Uganda - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel
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Business Customs

Ugandan businesspeople value decision-making through consensus and place a strong emphasis on developing relationships.  Ugandans place high importance on protocol and begin most meetings with introductions, including the participants’ business backgrounds and families, so all parties are comfortable working with each other.  As a result, business transactions take time as parties build their relationships.  A trusted third-party introduction eases familiarity and contacts a Ugandan business easier.  An introduction from a mutual friend, acquaintance, or known business associate before initial contact can help alleviate some of the problems prior to initial correspondence or meetings.  The U.S. Embassy’s Commercial Section has contacts within government agencies and the business community and can facilitate introductions.  Formality is common in Ugandan business transactions.  Ugandans consider it polite to address contacts using their titles such as Honorable (for members of parliament and ministers), Mr., Mrs., Miss, Dr., followed by the family name.  It may be regarded presumptuous to address someone by their first name during initial meetings. 

Successful investments in Uganda require numerous business meetings, with a strong preference for face-to-face discussions over telephone calls or emails.  Uganda is a hierarchical society, so investors often request initial meetings with the top official in the organization.  

While introductions may be formal, business meetings tend to be informally structured, often lacking agendas.  It is not unusual for other people to be called into the meeting after the meeting starts.  We recommend that potential investors identify the business official in charge of decision-making before an introductory meeting.  Ugandans dress formally for business meetings.  Normal business attire consists of a suit and tie for men and suit or dress for women.  Open collar shirts and slacks may be worn to more informal meetings.

Travel Advisory

Please see the consular information sheet for Uganda at U.S. Passports & International Travel - Uganda for the latest travel-related information.

Visa requirements: The Ugandan immigration service requires visitors to apply for visas online via Uganda’s eVisa application system prior to their arrival and present a confirmation barcode at the airport.  Please apply at least three weeks prior to departure.  Per the Ugandan Embassy website (Embassy of the Republic of Uganda - Visa Requirements) electronic-visa permit-application-system, a single-entry visa costs $50, a multiple-entry visa costs $100, and an East Africa tourist visa valid in Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya costs $100.  As of July 2022, the Ministry of Health requires proof of vaccination against COVID-19 except for children below the age of 5.  Boosters are not a requirement.  Without proof of vaccination, travelers should present a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours prior to travel.  These guidelines are constantly changing.

Visa requirements and health alerts, Embassy of the Republic of Uganda in Washington, D.C.

Embassy of the Republic of Uganda – Visa Requirements

Uganda eVisa

U.S. Embassy to Uganda’s Consular website

U.S. Embassy in Uganda - U.S. Citizen Services


The official currency for Uganda is the Ugandan shilling (UGX), which trades freely on the open market.  As of October 1, 2023, the exchange rate was UGX 3759.5 to $1.  Major commercial bank ATMs are available in all major towns and hotels.  Real estate transactions and large import orders are conducted in USD, while day-to-day transactions are conducted in shillings.  Some hotels may take payment in USD and most large-scale chain hotels will take credit card payments.  Outside of major hotels, major supermarkets, stores in shopping malls, and some restaurants, few businesses accept credit cards and U.S. investors are encouraged to have sufficient cash on hand for transactions.


The largest telecommunication companies in Uganda are:  MTN, Airtel, Uganda Telecom, and Smile Telecom.  The mobile phone network covers urban and most rural areas, though reception quality can be erratic.  SIM cards for U.S. visitors coming to Uganda with compatible triband phones cost less than $2 and are available at authorized telecommunications offices.  To purchase and register a new SIM card, customers must present their passport, and provide a passport photo and a copy of their passport bio data page.  A satellite telephone is recommended for persons working in remote areas.  U.S. cell phones work in Uganda in roaming mode.  T-Mobile’s international service works through its partnership with local networks.  Google Project Fi also works in partnership with local networks.  Wi-Fi is readily available in major hotels across Uganda, although speeds may vary.

Electrical outlets in Uganda operate at 220 watts on G-type plugs.  Uganda’s underdeveloped power distribution network results in frequent power surges.  A surge protector is highly recommended for travelers. 

Ugandans, especially in urban areas, increasingly rely on WhatsApp text messages as their primary method of communication, for personal and business needs.  Many Ugandans check their email infrequently and often miss messages.  Fax and copying services are available in shops in Kampala and at major hotels.


Although the government has invested heavily in the country’s road network and several major highways have been improved, many roads are in poor condition and there has been an increase in fatal accidents.  Paved roads connect Kampala to border crossings with Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Tanzania.  Uganda’s first four-lane expressway between Kampala and Entebbe opened in June 2018.  Due to poor drainage, driving conditions worsen during the rainy season.  With vehicle ownership in Kampala increasing 10% per year, unpredictable traffic congestion continues to worsen.  Routine trips across Kampala can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.  Secondary roads throughout the country remain undeveloped and a vehicle with high clearance is strongly recommended. 

Uganda’s public transport system is unreliable and dangerous.  Fourteen-seat commuter buses (referred to locally as “taxis” or “matatus”) are used within the cities and for long-distance travel.  Due to poor vehicle maintenance, rough road conditions, and aggressive driving, these buses are neither safe nor reliable.  Larger 62-seater buses are also used for long distance travel, but there have been concerns over their safety due to accidents on major highways in part due to speeding and reckless driving.  Motorcycle-taxis (referred to locally as “boda-bodas”) are common and considered dangerous as most drivers are unlicensed and many drive recklessly.  In fact, it is estimated around 60% of people admitted to hospitals in Kampala are due to boda-boda related accidents.  Uber has become a prevalent means of transportation and is considered safe to use. 

Entebbe International Airport offers non-stop flights to regional, European, and Middle Eastern destinations.  Frequent regional flights include Nairobi, Mombasa, Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Addis Ababa, Juba, Mogadishu, Kinshasa, Bujumbura, and Kigali.  Other non-stop international destinations include Johannesburg, Cairo, Istanbul, Dubai, Doha, Brussels, and Amsterdam.  There are no direct flights to the United States, although Delta and United offer codeshares with European, African, and Middle Eastern carriers.  Small private carriers recently have established scheduled commercial services between Entebbe and several domestic safari sites popular with tourists.  Uganda relaunched its national airline (Uganda Airlines) in July 2019 with four Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft operating on routes in East and Central Africa. The airline also acquired two Airbus A330neo aircraft, delivered in December 2020 and February 2021, aimed at extending the airline’s routes to Europe, the Middle East, and China.  Uganda Airlines has a direct flight to Dubai and is yet to launch its flights to London and Guangzhou.


English (British English) is the official language of Uganda.  Bantu languages dominate in areas south of Lake Kyoga, while Nilotic languages dominate in the North.  Swahili is commonly used near Uganda’s borders with Kenya, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


Travelers are encouraged to carry their own medical supplies as some medications are either not available in Uganda or only available in generic form.  According to the World Health Organization, as of July 2022, Uganda has administered at least 23.9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines of which 12 million are fully vaccinated, reaching only about 25.4% of the country’s population.  As of June 2022, the Ministry of Health requires that all travelers be fully vaccinated and COVID-19 tests be taken at an approved facility within 72 hours of departure for both inbound and outbound travel to/from Uganda for all travelers, if not fully vaccinated.  Malaria is widespread and the use of appropriate prophylaxis and bed nets is strongly recommended to lower the risk of contracting malaria.  Typhoid fever and Hepatitis A and B immunizations are also recommended as is the meningococcal immunization.  Yellow fever is particularly present in northern Uganda but can be reliably prevented with the required Yellow Fever vaccine.  Uganda requires proof of Yellow Fever immunization to enter the country.  Please be sure to have your immunization card appropriately stamped with the Yellow Fever immunization stamp.  Due to poor sanitation throughout Uganda, enteric diseases including E. Coli, giardia, amoebic dysentery, and shigella are common.  Travelers should not eat roadside foods and are encouraged to drink bottled water as typhoid and cholera outbreaks are common.  Although tap water is treated, water from taps is not potable and should be boiled for five minutes and filtered before drinking.  Fruits and vegetables should be soaked for 20 minutes in chlorinated water if they are to be eaten uncooked.  Most lakes and rivers are infested with bilharzia, limiting water-based recreation.  Restaurant food should be hot and cooked.  Uncooked foods, salads, and fruits without their peels should be avoided as they could cause enteric diseases.  Stray animals, to include cats and dogs, should be avoided as they may carry rabies.  Adult HIV prevalence is about 6.2% (7.6% among women and 4.7% among men).  Prevalence is much higher in major cities and regions that depend on cross-border trade. 

Health conditions rapidly change, and travelers are advised to visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Uganda website for the latest information on local health conditions: 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Health Information for Travelers to Uganda Traveler View

If you need to consult a doctor, please check with the receptionist at your hotel.  Pharmacies in Uganda are usually open from 8:00 a.m. to about 9:00 p.m., and on Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  A few pharmacies open on Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. 

Private Hospitals:

C-Care IHK

4686 Barnabas Rd, Kampala, Uganda

Tel: +256 (312) 200400


Medipal International Hospital

John Babiha (Acacia) Ave, Kampala

Tel: +256 (417) 799900


Nakasero Hospital

Plot 14A Akii-Bua Road, Nakasero, Kampala, Uganda

Tel: +256 (414) 346150


Unihealth Medical Centre (UMC) Victoria Hospital

Plot 1495 Bukoto, Kira Road, Kampala, Uganda

Tel: +256 (772) 406612


Kampala Hospital

Plot 6C, Makindu Close, Off Windsor Crescent, Kololo, Kampala

Tel: +256 312563400



The Surgery  

Plot 42 Naggulu Drive, Naguru, Kampala, Uganda

Tel: +256 (312) 256 001/2/3


AAR Health Service

Plot 6 Makindu Close (off Windsor Crescent), Kololo, Kampala, Uganda

Tel: +256 (414) 258615


C-Care IMC Clinics 

Plot 37, Yusuf Lule Road, Nakasero, Kampala, Uganda

Tel: +256 (312) 188 800


The Clinic At The Mall

2nd Floor, The Village Mall, Plot 47A Spring Road, Bugolobi, Kampala, Uganda

Tel: +256 392 177283

Local time, business hours, and holidays:

Uganda is three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and does not observe daylight savings time.  Office hours typically are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, though in practice, office hours vary, and workers frequently go home by noon on Friday. 

The following is a list of official holidays in Uganda for 2023:




January 1


New Year’s Day

January 26


Liberation Day

February 16


Janan Luwum Day

March 8


International Women’s Day

April 7


Good Friday

April 10


Easter Monday

April 21


Eid al-Fitr

May 1


Labor Day

June 3


Martyrs’ Day

June 9


National Hero’s Day

July 28


Eid al-Adha

October 9


Independence Day

December 25



December 26


Boxing Day

Temporary Entry of Materials or Personal Belongings

Persons bringing goods into Uganda temporarily need to execute a bond through a clearing agent.  Personal effects typically are not taxed, though a sizeable consignment of personal effects might attract the attention of Ugandan Customs and a person bringing in such a consignment should contact a clearing agent.

Travel Related Web Resources

State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

State Department Travel Website

U.S. Embassy Kampala

U.S. Embassy Kampala U.S. Citizen Services