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Visas

MAURITANIA – Geneva, August 2012

GUINEA – Rabat, N33 59 36.9 W6 50 36.3, October 2012

One month, single entry: 500 dirham

Three months, two entries: 700 dirham

Six months, multiple entries: 1,000 dirham

Got one month in one day (valid from chosen date), with two photos and form duly filled in

Park up on the doorstep, drop off 10.00, pick up 14.00 (they were ready and waiting). All very jovial and full of banter.

MALI – Rabat, N33 58 44.9 W6 50 00.9, October 2012

Advertised outside embassy as next day service – actually handed passports in at 9.30 and were told to come back at 14.00. Was gone 15.00 before we got them back but all very painless.

Parked right outside, 250 dirham each, 30 day, single entry, valid from chosen date, just with two photos and form filled in.

BURKINA FASO – Rabat, N33 59 30.2 W6 50 40.7, October 2012

Just round the corner from Guinea embassy (all grouped easily together), with nice cafe on corner and easy parking with free Wi-Fi on the street.

90 days, single entry: 405 dirham; multiple entry slightly more (possibly 525).

Needed hotel reservation but not letter of invitation, despite what the checklist we were given led us to believe.

Supposed to drop off before midday but we turned up at 15.00 and they took our applications anyway, with only very light banter – told to come back around midday next day. They were ready by 13.00.

GHANA – Ouagadougou, N12 22 43.8 W1 30 38.0, December 2012

Enquiries made in Rabat (N33 58 52.0 W6 50 07.1), all very friendly and cooperative. Told they didn’t normally issue to non-residents of Morocco but if we had a letter of invitation they’d send our applications to Accra and see what they could do. Would take at least 3 or 4 days and no guarantees. We said we’d get letter of invitation organised and apply in Ouagadougou, probably.

Embassy in Ouaga was easy to find and easy to deal with, thanks in part to a letter of invitation from a presidential candidate in this week’s election!

Open 08:00 – 14:00 Mon – Fri. Officially only issue to Burkina residents, so we were asked to write a short cover letter explaining our situation (left home months ago, no idea when we’d need visa for, etc etc….).  The guy on the desk read our letter and forms, took payment and told us, if we didn’t hear from him in the interim, to come back in 2 days’ time.

2 month single entry 17700 CFA

3 month multi entry 30000 CFA

6 month multi entry 41000 CFA

Needed 4 photos and proof of yellow fever vaccination.

Good to their word, the visas were waiting for us at 11:30 on the dot.

NIGERIA – Ouagadougou, N12 18.327 W1 31.274, December 2012

Francis, the visa man, was helpful and polite and let us apply despite not being Burkina residents. He wasn’t forthcoming on the finer details of the process but then we didn’t really think to ask – more fool us!

Applications taken between 10 and 12 Tuesdays and Thursdays. Hand in, sit for ages, get called for interview then come back following Tuesday/Thursday to pay and collect if successful, and after another frustratingly long wait.

Still not sure what was needed – helpful to have something from own embassty in Burkina but as Brits without one in Ouaga we opted for hotel reservation, bank statement, own written cover letter, copies of anything and everything we could think of.

UK citizens, 66,500 CFA for one month, single entry.

Beware: valid from date of issue

Other Nigerian embassies visited (all Dec 2012/Jan 2013):

Accra: N5 36.379 W0 12.018

Usual residency issues but didn’t seem insurmountable. Wouldn’t deal with us cos we happened to have what most would consider perfectly viable visas already.

Lomé: N6 09.352 E1 13.623

Let passed security thanks to imminent Togolese residency; woman inside said if we came back with letter of invitation she’d issue 30-day visas next day for CFA 53,000 each.

Cotonou: N6 21.016 E2 23.968

Interviews 10:00-12:00, Tues and Thurs; 30 days, single entry CFA 30,000, issued following Tues/Thurs; officially need letter of invitation, all car docs, three-month bank statement, etc. No residency requirements and seemingly some flexibility on the rest, although we didn’t test this and gave them everything they wanted and more!

BENIN – Accra, N5 37.007 W0 11.178, December 2012

Easy and friendly.

Simple form, two photos, pick up form and hand in passports between 8 and 11 any day; pick up from 2pm same day (we turned up at 2pm and were still allowed to apply but then had to wait 24hrs).

Normally only 15 day, single entry for non-residents (40 cedis) but smile sweetly and pay 80 if you want 30 days, muliple entry.

TOGO – At the border, December 2012

The guy briefly tried to claim visas no longer issued at border, despite lists behind his head stating prices per nationality. Brits pay CFA 10,000 for up to a month.

DRC – Lomé, N6 08.768 E1 12.686, December 2012

Extremely helpful service; CFA 25,000 for Togolese residency for two, sorted by DRC embassy guy; range of visas available (one-month single entry to six-month multiple entry), valid either from chosen date or (allegedly) actual date of entry in country if only specific month written on visa. From memory, CFA 40,000 for one month; CFA 90,000 for three.

CAMEROON – Abuja, N9 04.289 E7 29.384, January 2013

Got in there before the stern receptionist arrived and had already made friends with her boss, who agreed to process our applications by 3pm that same day so that we could get other visas after (i.e. Congo). Receptionist still tried to wade in and overcharge us but she’d missed the boat. CFA 50,000 each, one month single entry, valid from date of issue. Would only accept West African CFA so had to wait for their money changer to arrive and deal with long-drawn out negotiations about exchange rates. Went back after seeing Congo and managed to bring pick-up forward to 2pm and passports were ready and waiting by then.

CONGO – Abuja, N9 04.223 E7 29.488, January 2013

Very friendly one-man reception, initially said our situation was impossible as the visa checklist he had included flights, letter of invite, hotel reservations, etc. But within minutes he was over this and more interested in our Cameroon travel plans. Express service = same day if dropped off in am (15,000 naira); not sure what you get for standard fee (13,000 naira). Cut-off time for next-day service is 14.00 but after talking to the boss he said they’d take our applications at 15.00 if that’s when we’d have passports back. We picked up midday next day; another guy we were with managed to get his by 10am for an extra 2,000 naira. Seemingly very flexible if you give good enough sob story/offer a bit extra.

GABON – Yaoundé, N3 53.678 E11 31.168, February 2013

We turned up days after a new biometric system had been introduced, meaning it was much more complicated than in the past. Various meetings with the ambassador himself, who was very constructive (even thought about getting us an invite from his daughter), but we got our own invitations from a friend in Libreville. Without an invitation, it would now be difficult but perhaps a hotel reservation would do.

We paid CFA 50,000 for 30-day, single entry and the normal service (2 days?). There was an express service, but how ‘express’ it was seemed to depend on the whims of the two ladies fielding applications, both of whom are a handful at best!

ANGOLA – Libreville, N0 25.281 E9 25.818, February 2013

This was a complete fluke, made possible only by some generous friends in Libreville. We thought we were going to be turned away at the border and if we had to do it again would try in Matadi. In February 2013 other tourists received 30-day visas there within a week on presentation of a letter of invitation/itinerary. The only other option at the time seemed to be in the UK (also requiring a letter of invitation and taking up to three weeks).

NAMIBIA, SOUTH AFRICA…

Visa? What visa?! What a luxury, and what a shock to the system it will be when we start heading back north.

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