democratic Republic of Congo has only recently changed its visa regulations, and the current rule is that you can only enter the country with a visa issued in your country of residence, or the nearest country with a DRC embassy. We rolled up to the border in Luvo/Lufu (Angola/DRC) with a visa issued in Windhoek, and they refused to accept it. We spent 10 nights on the border, with embassies and foreign ministries involved, but no success. In the end we re-entered Angola (with exit stamps already in our passports, which is now a major problem).
It is not a matter of corruption or bribes, but total nonsense Congo-style. We are not the first ones to face the problem, but those before us managed to get through after 2-3 nights of waiting since they had their nationalities represented in Kinshasa by their embassies. We have no DRC embassy in our country nor our embassy in Kinshasa and none of the high guys in DRC apparently have education to address this issue, even French embassy confirmed us that the immigration officials are imbecils in DRC and don't understand the system themselves so for them it's just easier to say "no". :taz:
So if you have a DRC visa done outside your country and don't have your country's embassy in Kinshasa, don't even bother - spending a week or more on the border with nothing available is just ridiculous.
Sorry to hear that guys - what nationality are you?
What border crossing is this? Into Matadi or Songololo? There is at least one other border crossing you could try as well further east. If you find a non computerised one you might be ok. Maybe try a boat across the mouth of the Congo from Songo to Banana - some Spanish did it last year the other way around - and it will be harder for them to send you back and is not a normal entry point etc. Worth a try.
I know last year they were gearing up to do biometric passports and visas - being used as guinea pigs by European/American companies who wouldn't be allowed to do the same things in their own countries (yet). Certainly the border crossing at Songololo was computerised.
It seems much of Africa is now doing this so it must be instructions from on high, probably something to do with the war of terror. Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia all doing the same etc.
Just so we are clear, you did offer them a few hundred dollars etc?
Sorry to hear about your bad experience on trying to get into the DRC. I passed through that crossing last year and I remember the head guy was unhelpful even in letting me through late in the day as he had already sat down for a beer. Spending a whole week waiting there must have been frustrating to say the least.
What are you going to do now? You could try a smaller crossing further east as they may not be as familiar with the new rules and probably don't see any foreigners crossing. The crossing south of Matadi is larger so you would probably get the same answer as at Luvo. The stamped out visa for Angola could pose problems though at a different crossing when you try to re-exit Angola.
If you are back in Luanda, you could try to get an extension to your Angolan visa or better yet, a dual entry visa which would allow you to take the Soyu-Cabinda ferry. Hopefully they can be reasoned with and can be helpful. If you are considering the Cabinda route, I'm not sure if you require a Congo-Brazza visa ahead of time, but you can get one in Luanda, I picked one up last year.
I assume that you already know about the yacht club for free camping while you sort everything out. Best of luck, and let us know what you end up doing.
I've had no problem crossing in Kasumbalesa (Lubumbashi), so it's probably not a government policy, more like some moron playing boss with the tourists.
I've reached Kin yesterday, there's a cold Tembo waiting for you guys if you make it before I leave for Brazza in a couple days beer. Hopefully this can be solved by using another border / another border official. Please ignore the previous comment of throwing money at them, it'll just make it harder for the next ones to resist them.
It seems I've been lucky the Angolans rejected my visa application :oops2: If I can be of any help you can reach me at 0971156487. I'm staying at Procure St-Anne; they currently don't have rooms as they're rebuilding half of them, but you can camp in the lawn and shower on a bucket, and there's free Wifi (did I mention Primus and Skol too ?).
Sorry to hear your problems regarding the congolese visa. We tried to get our visa's in Yaoundé where we got refused, for the reason you're telling. We read a letter of the Congolese ministry that embassies are forbidden to give visa to tourists that demand visas outside their home countries. It ended with an alinea that stated that the people who do not follow this law will be sent back to the DRC and will be punished for it.
The letter was dated on the 11 of June, 2011.... So quite recent. We will go to Brazzaville and probably send our pasports to the Netherlands for an application. Hope this will do!
Maybe we'lle meet up somewhere? We are in Franceville now, heading for Brazzaville.
I am just wondering how that works if you are a resident of a country which has no DRC embassy, e.g. Australia?
Guess it has to do with the presidental elections in november. Dammit, this sucks big times !!!
Does anybody know how much it is to send a passport from germany to congo brazzaville oder cameroon ???
greetings from ghana ( they let me in without carnet de passage, even didnt want me to pay a laisser passez. Maybe I have to add I do ride a classic 125cc Vespa )
I traveled the whole westcoast with no carned but skiped ghana ;) Amazing that your vespa took you so far :) dhl.de tells me a package from germany to kamerun etc. is 16,90 Euro including insurance up to 500 Euro + 3 Euro if they come to pick up the 2 kg package.
I hope to get the visa for angola will be easyer for you as it was for me. In germany i did not get it for 6 Weeks even they kepd laying to me "yes tomorrow tomorrow" and in Southafrica i had to wayt another two months even i used a expensive visa agency for the invitation letter and personal phone calls every day :(
Travel save Tobi
Moin moin Tobias !
Just saw your country, seem like we have a language in common I am from Hamburg / Germany ! ;-)
Don´t plan to go to Angola or even south africa, will cross the DRC to Uganda then Tanzania,Kenya,Sudan,Saudi Arabia,Jordan,Syria and back to germany.
The problem is, the cheap dhl rate is NOT fast it can take up to 2 weeks and if it arrives is not sure. There are special very expensive express rates where you pick up the passport at the dhl office, the normal rate ends up at local postoffice. Currently waiting for a parcel with spare parts for my carburator and its on his way for 13 days with a poste restante adress, hope to find it when I arrive in Lome.
If anybody has any news about this problem, please let me know.
greetings from Kumasi / Ghana,
I do have a second passport in germany told the officials I will go to israel and so still need my old one, how will the officials react when I arrive at the border with a passport that has no exit stamp of Congo Brazzaville and just a proper 2month Congo Kinshasa Visa in it ?
Is it legal to carry two passports ?
>> Just saw your country, seem like we have a language in common I am from Hamburg / Germany ! ;-)
I know science you have written oder instead of or ;)
>> Don´t plan to go to Angola or even south africa, will cross the DRC to Uganda
Wow that means crossing the mining areas. I have heared you can only go there with a special permit.
>> then Tanzania,Kenya,Sudan,Saudi Arabia,Jordan,Syria and back to germany.
Make a little trip to malawi as well. So far i think malawi with the big freshwater lake is one of the nicest country's in africa
Think about it and please tell us your website URL where we can see pictures of your trip :)
From South Sudan to DRC
I crossed DRC border 4 days ago between Yei and Aba.
I had no visa, and there are no DRC embassy in Estonia, so I got temporary travel permit for 90 days.
They had no visa stickers in that border and also in next city, Aba
Travel permit cost was 100 USD, and 40 USD some kind car tax (first they asked 60).
DRC visa - our experience this year
We traveled North to South from Congo into DRC and got our DRC visa in Brazzaville. Took a morning to get, no issues at all - it was a tourist stamp in the passport. Sounds like going from South to North is more tricky.
We crossed into DRC in less used border post west of Brazzaville (north of the Congo river) and entered DRC with now problems (although they did try and ask for $20 "fee" several times - we paid nothing). We crossed the Congo river at a remote crossing and headed for Songo / Luvu crossing into Angola
At the border into Angola we got some grief by the Angolan folks as they stamped the passport that evening and therefore we effectively lost 1 day of our 5 day transit visa. The Angolan guys don't stamp passports on a Saturday because they have some sort of mass people movement due to a weekend market at that border post. They then wrote over the date in pen with the next days date!!
Thanks for the info Nick. We'll be heading south next year.
Where's the best place for the Angolan transit visa these days?
I haven't heard it mentioned for a while.
We got our Angolan visa in Nigeria (Abuja). It takes 3 days - sumbit Monday and pick up Wednesday. You have to get to embassy early and try to avoid the "blagging" that goes on to get in the line.... you get there first but end up being No.13 in the line!!! Apart from that its well organised. The lady that runs the "hatch" is pretty strict so don't annoy her ;-)
You get a 5 day transit visa that you can extend in Luanda.... BUT the rules on this changed this year - we tried to extend in Bengula and they stopped doing it. 5 Days makes the crossing of Angola a mission BUT its doable.
Tourist visas are tricky and you need to apply in your country of origin but I have heard of expats getting them in Cape Town. Angola was a great country and we wished we had more time to explore the South. Roads in North are variable. Roads South of Luanda are good - nearly all tar on the main sections south.
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