VISA REQUIREMENTS & GENERAL INFORMATION YOU SHOULD BE AWARE OF BEFORE VISITING UGANDA
Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa, blessed with an abundance of natural beauty and rich culture, here you will find the most fascinating wildlife, from the big five to endangered mountain gorillas and some of the world’s rarest bird species.
Sir Winston Churchill referred to Uganda as ”the pearl of Africa”, a statement not far from the truth, there is much to explore and experience in Uganda, like the snow-capped Rwenzori mountains, Mount Elgon, with the largest volcanic caldera in the world, Africa’s largest lake, Lake Victoria and the River Nile.
The cultural diversity is also what makes Uganda so special, with over 50 languages spoken and the friendliest nation in the region, Ugandans will always give you a warm welcome and a friendly smile.
For the more adventurous traveller Uganda offers Jinja, arguably the best rapids for white river rafting in Africa, quad biking and horse riding through the villages along the Nile.
Uganda is one of the leading Eco tourism destinations in the world with good attractions that all Eco-friendly tourists can enjoy on a visit to the country.
The major Eco tourism sites in Uganda include: The Mabira Forest, River Ssezbiwa, Sessa Islands, Kashoya Kitomi Forest Reserve, Budongo Forest Reserve, Mpanga Forest Reserve, Bigodi Wetlands and Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary.
Uganda’s eco-tourism, apart from wildlife conservation, aims at local empowerment and creating an environment that favours friendly interaction between the tourists and the local people.
Most travellers who wish to experience the natural beauty of Uganda will have to apply for a Uganda visa, this information piece tells you everything you will need to know about visa requirements for visiting Uganda.
It is important that you familiarise yourself with these legal requirements of entry before your visit, since in most cases, you will have to obtain a Uganda visa prior to your travels.
Visa requirements are governed by the Uganda embassy or Diplomatic mission, located in the area you reside and can be found through visiting the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uganda and may be subject to change without prior notice.
WHAT IS A VISA?
A visa is issued to international travellers visiting Uganda for a short stay on a temporary basis for tourism, business, study or medical reasons. Visas are normally issued for a maximum 30 or 90 days, depending on your country of residence.
A valid visa allows you to enter the country through a port of entry and stay in the country for the period specified in your visa. Note that you are restricted to the activity or reason stated in your application, for example, if you applied for a visa for a holiday or family visit, you are not allowed to work in the country during your stay.
VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR VISITING UGANDA
The Uganda tourist visa is issued for short-term purposes – up to 90 days maximum, you will need a passport valid for at least six more months from the date of entry and with at least two blank pages for stamps.
Visitors holding passports from countries that are classified as ‘exempt’ do not need to apply for a visa prior to arriving in Uganda. Instead, they are issued with a short-stay visa at the point of entry for a period of time relevant to the status of the visitor’s country.
Applying for a Uganda visa has never been easier since they launched their e-visa system, now you can apply online instead of having to go directly to the embassy/diplomatic mission.
The time it takes to process a Uganda visa depends on the method of application. If applied for on arrival, a visitor will receive it (or have it rejected) right there. If applying through an embassy or consulate, the processing time also depends on the specific office.
If applying for an e-visa then it usually takes up to 6 days processing time, there is rush processing available at higher costs.
The duration of a Uganda visa depends on the number of entries it allows. Uganda visas and e-visas are valid for 90 days from the date of issue. They allow a single entry and the holder may remain in Uganda for up to 90 days.
There is also the East African tourist e-visa which is a multiple entry visa and depending on your choice can be valid for up to 36 months and for an uninterrupted stay for up to 90 days in Uganda.
A traveller in transit through Uganda must obtain a transit visa, you can get this through the online e-visa application, you will just have to add your departure ticket with your application.
COUNTRIES EXEMPTED AND COUNTRIES THAT NEED VISAS
All visitors to Uganda except those from the countries listed below, must have a visa to enter Uganda.
Citizens of the following countries can visit Uganda without a visa for up to 3 months:
Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Burundi, Comoros, Cyprus, Eritrea, Eswatini, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Rwanda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Vanuatu, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Holders of diplomatic or service passports issued to nationals of India, Italy, Namibia and South Africa do not require a visa for three months.
Nationals from most countries can apply online for an e-visas.
DIFFERENT KINDS OF VISAS
Visas can be issued as transit visas, normal tourist visas or work and/or business visas.
The following is a short description, clarifying the difference between these kinds of visas:
A transit visa is a document showing that a traveller has permission to pass through Uganda but not to stay there. Transit visas often come up when a traveller’s itinerary includes a layover in a certain country on the way to their final destination. The traveller often won’t leave the airport, but still needs permission to be there during the layover.
Visa rules are complex and may vary due to factors including the country you’re visiting, which country you’re a citizen of and how long you will spend in transit in a country.
For example, if a layover is less than 24 hours, and the traveller never leaves the airport, a transit visa may not be needed in some countries while others still require it.
A basic rule of thumb is that if the country you’re traveling through does not require citizens of your country to have a visa to visit for a longer period, it won’t require you to have a visa to transit through.
However, if the country you’re traveling through does require citizens of your country to have a visa to visit for a longer period, it may or may not require you to obtain a visa to transit through. While some countries allow you to obtain a visa upon arrival, others require that you apply for and receive the visa before you arrive in the country.
Tourist or travel visas allow the bearer to enter Uganda for touristic and leisure purposes only and stay for a predetermined amount of time. These visas do not entitle the holder to work or engage in any business activities in Uganda.
A business visa generally permits a traveller to engage in normal business-related activities in Uganda. Business visas are usually harder to get, since you will need an official business letter of invitation from your foreign business partner or from a professional organisation.
On a business visa you can attend business conferences, conventions, meetings, and other business-related events. You will also be allowed to negotiate contracts, do trade, and carry out business purchases. You may even be allowed to interview and hire staff during your stay while on a business visa.
Business visas are in general also more expensive.
When applying for a Uganda visa, you need to know which one to apply for according to your reason for traveling to Uganda. There are several types of visas including the following:
- A single-entry tourist visa, for tourist purposes
- A multiple entry East African Tourist visa, for multiple entries for tourism purposes
- A business visa for conducting business in Uganda
- A transit visa for travelling through Uganda to another country
HOW AND WHERE TO APPLY FOR VISAS WHEN VISITING UGANDA
In July 2016 the Ugandan government launched their e-visa system, making it very easy to apply for a visa.
All you have to do is log onto the site: https://visas.immigration.go.ug/, fill in the form, submit the relevant documents, pay the visa fee and wait for approval.
Once you are approved you will receive a pdf e-visa approval for you to print out and take with you when you travel.
If you wish to apply for a Uganda visa directly through the embassy/diplomatic mission, you will have to make an appointment, from there, depending on which country’s embassy or diplomatic mission you use, you might be required to give biometric scans of your finger prints or facial features.
This is a quick, discreet and non-intrusive process that captures a facial image with a digital camera and a 10-digit fingerprint scan with a digital finger scanner and is done at the embassy or diplomatic mission.
DOCUMENTS NEEDED FOR APPLICATION FOR VISA
When you apply for a Uganda visa, you need the following documents to support your application: (Note that the exact required documents depend on the purpose of your travel as well as the embassy or consulate in which you apply).
- Two copies of the application form
- Two passport-size pictures
- Your passport, valid for at least six more months from the date of entry and with at least two blank pages
- Two photocopies of the personal information page of your passport
- An international yellow fever vaccination certificate
- A residence permit or other proof of legal residence if you are not a citizen of the country from which you are applying
- Proof of a return or onward travel ticket
- Proof of accommodation in Uganda
- A Letter of invitation from the hosting company if you travel for business
- Proof of payment of the visa fee
If you apply by mail, a self-addressed and prepaid envelope for the return of your passport and documents
COST OF A UGANDA VISA
The latest known fees for the Uganda single entry e-visa is around 50 USD
Multiple entry East African tourist e-vis 100 USD for 6 – 12 months, 150 USD for 12 – 24 months and 200 USD for 24 to 36 months, the transit visa is 50 USD
Fees may vary depending on the consulate or embassy, therefore check with them first.
VACCINES NEEDED WHEN VISITING UGANDA
An international yellow fever vaccination certificate is a compulsory requirement for all travellers to Uganda, a yellow fever certificate is valid 10 days after the vaccination is administered, making it important to get the vaccination in time before leaving for Uganda. You may be refused entry if you leave it too late and arrive in Uganda within the 10-day waiting period.
The CDC and WHO recommend the following vaccinations for Uganda: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, yellow fever, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza.
The CDC recommends travellers planning on visiting certain parts of Uganda during the dry season (December – June) receive a meningitis vaccine.
There is a risk of cholera in parts of the country. Cholera can be prevented by drinking only clean water, washing hands often, and by oral vaccination.
Uganda has had outbreaks of Malaria, Chikungunya and Dengue fever in recent years, They are mosquito-borne diseases and are potentially life-threatening, so it is highly recommended that you use mosquito repellents when visiting Uganda and that you take antimalarial medication before, during, and after your trip to prevent malaria.
OTHER SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS WHEN VISITING UGANDA
VISITING UGANDA WITH MINORS
If you are travelling to Uganda with a minor, please take note of the additional documents you will need per child:
- There must be a completed visa application for each child and certified copy of their birth certificate.
- If the child is only traveling with one parent, a letter of consent or affidavit from the other parent consenting to such travel is required.
- If the child is traveling alone then a letter of consent or affidavit from both parents consenting to such travel is required.
WHAT HAPPENS IF ONE OVERSTAYS ON A VISA IN UGANDA
Foreign visitors who overstay on a visa are normally declared ‘undesirable persons’ and may incur a ban from Uganda for a period, which prevents them from applying for a visa and re-entering Uganda for a prescribed period of time.
You will also be fined 100 USD for everyday that you overstay on your Uganda visa, so it is highly recommended that you extend you visa well in advance
Individuals who have been affected by the overstay visa regulations of a country can usually lodge a visa overstay appeal.
ENJOY A SAFE HOLIDAY IN UGANDA WITH A REPUTABLE TOUR OPERATOR
MoAfrika Tours is a leading tour operator in South Africa that offers an outstanding selection of tours to Uganda. We have a close association with the most reputable tour operators in Uganda who make safety a priority.