How to get a visa for Somalia
Somalia, situated on the Horn of Africa, has the longest coastline on the African mainland. Culturally it feels like a bridge between the Arab and African worlds.
The nation, with its currently borders, was only created in 1960 after a period of British and Italian rule. It sits just across the Gulf of Aden from Yemen and faces out towards the Arabian Sea.
The nation boasts long stretches of beautiful coastline, has a harsh savanna interior and mountains in the north.
The country collapsed during a civil war in the 1990s and split into different factions of differing independence. Here we tackle visa processes for three of them – Somalia (Mogadishu), the semi-autonomous region of Puntland and the self-declared independent Somaliland.
So how do you get a visa for Somalia?
In this guide we’ll layout everything you need to know about the Somali visa process….
Important note – the visa process for Somalia, Somaliland and Puntland all differ, so we’ll break them down into individual sections
Visa process for Somalia
Somalia is the area which covers the capital Mogadishu, and the rest of the southern and central part of the country, along the Arabian sea coast.
Which countries have visa free travel to Somalia?
Every person entering Somalia needs to get a visa.
Which countries are eligible for a Somalian visa?
Passport holders from all nationalities can apply for a Somali visa – there aren’t any restrictions on citizens from certain nations.
That doesn’t necessarily mean your application won’t be rejected, but there isn’t any particular restrictions for certain nationalities.
How to apply for a Somalia visa?
When looking to apply for a Somali visa you have to apply through a travel agent, such as Untamed Borders, who then work with trusted local teams in Somalia.
There is no online process to be able to apply for a Somali visa.
With your travel agent you will apply for visa authorisation, which will be issued to the local Ministry of Tourism, ahead of your trip.
Along with this you will be issued an entry permit and you will have to present these on arrival.
You will not be allowed to fly to the country without visa authorisation.
What happens when you get to Somalia?
The process for Somalia entry has changed many times since 2012, when Untamed Borders arranged its first trip to Mogadishu.
As it stands – on arrival in Somalia you will meet a local agent, who your international travel agent is working with – this happens before border control.
The local agent will have a copy of your letter of invitation from the hotel and will have your visa documentation, signed by the government ministry.
You will then both go together to the border control officers and the local agent will help you through process to ensure you get all the right stamps and documentation.
Don’t approach the border desks without your local agent.
If you have any difficulty locating your local agent you can call an emergency contact number, which will be pre-provided.
How much does a Somalian visa cost?
A Somalian visa costs $60 on arrival.
Visa process for Somaliland
Somaliland is the self-declared independent region in the north-west of the country, bordering Djibouti and north-western Ethiopia.
All nationalities can apply for a Somaliland visa, but it is a separate process to the Somalia process.
How to apply for a visa for Somaliland?
To apply for a Somaliland visa you need a letter of invitation.
To arrange this you have to go through a travel agent, such as Untamed Borders, who works with local teams in Somaliland to provide the letter of invitation.
This letter of invitation allows you to fly to Somaliland – you can’t travel to Somaliland without the letter of invitation.
You will also be issued a visa application form, which you must fill out.
What happens when you get to Somaliland?
You have to present the filled out visa application form and your letter of invitation direct to immigration staff on arrival in Somaliland.
You won’t be met by a local agent before border control (as happens in Somalia).
You will negotiate this step yourself and after immigration you will be met by a driver (if organised via Untamed Borders).
How much does a Somaliland visa cost?
A Somaliland visa costs approximately the same as Somalia, with a $60 fee to be paid on entrance to the country, no exit fee.
Visa process for Puntland
Puntland is in the north-east of the country, at the very tip of the Horn of Africa – it’s a self-autonomous part of Somalia.
All nationalities who apply for a Somalia via, can also gain access to Puntland – the process is exactly the same.
You would need a separate Somaliland visa if you wish to visit both Puntland and Somaliland.
You can find the full itineraries for some of our trips to the region here – Somalia & Somaliland. We currently only offer private trips to Puntland, you can find out more information here, and we can also organise private trips to Somalia and Somaliland too.
If you have any further questions or need more information about how to get a visa for Somalia, Puntland or Somaliland or about our group/private trips to the country, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.