Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) - Consular Information Sheet
June 26, 2001
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: The Republic of Congo is a developing
nation in central Africa. Civil conflict in 1997, late 1998 and
early 1999 damaged parts of the capital and large areas in the
southwest area of the country. Peace accords, which concluded
in late 1999, have largely brought an end to the conflict, and
no new hostilities have occurred. Restoration is now underway
in Brazzaville and other cities; however, facilities for tourists
The U.S. Embassy in Brazzaville suspended operations on June
18, 1997, and there remains no resident U.S. diplomatic presence
in the Republic of Congo to provide consular assistance to U.S.
citizens. A Brazzaville U.S. Embassy Office was opened in neighboring
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo in April 1998 and may,
in some circumstances, be able to provide limited emergency services
to U.S. citizens. The Brazzaville U.S. Embassy Office is located
at the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa at 310 Avenue des Aviateurs, telephone
243-88-43608. The U.S. Embassy operates with a reduced staff.
Only emergency consular services to U.S. citizens are available
and the Embassy's ability to provide these services is limited
solely to the Brazzaville/Kinshasa capitals.
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A passport and a visa are required.
Information on entry requirements may be obtained from the Embassy
of the Republic of Congo, 4891 Colorado Ave., N.W., Washington
D.C. 20011, telephone (202) 726-0825, or from the Permanent Mission
of the Republic of Congo to the United Nations, 14 E. 65th St.,
New York, NY, 10021, telephone (212) 744-7840. Overseas, inquiries
should be made at the nearest Congolese embassy or consulate.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments
have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include
documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's
travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having
such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate
SAFETY AND SECURITY: Brazzaville and Pointe Noire, the
second-largest city, are typical small central African cities.
As result of 1997-1999 civil wars, there is evidence of extensive
damage to the infrastructure in Brazzaville and in the southern
part of the country. Disorganized bands of armed former militiamen
remain in some areas in the southwest of the country but there
have been no hostilities since peace accords were signed at the
end of 1999. The war in neighboring Democratic Republic of the
Congo has led to insecurity in border areas in northern Republic
of Congo along the Ubangui river. Travel to these regions is not
recommended. Night travel outside of Brazzaville and Pointe Noire
should be avoided.
U.S. citizens should avoid political rallies and street demonstrations
and maintain security awareness at all times.
CRIME: In the Republic of Congo, petty street crime targeting
foreigners is relatively rare, but nighttime muggings sometimes
occur, especially in Pointe Noire.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported
immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or
Consulate. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's
pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad,
for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The
pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents,
U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via
the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or via the
Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical facilities were limited before
the civil wars and have worsened as a consequence of the fighting.
Some medicine is in short supply, particularly outside the larger
cities. Travelers should carry their own supplies of prescription
drugs and preventive medicines.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges
Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior
to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas
and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical
evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs
incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage
is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do
not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.
However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance
plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including
emergency services such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans
should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require
payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical
evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of 50,000 dollars
(US). Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often
face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior
to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas
healthcare provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for
expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage
for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the
event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via
the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations
and other health precautions may be obtained from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international
1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299),
or via CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning the Republic of Congo is provided for general
reference only and may not be totally accurate in a particular
location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor to Non-existent
Road conditions are generally poor and deteriorate significantly
during the rainy season, November-June. Maintenance of the few
paved roads is limited. Overland travel off the main roads generally
requires a four-wheel drive vehicle. Poorly marked armed checkpoints,
sometimes manned by undisciplined soldiers, exist throughout the
country. Train travel between Brazzaville and Pointe Noire resumed
in August 2000, but there are frequent reports of extortion by
undisciplined security forces and robberies by criminal elements
along the route.
For additional general information
about road safety, including links to foreign government sites,
see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial
air service by local carriers at present, nor economic authority
to operate such service, between the U.S. and the Republic of
Congo, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not
assessed the Republic of Congo's Civil Aviation Authority for
compliance with international aviation safety standards. For further
information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation
within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit
the FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some
foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of
air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific
carriers, travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Airport police and customs officials
routinely inspect incoming and outgoing luggage. For a complete
list of prohibited items, contact the nearest Congolese embassy
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and may not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
Congolese law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or
imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal
drugs in the Republic of Congo are strict and convicted offenders
can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
CONSULAR ACCESS: Local security forces, particularly in
areas outside Brazzaville and Pointe Noire, may detain foreigners
and/or attempt extortion. Detention of U.S. citizens, particularly
in remote areas, may not always be reported promptly by Congolese
authorities to the U.S. Government. U.S. citizens are encouraged
to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times,
so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and
U.S. citizenship are readily available. If detained or arrested,
U.S. citizens should always ask to be allowed to contact the U.S.
Embassy (See Registration/Embassy and Location below.)
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For
information on international adoption of children or international
parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site
at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: The U.S. Embassy in Brazzaville
suspended operations at the time of the outbreak of the 1997 civil
war and has not re-opened. A U.S. Ambassador is accredited to
the Government of the Republic of the Congo and together with
a small staff which operates from the Brazzaville U.S. Embassy
Office, located in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
This office may, in some circumstances, be able to provide emergency
U.S. citizen services. U.S. citizens living in or visiting the
Republic of the Congo are encouraged to register with the Brazzaville
U.S. Embassy Office or the Consular Section, both located at the
U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa at 310 Avenue des Aviateurs. The telephone
number is 243-88-43608, and the mailing address from the U.S.
is Brazzaville Embassy Office, American Embassy Kinshasa, Unit
31550, APO AE, 09828.