The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is geographically speaking the second largest country in Africa and the eleventh largest in the world. It is also the fourth most populous nation in Africa, with a population of over 75 million.
It has a diverse landscape, since it has coasts (only 37 km), central lowlands, and mountains in the East, peaking more than 5,000 m.
The people of Congo are a heterogeneous group; over 200 ethnic groups exist in the country, the majority of which are the Bantu peoples. The national language of Congo is French, but there are a number of other recognized national languages including Lingala, Kituba, Swahili, and Tshiluba.
The majority of Congolese people observe Christianity as their religion. According to the Pew Research Center, this group amounts to 95% of the population. The main denomination Congolese people belong is the Catholic Church; around 35 million Catholics live in Congo. Islam is a minority religion in Congo, with around 10% of the population classing themselves as Muslim.
Congo straddles the equator, with half of the country’s landmass above, and the other half below the equatorial line. As a result, the country has an equatorial climate, which means it experiences a high level of precipitation and frequency of thunderstorms; annual rainfall can be as much as 2,000 millimeters in certain regions. This climate facilitates the existence of the Congo Rainforest, which is the second largest in the world, behind the Amazon.
This equatorial, tropical climate is the reason for the existence of the Congo River system that flows through the region’s rainforests. This river forms part of the nation’s transportation infrastructure.
Any expatriates thinking of travelling to the DRC will require a visa. It is no longer possible to buy a short term visa, so expats will need to contact their local embassy to secure one. This travel/tourist visa is issued by DRC embassies or consulates abroad and it is valid from one to six months.
If the DRC is not diplomatically represented in your country, you may be eligible for either a “visa volant” or airport/port visa that you can obtain upon arrival and for a limited period of time; please be aware that you should request it in advance to the Managing Director of Immigration.
In any case, expats will need a sponsorship, namely a Congolese resident’s invitation to the country. For expats working in Congo, an invitation letter from the company is required.