How to get a visa for Djiboutiby Juan José Herranz | November 4, 2020
- 1. Do I need a visa to travel to Djibouti?
- 2. Types of visas for Djibouti
- 3. How to apply for a Djibouti visa?
- 4. Who needs a visa for Djibouti?
- 5. What are the requirements to apply for a visa to Djibouti?
- 6. Can the visa be modified once it has been processed?
- 7. How much does a Djibouti visa cost?
- 8. How far in advance do I need to apply for a Djibouti visa?
- 9. What are the ports to entry Djibouti?
- 10. Do I need any vaccines to travel to Djibouti?
- 11. What is the currency of Djibouti?
- 12. When is the best time to travel to Djibouti?
- 13. Travel tips to Djibouti
Djibouti is located in the north-eastern part of Africa bordering Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia and covers an area of more than 23,000 square kilometres. Because of the ethnic mix, influenced by the neighbouring countries, the national languages of Djibouti are Somali and Afar.
However, being a former French colony, Arabic and French are the official languages. Despite the arid landscape, Djibouti is a perfect location for diving, and there are plenty of colourful and lively reefs for kayaking. The Gulf of Tadjoura has some of the purest waters in the world.
It is possible to paddle for hours over virgin reefs, to snorkel or lie on one of the many deserted and isolated beaches.
Do I need a visa to travel to Djibouti?
Yes, practically all countries require a visa to travel to Djibouti, regardless of reason or means of entry. Whether arriving for tourism, business or study, you will be required to apply for a Djibouti visa before traveling.
Citizens of Singapore travelling with a non-diplomatic passport (ordinary passport) and citizens of China who have a specific "public affairs" passport are not required to obtain a visa for Djibouti in advance. In 2018, Kenya and Djibouti made a political agreement so that those with a diplomatic passport could travel without a visa, but it has not yet come into force.
You can check the current situation for your nationality with our eligibility checker.
Types of visas for Djibouti
It is possible to apply for a visa online for tourism or transit purposes:
This is the most requested type of visa and will allow you to enter Djibouti for tourism, family visits or to transit the country.
- If you intend to stay a few days in Djibouti, then you must apply for a short-stay visa which is valid from 1 to 14 days.
- If you intend to stay longer in Djibouti, then you must apply for the long-stay visa which is valid from 15 to 90 days.
The online tourist visa is also applicable if you intend to transit in Djibouti, whether the stay is at the airport or you plan to leave the transit area.
The documentation required to process a tourist visa for Djibouti includes:
- A passport valid for at least six months from the date of entry to Djibouti.
- A valid flight, cruise or train ticket for departing Djibouti.
- The address of the place where you intend to stay in Djibouti, which can be the residence of a relative.
- In some cases, a letter of invitation will also be necessary if you are invited by an organisation or a friend.
- A recent personal photo in colour.
The validity of the visa will depend on the option chosen and will depend on the time requested from 14 or 90 days. The period of validity starts from the moment you enter the country.
A business visa will permit the bearer to work in Djibouti. It must be applied for in-person at a Djibouti embassy or consulate. You can apply for a business visa if you already have a job offer from Djibouti. Alternatively, it is possible to travel and then to find work from within the country.
The validity of a business visa will depend on the work contract. If you do not yet have a contract, you will be given a maximum of 90 days to find employment.
To apply for this visa you must have the following documents:
- A passport valid for at least six months from the date of entry.
- A copy of the employment contract from a company in Djibouti.
- A valid long-stay visa.
- Personal photos in color.
Depending on the circumstances, additional documentation may be required when applying for the visa. It is therefore recommended to apply for a business visa well in advance of your intended travel date.
You will need to apply for a study visa if you intend to travel for the purposes of study or research in Djibouti. The validity of a study visa will depend on the academic program you choose.
The necessary documentation to apply for a study visa includes:
- A letter of acceptance showing that the applicant has a place on a course at a full-time or part-time educational institution in Djibouti.
- The applicant must be able to prove that they have sufficient funds to support themselves in the country for the duration of the academic period.
- It must be demonstrated that the course fees have been paid in full before travelling to the country.
- Private medical insurance must be taken out and documentary evidence provided.
Once the course is complete, the applicant must return to his or her home country, as the visa will be invalidated.
This visa is for people who are going to perform special or punctual services, including military services, humanitarian work, business or financial agreements, etc. This visa must be requested in the following cases:
- Holders of a United Nations document.
- Holders of an African Union document.
- Holders of the diplomatic document from the African Development Bank or COMESA.
- Chinese passport holders.
- French soldiers and their families.
- US military and contractors from US military bases.
- Italian military.
- Japanese military.
- German military.
- Spanish military.
- Chinese military.
Soldiers and military personnel must travel on a specific mission in the country and must show their military ID card on arrival. Depending on the case and the mission, additional documentation may be required.
How to apply for a Djibouti visa?
All the visas mentioned above can be applied for at the nearest Djibouti embassy or consulate. To process the applications, you must provide all of the documentation requested, including personal data, reasons for travel, etc. You must make an appointment and process the necessary permits directly from the embassy.
However, arranging a visa in person through the embassy is a slow process and you will find that Djibouti has very few embassies in the world.
If you are travelling for tourism and arriving at Ambouli International Airport, then it is possible to process a visa upon arrival at the airport. However, obtaining a visa upon arrival is not advisable since documentation may be requested that you may not have on hand. In 2018, Djibouti enabled the provision for applying for a tourist, business or transit visa online, which is much more straightforward and much faster. The online visa system is highly recommended.
This visa can be applied for personally or through third parties such as Visagov, who will do the whole process on your behalf.
Who needs a visa for Djibouti?
All foreigners who wish to travel to Djibouti, or transit the country must apply for a visa. There are two exceptions; Singaporean citizens holding an ordinary passport and Chinese citizens holding a public affairs passport will not need to apply for a visa. All other nationalities must apply for a visa to enter Djibouti.
What are the requirements to apply for a visa to Djibouti?
- You will need to have a passport with a minimum validity of 6 months from the date of entry to the country if you plan to apply for a visa to Djibouti. If you have a child attached to your passport, the same document will be valid for both.
- You will then need to fill in the form in person or apply online and present the necessary physical documentation on arrival.
- You cannot apply for a visa for Djibouti if you have been banned from entering the country or have a criminal record or outstanding debts to the Government of Djibouti.
Can the visa be modified once it has been processed?
No, regardless of whether you apply for the visa in person or online, once you provide your data to the relevant agents and the visa is in processed, it cannot be modified. If you are faced with an error, you must re-apply for a new visa. Please note that the visa details must match exactly with your passport details or the visa will be invalidated.
How much does a Djibouti visa cost?
The price of your visa will depend on the reason for your visit and you process the visa online or in person. For visas online:
- Short stay visa costs of $12 USD in government fees.
- A long-stay visa costs $23 USD in government fees.
For face-to-face visas, the price may vary depending on each case. We recommend contacting the Djibouti embassy closest to your place of residence.
How far in advance do I need to apply for a Djibouti visa?
The Djibouti visa is valid from the date you enter the country. You can apply up to 93 days in advance, according to the authorities. The average time it takes to be approved for a Djibouti visa is about 5 working days from the date of application.
It is advisable to apply for the visa at least 15 days before your trip to avoid any problems or delays.
What are the ports to entry Djibouti?
- Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport (JIB) connects Djibouti with Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Tanzania, Egypt, Madagascar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Yemen.
- Air France flies from Paris and Daallo Airlines, based in Djibouti, flies to Ethiopia, Kenya, Saudi Arabia and Somalia. The airport is 5km south of the city.
You can get to Djibouti by road from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia. Travelers who choose to cross into the country by road should be aware that conditions are poor and their safety may be at risk, particularly if entering the country through Ethiopia. It is advisable to check your travel route continuously, the current situation of the countries and the rules of transit, as political conditions in Ethiopia and Eritrea are changing.
The most recommended land crossing into Djibouti is from Eritrea and there are no official border posts.
If we are going to travel by car, it is better to use four-wheel drive, as the roads are not always maintained. There is only one new motorway from Djibouti to Tadjoura. It is recommended to be well supplied with water and petrol, especially if you are travelling off the main roads. We recommend applying for an international driving license, although it is not legally required.
Ferry services connect Djibouti and Yemen. The bustling city of Djibouti is one of the main ports in East Africa, so it can be very hectic.
A new standard rail line links Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa to Djibouti; passenger services opened in January 2017. The e-Visa for Djibouti is not recognised by Ethiopian immigration staff at the Furi-Lebu train station in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as a valid travel document.
Only a visa issued by a Djiboutian embassy is considered valid due to the lack of availability of computers at the Ethiopian-Jiboutian border crossing. Therefore, if your entry is by train, you must apply for the Djiboutian visa at an embassy before starting your journey.
Do I need any vaccines to travel to Djibouti?
The only compulsory vaccination to enter Djibouti is for the yellow fever and only if you are travelling from an endemic country. No vaccination is required from Europe. Although not compulsory, it is advisable to get vaccinated against tetanus, the triple virus and hepatitis A. You should maintain all health and safety precautions, beware of unpackaged food and drink, and ask your doctor to prescribe prophylactic anti-malarial drugs.
If you intend to stick to visiting only the city of Djibouti, you are less likely to have any issues with food. Travel medical insurance is advisable. Doctors and hospitals will only treat you on immediate cash payment for any necessary treatment. The risk of malaria exists throughout Djibouti, and chloroquine-resistant strains have been reported.
Mefloquine or doxycycline is recommended; however, it is best to speak to your personal doctor or tropical health care centre for advice. Direct interaction with wild animals and flora should be avoided as much as possible.
What is the currency of Djibouti?
The official currency of Djibouti is the Djiboutian Franc (DJF). One euro is equivalent to 210 Djiboutian francs. One US dollar (USD) is equal to approximately 178 Djiboutian francs. There are ATMs all over the city, so there's no need to change money. You can also change money at banks or at street money changers, which are mostly women.
You should pay particular attention to the exchange rate they apply. You can pay in US dollars in many places, but the change will be returned in local currency which may work in your favour. It is also possible to pay by credit card in most major hotels or restaurants.
When is the best time to travel to Djibouti?
The climate in Djibouti is very hot, humid and arid, especially in summer, although there is a pleasant breeze in the coastal city of Djibouti. From October to April, the temperature is cooler, with occasional rain. Indian Ocean cyclones can create heavy rains and flash floods. Despite its small size, Djibouti is a country with a wide variety of mountainous, coastal and tropical landscapes.
It is particularly hot all year round, with an average temperature of 30°C. The best months to travel to the country are March to June or September to November.
Travel tips to Djibouti
- Djibouti has many places of interest. Although some areas are somewhat barren and others are affected by poverty, there are some remarkable landscapes and places to visit, such as Djibouti City, Lake Assal and Lake Abbe.
- It is essential to use common sense and avoid the areas identified by the locals which may be unsafe.
- It is important to carry your documents, though it is not recommended to take valuables or show money in public.
- If you travel in the rainy season, you may find flooded roads in the area. Pay special attention if you are driving with water in your car. Sewers are often opened to facilitate drainage, and accidents are common.
- Europe, the United States and Canada warn of the possibility of terrorist attacks in the area, although there is no record of any recent incident.
- When leaving the airport, be careful not to be overcharged for a taxi. There is a large sign outside indicating the official rates. You should not pay more than 2000 Djibouti francs for a trip to the Kempinski or Sheraton.
- Buses operate from Djibouti to most cities and towns in the country. Buses leave when they're full. A minibus service operates in Djibouti, stopping on request. A flat rate system is used.