Angola Is Introducing Visa On Arrival For Visitors From 61 Countries

Yesterday I shared my interesting transit experience in Luanda, Angola. Historically Angola has been one of the toughest countries in the world to get a tourist visa for. We were just in transit for a few hours so didn’t even attempt to get a visa. However, based on our experience it would appear as if you can already talk/buy your way into the country (which we didn’t do).

What I wasn’t aware of is that Angola is opening themselves up to tourists later this month in a significant way. As of March 30, 2018, Angola will begin issuing visas on arrival for tourists from 61 countries, including those from the United States, all EU countries, and China.

The visas on arrival will be valid for 30 days, and you’ll need an international certificate of vaccination, a return ticket, and proof of accommodation, to enter the country.

Furthermore, currently nationals from only three countries are eligible for visa free entry, including those from Mozambique, Namibia, and South Africa. As of March 30, 2018, visa free entry will be expanded to nationals of five more countries, including Botswana, Mauritius, the Seychelles, Singapore, and Zimbabwe.

Previously Angola required citizens of most countries entering as guests to have an invitation letter, and that requirement is being eliminated. The government hopes to create one million jobs in the tourism sector by 2020 — I’m not sure how realistic that is.

Angola had a civil war from 1975 to 2002, so the concept of tourism is still relatively new, as the country works on improving infrastructure, safety, and accessibility.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m intrigued to visit Angola. Based on what I’ve heard, Luanda is not great and extremely expensive, but parts of the countryside seem to be much more beautiful. Furthermore, there’s some level of intrigue to visiting Angola given that it has previously been off limits for many of us.

Frankly I’m sort of bummed that I just wrapped up my TAAG Angola trip before this policy was in place. I have no interest in flying with that airline again (more on that later), so it’s a shame I couldn’t review the airline and visit the country at the same time.

Before you go booking your ticket, I’d note that while a presidential decree has been issued about this policy change and it has been reported in media, I don’t see anything on the official government website about it yet. With the chance of something like this always being delayed, I’d wait for this policy to be official and in place.

Angola isn’t the only historically closed off country that’s opening themselves up to tourists — Saudi Arabia also plans to issue tourist visas starting next month.

So, who is headed to Angola?

(Tip of the hat to Tiziano)

Comments

  1. Would love to visit Angola. Two years ago we could see into Angola from our bungalow in Rundu, Namibia. Angola was just across the river and there wasn’t much of a border. We drove in to Namibia from Botswana and it was a gorgeous drive…a giraffe was grazing at the side of the road as if to welcome us into Namibia. And given the proximity of Etosha National Park I could see overland travelers adding Angola into their itineraries from/to Etosha. Though I expect the roads in Angola will be more like what travelers experience in Mozambique (=deeply rutted).

  2. I was on a trans-african trip and it costed me more than USD $200 and a few days to beg for a visa in Gabon:(. There’s tons of chinese in Angola and there’s even Chinese road sign there. So many big block residential building just like in china and so many chinese worker there. I went to my friend’s place which I met in Lisbon and they told me people there loved Chinese people as china helped out a lot to this country. My impression was- wow, I think chinese had colonized this country….lol.

    things are super expensive in the capital but there’s nothing much to see in this country.

  3. “I have no interest in flying with that airline again” – Now I really can’t wait to read your TAAG trip report!

  4. I have to agree with Justin here… Compared with your TAAG first impression, Qsuites, Emirates New First Class, Singapore New Suites reviews were all on a “Couldn’t care less” level 😉

    I think it’s fare to say you built the anticipation so much I find myself refreshing OMAAT every 5 min !

  5. I am transiting in Angola this May, arriving on TAAG from MPM and leaving on Brussels Airlines the second day. Hope to get a view of the coastline as I heard its gorgeous (but with private transport since I do not really dare walking in Luanda by my own).

    Meanwhile, I noticed that the hotel chains are surprisingly nonexistent there in Luanda, and the hotel prices have been egregious, ranging from 200-400 USD on average. Anyone with recommendation of any hotel that could match HI/HIX/Novotel both in price and quality, and also in a decent location?

    On a side note, have you noticed any pay for upgrade service at their counter? It seems like my MPM-LAD flight will be operated by a 3-cabin 777-200er, but only Economy and Business cabins are on sale, which makes me wonder whether they offer first class service on shorthaul routes, or they will eventually swap a narrowbody for this flight.

  6. I don’t blame you for being done with TAAG. I participated in a mission trip to Angola in 2007 and was one of 3 in our group of 10 that got their visas in time and didn’t have a $1300 flight change fee. I did not transit through Luanda, spent my time in Lubango. Did not hear a lot of positive things about Luanda while in Lubango.

    I don’t know if this has changed in the last decade, but at the time Angola was one of the most heavily mined countries in the world from the civil war. Drivers do not like taking their cars off the road onto the shoulder for fear of hitting a mine that has worked its way to the surface.

  7. Could you do a 10 pictures post on TAAG first class? I want to hear why you won’t want to fly with them again.

  8. LOL Is this one of those $h!t hol3 countries Trump bashed. Why anyone would want to go there is beyond me.

  9. Visited Angola for journalism multiple times, based out of Luanda and staying near Menongue. Fascinating country with a complex demographics and even more exciting neighbours. However, always loved the company, adventures and the older parts of the country. Even more amazing going away from the city. Things are changing but still won’t recommend for the non-adventurous types. There used to be a lovely joint by the name of Shakey which served amazing roast boar with some strong Palm wine. A good way to chill with the locals and a favorite of other journalists.

  10. Can you really claimed to have visited a country if you never left the international transit area of the airport?

  11. @Omoo That’s typical for this blog. I even wonder if Lucky flies most of these trips or has someone else doing it for him and he just takes the credit.

  12. Unfortunately those chinese are everywhere as they spread like a virus across the world. It’s part of the big plan by China to have countries they help become soley reliant on them. Eg the build crap roads in Africa with their own workers charge the government then they also become the providers of road works. The roads are disintegrating within weeks .

  13. Unfortunately those chinese are everywhere as they spread like a virus across the world. It’s part of the big plan by China to have countries they help become soley reliant on them. Eg the build crap roads in Africa with their own workers charge the government then they also become the providers of road works. The roads are disintegrating within weeks ..

  14. I just spent three days in Luanda as a tourist. The visa requires some effort, but isn’t “hard” to get; that is, denials aren’t common. Walking around Luanda isn’t particularly unsafe. TAAG was an absolutely serviceable airline. I had a lovely visit. It’s a shame that others in this thread who have never been there have such bad things to say.

  15. I think that you did not address the real intentions here and here are a few points to consider:

    Many African countries have been loosening their visa policies in recent years and have been seeing greater benefit. However, this does not mean that the visa on arrival is the best option, if you travel there often. People that travel a lot often forget that:

    – The American government does not add pages to passports anymore and if you have current visas still valid and need a new passport, some countries require that visa to be moved to the new passport.

    – A visa on arrival wastes an entire visa page and is valid for one entry for a certain period of time.

    – The visa on arrival is usually relatively expensive compared to arranging it in advance, especially if you divide it by the number of visits.

    This is primarily due to the Chinese. The Chinese number one trade partner in Africa

    is Angola. You can check out this article:
    China’s leaders spend a lot of time in Africa, where they go may surprise you

    https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6379095888970776576/?lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_profile_view_base%3BlzlbESOJT6KNTqM9xmDnfw%3D%3D&licu=urn%3Ali%3Acontrol%3Ad_flagship3_profile_view_base-view_activity_details

    Small places in Africa are expensive, in my experience, for such as services like hotels and the quality of these hotels are not comparable nor do they tend to be worth the price.

  16. Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road” initiative and China’s scholarship programmes for millions of bright young African minds to be educated at Beijing’s most prestigious places of learning is surely going to reap rewards.

  17. We, Americans, attempted to dominate the world by introducing McDonalds and promoting our vision of “Democracy.” Countries such as India and China are influencing by providing infrastructure. Ultimately, in return the countries gain political influence and preferential access to resources such as petroleum. I think roads, energy sources and buildings are more persuasive than GMO burgers and false idealism.

  18. Lucky – I’m honestly glad you flew before this visa policy. Angola isn’t your average country and it is difficult enough to navigate for those who know it well, let alone for those who don’t. The fact you have any hope at all for such a visa policy says you have lots to learn about this country still. Thoughts like:

    “Before you go booking your ticket, I’d note that while a presidential decree has been issued about this policy change and it has been reported in media, I don’t see anything on the official government website about it yet. With the chance of something like this always being delayed, I’d wait for this policy to be official and in place.”

    Are laughable for anyone who has ever had to deal with Angolan bureaucracy. I am not sure what is less realistic: expecting “official policy” to have any relation to reality, or the government’s communications to actually be updated and informative.

    I worry especially having read your other article (http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2018/03/11/visiting-angola-without-visa/). Entering Angola for 5 hours – for dinner in Luanda?! Good luck with that. I’ve spent 2hrs in a car to drive 500m; I’ve had my passport taken (“I need to see your papers!” –> “what passport? you didn’t give me any passport… do you have papers? Otherwise you need to come to the police station!” — of course, the papers they were looking for were green); I’ve had guns pointed at me by cops; I’ve seen people lynched. I’ve had bags stolen, held ransom, had to pay my way through security. It is not a pleasant place. It is a country with a lot of potential, which has been entirely obliterated in the last 40 years. The most ironic part? Good luck finding a nice place to get dinner in Luanda…. and how did you expect to get to the restaurant and back? By taxi? My god…

  19. I should have added – I’m not saying this just to sh*t on you. I am a regular reader and really enjoy the content; hell, I even like the reviews of quirky (notice how generous I am being) airlines like TAAG. I am saying this because I don’t want your readers to be think that, because they find a great fare, they should pop over to Luanda for dinner. Bad idea. It is a place for the very, very intrepid (with a lot of preparation), for those forced to go or live there for work, and for those unfortunate enough to be stuck there.

  20. Perhaps before you review a country you should know something about it!!!! Stick to airline food and seat reviews which you seem to know something about.

  21. It’s been about two years since I’m back from Angola after a 6 years job and living. Well it’s true as country is expansive specially in capital. The news above is to be official yet however tourism till my stay wasn’t so popular except few beaches and open minded people who are moslty influenced by Portuguese. This should be wait and see policy to visit the country !!

  22. Am a Ghanaian live in Ghana and am asking if some one can help me fine a job in Angola because I will need an invitation too so if any of you living there before have some nice friends who are Angolas so day can help me with the intention thanks am Freddy

  23. the post about being held at gunpoint, seeing people lynched are nonsense, I have worked and lived in Angola for more than 25 years and whilst it can be bureaucratic and complicated the people are friendly, and would be delighted for tourism to take off – Angola has some serious problems but it is trying to improve its world image –

  24. Am a Nigerian live in Ghana and am asking if some one can help me fine a job in Angola because I will need an invitation too so if any of you living there before have some nice friends who are Angolas so day can help me with the intention thanks am Raphael

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* I consent to the collection of my name, email address, and content so that One Mile at a Time may manage comments placed on this site.