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How to get a visa for Benin: Visa types and requirements

by Juan José Herranz | November 30, 2020
how to get Benin visa

Benin is one of the smallest countries on the African continent and was a former French colony. Although a developing country and not widely known of, Benin welcomes a surprising number of tourists annually.

Benin has many different indigenous tribes and almost 11 million inhabitants. Benin is open and friendly about sharing its culture, knowledge of traditional medicine, and customs. The predominant religion is Christianity, followed by Voodoo and Islam.

The city of Abomey is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the palaces of the twelve kings who have lived in the country are on display. It is a unique city of red sand and full of history and architecture dedicated to the voodoo gods. Benin explodes with stunning natural scenery, spectacular lakes, and colourful markets. You will also enjoy visiting its fishing villages and unspoilt beaches. 

Discover how to get a visa for Benin and all the necessary information about the application process here.

Do I need a visa to travel to Benin?

Virtually all foreigners need to apply for a Benin visa before traveling. Some African countries are exempt from applying for a visa if they are going to be in the country for less than 90 days. For tourism, business or transit travel, Benin allows eligible nationalities to apply for an electronic entry visa, valid for 30 or 90 days.

This process has been created to encourage tourism. Certain countries, such as Spain, have a treaty with Benin which allows for the electronic visa process.

Types of visas for Benin

There are different types of visas and permits that can be requested to travel to Benin, depending on the reason and length of time you will be travelling in the country, including:

Electronic visa

This visa is for foreign citizens travelling to Benin for a maximum of 30 or 90 days, whose nationality is eligible for the electronic visa, and whose purpose of travel is for tourism, business, transit, or family visits. It is possible to apply for single or multiple entries.

Business Visa

This visa must be applied for by people who frequently go to Benin to carry out economic activities such as business meetings or trade agreements. It is valid for a maximum of 90 days.

Tourist visa

The tourist visa is for foreign nationals that are not eligible for the electronic visa and must be requested from an embassy. This visa allows you to travel to Benin for tourism, business, or to visit family members. You can choose between the standard visa, which is valid for 30 days, or the short-stay tourist visa, for travelling less than 8 days. The short stay visa is also relevant for those who need to make a stopover (transit) in the country before reaching their final destination.

Short-stay residence permit

This permit is a residence visa. It must be applied for by people who are going to travel to Benin for a stay of more than 3 months, whether for work, study, medical or humanitarian reasons. The validity period of this visa is 1 year and can be extended for 1 more year.

Long-stay residence permit

The long-stay visa or residence permit must be applied for once you have stayed in the country with the short-stay residence permit for 2 years, whether this be 1 year with an extension or 2 applications for 1 year. The long-stay permit has a validity of 10 years within Benin.

People in Benin

How do I get a visa for Benin?

The answer to how to get a visa for Benin depends on the type of visa being required. The only visa to enter Benin that can be applied for online is the E-visa (electronic visa).

This can be applied for through the official website of the government of Benin. Alternatively, you can apply through a third party such as Visagov that will assist with the process of obtaining your visa. All other permits or visas must be applied for in-person through the embassy nearest to your place of residence.

Who needs a visa for Benin?

All people with foreign nationality except those with passports from Gabon, Liberia, Mali, South Africa and Togo need to know how to get a visa for Benin.

These African countries are exempt from applying for a visa and can stay in the country for a maximum of 90 days. If the stay in Benin exceeds 90 days, then they must apply for a short or long stay permit. All other nationalities must apply for a visa to enter the country.

deers in the wild in Benin

What are the requirements to apply for a visa to Benin?

To enter Benin for any reason, you must know how to get a visa for Benin. The specific documentation required will depend on which visa you intend to obtain. Below is a checklist of the documentation you need to complete the entry requirements for Benin.


You will not need any special documentation to apply for this visa, except a valid passport with a minimum validity of 6 months upon entry to Benin.

Tourist visa

  • Passport with a validity of more than 6 months upon entry to Benin
  • Reservation of a hotel or accommodation where we are going to stay during our stay in the country

Business visa

  • Passport valid for more than 6 months upon entry to Benin
  • Reservation of hotel or accommodation within the country
  • Letter of invitation from the institution or company in the country with which you are going to do business

Residence permits, short and long stays

  • Passport valid for more than 6 months upon entry to Benin
  • Certificate of residence from the previous country in which you have resided
  • Reservation of a hotel or accommodation used for your entry to the country
  • The medical examination carried out in Benin
  • Certificate or proof of previous activities, studies or work life
  • Photograph less than 3 months old
  • Receipt for the costs of processing the residence file (proof of payment of fees)
  • Photocopy of all pages of the passport
  • Consular card

people dancing and celebrating in Benin

Can the Benin visa be changed once it has been processed?

No, once the Beninese immigration department approves your visa, it is not possible to change any data or date, unless the government explicitly asks for additional documentation or the like. If you have made a mistake in your application, you will have to process a new application and pay the government fees again.

How much does a visa to Benin cost?

The amount for a visa to Benin depends on the type for which you have applied, including:

  • 30-day electronic single-entry visa: 50 USD
  • 30-day multiple-entry electronic visa: 75 USD
  • 90-day multiple-entry electronic visa: 100 USD
  • 90-day multiple-entry business visa: 90 USD
  • 180-day multiple-entry business visa: 120 USD
  • 90-day tourist visa: 80 USD

For the residence permits fees, please consult the embassy.

How far in advance do I need to apply for a Benin visa?

The fastest Beninese visa to process is the electronic visa (E-visa), which can be applied for at least 72 hours in advance, although it is advisable to do so with a minimum of 10 working days. Visas processed through embassies must be applied for at least 30 days in advance.

a tribe reunion in Benin Africa

What are the entry borders to Benin?

To enter Benin, it is possible to do so by land, sea and air. The country's main airports are:

  • Bembereke Airport.
  • Cotonou-Cadjehoun International Airport which receives the most travellers.

If you arrive in Benin by sea, you will do it through the Port of Cotonou. The most recommended land borders are the border with Togo to the west and the border with Nigeria to the east. The northern land borders with Burkina Faso and Niger are not recommended.

Do you need a transit visa in Benin?

The answer is yes. Whether you’re planning to visit this beautiful country for a few weeks or are just making a stopover before continuing onto your final destination, you’ll need to apply for a Benin visa. You can do it easily on Visagov

If you are going to travel to a neighboring country such as the Ivory Coast, Togo or Nigeria, it is advisable to apply for a multi-entry visa to Benin. This way you will only pay for one visa, but be able to leave and enter the country without any problem. Remember that if you go to another country, you must also apply for the corresponding visa for that country.