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What You Need to Know When You’re Moving to Kigali

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Relocating to Kigali

About Kigali

Located in the geographical middle of the country, this city has been the economic, cultural and political hub of Rwanda since 1962, when the nation gained its independence. Kigali is built across four hill ridges and their connecting valleys, with larger and more expensive homes at the peaks and less affluent neighborhoods nestled below.

Foreign investment into Kigali has been strong in recent years. As such, this city has grown into a business hub with the evolving skyline to prove it. While tin mines are in operation near the city, tourism and non-governmental organizations provide the most viable work opportunities for expats. The Rwandan economy is growing rapidly – per capita GDP grew from 206 USD in 2002 to 638 USD in 2013 – and poverty is falling, meaning there are ample opportunities in this quiet metropolis.

The Climate in Kigali

Expect a tropical Savannah climate with a pronounced dry season. Temperatures tend to stay in the high teens to mid-twenties, peaking in February and early autumn and dipping very slightly in the spring. The biggest weather changes throughout the year will be in rainfall. Average precipitation peaks in spring at around six inches (15 centimeter) per month, while in the summer months it drops sharply to less than half an inch (1.3 centimeter).

Visas for Rwanda

Like many countries, there are a number of ways to enter Rwanda legally and work. You need to start by obtaining a visa. There are several options, beginning with a tourist visa for any expatriates who would like to go on a first fact-finding trip before moving to Kigali.

A job search visa, valid for 90 days, is available to anyone whose profession is included on the Occupations in Demand List  – which includes architects, education professionals and even film and stage directors.

You can also obtain work permits via more specific routes – for example, the Rwandan government allows people to stay and work in the country for ‘hospitality industry and related activities’ or, if you have an assured income of more than 5,000 USD per month you can obtain a temporary ‘Person with Assured Income’ permit. This lasts for two years.

There is a great amount of flexibility in the Rwandan system. Even tourists, who in many nations would need to leave the country before changing their visa status to one where work is permitted, are allowed to change their status whilst in the country.

All non-nationals living in Rwanda legally are required to carry an identification card. These cards do not need to be renewed. Some expats in Rwanda have taken to gaming the system by entering the country first on a tourist visa and simply exiting and reentering the country every 90 days, but be aware that while it may be possible to work on a tourist visa, it is not legally allowed!

You can learn more about gaining entry into Rwanda, finding work and staying legally at the website for the Rwanda Directorate General of Immigration and Emigration.

🌟 Welcome, Kigali InterNations Members! 🌟 We are thrilled to extend our warmest greetings to each and every one of you for our official event of March at the exquisite Pilipili Bar and Restaurant s
Feb 21, 2024, 6:00 PM
68 attendees
Well, Love is in the air! And so here we are in this beautiful City of Kigali. We know that we have not been able to host a gala event for long. So we are taking this opportunity to invite you all to
The International Day of Clean Energy on January 26 is a call to raise awareness and mobilize action for a just and inclusive transition to clean energy for the benefit of people and the planet.
International Hot and Spicy Food Day is an annual food feast celebrated on January 16th of every year. Everyone is welcome to enjoy Thai's Tom Yum soup.

See all upcoming events for expats in Kigali

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  • Vladimir Rostev

    Moving abroad can be very difficult, particularly when it comes to Rwanda. But this supportive and trustworthy community is just so helpful.

  • Cathleen Sapiro

    My brother recommended InterNations to me before I moved to Kigali. I can only forward this recommendation to any expat around the globe.

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