Entry & Residence Visas

Types of Visas, Sponsors, on Arrival Visas and Tariffs.

Somaliland Immigration & Border Control collaborates with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation on the issues of visa applications for foreigners. According to the procedure in place, there are different types of visas that foreign nationals may apply for to be lawfully admitted into the entry of the Republic of Somaliland including Tourist Visa Single ($30 for 30 days), Business Visa Single ($60 for 30 days), Business Visa Multiple ($148 for 90 days), Residence Visa with work permit (For foreigners) and without work permit (For Somalilanders holding foreign passports) and Diplomatic Visa etc. If not officially invited by Governmental Institution of Somaliland, interested foreigners can apply visas through Somaliland Missions abroad, or with the help of the sponsors (Nationals) they are coming to or have connections with in Somaliland. The MoFA&IC Visa Section makes verification of visa applications before granted by the Immigration. There are requirements and conditions for each visa type of the above which the sponsor (National) has to fulfill and seek acceptance from other relevant institutions for some of them. 

Visitors from the countries which Somaliland has no political representation is advised to ask for sponsorship from their contacts in Somaliland to help them get visas. Upon receiving copy of the Applicant Passport, verified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and some of them recommended by respective authorities, entry visas will be issued to the applicant by the Somaliland immigration & Border Control.

Foreign visitors can also get their visas on arrival at entry points such as airports, ports or border crossings, but pre-arranged sponsor visas or visas issued in advance are more convenient and recommended for security and for identification purposes.

 Circular No. WSW/14/F1/196/2016 For the Diaspora-born Somaliland origin.   

The Somaliland Immigration & Border Control Authority issued the decree numbered as WSW/14/F1/196/2016 dated on 9th July 2016 titled ““Notification of Obtaining Visa.” This circular states that the Diaspora-born children of Somaliland coming home from abroad. Under this rule, the Immigration informs all those it concerns as the earlier decree that all the Diaspora-born children of Somaliland origin but holding foreign nationalities can obtain visas on arrival in the same way as their parents can get on arrival in all the Immigration Ports of Entries in Somaliland. Hence, all Somaliland nationals coming from Europe, Canada, America, Australia, Asia and elsewhere are informed to be aware of this rule and can print copies of these circulars from the Website www.sldiaspora.org  or find it from Somaliland Missions abroad if available whenever buying tickets from all Airlines and Travel Agencies and to take with them at all the foreign airports on their way.

For more information of the categories of  visas and Somaliland immigration rules in general  click this link  to  read the main  law governing Somaliland Immigration,  Law No. 72 of 27 November 1995 http://www.somalilandlaw.com/immigration___refugee_law.html#visas0716 at  www.somalilandlaws.com

 Circular no tcs/f1/136/2019 dated march 10, 2019.

In line with the Government’s National Development Plan and an overall policy of promoting Foreign Direct Investment and the Tourism Sector, the Ministry of Interior, while taking into account the security needs of the country would like to implement the following changes to improve service delivery and ensure compliance with international standard and practices through the Somaliland Immigration Department.

Applicants or travelers belonging to the following Category A will be able to obtain an entry visa on arrival at all Somaliland Ports of entry.

Category A: 

  • Diplomatic Passport Holders,  UN passport holders, 3.  National Service Passport holders, 4.  Travellers from Multilateral Agencies, such as EU, AU, World Bank, US Aid, IGAD etc.5. All International NGO’s those are registered with the ministry of planning.6.  Members of Official Foreign Delegations invited by Somaliland Government.7.  Business investors invited by the Somaliland Ministry of Commerce.8.  Somali ethnic origin with Foreign Travel Documents.
  • Travellers from the following Countries can obtain visas on arrival:European Contries, Canada, USA, Brazil, China, Russia, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, and Members of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) such as Saudi, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and IGAD Region Countries.  

Category B: 

  • All other applicants regardless of their nationality are required the visa for the respective BusinessTouristHealthEducationTransitvisa and etc, to apply in advance of their arrival at Department of Immigration Head Quarter through their local agents or their respective Somaliland Diplomatic Missions in their countries of residence.
  • The applicants that are not allowed visas on arrival can be obtainable from SomalilandDiplomatic Mission offices such as (London, UAE, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Djibouti, etc.).  In addition, Visa Forms will be obtainable at the Website.slimmigration.com

Somaliland Residence Visa.

The Somaliland Government provides residence visas to both nationals holding foreign passports, and the foreigners coming to Somaliland for employments or to stay and live in Somaliland for short or long periods of time.

Residence Visa for Somalilanders Holding Foreign Passports.

The Somaliland Diaspora members who may be returning or travelling more often to the country within the year, and/or who may be to use their foreign passports at home for employment or other missions they are staying in Somaliland; can be granted residence visa for one or three years by the Immigration Department. According to their application, they will pay standard levied fees of $80 or $240 for one or three years respectively to the Inland Revenue Department Office inside the compound of the Immigration Department. This is especially good for the Diaspora members who may be different times coming and going back within the year as they will not have to pay the Entry Fee  $60 if they have this type of visa on their foreign passports.

Procedure for such residence visa is as following:

  • Copy of your Somaliland National Identity Card;
  • Copy and the foreign passport itself;
  • Application letter to the Immigration Department for the duration of the residence visa, either one year or three years as the applicant needs;
  • The process of issuing such residence visa will take one or two days.

 NOTE: Those members whose passports are issued for this residence visa will not be charged the $60 duty at the Airport nor at the border entry points of Somaliland.

 Residence Visa and Hiring Process for Foreign Employees:

The Ministry of Recruitment, Social Affairs & Family is mandated to ensure that no foreign citizen is hired from abroad by national employers or other employers legally operating in Somaliland provided that there can be Somalilanders possessing similar capability or qualification. However, if it for reasonable conditions; becomes necessary, then the employer shall have to abide by the procedure as follows:-

  • The Employer (Being legally registered/incensed entity, both profit-making business and nonprofit organization) initially sponsors the foreigner employee with one month entry visa granted by Somaliland Immigration Department in order to enable him/her to come to Somaliland;
  • The Employer submits Profile/CV, Copies of  his/her qualifications, two passport size photos, and application letter stating the reason, why they need to hire, and of what specific profession to the Ministry of  Employment, Social Affairs & Family (MESAF);
  • The Employer shall complete relevant Registration Form available at the Foreigners Recruitment Department of MESAF;
  • On acceptance, Referral Letter will be written to the Immigration Department;
  • The Employer will pay respective levied tax for the Visa and the Work Permit of the hired foreign employee to the Inland Revenue Department;
  • MESAF will issue relevant Work Permit to the hired foreign employee;
  • Work Permit Card/Certificate shall be issued for the foreign employee, and
  • The Immigration Department can issue Residence/Work Visa for 1-3 months.

Tariffs for Residence Visas and Work Permits for Foreigners:

No Duration Visa Fee Work Permit Remarks
1 1 month $87 Has no work permit

 

2 3 months $148 Has no work permit

 

3 6 months $134 $150/$100/$60 For general businesses except UN/INGOS

 

$258 $250 For UN/INGOS Employees

 

4 1 YEAR $154 $150 For Private Hospitals & Health Services

 

$154 $100 For Private Universities

 

$154 $60 For Private Primary/Secondary Schools

 

$316 $200 For Telecommunication Firms

 

$316 $120 For Constructions/Decorations

 

$154 $120 For Manufacturing and Factories

 

$316 $50 For Hotels & Restaurants

 

$316 $500 For UN/INGOs

Half of the cost if for 6 months (See 3)

 

$154 $50 Subordinate Staff (Watchmen, cleaners Etc )

 

$316 Staying up to a year without work contract

 

 SOURCE: Inland Revenue Department, MoFD, Republic of Somaliland

Note the following carefully.

 MESAF has right to reject the employer application for hiring foreign employee;

  • On granting requested Work Permit, the Immigration Department signs Articles of Responsibility with the employer over the foreigner employee hired, and thus the responsibilities of the Employer includes the following:-
  • Watching out any wrong behaviors as well as any other activities detrimental to the religion, culture, ethics, and Wellbeing of Somaliland, and if so found, the Employer should immediately report the Immigration Department,
  • Paying go home ticket for the foreigner if for instance he/she is to be taken to the origin country for health conditions, or if to be deported for other reasons,
  • Undertake his/her burial, in case the foreigner dies in Somaliland,
    • GoSL reduced 50% for visa fee of the foreign employees particularly hired for social service related work in the private sector e. private hospitals, private schools etc which is now $154 for the year, and $134 for the 6 months as shown in the Table above;
    • Renewal fee for Work Permit is the same cost for issuing new one;
    • As a rule, there can be no foreigners staying in Somaliland without employment contract of Local Employer or legally Resident Foreign Organization (I.e. UN/INGOs) or other lawful sponsorship of a national person/institution, however, if without employment contract, the foreigner will be issued one year residence visa of $316;
    • No foreigner can be granted visa for longer than a year whether a foreigner with employment contract or other, and it can only be renewed for second year if it with Work Permit and under employment contract;
    • Renewal fee for Work Permit is the same cost for issuing new Work Permit;
    • Annual residence visa for staying in Somaliland without employment contract of foreigner is $316.

EXCEPTIONS:

·        All foreign employees for the Public Institutions (Government) is exempted from both visa and work permit taxes;

·        Ethiopian Employee Visa Fee for one year is $113 ($100 + Stamp duty etc) but the same Work Permit with the other foreigners as shown above, and find further visa fees for the Ethiopians coming to work in Somaliland as $30 for 30 days, $50 for longer than 30 days up to 90 days, $60 for longer than 90 days up to 6 months, $100 for longer than 6 months up to one year and $200 for longer than one year duration as based on the Directive/Circular No. WM/02/08-03/413 dated on 02/05/2014 issued by the Ministry of Finance Development.

Somaliland Airports Services, Fees & Certain Visa Exceptions.

Both foreign nationals and Somaliland citizens holding foreign passports must pay $60 tax on arrival at the Airports or the other entry points in Somaliland, and there are exceptions for certain purposes as stated below:-

  • Both the foreign nationals, and the Somaliland citizens holding foreign passports with valid one year or longer residence visa are not liable to pay the entry visa  fee of $60 at the Airport nor the other entry points as well;
  • Both the foreign nationals, and the Somaliland citizens holding foreign passports with valid visas issued by the Somaliland Missions abroad shall not be charged again for entry visa fee if the same tax paid for the visa is visible on the passport ;
  • Travelers holding Djibouti and Somalia passports are charged $15 on arrival;
  • The Republic of Somaliland and Taiwan bilaterally adopted agreement between them in 2015 to exempt visas from their nationals at both sides. As a Somaliland national, you can travel to Taiwan with Somaliland Passport without looking for an entry visa, and similarly Taiwanese don’t need to get visas to come to Somaliland. A circular from the Somaliland Immigration & Border Control is available at the Immigration Offices of Somaliland Airports, Seaports and in the entrances of the land borders, and vice versa in the counterparts of Taiwan.

Somaliland Visa Application Process.

Travelers coming from countries in which Somaliland has Representative Offices should obtain their visas from those Offices. Such travelers will get the types of visas they need as well as relevant information, advice and guidance prior to their departure to Somaliland. Travelers will fill visa application forms and pay visa processing fees at the issuing office. Visa Applications available are online and can be downloaded from (www.somaliland-mission.com for UK applicants and www.somalilandmission.us for the US applicants). All foreign travelers coming to Somaliland are advised to take visas from Somaliland representative offices where it is available abroad and or contact sponsors they have relations with in Somaliland for processing entry visa in advance.

 Tourism Related Information in Somaliland.     

The land of the Republic of Somaliland is historically regarded as a home and residence to one of the earliest civilizations in the Horn of Africa. The most important feature showing the olden history is thought to be the Neolithic cave paintings of Laas-Geel dating 5,000 years before this was discovered by French Archaeologists in 2002. The country is rich of tourism resources, and as categorized by the Tourism Department, it comprises of Eco-Tourism, Religious Tourism, Archaeological Tourism, Health Tourism Products, and Historic & Ancient settlements. There are nearly 200 tourism sites registered by the Tourism Department within all the regions. Although, this sector is very underdeveloped, lacks investment for further exploration, development, conservation, marketing, preservation and legal framework as well, yet, there is gradual increase of the Somaliland Diaspora tourists, and foreign nationals’ year after the other particularly visiting more on the rock arts, historic sites, and the stunning tourist-liked sites including along the coast of Saaxil and Sanaag regions.

Procedure and Relevant Service Fees on Tourism:

  • Get Permission Letter with $10 or $15 and $25 for nationals and foreigners respectively from the Tourism Department. The letter is addressed to the Regional Authorities, Police Commanders, Immigration Offices and the Regional Tourism Coordinators for the security concerns, and cooperation with them. This is particularly made for the foreign visitors, but there is no any restriction against the Somaliland nationals going out for the tours;
  • The Tourism Department charges foreigners $25 for Laasgeel site visit, and $10 to $15 for all the other sites in Somaliland;
  • Request Police escorts from the SPU/RRU to follow the visitors (If they are foreigners) to the sites outside the cities for security The standard escort allowance is $25 for one escort. Only one solider is necessary for the one-vehicle transport, and can be 2-3 policemen depending on the number of visitors. Without the police on board, visitors with foreign nationals cannot exit the major cities;
  • Service fee (Transportation) for the Tour Operator ranges from $100 to $175 per day depending on the distances of the destination sites within the regions and outside the Capital City, Hargeisa;
  • Accommodation cost per visitor per night ranges from $15 to $85 including depending on the locations and at the hotels recommended by the Tour Operator/Guide and including breakfast/dinner for some of them;
  • Service fee for the Tour Guide is $30 to $50 per day depending on the distances of the chosen destination sites (Sometimes the Tour Operator is also the Tour Guide for the visitors, and sometimes they are different);
  • If sea tour is included in the plan, then there is additional cost of $80 to $100 per visitor, and if group of visitors, for instance two or more persons, this may go down to the minimum cost $25 per person (For both nationals and foreigners). At Maansoor Berbera, visitors of nationals and foreigners are charged $50 per person, and $150 to more than one group visitors touring the sea, and diving;
  • For camping tours, there should be tents or sleeping bags, mosquito nets, meals, etc for the night out

The Ministry of Trade Industry & Tourism is responsible for the tourism management, and there are several privately owned Tour Operators including Somaliland Travel Agency. These Agencies, and the alike Tour Operators can sponsor the foreign visitors in the process of obtaining visas, and they can facilitate all the other processes in cooperation with the Immigration Department, Tourism Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, other line Ministries, and Security Forces as well.

Important Instructions to the Foreign and the National Tourists:

  • Don’t take photos of public and security service related offices without permission;
  • You cannot do mining or digging of the land for minerals without holding prospect license;
  • Neither foreigner or citizen of Somaliland can travel with carrying gemstones, other minerals or previous items without passing legal procedure, and holding official authorizing documents for such deal;
  • Make sure to register any previous stones or other minerals at the first Immigration Office on your arrival to Somaliland, and if don’t, you will be forced to leave anything of these at the Airport or the other Immigration Exit of
  • Somaliland Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Law – 69/2015 prevents hunting , seizing, harming and killing any kind of Somaliland wildlife, and no hunting license can be issued;
  • Neither nationals of Somaliland or foreigners are allowed to hunt, whether it is seizing, shooting, trapping, collecting eggs, bones, skin, wings and any part of the wildlife body’s and any part trading, or commission on such business;
  • Foreigners interested to visit Somaliland for hunting purposes will not be granted entry visas to Somaliland, hunting permit, and security service at all;
  • No alien species of wildlife can be imported to Somaliland and no kind of Somaliland native species of wildlife can be exported to abroad;
  • Only Somaliland president can give as present maximum of two species of Somaliland wildlife that is not eliminating and those native and available only in Somaliland;
  • A harmful animal can be shot and killed with the acceptance of the Ministry of Environment & Rural.

Tourism Program and Packages for Somaliland Diaspora:

The Somaliland Diaspora Agency in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Tourism has prepared affordable packages  for the Somalilanders from the Diaspora who is coming home for their vacations or visits to go tours to the liked and the most visited sites as well as the regions of the country, and not limited but includes the following:-

  • Laasgeel Package,
  • Ga’an-libah Package,
  • Gabiley and Dhagax-kurre Package,
  • Bulahar Package
  • Borama and Awdal Oogo Package,
  • Zeila and Sa’adadin Package,
  • Berbera
  • Guban East Package (Coastline between Sahil and Sanaag regions)
  • Sheikh and Wagar Package,
  • Burao and Togdheer Package,
  • Las’anod, Taleh and Sool Package,
  • Sanaag, Erigavo and Daallo Package.

And there are other packages as well both for day-returns tours, overnights, camping, several days or a week lasting packages particularly more within the eastern regions of Somaliland accompanied with professional tour guides.

 Find here key links to tourism related information in Somaliland