Effective October 07, 2016, the Department of State ended the ordered departure of family members of U.S. government personnel, permitting family members to return to Kinshasa. We are taking this action based on our current assessment of the security situation in Kinshasa and the broader Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). We will continue to assess the situation in the DRC closely to ensure the safety of our personnel.
We have been evaluating the situation continually, both before and after the temporary departure of family members. The order to depart was made last week out of an abundance of caution considering the unstable and unpredictable security situation in the DRC. In our latest re-evaluation, we have assessed that security conditions permit the return of family members. We have assessed that security conditions permit the return of family members to Kinshasa. We will continue to assess the situation in the DRC closely to ensure the safety of our personnel.
As noted in our updated Travel Warning, the U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of ongoing instability and sporadic violence in the DRC, including the potential for civil unrest in parts of Kinshasa and other major cities. U.S. citizens should be cautious when stopped by security forces, who often request bribes and have occasionally injured or killed people who refuse to pay. In addition, armed groups, bandits, and some elements of the Congolese armed forces continue to engage in robbery, murder, and kidnapping in a number of areas of eastern DRC.
We strongly encourage U.S. citizens traveling and residing abroad to inform the Department of their travel plans using the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), to check for Travel Warnings or Alerts, and to read the Country Specific Information on our website, travel.state.gov. They should also check U.S. Embassy Kinshasa’s website for the latest consular information, including security messages and the latest Travel Warning.
A Travel Warning is issued when the State Department views the threat to U.S. citizens in a specific country to be chronic and long-term. Travel Warnings may be issued in response to civil unrest, dangerous conditions, terrorist activity, and/or because the United States has no diplomatic relations with the country and cannot assist a U.S. citizen in distress. Travel Warnings are always issued when the U.S. government withdraws employees and/or family members from a country for security reasons. Travel Warnings do not reflect the nature of our bilateral relations with a country. They are issued as part of our commitment to protect U.S. citizens traveling and residing abroad.