Expat guide to moving to Burundi



Wedged between Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda in east-central Africa, Burundi is a mountainous region, which occupies a high plateau separated by several deep valleys.

Although it is a small country, through its existence it has seen many wars and divisions among its people, and is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa. But despite struggles between the three groups of people – Hutu, Tutsi and Twa – all share similarities in their cultures, traditions and languages and the country’s overall culture is full of arts, crafts, dancing and music.


Expat Clubs

Peace Direct

Peace Direct is an award-winning, international NGO that finds, funds and amplifies the voice of local peace builders operating in some of the most challenging conflict environments worldwide.

www.peacedirect.org | www.facebook.com/peacedirect

Minerals Clubs and Societies

The mineral and locality database.


American Expatriates in Burundi

Discover the American expat community in Burundi, the best way to make friends and to contact Americans.


Burundi Friends International English Club

Promoting education through English as the best option to connect to the modern world.


Of course, when you are in Burundi as an expat, there may be many, smaller meet-ups and groups available for you to join in… So make sure to search and network locally if you wish.

International Schools 

The King’s School

A unique Christian, English-speaking, international school in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura.

Curriculum: UK

Address: BP1560, Bujumbura, Burundi 

Tel: (+257) 2221 8197 

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.thekingsschool.edu.bi


Gitega International Academy

A private Christian boarding school for young men and women that provides exemplary secondary education in the English language.

Curriculum: The Academy’s academic program offers a foundation in leadership, languages, computers, mathematics, natural sciences, humanities, and the arts. 

Address: Gitega International Academy, B.P.  459, Bujumbura, Burundi

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.gitegainternationalacademy.org


Burundi American International Academy

The American International Academy (BAIA) is an independent, international day school for primary and secondary students in Bujumbura, Burundi.

Curriculum: United States standards-based educational program for O-Level and A-Level students

Address: American Embassy, Bujumbura

Tel: +257 223454

Website: www.baiacademy.org


Bujumbura International Montessori School

BIMS is an international school focused on giving learners holistic development.

Address: Q.Kabondo Avenue, Rukomwe, Bujumbura, Burundi

Tel: +257 22251706 | +257 22252781 | +257 78860902 | +257 79968624

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.facebook.com/pages/Bujumbura-International-Montessori-School/305422182846984?sk=timeline

Local News in English

Iwacu English News


Burundi Realities


Country Information 

Full Name: Republic of Burundi

Population: cc. 10.2 million

Location: Africa

Capital City: Bujumbura

Other Important Cities: Gitega, Ngozi, Ruyigi, Muyinga, Rutana

Currency: 1 Burundi Franc (FBu) = 100 centimes

Language: French, Kirundi and Swahili

Religion(s)/Ethnicities: Hutu, Tutsi, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Muslim

Calling Code: +257

Internet TLD: .bi

Electricity: 220V 50HzH

Time zone: GMT +2

Emergency Numbers:
  • Police: 117 or 22-22-37-77
  • Fire Department: 118      

Burundi’s cities and towns are divided into several provinces for the convenience of administration. There are many cities, among which Bujumbura is the capital of the country. Bujumbura is the administrative and economic center of Burundi, and serves as a port for the export and import of the country. In the eastern part of Bujumbura, there is Gitega – the second biggest city of the country. This particular city houses the famous Burundi National Museum, which is a prime attraction.

The climate is equatorial, and if your have family or friends who wish to visit, the best time is between May to September. There are a number of places to visit with your guests, including Burundi National Museum, Kibira National Park and Karera Falls.

July 1st is Independence Day in Burundi, thus is a public holiday. Due to the Christian population, holidays such as Christmas are still commonly observed. Even the Islamic holiday, Eid al-Fitr is recognized as a public holiday.

One of the many indigenous festivals in Burundi is Kunbandwa, where people give their respect to the god Kiranga in hopes for a plentiful grain harvest. During this particular festival, men dress up and paint their bodies and later everyone cleanses themselves in a stream to continue giving their respect to Kiranga – a respectful sight to see! There is also Umuganuro, which occurs before the harvest when a virgin plants the first seed to ensure a good growing season. 

Embassy Information


Residents Visa and Work Permit information

The Burundian authorities advise you to gain a visa before travel if you are planning on staying for three days or longer. If you plan to stay for less than three days, you can get a transit visa on arrival. Alternatively, a one-month multiple entry/re-entry visa is available.

For the one month multiple entries visa, you will need:
  • 1 duly filled application form for each application, including children
  • 2 recent passport sized photographs
  • Passport valid for at least 6 months from the proposed date of entry
  • If travelling for business, a letter of invitation/introduction
  • Evidence of travelling arrangements e.g. booking or ticket photocopy
  • A stamped, self-addressed and registered envelope for passport return
  • £60.00 fee by cash or bank transfer – *note, cheques are not acceptable.

The visa processing takes 5 working days, but in some cases where an emergency may arise, the time may be shorter.

*Nationals of the following countries do not require a visa to enter Burundi: Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda.

More information can be found here: www.burundiembassy.org.uk/home/consular-services/visas


Typically, with it being the capital of Burundi, Bujumbura is a popular place to settle for expats. There are plenty of amenities around the area, and expats are able to rent short-term or long-term or even invest in a property here. There are apartments and villas available and can be found in local newspapers, advertisements or online. Such as: www.burundionline.bi or www.interimmobdi.com

Driving License

The presence of a valid International Driving Permit is the main driving license requirement from a foreign visitor in Burundi. However, visitors who have a full United Kingdom driver’s license may drive in Burundi for the first six months, after which they are required to obtain a Burundi driving permit.

Keep in mind that some people drive without a license. Moreover, the Burundian driver licenses can be acquired without training and thus, most Burundian drivers are not careful, predictable or mindful of driving rules.

In Burundi, traffic drives on the right side of the road. The legal blood alcohol level is 0.1% and a third-party insurance is required. There are no functioning traffic signals, and roadways are not marked.

From February to May, heavy rains may cut roads and damage infrastructure. Thus driving on many side roads is passable only with four-wheel drive vehicles.

If a driver is found to have caused an accident, they will be fined automatically and their driving permit will be confiscated until a police investigation is completed.

More information can be found:

www.adcidl.com/Driving-in-Burundi.html | www.aa.co.za/travel/into-africa/cross-border-information/burundi.html


Following the independence of Burundi, the World Health Organisation (WHO) helped in the organization of public health services and the training of sanitarians and public health nurses in the country. Yet the Burundian health care system is rudimentary, and most medical facilities are limited, even in the cities.

A vaccine for yellow fever is compulsory to travel or live in Burundi, and other recommended vaccines include: Hepatitis A and B, rabies, typhoid fever, meningitis.

Insurance Companies
  • AXA PPP International
  • OSD International
  • April Medibroker
  • Expatriate Healthcare
  • Icliniq
  • Allianz Worldwide Care


  • Centre Hopitalo Universitaire de Kamenge Roi Khaled: +257 236063
  • Hospital Prince Regent Charles: +257 226166
  • New Medical Centre: +257 224 671
  • Polyclinique Centrale: +257 225050
  • Kibuye Hope Hospital
  • REMA Hospital:


Dr. Ndayiragije Athanase

University Hospital Kamenge, +257 223672

Dr. Bizimana Athanase

Military Hospital Kamenge, +257 235622

Dr. Ndarugire Francois

Polyclinique Centrale De Bujumbura, +257 246666

Dr. Ngendakuryo Gordien

Polyclinic Cenima, +257 227581

Dr. Hesham Zaki

Hospital Prince Regent Charles, +257 602815

Dr. Rufyikiri Tharcisse

Polyclinique Centrale De Bujumbura, +257 229430

Dr. Ntihogora Protais

Military Hospital Kamenge, +257 227 671