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How to get a visa for Uganda: What visa types are available?

by Juan José Herranz | November 16, 2020
how to get uganda visa

Uganda is known as the "Pearl of Africa", a nickname Winston Churchill made famous in one of his books. Located in the central-eastern part of the African continent and primarily surrounded by Lake Victoria, it is a country where rural and wild environments prevail.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a famous sanctuary for mountain gorillas and one of the country's major tourist attractions. Uganda is home to the largest population of gorillas on the planet - almost half the entire world's population. Booking a Uganda gorilla trekking is a must for almost every traveler.

But it is not only primates and safaris that will entice you to the country, as Uganda also boasts natural resources, such as bronze and cobalt. Until relatively recently, the country has been immersed in wars and coups d'état, which is why only now the wonders this country has to offer are being discovered. Learn how to get a visa for Uganda here!

Do I need a visa to travel to Uganda?

With a few exceptions, it is compulsory for all travellers to know how to get a visa for Uganda.

Types of visas for Uganda

All people intending to travel to Uganda, whether for tourism, business, study, visits, medical treatment, etc. must apply for and obtain one of the following permits or visas:

Ordinary or tourist visa

There are 5 categories:

  • Ordinary/tourist single-entry visa valid for 3 months in Uganda.
  • Multi-entry ordinary/tourist visa with validity of 6, 12 or 24 months in Uganda, with entry and exit during the period of validity of the visa requested.
  • Transit visa with validity of 1 to 7 days.
  • Visa for diplomats and officials.
  • The East African visa Uganda, which includes entry to the countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya and is valid for 3 months to visit the 3 countries.

These visas and all their categories can be requested online.

Entry permits

This type of permit allows the applicant to live or work in Uganda. There are several categories of this visa:

  • Class A - Diplomatic services and official services.
  • Class A2 - Government Contractors.
  • Class B - Investments in agriculture.
  • Class C - Mining.
  • Class D - Business and commerce.
  • Class E - Manufacturing.
  • Class F - Professionals.
  • Class G1 - Missionaries and NGO Volunteers.
  • Class G2 - Expatriate employees.

All these entry permits are processed from the embassy for a stay of 6, 12, 24 or 36 months.

Citizenship permit

This permit gives us the status of being a citizen of Uganda and as such, you will have the right to live, study or work in the country.

Residence permit

This permit allows the applicant to live and work in Uganda for a specified period. The period ranges from 5 to 10 years. To apply for this type of permit, you must meet the requirements of the government authorities and you must present yourself in person at the country's embassy.

Student permit

This permit will allow you to live and study in Uganda for a specific time period. We must apply for it at the embassy, enclosing all the documentation of the training you are going to do in the country.

Permission for dependents

This permit will allow a person who, for reasons of disability, cannot travel alone, to be accompanied on their journeys. There are 4 categories for this type of pass:

  • Ordinary.
  • Dependent on a diplomat.
  • Dependent on an Officer.
  • Dependent on Uganda.

Special permission

This permit will allow a person to travel to Uganda temporarily to receive medical treatment, enter into an employment contract, or give time to apply for immigration.

brown deer in forest with trees and branches

How do you get a visa for Uganda?

The answer to how to get a visa for Uganda will depend on the type of visa you need. There are 3 different ways to apply for a visa to Uganda:

  • On arrival at the airport
  • Online
  • Presenting yourself to the nearest embassy

For a tourist visa, the most recommended procedure is to apply online. In this way, you will avoid queues and possible mishaps, as you will already have your entry permit approved. If you choose to apply for your visa when you arrive at the airport, make sure you bring all the necessary documents with you, as there is no room for error.

For permits other than a tourist visa, it is advisable to contact the embassy nearest to your place of residence. Bear in mind that an approved application does not guarantee entry to Uganda. If you have lied or omitted parts of the truth, when the customs agents verify it, you will not be able to enter the country.

Who needs a visa for Uganda?

Almost all foreign citizens need a Uganda visa.

Some nationalities are exempt from needing a visa or have restrictions, you can check with this nationality checker. If your nationality does not appear in this table, you must go to the nearest consulate or embassy to proceed with obtaining a visa.

giraffe with trees

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

The requirements for applying for the different types of permits and visas vary. The most common visa is the tourist visa in its different forms.

Single entry tourist visa

  • Copy of passport
  • Recent passport-size photograph
  • Yellow Fever vaccination certificate
  • Flight ticket to leave Uganda

Multiple entry tourist visa

  • Copy of passport
  • Recent passport-size photograph
  • Yellow Fever vaccination certificate
  • Letters of recommendation from two different sponsors
  • Letter of introduction explaining why you need multiple entries
  • Police authorisation from the country of origin
  • Proof of entry and exit from Uganda in the last year
  • IDs from the 2 sponsors (Ugandan national ID or passport)

Transit visa

  • Copy of passport
  • Recent passport-size photograph
  • Yellow Fever vaccination certificate
  • A letter stating the reason for transit and the country of destination

East Africa tourist visa

  • Copy of passport
  • Recent passport-size photograph taken within the last 6 months
  • Yellow Fever vaccination certificate
  • Proof of return flight ticket
  • The complete travel itinerary

Visa for holders of diplomatic and official passports


  • Diplomatic passport with at least 6 months validity
  • Diplomatic note
  • Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate


  • Supporting documents for the official visa
  • Recent passport-size photograph
  • Passport with at least 6 months validity
  • Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate

For longer permits, entry, citizenship, work, etc., you will need to go to the Ugandan embassy in your country. The documentation of these long-stay permits varies from case to case.

prairie with trees and lush vegetation

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

Once the application is submitted and approval is underway, the application cannot be changed unless the immigration officer requests additional information. The application can be cancelled at any time; however, the fee paid will never be refunded.

You cannot apply for a new visa if you have a valid visa with the same passport, you must wait until it expires. If it is necessary to apply for another visa while the first is valid, then you will have to do so through the embassy.

How much does a visa to Uganda cost?

Government fees vary depending on the type of visa or permit we choose:

Citizenship permit

  • Long stay: 1,000 USD
  • Marriage: 100.000 UGX
  • General: 100.000 UGX

Visa for holders of diplomatic and official passports

  • Diplomatic/official: no government fees.

Ordinary/Tourist Visa

  • Single ticket (online payment only) 50 USD

Multiple entry visa

  • For 6 months (only payment online) 100 USD
  • For 12 months (only online payment) 100 USD
  • For 24 months (online payment only) 200 USD

Transit visa

  • Transit (online payment only) 50 USD

East Africa tourist visa

  • Tourist visa for East Africa (only payment online) 100 USD

All online payments will be subject to a 3% surcharge by the government.

black gorilla with lush vegetation and leaves

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

Once the application is complete, processing times by government agents are about 4/5 working days. All visas with an entry date of fewer than 72 hours cannot be processed. You must apply for your visa with a minimum of 4 working days. However, it is advisable to apply at least 15 days in advance in case of any delays.

What are the entry borders to Uganda?

Uganda is a country located in the heart of Africa, bordering Sudan to the north, Kenya to the east, Tanzania and Rwanda to the south, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west.

Uganda has several airports allowing entry to the country. The main airport is the Entebbe International Airport. It is also possible to reach the country through the Gulu Airport, Kajjansi Airfield, Tororo Airfield, Huen and Lira Airport. Uganda can also be reached by the border crossings on the road to Kenya that goes through Busia and Malaba.

Do you need a transit visa for Uganda?

For any transitional flights that land in Uganda temporarily, no visa will be required as long as travelers do not leave the airport terminal and their next flight takes place in less than 24 hours