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Applying for Visas in Addis Ababa...

Getting Visas in Addis is, it has to be said, a slightly frustrating process. Things however seem to be improving and a lot of the information currently available is a bit outdated. So, below is my eperience when applying for visas for overland travel in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somaliland, Sudan and Egypt in Addis In September 2018.

Somaliland

You will need:

  • Your Passport and Yellow Fever Certificate

  • 2 x Passport Photos

  • 1 x Passport Photocopy

  • 1 x Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate 

  • $100 USD

I had heard that the Somaliland Visa was the easiest and quickest to get so I went to the Somaliland Embassy First. Be aware though that most taxi drivers will not know where this is. The Somaliland Embassy is located on Cameroon Street just past the embassy of Malawi, best thing to do is to ask to go to Edna Mall, with the Mall on your right the Somaliland Embassy is two right turns following this on the same side of the road, the Malawian Embassy is signposted so you will spot the turning easily.


Make sure you arrive at the Embassy before Midday as they stop processing applications after this, and the earlier the better if you want your Visa issued the same day. You knock on the gate and the visa office is at the back, you need to fill in your application form and pay your dollars then you will be asked to wait. You will then be invited into the main building (check out the fabulous chair selection) for a short interview asking what your plans are, where you will be staying etc. then head back to the visa office and they should issue your visa within a couple of hours at the most. They do have a bit of a tendancy for random passport stamping so if you need to preserve some pages post it notes with a polite note are a good way to go. Also make sure you get a reciept as the somaliland borders will ask to see it or ask you to pay a 'fine'. If you do forget though (like I did) you can always go back the next day and they will give you a reciept without any hassle.  (UPDATE: Upon entering Somaliland I found that it was not necessary to have a reciept and at no point was I asked to pay any money)


Egypt

You will need:

  • Access to Internet

  • Passport photograph

  • Address of Hotel in Egypt where you will be staying

  • A credit or debit card to pay the $25 USD (single entry) or $60 USD (multiple entry)

Ignore what you have read you no longer need to go to the Egyptian Embassy to get a tourist visa, in fact they will turn you away if you try. The only way to now get an Egyptian tourist visa is via their e-visa process. The official site is www.visa2egypt.gov.eg the other sites are either fake or through an agency that will overcharge you, make sure you use the official site and even though its a bit of a pain to navigate your visa should be issued within 72hours. Make sure you print out your visa when it arrives, most of the big hotels in Addis have a business centre where you can do this or if they don't many will print it at the desk for you. (If you are staying in Bole try the Washington hotel both for reliableish wifi in the lobby and free printing, thanks to the lovely staff, plus on holidays they give out free cake, coffee and popcorn!)


Sudan

You will need:

  • Passport

  • 2 x Passport Photos 

  • 1 x Passport Photocopy

  • 1 x Ethiopian Visa Photocopy 

  • Full Address of hotel in Sudan, plus managers name and phone number

  • $68 USD for the 30day tourist visa

Taxi drivers seem to know where the Sudan Embassy is so you shouldn't have too much trouble locating it, although it is quite a way into town and traffic in the area can be slow. With this in mind make sure to get there early as they stop processing Visas at Midday.


I had expected this to be one of the more difficult visas to acquire but the process was actually very simple (aside from having to go and get photocopies of our ethiopian visas - there is a small shop up the street where you can do this). The staff at the Sudanese embassy are really friendly and will fill in all the paperwork for you, aside from a bit of desk hopping but you will be pointed where to go, its quick and easy. You don't need to pay your dollars until the end when you will be sent out of the main room round to an office. Visas should be available to collect the next working day, usually after lunch. I have heard that if you say you have a flight to catch or need your visa in the morning for a specific reason they can do this but I can't vouch for that being the case. Americans may have a different experience as they frequently require a letter of invitation/hotel confirmation letter, UK and European nationals just need the address, manager name and phone number.


Djibouti

You will need: 

  • Passport

  • 2 x Passport Photos (cut out or you will get told off 😄) 

  • 1 x Passport Photocopy

  • 1 x Yellow Fever Photocopy

  • Print Out of Hotel Booking

  • Print Out of Flight leaving Djibouti 

  • $90 USD

The Djibouti Embassy is located in Bole, it is just down the road from Mr Martins Cozy Place. It is also next to the Zimbabwe Embassy, for taxi drivers if they don't know either embassy tell them to head to the Washington Hotel in Bole (this is opposite Mr Martins and a cafe called Step Up), from the Washington head down the road away from the crossroads and it is signed on the right.


The main problem I found at the Djibouti Embassy is that the staff can be quite rude and seem to require different things from different people, for example I was not asked to provide an invitation letter or to evidence how I was entering Djibouti (public transport from Somaliland) however an american I spoke to who acquired his visa a few days before was asked for both. Another issue is the opening times according to the website they open at 8:00 but in actuality it is 9:00am also they shut at exactly midday and you will not be getting in or anything done after that. Once you do manage to get past the gate though and meet the requirements then your visa should be processed same day but be aware even though they will tell you to come back at half past two, don't, come back between 3pm and 3:30pm otherwise you will be sat outside for an hour waiting - there is a bench if you do however.


All the information listed is correct as of October 2018 for holders of UK and most European passports. (Visas acquired by a Brit and a Norwegian)

 

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