Burundi – Level 3: Reconsider Travel
Reconsider travel to Burundi due to COVID-19, crime, health, and political violence.
Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Burundi due to COVID-19.
Burundi has resumed most transportation options, (including airport operations and re-opening of borders) and business operations (including day cares and schools). Other improved conditions have been reported within Burundi. Visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Burundi.
Violent crimes, such as grenade attacks and armed robbery, occur frequently. Though Westerners are unlikely to be targeted, the risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time is high. Local police lack the resources and training to respond effectively to crimes.
Medical services in Burundi fall well below U.S. standards, and there are no adequate trauma services in the country. Emergency medical and fire services are limited or non-existent in some areas of the country. The CDC has also issued a Level 1 Travel Notice on Malaria in Burundi.
There are ongoing political tensions in Burundi, causing sporadic violence throughout the country. Police and military checkpoints are common and can restrict freedom of movement. Police have conducted weapon searches in the homes of private citizens. In the provinces of Cibitoke and Bubanza, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda, as well as Mutimbuzi commune in Bujumbura Rural province, there have been armed attacks primarily conducted by groups operating from the eastern DRC. The border may close without notice.
The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens throughout Burundi. U.S. Embassy personnel are subject to restrictions when traveling in certain areas of Burundi and may be subject to other constraints as security conditions warrant. These restrictions include limitations on all travel during hours of darkness (typically 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.) and require prior approval for travel outside of the Bujumbura Mairie Central area. The former Central Market located on Chaussee Prince Louis Rwagasore is off-limits to U.S. Embassy personnel at all times, due to high rates of crime.
Due to travel restrictions on U.S. Embassy personnel, the U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in the following areas: the provinces of Bubanza and Cibitoke, Kibira National Park (including the park’s southernmost part in Muramvya province), and Ruvubu and Buriri Forest. Embassy personnel are also prohibited from transiting through Kibira National Park to reach Kayanza via the RN-10.
Read the country information page.
If you decide to travel to Burundi:
- See the U.S. Embassy’s web page regarding COVID-19.
- Visit the CDC’s webpage on Travel and COVID-19.
- Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
- Read the CDC Travel Notice on Malaria in Burundi.
- Visit the CDC Travelers’ Health Page for Burundi.
- Bring a sufficient supply of over-the-counter and prescription medicines.
- Obtain comprehensive medical insurance that includes medical evacuation.
- Avoid areas where there are large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations, and exercise caution in the vicinity of any such gatherings.
- Remain aware of your surroundings and be vigilant when traveling in unfamiliar areas or outside of cities and along border areas; take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.
- Consider traveling in pairs and using convoys of multiple vehicles to mitigate the risks related to traveling outside of Bujumbura. Carry additional fuel, spare tires, and provisions. Include a satellite phone, map, navigation equipment, and first aid kit. Service stations are scarce in rural areas. Professional roadside assistance service is not available outside the capital.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
- Review the Crime and Safety Report for Burundi.
- Prepare contingency plans for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
Last Update: Reissued with updates to U.S. government restrictions on personnel.