By Pamela Barrus
It used to be Angola was one of those really, really hard countries to get into. It either took employment with Chevron Oil or the good fortune to know somebody who knew somebody who would issue an invitation letter, one of many visa requirements. And then there was the trip to the Angolan embassy to give them fingerprints, retina scan, DNA samples, and maybe you got the visa, but probably not. It’s all changed now. E-visas are available!
How to get the E-visa?
It’s highly recommended to get all the required documents in place and in the right format before you start the online application. There are a lot of stories of visa applications being rejected because the uploaded files were not the right size or too big. I printed out the requirements before and used a scanner and Photoshop. You’ll need:
- Passport Photo
- Scan of Passport
- Scan of Yellow Fever Certificate
- Scan of proof of accommodation
- Scan of proof of livelihood ($200/per day of stay. Your bank needs to provide a letter. Mine had a regular boilerplate form letter.
- Scan of your ticket reservation (inbound and outbound
Each of these documents has to be an exact size, format, dpi, and color. You’ll find the requirements on the Angolan E-visa site: www.smevisa.gov.ao.
After I uploaded my documents I was approved in less than a minute, meaning that in my case no one even read the content of what I had uploaded.
After approval you have 30 days to get to Angola. On arrival you go to a special office to the left in the immigration hall and pay $120. The E-visa is also good at land borders.
What to do/See
Tourism in Angola is full of potential but not yet very developed. It’s an expensive country. It’s easy to get someone from your hotel to drive you around for a city tour. Some sights near Luanda are Kissama National Park and Kalandula Falls. Paul from Eco-Tur (eco-tur.com) is a top-notch tour operator who can add you to a weekend tour which will save a lot of money.
A number of flights a day leave from Luanda’s domestic terminal to Cabinda. Round-trip tickets are less than $100. It’s possible to take an early morning flight and come back in the evening. Making life easier is to have a driver pick you up and take you around town (there’s an interesting museum) and out to Cacongo where you can see traditional fishing practices.