Reconsider travel to Burundi due to crime and political violence.
Violent crimes, such as grenade attacks and armed robbery, occur regularly. Though westerners are unlikely to be specifically 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. Emergency medical and fire services are limited or non-existent in some areas of the country.
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 searched the homes of private citizens as part of larger weapons searches. In the provinces of Cibitoke and Bubanza, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), 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 in Burundi. Medical services in Burundi fall well below U.S. standards, and there are no adequate trauma services in the country. 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 travel outside of Bujumbura during hours of darkness (typically 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.) and prior approval for travel to the Bujumbura neighborhoods of Buyenzi, Bwiza, Cibitoke, Gasenyi, Kamenge, Kinama, Musaga, Mutakura, and Ngagara.
Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.
If you decide to travel to Burundi:
- Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
- 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.
- U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
Last Update: Reissued after periodic review with updates to the Risk Indicators.
Originally Published: June 12, 2019