Prior to Arrival in Burundi

Types of permits/visas- People going to Burundi require a passport valid for at least six months from the date of entry. The maximum stay in Burundi is 60 days and visas should be obtained in a Burundi embassy or consulate before arrival.

In order to be issues a tourist or a business visa, visitors have to submit the following information :

  • Original signed passport, with at least 6 months of remaining validity
  • 3 Passport–type photographs
  • Copy of round trip tickets or confirmed itinerary
  • Yellow fever vaccination – copy of international certification of vaccination for yellow fever
  • A letter from a hotel in Burundi confirming the name(s) of the guest(s) and the dates of the reservation. The letter must be printed on hotel letterhead and signed by a hotel agent
  • For business visas only, a business letter from the sending company, printed in company letterhead, addressed to the “Consulate of Burundi, Visa Section” and signed by a senior manager (equivalent to Vice–President or above).
    The business letter must :
    – Briefly introduce the applicant and specify employment status/position held
    – State the nature of the business to be conducted (i.e. business meetings, contract negotiations, etc.) and the name and address of companies to be contacted in Burundi
    – Specify the type and desired validity of the visa (i.e. a one year multiple entry visa)
    – Guarantee of sufficient funds for travel

Burundi offers three types of tourist/business visa, up to 30 days, 60 days or 90 days, single or multiple entries. The table below shows the process and cost of getting a visa for Burundi; please note that while the processing time is similar for all countries the cost of visas may vary from country to country.

Other visas, such as those for long–term business stays, may be obtained by applying to Burundian embassies and consulates overseas.

 

Types of Companies

Under the provisions of the Commercial Code, investors can choose various legal forms of incorporating their companies in Burundi, such as :

  • Private Limited Company (In French Société de Personnes à Responsabilité Limitée or SPRL)
  • Public Limited Company (in French Société anonyme or SA)
  • Limited Liability Company (in French Société Unipersonelle à responsabilité limitée or SURL)
  • Cooperative Society (in French Société Coopérative (SC)

Minimum shareholders required :

  • From two to fifty (2 to 50)
  • Minimum three (3) for a limited company (member of the Board of the SA must have at least a share of the company)
  • One (1) for a Limited company (a Limited company cannot be the sole shareholder of a company Unipersonnelle)
  • Minimum two (2) for the cooperative society

Social Capital :

  • General rule, there is no capital share
  • There is no minimum social capital required to validate trading company in Burundi, only for some exceptions. However the absence of capital would be against the law

A minimum of social capital is required for companies active in some specific sectors :

  • Bank: BIF 5,000,000,000 (as of 31 December 2009)
  • Financial institutions: BIF 4,000,000,000 (as of 31 September 2009)
  • Import and export petroleum companies: BIF 1,000,000,000 (as of 13 July 2009)
  • Insurance companies: BIF 300,000,000 (as of 29 November 2002)
  • Furthermore, no shareholder can hold more than 33% of the capital

Registering a business and getting permits

The most common forms of company used are SARL (Limited Liability Company). This form provides similar benefits to those available to companies with legal personality in most countries.

In order to start up a business in Burundi investors will require 11 procedures and it will take approximately 32 days. The various necessary stages are listed hereafter:

STARTING A BUSINESS IN BURUNDI

  • Draft and notarize the articles of association by a notary – 4 days – BIF 53,000
  • Deposit the legally required initial capital in a bank and obtain deposit evidence – 1 day – no charge
  • Publication in legal journal – 1 day – BIF 130,000
  • Procurement of two extracts from the criminal record of the first directors in preparation to the registration formalities with the Commercial Registry – 2 days – BIF 10,000 (BIF 1,000 each, two extracts for 5 founders)
  • Registration with the Commercial Registry – 2 days – BIF 44,900
  • Registration of the Company with the Department of Taxation – 1 day – no charge
  • Registration of the Company with the Municipality of Bujumbura – 16 days – no charge
  • Registration of the Company with the Ministry of Trade and Industry – 1 day – no charge
  • Registration of the Company with the Ministry of Labor, Department of Work Inspection – 1 day –no charge
  • Registration of the Company with the National Institute for Social Security – 1 day – no charge
  • Make a company seal – 2 days – BIF 20,000

OR

  • Postal Box – BIF 50,000 / year
  • Legalization of the signature – BIF 2,000
  • Authentication of statutes – BIF 7,000 (fixed) + BIF 3,000 (per additional page)
  • Publication of statutes in legal journal (Bulletin Officiel du Burundi – BOB), the journal – BIF 6,000 / 12 pages
  • Registration with the Commercial Registry – BIF 65,000
  • Procurement of the Fiscal Identification Number (NIF) – BIF 10,000
  • Procurement of business permit (according to the type of business) – N/A
  • Registration with the National Institute for Social Security – N/A
  • Registration with the Municipality of Bujumbura – according to the type of business
  • Registration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry for the VAT – N/A
  • Registration with the Ministry of Labor, Department of Work Inspection – BIF 2,000

Land Ownership

  • Foreign moral or physical persons enjoy the same rights and protection than nationals;
  • A few restrictions related to the right of foreigners to purchase property in full ownership exist. However, if a commercial business is registered under Burundian law, the latter becomes Burundian and thus this distinction becomes no longer applicable
  • Land for agriculture or livestock can be assigned to them only in terms of concessions for emphyteusis or usage
  • Different procedures for the acquisition of land not built regarding whether they belong to the public or private domain