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Living in Rwanda

Overview

This guide sets out essential information for British citizens moving to or living in Rwanda. You must register for healthcare as a resident in Rwanda. If you cannot register for healthcare, you must ensure you have private healthcare cover for Rwanda If you are on a prescription for any medication you should ensure you have a supply of it, or are able to obtain it when in Rwanda. Certain medicines may not be available in Rwanda (including major brands readily available in the UK), and you may be prohibited from taking them into the country. You should consult your GP before travelling to Rwanda to find out about any alternative medication. You may be able to vote in some UK elections. You can: If someone dies in Rwanda read our guidance on:

Before you go

If your child is born in Rwanda, you should register the birth with local authorities. You can then register with the UK authorities and apply for a UK birth certificate. Read law on possession of residential land in Rwanda (PDF, 814 KB). Under this law, a foreigner may possess a plot of land for a single-family residential house in a residential area not exceeding a certain size detailed in the law. If the size of the plot you want to buy exceeds this size, you must submit a business plan for investment approved by the competent authority.

Visas and residency

Get professional advice when buying property in Rwanda. Find an English-speaking lawyer in Rwanda. Find out how you can get married or get a civil partnership in Rwanda.
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Passports and travel

The current law provides that a foreigner could be granted freehold if the land is in a specific economic zone and if the foreigner co-owns the land with a Rwandan citizen who must have at least 51% ownership stake. Lastly, a foreigner may own a freehold land tenure only if approved by a presidential order in exceptional circumstances of strategic national interest. Local currency in Rwanda is Rwandan franc (RWF). Credits cards are accepted in most places. Small businesses may only accept cash or mobile money payments. Mobile money payments are facilitated by mobile networks such as Airtel and MTN. ATMs are available in Kigali and other parts of the country and accept all credit and debit cards. However, withdrawing money services are available only in few commercial banks in Kigali.

Healthcare in Rwanda

Check the Rwanda travel advice for passport validity requirements. See risks of doing business in Rwanda.

UK Travel insurance providers will not generally cover your healthcare costs if you live overseas.

Medicine

You should get professional advice on paying tax in Rwanda. Find an English-speaking lawyer in Rwanda. If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you must respond as soon as possible. Your payments may be suspended if you do not.

Working in Rwanda

Dial 112 for the police, ambulance or fire brigade, or dial 113 for road traffic accidents. Read general guidance on moving or retiring abroad. Read State Pension guidance if you have lived in Australia, Canada or New Zealand if you are claiming or waiting to claim your UK State Pension.

Studying in Rwanda

Contact the relevant higher education provider in Rwanda to check what fees you have to pay. If your child has British nationality, see how to apply for citizenship. If you have been a victim of rape or sexual assault in Rwanda, read information for victims of rape and sexual assault in Rwanda.

Tax

Check the entry requirements for Rwanda in our travel advice. There is no reciprocal healthcare agreement between the UK and Rwanda.

Benefits

You can drive using a UK driving licence or an International Driving Permit for up to one year, after which you should apply for a Rwandan licence. To apply for a local driving licence, you need to write a letter of application to the Commissioner Traffic and Road Safety attaching your existing licence and a copy of your visa or Foreign Resident ID card and submit at Rwanda National police, traffic and road safety. Contact them at 0788311502 or 0788311353. There are no restrictions on foreigners buying or selling property in Rwanda, as provided under the ministerial instructions n° 001 of 09/9/2021 determining modalities of the possession of residential land.

Pensions

Visa for employment in Rwanda. See buying a property abroad.

Life certificates for UK State Pensions

You can apply for or renew your British passport from Rwanda.

Money and banking

Dial +250788311155 to report a missing child.

Accommodation and buying property

Driving abroad https://www.gov.uk/driving-abroad. To stay up to date: follow the British High Commission Kigali on Facebook and Twitter. You can import pets to Rwanda, provided they are domesticated or otherwise non-harmful animals. Your pet must be imported in a cage. Read guidance on international parental child abductionif your child may be at risk of this. You do not need to register birth with the UK authorities to apply for a British passport.

Driving in Rwanda

Read about how the British High Commission in Kigali can help. If you retire in Rwanda, you can claim your UK State Pension or new UK State Pension. You can contact the International Pension Centre for further information. If you have a UK Blue Badge and live in Rwanda, you must return it to the original UK issuing authority. Read the guidance if you need to travel with medicines. To apply for a job, you may be required to provide a police clearance from your home country before receiving a work permit. You may use the following link to apply for a work permit in Rwanda.

Disabled drivers

If you’re asked for a letter authenticating, certifying or validating your UK driver’s licence, you should contact your UK issuing office (eg the DVLA).

Voting

Get a child passport.

Births, deaths, marriage and civil partnership

Births

See our travel advice for Rwanda for up-to-date information on entry requirements, local laws and customs, safety and emergencies. Find out which UK benefits you might be able to get while you’re abroad and how to claim them. Read guidance on: If you plan to study in Rwanda, you must meet all visa requirements before you travel.

Deaths

If you wish to take your vehicle with you, see https://www.gov.uk/taking-vehicles-out-of-uk.

Marriage and civil partnership

This information is provided as a guide only. You should get definitive information from the Rwandan authorities. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is not liable for any inaccuracies in this information. Support for British Nationals Abroad: A Guide sets out how British nationals can stay safe abroad and how the FCDO can help if you do get into difficulty.

Rwanda regulations on importing pets

Read guidance on returning to the UK permanently which includes information on bringing family members, tax and access to services. See claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad.

  • import permit from the country of origin
  • export permit from the country of origin
  • current vaccination cards from the vet (valid for one month)
  • shipper’s letter of instruction
  • live animal passport or certificate of identification
  • live animal chipper certification

Emergencies

You must have the following documents: See: See how to apply for a visa to enter Rwanda and visa on arrival in Rwanda. If you are planning to move to Rwanda and work, you may need a visa. Read the Rwandan government’s guidance on working in Rwanda as a foreign national and how to get a visa. If you’re a victim of a crime, have been arrested, or are affected by a crisis, contact the British High Commission Kigali.

Returning to the UK

For guidance for travelling by road in Rwanda see:

Source

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