Getting visas for Africa in advance

Old Mar 19th, 2007, 12:14 PM
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Getting visas for Africa in advance

It seems that most embassies require you to hand in your actual passport in order to get a visa from them. If you live somewhere rural (like me), are you actually expected to mail them your passport? Or do most people just wait and get them once they arrive on the border? I am trying to get as much of the visa stuff out of the way now, since I'll be visiting a number of countries and would like to avoid hassles. Any thoughts? Thanks!
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Old Mar 19th, 2007, 12:25 PM
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I don't like putting my passport in the mail, the post office lost it for me for about five weeks when I sent it in to have pages added. It finally got to me. So now, I send it over night delivery, both ways, with return envelope enclosed. Cost $28, for the two overnight deliveries.
Funny thing about getting visas before/ahead. We did that for Kenya at the Los Angeles Embassy, several weeks before our trip. We fly into Nairobi, get off the plane and see a sign that says visas required, $50. We are tired, we get the visa form and start filling it out, then I realize, wait, we have it already!!!
regards - tom
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Old Mar 19th, 2007, 12:31 PM
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We mailed our passports in to the Embassy and got our visas in pretty good time. Pretty easy process for us.

Only 4 more days till we are in Kenya!
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Old Mar 19th, 2007, 12:48 PM
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Wow - I am amazed that people so willingly put their passports in the mail. That gives me hope! What's the average turnaround time?
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Old Mar 19th, 2007, 12:50 PM
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For Kenya and Tanzania, we've just gotten our visas on arrival. No hassles. You can download the forms online which saves a little bit of time. Unless an advance application is required, I'd always opt for getting one on arrival.

If you do decide to get them in advance, I would NOT trust your passport to regular mail (my sister lost hers this way). Definitely use some sort of traceable service both ways.
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Old Mar 19th, 2007, 12:55 PM
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The turnaround time for us was about a month.
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Old Mar 19th, 2007, 01:04 PM
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We used Travisa (www.travisa.com) to get our visas for Ethiopia and Uganda, and it took about 2-1/2 weeks for both. We used overnight delivery both ways and the whole process went very smoothly.
Chris
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Old Mar 19th, 2007, 01:35 PM
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Yes, people do send their passports to Embassies for visas. Some countries require you have a visa before you are even allowed on your international flight. When doing this, you send via registered mail, using Fedex etc. and include a prepaid return envelope, if not using a visa service.

But for Kenya & Tanzania, you can obtain your visas upon arrival. Download the form from their respective websites, have it completed and along with your USD$50, to pay. You will not need passport-sized photos if obtaining on arrival.

 
Old Mar 19th, 2007, 01:43 PM
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Thank you all so much this is tremendously helpful. I checked out Travisa.com and I think that's out of my budget (looks like they charge around $50 per visa).

For Tanzania, it's possibly I'll be arriving from N. Mozambique, which I have heard is a tricky crossing so I am not confident about being able to get the visa there...if anyone has experience w/ that please let me know! I'll definitely save the Kenya visa for arrival.

Similarly for Mozambique I'm coming overland from Malawi, which I have also heard might not be the best spot to wait for a visa...anyone know anything?

The last one is Uganda - anyone know if I can get that easily at the border (of either Rwanda or Kenya or Tanzania)?
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Old Mar 19th, 2007, 08:55 PM
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mp413,

Travelling with an Indian passport, i require prior visas before travelling to almost any country in the world. Sending my passport to embassies/high comissions is a "normal" thing. I usually use, service providers that are authorized to handle visa formalities.....

As to the length of time, they vary.....some countries are quick (two days). The SA consulate in India is under-staffed and can take between two to three weeks to stamp the visa....
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Old May 19th, 2007, 08:19 AM
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I mailed my passport to the Ethiopian embassy in the US for a visa and got it back in about 2-3 weeks.
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Old Sep 26th, 2008, 05:28 AM
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This summer I took a trip to Africa. I used www.travelvisapro.com her in san fran.
they offered quick service for a very acceptable price. It was less than $40 per visa.

Regards,
Marco
world traveler
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Old Sep 26th, 2008, 05:19 PM
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FYI, in Nairobi the line for purchasing visas in the airport was considerably shorter than the line for people who already had visas!
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Old Sep 26th, 2008, 10:11 PM
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I also live in a rural area and didn't relish the idea of sending my passport through the mail to obtain a visa. I waited until I arrive in Africa and no problem getting it there at all. On a layover at a major airport in the Netherlands, an employee there told me that the visa would cost me $50.00. Turned out that was the old rate and I was charged $100.00 but got it right then and there at the Kilimanjaro A/Port.
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Old Sep 27th, 2008, 12:14 PM
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for one visa we send them to the embassy. do it in time and alow at least 6 weeks to get the passport back.

if we need several visas for one trip we ask a visa service to do it for us. it costs a little bit (depending whether it's express and depending on the # of visas we need) but is worth any penny! here as well: allow at least 6 weeks!

div
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Old Sep 28th, 2008, 11:05 AM
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We are going to Zambia in November
after a trip to Botswana. My TA
strongly urged us to get our visas
via the mail-in route, rather than
wait until we arrived in Zambia. I
got the forms on-line, called the
Embassy to make sure the instructions were correct, filed in
the forms, included the bank checks
for payment and sent them USPS
express mail last Monday. They were
returned to us via USPS express mail
yesterday (Saturday, a 6 day turn
around). I was impressed!

Deanna
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Old Sep 28th, 2008, 05:58 PM
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I have sent my passport away several times to get visas. I use registered U.S. mail. Usually costs about $10 and NEVER have had a problem!
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