Can you buy land in Rwanda as a foreigner?
This is probably one of the questions that we get asked the most. The simple answer to this is: Yes! You can buy property in Rwanda even if you don’t have Rwandan citizenship.
So, due to many questions, our team went to gather specific information through the Rwanda Land Management and Use and the Rwanda Development Board. During this trip we gathered details and attempt to answer as much as possible. We kindly suggest that during your research, you can go to the businesses and participate in your own conversations.
In September 2021, there were provisions made to the of the Private Investment Law, which clarified that a foreigner has the right to own land in the context of housing and investment in Rwanda.
If you decide to own land in Rwanda for a housing purpose:
- You must have a permit (visa) to live in Rwanda
- A foreigner may own one plot of land for one family in a residential area that does not exceed 300 square meter. Check the Article: The steps of buying a property in Rwanda as a foreigner this process outlines the step by step process of actually buying property
- This land ownership is entitled to a lease of 20 years from the date of enumeration until the issuance of a new law or new land lease regulations.
When a foreigner needs more than the land allotted for the same land referred to in the first paragraph of this article or owns more than one part of the property share in the building, they must present a study of an investment project approved by the competent authority (RDB).
For a business venture, the size and the regulations about the land ownership are different from residential purpose. Meaning, you can own land above 300 square meters for investment/business (rental properties, company production, agriculture and farming)
To own a land for business or investment, you need to have an investment certificate from RDB.
Procedures for obtaining investment registration in Rwanda:
1. You can do application for investment registration online at RDB
-Create an account first.
-You are required to do the following for online registration: First, obtain Company Incorporation Certificate from the Office of the Registrar General at RDB of which the company Code/TIN will be used to do online application.
-You must Pay a non-refundable fee of US $500 for Investment Certificate at account Number No. 0281441-77 USD and No. 0281460-96 RWF at any branch of Bank of Kigali or at Bank of Kigali Swift Code: BKIGRWRW
2. Application Letter addressed to the CEO of Rwanda Development Board requesting for an Investment Certificate.
3. Provide a business plan that clearly indicates the following (NOTE: Once the business plan is ready, please attach it on online application):
• Executive summary of the project
• Profile of the project promoter(s)
• The project back-ground
• Market study or market analysis
• The level of loan and equity financing it, if any.
• Projected statement of income and expenditure for 5 years
• Planned investment, financial schedule & capital cost over the next five years in assets as land, construction, plant/machinery, working capital and other assets.
• Projected balance sheet (5 years)
• Loan amortization schedule for the bank loan (if any);
• Project implementation plan/action plan
• Notes on assumption made in the business plan.
Some of criteria for investment project evaluation:
• Non trading activity
• Creation of quality jobs
• Transfer of skills and knowledge
• Use of local raw materials
• Potential for export
• Potential to create backward and forward linkages
• Innovation and creativity
Once your application for investment registration is approved, RDB sends you an online notification of approval of your application.
(Please note, if you are creating a business with no intent to purchase land…you do not have to complete the above steps)
Upon issuance of approval of application for investment registration, a focal person from RDB is assigned for each project. It should take a maximum of two working days to process your application and issue the certificate of investment registration if all documents are submitted and are in order.