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How to get a visa for Uganda

by Juan José Herranz | Mon 16 Nov 2020
How to get a visa for Uganda

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. 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.


Do I need a visa to travel to Uganda?

With a few exceptions, it is compulsory for all travellers to Uganda to apply for an entry visa. There is an eligibility checker where we can check if your nationality requires a visa and if you are eligible for applying online.

Types of visas for Uganda

All persons 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 within tourist visas:
- 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.
- Tourist visa for East Africa, 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 specified 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 accompany them 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.


How do I apply for an Uganda visa?

There are 3 different ways to apply for a visa to Uganda, depending on the type of permit:
- 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 part 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 visa for Uganda. 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.

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 with a minimum validity of 6 months.
- Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate.
- Recent passport size photograph.

Multiple entry tourist visa

6 months old

- Passport with a minimum validity of 6 months.
- Recent passport-size photograph.
- Valid police authorisation from the country of origin.
- Proof of entry and exit from Uganda in the last year.
- Letter of recommendation from a Ugandan person.
- Letter of introduction explaining why you need multiple entries.
- Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate.

12 months old

- Passport valid for at least 6 months.
- Current passport-size photograph.
- Police authorisation from the country of origin.
- Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate.
- 2 letters of recommendation from Ugandans.
- Letter of introduction with the reasons for multiple entries and exits.

24 months old

- Passport valid for at least 6 months.
- Recent passport size photograph.
- Police authorisation from the country of origin.
- Proof of entry and exit to Uganda in the last year.
- 2 letters of recommendation from a Ugandan citizen.
- Letter of introduction stating reasons for multiple entries.
- 2 letters of recommendation from an official Ugandan citizen.
- Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate.

Transit visa

- Passport with at least 6 months validity.
- A letter stating the reason for transit and the country of destination.
- Yellow Fever vaccination certificate.
- Recent passport size photograph.

East Africa tourist visa

- Travel itinerary.
- Return ticket.
- Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate.
- Copy of passport with a minimum validity of 6 months.
- Recent photograph.

Visa for holders of diplomatic and official passports

Diplomat

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

Official

- 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.


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.

How far in advance do I need to apply for an 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 on 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 I need any vaccinations to travel to Uganda?

All ages and nationalities must present a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate to enter Uganda. Though not compulsory, it is also recommended to be vaccinated against Tetanus-Diphtheria/Tetanus-Pertussis, Triple Virus (Measles, Rubella and Mumps) and Hepatitis A.

What is the currency of Uganda?

Uganda's official currency is the Ugandan Shilling (UGX), which is one of the most devalued currencies in the world. For this reason, it is recommended that you bring US dollars to exchange. You can also change from the Euro, although this is less sought after, and may give a worse exchange rate.

There are no restrictions on currency exchange in the country. The shillings are 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000 and 50,000. Coins are 50, 100, 200 and 500. Credit card payment is not extended to all regions or places. It is not advisable to pay with a credit card except in hotels or tourist and controlled establishments.

When is the best time to travel to Uganda?

When you travel to Uganda, you must consider the climate. Uganda is an African country with a mild climate practically all year round. The temperature does not fluctuate much, ranging on average between 20 and 30 degrees.

If you intend to go on excursions to see the wildlife, you should choose the driest months. It is not only more easily accessible to go to the national parks during the drier months, but the lack of vegetation makes it easier to view the animals and find them congregating at watering holes. The dry season is twice a year, from December to February and from June to September.


Is it safe to travel to Uganda?

Uganda has seen a steady improvement in security. Today the country is relatively stable after Yower Museveni came to power in 1986 following the expulsion of Milton Obote and General Tito Okello. Although it's not compulsory, it is important and advisable to purchase travel insurance. As in all countries, you should avoid passing through high-risk areas and take certain precautions to make your trip safe and enjoyable. Avoid the areas near the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the northern zone in the region of Karamoja. If you are travelling without a guide, then it is recommended to always advise the local national park authorities of your route if you enter.

Important tips for travelling to Uganda

- Uganda is a country where homosexuality is not allowed and is illegal. You must be careful not to show any affection in public to avoid major problems.
- No photographs should be taken of official, military or diplomatic sites, including the "Owen Falls Da" at the source of the Nile near Jinja.
- Smoking is not permitted in public spaces. In 2004, Uganda banned smoking in these spaces, and though it seems that the law is not strictly enforced, it is better not to take risks.
- It is advisable not to wear visible jewellery or objects of high value that might attract the gaze of onlookers.
- When travelling by road, it is highly recommended to keep the car latches closed and the windows up. Never leave valuables in the car in plain sight, regardless of how small they may seem to you.
- Always drink bottled mineral water. It is not advisable to drink ice unless you are sure it is drinkable.
- Never swim in Lake Victoria due to the risk of bilharzia which can cause a serious parasitic disease.
- The voltage in Uganda is 240 Volts and a frequency of 50 Hz. The type of plug they use is Type G, so it is advisable to take power adapters of this style.


About the author
Juan José Herranz

Juan José Herranz
Hello! I'm Juan Jose, a boy from Extremadura who loves to travel and share his experiences with readers. I write articles for Visagov.com and I also help users to process electronic visas for all countries in the world that require it. I'm more of the mountains than the beach, so the quiet destinations with green landscapes are my favorites.


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