Moving to Rwanda in Covid Times - Avoid the Mistake I Made
Updated: Nov 15
Moving to Rwanda has been a dream for quite a few years. Unfortunately, C19 put a stop to my relocation plans, so a plan B was set into motion. Plan B was a move to Dubai that proved to be quite expensive and not quite the expat experience I was looking for at this point in my life.
It’s been over a decade of circling the globe and spreading my wings in new territories. Rightfully so, I am ready to settle in that special place. I knew the day would come, when I left the U.S. many years ago.
Finding my forever home became my mission. So, when I met Rwanda, about 4 years ago, I just knew I’d be back, not for vacation but to live.
Never did I expect that I would be moving during a global pandemic, but here I am. And I have no regrets about my decision to head this way. Thankfully, the Rwandan government has done an outstanding job in creating a comprehensive checklist for passengers heading their way. It includes all the necessary steps you need to take before boarding your plane.
If you are wondering, Do I need a PCR Test? How far in advance do I need to take the test before boarding my flight? Where should I stay for my mandatory 24hr quarantine? Checkout the Passengers Arriving and Departing from Rwanda checklist for a detailed outline about how to prepare for your fabulous trip.
In short, you absolutely need a PCR test, more specifically the SARs-CoV2 Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction; taken within 120 hours before travel. Your test should be taken at a hospital or clinic that provides an internationally recognized test.
Quarantine Hotel Booking
The checklist will provide you with a list of hotels where you can complete your mandatory 24hr quarantine. Once you have selected your hotel, it's good idea to contact them directly, so you can receive the required document for travel.
My hotel emailed me an official document with a stamp and the reservation details. You will need show this document at the departure airport check-in.
I had a layover in Nairobi, so I needed to show the document once again at the transit check-in. Of course, you will need to show this document on arrival at the immigration desk at the Kigali International Airport. It's a good idea to hang on to this document until you get to your hotel. I do remember showing it to the clerk along with my passport.
There are hotels to meet every budget. Don't worry about booking a taxi because your hotel will pick you up from the airport and take you directly to the hotel, where you will take a PCR test.
Upon arrival at your hotel, you will take a PCR-Covid test. Be prepared to pay between $40-60 USD for your test at the hotel. Once you've taken the test, you are expected to stay in your room at all times, until you receive your test results the following morning. At my hotel, breakfast, lunch and dinner were included with the room rate.
All in all, the process was extremely seamless. Everyone is very organized and well-trained on handling the process.
Rwanda shows great hospitality and has always made me feel welcomed. Even during these challenging times, they still maintain a great level of hospitality.
The true highlight of my arrival was being greeted by the Anti-Epidemic robot, who cheerfully screened all passengers waiting for their luggage.
PASSENGER LOCATOR FORM
The final document you will need before boarding your flight is your Passenger Locator Form found on the Rwanda Biomedical Centre website. This should be completed no more than 120 hours ahead of your flight. Don't do what I did. I arrived to the check-in counter with my passport, print out of my PCR test and hotel reservation, and foolishly thought I was ready to go. It wasn't until the clerk asked for my passenger locator code that I began to worry about not making it to Rwanda.
Thankfully, he was a pleasant man and willing to help me with the website information. But of course, the airport internet was not fast enough to load the page. I had only 30 minutes left before boarding closed and was starting to feel that pinch in the gut. You know that pinch in the gut, where you feel like you're about to miss a flight?
Well, I immediately started sending WhatsApp messages to my family asking for help. Thank goodness my hubby was quick to the draw and ready to assist. He filled out the form and within seconds, the code arrived in my email inbox. Quick tip: Be sure you have a copy of your PCR test and Quarantine Hotel Reservation before you start filling out the form.
Whatever you do, don't think twice about heading to Kigali. The way in which they are handling the pandemic is unprecedented.
It is no wonder why the World Health Organization has recognized their stellar response. I feel safe in knowing the community is onboard with maintaining public safety. Rwanda truly has so much to offer for those interested in travel, business or relocation.
Be sure to remember those 3 documents that will get you closer to experiencing beautiful Rwanda. See you soon!
Negative PCR Test
Quarantine Hotel Booking
Passenger Locator Code
EXTRA VISA TIP!
If you opt for visa on arrival, make sure you have cash $50 USD for single entry visa or $70 USD for multiple entry visa.
Check out my YouTube Channel - Francesca Today. to learn more about fabulous Rwanda. I'll be sharing my relocation journey and tips on making the stress-free transition, including setting up a bank account, looking for a home and getting your business license.