Currency: Rwanda Franc (RWF)
Exchange rate: 1159 RWF per € (December 2020)
Time zone: CET + 1
Country code (phone): +250
Climate (for capital): Equatorial highland climate
Entry and residence regulations
German citizens have been required to have a visa since 2014. Before that, German citizens did not need an entry visa for tourist purposes. Rwanda cited the principle of reciprocity as the reason for this decision. Accordingly, there is a visa requirement for citizens of all countries in which Rwandan citizens are similarly subject to the visa requirement.
As part of a general opening policy, a reform of the entry regulations was decided in 2014. The core of the reform was to facilitate entry conditions, particularly for African citizens, with a view to promoting exchange within African countries.
Since the end of 2017, new, easier entry requirements have been in effect for citizens of all countries in Rwanda. Since then, entry visas have generally been issued on site at the airport or at the border with minimal formalities. In addition to the possibility of receiving the visa upon arrival at the airport, it can also be applied for in advance at the embassies. The application can also be submitted electronically. The fee for a three-month tourist visa is US $ 30 for a one-time entry or US $ 50 for multiple entries. Since the end of 2014, it has also been possible to purchase the “ East African Single Visa” to apply. This new community visa allows entry into the countries of Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya, starting with the respective issuing country. The initiative is intended to facilitate cross-border travel and promote tourism within the East African community. The remaining two EAC member countries (Burundi and Tanzania) are expected to join the initiative as well. A passport that is still valid for at least six months is required for the visa application. Children need a child’s passport.
Further information on entry regulations and safety information can be found on the website of the Foreign Office, for example. There are also important addresses and telephone / fax numbers for the German and Rwandan representations.
According to naturegnosis, the general crime rate in Rwanda is classified as comparatively low.
Even if the last alarming incidents in the capital were a few years ago, an increased police presence can be observed. In 2010, in the course of the presidential elections at the time, there were several grenade attacks in the capital, some of them resulting in death. There were also isolated cases later. Busy places in the city such as bus stops and market stalls were selected as targets for the attacks. The government blamed the Hutu militia FDLR, operating from the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in particular. In response to this, there was a consistently increased police and military presence across the country, especially in urban areas in the evening hours, a situation that continues to this day. Armed security guards stay at relevant traffic hubs and places with large crowds until late at night. The passive and observant attitude adopted in the process, however, points more towards a preventive measure than to averting a specific danger.
In June and December 2018, armed groups attacked a village or a minibus in Nyamagabe district and in the area of Nyungwe National Park in the south-west of the country, killing two civilians. The attackers were assigned to the rebel group ” The National Liberation Front (FLN) ” operating in neighboring countries. Since then, there has been an increased military presence in the region, especially within the Nyungwe National Park. Due to the unstable security situation in the southern neighboring country of Burundi, which has persisted since 2015, the southern border offers itself as a possible slip-point for potential attackers who try to destabilize the country from outside.
For further general travel and security information, the Federal Foreign Office’s internet portal is recommended.
The Rwandan national currency, the Rwanda Franc (RWF), is relatively stable. The exchange rate is based on daily US dollar rates. 1 US dollar = 968 RWF, 1 euro = 1159 RWF (as of December 2020). Credit cards are accepted in banks and larger hotels and shops in the capital and a few other larger cities. ATMs are available in the capital, outside of the larger cities they are less common. These can often only be operated with local cash cards. Bringing foreign currency with you in cash can be an advantage, better exchange rates are achieved for euros and US dollars, but cash should only be changed in banks or in signposted foreign exchange offices.
Digital financial services in connection with modern information technology are the order of the day in Rwanda. The sector is being driven politically and economically. A higher financial inclusion in the population – as a side effect – is intended. Accordingly, cashless payment transactions are spreading rapidly. For general day-to-day money transactions, such as paying electricity or water bills, private money transfers, etc., local cell phone providers and banks offer “Mobile money service”, an uncomplicated money transfer service that is accessible via cell phones. Approx. 25% of adults Users in Rwanda now have a registered mobile account, which is a prerequisite for using this service.