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All About the Visa for Somalia
If you are contemplating a trip to Somalia, you can read this page to find out everything you need to know about travelling to this country in East Africa, whether you plan to visit the old city of Mogadishu or the famous cave paintings of Laas Geel.
Unlike some countries that have different categories of entry conditions that vary according to the visitor’s nationality, the government in Somalia keeps things very simple by having the same policies for all tourists visiting the country.
All visitors to this East African country, regardless of your nationality, must obtain a visa. This means there are no visa-free countries to Somalia.
However, you will be pleased to know that the government offers a Visa on Arrival (VoA). As such, you won’t need to spend time and money going to an embassy or consulate and waiting in a queue to apply for a travel permit.
Please note that a VoA can only be issued at designated entry points. If you are not planning on entering the country at one of these locations, you may need to make prior arrangements to obtain an entry permit before travelling to the country.
Read on to find out all the requirements and conditions to visit this African country, including which ports of entry can issue a VoA and what documents you must bring with you to be granted this document!
- 1 What Is the Difference Between a Somalia Visa on Arrival vs an Embassy Visa?
- 2 Somalia Visa Application Process
- 3 Somalia Visa Requirements and Eligibility
- 4 Somalia Application Form and Documents
- 5 Somalia Visa Status Check
- 6 How Much Does a Somalia Visa Cost?
- 7 More Somalia Visa Questions and Information
What Is the Difference Between a Somalia Visa on Arrival vs an Embassy Visa?
First of all, let’s see what the difference is between getting a VoA and an embassy visa. In terms of the document itself, there isn’t much difference between the two, as they are both Single Entry permits that grant tourists entry into the country. However, the number of days granted does vary, as you get 30 days with a VoA and up to 90 days with an embassy visa.
The only other difference is the way in which you obtain the travel permit. Most visitors opt for the convenience of a VoA. This permit is issued directly after you arrive in the country at the immigration desks at the airport. Even if you have to queue for a while, this remains the quickest and most convenient way to get your travel permit.
On the other hand, the embassy visa is issued by a diplomatic mission of Somalia. In this case, you will need to make an appointment at the embassy several weeks before your planned departure date. The advantage of this option is, although it requires some pre-planning and time to visit the embassy, you will have your entry permit before actually traveling to the country, so you may choose this for peace of mind.
Somalia Visa Application Process
As we mentioned, the process of getting a travel permit is fairly straightforward, as you can get it when you arrive in the country. However, there are a few things you should be aware of.
As you probably know, the VoA is issued at the immigration desks upon arrival in the country. However, not all ports of entry are set up to issue visas. Here is the list of entry points that can issue a VoA:
- Bosaso Airport in Bosaso
- Garowe Airport in Garowe
- Abdullahi Yusuf Airport in Galkayo
- Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu
- Kismayo Airport in Kismayo
If you wish to obtain your permit before travelling, you should know that not all embassies can issue travel documents. As such, you should always check with the embassy directly or look for the information on their website if they have one. The Somalia embassies that issue visas most regularly are the ones in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Nairobi, Kenya.
Here is the list of Somalia diplomatic missions for your reference:
Algeria – Algiers
Burundi – Bujumbura
Djibouti – Djibouti City
Egypt – Cairo
Ethiopia – Addis Ababa
Kenya – Nairobi
Rwanda – Kigali
South Africa – Pretoria
South Sudan – Juba
Sudan – Khartoum
Tanzania – Dar es Salaam
Uganda – Kampala
Zambia – Lusaka
China – Beijing
India – New Delhi
Indonesia – Jakarta
Iraq – Baghdad
Kuwait – Kuwait City
Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur
Oman – Muscat
Pakistan – Islamabad
Qatar – Doha
Syria – Damascus
Turkey – Ankara
United Arab Emirates – Abu Dhabi, Dubai
Yemen – San‘a’, Aden
Canada – Ottawa
United States – Washington, D.C.
Belgium – Brussels
France – Paris
Germany – Berlin
Italy – Rome
Russia – Moscow
Serbia – Belgrade
The United Kingdom – London
Somalia Visa Requirements and Eligibility
Unlike most other countries worldwide, Somalia has adopted the same entry policies for all nationalities visiting the country.
Equally, though, the policies, requirements, and conditions will vary depending on the purpose of your trip. While those visiting for tourism are eligible for a VoA, if you are visiting for other reasons, like to work or study in the country, you will have to follow different procedures.
Furthermore, all visitors to this country must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months from their arrival date in the country and with 2 blank pages for the entry and exit stamps.
In addition, you should be aware of the fact that entering the country from Somaliland may involve some complications in terms of visas. Read on to find out more.
If you are planning on entering the country from Somaliland, you should be aware that this territory doesn’t consider itself part of Somalia and, as such, they issue their own visa. A Somaliland visa will not be officially recognised in other parts of Somalia and vice-versa. Therefore, if you intend to visit Somaliland during your stay, you will need to get a separate Somaliland travel permit.
Somalia Application Form and Documents
Regardless of whether you are applying for an embassy visa or for a VoA, you will need to present the following documents:
- A completed and signed application form.
- 2 recent passport-size photographs.
- USD cash to pay for the fee.
- Confirmation of return or onward travel bookings.
- Confirmation of accommodation bookings or letter of invitation if staying with a host.
The application form is usually a 3-page document, divided into 2 parts. The first part is related to your personal details, the second is about your trip. Here’s the information you will be asked to provide:
1) Personal Details
Date and place of birth
Type of passport
Name of spouse, if applicable
Nationality of spouse
Their place of birth
Their date of birth
Current address of spouse
Field of employment
Employer’s contact info
Your permanent home address
Your email address
Your telephone number
2) Travel Information
- Details of any previous visits to the country
- Details of any previous stays in Africa
- Reasons for visa application
- Places to be visited
- Details of any children accompanying you
Somalia Visa Status Check
It’s likely you will be getting your travel document directly at the airport when you arrive, so you won’t need to worry about waiting times.
In the event you decide to apply for a travel permit from an embassy in advance, you will need to wait several working days for your document to be processed. In this case, you can check the status of your application by contacting the embassy directly.
How Much Does a Somalia Visa Cost?
The rate for a Single Entry permit valid for 30 days is 60 USD, regardless of your nationality or the length of your stay.
The VoA must be paid in US dollars and in cash at the immigration desk, so it’s essential you have 60 USD in cash on you when you arrive.
Often you will find currency exchange facilities at airports. However, we recommend not relying on these and using them just in case of emergency, as it can occur that they run out of the currency you need. The best thing to do is to exchange cash in your country before you leave.
More Somalia Visa Questions and Information
There you have it: everything you need to know about getting a visa for Somalia. Still have a question? Use the handy FAQ section below to find your answer.
On the other hand, it’s possible to get a travel document valid for 90 days when you apply at an embassy before travelling.