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  #1  
Old 3 Dec 2011
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West Africa visas - 2011 experience

This year I travelled London to Cape Town along the western coast of Africa . Here is my experience with getting visas (British passport). I lost my GPS, so no GPS points. I will post separately on other subjects (customs, accommodation ,etc)

It took me from 15 minutes to 4 days to get a visa. Cheap visas were GB, Mali, Togo, Benin and Angola (between 10 and 30 dollars each). The rest were close to $100 a visa. In most consulates there were no applicants other than myself except: Mauritanian visa in Rabat, Sierra Leonean visa in Banjul, Burkina Faso visa in Bamako, Angolan visa in Abuja and Gabon visa in Yaunde where I met other applicants.

Morocco – visa free

Mauritania – easy in Rabat but lots of people– 30 day single entry visa same day service. The Mali consulate is on the same street.

Senegal – visa free

Gambia – visa free – 28 day stamp on entry

Guinea Bissau – got it in Gambia – 30 day single entry visa very easy, friendly and cheap - 15 minutes from start to end. The consulate is located on the same road as the British embassy. I met later an American who got his GB visa in Dakar for $100 (it did look nicer in his passport compared to my hand written one).

Guinea – got it in Gambia -easy – same day service – 60 day double entry for the price of two single visas. It is quite difficult to find the consulate. Note that at the boarder the immigration control may reduce you stay (e.g. when I re-entered Guinea from Liberia I got only 15 day stay).

Sierra Leone –got it in Gambia - easy – next day service. German travellers thought that the consul was rude but I had no problem whatsoever.

Liberia - got it in Conakry – easy but I was not sure whether I would get the visa until I actually received my passport back. Two day service. Located not far from the American embassy. Very posh building. All guidebooks show a wrong location. There is also a Liberian embassy in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Mali – got it in Conakry – one month single entry visa very easy, friendly and cheap. Same day service. Very close to the Ghana embassy.

Niger – got it in Bamako. Three day wait without a guarantee (two Frenchman had been killed a month before). Otherwise it was easy. One month single entry. A long walk from Sleeping Camel where I stayed but it would be easier to drive or hire a taxi.

Burkina Faso – got it in Bamako. Ninety days single entry visa. Easy. Same day service

Ghana - 3 month single entry. I got it in Sierra Leone. First time I tried to get it was in Conakry. There did not seem to be a problem even though they asked me if I was a Guinee resident. Though I was not, they still said that I could submit an application but as it was a two day process + week-end I decided to get it in Sierra Leone. In Freetown the Ghana embassy is located on the same road as the British one and (I believe) the Liberian one. No problem getting a visa, though I was again asked whether I was a Sierra Leone resident. I explained the situation and got my visa. It seems to me that with few travellers applying for Ghana visa in these part of Western Africa the embassies are more friendly. Though it may have changed. On the entry to Ghana they limited my stay to 30 days.

Togo – 7 day visa on the boarder – easy.

Benin – 2 day visa on the boarder – easy, though the officer did not seem happy to process it asking why I had not applied in a consulate. Technically it is a 48 hour visa but it is possible to enter, let’s say on Monday morning and leave the country on Wednesday afternoon.

Nigeria – got it in Bamako. Three month single entry visa. Next day service with minimum documents required. The embassy is located within a long walk from the Sleeping Camel. I tried to apply for it in Gambia and but decided not to after they told me that it would take over a week to process it. I also visited the Nigerian embassy in Bissau but the consul advised with a smile to apply in one of the countries that boarder Nigeria. No, he did not refuse. They always glad to see British tourists, BUT... I did not insist. Even though the visa I received in Bamako was valid for a three month visit, at the boarder they limited my visit to three weeks.

Cameroon – got it in Abuja. Easy. Next day service. Also, the DRC embassy in Abuja is 5 minutes walk from the Cameroon embassy.

Central African Republic – I did not go there but in Yaunde I met a Japanese traveller who got a one month visa within 2 days in the CAR embassy in Yaunde.

Equatorial Guinea – I tried to apply for a visa in Yaunde but it was only available to Cameroonian residents.

Gabon – first I tried to get one in Togo but it was refused because (I believe) I did not speak French. The consul was really mean and said that “those who do not speak French should not visit Gabon”. I got the visa in Yaunde. Submission is easy but had to wait 4 days to get the visa. Not the nicest consulate. Asked in application for 10 days and got 10 days. Moreover, the validity dates of the visa were fixed according to what I indicated in the application. After an accident in Gabon I had to extend my visa by another month in Sodec (now the office has a new name (DGDI) but everybody knows it as Sodec). There was no English speakers there and I was asked to write a letter in French explaining why I wanted to extend my holiday in that unfriendly country. It took 2 days to complete the process. Not difficult – 30 days extension. When you apply for the Gabon visa just try to ask for longest possible.

Congo Brazaville – got it in Abuja. 30 days single entry. Easy. Next day service. I paid a premium (official) to get it the same day. The visa was valid only for the next two months.

Congo Kinshasa – got it in Lome, Togo. One month single entry visa. Easy and friendly next day service. The embassy is located in the centre of the capital but was very difficult to find. It is close to a large hospital main entrance (it seems everybody knows the hospital). Note: I indicated in my application my planned entry date April 15th and actually visa was only valid for one month from 15th of April. So I could not enter DRC earlier.

Angola – got it in Abuja. Double entry five day transit visa valid within 2 months of issue. Two day service and lots of documents required (listed in HUBB in numerous posts). It takes several hours to submit an application (if you are lucky to get it) and several hours to get it. I was actually interviewed by the Angolian consul. The visa I received on 16th of March had Valid from 16/03/2011 to 21/03/2011. However, at the bottom it said in Portuguese “First entry before 15/05/2011”. Since then I heard that they stopped issuing Angolan visas in Abuja.

Namibia – visa free 90 days

Botswana – visa free

South Africa – visa free 90 days

I am sure that some visa procedures have already been changed and embassies/consulates may changed their locations but mu of the information should still be relevant. Happy travels!
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  #2  
Old 3 Dec 2011
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Visa

Great post , very interesting and complet .

Keep more coming.

Hendi
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  #3  
Old 4 Dec 2011
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Thnaks Africano, great information, thanks for the write up!
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  #4  
Old 4 Dec 2011
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Good!

Nice one chief, all I needed in one post. Outstanding. Be lucky.
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  #5  
Old 4 Dec 2011
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I'd be interested in the specific date on which you got the Ghana visa so easily. If late in the year, what you're reporting is highly significant (given the trouble others have been having); if early, not so much so, since the rules have changed.

Thanks for any clarification.

Mark
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  #6  
Old 4 Dec 2011
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Hi Mark, it was end of January. The news about the changes in Ghana visa had been out for some time. The first question they asked me in the both consulates was whether I was a resident in Sierra Leone/Guinea. I said "no" and explained the situation - travel, etc. In Guinea the lady consulted somebody and Ghana the consule made the decision on her own. In both cases the answer was positive. Whether the things have changed since then in the two countries, I do not know.
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Old 4 Dec 2011
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AFAIK the rules changed January 1. You might have slipped in before the rules became set in concrete--sometimes embassies have their own reasons for implementing new rules slowly, e.g., the Harrare Ethiopian embassy which was for a while the only place to get Ethiopian visas outside one's country of origin before they finally capitulated and stopped selling visas there. Or it might still be possible to purchase Ghana visas as you did, though the rules expressly forbid this.

In any case, a complete and informative post. Thanks.

Mark
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  #8  
Old 9 Dec 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markharf View Post
AFAIK the rules changed January 1. You might have slipped in before the rules became set in concrete--sometimes embassies have their own reasons for implementing new rules slowly, e.g., the Harrare Ethiopian embassy which was for a while the only place to get Ethiopian visas outside one's country of origin before they finally capitulated and stopped selling visas there. Or it might still be possible to purchase Ghana visas as you did, though the rules expressly forbid this.

In any case, a complete and informative post. Thanks.

Mark
Yes, the rules did change - but there are always exceptions to the rules.
I managed to get my Ghana visa - valid for 3 months - here in Freetown, Sierra Leone this week, after negotiating with the Ambassador and explaining that I am a bona fide tourist. It cost 50 dollars, or 225,000 Leones.
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Old 9 Dec 2011
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David, were you travelling on a South African passport? I'm curious if that helped you obtain the visa, as most Europeans are being refused.

Also, I wonder if those embassies that receive fewer tourists are more lax....i.e. the Ghana embassy in Ouga, Bamako, Cotonou, Lome etc is used to seeing lots of travellers turning up and asking for visas, so nowdays refuse. But I don't imagine anywhere near the same number of travellers goto the Ghana embassy in Monrovia/Freetown/Conakry etc, so they're more willing to bend the rules.

Just thinking out loud!
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  #10  
Old 16 Dec 2011
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Hello,

My contribute

Fom Portugal to Pointe-Noire, all the visa on the way.

https://picasaweb.google.com/1159718...VistosCarimbos

Regards
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  #11  
Old 18 Dec 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave The Hat View Post
David, were you travelling on a South African passport? I'm curious if that helped you obtain the visa, as most Europeans are being refused.

Also, I wonder if those embassies that receive fewer tourists are more lax....i.e. the Ghana embassy in Ouga, Bamako, Cotonou, Lome etc is used to seeing lots of travellers turning up and asking for visas, so nowdays refuse. But I don't imagine anywhere near the same number of travellers goto the Ghana embassy in Monrovia/Freetown/Conakry etc, so they're more willing to bend the rules.

Just thinking out loud!
Yes, it was with my South African passport.

I am now in Bamako - and am told that Europeans are getting their visas here too...
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  #12  
Old 18 Dec 2011
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message from an idiot

I am in Morocco....waited ages for a form to complete for a Mauritanian visa in Rabat.......back next day....Be here at 3......went early to beat the rush.....they opened at 4...Got it.....but noticed not for the date I wanted.In the light of recent events...best not state dates...but just say my zero looked too much like a 6.....wouldn't change/alter...or let me start again...and warned deffo don't try to blag it at the border...!Friendly enough.....and my sloppy handwriting my own fault........Working out fine as I'm having fun avoiding Xmas and exploring at my leisure.......but just a warning to those for whom it is important.....Having the form thrust in your face...hot...queue...biro needing shaking....pressing on a wall.....best take it easy....print very clearly...or discover some interesting places as I am...!!
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  #13  
Old 7 Apr 2012
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VIsas west Africa update

Hi

We made the same trip (now we re going uo the east coast), starting in May 2011 and there where some big changes! We where always looking in forums, and surprised with so many "bad" news. (we hold portuguese EU passport).

Here are the major news

Burkina - doing it in the border costs now 150€ p person! It was 25€. If you do it in Bamako I heard it s half price

Gana - in Ouagadogo (Burkina) they only give us if we where residents in Burkina. New rules they said. We got it because I had a flight already bought (for 15 days working n Europe) from Accra, so I printed it, got a interview with their consul, and attached a verbal note from my Consul in Burkina.

Nigeria - It took us 15 days on Accra to do it, again with a verbal note from our embassie explainig our project

Congo DRC - we were there before elections so maybe it was a special time. It took us 15 days, and we only manage after our Embassedor in RDC gave directly a letter of invitation in the Foreing Affairs in Kinhasa. All the travellers we met there where refused.

Angola - They stop giving transit visas like before in Congo and Nigeria. Once again we were lucky, had our embassies helping a lot (in Angola e Congo) and the advantage of beijng portuguese with many friend in Angola. But it s the hardest visa in west Africa these days.

Probably many changed already! Crazy paperwork.
Usualy the best its to do it at home, or try is to get a letter from your embassie explainig what you re doing. We heard many embassies - english, japaneses, deutch, don t do it. On that we re lucky beijng from a small latin country!

Cheers

Carlos

Not 2 late trip (all visa stories detailed in "tips")
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